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Comments

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Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future

Nemyst Re:Where the pessimism comes from. (185 comments)

When we write about the future, we don't write about a *plausible* future. We write about a future world which is like the present or some familiar historical epoch (e.g. Roman Empire), with conscious additions and deletions. I think a third reason may be our pessimism about our present and cynicism about the past. Which brings us right back to literary fashion.

I'd argue that we do try to write about the future, but the thing is: it's pretty damn hard to predict the future. What people do is take the current point in time and extrapolate it to whatever point they want, be it tens or hundreds or thousands of years into the future. If TV is big rounded cathodic tubes and is starting to get very popular now, then in the future it'll be ubiquitous, you'll have TVs in your bathroom and they'll have created some really fancy cathodic tube designs, with TVs taking up entire floors of buildings to act as animated billboards.

The problem is that if we look at history, we see it littered with disruptive technologies and events which veered us way off course from that mere extrapolation into something new. The computer was such a technology. The internet. The smartphone. There are an incredibly large amount, some which just slightly changed things, others which had a profound and lasting impact. They're also pretty much impossible to predict, since they're not only a technical event but a societal event. The technology has to catch on.

If you were to try to write sci-fi that followed this pattern, you'd run into the issue of massive divergence very quickly. Your imagined future wouldn't match with reality at all, since all those disruptions didn't actually happen, and perhaps never will, while others you hadn't envisioned did. It's therefore far more relatable to just stick to what's here now and extrapolate, because at least people will be able to make a connection and see where the evolution took place. Plus, many times sci-fi is a critique or a commentary on the time period it was written in, so it makes sense to ground it in that same time period.

2 days ago
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Apple Outrages Users By Automatically Installing U2's Album On Their Devices

Nemyst Re:It's not your phone (607 comments)

What would you say if Amazon added Fifty Shades of Grey to your Kindle?

2 days ago
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Scientists Capture the Sound Made By a Single Atom

Nemyst Re:10^5 slower? (100 comments)

10^-5 faster, evidently.

5 days ago
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Researchers Working On Crystallizing Light

Nemyst Re:photons are not particles (129 comments)

We can define a photon just fine thank you. It's not because it doesn't fit in a human-scale model of comprehension that there's something inherently fuzzy or mysterious about the wave/particle duality. A photon is both a wave and a particle, exhibiting the properties of the former in certain scenarii and the latter in other scenarii.

Your analogy is also incorrect. A photon is an electromagnetic wave, it's not a vibration propagating through a medium. An ocean wave without the ocean is nothing, it's energy being transmitted through movement of the medium (same as sound). A photon can exist in a vacuum.

about a week ago
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Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

Nemyst Re:Snowden (499 comments)

Your brother should've sued the living shit out of the county for frivolous accusations and gotten his record cleaned. I doubt the cop would've gotten fired because that's how things work (though he deserves no less), but at least he should've had a suspension.

about a week ago
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Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

Nemyst Re:Wrong Title (499 comments)

Except from the looks of it that's not what was asked, and it's possible she plainly didn't know about her acquaintances being in those groups. You know, that presumption of innocence thing?

about a week ago
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Microsoft Agrees To Contempt Order So It Can Appeal Email Privacy Case

Nemyst Re:Microsoft has to fight this ... (122 comments)

You got that wrong, this is the US providing heavy stimulus for foreign companies creating their own cloud services. They're basically giving free reign to European providers, who do not own a single server in the US, and telling them to go ahead and dominate the market. Europeans should be thanking them, if anything!

about a week ago
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Report: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Studio For $2bn+

Nemyst What? (368 comments)

Minecraft is a PC game first and foremost. The console versions are watered down, limited, pale imitations at best. Microsoft is no longer a PC-centric games publisher (long gone are the days of Age of Empires...). The match makes frankly very little sense, which is why it worries me that it just might happen, and it'd probably cause a massive exodus of the modding community. You can bet that MS wouldn't want dirty modders reverse-engineering their new property's code, and yet destroying the modding community would spell the doom for Minecraft.

about a week ago
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BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

Nemyst Re:geo-blocking (362 comments)

