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Comment: Re:There might be hope for a decent adaptation (Score 1) 322

by werepants (#49188689) Attached to: 'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' Coming To the Big Screen

I guess the big question will be what budget the movie has. If we've got a big headlining star and a go-to action director, then it will be an action movie set on the moon. However, there have been a number of thoughtful sci-fi movies recently, just not big budget blockbusters. District 9, Moon, and the Europa Report come to mind, all of which were in keeping with the spirit of classic sci-fi.

Comment: Re:There might be hope for a decent adaptation (Score 3, Insightful) 322

by werepants (#49183443) Attached to: 'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' Coming To the Big Screen

But changing the title from "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" to "Uprising" does not bode well; the book is not about an "Uprising" but about how a society develops when the rules of normal society are removed. The actual "uprising" in the book is almost a by-product and not a central theme.

Not sure that I agree - the main thing that moves the plot forward certainly is the revolution. You could argue that the revolution plot is just the scaffolding Heinlein uses for his speculation about society, but to be fair a huge amount of sci-fi could be described this way. The other thing that makes the revolution critical is that he uses it to showcase the way colonization efforts will eventually evolve - Earth will view colonists as dependent and incapable, but as soon as basic self-sufficiency is possible it will become very difficult to maintain control over determined inhabitants who are acclimated to the very different environment and accustomed to dealing with the challenges of space.

Comment: Re:Long story short (Score 1) 260

It seems to me that you're critical of people that use strategies other than "try harder" to accomplish their goals. You are essentially opposed to the use of tools here.

You've admitted that you aren't a stranger to procrastination - is it the case that you never procrastinate or get distracted now, because you just found more willpower? That sounds unlikely to me.

At any rate, if you accept that willpower is a finite resource (I haven't seen you dispute this), the real issue is simple. You think strategies to conserve willpower use more of it than they give back, I think that the effort they consume is outweighed by the effort they save throughout a working day. It depends on the strategy, of course - I tried the pomodoro approach for a while and found that the complexity and overhead of using it was too much of a burden to maintain. However, there are some other things that I have found which "pay for themselves" consistently.

Lacking a useful way to quantify willpower, it would be hard to test this objectively, but it really isn't difficult to test it subjectively in life. Try a day (or week,or month) using a strategy, and see how it works. If you are happier and/or feel more productive in one scenario, go with it. In my experience, I get a lot more done when I focus on a few simple techniques that limit distraction, so it suggests that these efforts to conserve willpower are worth it. You might experience the opposite, but if you haven't really tried it, your arguments are baseless conjecture.

Comment: Re:Long story short (Score 1) 260

My claim is that it takes basically the same amount of willpower not to open a browser as it does not to click on a bookmark or link and saying "have the willpower to close your browser so you won't go to facebook" is no better and less useful than saying "have the willpower not to go to facebook", because if you can do the latter, it means you can still use your browser for productive things.

Thanks for being clear about what you are saying. I think that your claim is fundamentally neglects all the things we know about human behavior. Willpower is a finite resource (lots of research supports this) and we know that different kinds of tasks use more or less of it.

Sometimes I have surplus willpower, and these indirect strategies and tricks to keep myself focused are unnecessary. Those times are usually when I'm well rested, have an interesting project in front of me, and meaningful deadlines that give me a sense of urgency. If I've got boring work, distant or nonexistent deadlines, or I'm exhausted because of outside commitments or because my kids kept me up much of the night, then I need to conserve willpower and find ways to get myself to work on things when my "short term gratification" impulse is harder to ignore.

Sure, it is more parsimonious to just use the willpower directly, but that is sort of like questioning the point of a bicycle when walking is simpler and can, in principle, get the job done. Additional complexity can be more effective and efficient, and I'd argue that's the case here as well. Using our understanding of the human mind and how it operates seems to be a better approach than expecting everyone to brute force their way to perfect discipline.

