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Comment Re:Real life the game (Score 1) 288

Mr Triquiers critics would disagree with the assertion that torture worked in algeria. He was more making the argument that was just the price insurgents had to pay for being insurgents, not that it worked.

That it wasn't a very effective intel tool

No it wasn't.

How it is used (for example in conjunction with other methods and information) determines its effectiveness.

Not really no, that's the problem. Torture doesn't work - effective interrogation does, torture doesn't add value to the process.

Comment Re:Real life the game (Score 1) 288

Can you use a reputation system?

What if you're playing WW2 game as the Nazi's or Japan where the negative reputation is well, consistent with a friendly ideology? So the more jews you murder the more your allies like you sort of thing.

There's certainly a place for reputation - don't break whatever conventions of game setting too much - e.g. don't just rampage around declaring war on everyone.

The Civ example is my point of why the ICRC doesn't get it. If you reward rampant militarism and breaking of modern warfare rules then well... you're rewarding it. You need to find a way to make it a compelling and interesting choice, or it's bad gameplay, and that's precisely what the ICRC doesn't want is good gameplay choices to reward bad behaviour. Sorry, but that's a mutually incompatible view to have. Either the gameplay choices created are interesting gameplay - or they're bad gameplay at which point you don't want them in your game at all.

Comment Re:Real life the game (Score 3, Insightful) 288

So again, they're not talking about most aspects of most games. They're basically suggesting that media not sanitize human rights violations. Which is an issue.

This ties in a lot to my research groups area!

And the ICRC doesn't get it.

If you give players consequences for choices then those choices have to be interesting - or they shouldn't be choices. The reason you don't put prisoners of war in a game is because the consequences for improper POW treatment come well after the actual events - and only if you lose. What are the choices with POW's? Follow the geneva conventions and essentially nothing interesting happens. You may have to feed them or not - but not feeding POW's is more food for you, less food for them - win win if you win the war. That's a bad choice because it's essentially reinforcing the idea that starving a million POW's to death is actually a useful idea - and that's problematic because well, that's exactly why people do it. Do you want to reward people for starving POW's to death?

If you give players a choice to torture - and then they do - they have to have some gain out of it, or they'll just reload and not do it. That's a problem, because you've had to deliberately reward torture. When you don't give players a choice - or when you don't put on a consequence (e.g. blowing up an ambulance in a game) then you're neither rewarding nor punishing - it's just.. a game.

Things are banned in the real world because they either don't work and cause all sorts of problems for no benefit, or they are incredibly effective to the point of being too dangerous. Torture on one end of the spectrum, chemical weapons on the other.

Comment Re:None use intel or amd for graphics? (Score 4, Insightful) 187

Nvidia hardware isn't really clearly superior to AMD.. they rotate on who has the best hardware at various price points.

But sure, the point is that this hardware should do a specific job for gamers at a specific price point, if Nvidia GPU's are the best bet for that in this product price segment there's no reason to be an ideological crusader about it. The point is to be able to play games, not make the average couch potato start writing driver code on his TV.

Comment Re:Bill Gates' response: (Score 1) 218

That's actually a good argument to be rid of him though.

He is nominally in control, but owns very little of it now (~5%), and spends most of his time not doing microsoft related things. If he wants to come back to microsoft that's one thing. But he's got other things to do - and microsoft needs to look out for shareholders of the other 95% of the money.

That said, I think it's somewhat silly - Billg's big job right now is helping to find a successor to Ballmer, which, as a 5% shareholder he is certainly entitled to be involved in.

Comment Re: Stock trending down (Score 1) 208

And they're running out of room to grow without a new transformational product.

At this point a lot of the smartphones they're selling are just replacing the previous smartphone sold by apple 2 years ago. That's fine but it's not massive growth, or entering a new sector, so the price is going to reflect the expectation that they're not going to suddenly start selling 100 million new devices a year.

Comment Re:Pay Scales (Score 1) 149

12K a month is not really that much money.

144k a year is enough that you can live very comfortably if you are responsible. And small enough that you can burn through it very quickly if you aren't. We have a lot of profs here in the 130 range and you can see it all the time. Some rush out and buy big houses, expensive cars and they try and pour on the renovations etc. Or they try and send their kids to expensive schools. And others buy modest houses and modest cars and ... aren't broke.

Comment Re:I do not understand why this is a story (Score 1) 740

Ya that's my 'well in advance and tried to hide it' statement, and as I said, that seems by far the most likely scenario here.

Someone in the press room leaking the information a small number of ms in advance doesn't really make sense with human reactions to do anything about it. So it's either long in advance and an attempt to hide it, or one of a huge array of computer systems screwing up.

Comment Re:I do not understand why this is a story (Score 2) 740

This is I think part of it. If someone knew... 15 minutes in advance, they could have places a series of bets that looked like well, bets.

Knowing a small number milliseconds in advance is a very very odd thing (in this case 4-5). It's possible someone knew very well in advance, and was able to try and program the trades to beat everyone by a small number of milliseconds and hoped no one would notice, and that seems the most likely case.

