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Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

Sibko Re:This doesn't sound... sound (327 comments)

We just don't have an actual established science of economics yet.

Today's study of economics is like Astrology and its connections with Astronomy 8,000 years ago. You've got a bunch of old men who noticed patterns in the stars and the seasons and could predict things like full moons or eclipses or when to plant crops and when to harvest - it looked like magic to those who didn't understand, and even those who caught the patterns and exploited them never truly understood what they were observing and predicting; and they would create stories and fables and gods and divinity to explain and control. You had to become a priest to learn their secrets, you had to join their secret societies and open brotherhoods and worship their gods to learn, and then you too could profit from the knowledge.

And when someone comes along and says, "Hey, I figured it out! This is how it all actually works!" they are persecuted, because they upset a certain ignorance amongst the population that a select few were able to exploit for their own personal gain.

This is exactly what economics is like today. There are people out there gaming the system because they've noticed or figured out something the rest of us haven't. They've created entire economic ideologies to waylay anyone looking to bring forth actual knowledge, because the pervasive ignorance of economics is profitable for them, and common understanding and knowledge of how it all really works isn't.

Inevitably the control will slip, as it did with astronomy. Whether thanks to technology, or something else. And ten thousand, or twenty thousand, or a hundred thousand years from now there will be people looking back at our economic policies today, chuckling quietly to themselves about how silly, superstitious and primitive we were about a science that's so easy to understand.

3 days ago

Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player

Sibko Re:"Just pay extra..." (473 comments)

I have also paid for beta access.
The game is NOT fun. It's a fucking disaster.

First of all, what's good: The visuals, audio, UI, graphics, etc. Everything related to how the game looks and feels is top-notch. It suckers you in that way.
What's bad: The gameplay.

Oh lord the gameplay. In one word: Shallow. It's like a pile of disjointed minigames. Everything is "there" in the sense of a checkmark on a list, but it is not there in the sense of "I actually want to play this."

And the game is monetized out the ass.

For the longwinded bits, read below:

More detail:
Combat: Like your typical "spacesim", AI is easy to kill, and between players - whoever has the biggest most expensive ship is the winner. Skill doesn't enter the picture because ships are not sidegrades, they are direct upgrades. The incompetent player with 1 million credits will always beat the skilled noob in his sidewinder, no exception. The combat brings nothing new to the genre and lacks serious complexity. (They have a good idea with their stealth system, but it's tacked on rather than a core concept in dogfighting like it needs to be) In spite of all these problems, the combat is probably the best/most fleshed out portion of gameplay and the one that can be legitimately fun for awhile.

Mining: In every game I have ever played, mining has been an exercise in tedium. This game is no different. You shoot an asteroid with a laser until it pops out a rock that you scoop up. Repeat ad nauseum.

Money: Get this out of the way quickly, everything you do - mining, combat, missions, trading - earns you next to nothing. To put it into perspective, the most expensive ship in the game was the Anaconda at 150 million credits (after every stage of beta they increased its price, who knows what it'll be post-launch). Your average mission earns you 15,000cr and takes about 5-30 minutes to complete. If you are extremely dedicated you could probably earn ~100,000cr/hr (more is possible with a good traderoute and a lot of cargospace, but this is hard to find now). It'll take a good year of playing multiple hours per day, to afford the most expensive ship. Then the upgrades to that ship will double or triple its cost, at the least. There were comments by Braben (co-creator) [archive link in case reddit deletes the post as they are known to do with touchy subjects] that the game is going to come with a cash shop. Considering the grind and the comment about the cash shop for credits, I can understand why they wanted to get rid of the offline singleplayer: They don't want people modding the game to get what they paid for.

Trading: It's really just hauling goods, and it's rather boring. There is a 15 minute video here which shows almost the entirety of trading gameplay. (Not including hours spent trying to find a decent traderoute) You fly back and forth, earn a few thousand credits for the trouble and that's that. There used to be a trading calculator available on the forums - you downloaded it, it would check the trade good prices wherever you docked and give you a centralized database from everyone else's information which allowed you to pick the best trade routes. People were using it to make boatloads of cash and Frontier, failing to think of a way to counter this tool by making trade interesting, instead banned it.

Exploration: You literally jump into a system and hold down a button for 5 seconds. Your ship "pings" everything nearby and if its newly discovered, it gets added to the exploration catalog and earns you 1,000-10,000cr (depending on number of planets/stars you found and only after returning to a space station). You can also fly close to the stellar object to do a detailed scan - but it takes a long time to fly around a system and the reward is peanuts. Maybe 500cr per planet. It's faster to jump to the next system (of which there are billions) and ping again to discover whatever is close to the star.

