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Comment Terminal E's (Score 1) 466

Anyone else notice that most of the words end in E? That seems likely to mean something.

According to the biographical details, the guy was "street smart" but lacked formal education. Based on his very white-sounding name, it's a good bet that he didn't speak any exotic foreign languages, or have access to the mathematical techniques that cryptanalysts are trained to look for. Seems like pretty good rationale for releasing it to the public—clever people with no formal training might actually be better at solving this kind of thing.

Of course, it could all be in some crazy, made-up language that existed only in the guy's head. And even if it's not, it could just as easily be a grocery list. But there's enough numeric data in there that if I were tasked with solving this case, I'd be intrigued, too. Hell, I'm intrigued anyway.

Comment Am I missing something? (Score 5, Insightful) 234

Wait, so they have a copy of something that was designed to replicate itself and is known to have spread to literally hundreds of thousands of unsecured machines? And they have a binary copy of it? I'm going to write the rest of this post from my bomb shelter.

The media talk about Anonymous like it's some shadowy terrorist super-villain collective, but that's really missing the point. Anonymous is, at its core, the world's most prolific troll. Look at the sites they attacked in the whole WikiLeaks affair. and It's obvious to anyone with a clue that these are symbolic targets. If they'd had the desire (and arguably the capability) to inflict real damage, they'd have gone after the payment processing infrastructure instead. But their goal isn't to break stuff. It's to do something relatively inconsequential, and see how many media organizations they can get to shit their pants over it.

This is (roughly) the same group whose crowning achievement was getting Oprah to say "over 9000 penises" on national TV. Even if they have the capability to inflict real damage—and some members clearly do—they seem to be more interested in getting attention and playing the media for complete fools. Which is way more entertaining than indiscriminately wreaking havoc on the world.

And that's the bottom line. Everything they do is for entertainment value. Because they're not terrorists; they're trolls.


Survey Shows That Fox News Makes You Less Informed 1352

A survey of American voters by World Public Opinion shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. One of the most interesting questions was about President Obama's birthplace. 63 percent of Fox viewers believe Obama was not born in the US (or that it is unclear). In 2003 a similar study about the Iraq war showed that Fox viewers were once again less knowledgeable on the subject than average. Let the flame war begin!

Comment Re:Er, (Score 1) 457

Is paying for a game practically immoral? Almost, as you are supporting sharecropping.

This is an incredibly arrogant point of view. Just because someone doesn't create content for a living doesn't mean that they're not contributing to a project. In private industry, positions that don't add value to a product tend not to exist for very long.

To use your game development example, I'm assuming you're referring to publishers who fund projects that are developed externally. It's tempting to portray publishing firms as oppressive fat cats working poor, oppressed developers to death, but the fact of the matter is that they play an important role in the process. If development houses could bankroll their own projects and shoulder the risks involved in funding a game without involving a publisher, they would. And most publishers contribute a hell of a lot more than money.

Businesspeople are, by and large, not slavers. Even the highly-compensated ones--especially the highly-compensated ones--generate value commensurate with their paychecks. If they didn't, they wouldn't be receiving those checks for very long. I'm not saying there aren't exceptions, but not having technical skills doesn't preclude one from doing "real work."

(And before you ask, yes, I write code for a living.)

Comment Re:Awesome! (Score 2, Insightful) 118

I got a HoN beta key a few months ago and played for a month or two. Based on my impressions, the OP is spot-on in his observations about the community. It's actually most of the reason I don't play anymore.

To put this in context, I led a fairly hardcore WoW raiding guild for a couple of years, and played Magic Online semi-seriously for a while. I have a pretty thick skin. I'm very familiar with the concepts of nerd rage and sexual frustration made manifest over the Internet. It's worse in HoN than anywhere else I've seen it. The game's lack of a proper matchmaking system is partially to blame, but as the OP said, a lot of it does fall on the community.

For people who have never played HoN, it's a very complex game. There are almost a hundred characters to choose from, each with a unique set of stats and abilities. Compounding this, there are dozens of different items that you can purchase over the course of a game, and each character has its own "build order"--what the community considers to be the optimal strategy for playing a given character. Learning this for even a handful of characters is a massive undertaking, but many types of matches don't let you choose which character you'll end up playing, or even restrict the options that much. The rules of the game also very heavily punish a team for having one sub-par member--if your opponents figure out where you're weak and exploit it successfully, the balance of the game will tip very quickly.

The result of all this is that the game heavily rewards people who spend the time to learn it, and by the same token, severely punishes people who haven't invested that level of commitment. Which is great if you think HoN is your life's calling. But for those of us who play casually, well, you can only have your sexual orientation questioned in Portuguese so many times before you decide there are more constructive things you could be doing with your free time.

Long story short: HoN's community is unusually hardcore and unfriendly, and will certainly be an impediment to the game's mainstream adoption if certain issues are not addressed.


Police Called Over 11-Year-Old's Science Project 687

garg0yle writes "Police in San Diego were called to investigate an 11-year-old's science project, consisting of 'a motion detector made out of an empty Gatorade bottle and some electronics,' after the vice-principal came to the conclusion that it was a bomb. Charges aren't being laid against the youth, but it's being recommended that he and his family 'get counseling.' Apparently, the student violated school policies — I'm assuming these are policies against having any kind of independent thought?"

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Artificial intelligence has the same relation to intelligence as artificial flowers have to flowers. -- David Parnas