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Machine Gun Fire From Military Helicopters Flying Over Downtown Miami

KagakuNinja Re:Provoking (1130 comments)

All Bush had to do on 9/11 was "look presidential". Sitting in a fucking classroom for 7.5 minutes listening to kids read "My Pet Goat" was not the actions of a true leader. All he had to do was politely excuse himself, and get into his armored limo and drive somewhere, and he didn't even have the balls to do that. The reality is that listening to kids read books is what vice presidents and first ladies normally do The fact that Dick Cheney was back in Washington D.C. while Bush Jr was being flown around the country to "undisclosed locations" tells you everything you need to know about who was really running the country.

about a year and a half ago

1976 Polaroids of an Apple-1 Resurface

KagakuNinja The Byte Shop (120 comments)

I have fond memories of me and a couple junior high school buddies hanging out at the Palo Alto Byte Shop. Playing BASIC Star Trek, typing random shit and seeing what happened ("df" means "disk format" in CP/M; they removed that program from the IMSAI), a bit of BASIC programming... I don't remember any of the computer brands, other than the iconic IMSAI, with the switches on the front panel (as seen in the movie War Games).

about 2 years ago

Coffee and Intellectual Property

KagakuNinja Re:kopi luwak, aka cat shit coffee (198 comments)

My in-laws from Vietnam told me about this stuff (which they called "fox-poop coffee"). It isn't just something marketed to "clueless westerners".

about 2 years ago

Project Orca: How an IT Disaster Destroyed Republicans' Get-Out-The-Vote Effort

KagakuNinja Re:Serves them right (578 comments)

Your lengthy screed fails to recognize the facts that 1) alcohol is a dangerous drug which is already legal, and 2) alcohol is as bad, or worse on the "developing brains of minors" and "negatively affecting others" scale. Legalizing pot is a no-brainer, because it is safer than alcohol and tobacco in every way, and less addictive too.

about 2 years ago

Crowdsourcing Concerts — the Future of Live Music?

KagakuNinja Re:Anything, if it gets TM out of the loop! (58 comments)

Fortunately I only care about bands that are not signed to major labels, which tend to play at small to medium sized venues.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Were You Taught About Computers In High School?

KagakuNinja Probably not a typical school experience (632 comments)

I am 49; my family moved to Palo Alto in 1972, while in 4th grade. They took us to a room with teletypes (hooked up to a HP 2000 computer) and let us play games on them (Hunt the Wumpus, Hammurabi, etc). In the 5th grade they taught us BASIC in math class (this was back in the days of "new math", which I had no problems with, and am quite thankful for). About this time, I discovered my father was a computer programmer, and decided that was what I was going to do ("You mean they pay people to do this?"). He made some not entirely successful efforts to teach me assembly and COBOL.

In 7th grade honors math class, we learned Minitran (a FORTRAN dialect), from which I learned that programming on punch cards sucked (you submit the program, a week later you get the result back, which usually contained a syntax error). Another student taught a class to his fellow nerds on assembly programming; we had some kind of special nerd room at our middle school which was supervised by Joan Targ (sister of Bobby Fischer, and wife of the infamous SRI psychic researcher Russell Targ; the SRI "ESP testing machine" developed at great cost, and described in The Amazing Randi's book on Uri Geller, was in this room and we played around with it all the time. There was also an unused old analog computer, to which we would randomly plug in banana cables). Jonesing for more computer time, I would hang out at my dads office when I visited him, and also at a local computer store.

By my freshman year in high school (1976), we got access to the school district HP 3000 computer; however the computer lab was closed all year because the current crop of nerds had hacked the machine so badly, they decided to wait for them all to graduate before letting students back on the machine. In my sophomore year they lets us into the computer lab, now outfitted with VDTs and 1200 baud modems (speedy!). I took the only computer programming course, taught by some math teacher, and already knew more than he did so I dropped that. Maybe the year after that, I was put in some kind of program where I went to various places after school (different Stanford labs, once at Xerox Parc) and someone would say "OK kid, why don't you write a program that does this..." and I was exposed to C, assembly, PL/Z, APL and Logo. Back at school, I made an attempt to learn SPL3000, which was hampered by a lack of manuals, or any documentation, so I looked at hex dumps of a library binary to try and figure out how to make function calls. Later we got some early personal computers, I think they were Northstars.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Am I Too Old To Retrain?

KagakuNinja Re:I am 45 (418 comments)

Yes, I had that attitude in my mid 40s too. Now I'm 49 and starting to wonder if I have lost it... It is just much harder to keep all the info in my head necessary to do my job well. Thank Goddess for Google.

about 2 years ago

San Francisco Poaching Tech Talent From Silicon Valley

KagakuNinja Re:the business has changed, too (282 comments)

I'm about as nerdy as you can get, and 48 years old. I also happen to have a life-long interest in alternative music, and SF is the place to go. It is the cultural magnet for the entire Bay Area. San Jose has an anemic music scene, and everything in between SF and SJ is a wasteland. The only emerging rival is the East Bay, which has attracted a lot of bands due to the lower cost of living. So for me, it would be really great if I was living in SF, this isn't just about young "hipsters" with tattoos and shit...

more than 2 years ago

Slashdot's Rob Rozeboom Interviews D&D Designer Mike Mearls (video)

KagakuNinja Re:Bring Back AD&D 2nd Edition (139 comments)

Anyone who tried playing a character with charisma below 6 in my games got ran out of town by the locals for looking like some kind of monster.

