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Comments

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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

Kevin Fishburne Re:Great idea! Let's alienate Science even more! (901 comments)

I maintain that our puny little brains aren't even close to capable of "reasoning out" the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

The problem isn't our brain's inability to discover the meaning of the universe. The problem is too many people think there could be meaning to the universe. It is difficult for humans to turn off their deep desire to anthropomorphize everything around them. Just because a human can have intent does not mean that a rock, an apple, or a universe can. When you can tell me why my shirt wants to be blue (convincingly), I will concede it is possible for there to be meaning to the universe.

Asking "why does the universe exist" is no different than asking "what color is 1+6?" Just because a set of words makes up a syntactically correct question does not make it a valid question.

You nailed it there. The act of letting go the belief that people, things and the world have an "official purpose" is a difficult one. I've heard first hand numerous times from religious people when confronted with the idea, and the response is always disturbing. It goes something like this: "Then it doesn't matter what I do. I can break the rules of man and God. There is no reason to be moral or ethical." I can only guess that response is born of the fear and hopelessness felt in that brief moment when they imagine there is no purpose. The concept of purpose is purely human. We as sentient beings ascribe purpose to things (this bed is for sleeping because we built it that way); it's not an innate, natural property.

5 days ago
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Researchers Working On Crystallizing Light

Kevin Fishburne Re:Sounds familiar (129 comments)

That is an excellent solution to the proximity problem. They'd also have to use inertial dampeners to simulate the effect of movement when not actually moving (the opposite of what they normally do) and variable gravity plating. I wonder if the holodeck can localize pressure and humidity, or if it's just the entire room. If the safeties were turned off and there was a serious hull breach in one of two shuttlepods how would the holoprojection or deck mechanics depressurize only one of the participants? Perhaps the safeties only pertain to force field injuries and more difficult properties are performed globally. Localizing scent, for example, would be difficult without hiding little scent dispensers. There was a Voyager episode (the one where the holodecks were expanded to encompass multiple decks) where a holodeck-generated explosion actually blew out other parts of the ship. The holodeck concept is awesome and fun to talk about.

about a week ago
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Accused Ottawa Cyberbully Facing 181 Charges Apologizes

Kevin Fishburne An old saying (140 comments)

Freedom of speech, the law, yeah yeah. There's an old saying that I just made up: If you piss off enough people, you're going to get fucked up. Feel free to test and report on your findings. The nearest street corner is probably a good place to start. :)

about a week ago
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Researchers Working On Crystallizing Light

Kevin Fishburne Re:Sounds familiar (129 comments)

I'm guessing the force fields are what allow a hologram to punch you in the face and the photons are what allow you to see the fist coming at you. They're probably generated separately and synchronized for realism. They never really explain in detail how holographic projections work in Star Trek, other than "photons and force fields" and "holoprojectors", which have a limited range and need to be placed strategically (the strategy isn't explained, either). The worst sin of course is how they fail to adequately explain how two people can get farther apart from each other than the diameter of the holodeck/suite, and yet in Voyager talk about expanding the size of the holodeck to accommodate larger simulations. I suppose it's no surprise that the most "holy shit this is awesome" piece of technology in Star Trek is the most difficult to rationally explain.

about a week ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

Kevin Fishburne Modular seating (814 comments)

I don't fly often, but when I do, there are often a fuck ton of empty seats. Why not make the seat rows modular and on rails so individual rows may be removed and the remaining rows adjusted along the rail to fill the free space? If the plane is packed then you're SOL, but for non-capacity flights everyone would feel like they were flying first class.

about two weeks ago
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Scientists Sequence Coffee Genome, Ponder Genetic Modification

Kevin Fishburne Re:The important thing (167 comments)

I read a story once about some idiot buying a bag of caffeine online and passing it around in a club. I believe he took too much and overdosed, dying in a way you wouldn't want to imagine. Other than the obvious, the lesson here is that apparently you can put caffeine on just about anything you like.

about two weeks ago
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Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Kevin Fishburne Desegregation? (868 comments)

What, O wise ./ readers, do you think would happen if Israel simply tore down the walls, removed all checkpoints, and allowed any Palestinian who wanted into Israel to just walk, drive, or ride on in, followed by an apology for their use of force and a promise that future violence would be handled by the police and not the military? I think the one thing everyone can agree on is that what they've been doing so far hasn't worked (on both sides). Maybe something flat out crazy should be tried instead; take a few hits to the jaw to show they're serious about peace. I don't think most people in Palestine would think it a sign of weakness and begin their own genocide, despite any charters or lunatic fringe snippets about "killing every Jew", etc. The vast majority of Palestinians aren't savages, and the real terrorists would lose any reason for further support by the Palestinians. Yes, there would be more terrorist attacks in the short-term inside Israel, but those deaths could be the price for an end to a cycle of perpetual violence.

