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Comment Re:Don't like beer. (Score 1) 840

I call bull.

Some very social people I know don't drink alcohol or coffee, smoke, or eat meat. But you know what? They still come out drinking, they just drink cranberry & soda, or lemon & soda, or just water. And they stay inside when people go smoke. And they order tea (or iced tea, or juice, or water) instead of coffee. And they play sports, or go running, or whatever with the rest of us.

They don't feel the need to point out to everyone else that they don't like beer, coffee, or cigarettes, and for the most part, you never even notice that they're not imbibing (or whatever). You've just invented a convenient excuse for never going out and socializing ("It's not *me*, it's the fact that I don't like *beer*. *That's* the only reason I'm at home every Friday and Saturday night, sitting in front of the computer.")

Get off your high horse or pity wagon or wherever you're sitting, and go out and talk to people and stop whining.

(Apologies if you're the first person I've ever met who breaks this pattern.)

Comment Re:.04 DUI in Oregon (Score 1) 957

I've been pulled over and breathalyzed exactly *once* in my life. At the time, I was only driving because "I only needed to go three blocks" and worried that I was close to the .08 limit. I would *not* have been dumb enough to get on the highway, since I knew my reactions were slow. I blew .02. Yep, .02 - one quarter of the legal limit; half of Oregon's. I have little sympathy for anyone who gets charged with DUI at anything higher than that. It's irresponsible in the way that shooting automatic weapons randomly in a shopping mall is irresponsible.

Comment Re:Stairs... (Score 4, Funny) 467

I worked as a bike courier for a couple of summers, and we guaranteed package delivery within an hour. When you had to deliver something on the 30th floor of a building where the power (or just the elevator) was out, it was an interesting experience.

Interesting because, although it kind of sucked to have to run up 30 flights of stairs (to make... $1.75), it was kind awesome to see the look on the secretary's face when she said, "Oh, the elevators are working again?" and you answered, "Nope. Sign here."

And then you turned around and got to run back /down/ 30 flights of stairs.

Comment Re:Not a black mark (Score 1) 467

That would be an odd result from working in gambling. I had to go through the most strenuous security clearance process in my life (bank records for the past 12 months; tax records for the past 5 years; fingerprinting; an interview) to *get* a job in the gambling industry. Admittedly, it's government-run up here in Canadia (also known as the 51st-60th states), but still.

I seriously wouldn't worry about security issues.

Comment Re:Get a motorcycle! (Score 1) 1354

You're both right. Don't talk about yourself too much, develop your personal style, etc. Very good points.

But as someone who just bought an Aprilia Shiver 750, I can tell you that an Italian motorcycle will do wonders for your confidence and sex appeal. If only I'd known this 15 years ago...

Comment Re:financially sound (Score 1) 717

The answer to "why does a Japanese automaker decide to skip Michigan" is, more or less, this: unemployment is a lot higher in the south, and wages and benefits are lower (meaning the jobs that do exist aren't as good). Why is unemployment higher in these Republican-blessed states? Answer *that* and you've taken your first step toward enlightenment.
(Note 1: My reference is )
(Note 2: I say all of this from Socialist Ontario, where we've produced more jobs than Michigan since 2004. From wikipedia, "Ontario surpassed Michigan in car production, assembling 2.696 million vehicles in 2004.")

Comment Re:Solution For College's Bad Network Policy? (Score 1) 699

You know, not all 17- and 18-year-old kids "have a real plan." And oddly enough, I don't think we should expect them to.

Here's a personal counterpoint: I went to a good CS school to get a degree so I could write computer games (the plan!). I enrolled in the the co-op education program (so I could get those paid internships!). And after a couple of internships, I learned that writing computer games actually kind of sucks.

So I went to grad school to get a PhD, so I could become a professor. Not to avoid the real world, but because I really liked being a TA: running lab sessions for 20-40 students (and giving the occasional lecture). I was good at it, students liked me, etc.

