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Comment Re:... pretty much got what I expected ... (Score 1) 261

Since it's not clear from your post, have you actually played NMS?

The reason that most people essentially max out tech on their first planet isn't because they're "completionists", it's because there's so little content in the game. NMS is an "everything can be found everywhere in bulk" sort of game. Including tech blueprints.

Comment Re:1Million People (Score 1) 491

So how do you imagine that miners on Mars will be competitive without actually having mining equipment

It's not a comparison of mining equipment or no mining equipment - it's a comparison of A) automated, self-maintaining, may-not-get-damaged-or-it's-lost-forever mining equipment or B) human-controlled, human-maintained, human-salveagable mining equipment. In an environment where the premise is that humans already are.

The robots that are outcompeting them are on Mars, and orbiting Jupiter taking pictures, oh, and orbiting the earth transmitting signoals around and doing science and stuff.

Because there are no humans there. What about this is hard for you to understand? I'll repeat: there is precisely one place in the solar system where humans exist outside of Earth: ISS. Do robots outcompete them there - yes or no?

The best numbers I could find is that the annual cost of the ISS

Red herring. We're comparing to a scenario where humans are on Mars either way. Talking about the cost of putting people on Mars, keeping them alive, etc, is irrelevant because that is planned either way. The question at hand is, is it cheaper to use their already present labour, or send robots? And it's a no contest comparison.

Comment Took a while to figure out why Trump lost so badly (Score 1) 293

It's the Miss Piggy Machado thing. It took me a while to figure out why that particular skeleton in his vast closet of skeletons has destroyed Trump's candidacy. Also, I'm quite disappointed that Slashdot has so little intellectual energy these days... Some clever person should have figured this out long before I managed to slog through the implications.

The largest constituency that is strongly supporting Trump is poorly educated men, where he used to have a lead of something like 60%. America is mostly a well educated nation, so the size of the bloc is not overwhelmingly huge (or YUGE, as the Donald pronounces it), but if he had any chance of winning, it depended on their votes.

Unfortunately for Trump, they are mostly married. Even worse, most of their wives aren't as stupid as they are, partly due to regression towards the mean but mostly because women tend to be smarter than men. (Okay, maybe that's basically my opinion, but all of the stupidest people I've met or heard about were men.) Smart wives can manipulate their husbands, and one way or another, they are going to be pushing their husbands away from Trump. The "Miss Housekeeper" skeleton is destroying him with women.

Machado is being attacked quite vigorously now, but this is a case where shooting at the messenger is only making it worse. Any bad things she might have done can now be blamed on her highly negative interactions with Trump himself. She really is rubber and Trump is the glue now. She was barely an adult when she fell under Trump's malevolent influence, and I can't imagine too many women siding with Trump.

Trump is toast. Loser.

(So what do you think about the cocaine allegations? Regarding the next debate, if Trump shows up, should he pee in a cup?)

Comment Re:Do we have to let the winner out of the arena? (Score 1) 58

Maybe you are sincere, but I've concluded that this thread is just a waste of time. Maybe it's just an artifact of inline posting that makes you look like an intellectually dishonest Sophist, but we don't need another religious war on that issue.

Good day, sir. I'm sorry you wasted so much of your time, but even sorrier that you wasted so much of mine.

Comment Re:I'm trying to look at this objectively (Score 1) 293

I don't think you are giving the founders sufficient credit. They tried quite hard to SOLVE the problems, not just complain (like the Donald). I'm not saying that coalition government is a perfect solution, but I do think it would have been better than the Electoral College approach. They were plenty smart, but they couldn't think of everything, and the ideas about coalition majorities were developed later on.

It seems you understand the problem. So how can you argue for the 3rd parties (from your earlier post). There are two ways that new parties become one of the top two parties in America. One is when an old party kills itself, which is how I interpret the end of the Whigs and Federalists. The other is when the single ruling party cuts itself to pieces, which is how I interpret the split of the Democratic Party in the election of 1860, which allowed the Lincoln's Republican Party to win.

Given the current situation, we're going to get Hillary or Trump, and when you compare them head to head, I just cannot understand how the election can be close. Yeah, she's a lawyer, and I don't like lawyers, but the evidence says she's a highly skilled lawyer, which means she will apply those skills for her clients' best interests. If she wins the election, we'll essentially become her clients and I think she'll probably do a good job. She even has the potential to do a great job, while I think Trump's potential goes to the opposite extreme.

At this point I think the so-called Republican Party is just a brand hijack, and it has become too sick to cure. We definitely do need a second party, but I think the GOP has to go away first to make room. I'd prefer the Greens over the Libertarians, but that's farther down the road.

