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Comments

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Study: Antarctic Sea-Level Rising Faster Than Global Rate

argStyopa Re:What will it take? (214 comments)

I don't see it as a "climate problem" any more than I see aging as a "chronology problem".

It's climate.
It changes.
Adapt or die.

Building a city on a coastline might be incredibly convenient, but it is exactly like building it on the edge of a volcano. The only difference is a matter of scale.

yesterday
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Best Games To Have In Your Collection?

argStyopa Re:Trolling (377 comments)

That's pretty elaborate.
I just come on Slashdot and say stuff like:

"Climate change is just bullshit"
or
"Linux is dead"
or
"Ballmer's a brilliant executive" ...ok yeah, that last one was no good, too obvious, nobody could believe that's someone serious.

4 days ago
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

argStyopa Re:Apparently the trolls are out here, too (1221 comments)

I'm just still trying to keep up.

Is this week...
a) "women are as tough as men and can do anything men can do, and need no special favors because those deprecate her strength" or
b) "women are snowflakes that can't be expected to simply ignore hurtful comments to their delicate sensibilities"

I can never quite tell which one I'm supposed to ardently support today?

4 days ago
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Numerous Methane Leaks Found On Atlantic Sea Floor

argStyopa Re:Feedback loops (273 comments)

...except that we just discovered a massive source of methane that we never suspected existed.

High level of CO2 is not true on the scales that I'm talking about - the last couple of million years.
Rate of change is relevant for biologicals, as it has to do with how fast they can evolve around the change, but irrelevant to the ultimate state of the climate. If I dump X amount of salt into water, does 'how fast it dissolves' matter at all to the final chemical composition? No.
State of Milankovich cycles: curious that you raise this. In terms of gross observation, we're in fact ON TARGET when it comes to the synchronicity of climate (temp, CO2 peaks) and M-cycles. Further, widely-recognized issues in Milankovich observations (divergent models, unplit-peak issues, etc) all suggest *error-bars* are still well in excess of the sorts of changes posited to be due to anthropogenic causes, meaning that all the sound and fury over AGW amounts to little more than arguing about static noise, in the big picture...

So to imply - as the IPCC has for years - that we have some sort of 'final, settled, authoritative' understanding of warming, the processes, and the methods is a little premature?

5 days ago
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Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

argStyopa well... (530 comments)

I just hope global warming increases to the point where it can self-pop the popcorn I like to eat when these histrionic sorts of things come out. All the sound and fury, so little actually accomplished! Whee!

It's also likely that global warming might deliver pre-melted butter for the popcorn. Damn, what's wrong with this again?

5 days ago
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A Horrifying Interactive Map of Global Internet Censorship

argStyopa Stop being such a drama queen. (158 comments)

"Imagine a world in which the book burners had won"

Please. "Horrifying"?

The OP pimps itself breathlessly as "This interactive map of global Internet censorship is the most important thing youâ(TM)ll see today" - yes, it's about as important (and surprising) as the sun coming up in the East.

The facts are that
a) the ubiquitous availability of information is a relatively new thing. Public libraries didn't even really exist until the latter 19th/E20th centuries. The internet is less than a generation old.
b) governments and power structures have controlled such information throughout the span of human history.

The panicked tone of the article implies that this is worse than ever, which is patently histrionic bullshit. Even in these heavily censored countries, these people have access to information that they NEVER would have had before.

I'm not even 100% convinced that the ideal of universal access to information is an unalloyed good. Certainly, from the POV of a midwestern, middle class educated individual I *assume* that the net result of having more information is beneficial - but I can certainly see that there are negative aspects to "everything open", such as people who clearly don't understand basic science drawing conclusions from unfiltered scientific data. Or statistics? How many people are easily manipulated by presentations of statistics that they don't even understand? Again, my gut tells me that the "net" is a benefit, but I can't say I'm certain.

Again, as a small-l liberal, I believe that information and communication is probably good in the long run; even the small trickles of illumination sneaking into those heavily censored places suggests to me that their ability to keep their people in ignorance will eventually expire. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually.