Travel/Supercruise: As cool as it is to fly around a star system, it's too time consuming. Moving between space stations in adjacent systems - or even within the same system is a minimum of 5 minutes. See the trading video above. You do it enough times, it rapidly loses its appeal.

Missions: Just basic fetch quests. There's a mission BBS, you either move goods from A to B, or kill something. Payout is, once again, crap. There are no objective markers to point you to where you need to go, either. Get a mission to kill some guy (AI) in your system? You're stuck wandering around for hours to find him. Semi-related to missions are wanted warrants - players and AI can be wanted for crimes, if you kill them you get to collect the bounty. However, you need to dock at a station and turn in the bounty to earn it. It's very common in the bigger battles to have a dozen bounties, only to get killed by some AI (Friendly or not) accidentally ramming you. When that happens you lose every bounty you collected and all that time you spent fighting to earn credits is completely wasted.

Multiplayer: It's primary existence is always-online DRM. For a game that's supposed to be focused around multiplayer it's shocking how piss poor it is. It's difficult to send friend requests, the organization of your friends list is obtuse compared to the slick UI everywhere else. You cannot speak to more than one person at a time (if you have a group of friends, you're best using third-party sofware like mumble), and the text is shoved into a corner where it's often ignored as it shares space with random AI chatter. Should someone you try to talk to actually see your message, it is not made clear to the player how they can actually even respond. There is no efficient way to trade between players (dropping/picking up cargo, time consuming, and it has to be done away from the station). Each solar system is instanced to 32 players max, and the instances are built up in a peer-to-peer network, so your connection is always shaky. It's common for people trying to play together to get put into different instances all the time. Player interaction is essentially non-existent, there is literally no reason to ever work together with someone as nothing offers equal rewards to BOTH players, and finally - due to the size of the player space, you will essentially never run into another player outside the noob systems. (A few tens of thousands of players spread out across billions of stars in the galaxy)

It has become increasingly obvious as time has gone on that Frontier intends to rip off their customers and treat them like glorified money pumps than actual people or players. Everything about this game feels like it was designed with the freemium "skinnerbox" design in mind. There's always that everpresent desire to upgrade your ship for bigger numbers, and the illusion that doing so will make the game more fun than it is right now.

Obviously the normal gameplay has to be almost fun, so it leaves the player wanting just that little bit more to make it fun - and that little bit more will come from the cash shop. Already there is talk of new DLC ships, there are DLC skins that were released for sale while in the beta (at $3-$5 each, one skin applies only to one ship type - so you have to buy multiple times for all your ships to have that one skin. Insane), and it was recently announced that beta players/backers will get a special "pass" to visit sol. There will apparently be other solar systems that are "restricted" this way, and you'll either have to grind for access, or presumably, buy a pass in the cash shop.

Oh and if that isn't enough, there's a stipulation in the EULA that the customer agrees to in-game advertisement, as if the rest of it wasn't enough. There are billboards that fold up/down every time you take off and you have to sit and wait for them for 5-15 seconds every time. No advertisements as yet, but it's obvious where they're planning to put them.

Stay the fuck away from this game.

about 2 months ago

Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player

Sibko Re:Even Donations Come with Obligations (473 comments)

I predict that if they have free servers that they will be shit, and that you will have to pay a monthly fee for access to a server that doesn't lag you into oblivion. As my internet connection is crap, an online-only game is simply not an option for me at all, so I would be livid if I had backed this kickstarter.

The game uses mostly peer-to-peer hosting. The server likely just does routing for players.

I bought the game; not through the kickstarter either. I made a mistake of buying the game when it was "early access", and I want a refund, but I have no customer rights so that will never happen.

about 2 months ago

Texas Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola

Sibko Re:Robots? (421 comments)

You're kidding me right?

A woman working under biohazard 4 conditions, wearing a hermetically sealed suit, working with a patient she KNOWS has ebola and is infectious; gets Ebola herself, and you are seriously trying to play it off like it's no worse than HIV? Acting like a know-it-all expert on infectious diseases and trying to reassure everyone that this isn't going anywhere and isn't dangerous?

Look, I'm not trying to fear-monger here for the sake of it, and I'm certainly no ebola-expert, but trying to reassure everyone that this is just going to blow over with this idiocy about how safe Ebola is and how nobody can catch it unless they fucking lick infected blood when that is increasingly not the case just sets me right off. Even the media has done a complete 180 on their usual fear-mongering. Let's suppose for a moment that this woman did something out of procedure - she didn't clean her suit or something, and she touched it, then rubbed her eyes.

