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I think next winter will be:

Mal-2 Southern California has two seasons. (147 comments)

Southern California has two seasons: fire and flood.

If "flood" is loosely correlated to "winter", then we welcome actually having a winter for the first time in almost a decade.


I think next winter will be:

Mal-2 Re:Obligatory (147 comments)

Average winter temperature for St. Louis since 1994 has been 33.7 degrees. The deviation from which has been no more than 6 degrees.

A deviation of six degrees when you're hovering around freezing has an enormous impact on the conditions, particularly driving conditions. It doesn't matter so much if you're fluctuating around a point well above or well below freezing.


Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

Mal-2 Re:hope for improvements (325 comments)

I get 30+ fps on an E350 machine with the integrated AMD GPU, 8 GB of RAM. I get upwards of 120 fps and turn on the limiter on my 6-core Phenom II, with a GeForce 9500.

The exception is when I'm near a farm. All those animals really slow down the game. Anything over about 200 nearby mobs seems to have a significant impact, though the degradation is gradual on the big machine and more like a cliff on the E350.

2 days ago

UK Ham Radio Reg Plans To Drop 15 min Callsign Interval and Allow Encryption

Mal-2 Re:Scrap all the rules (104 comments)

You are mostly right, but Hellschreiber actually ends up being an analog signal: though it has digital origins, timing drift and interference make it worthwhile to produce grayscale output for maximum legibility.

about a week ago

Net Neutrality Comments Surge Past 1.7M, an All-Time Record For the FCC

Mal-2 Comments filed: 1.7x10^6. Fucks given: zero. (81 comments)

Attempting to do the math as to how much they care will get you a big hole in the dirt somewhere in Nicaragua.

about a week ago

To prepare for a coronal mass ejection, I ...

Mal-2 Accelerate backup schedule, if warranted. (151 comments)

Considering all I've done since the last full backup is easily kept on a single flash drive, I just make an incremental backup sooner than I otherwise would.

about a week ago

Link Between Salt and High Blood Pressure 'Overstated'

Mal-2 Re: I can simply ignore all health and diet advice (291 comments)

I occasionally smoke tobacco to help ward off headaches. It's a temporary effect (maybe 30 to 45 minutes) but it happens quickly, and gives other drugs a chance to kick in. I only need a quarter of a cigarette to achieve this effect, because I have essentially no tolerance to nicotine. It will take me a week or two to finish one cigarette, which I quench with water and store in a jar.

I asked a friend of mine who is an emergency room doctor what the health risks associated with this are, and he said there are essentially none. So long as you don't abuse the body enough to overwhelm its repair mechanisms, there is no lasting damage. (Actually he said there is one risk -- I might burn my fingers.)

about a week ago

Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

Mal-2 Re:Great news (269 comments)

Sometimes it gets less painful when you realize they're not as dumb as they seem, and are actually learning something from you.

about a week ago

UCLA Biologists Delay the Aging Process In Fruit Flies

Mal-2 Bar flies? (82 comments)

Do you want bar flies? Because that’s how you get bar flies. Cougars too.

about a week ago

WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

Mal-2 Re:Helium? (296 comments)

Methane is still a large improvement over air or nitrogen, however.

Air is, to a rough approximation, 80% diatomic nitrogen and 20% diatomic oxygen -- or molecular masses of 28 and 32, respectively. The average molecular mass of air is then about 28.8. (You can quibble about the numbers but this is close enough to make the point.)

Methane -- CH4 -- has a molecular mass of 16. While it's quite a bit higher than helium (molecular mass of 4), it is still a lifting gas. In fact, one night over drinks, an engineer friend and I decided to do some back-of-the-napkin calculations based on an absurd idea I came up with. I wanted to know if it would be possible to lift a cow by trapping its own emitted methane, and if so, how long it would take. It turned out our answer was somewhere on the order of ten years.

Ammonia -- NH3 -- would weigh in at a molecular mass of 17. Unfortunately, it tends to be horribly corrosive in a lot of situations.

about a week ago

Report: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Studio For $2bn+

Mal-2 Server-side vs. client-side (368 comments)

Another issue is that enabling server-side mods means players don't have to buy anything at all. I didn't have to pay for the mods, but even if I did, me paying once would be far cheaper than players having to buy them individually.

