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Comment: Re:The Golden Path (Score 1) 198 198

Frank Herbert's son later teamed up with a sci-fi author and published some books which wrap up the story and also explain some of the events that happened before the Dune books take place. Supposedly from his father's notes. Not everyone considers these books canon. The catastrophe, however, is revealed but at this point it mostly seemed the first book had some parallells with the Middle East.

The reason that many don't consider it canon is that it directly contradicts not just small events in the originals but the entire premise. In Dune, the Butlerian Jihad was an ideological struggle against people who were willing to delegate their thinking to machines without considering the long-term social consequences (hmm, still seems pretty relevant) and ended up being controlled by oligarchs who controlled the machines. The outcome was an overreaction against machines, banning even simple calculating engines. In the cash-in novels, it was recharacterised as a war against a two-dimensional and completely unbelievable machine intelligence.

The final revelation in the sequels was then that this machine intelligence had survived and had been building an empire in secret all of the time that humanity had been building their own and eventually decided that it wanted to destroy all of the humans (why? Because that's what evil robot overlords do! Obviously). These books could have been written by the Bene Gesserit sister that Leto just managed to restrain himself from killing in God Emperor, for her stupidity. He explained that humanity had moved past the point where machines could be a threat (remember: they were never a physical threat, the threat was always stagnation and decay as humans delegated more and more to machines until there was no point in continuing to live).

The point of the scattering in Leto's Golden Path was that humanity would spread out so that nothing could be an existential threat (the old Empire had more or less stopped expanding and didn't have exponential growth to protect it). Part of the point of Chapterhouse was that the conflict that was going on, in spite of engulfing more worlds than the Empire in the time of Dune, was a tiny sideshow - nothing that happened would affect humanity and the descendants of humanity as a whole. The big hint about the changes that were happening out of the empire was the extent to which the Honoured Matres and Futars had diverged from what was considered human. The implication was that they were the ones that had diverged the least and were no longer able to compete with far more predatory creatures that had evolved from humans.

Comment: Re:First Book Is Still Solid (Score 1) 198 198

What do you think they introduced that made sense? The House series ended up having to do a load of hard resets that just didn't make sense (the no-ship technology appearing a few thousand years early? Well, just brush it under the rug - we all know that technologies are developed in a vacuum and so if you cover up an invention that has all of its prerequisites it won't be reinvented for a long time). The only redeeming feature of the House books was that they weren't as bad as the Butlerian Jihad series.

Comment: Re:Lawrence (Score 1) 198 198

A much milder Christian version was some Puritans who banned Christmas

Minor clarification, but Puritans didn't ban Christmas, they banned the non-religious parties and traditions rooted in Saturnalia that had become associated with Christmas. Puritan Christmas involved spending most of the day in Church. They certainly tried to ban fun at Christmas (and at most other times), but not the Christian festival.

The Almighty Buck

Ask Slashdot: How Much Did Your Biggest Tech Mistake Cost? 333 333

NotQuiteReal writes: What is the most expensive piece of hardware you broke (I fried a $2500 disk drive once, back when 400MB was $2500) or what software bug did you let slip that caused damage? (No comment on the details — but about $20K cost to a client.) Did you lose your job over it? If you worked on the Mars probe that crashed, please try not to be the First Post, that would scare off too many people!

+ - How much did your biggest "tech" mistake cost?

NotQuiteReal writes: What is the most expensive piece of hardware you broke (I fried a $2500 disk drive once, back when 400MB was $2500) or what software bug did you let slip that caused damage? (No comment on the details — but about $20K cost to a client.)

Did you lose your job over it?