That's not HIV-level infectious. That's influenza/cold-level infectious, and that is extremely worrying, because the CDC seems to be grossly incompetent in this entire situation and I'm beginning to wonder if the corporations involved who have the potential to make literal billions to trillions off Ebola vaccines aren't giving little nudges here and there to maintain a certain level of incompetence in the matter. We aren't even quarantining Africa - the CDC says that wouldn't do anything. Like hell it wouldn't. The first thing we did when SARS was worrying people was to quarantine and shut down air travel, but apparently we're finding out only just now that this didn't work and won't work for Ebola, so let's just spend millions trying to screen for it ineffectively at the airports into our countries? I'm sorry, I'm not buying this. I'm not buying anything the mass media are telling us about this disease anymore. How many times does the mass media have to lie to people before they stop actually trusting them?

Did you know that one of the Ebola strains quite possibly moved through an air gap to cause infection?

We also know that the Filovirus family can easily become airborne:

This virus is spreading into the tens of thousands range in West Africa. That's an immense breeding ground for it to adapt to a new host. We know that Ebola strains can become airborne, and we keep having doctors getting sick with the virus in spite of hefty precautions against it. So why are we assuming it can't be airborne and can't be transmitted during its incubation period? Why are we assuming it has low infectivity when doctors in full protective gear are getting it? When people are literally getting this virus from just touching things that ebola victims have touched? Why is nobody taking precautions in case it IS highly infectious? This isn't some joke of a virus that kills 2% of the people it infects; almost everyone who gets it dies. This isn't something to be jovial and careless around, yet we took more precautions around SARS than anything we're doing with Ebola. It's fucking madness, and I keep seeing people parrot this bullshit that we shouldn't be worried, have nothing to fear if we aren't literally bathing in Ebola-blood like West Africans obviously are, and so on.

No, we DO have something to fear from this - you'd be foolish not to be worried - and I am not satisfied in the least with the way our governments are treating this whole thing. It's almost flippant. I think some serious discussion about this virus getting into western countries uncontrollably needs to seriously start happening. What are you going to do if Ebola ends up in your town? Have you even considered talking about it with your family? With your local community? Is the effort involved in being prepared really worth the risk of not being prepared and having to deal with it by the seat of your pants? Hell, that kind of communication in our communities is something that can help dramatically even if Ebola goes nowhere.

I think these are things people need to start doing. Don't sit back and leave it to the government to take care of it for you. Figure out what you should do, talk to your neighbours and discuss what you think the best way of handling this stuff is. Argue with people online about it and get informed. You don't have to go out buying full-body hazard suits and masks blindly, but having some networks to rely on and work with, having plans to deal with failing services, or losing loved ones, is important. This is a dangerous disease, an infectious disease and something that should quite frankly, be taken more seriously than it is right now.

about 4 months ago

Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Sibko A different way to look at this: (848 comments)

Not that this will go anywhere but deaf ears, in part because there is a systemic pro-US push on every western website you care to name:

Early 1990's US suffers economic collapse
Texas and several other states secede from the union
Texas produces over half of the US military equipment, a good portion of the food, and can make nuclear weapons
The US keeps these states, especially Texas, within their sphere of influence through economic deals, US Oil pipelines run to South America through Texas
Texas has economic troubles, the US offers no-strings attached bailouts to keep Texas within its sphere of influence
The Soviet Union offers bailouts if Texas implement austerity measures, with the possibility of joining the South American Union and Warsaw Pact at a later date
There is talk in the media that the Soviet Union needs to put a missile defense shield in Texas once it's in the Warsaw Pact to protect itself and South America from Canadian aggression (They have the ability to make nukes, after all)
The US balks at all of this

Texan government takes the US deal, there are small protests in Texas where people argue they're better off with the Soviet Union, they want to split away from the US
These protestors are mostly left-leaning
The Soviet Union funds these protests and they go from small to large: Eventually the protestors perform a coup, replacing the Texan government; evidence (actual recorded phone calls) surface of false flag shootings being used to instigate tensions and violence
The right-leaning people in Texas are appalled, they start a separatist movement in several counties
The Texan government sends in its military to crush the separatist movement
The US begins funding and supplying the separatists with weapons and volunteers to help them
The Soviet Union paints the US as the aggressor, trying to threaten the world and annex countries like Hitler

As someone who has been looking at BOTH sides of this issue I'm fucking amazed that anyone paints Russia with such broad strokes as literal "Bad Guys". Everything they are doing makes sense geopolitically and nationally. Ukraine in NATO with a 'missile defense' in place against 'Iran'. Who are we kidding?

Once you look at the situation as it could apply to the US, it makes it easier to see through the utter bullshit propaganda. This entire thing is nothing more than NATO and the US encroaching on Russia's sphere of influence and territory. Russia ABSOLUTELY will go WW3 over Ukraine. The possibility of US/NATO nuclear weapons sitting in Ukraine is something Russia will not allow to happen, the loss of half of Russia's arms manufacturing cannot be allowed to happen. Ukraine is the first step to a first strike nuclear war scenario that could actually work.