I had all sorts of things on my server -- giants, creepers started fires, skeleton arrows could blind you, spiders could poison you, zombies could make you hungry and/or cause the Wither effect, nearby explosions would cause you to become dizzy, there were "space zombies" with glass helmets and 5x the health wandering around (in the Nether too). Monsters would target you from 27 blocks away rather than 16. There were Elementals, invisible monsters, and flying carpets. I also nerfed the enchantments to reduce the power differences between well-equipped and just-starting-out players. That way I didn't have to crank the difficulty up quite as high, and the n00bs could live a little longer. There were shops, and there was an economy. We had mcMMO. We had trading posts stocked with villagers. We had minecarts on the backs of bats, so you could ride in a random aerial pattern if you felt like it. We had bouncy blocks that would catapult you into the air. I added drops (for example, blazes would drop quartz, and magma cubes could drop regular slimeballs). One of my admins made uncraftable blocks such as circle stone and packed ice expensive but available through stores.

The effect of any one of these mods was minor, but taken as a sum, they made up an environment unlike any other Minecraft server. What was the player required to do to enable all of these changes? Absolutely nothing. Just sign on and play.

This is anathema to the DLC business model. Therefore, it can't be monetized by the company producing the game. Mojang was OK with that. (I wasn't running Pay-To-Win.) Microsoft most likely won't be.

about a week ago

DNA sequencing of coffee's best use:

Mal-2 None of the above: cobacco (228 comments)

It's like tomacco, but with coffee instead of tomatoes.

Think you're a coffee addict NOW? HA HA! HO HO!

about two weeks ago

Could Tech Have Stopped ISIS From Using Our Own Heavy Weapons Against Us?

Mal-2 Numbers Stations (448 comments)

Maybe this is what numbers stations are for? It's Russians handing out activation codes to their (or our) weapons!

No, I'm not suggesting this is actually true, but issuing keys that have to be periodically entered to keep a weapon active makes a degree of sense. A stolen weapon won't immediately deactivate, nor will those of an ally who turns coat, but come the next update period, the key issued is one that works for everyone except the people you want to lock out.

Of course, governments don't REALLY want to do this, or it will quickly be pointed out that insurgents/terrorists/freedom fighters are continuing to use weapons that could have been deactivated.

about two weeks ago

Music Training's Cognitive Benefits Could Help "At-Risk" Students

Mal-2 Re:Known For 50 Years (58 comments)

Unfortunately though, I can report that among professional musicians, drugs (legal or not) are an occupational hazard. I know it's far from the only profession where this is the case, but keeping out of trouble in school does not always correlate to keeping out of the same kind of trouble afterward.

about two weeks ago

Dell Demos 5K Display

Mal-2 Re:in the meantime : (204 comments)

16:10 means that while watching a 16:9 video, you can pop up the control panel of the player without obscuring the video itself. Also, people who like the taskbar or equivalent on the bottom of the screen appreciate all the vertical pixels they can get. Personally I bit the bullet and adapted to putting the taskbar on the right on the machines that have vertically cramped displays, but it would be nice not to have to make this choice. Even at 2048x1152, I find I want more vertical pixels often, and only occasionally want more horizontal pixels. That's why the second (of three) monitors is rotated.

about two weeks ago

Did you use technology to get into mischief as a child?

Mal-2 BBSing. (231 comments)

I ran a BBS back in the day. When I took a job that required being away for months at a time, I eventually decided to let someone else run the BBS. This involved everything but the physical hardware -- he continued the board exactly as I'd handed it to him, and other than the change of phone number and half day of downtime, many people hardly noticed the difference (for a while, till he fucked it up).

The problem came when his board got hacked, and he accused me of having something to do with it. (Never mind that I could prove I had been on aforementioned job until a week AFTER the hack.) Authorities were involved. I was questioned (by telephone only) by police, who determined that although I had sufficient knowledge to perform the hack (and I didn't deny this), I had neither the opportunity nor the motive. His board got hacked because it was a cobbled-together collection of software that I had assembled myself, and he didn't know how to maintain. It turned out the hacker was one of the three people I had left in control while I was away on the first assignment, who knew the system almost as well as I did.

about two weeks ago

Dell Demos 5K Display

Mal-2 Re:Higher Resolutions in Bigger Screens (204 comments)

This may not be practical, but I'm still glad to see companies driving bigger displays with higher resolutions.

Me too. It may be more than current video cards can handle, but personally, I typically go through two video cards for every desktop computer, and two to four desktop computers for every generation of displays I buy. That means the video hardware will get there.

about two weeks ago

Dell Demos 5K Display

Mal-2 Re:In other news: Are 4K displays worth getting ye (204 comments)

Do you have eagle eyes or sit close to the screen? (Yes, and no, in my case.)
Can you see the scan lines and pixels of a normal, good-quality display from a distance greater than the diagonal size of the monitor itself? (I do.)
Have you ever set shell windows to 6 or 8 point fonts so they don't clutter up your screen(s), yet still find them legible? (Also yes for me.)
Are you looking to reduce the WALL OF DISPLAY effect without losing precious real estate? (I have three monitors totaling 6.5 MPix, and wouldn't mind at all if I could reduce that to two [I'd still want a video display for watching across the room] or just one [if the scaling works well enough to do said video]).

