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Journal: Homebrew

Journal by VTBassMatt

Alright, so I think the time has finally come to take a serious stab at homebrewing. I love beer and I keep pretending I'm gonna buy some equipment but I never do. Well, this Christmas I'm going to ask the loved ones for various pieces of equipment (hey, I'm still an undergrad, and I'm looking at 5 more years after I get out, so money's gonna be tight for a while).

Thank you, Slashdot, and especially user toxic666, for encouraging this new development. Slashdot for running the article about how Crapweiser is coming out with "caffeinated beer", giving me an opportunity to post about one of my favorite subjects. toxic666, for your inspiring espresso porter recipe. I shall have to determine your email address and ask you for it once I acquire the necessary equipment...

User Journal

Journal: StudioQB's Frustration

Journal by VTBassMatt

I forget which Slashdotter has the link to StudioQB's "Frustration" trivia game in his/her sig, but I finally got around to playing it. For those who've never played: it's 100 questions and you get an hour to complete them. You may use any resources on the Net or in real life to find the answer, and the game is supposed to be pretty freakin' hard.

I'd have to respectfully disagree.

I am not the brightest guy around, but I beat the game on my fourth try. The first three were times when I thought I'd rely on the ol' grey matter and not bother looking things up, but sometimes this stuff can surprise you...

Anyhow, the secret to beating this game is knowing what websites you need to keep open in Firefox tabs and having three crucial keyword bookmarks set up. Here they are, in no real order (probably the order in which I needed to look them up the third or fourth time through the game):

Finally, one other thing you'll need early on is a way to test primality of five- to seven-digit numbers. Luckily, I have some Scheme code which does the fast Fermat test, because I couldn't find a good JavaScript implementation of this test anywhere on the web. The fast Fermat test says that a number N is prime if A ^ N mod N equals A (for any A < N). You want to try this test a hundred or so times per candidate N because it's not 100% accurate the first time. You can find a better explanation of the math somewhere on the Net.

Hope I haven't ruined anyone's fun with this game. For the record, I finished it in under 25 minutes... you can probably do better using the tools I've listed here.

User Journal

Journal: Friends and Foes

Journal by VTBassMatt
I mark friends and foes on Slashdot mainly so I can apply some personal moderation modifiers to people whom I find insightful or people I agree/disagree with. Someone I marked as "foe" took the time to respond (insightfully) to my journal, and that's a big deal to me, so I changed my relationship to "friend" so I can see that user's writing in the future. How are other people using their friend/foe tags?
User Journal

Journal: Why do we fight wars? 1

Journal by VTBassMatt

Why is that we have perpetually tried to come up with faster and more efficient methods for killing each other? I mean really... we share over 99% of our genetic sequence with monkeys, only the feces we lob at each other have nuclear warheads attached. This is not an "anti-Bush" or "anti-America" or "anti-anything" diatribe, just a RFC about what drives us little apes to want to blow other little apes up.

No one really reads my journal, so I guess I won't get any answers here.

User Journal

Journal: Alternate History of the Country 2

Journal by VTBassMatt

Lately I've been thinking about developing a setting for fiction and/or a game in which the United States are no longer... ahem... united.

I haven't come up with a precise time period or reason for their departure from the Union (although I'm thinking early 21st century after 40 years of relative peace, the turmoil of the 60s being not because of anti-establishment sentiment but because of establishment-versus-establishmnt warfare), but I have thought up a few of the nation-states. Each has its own military, economic system, constitution (or other government mandate), and all the things that go into making a modern government.

Republic of California (socialist)
California
Oregon
western Nevada
Dixie (democratic republic)
Georgia
Mississippi
Alabama
South Carolina
Seven Sovereigns (federation)
Kansas
Nebraska
South Dakota
North Dakota
Montana
Wyoming
southern Idaho
United States of New England (democratic republic)
Maine
New Hampshire
Vermont
Massachusetts
Rhode Island
Connecticut
Independent State of Washington (democratic republic)
Washington
northern Idaho
Kingdom of Appalachia (constitutional monarchy)
eastern Tennessee
southwestern Virginia (to Roanoke)
North Carolina
Republic of the Western Atlantic Seaboard (democratic republic)
Long Island
New Jersey
Delaware
eastern Maryland
eastern Virginia including Eastern Shore
The Free States of Independent America (federation)
central and northern Virginia
western Maryland
Pennsylvania
West Virginia (reunified with Virginia)
Washington, DC
The People's Republic of New York (socialist)
New York
Commonwealth of the Four Corners and Minor Outlying Areas (federation)
New Mexico
Colorado
Arizona
Utah
western Nevada
Republic of Texas (true republic)
Texas
Oklahoma
Sutherland (democratic republic)
middle and western Tennessee
Kentucky
Louisiarkia (mostly anarchy most of the time)
Louisiana
Arkansas
Democratic Nation of Miami (fascist dictatorship)
southern Florida
North Florida (democratic republic)
central and northern Florida
Iowan Confederacy (federation of counties)
Iowa
southern Minnesota
Wisconsin (democratic republic)
Wisconsin
southwestern section of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Kingdom of Hawaii (absolute monarchy)
Hawaii
as yet unnamed; undecided form of government
Missouri
Illinois
Indiana
Ohio
(seceded and accepted into Canada)
Alaska
northern Minnesota
Lower Peninsula of Michigan
eastern and northern Upper Peninsula of Michigan

So that leaves us with two socialist states, seven democratic republics, three state-based federations, one county-based federation, one true republic, one fascist state, a place of anarchy (but not necessarily unrest), and two monarchies. Additionally, some territory is lost to Canada, and one area effectively doesn't exist, as I haven't imagined it yet.

Comments and suggestions?

User Journal

Journal: this->welcome("Slashdot");

Journal by VTBassMatt

I have finally created a Slashdot account after lurking for years. That's not entirely true--I had an account about two years ago, but I literally never posted anything from it and forgot the password, so this is my first "real" account. And, despite my best efforts not to succumb, I have decided to start using the "Journal" feature. Let me be straightforward here: as a general rule, I despise "blogs". More correctly, I despise "bloggers". If I ever seem like I'm transforming into one of them, I hope someone will have the good sense to knock me upside the head.

I guess I'll start with a list of the Slashdotters I've marked "Friend" so far and why I've done that if I can remember. After all, they are the only ones likely to see my journal (since I appear on their "Fans" list and all that). I didn't do too badly--only 3 that I couldn't identify.

  • ChaosDiscord - awesome link in his/her journal highlighting exactly what's wrong with all this "ban gay marriage" hoopla in the wonderfully satirical style of "A Modest Proposal"
  • CleverNickName - for God's sake, he's Will Crusher! What more needs to be said? (Actually, I hated Will Crusher back when TNG was on TV; it's only been in recent years, and through the prism of Wil's weblog/Slashdot posts that I've been able to enjoy the character.)
  • coldtone - cl1p.com
  • Featureless - this post (I think)
  • jandrese - =\ I can't remember! My guess is a comment which has now scrolled off his/her info page
  • kfg - scathing wit on top of well-reasoned discourse about a wide variety of topics
  • maxpublic - can't remember
  • Moofie - can't remember
  • orthogonal - insightful commentary about what it means to be a patriot; I can't be bothered to look up the exact post but it's in his/her sig

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