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Comment Re:But how long until computers generate good art? (Score 1) 74

So a bit of background first: the PC1512 included a planar extension to CGA, providing 640x200x16 colours. BASIC 2 provided dithered drawing of complex shapes.

LAKESIDE.BAS was a very early procedural graphics generator, using a random seed to draw a, by modern standards, primitive 2D scene. In the distance there was a sky with clouds, snow peaked mountains reflecting in a lake, with little islands and sail boats. In the foreground, there were hills, white buildings with red roofs, white picket fencing separating fields, and all sorts of flowers, bushes and trees. Given how slow the machine was, it'd take a minute or so to draw each picture, leave it up for a little while, and then draw another one.

Whilst this could undoubtedly be rendered in 3D in the blink of an eye, and all sorts of shader magic could make it look like an actual painting, I think it would lose some of the charm.

Comment Re:Omission (Score 1) 264

I think you're mixing up programs. The mobile command center is probably not military surplus, it was likely purchased and customized under a homeland security grant.

These things aren't unreasonable purchases for a medium-sized city like Milford. They aren't military vehicles, the're basically mobile office space.

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 264

Irrelevant. Cops are SUPPOSED to shoot people because that's what they are paid for.

No they are not supposed to, nor is that what they are paid for. Sometimes they *have* to shoot people, but that is and should be regarded as a failure, albeit sometimes an avoidable one.

Modern policing is governed by the "Peelian Principles" (for Sir Robert Peel). The very first principle: "To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to repression by military force and severity of legal punishment." Furthermore, the principles state that policing is only effective if it can secure the respect and cooperation of the public and "the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives." (principle 4)

So the idea that it's part of a cop's job description to shoot people is rubbish. It's a cop's job to keep the peace, and if a good cop shoots someone it's because it's the lesser of two failures.

Comment Re:increased mutation rates = survival code kicked (Score 1) 116

On the other hand, an idea that can explain anything isn't really scientific. There's no question that evolution by natural selection is a scientific idea, but somehow it gets garbled in translation into an "organism trying to find a variation". In other cases (visible in this discussion) it's seen as benign intelligent force that will compensate for our mistakes. You can purge the white-bearded sky god from your iconography, but it's harder to get him out of your thinking.

Comment Re:begs FFS (Score 5, Interesting) 186

Sometimes the loss of an awkward construction is a gain for language.

"Begging the question" was never a very good choice of terminology -- a half-baked translation from the Latin petitio principii. You might as well use the Latin because you have to know what the term means to have an chance of decoding its meaning; the words give no clue. "Asking ill-founded questions" or "asking premature questions" would have been better.

"Begging the question" has *always* misled most readers and hearers, and we're better off with the new meaning, which *everybody* understands (although many dislike).

Comment Re:NGO? (Score 3, Insightful) 25

Because "NGOs" operate in spheres like humanitarian relief and social justice which require them to rub elbows with governments and government sponsored entities. In some cases the kinds of work they do may even overlap, as might happen when FEMA and the Red Cross deploy after a major disaster like a hurricane.

In those cases it's useful to differentiate between government organizations like FEMA or the Coast Guard and non-Governmental organizations like Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders.

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