about a month and a half ago
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More Forgotten Vials of Deadly Diseases Discovered

Kevin Fishburne I live in Atlanta and... (55 comments)

Just about everything works like this, as in, fails to work. The Postal Service employee who delivers my mail often wears pajamas and nearly ran me off the road a couple of weeks ago with my two year old in the car. Hell, the Atlanta Braves are moving out of the city in a few years. Perhaps it's no coincidence that The Walking Dead is filmed in Georgia. All those zombie movies may have been more realistic than we imagined.

about 2 months ago
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FBI Concerned About Criminals Using Driverless Cars

Kevin Fishburne novelty != threat (435 comments)

Embarrassing that our so-called security "professionals" confuse novelty with threat level. After 9/11 they started two wars, greatly amplifying our casualties and economic and political losses. After the shoe bomber they started searching shoes. After the Goodyear blimp crashed into the superbowl they made helium a controlled substance. Now we have to use hydrogen for balloons at birthday parties, which means no more candles on cakes. Why is the response to an attack always worse than the attacks themselves? Maybe that's the point...the enemy counts on our overreaction.

about 2 months ago
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Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

Kevin Fishburne Re:Ewww... (242 comments)

Until a few years ago I thought this is how things had been done forever. It was a story on ./ that clued me in to the fact that water from plumbing and storm drains was not being purified and pumped back into the water supply. I was shocked at how wasteful our current techniques are and surprised that some people have a problem with purifying waste water for drinking. As cynical as I am now at age 38, I suppose I should have known better. Water reclamation needs to be as closed a system as possible. With the quickly rising population and sea levels along with increasingly erratic weather, we need as much control over the water supply as we can get.

about 2 months ago
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Searching For Ocean Life On Another World

Kevin Fishburne Re:Slush (49 comments)

Well, think of how water freezes on a cold lake. There's a sharp divide because water isn't still. Heat being generated at the core of the moon would ensure warmer fluid would move towards the ice barrier, and colder fluid would move towards the core. This cycle tends to keep 'slush' from forming.

Interesting...didn't think about that. I suppose what got me thinking of the slush idea was the sheer scale of the environment compared to ours here; the entire moon is frozen. Here's some info on theories about Europa's oceans: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E...

And possibly evidence of slush, depending on how you interpret the word "ductile":

...it is predicted that the outer crust of solid ice is approximately 10–30 km (6–19 mi) thick, including a ductile "warm ice" layer...

Guess there's only one way to find out. I personally can't wait!

about 3 months ago
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Court Releases DOJ Memo Justifying Drone Strike On US Citizen

Kevin Fishburne In the words of the Prophet (371 comments)

Bill Goldberg, "Who's NEXT???"

about 3 months ago
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Florida Man Faces $48k Fine For Jamming Drivers' Cellphones

Kevin Fishburne Jason Humphreys for POTUS (358 comments)

That's all. Have a nice day.

about 3 months ago
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Long-Lasting Enzyme Chews Up Cocaine

Kevin Fishburne how nice (73 comments)

Mice injected with the engineered enzyme survive daily lethal doses of cocaine for an average of 94 hours.

It's things like this that make me think that if there ever was an extinction event like a large asteroid collision or gamma ray burst, I wouldn't feel too bad about it. People create a highly addictive drug. People abuse the drug. People kill each other over purchasing, selling and law enforcement issues regarding the drug. Now people are torturing animals by forcing them to overdose on the drug, reviving them, and repeating the process until they die in order to find a way to combat the effects of an overdose in humans. Am I the only one who sees this as embarrassingly stupid and shameful behavior for the top dogs on the planet? An infinite number of Picards could not facepalm enough to make me feel better.

about 3 months ago
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Searching For Ocean Life On Another World

Kevin Fishburne Slush (49 comments)

I wonder if the ice/water transition may be miles of slush, rather than being clearly defined. If so the design in TFA isn't going to work as there will be no ceiling to use as a reference. They'll need to use temperature, sonar, or pressure readings to determine its elevation/depth, all of which will be unknown without sending something else down there first.

about 3 months ago
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FAA Bans Delivering Packages With Drones

Kevin Fishburne Re:Luddites on the loose. (199 comments)

Considering these are basically miniature electric helicopters, I'm not sure a crash is really that big a deal; certainly no more so than a truck crashing in the street while delivering the same package through the FAA-approved route. Plus, whoever it crashed on would get free stuff as compensation.