I feel like I'm living in bizarro world where everyone has lost their marbles. I'm Canadian and even I don't support what the US has attempted to do in Ukraine. I'm sure some people will think I'm just eating up russian propaganda that I can't even read, but the truth is that I'm just not blindly siding with America. What the US is doing in Europe is pushing us towards thermonuclear war.

The American and European people need to find our marbles again. This is fucking crazy.

about 5 months ago

Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

Sibko Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (461 comments)

Are you fucking kidding me?
"Nuclear is a stopgap" and "not poisoning the world for future generations"?

You know how many people have died over the past 60-odd years from radiation poisoning? Direct deaths, including incidents like assassinations and laboratory accidents? 10,000, maybe? Nope. 5000? Nigga we ain't even close yet. 1000? Keep going. 500? Hahaha, get real buddy.


Over 60 years of nuclear power and widespread use of radioactive material and there are less than 400 (estimate 200-300) deaths from direct radiation exposure. You can bump it up to ~10,000-20,000 when you include estimates on cancer related deaths. But you know what? If we're going to count cancer related deaths for nuclear, then how about we count pollution related deaths for coal, oil and gas?

Think you can guess? Maybe 100,000 per year?
Try 7 million: http://www.who.int/mediacentre...

Even if you went batshit crazy with estimating nuclear's impact - with crazy greenpeace numbers like a million deaths that they pull out of their collective asses. You still come NOWHERE NEAR coal, oil or gas. In fact, by metrics like amount of power produced per death, Nuclear is the safest we have available. Nothing else beats it, including Solar, Wind and Hydro.


Enough with your bullshit FUD. There is nothing wrong with, and there has never been anything wrong with Nuclear. All the facts are stacked against you and all you've brought against it are lies and bullshit fearmongering to convince people who are ignorant of what the nuclear statistics actually look like. I'm fucking sick and tired of you anti-nuclear liars. All you do is help ensure we keep guzzling oil, coal and gas. I don't think the oil industries could've gotten better shills if they paid for them.

about 7 months ago

Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

Sibko Re:Progenitors? (686 comments)

Or maybe the universe is so competitive that anyone who announces their presence eats the bad end of a relativistic weapon.

Who knows - maybe one's already headed for Earth. It's not like we have been hiding our radio transmissions or anything. Sure would be naive of us to assume aliens are all sunshine and rainbows and want nothing more than to love and hug us. Now granted, I think if relativistic weapons flying about were a real issue, we'd probably have seen evidence for it in the universe by now, but anyone who ascribes benevolence to aliens is just a fool ignoring every lesson nature has taught us on this planet.

Personally, I'm against alien contact unless it's US doing the contacting. The kind of power-play dynamic where we're met by aliens only puts us at a serious disadvantage. We're basically blind right now. We need to stay silent, open our eyes and ears, and see what happens around us a little before we go shouting to the galaxy at large "Hey! Over here!"

I think the only comforting fact about it all is that our biodiversity is probably the rarest thing about our planet - so if there is any value in that, any conquerors will at least leave our biosphere intact.

about 8 months ago

A Look at Smart Gun Technology

Sibko Common Issues with 'smart' guns (765 comments)

There's been a lot of discussion that I've seen already on these 'smart' guns.

Let me try and recap some of the most prominent against them:
>The RFID transmitter to unlock the gun requires batteries and has a limited range
>The RFID signal to unlock the gun can be jammed by a strong/close enough jammer
>The RFID receiver in the gun may require a battery if it has to move any mechanical parts
>The electronics are significantly less resilient than the metal construction of the rest of the gun - I've heard claims of replacement/repair of the firearm after just 2000 rounds fired
>The RFID receiver could be engineered with a 'back door' (Either mandated through legislation or not) which the government could use to lock up your gun (For example: A 'gun free' zone could have transmitters that tell all guns to lock up within range.)
>Depending on how integrated the 'smart' systems are with the mechanics of the gun, an exploited system could allow for things like intentional slamfires/rapidfire, feeding issues or other hazardous effects to the owner - remotely.
>Mechanical or electronic locks can be easily 'jailbroken' by the owner. If the safety of the firearm works by putting something between the firing pin and the cartridge, removing that piece of metal would make the gun less safe, but capable of working even if it is 'locked'. It's also a pretty trivial modification that could be done almost literally by anyone with a room temperature IQ or greater.
>Water could damage the circuitry and prevent the weapon from operating properly.
>Legislation can be introduced mandating that all firearms must be 'smart' guns. (In fact, this has already happened in New Jersey.)
>Smart guns cost significantly more than current firearms (A $500 pistol is now a $1500+ pistol), making it that much harder for the common person to purchase a firearm, especially if legislation makes the sale of non-smart guns illegal.