If you worked on the Mars probe that crashed, please try not to be the First Post, that would scare off too many people!
United States

Wired Cautions Would-Be Drone Photogs on the 4th 69 69

Last year's spectacular but unauthorized you-are-there video from the inside of a fireworks display has probably inspired quite a few people to try getting their own bird's-eye view this year. Wired cautions photographers, though, that many municipalities have specifically banned (and some will be looking for) unauthorized airborne visitors, and that the FAA's guidelines for legal flight are tricky to comply with during a fireworks show. This is both because it's hard to maintain visual contact with a drone amid the dark and smoke of a show, and because of the altitude at which many commercial firework shells burst. In addition, even if a drone photo mission goes under the radar vis-a-vis local authorities, if resulting footage appears on an ad-supported site, like YouTube, the FAA may be a bit more interested than the pilot would like.
Games

Someone Will Die Playing a Game In Virtual Reality 133 133

SlappingOysters writes: Grab It has detailed a hands-on session with horror VR title Kitchen — from Resident Evil creator Capcom — and argues how the physical reaction to the experience could lead to death. The site also believes that classifying VR games will be a challenge and many titles could be banned. Virtual Reality has a big year ahead, with the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus all set to release, while Microsoft is working on the HoloLens, which the site argues adds a further challenge to traditional gaming.

+ - Someone Will Die Playing a Game in Virtual Reality

SlappingOysters writes: Grab It has detailed a hands-on session with horror VR title Kitchen — from Resident Evil creator Capcom — and argues how the physical reaction to the experience could lead to death. The site also believes that classifying VR games will be a challenge and many titles could be banned. Virtual Reality has a big year ahead, with the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus all set to release, while Microsoft is working on the HoloLens, which the site argues adds a further challenge to traditional gaming.
AI

Machine Learning System Detects Emotions and Suicidal Behavior 34 34

An anonymous reader writes with word as reported by The Stack of a new machine learning technology under development at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology "which can identify emotion in text messages and email, such as sarcasm, irony and even antisocial or suicidal thoughts." Computer science student Eden Saig, the system's creator, explains that in text and email messages, many of the non-verbal cues (like facial expression) that we use to interpret language are missing. His software applies semantic analysis to those online communications and tries to figure out their emotional import and context by looking for word patterns (not just more superficial markers like emoticons or explicit labels like "[sarcasm]"), and can theoretically identify clues of threatening or self-destructive behavior.

+ - Machine learning system detects emotions and suicidal behavior ->

An anonymous reader writes: A new machine learning technology is being developed by Israeli scientists which can identify emotion in text messages and email, such as sarcasm, irony and even antisocial or suicidal thoughts. The new computerised system, created by Eden Saig a computer science student at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, is described in a paper titled ‘Sentiment Classification of Texts in Social Networks.’ The system works by recognising repeated word patterns and was developed by Saig after he studied a course in artificial intelligence (AI) supervised by Professor Shaul Markovich. Saig explains that voice tone and vocal inflections are so crucial for conveying feelings in verbal communication, while with text and email messages these characteristics are lost – recently encouraging users to illustrate sentiment through superficial smileys or emoticons. Applying machine learning algorithms to popular opinion Facebook pages, Saig was able to use the results to pick out stereotypical habits in social network conversations. “Now, the system can recognise patterns that are either condescending or caring sentiments and can even send a text message to the user if the system thinks the post may be arrogant,” said Saig.
Link to Original Source
Movies

How To Design Robot Overlords For "Robot Overlords" 16 16

Hallie Siegel writes: Ever wonder how they make robots look so awesomely real in movies? Visual effects expert Graham Edwards goes behind the scenes with the makers of Robot Overlords to take you through the development of the robots in this movie, from script development and sketches, to filming and post FX. Really cool to see how these robots come to life.

+ - The making of sci-fi Robot Overlords - nice robot VFX->

Hallie Siegel writes: Ever wonder how they make robots look so awesomely real in movies? Visual effects expert Graham Edwards goes behind the scenes with the makers of Robot Overlords to take you through the development of the robots in this movie, from script development and sketches, to filming and post FX. Really cool to see how these robots come to life.
Link to Original Source

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