Comment RACHEL (Score 5, Informative) 44

Wow, thanks so much for mentioning RACHEL and World Possible. I've been working with them for a several years as a volunteer and recently joined as VP of Tech. It's such a satisfying project -- to see the stuff we put together being used in classrooms around the world a few weeks later -- and the Pi makes it all possible. Thanks for making such an amazing and useful piece of hardware :)

Comment Re:1Million People (Score 1) 491

Do these [abc.net.au] look like Mar's rovers to you?

No, and:

1) ... nor would you have the payload capacity to send something like that
2) ... nor would something like that survive the Martian environment (dust, radiation, cold, pressures low enough for outgassing, difficulty with radiating excessive heat, etc)
3) ... nor can you use that sort of power source on Mars
4) ... nor do you have people there to do the (extreme) sort of maintenance such a vehicle requires
5) ... nor do they do the most complex operations, only doing the (proportionally very simple) ferrying operations
6) ... nor do they have to avoid risk at all cost due to the lack of people there to fix it if it goes awry and hits something
6) ... nor do they have to avoid risk at all cost due to the lack of people there to fix *whatever it might run into* if it goes awry and hits something. ... and about fifty other things.

The ISS is just floating there doing nothing.

Deflection. The question was, in construction and research on ISS, do they use the available human labour, or do they send robots to do it? Of course robots are used where there aren't humans, but that's not the topic of discussion; we're talking about a world where there's a human settlement on Mars. You're arguing that robots outcompete humans in a space environment where humans are. Well, we have precisely one space environment where humans are - ISS. Where are all of the robots outcompeting them?

I'll reiterate:

It's certainly an arguable point as to whether it's worth the cost sending humans in the first place - but once they're there, there's no debate at all about whether it's cheaper to use their labour or to engineer, build, and send robots to do the same task.

Comment Re:Remeber game box covers? (Score 1) 261

ASCII? You spoiled child, back in my day our games graphics were displayed with blinking readout lights on a board. Old Flashey, we used to call that board. A game of "Hit The Button At The Right Time" used to cost a dime, which was two hours wages at the time, but oh, how I sunk so many dimes into Old Flashey...

Comment Re:How come? (Score 1) 261

I actually liked the gameplay concept. There's nothing wrong with the concept for many people. The problem is that they failed to actually deliver the concept.

I think the difference between the concept and the reality does, however, lay bare a more important element. What most people want out of procgen isn't just that the algorithms can generate diversity... it's that they can generate scenarios that even the coders wouldn't have expected. Some algorithms can do that. Others cannot. NMS's absolutely cannot, they're just standard fractal noise terrain with random primitives, animals that are just armatures with random parts swapped out, etc. For anyone thinking of taking up the mantle of such a game after the failure of NMS, I think that's really going to be a key aspect. Because players are always going to explore worlds faster than developers can make new content, so if your engine is limited to making "things that the devels have thought of", it's always going to wear thin rather quickly.

The real world we live in always keeps presenting new fascinating worlds every time we explore a new place, for a key reason. Real worlds are built by fluid and rigid body interactions (primarily fluid, at least on the large scale) with variable chemistry. Physical properties like viscosity vary over numerous orders of magnitude in different pressure and temperature environments, and there's thousands of different chemical constituents that can be found in bulk, depending on the environment. Furthermore, each body is exposed to anisotropic conditions (bombardment, solar radiation, Coriolis force due to its rotation, etc), and widely varying local conditions like gravity. Basically, the computer equivalent would be CFD with chemical equilibria. Now, of course you can't do some extreme-detail CFD simulation of planets in realtime. But IMHO, if you want interesting generation, you want a generation algorithm that can emulate these sort of *effects*, even if the underlying core mechanism is radically different. Terrain generation algorithms generally make a goal of emulate the effects of uplift/folding, erosion, volcanism, impacts, etc. Recognizing how radically, many-orders-of-magnitude different these can all be in different environments, and with different materials in the same environment, seems key to making landscapes that can defy even creator expectations.

I think Pluto should be the gold standard. Before NH arrived, who would have thought that what we'd find was a giant scar facing Charon where the mantle bubbles out in supermassive convection cells, with mountain-sized icebergs drifting around the soup and collecting in iceberg-mountain ranges on the shore (just to name a couple of the really bizarre things New Horizons discovered)? The issue isn't "could you code a generation algorithm to emulate Pluto?"; of course one can. The question is, "could you code a generation algorithm that would have come up with things as weird as Pluto, without having to explicitly spell them out, without you ever having seen them before"?

Comment Re:Whiny entitled UK gamers, nuff said. (Score 1) 261

I tried to convince myself that it was a "relaxing", "meditative" experience, a "palate cleanser" if you will.

After a while, I just couldn't convince myself of even that minimal goal. It's just... nothing. The terrible gameplay actively discourages you from doing the only thing that the game really offers (exploration), and the exploration is only skin deep due to the shallowness of their generation algorithm.

And really, how can you say NMS feels "solid", when you can walk right through the animals and things don't fall when you mine out the ground from underneath them? What's the opposite of "solid" in this context?

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