Tell that to the guy whose cranium was split in half by a quadcopter a year or so ago.

about 3 months ago
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Cable Boxes Are the 2nd Biggest Energy Users In Many Homes

Kevin Fishburne It's not just energy consumption that's a problem (394 comments)

Cable and satellite receivers have always been poorly designed, slower than molasses, hot-running piles of shit with UI design worse than a PC RPG ported to an NES and more bugs than the Amazon. Anyone have any ideas why this is? With any other consumer electronic device people would rage spike it into the pavement, but for cable boxes it's somehow okay.

I recently cancelled Dish Network for blacking out half the Braves games (in Atlanta, no less) and sent their shit-box back to them. Netflix, TPB and Linux HTPC's all the way, baby.

about 3 months ago
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Security Researchers Threatened With US Cybercrime Laws

Kevin Fishburne Re:No good deed (156 comments)

LOL. Agreed.

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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rakuten.com Possible Security Breach

Kevin Fishburne Kevin Fishburne writes  |  about 8 months ago

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) writes "At 1:15 am EST I received an order confirmation from rakuten.com, formerly buy.com, for a $64 computer case and a $300 gift certificate, the former being shipped to my address and the latter being sent to the email address minhhieun090@19store.us. As my password for the site would be difficult to crack by brute force or dictionary attacks I believe their site may have been compromised to reveal only usernames and passwords. I don't believe users' payment information has been compromised or they would have used them directly or sold them instead of using the site to place gift card orders. I have since removed my payment methods, changed my password and notified their support staff of the potential breach. If you have an account with Rakuten/Buy, I strongly suggest removing your payment methods and hardening your password."
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Open Source IDE GAMBAS Reaches 3.0

Kevin Fishburne Kevin Fishburne writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Kevin Fishburne writes "After years of work, creator Benoît Minisini and friends are just in time for New Year's celebrations with the first stable release of GAMBAS 3.

Per their web site, "Gambas is a free development environment based on a Basic interpreter with object extensions, a bit like Visual Basic (but it is NOT a clone !)."

GAMBAS is component-based, so check out the list for an idea of what you can do with it."

Link to Original Source
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Fund to Contest Software Patents on Prior Art

Kevin Fishburne Kevin Fishburne writes  |  about 3 years ago

" rel="nofollow">Kevin Fishburne writes "Watching the ensuing software patent wars, is there no way to combat them at their own level? Could a fund be started to systematically challenge individual software patents using the best cost/benefit ratio at the current budget level? Widely available, time-stamped GPL code could be used as evidence of prior art in each case. Does something like this already exist? Surely this is something (if it does its job) we could all get behind."
Link to Original Source
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Original Apple II Ultima source code published

Kevin Fishburne Kevin Fishburne writes  |  about 3 years ago

Kevin Fishburne writes "Odkin dropped a bombshell in a post on Ultima Aiera when he mentioned that copies of the original California Pacific Ultima were "out there" (meaning he has the floppies), then proceeded to post some code snippets obtained from Ctrl-C, CATALOG and LIST.

He emailed a copy of the disk images to me, which I immediately extracted to verify their authenticity. While the source code to all other Ultima games has been lost, it seems the code to the original has been found.

See for yourself, as I have archived it here:

http://www.eightvirtues.com/misc/ULTIMA%20(1981)%20California%20Pacific%20Computer%20By%20Lord%20British.tar.gz"

Link to Original Source
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Hybrid human-animal DNA experiments raise concerns

Kevin Fishburne Kevin Fishburne writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Kevin Fishburne writes "British scientists are calling for a new agency to oversee the mixing of human and animal DNA, which is progressing at a rate most may not be aware of:

'Among experimentation that might spark concern are those where human brain cells might change animal brains, those that could lead to the fertilization of human eggs in animals and any modifications of animals that might create attributes considered uniquely human, like facial features, skin or speech.'

'Some disagree. "We think some of these should be done, but they should be done in an open way to maintain public confidence," said Robin Lovell-Badge, head of stem cell biology and developmental genetics at Britain’s Medical Research Council, one of the expert group members. He said experiments injecting human brain cells into the brains of rats might help develop new stroke treatments or that growing human skin on mice could further understanding of skin cancer.'

Worth a read, if only to scare the crap out of yourself."