If you sound anything like me, then yeah, you probably want this. If you're one of the types that runs a display at something other than its native resolution ALL THE TIME, because everything is too tiny for you, then you almost certainly do NOT want this.

about two weeks ago

The Argument For a Hypersonic Missile Testing Ban

Mal-2 Re:Ban when you are done testing? (322 comments)

I never understood this. There's no need to "bust bunkers" You just need to collapse the entrance, problem solved.

Every entrance? Are you sure you got them all? You've never been inside and your recon tools only look so far under the surface. Are you still so sure?

I'm not on the side of war, but at the same time, there are times when a "hard target" has to be taken out, and having an option that isn't nuclear (or horribly poisonous like depleted uranium) is a good thing.

about two weeks ago


Mal-2 hasn't submitted any stories.



It's time to send Congress home.

Mal-2 Mal-2 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Hello, Washington? It's the 21st Century calling. You're less important than you thought.

There is no reason why all 535 members of Congress need to live and work in Washington, DC, disconnected from their constituency. There is also no reason why Representatives should spend upwards of a quarter of each term campaigning and commuting -- or worse yet, ignoring votes entirely. It's time Congress came home to us, the People.

My proposal is simple, and it needs just three words. Let Congress telecommute.

The benefits of this would be enormous, and the costs minimal -- except to the lobbyists, who currently find it quite convenient that they can bend everyone's ear since they're all in one place at one time. Each Congressman should have to live and have an office in the District he or she represents. This office could be owned by the Federal government, as that would certainly simplify matters whenever the seat changes hands, but it is not strictly necessary for this idea to work. All that is necessary is a data link back to Washington. The original concept of Congress centered around 18th century communications -- that is, Pony Express at best. In theory, we could have sent Congress home when the telegraph came into vogue, but that's understandably a bit impersonal. The earliest this idea would have been practical is when the telephone system allowed for 435 people to be on the same line at once -- which had happened by the 1960s at the latest. Still a bit impersonal, even if they could watch proceedings on TV and phone in their comments and votes.

But what's the excuse now? If there is anyone representing a district that has no reasonable data access, then they can be exempted to live in a nearby district that has such provisions. They'll still be a lot more accessible to their constituency than they are now. It will also mean a lot more to people when their Representative lives a couple miles away (as will generally be the case in urban districts) rather than a couple thousand miles away. The fact that they aren't going to talk to their Representative on any given day is irrelevant, what's important is that they feel like they CAN.

Senators should probably operate from the state capitol, unless they REALLY don't like each other. (It happens!) Or, they should live wherever they choose, within the state they represent, and furnish an office and data connection at their own expense if they prefer.


Nietzschecraft confirms: God is dead

Mal-2 Mal-2 writes  |  more than 5 years ago It is now official. Nietzschecraft confirms: God is dead

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered religious community when IDC confirmed that God's market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all worshippers. Coming on the heels of a recent Nietzschecraft survey which plainly states that God has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. God is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Altar Boy comprehensive plooking test.

You don't need to be the Amazing Randi to predict God's future. The hand writing is on the wall: God faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for God because God is dead. Things are looking very bad for God. As many of us are already aware, God continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

JHVH-God is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core followers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time JHVH-God followers L. Ron Hubbard and Joseph Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: JHVH-God is dead.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

AllahGod leader Muhammad states that there are 7000 worshippers of AllahGod. How many followers of JHVH-God are there? Let's see. The number of AllahGod versus JHVH-God posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 JHVH-God worshippers. Jah posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of JHVH-God posts. Therefore there are about 700 worshippers of Jah. A recent article put JHVH-God at about 80 percent of the God market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 JHVH-God worshippers. This is consistent with the number of JHVH-God Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, JHVH-God went out of business and was taken over by Baha'iullah who sell another troubled religion. Now Baha'iullah is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that God has steadily declined in market share. God is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If God is to survive at all it will be among religious dilettante dabblers. God continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, God is dead.

Fact: God is dead


Mal-2 Mal-2 writes  |  more than 10 years ago

This is /. I'm not ashamed of it, and I'm not proud of it. The whole thing is not an issue to me, it's irrelevant, and I see no reason why my reading /. should be dragged into the discussion at all! The fact that we've been massacred personally for thousands of years is neither here nor there, so can we at least agree on one thing -- namely, not to waste our time discussing whether to post to /. or not.

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