And what do gun owners gain from any of this? A firearm that - if someone grabbed it off you - wouldn't work? Look, let's not just ignore the elephant in the room here: This isn't about making guns safer. There's no added value in this for your common gun owner. No, this is simply an end run around the Constitution's second amendment - especially if, as in New Jersey - you start forcing people to buy smart guns and make normal firearms illegal. If widespread adoption happened, I guarantee you this type of legislation would be pushed everywhere.

Only the naive are buying into these things. Especially considering the growing distrust and discontent for our Government amongst the NSA/Snowden revelations, worsening 'war on drugs', loss of civil rights from the 'war on terror', bailouts of banks and corporations, and multiple seemingly pointless wars in the middle east.

People are really starting to get antsy about all of this stuff. The idea that the US is turning into a police state used to be laughed at. Today, the US has the largest prison population on the planet - exceeding China and Russia, it spies on its own citizens, tortures 'enemy combatants' and conducts extra-judicial targeted murders on American citizens abroad without due process of law - let alone citizens of other nations, such as the Australian citizen that was murdered this way just a few months ago. The first amendment is a joke when reasonable people can't get any airtime on ANY of the news networks and 'political correctness' groupthink is stamping out valid criticism or opposing viewpoints - even amongst those people who have made such comments in their own privacy. The right to peacefully assemble is a joke when you can only peacefully assemble where you're 'allowed' (and can be peacefully ignored). The two-party system is fundamentally flawed from the get-go, but especially so with the massive amount of corporate bribery and lack of any real investigation or punishment regarding corruption amongst our 'representatives'.

Quite honestly, America is headed for disaster, and these 'smart' guns are literally just one more tiptoe in that direction. The only people who honestly believe these guns are a good idea, are the people who want to take away the right to own firearms completely, and the people who support increasing state control over the population. The rest of us can see how ineffective and pointless these things are in reality.

Fucking christ, watching what is happening to America today is maddening. I feel like I'm watching the Titanic barrel towards the not-so-proverbial iceberg and instead of slowing down or turning, the people in charge are speeding up. I can't change the course, none of the passengers can change the course, and there's so many captains at the helm - most of them utterly daft - that they can't change the course either.

about 9 months ago

UN to Debate Use of Fully Autonomous Weapons, New Report Released

Sibko Re:Robot soldiers more civilian friendly than huma (180 comments)

You don't see robots engaging in a My Lai-type massacre.

They also wouldn't commit atrocities against civilians, wonton destruction, killing livestock, rape, beatings, etc. Robots won't rape and pillage.

Well... You won't see them independently decide to do something like that. But orders are literally orders to a robot. You tell them to burn a city to the ground, shoot anyone who tries to flee, and they will burn that city to the ground and shoot everyone who flees. Without remorse, without second guessing orders, without a moment of any hesitation.

Which frankly, worries me a bit more. Because the upper levels of command in just about every model of human hierarchy always seems to have worrying numbers of psychopaths/sociopaths beyond what you'd expect in a normal pool of the population. On top of that - they're physically removed from the carnage. It's a lot easier to order the leveling of a rebel-occupied village when you will never personally see the slaughter of innocents that result.

That's not to say humans never do these things. Just that, humans are capable of refusing to do these things. Robots aren't.

about 9 months ago

PC Gaming Alive and Dominant

Sibko Re:Simple math (245 comments)

Today, the PC market isn't really about pushing hardware. Remember Crysis? It sold nothing,

In the first couple weeks, Crysis sold ~90,000 copies. The developers were vocally disappointed by this, and immediately blamed the large amount of piracy of the game for poor sales, Crysis then went on and sold ~1 million copies in the following two months, and is presently sitting somewhere around 3 million copies sold.

Which means Crysis is now #33 in the list of "best selling PC games of all time".

That is not "selling nothing".

about 10 months ago

Crowd Wisdom Better At Predictions Than Top CIA Analysts

Sibko Psychohistory (136 comments)

This story actually really interested me - On its face, the idea of a website that does these things: Poses user-submitted predictive questions, with user profiles so you can track the most successful predictors, and probably some sort of range voting system for the actual voting process, seems like a really swell idea.

