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Comment Re:Links ! (Score 1) 242

I don't know about you but I can't seem to find ANY studies besides the one done by the 9th graders on the effects of wifi on low order plants.

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02861092 finding that under 60kW of radiation of the same type as wifi, 90+ hours of exposure is required to prevent plant growth over a radius of 50 metres. So say you're looking at 900 hours exposure (i.e. about the length of time the referenced expirement would have taken) and for simplicities sake 60mW (which is more power than a wifi router actually emits), the radius receiving plant-killing levels of exposure would be about 0.5cm. If you put your plants right on top of the router, they may suffer a touch. Otherwise, they'll be fine -- which suggests something went wrong in the reported experiment other than wireless interference with the plants.

Comment Re:billion dollar terrorists, yeah (Score 1) 236

Yeah, actually if someone is bad enough to make the NSA's top 10 list,

If they can break keys in "a few hours", you don't have to make their top 10 list for them to break your key. "A few hours" per key = a few thousand keys per year. With most targets staying under scrutiny for multiple years, this means you probably only have to be in the top 10,000 to have your keys cracked. I'd imagine it's fairly easy to end up there by mistake.

Comment Re:Seriously? Android Bounty? Android Twix? (Score 1) 247

I've not heard of a Key Lime Pie before (I'm British).

Really? They're in Tesco in the refrigerated dessert isle, right next to the cheesecakes. Live a little, wander around a supermarket and try something you've never tried before. I did that last week and ended up with a tub of Marshmallow Fluff. Hope they consider that in a couple of versions time... :)

Comment Re:Alphabet (Score 1) 247

This might be true of dark chocolate, but British milk chocolate is evil, at least as far as I've experienced it at import stores.

If you mean "dairy milk" it is worth noting the legal battle that Cadbury's have had over whether it can actually be called chocolate or not (it has too high a proportion of non-cocoa-originating fats for at least some definitions). It apparently cannot be sold as chocolate in the US, and the EU were considering implementing similar rules at one point (although a compromise was apparently reached). By US labeling requirements, it would have to be sold as a chocolate-flavoured bar containing partially-hydrogenated vegetable fats. The stuff Hershey's sell under the same branding is completely different, and is actually chocolate.

Most of us brits with taste consider it an embarrassment to the nation, and are rather glad that Kraft have taken over -- they can keep it, now it's not *really* British any more. We're happy to have Thorntons as the only remaining nationally-distributed British-owned chocolate manufacturer, so we can now claim to make some passably-good chocolate, even if it's not *quite* as good as the Swiss or Belgian stuff. :)

Comment Re:Coverity fails to detect errors in python (Score 1) 187

"Coverity fails to detect errors in python" would be my headline of choice here. Seem a much more reasonable explanation for the results.

Or, to put it another way, "static analysis tool fails to detect many potential errors in code whose authors use the same static analysis tool to find and fix potential errors." Which is hardly surprising.

Comment Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (Score 1) 374

A polygraph is not complete pseudoscience. There's a definite correlation between the various factors measured and lying.

There is a study that keeps being brought out to justify the use of polygraphs in job applicant security screening. The only problem is that the study was studying an entirely different use of polygraphs (determining whether the test subject performed a specific act where direct physical evidence is available), and security screening is known to be an area where they have substantially lower accuracy -- and they only just barely managed to be better than chance in the study. Paraphrasing the words of the American Psychological Association, there has never been a study examining the use of polygraphs for security screening which is not methodologically flawed, and there is no known physiological reaction to lying that cannot also be caused by other effects (e.g. stressful situations, particularly like you might experience in, say, an interview for a job you really really want). So, no, at least for the purpose under discussion here: polygraphs *are* complete pseudoscience, and there is no statistically significant correlation that has been demonstrated in a methodologically sound scientific study.

Comment Re:Maybe (Score 1) 189

I agree that's a complete dick move on their part. But when you see "We may, from time to time at our sole discretion and without notice or liability, create, amend, change, or delete any content from the IGP Offerings." at the top of their terms, that should raise a *huge* red flag before you reach for your wallet in the first place.