Any other scenario creates a lot of very tricky technical problems which would seem very odd. Did someone in the locked shielded room manage to leak the information a few seconds in advance? For this level of speed you're really talking about computer processing time, is it possible the document to be released was placed on a scanner early or the scanner had a very slight clock drift and was running 10 ms ahead of where it should have been? Why would you even bother trying to do releases like that at exactly 2pm atomic clock time... wouldn't it make more sense to just have the announcement and release the paperwork several minutes later? Maybe not obviously, but when you're talking about 5 ms advanced notice there is just a huge array of equipment that might be involved in automated trading that could just be very slightly off on its timing.

It's not possible for someone to have manually made a bet 5 ms in advance, 5 minutes sure, and then tried to hide it. If it's not a person deliberately hiding things, the technical possibilities for a 5 ms error are just enormous.

Comment Re:Well, obviously (Score 5, Insightful) 285

The internet is supposed to be bigger than any one country.

The Internet isn't supposed to be tied to country at all.

Oddly, I agree with Eric Schmidt on this - the big risk is if every country starts making their own internet fiefdom and it becomes harder to operate and connect internationally. Of course Eric Schmidt said this, as one of the companies responsible for helping with the spying he's worried about the ripple effects from.

Comment Re:USENET? (Score 1) 534

Sure, mobile has texting and that's definitely new, but time spent texting was time on the phone before, and we had handheld games back then. Crappy ones, but handheld games none the less.

For little kids, 4 and 5 ish, I'm not sure that TV today and TV in 1986 are much different. Sure, you have some more choice, but well, that's about it.

Comment Re:USENET? (Score 4, Interesting) 534

Ok but lots of houses had electronic devices in 1986. Maybe electronic typewriters, maybe crappy computers maybe but we had devices you could play games on and write documents on. Which specific device is secondary to the broader capabilities. You could sit around and play games or sit around and watch TV or sit around and write notes to people.


How are CDs any meaningfully different than a tape or record player in what you actually do with them? Even the radio is very similar. The details of what that specific device does are subtly different sure, but you sit around and listen to music. My mother still has a gramophone from like the great depression lying around. Audio quality on CD's is way better, but you can sit around and listen to a gramophone just as well as you can sit around listening to a CD.

Mobile phones

No, but we had phones, and cordless phones. Sure, you had to call my office number rather than my mobile to tell me to fetch milk on the way home, but you could still do it. Mobile phones haven't actually changed that people stand around talking on the phone. They just mean everyone has their own and can be called everywhere rather than having to plan ahead.

But if one wants to represent the technological experience of an average person living at that time, then it's more questionable if they should be used.

Well so that's the thing. The technological experience from the proliferation of the internet and the WWW might have changed things a little bit, but in 1986 people still sat around and listened to music, played games on electronic devices and listened to music. The average technological experience today is not hugely different from in 1986 for most people. Whether you sat around watching ALF,Matlock and LA law and Oprah, or Futurama, Breaking bad, Law and Order and.. Oprah (or ellen now?) you're still sitting around watching TV. Whether you sat around writing letters by hand, typing them on a typewriter or writing e-mails you still sat around writing. Whether you sat and read the newspaper, or go to the newspaper's website and read there you still basically conducted the same activity. Technology has made all of those things marginally more convenient and marginally higher quality. But you did basically the same stuff.

Certainly kids spend more time on the internet talking and playing games with their friends than they did running around in the yard with them in 1986, but it's still time interacting with friends, and less time for mom and dad to drive the kids around.

I think it's a serious mistake to think the allocation of time between work - eating - goofing off is radically different, or that the time spent goofing off is meaningfully different today than in 1986. Whether you went to an arcade, owned a NES (or atari 2600 or similar) you're still sitting in front of some device playing video games. Whether you stream your TV through netflix or watch it through a cable company you're still watching TV. Whether you are wired to a phone or have a mobile with your own number people still call you and won't shut up.

Sure, when you can't chat with your friends sure, you talk to your spouse - but that's a bad thing too, because now your friends are going to move past you. It's like that guy in 1986 who didn't have a phone. And yes, there were those people too. You mean I can't call you you and invite you to an event, I *have* to ask you at work or send you a letter? I'll ask the person I can actually call.

1926 maybe, sure, times were different. But I lived through 1986, and people sat around listening to music, reading, watching TV and playing games the same way they do today. Sure, the format has shifted a bit, but it's the same basic activity.

Comment Re:Google Do Do Evil (Score 4, Insightful) 113

That's kind of it. Their business is in selling adwords and they do that by trawling as much data as they can about as many people as they can. All of their other businesses are either amusing side projects they haven't figured out what to do with yet, or they do evil in support of their main advertising business.

Anything that can't either boost adsense revenue or make money directly is eventually going to get cut.

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"Home life as we understand it is no more natural to us than a cage is to a cockatoo." -- George Bernard Shaw