Unfortunately, I've not nearly the technical skills or capability to jump into making a website that aggregates questions, votes, user statistics, graphs, profiles and so on. I went ahead and did the next best thing I could think of: http://psychohis7ory.blogspot....

about 10 months ago

Measuring the Xbox One Against PCs With Titanfall

Sibko Re:Nice but pointless for me (377 comments)

I tried it with Battlefield the last Battlefield game and it was such a trainwreck I uninstalled it and tossed the game in the trash before ever getting to play it. It went something like this:

Buy the physical media ( dvd ) install game. Try to play, find out you have to install Steam, cuss, install Steam, register and do all the BS required. Try to play, find out there is a multi GB PATCH to install before I can play, cuss some more, start download ( which takes HOURS coming from their servers ) finally get it all downloaded, try to play, discover my browser opens up instead of the game...

About the only thing Steam doesn't require here, is a plugin for your browser.
Sorry, I just feel like pointing out the slag that other distribution systems seem to get when Steam does the exact same thing, or is worse. It reminds me of the kind of love Apple used to and still does get.

about 10 months ago

Star Trek Economics

Sibko Re:Pipe-dream Utopia (888 comments)

>People only work for monetary reward and nothing else.
>If people had all the food and housing they needed, they would just waste away doing nothing their entire life

Can we please kill this meme already?

We have never been motivated solely by monetary greed. People, especially bright and creative people, work to test and improve themselves and their skills.
Wealth stops being a concern for people once they're making over $70,000 a year.

Those people who 'sit and do nothing' at home, _don't_. It's a fantasy in your mind. They're creating things with others, socializing, being HUMAN. Our worth is NOT dependent on how much money we make someone else, or ourselves.

about a year ago

Australian Police Move To Make 3D Printed Guns Illegal

Sibko Re:They will need to make hardware stores illegal (551 comments)

Thanks Satanboy. I'm pretty sure that just by clicking that link I've subscribed to some sort of list I don't want to be on.

It's a nice free society we live in, isn't it?

about a year and a half ago

Evidence For Comet-Borne Microfossils Supports Panspermia

Sibko Re:"Panspermia" (169 comments)

Basically, Panspermia solves the issue of the unlikelihood of life developing sporadically on Earth, by saying "Space did it", which is the scientific equivalent of "God did it".

But... technically, space did do it. We are, after all, the example of space doing it.

Question: If we send a probe to Europa, contaminate it with Earth-born bacteria, and 2 billion years from now that moon is crawling with life, does that mean "God did it" too?

Or perhaps panspermia is not the equivalent of 'god dun it' anymore than evolution is.
The idea of panspermia still requires evolution to take place somewhere.

about 2 years ago

Game Site Wonders 'What Next?' When 50% of Users Block Ads

Sibko Youtube Ads (978 comments)

We've been doing renovations on the house here, so I recently moved in with my father for a couple weeks while getting everything done at home. I noticed that suddenly youtube seemed to have an incredible number of ads when I used his computer. I wasn't really sure what had happened, I assumed maybe there was something related to his google account that showed him more ads, or perhaps youtube had suddenly implemented a massive new ad campaign.

Eventually, I realized, my dad's computer didn't have adblock, while mine did. The difference this made was staggering. I'd always assumed Youtube was just really gentle with their advertisements - I'd still get them, but they were quiet and relatively few. Without adblock, jesus, I couldn't believe what the site was like without adblock. It's nearly as bad as cable TV.

The thing is, I happened to be building a new computer at the time and decided to forego the normal adblock install in chrome. That changed after about a week, youtube was a significant part of that decision, but there many many website that would pop-up shit on the screen that would block out all the other content and darken everything except the ad, or there'd be annoying little mini-videos strewn about the page, or they'd blare some noise loudly and randomly.

Seriously, I don't mind ads. They pay for the content I enjoy, but this is too much.

about 2 years ago

David Cameron 'Orders New Curbs On Internet Porn'

Sibko Re:Religion is much worse (345 comments)

Excuse me, but what exactly does being indoctrinated and exposed to atheism even fucking mean?

You're /not/ forced to read the bible; you're /not/ forced to go to sunday school; you're /not/ forced to attend church; you're /not/ forced to believe in fairy tales. In fact, you're given the option to believe or disbelieve in all of these things. Yet somehow that's BAD? It's /wrong/ to be left fucking alone to make your own choice? Are you kidding me??

Atheism isn't a religion you numbnuts. My own parents were Catholics - but my father and mother both decided that they wouldn't expose me to any church influences, my father because he didn't like the kind of control the church wanted over the life of our family. So I grew up without religion ever being shoved into my face. But neither were my parents Atheist. Did I immediately become an Atheist? No! Yet you seem to think that's what happens, it boggles my mind.

I wound up not really even understanding religion until my late teens. It never made sense to me, and in my earlier years I saw it more as a fun thing 'Oh we believe stuff happened this way', 'Oh well we believe stuff happened this way', but I never thought people ever took it seriously until I saw a guy in my class chew a girl out and tell her she was a whore and going to hell for being a lesbian. That sort of intolerance absolutely stunned me, I couldn't believe something like that didn't even get him reprimanded or sent to the principals office.

