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Comment: Re:21st century warfare doesn't rely on missiles (Score 1) 589

by howlingfrog (#42769677) Attached to: Missile Defense's Real Enemy: Math

Good question, but short answer, yes, I do.

Long answer, the degree of insanity required to make a ruler sabotage their own nation by attacking an economic ally is pretty high, and the bigger and wealthier a country is, the harder it is for someone that out of touch with reality to come to power. Think about how far away Michelle Bachmann was from becoming President, and how far away she is from being crazy enough to start a war with China. It would take someone way crazier being way more politically successful to cause the kinds of problems we're talking about here. Ultranationalist looney toons can become dictators of small poor countries relatively easily, but those are precisely the ones who will use guerrilla warfare and terrorism rather than high-cost high-tech high-manpower 20th century warfare.

Comment: Re:21st century warfare doesn't rely on missiles (Score 1) 589

by howlingfrog (#42769585) Attached to: Missile Defense's Real Enemy: Math

I disagree. The Cold War needed mutually assured destruction to keep the peace because the capitalist countries and the communist ones weren't trading with each other. And it didn't even do that good a job of keeping the peace. USA and USSR never spilled each other's blood, but Korea and Vietnam were more proxies for USA and China to make unofficial war on each other than anything else. There's no reason to believe we wouldn't have kept finding excuses to get involved in opposite sides of Asian civil wars if we hadn't started trading with each other.

MAD keeps people who want to fight each other from throwing the first punch, or maybe just from escalating after a punch is thrown--shared economic interests keeps them from wanting to fight each other at all. MAD is a last line of defense, nothing more.

Comment: 21st century warfare doesn't rely on missiles (Score 2) 589

by howlingfrog (#42765053) Attached to: Missile Defense's Real Enemy: Math

Plenty of people have already pointed out the idiocy in the details of TFA's argument, so I won't go into that. The core assumption underlying the whole thing is wrong too: wars are not fought with missiles any more. The nations that can afford enough missiles to pose any kind of threat at all to each other are the wealthy, highly populated ones. All the wealthy, populous nations are economically interdependent now, and always will be. Economically interdependent nations don't wage war on each other. All wars for the foreseeable future will be started by second- or third-world rogue states using terrorism and guerrilla tactics, and ended by first-world superpowers using espionage, tactical bombing, and drone strikes.

Nobody capable of launching ICBM's at us could conceivably ever want to. There is nobody we'll ever need to launch ICBM's at ourselves.

Comment: Re:Who cares about uncompressed size? (Score 1) 442

by howlingfrog (#42544093) Attached to: The Trouble With 4K TV
I'm a projectionist at an all-digital theater. Content is sent to us in proprietary file formats, so I can't tell you for sure what's going on inside them, but I can make a pretty good guess based on file size. A 2K movie (which is virtually all movies, only one or two a year are distributed at 4K) in 2D will be about 1 GB per minute of runtime. Uncompressed video at 1080p resolution, 24fps, 24-bit color is more than 8 GB per minute. So it's definitely compressed, and the compression ratio is probably too high for any lossless algorithm to be plausible. But an 8:1 compression ratio for a lossy video codec is still almost absurdly high quality, much better than Blu-Ray, which is already excellent quality. You could make a JPEG of each individual frame, not even taking advantage of the similarity of consecutive frames, and get 8:1 compression.

Comment: Re:Who Wants This? (Score 1) 442

by howlingfrog (#42543921) Attached to: The Trouble With 4K TV

That's an anti-aliasing issue, not a resolution issue. I'm a projectionist at a theater with all digital 4K projectors (except the digital IMAX which is 2K but fraudulently marketed--by IMAX, not by my employer--as 4K, don't get me started on those fucking scam artists). One thing you probably don't know is that virtually all movies are distributed at 2K. There are only one or two 4K movies a year--Skyfall was not one of them. Avengers was not one of them. Hobbit was not one of them. Almost everything you watch will be 2K even if you're in a 4K-capable auditorium. I see just about every movie that gets released, and I can tell you that for text, AA makes a MUCH bigger difference than resolution. There's almost no visible difference between 4K AA text and 2K AA. 4K non-AA is slightly but noticeably worse than 2K AA, and 2K non-AA is much worse than 4K non-AA.

You may well ask why any studio would put non-AA text in a movie. Or why some movies would have AA text but not others. Hell, in the year 2013, why does non-AA text still exist anywhere at all? If you figure that out, I hope you'll tell me.

