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Comment: Re:No "thought police"? What about "hate crimes"? (Score 1) 185

by almitydave (#47377951) Attached to: Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

Assault someone with a bat and go to jail for 5 years. Say, "I hate black people!" while doing it and go to jail for 15 years.

So yeah, we DO put people in jail for thoughts.

Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. Hate crime legislation DOES punish thoughts: we've decided that what you were thinking at the time of a crime somehow makes your crime worse than that of someone who wasn't thinking "hateful thoughts". If we hold to the principle that "the punishment must fit the crime," then hate crime laws seem to directly criminalize certain thoughts, which in the USA seems to come dangerously close to treading on the freedom of thought and expression protected by the first amendment, if not stomping all over it.


U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception 1324

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the should-have-gone-with-commie-care dept.
An anonymous reader writes In a legislative first, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that for-profit companies can, in essence, hold religious views. Given the Supreme Court's earlier decisions granting corporations the right to express political support through monetary donations, this ruling is not all that surprising. Its scope does not extend beyond family-owned companies where "there's no real difference between the business and its owners." It also only applies to the contraception mandate of the health care law. The justices indicated that contraceptive coverage can still be obtained through exceptions to the mandate that have already been introduced to accommodate religious nonprofits. Those exceptions, which authorize insurance companies to provide the coverage instead of the employers, are currently being challenged in lower courts. The "closely held" test is pretty meaningless, since the majority of U.S. corporations are closely held.

Comment: Re:Repeat after me... (Score 1) 534

More people need to get pissed at these "security" checks. I see it happening at more and more venues: football games, art museums, etc... At least the metal detectors in the courthouse came as a response to actual shootings. But come on, who is going to bother with a terrorist attack on the Duct Tape Museum of Greater Bumfuck? At some point the security measures cost more than what you're actually preventing.

To be fair, security checks at some football stadiums also came as a response to actual violence at said stadiums. See: Raiders fans.

Comment: Re:I-Novae Studios (Score 1) 100

by almitydave (#47325979) Attached to: Building the Infinite Digital Universe of <em>No Man's Sky</em>

My understanding is that they realized they needed to make money, so they shifted their dev efforts to completing a marketable game engine to get some income before completing their game idea. I really look forward to this game, and its more realistic scale. But I'm not holding my breath.

Comment: Re:What does "effectively infinite" mean? (Score 1) 100

by almitydave (#47325941) Attached to: Building the Infinite Digital Universe of <em>No Man's Sky</em>

"Infinite" means "without bound", so I take "effectively infinite" to mean you'll never encounter a boundary. You'll never run out of new space, every world will never be explored; it might as well be infinite because there's no discernible difference.

It couldn't be truly infinite, because at some point you're dealing with computers which have fixed-length integers, so your seed value space is actually finite; but 64-bit integers means that 7 billion players could each have their own unique million-star sky 2500 times over.

Comment: Re:OK, now do cities (Score 1) 100

by almitydave (#47325859) Attached to: Building the Infinite Digital Universe of <em>No Man's Sky</em>

I followed the development of Introversion with great interest, particularly the procedural city generation. I look forward to the day when someone writes the all-encompassing MMO that incorporates multiple game types in a single universe. It'll happen eventually, and one of the versions will probably even be worthwhile.

Comment: Re:Lazy summary writing, again (Score 1) 100

by almitydave (#47325831) Attached to: Building the Infinite Digital Universe of <em>No Man's Sky</em>

That differs from my understanding: I got the impression that once a player explored a world, the parameters for procedural generation on that world were fixed and uploaded (this is an MMO, whether or not the game designers want it to be thought of as such). That's why in the gameplay videos, you see onscreen tags identifying which player discovered a species or world.

I've worked on my own idea of a procedurally-generated universe, and the idea I've come up with is you generate a random list of stars and assign a seed value to each star. When a player visits the star, the details of the stellar system (which are only observable up close) are procedurally generated using that star's seed: planets, asteroid fields, etc. Anything you do to modify that system is saved so that the next time you go back, it's still there. In a multiplayer environment, any modifications or even the results of pseudo-random generation can be uploaded so other players see the same thing you see.

So it's random in the sense of "not determined ahead of time." The way stuff is generated in this game is the developers create prototypes that have traits that can be modified (see dev discussion of character creators with sliders in other games) in many ways, and when a world is first visited by a player, which animal prototypes are present and how they're modified is determined at that time. What the devs are doing by reviewing the results of this generation with bots and gifs is ensuring the range of parameters for pseudo-random generation is acceptable, i.e. you get results that look good. They're not setting the parameters for each planet you'll visit when you get your copy of the game.

The game universe is the same for everyone. The devs are generating it and when they are happy with the way it turns out, that version will be the one they release for everyone to play in.

The universe is the same for everyone because randomly-generated content is preserved online. The devs are not generating the entire universe, they're fine-tuning the parameters of their generators.

As far as I can tell, anyway. This could be really cool. I've also been following the development of I-Novae Studios' game engine, which aims for realism.

Comment: Re:Best Lawsuit Ever. (Score 1) 120

Although if it is a class-action suit, then presumably there were a large number of people that also didn't get their X GH/s miners by Y date, all of whom could have generated Z bitcoins.

But wait! If they had all been mining that whole time, then the difficulty would have changed, since they would have constituted a non-zero addition to the global mining capability. So the amount that they "missed out" would be lower.

Anyone have any idea what % of global hashing power the miners in question should have been? Enough to have an effect?

Comment: Re:Paper, and physical equivalents (Score 1) 208

by almitydave (#47275115) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Bequeath Sensitive Information?

A paper record is good. So is a plaintext file well organized and placed on a USB flash drive. Both can be mailed and locked in a safety deposit box, which is about as secure as you can get. Both require physical access, which means any other encryption or security is more likely to confound your subjects than actually secure your data.

In addition, you could encrypt the plaintext file with a well-known algorithm (you can even specify which one and the parameters) using a very strong password contained in your will, to prevent unwanted disclosure.

You could then apply Base64 encoding to the encrypted plaintext file, and print the result in a large font to enable scanning and OCR to recreate the digital file and decrypt it. This should be reliable enough - I don't think any of these technologies are going to go away any time soon.

Comment: Re:Oh, good (Score 2) 135

by almitydave (#47257999) Attached to: Wikipedia Forcing Editors To Disclose If They're Paid

this is most probably so if editors who are caught doing stuff when being paid for it and not disclosing it can have all that they have done removed without the need to do a investigation if what they wrote is truth or not

They should also black-list the payers of this type of activity. A week or two for each infraction. There's one important aspect about Wikipedia and that is it isn't about marketing and selling shit. They have the rest of the entire Internet for that, so it shouldn't be tolerated.

Perhaps a dire warning should appear in banner form at the top of any article about a company that pays shills to edit Wikipedia stating that it has been caught doing so, and that information about that company on Wikipedia portraying it in a positive light can't be trusted.

Time is nature's way of making sure that everything doesn't happen at once. Space is nature's way of making sure that everything doesn't happen to you.