Hmm, OK, probability of rolling CHA less than 6 is... 4.6% Yeah, 1 out of 20 people look like "some kind of monster". Glad I never played in your games.

more than 2 years ago

Slashdot's Rob Rozeboom Interviews D&D Designer Mike Mearls (video)

KagakuNinja Re:Dear D&D Designers (139 comments)

Whilst I don't have my dusty Rolemaster books in front of me, I'm quite certain you couldn't do anything remotely combat effective with Boil Water. Of your "creative ideas", the only one that would be allowed by the rules would be boiling the water, then throwing it at someone. However, it would probably be more effective to just attack with your weapon instead.

And saying that getting shafted by bad stat rolls is a "challenge" is just a cop out.

more than 2 years ago

Steve Ballmer: We Won't Be Out-Innovated By Apple Anymore

KagakuNinja Re:cool story bro (610 comments)

I'm using a recent version Open Office on the Mac, is Libre Office significantly better? Because a co worker designs these docs with Word 2007, full of carefully positioned boxes of text. When I open them, the text boxes are often overlapping and nearly impossible to properly view. I can view them correctly with Google Docs.

more than 2 years ago

WikiLeaks Begins Releasing Stratfor Internal Emails

KagakuNinja Re:Where Journalists Went After the Internet (220 comments)

No, that is the rose-tinted version of the past. The reality of Watergate was that the FBI was at war with the White House; Deep Throat (Mark Felt) himself was up to his eyeballs in corruption, having overseen COINTELPRO, and later convicted for it. Deep Throat was funneling information to Woodward and Bernstein for selfish political purposes.

Supposed hard-nosed "investigative journalist" Woodward now makes his living as a conduit for White House insiders who want to get their white-washed version of history into his hagiographic "behind the scenes" books. He is a total tool of the American political elite.

more than 2 years ago

How the GOP (and the Tea Party) Helped Kill SOPA

KagakuNinja Re:It's True (857 comments)

You know, there is this party called the Democratic Party? There is no "Democrat Party". I get tired of this, it is a mix of laziness and Republican school-yard taunting.

more than 2 years ago

How the GOP (and the Tea Party) Helped Kill SOPA

KagakuNinja Re:Hmm (857 comments)

At the same time I'm stumped as to why so many liberals seem to be completely fine with ramping up our over-seas assassination program to entirely new levels. As you say, Bush got the ball rolling, but Obama's numbers leave any other US president in the dust when it comes to blowing up foreigners (or the occasional American on foreign soil).

Please take a look at any of the major liberal blogs, such as or, and see how much cheerleading for Obama's assassination programs is happening. You won't find any; in fact you will find much criticism. OK, there was some cheering when Bin Laden was killed, but I recall there was also some angst over how it was done.

Liberals are held hostage; there is no liberal party to vote for, only a choice between the lesser of two evils. And the lesser evil is clearly the Democrats.

more than 2 years ago

Mitt Romney, Robotics, and the Uncanny Valley

KagakuNinja Re:It was the Paula Jones Law suit (501 comments)

No, the Paula Jones lawyers (who were being payed by the billionaire-funded "Arkansas Project"), committed some ethical violation in sharing information about Lewinski with the Ken Starr lawyers. They wouldn't have known what questions to ask Clinton without that (and also, the information Linda Tripp dug up by pretending to be Lewinski's friend whilst secretly taping their phone conversations).

more than 2 years ago

5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons Announced

KagakuNinja Re:Old Rules Rule (309 comments)

AD&D? Bah, we all play with our original 3-booklet D&D rules. We are still trying to find a copy of Chainmail though.

more than 2 years ago

Another Stab At Sorting Hybrid Hype From Reality

KagakuNinja Re:89 Corolla = 42 MPG freeway, 32 City and it's.. (633 comments)

I didn't buy a Prius because I expected positive ROI via reduced spending on gas. It is a great car (kind of like a sized-up Honda CRX), and by using less gas, I'm causing less environmental damage. That said, after applying the rebates available at the time (both federal and state), my Prius only ended up costing about $3000 more than a equivalent non-hybrid. And if I had my shit together, I would have gotten one of those "drive in the carpool lane" stickers, before they ran out.

more than 2 years ago

Another Stab At Sorting Hybrid Hype From Reality

KagakuNinja I smell bullshit (633 comments)

We own a 8 year old Prius, we get slightly over 40 MPG, something the author claims is difficult. When the car was newer, we got over 42 MPG.

To get a steady 40 MPG (let alone 50 MPG) out of any hybrid -- and I have driven all of them, extensively -- you must keep your speed under 50 MPH and treat the accelerator as if it were a Fabergé egg.

We drive on freeways like everyone else, routinely driving 70-80 MPH. I'm not a lead-foot accelerator, but I drive like most people. I don't practice any exotic hyper-miling techniques.

There are also hills. Hybrids work best on a perfectly horizontal plane.

We also happen to live at the top of a large, steep hill (Berkeley Hills), which we go up and down every day. And yet we still get 40+ MPG, unpossible! The hybrid engine is great for recapturing some of the potential energy that would otherwise be lost.

more than 2 years ago


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