I got a PhD. But you know what? About a year before I finished, I realized that I didn't really like research. So I went looking for a job. Ended up as a "management consultant" with a starting salary in the low six figures, and ramping up from there. So much for minimum wage. And my company hires plenty of smart BA and BSc students (in the high 5-figures) every year. (Then, if you're good, we pay for business school - if you want to go.)

But you know what? Now I'm not sure I want to be a consultant anymore. It's funny how big plans don't always take you where you expect. There might be a lesson in there.

My biggest regrets? That I didn't spend a year on exchange to Denmark (where I am rightnow) or Spain (where I've visited) so I could expand my horizons. As long as you're making enough for food, shelter, and some left over, money really doesn't buy happiness. College isn't just about classes: it's about the dorms, the parties, the professors, the trips abroad during summer, the exchange programs, etc.

So follow the parent's advice (despite my story, I agree: it's the right advice for some people). Or stop looking at life as a linear-optimization problem, go to college, get "educated", and become "well-rounded". Live the life you want to lead.

And if it matters that much to you, run the damn VM to get around the stupid IT policy. :-)

The Almighty Buck

Download Taxes As a Weapon Against File-Sharing 451

An anonymous reader writes "An examination of a new "digital downloads" taxation law in Washington State suggests that files downloaded via file sharing programs may be covered by the law — meaning that you may be expected to pay taxes based on 'the value of the digital product ... determined by the retail selling price of a similar digital product.' Thus, if you were to download music or movies and not pay the taxes, would you be liable for tax evasion charges? How much do you want to bet the RIAA will push exactly that claim?"

KDE 4.2.4 Released 153

An anonymous reader writes "KDE 4.2.4 has been released. See the release announcement for details." Barring a "security issue or another grave bug," this is the end of the KDE 4.2 line, which means for distros based on long-term support, it might be the thing to get used to for a while.

UK Police Want Plug-In Computer Crime Detectors 382

An anonymous reader writes "UK police are talking to private companies about using plug-in USB devices that can scour the hard drive of any device they are attached to, searching for evidence of illegal activity. The UK's Association of Chief Police Officers is considering using commercial devices that can perform targeted searches of text, pictures and computer code on hard drives, allowing untrained cops to detect anything from correspondence on stolen goods to child pornography. Police in the UK are desperate for a way of slashing the backlog of machines seized by the police in raids, with many forces having a backlog that will take a year to process." Maybe they shouldn't seize so many computers.

City Slicker Birds Shun Their Country Cousins 95

According to scientists, city Great Tits prefer other city Great Tits over country Great Tits. (Lets act like adults). The researchers found that the city dwellers responded more strongly to songs of fellow city dwellers and the same held true for the bumpkins. The average minimum pitch of male Great Tit songs in noisy urban areas was higher than in quieter, rural areas just a few miles away. Dr Rupert Marshall, of Aberystwyth University, Wales, and his team recorded bird song in 20 different cities in Britain. He says, "People speak louder and higher in noisy places like pubs and bars but still recognise their friends' voices once they go outside. Great tits seem to learn the high notes from their neighbours but don't respond as strongly to lower rural tones even when it's quiet."
Real Time Strategy (Games)

Submission + - Emergent AI in an indie RTS game. (

x4000 writes: "My recent RTS game uses a new style of AI that hybridizes rules-based AI with emergent AI logic. As a disclaimer, I'm really not an AI programmer at all — my background is in databases, financial modeling, etc. But it just so happens that database experience, which often involved distilling data points from multiple sources and then combining them into suggested decisions for executives, also makes a great foundation for certain styles of AI. The approach I came up with leans heavily on my database background, and what concepts I am familiar with from reading a bit about AI theory (emergent behavior, fuzzy logic, etc). The results are startlingly good.

Total development time on the AI was less than 3 months, and its use of tactics is some of the best in the RTS genre. I'm very open to talking about anything and everything to do with the design I used, as I think it's a viable new approach to AI to explore in games, and I'd like to see other developers potentially carry it even further. Here's an overview of how the AI in AI War: Fleet Command works."

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