I don't know about your jurisdiction, but mine has "unfair contract terms" legislation. One of the Act's cited examples of a term which is unfair and therefore not enforceable in any contract is a term which:

has the object or effect of
enabling the seller or supplier to alter unilaterally without a valid
reason any characteristics of the product or service to be

Quoting from government advice on interpretation of this law:

Where circumstances could prevent the supply of the
goods or services agreed (or a version of them that the consumer has
indicated is acceptable) then the consumer should be able to cancel the
contract, and receive a refund of prepayments.

A term which could allow the supplier to vary what is supplied at will –
rather than because of bona fide external circumstances – is unlikely to be
fair even if customers have a right of cancellation and refund. The
consumer should never have to choose between accepting a product that is
not what was agreed, or suffering the inconvenience of unexpectedly not
getting, for example, goods for which he or she may have an immediate
need, or a long-planned holiday, just because it suits the supplier not to
supply what was promised.

If you have similar legislation in your jurisdiction, you may want to challenge the decision not to supply what you paid for in court. You may be entitled not just to a refund, but also compensation.

IANAL; this is not legal advice; consult a legal professional before commencing court proceedings; etc.

Comment Re:Not P2W (Score 2) 189

So, what you're saying is that there is a game mechanic (the XP system) whose effects are to make the game less fun by turning it into work, but which you can pay real money to lessen, and you don't see that as a problem?

Different people have different tolerances for repetitive play, and different amounts of free time that they can spend on it. People with less free time have a tendency to want to advance faster so that they can enjoy different parts of the game; people with more free time tend to prefer to take progress through the game at a more leisurely rate so they can enjoy it for longer. While I haven't played this particular game, it is usual for the cash shop in free-to-play (and even sometimes non-free) games to sell ways to modify your progression rate, increasing it or even in some cases decreasing it (I know several players in LOTRO, for example, who have paid for the ability to stop gaining XP in order to allow a single character to complete all the quests at each level, which is not normally possible because you gain XP too quickly and there are many quests; the item costs about $5, so it's a non-trivial purchase, but some people find it lets them enjoy the game better, so...).

Comment Re:I'm making those mistakes right now, myself. (Score 1) 189

Except that in my case, my friends and I decided to start our own company. We're building a MMO.

Everyone's building an MMO. It seems to be the default I-want-to-make-this-kind-of-game genre (just like building an OS is the default for big software engineering projects -- just look how many hobbyist OSs there are out there!). Perhaps you shouldn't let this discourage you, but still worth thinking about.

If we're onto book recommendations, there are a couple more:

A Theory of Fun, Raph Koster. If you read his blog, it turns out there's a new edition due out soon, so may be worth waiting for it, but this is the seminal title on what it is that makes games fun.

Designing Virtual Worlds, Richard Bartle. Bartle co-developed the first MUD, which of course was the inspiration that eventually led to the development of the first MMOs, so this book is actually pretty indispensible for an MMO developer, I reckon. Goes into a lot of nitty-gritty about how a typical MMO actually works.

Comment Re:It's Simple, Really. (Score 1) 189

I was listening to the radio last night and they reported the top job desired by children is that of reality star. I see this in a number of high school and college graduates as well. They want to be a star working at a star company. For jobs that do not really create anything, CEO, lawyer, doctor, that is OK. But for an engineer, who should be innovating everyday things that makes our lives better, that should be making the world safer, it does. Of course a game developer is likely more like a lawyer than an engineer, but still. I would say find somewhere you can make a difference, not somewhere you can be a star. It is not a bad thing to know that you went into work and did something meaningful. Of course that could happen a Blizzard. But if someone is offerring you a job at a firm where what you do matters, and you are getting well compensated, I think that is a good thing.

I think working on a project that would likely make millions of people happy (even if only for a few hours each) is pretty damned meaningful. Sure, entertainment isn't life-or-death, but it's got to be more rewarding than, say, accountancy.

Comment Re:They didn't know he also... (Score 1) 403

It is also quite likely that advocating or promoting suicide is a violation of the terms of service.

To be honest, I don't see anything advocating or promoting suicide. I see him explaining his reasonings in rather clear terms and as such I'd classify it as a discussion about suicide. There is a difference between discussion and active advocation and/or promotion.

There's a page on the site that outlines a list of possible methods and reasons why you would choose one or the other of them. Sure, it's in the context of how he decided what method to use for himself, but it can be read as instructional for other people, which is a clear violation of Yahoo's ToS.

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