I started reading about the different religions myself, I was never even exposed to Atheism at any point in school - Though I distinctly remember one girl asking me "Are you an Atheist" and my response being "No.", and her reply being "Good."; I didn't even know what an Atheist was. I wound up bouncing between Taoism and Buddhism as 'personal religions I thought were interesting and could subscribe myself to' (I felt as though everyone /had/ to have a religion.) until I eventually witnessed an argument in an IRC chatroom, and actually discovered what Atheism was.

I read about it on wikipedia like I did before with the major religions, I saw rational arguments about inconsistencies in the bible, and I honestly didn't like the idea of not having a god or afterlife or anything, it wasn't fun. But it was rational, it all made sense, it didn't require belief in fairy tales or nonsense. I /couldn't/ be anything else without lying to myself. I didn't choose Atheism, not like I did when I got into Taoism and Buddhism, all I did was choose not to believe in the lies or fairytales of a religion, simply because I could see it all for what it was.

Are you worried more people will be like me? Making their own choices and their own decisions? Do you honestly believe every Atheist household has parents reading Richard Dawkin's to their children or something? Does it not, for a single moment, occur to you that maybe, just maybe, the LACK of any indoctrination is what ultimately leads a rational thinker to Atheism?

Is that what you're afraid of? People making their own goddamned decisions? "An end to freedom of thought" my arse! The end of freedom of thought is already here, perpetuated by people like yourself who try to demonize freedom and choice, with your fucking doublethink and twisted definitions. /Not/ being exposed to religion isn't indoctrination and I'm frankly amazed you got modded up with that kind of doubleplusungood argument.

more than 2 years ago

Seattle's Creepy Cameraman Pushes Public Surveillance Buttons

Sibko Omnipresent AI in a Multiplayer Game (387 comments)

There's a sandbox game I play from time to time called Space Station 13, usually as the AI. It's a 2D multiplayer RPG/roguelike of sorts, and much like Dwarf Fortress or MUD's, not the easiest thing to get into.

I mostly play on /tg/ server 2 as Wintermote, an AI that enjoys monitoring all communications and drama going on around the space station. The AI has a lot of tools at its disposal for doing this - you can change frequencies on a room's intercom; using its microphone to transmit and eavesdrop on nearby conversations over a private channel, you can hack into the PDA messaging system and read every single private message sent between players on their PDA's (think, tablets/phones), and you have cameras covering nearly the entire station so that you can see almost everything that is happening.

The curious thing I've noticed is that nobody ever cares about the spying /until/ it both involves them and is specifically brought to their attention. The Head of Security doesn't care that I'm spying on two scientists in the bomb testing lab, but if she finds out I'm spying on her in the interrogation room where she's beating a prisoner to death, wellll suddenly it's creepy and weird.

What is more interesting is that when a player dies, they become an observer in the round and can hear and see /everything/; moreso even than an AI, because the AI is limited by game considerations - intercoms, power, working computer systems, etc. Every player knows that anything they say can and probably /is/ being seen by another player who is currently dead in the round.

So an interesting story relating to this: I see the librarian and a medical doctor in the library having a rather private conversation - I turn on the intercom and eavesdrop, and then comment on something one of them said, I was immediately told to stop listening, and the two then turned off their intercom. An admin shortly thereafter made all dead players visible. The librarian and doctor were surrounded by a swarm of ghosts, all listening to their conversation. Once it was done, they immediately stopped their conversation and departed the library, but the dead players had always been there, listening. Both the Librarian and Doctor knew that dead players or the AI could hear anything they said, but they continued their conversation until it was made directly apparent (By an admin making dead players visible, or by me speaking to them) that someone was dropping eaves. It was only at /that/ point that it became an issue and they decided to stop and continue some other time.

I've asked players if they mind if I spy on them, and the response is almost always "I don't mind, so long as you don't interject or comment about things, or tell other people".

Basically, out of sight, out of mind. People generally don't care that I see/hear what they're doing, so long as I don't bring it up or mention it. And that, I think, relates to this article - the government CCTV cameras and ubiquitous surveillance isn't really made apparent to people. You don't have a government agent calling you up and saying that he listened to that conversation you just had on the phone, and that he found that one joke really hilarious.

In the back of your mind, you know or think you know the government is spying on you like that, but it isn't really shoved in your face and it doesn't really impact you, and so people ignore it. It's only when it's brought to a person's attention that they ever give a shit.

And that is exactly what this man is doing. He's shoving the surveillance into people's faces, to try and get them to give a shit. I fear, however, that instead of fighting against the government surveillance - which he is trying to bring to their attention - people are just going to fight against /him/.

more than 2 years ago

Humanoid Robots For the Next DARPA Grand Challenge?