The "time to leak" for those would probably be close to zero, though, which'd defeat the point.

about a week ago
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Chinese Man Sues State-Owned Cell Phone Company For Blocking Google

Nemyst Re:Blocking Google (78 comments)

Don't worry, soon you'll be able to pay for your internet piecemeal, if the ISPs have their way.

about a week ago
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John Romero On Reinventing the Shooter

Nemyst Re:no (266 comments)

Not even necessary. Just do what Valve did: make all of the community created work sellable at the maker's choice on an official platform and take a cut from every transaction. The authors are happy because they get to profit from their work, the users are happy because there's a truckload of cosmetics, including some really rare and valuable ones that they can flaunt around, and obviously Valve is happy because they're basically making money by doing nothing. It's working stupidly well for them with Dota 2.

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

Nemyst Re:cram lots of people in a confined space (812 comments)

Except obese people don't have to pay for two seats, as ruled by a Canadian court. The rest of your post is a series of non sequiturs, because there is choice in the same price range. I can buy shirts that fit me for the same price as a smaller person. The materials might be a bit cheaper, or the cut might not be as great, or it might not have a brand attached to it, but it'll fit me. I can do the same for cars, and for anything that's property. An airline ticket is a service, and there is NO choice. I can't decide to trade that second carry-on weighting 20 pounds that every person brings but that I don't. I can't decide to downgrade the seat's materials, or not to have food included, or to have to pay extra for every inch more that I want. I don't have an alternative.

Also, your money comment is absurd. Tall people tend, on average, to make more money than shorter people, but that in no way means that I have a few thousands magically floating in my pockets. I generally have less money instead, because between the clothing, food, doctor visits (for back problems, neck problems, knee problems, you name it) and whatever else, my student money isn't going very far. But don't let that get in the way of a nice juicy overgeneralization.

about two weeks ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

Nemyst Re:Oh dear, the widening wealth gap.. (812 comments)

You can get airline tickets in Europe for under $100. That's often equal to or less than a bus or a train, and yet European flights are generally a bit better than American flights despite the latter costing more for similar distances. You're oversimplifying the matter.

about two weeks ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

Nemyst Re:The seats get smaller, while the average person (812 comments)

If only stockholders and directors were forced to eat their own dog food (and not first class either), you'd see changes happen overnight.

about two weeks ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

Nemyst Re:cram lots of people in a confined space (812 comments)

Bullshit. Why should I pay more for being taller? This isn't a choice, is it? What the airlines are doing is essentially discrimination.

What infuriates me the most though is that I've heard more and more that obese people get special status and the ability to use two seats while only paying for one, but tall people get nothing. Obesity is not inherent to the person, height is.

about two weeks ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

Nemyst Re:Yup (812 comments)

I'm 6'5" and I am pretty much restricted to emergency exit rows. In rare cases, I'll strike an old plane that wasn't modified (Air Canada Rouge is AC's cheap brand and they use ancient planes without even TVs) and then I'll have plenty of legroom, but anything recent or "upgraded" means I need the emergency row AND I also need to be extremely wary of the person in front of me trying to recline. I generally manage to block it so solidly that they think it's broken or already at maximum recline, but that really is not enjoyable, and some people fight it for a long time (especially fucking children). I can't afford the 2-5x increase to go first class, that's basically corporate area anyway.

about two weeks ago
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Protesters Blockade Microsoft's Seattle Headquarters Over Tax Breaks

Nemyst Re:Misleading Headline (246 comments)

I happily invite you to go back to the living standards of the time where the government was not in schools, limited themselves on the roads, did not deliver water and so on. I think you'll find that economic prosperity does not necessarily mean they were living the good life. I sure as hell would never trust a private corporation with my water supply or education, there are way too many juicy corners to cut.

about two weeks ago
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Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money

Nemyst Wow those fees... (161 comments)

Meanwhile, in Canada, I paid around $9,000 (significantly less if you also count the scholarships I got) for my full BSc. at a university that usually ranks towards the low end of the top 100 - perhaps not as prestigious as MIT, but more than sufficient for most people. If you're poor, you can also get a lot of financial support, enough to make university basically free.

about two weeks ago
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Did you use technology to get into mischief as a child?