Link to Original Source
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Why my app will never be on iOS

Kevin Fishburne Kevin Fishburne writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Kevin Fishburne writes "I've been working on a Linux game for a year or so and have flirted with the idea of porting a watered-down version to Android. The idea of making it available on Apple devices, while financially attractive, I'd always put in the "when hell freezes over" bin. And then I find this article."
Link to Original Source
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Ultima IV - EA takedowns precede official reboot

Kevin Fishburne Kevin Fishburne writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Kevin Fishburne writes "According to posts at the Ultima fan site Ultima Aiera both browser-based Ultima IV Sega Master System emulation at Master System 8 and IBM-PC port at Phi Psi Software have received cease and desist letters from Electronic Arts, the current IP holder of the Ultima franchise.

The post states that despite the widely held belief that Origin had allowed the Ultima Dragons to distribute Ultima IV freely in 1997, in fact that is no longer the case. It further suggests that the EA takedowns are preceding an upcoming browser-based Ultima IV reboot by Bioware Mythic.

Has EA lost an eighth, or are they well within their rights by going DMCA on a 26 year-old game they had no hand in developing?"

Link to Original Source
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Graf_Chokolo defiant as Sony ups the stakes

Kevin Fishburne Kevin Fishburne writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Kevin Fishburne writes "Sony PS3 cracker Graf_Chokolo, whose home was recently raided and computer equipment confiscated by German police, is now facing a 750,000 Euro fine and jail time. In spite of this he remains defiant, claiming "If you want me to stop then you should just kill me because i cannot live without programming, HV and Linux kernel hacking."

Is there a precedent for this kind of corporate terrorism?"

Link to Original Source
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Apple profits from rampant piracy in the App Store

Kevin Fishburne Kevin Fishburne writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Kevin Fishburne writes "According to an article at Ars:

'Imagine this: you and a partner develop a popular Flash game, one that's good enough that you decide to get to work on an iPhone port. Then, one day, while browsing the App Store, you see your game. Problem is, the port isn't done yet.'

Apparently this is happening all the time, with many of the illegal cloned games reaching the top 100 list. The article points out that Apple has been slow to respond and makes no mention of restitution for the victimized developers. In other words, the App Store floodgates are open wide and Apple is profiting from the resulting IP infringement."

Link to Original Source
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Army wants 36 more 'Punisher' weapons in 2012

Kevin Fishburne Kevin Fishburne writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) writes ""The kids are calling it 'the Punisher,'" said Brig. Gen. Peter N. Fuller, who heads up the Program Executive Office Soldier. "I don't know what we're going to title this product, but it seems to be game-changing. You no longer can shoot at American forces and then hide behind something. We're going to reach out and touch you."

While this technology has been around for a while, this is the first time I've heard of it being used in theater. Looking like something from Unreal Tournament, the XM25 weapon system is essentially a horizontal, scaled-down bunker buster which can be programmed to detonate its rounds at arbitrary distances behind hardened positions. Put me down for two, thank you."

Link to Original Source
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Arx Fatalis updated; source code released under GP

Kevin Fishburne Kevin Fishburne writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Kevin Fishburne writes "According to WtF Dragon at Ultima Aiera, "The long and short: Arkane Studios have released what is probably going to be the final patch for their Ultima Underworld-inspired game (which, indeed, they tried to license as the third entry in that series), Arx Fatalis.

They have also released the source code for the game. That’s right, the complete source of Arx Fatalis is available for download."

The readme notes that the original game installation is required in order to play the compiled game, as the data files are certainly still copyrighted. Linux is in need of a good FPS dungeon crawler, though the code will need a hell of a lot of cleanup as it's a VC8/9 project and uses DirectX (ugh...)."

Link to Original Source
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Sanctimonia to Reduce Online Games to Fundamentals

Kevin Fishburne Kevin Fishburne writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Kevin Fishburne writes "Forgive me for posting about my own project, but I could think of no better crowd than /. to seeks words of wisdom from. I'm developing an open source online multiplayer game in GAMBAS that will simulate the basic aspects of life in such a way that more advanced behavior and gameplay could emerge from using them logically. It's of course graphical and optimized for a PS2-style game pad. To keep things simple the available technology is constrained (for now) to the pre-industrialized age.

The current MMO climate has settled around a few titles that remain commercially viable, though they are tightly geared toward producing profit. My game certainly takes monetization into account, but isn't sacrificing its principles to that end. Is there any advice that can be given for a "sandbox" or "emergent" style MMO that could strengthen its entertainment value as well as gameplay that is at least as balanced as that of real life?

I recognize and have researched the successes and failures of games like Ultima Online, Tabula Rasa, World of Warcraft, FarmVille, etc., but haven't drawn any real conclusions other than poor management and misdirected ideals. Any observances of the market response to such titles would be appreciated."

Link to Original Source

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