Comment: Netbooks are more popular than ever now! (Score 2, Interesting) 336

by howlingfrog (#42435747) Attached to: Does 2012 Mark the End of the Netbook?
The conceptual purpose of a netbook is to be an extremely portable computer with good battery life that's primarily used for web browsing and media consumption, with just enough internal storage to serve as a local cache of data from the internet. They exploded in popularity when Steve Jobs figured out that touchscreens were better input devices than keyboards for that use case.

Comment: 3D movies were never more than a Trojan horse (Score 5, Interesting) 436

by howlingfrog (#42393193) Attached to: Has 3D Film-Making Had Its Day? force theaters to switch to digital projectors, and pay for it themselves. Digital distribution is orders of magnitude cheaper than 35mm film distribution, which is why the studios wanted the change. They could say to small independent theaters, "We're not sending you 35mm prints any more, so you better switch or you'll go out of business." But the MPAA needs the big chains like AMC and Regal as much as AMC and Regal need the MPAA. If AMC stops showing Universal's movies, AMC goes out of business, but so does Universal. There were originally negotiations about sharing the cost of the equipment rollout, but no agreement was ever reached. So the studios started making boatloads of 3D movies and hyping them to death so audiences would demand the change. Audiences are starting to catch on that it's just a gimmick, but it's done its job. Most theaters are digital now and the last few exceptions will be switching within the next year or so. And the studios didn't have to contribute a dime.

Comment: Re:Green Party (Score 1) 707

by howlingfrog (#41902045) Attached to: In the 2012 U.S. presidential election:

A hell of a lot of Obama's broken promises are due to the most obstructionist Congress in history. But the ACA was passed when Democrats had a majority in both houses, Congress has very little say in the DEA's policies and none in their priorities, and there was never any attempt to close Gitmo for Congress or the DOD to obstruct. Those three things really are Obama's fault. As is the fact that FOIA compliance is even worse than it was under Bush. As is the deliberate decision not to prosecute the literal criminals who caused the financial collapse or the literal traitors who started a war with Iraq on false pretenses. As is the fact that he has never acknowledged the existence of the Occupy movement. As is the fact that every response to petitions has been blind support of the status quo. As is the circle-the-wagons, shoot-the-messenger response to Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Wikileaks.

I live in Ohio, so I still voted for him without hesitation, but the image he presented of himself four years ago as a once in a generation world changing reformer was an outright lie. Not something he honestly but unrealistically aspired to be, a lie as deliberate and calculated as any of Romney's various contradictory versions of himself. The moderate left's defense of him is almost as delusionally counterfactual as the far right's criticism of him. He's a competent but unremarkable business as usual centrist.

Comment: Zermelo-Fraenkel-Cthulhu set theory (Score 5, Interesting) 179

by howlingfrog (#41839099) Attached to: Physicist Explains Cthulhu's "Non-Euclidean Geometry"
Back in college, a friend and I were trying to figure out what could possibly make people go mad from the mere sight of Cthulhu. We decided it must have uncountably infinitely many tentacles. A mere countable infinity of tentacles could be visually comprehensible, so long as each one is half the size of its predecessor, or if they were arranged in a fractal tree structure of tentacles upon tentacles. But uncountably many tentacles would drive you insane at first sight.

Comment: Re:whereas... (Score 2, Informative) 119

by howlingfrog (#41171985) Attached to: Malaysian Cyber Cafe Owners Liable For Patron Behavior

He faced a situation where he judged the consequences of breaking his oath to be less onerous than the consequences of keeping it. That's not relativism (as opposed to absolutism), it's act utilitarianism (as opposed to rule utilitarianism).

If you are defending rule utilitarianism, you are defending the Nazi soldiers who were just following orders when they murdered six million Jewish civilians.

If you are defending rule utilitarianism, you are condemning every whistleblower who has ever broken an oath, violated an NDA, or betrayed the trust of a personal friend to blow the whistle--which is all of them.

Comment: Re:Shit Editors (Score 3, Funny) 311

by howlingfrog (#41162703) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is the Rise of Skeuomorphic User Interfaces a Problem?
If only hyperlinks were identified by a picture of a computer mouse next to a monitor with a stylized mouse cursor hovered over a picture of a linked chain. You could visit the target of the hyperlink by clicking your real mouse on the left button of the picture of the mouse.

Comment: It's the karaoke version of theatre (Score 2) 197

by howlingfrog (#41115099) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Explaining Role-Playing Games To the Uninitiated?

Instead of unrehearsed singing for your own entertainment, you're writing and acting out an unrehearsed dramatic or comedic story for your own entertainment. The DM is the director, the players are actors, and they all collaborate as writers.

But rather than explaining what it is to someone, just have them tag along. Bring a book in case they get bored, but they might just want to join in next time.

"It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." -- Artemus Ward aka Charles Farrar Brown