Comment: Re:Long story short (Score 1) 260

I tried closing my browser down entirely when I need to get work done, for instance. Leaving it minimized proved too distracting, as the temptation to click over to email or slashdot is too strong. Having it closed all the way down makes it marginally more inconvenient, enough so that I don't indulge my distraction nearly as often.

I can give you lots of specific examples of my approach to beating distraction. You haven't given me a single one yet for your version. It still sounds to me like nothing more than "try harder".

Comment: Re:Color means many things (Score 1) 414

by werepants (#49162149) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?

The PICTURE of the dress is in fact a very pale blue color, with a brown/dark gold color.
The PICTURE itself (at least on CNN) is not blue/black.

The point is, this doesn't help us solve the problem. Because very pale blue color (on the monitor) could be gotten by capturing an image of white in the shade, or washed out dark blue. Or lots of other more obscure and less likely ways.

Trying to "analyze" this with photo editors misses the point - this is an optical illusion borne out of artifacts in human vision processing. It isn't a physics or technology problem.

Comment: Re:Color means many things (Score 1) 414

by werepants (#49162139) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?

I use a color sensor to calibrate my screen for any production work, which I do occasionally (although not as much as I once did) as a professional photographer. Our brains lie to us, and the "actual" color displayed on screen is next to meaningless. That's what this whole illusion is about - regardless of the color on the screen, we can interpret it to be dramatically different "real" colors, based an the assumptions we make subconsciously about the context of the image.

By the way, I can see it both ways. Just look at it and imagine the dress is in a shaded alcove with incandescent lighting. Then, imagine that it is a shiny dress with bright yellow light on it. All I have to do is tell myself one or the other of these scenarios and I can see it blue/black or black/gold.

Really, the whole point here is that efforts to "analyze" this with photo editors misses the point - this is an optical illusion borne out of artifacts in human vision processing. It isn't a physics or technology problem.

Comment: Re:Perception (Score 1) 414

by werepants (#49154083) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?

It isn't about the camera's white balance. It is about the light on the dress, and the lack of sufficient context to determine exactly which light the dress is in. Is the dress in the shade, with a blown out background from a different light source? Or is the dress in the same blown out golden light as the background? The brain can choose one way or the other - if it prefers to think the dress is in the shade, you see white and gold. If your brain thinks it is washed out by the yellow-ish light, you see black and blue.

If you REALLY understand photography, you are well acquainted with the fact that outdoor light (shade especially) is dramatically more blue than incandescent light. If you've got both in the same scene, you get problems like this, and there's no good choice for the camera to make. This is why there are things like gels for flashes, because it isn't a problem with the way the photons are processed by the camera, it's the fact that physics delivers very different photon wavelengths from on object depending on the incident light source.

Comment: Re:Color means many things (Score 1) 414

by werepants (#49154047) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?

The GIMP doesn't really mean anything, because what's at play here is our mental perception of color. White snow in the shade has a distinct blue tone if you look at it in a photo editor, but that doesn't mean that it is blue. Really, we've got that exact phenomena going on here - the colors could be adequately described two different ways, white and gold dress in the shade (blue-ish light) or blue and black dress in incandescent light (gold-ish). It's really a matter of interpretation.

For another great example of just how confounding this effect can be:

Comment: Re:Back-end image file manipulation? (Score 2) 414

by werepants (#49154005) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?

Of course you could, but what's more likely - some elaborate scheme to create a viral controversy that's tied to no obvious material benefit, or a picture that just happened to be taken with a shitty cellphone that gets interpreted differently by different viewers? What's more, lots of people looking at exactly the same image, at the same time, on the same device (for instance, my wife and I) came to opposite conclusions.

The summary and linked xkcd comic do a completely accurate job explaining the phenomena, no conspiracy theories required.

Comment: Re:Long story short (Score 1) 260

Training yourself not to be distractable (as opposed to training yourself to avoid distractions), is in my opinion a better investment, because you get the added benefit of being able to use computers.

How do you do such a thing? I'm not aware of any reliable way to develop such a skill - it sounds to me like saying "learn to have unlimited willpower".

Eureka! -- Archimedes