Sibko Re:Humanoid Robot... (53 comments)

I am afraid not.

A 60 ton Clan chassis has enough tonnage available, (assuming it moves 1/2/0, has no armour, and utilizes an XL engine with endosteel internals) but lacks the internal critical space necessary to actually fit all of that. (Staring at the design right now in solaris skunkwerks)

Two LBX20's and 4 cStreak6's are pretty hefty firepower though. Even for a Clan heavy. Also, 12 tons of ammo? That is enough for 45 turns of non-stop firing, most matches do not even last 16!

Now, I *could* build a custom mech from scratch that fits some of that, but I decided a better choice would be to take ye old venerable Mad Dog (Vulture for you Freebirths) chassis and rig it with the LBX autocannons, though I was worried it would not fit them AND the ammo. Thankfully, the Mad Dog's design principle follows the 'fuck armor, put more guns on it' school of thought.

I yanked the dual large pulse lasers and LRM20's from the prime variant, and jacked the heatsinks down to the base 12 (It is in no danger of overheating with just these autocannons). This gave me 28 tons to work with. 24 tons for the two LBX20's, and then 4 tons for the ammo. It is not the loadout I would personally take into battle with a Mad Dog, considering its armour, but for a daring young Trueborn out to claim a bloodname, I do not think it is bad.

A 5/8/0 movement curve (reaching ~80kph at a run), enough ammo to fire the autocannons for about 10 turns (1.7 minutes) before running dry, and just enough armour to keep you mostly intact as you close into range. At 1610 battle value (2222 BV with a 3/4 standard Clan Pilot) it is actually pretty dangerous for the price. I also made sure to mix the ammo types - 2 tons cluster and 2 tons slug so that you get your holepunching and sandblasting ability all in one. Additionally, I removed the upper arm actuators to clear out some of the internal crit space in the arms. So not only does the LBX20 assembly manage to fit in just the arm itself, but since it is entirely in the arm and the upper arm actuator has been removed, the arms themselves can completely flip around, making this design even more dangerous in a close quarters fight as you maneuver through a formation and fire *backwards* (Hopefully at the rear armour of your enemy.)

The significant downside to this design is the staying power. Light on armour (But then, all Mad Dog's are) and light on ammo. Once you run dry, there are no backup energy weapons, so you will be left adopting dezgra freebirth tactics like kicking your opponent to death. (*spit*)

Additionally, the design lacks anything to absorb hits in the torso. Any breach of the armour that scores a critical hit is going to either blow out an ammo bin and cripple the mech, or damage the fusion reactor. (Granted, a damaged fusion reactor on this design is not so bad - thanks to the low heat output of the cannons. Even with half the reactor shielding gone, this mech is still going to run cool.)

more than 2 years ago

Have We Reached Maximum Sustainable Population Size?

Sibko Re:Sigh (1070 comments)

The fact is that there are not infinite resources.

Practically speaking, there ARE infinite resources. The problem is that we are too busy focusing solely on Earth. We have an entire solar system we can exploit for resources. All it requires is a government to think ahead instead of leaving the space industry to flounder.

more than 3 years ago



Halo 3 AI Engineer Interviewed

Sibko Sibko writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Sibko writes "Max Dyckhoff, an AI engineer for the critically acclaimed Halo 3, does an interview with the Halo.Bungie.Org fansite on AI behavior in Halo 3. Ranging from how random seeds and determinism work with saved films, to the conditions present before a Grunt will go kamikaze.

HBO: Saved films SEEM to work a lot like Marathon saved films worked; keystrokes, or button pushes, or whatever, are captured, along with a starting random seed... and when the film is played back, these are fed to the engine again. I realize Halo's system is WAY more complicated than Marathon's was — but is this at least the BASIC idea of how it works?

Max: You are absolutely correct, and no, it's not way more complicated than Marathon's.


Link to Original Source

Sibko Sibko writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Sibko writes "17 year old Zach Wigal, a Saline High School student, spent 9 months organizing a Halo 2 LAN tournament that was to be held on March 20th, spending $650 of his own money to help launch the event. He had talked to school officials, printed fliers to help advertise, and had parents and teachers agree to be chaperones. Everything was fine, until his father called the local police to inquire about the availability of a uniformed officer. This raised concerns with departmental community coordinator Ritchie Coleman who serves on the Southeast Michigan Chapter of the Parents TV Council.

"I'm not saying boycott the game, I just think that kids 17 and under playing an M-rated game for money is not something appropriate for the high school,'' Phillips said.
Due to the police involvement just four days prior to the event, it had to be shut down."


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