Nemyst Re:Where's the "yes but never got caught" option (230 comments)

Had something similar. I and a few friends were on a special high school program where the entire classroom had laptops. The laptops were our own, but were bought and administrated by the school so we'd have access to the programs needed and such. They also had a rock-solid warranty program that lasted until you left the school, even if the problem was that you'd put a pencil straight through the screen and hammered it in until it poked through on the other side (it was back when IBM still made Thinkpads, those things were tough) they'd replace it no questions asked for free.

But anyways, what this meant was that the IT at school (who was rather terrible, as is usual) needed administrator access to all the laptops. What we found out was that they'd simply made a local hidden user with administrator access, so we used a cracker software on our own laptops to find the password... and it was the same for all the machines, regardless of classroom or year. We could access anyone's entire drive using the hidden c$ network share, which meant a whole lot of things. We never really used it for anything bad, but technically we could've deleted files, cracked others' passwords in order to gain access to their network share (where students delivered final homework), etc. I think we mentioned it to a few teachers we trusted, but they just told us to shut up. This was something like 10 years ago so if we'd come to the IT guy he'd probably have made a fuss out of it and got us expelled to cover up for his ineptitude.

about two weeks ago
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Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him?

Nemyst Re:"He's really not an expert" (362 comments)

Mao made the calls himself, with a complete lack of understanding of what the fuck he was doing. Gates largely funds projects he finds interesting; he doesn't have absolute control over the entire country's government and he doesn't actually run the stuff he doesn't understand.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Mobile Device for the Software DIY'er?

Nemyst Nemyst writes  |  about 4 years ago

Nemyst (1383049) writes "With the ever-increasing number of mobile phones and other similar devices, I've started to consider one. I've always been more of a PC enthusiast due to the obvious flexibility the hardware provides. What I wondered was: are there any devices that have some really solid open software? I constantly hear about rooting phones, but I'd rather find something where you don't actually have to circumvent measures put in place by hardware vendors and providers. It doesn't have to be a phone, as long as it's a mobile device with basic network support (wi-fi is fine).

Basically, is there any mobile device that embraces the DIY community?"
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How To Take Care of Hackers

Nemyst Nemyst writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Nemyst (1383049) writes "One of my friends is running a relatively popular online community, but he's run into a problem. With success comes the usual load of idiots and one of them, after being banned, decided to react by DDoS'ing the site. The person has been identified; name, address, all that. The problem is, what can he do from that point onwards? The guy's a minor, so that doesn't help. Can he get in contact with certain authorities that will actually do something? The attacks are costing him money and the community as more and more people leave due to the server being down half the time. I've looked about and so has he, but so far we've come up empty-handed. Unfortunately, getting a new, more powerful server is just about out of range (the current server is already costing a pretty penny). I'm sure there are sysadmins among the Slashdot crowd who have already dealt with hackers of that kind, so what did you do about it?"
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Invigorating a Gaming Community?

Nemyst Nemyst writes  |  more than 5 years ago

FriendlyFire writes "It's been a while since I last drilled my forehead with this issue, but I think it's that time of the year again.

I'm running a relatively successful fansite (The Starport) of the game Freelancer with other active members of its global community, but we're facing more and more issues with a slowly decreasing amount of players. Of course, the game is some 5 years old, so it's a bit logical to see a dip in activity, but we're a dedicated bunch and I believe there still exists no equivalent to the game. Therefore, I'm making a call for help: what could we, as a group, do to help the game pick back up some steam? Microsoft is of no help whatsoever, having abandoned the game about a year ago; I've been trying to get them to update the fansite list on the game's website for months without success. We also emailed some magazines and websites, but most if not all of our cries have been left without response. We aren't on the edge of destruction just yet, but the game has so much more potential left over that I feel it's a shame to see its popularity decrease so much.

Slashdotters, what can we do to get it back on the tracks? What magazines should we email? How could we get a better response from Microsoft (their technical support is a dead-end)? Are there places to advertise that kind of nearly-abandonware-yet-still-purchasable game?"

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