A glass 95% empty is still a crapton better than no glass at all.

about a week ago
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The Evolution of Diet

argStyopa Lets be consistent (281 comments)

For all the people who believe that this is true, I think we should encourage them.

- Humans haven't evolved to travel faster than walking/riding speed, so they should eschew all forms of mechanical transport >30 mph.
- Humans haven't evolved to emotionally cope with communication without being in-person, so they need to give up cell phones
- Humans' eyes haven't evolved to cope with electronic text or really any text, so they should never read or go on the internet.

Personally, I agree, this would be a better world if they all did that. I know I'd be happier.

(in short, this is stupid; natural selection works as a RESULT of environmental and species' behavioral changes, not that we have to wait until we evolved to be able to cope with X before we can do it.)

about a week ago
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Lizard Squad Bomb Threat Diverts Sony Exec's Plane To Phoenix

argStyopa Re:Aaaand there goes the lizard squad (131 comments)

(looks at the last 13 years of US conduct in the "war" on terror)
You think jurisdiction - or lack thereof - makes *any* substantial difference?

Seriously?

about a week ago
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Numerous Methane Leaks Found On Atlantic Sea Floor

argStyopa Re:Feedback loops (273 comments)

Maybe you missed my point about the earth going through pretty much this same scenario at least a dozen times in the last couple of million years?
Human CO2 is dwarfed by natural sources, and the greenhouse effect of WATER VAPOR is massively more than that. What AGW zealots are asserting is that the climate is balanced on some sort of knife-edge of conditions, that the slightest tip by human CO2 emissions will push it into a runaway spiral of effects.
We've got historical records of sudden higher CO2 and temps a dozen times; each time, feedback brought the system back to an equilibrium state. Why would we assert that "now" is somehow different from all of those previous examples?

about a week ago
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Numerous Methane Leaks Found On Atlantic Sea Floor

argStyopa Re:Feedback loops (273 comments)

You had it, and then you lost it.

You talked about feedback loops that restore a system to equilibrium (which, indeed, are amply demonstrated in everything from physical to biological systems on Earth), then (somehow) assume this isn't one.

As you mention, nature frequently has feedback loops that offset changing conditions. If the "sweet spot" comfort zone of the natural system on earth were anywhere near as desperately sensitive one as it's currently portrayed, then over the 4+ billion year history of life on earth - and the half dozen cataclysmic extinction events that wipe out 3/4+ of the extant species - the climate would have spun off into one of these feedback loops that are so desperately (hopefully?) projected and we'd have a lifeless Venus or a dessicated Mars. We don't, ergo the system is robust, QED.

To your specific point, we even have several historical examples in the ice records of (geologically) sudden 'pulses' in CO2 and temperature to levels comparable or exceeding today.* In every case the system has then returned to an equilibrium....DOZENS of times over the past couple of million years. The feedback loops you talk about are real; the cataclysmic FUD you're talking about negative feedback is, quite evidently, not. I'll post 4 billion years of actual historical record of far more substantial shocks to the climate of this planet, against 15 years of panicky hypochondriac environmentalists finally devising an issue with some purchase in the public mind.

*some might point out that it happens every 120k years so so, and the last one was about 120k years ago. Yet this specific instance, curiously, is deemed to be "caused by" humans? If I stood on a beach, and knew that the tide came in 10 times before, regularly, and now it is rising for an 11th time, what sort of a moron would I be to assume THIS TIME it's because I'm standing there?

The article itself states clearly that they have no idea how long these seeps have in fact been going on - while other seeps have been researched specifically for that and found NO BASIS for believing they're getting worse. So to automagically jump to the conclusion (which the article desperately tries to - "it's hard to prove they're the result of climate change" - as if that was the end goal of all research, right?) suggest at least faulty science, if not downright mendacity.
Want a feedback loop? How about this - the seeps are extremely sensitive to ocean temp and pressure. The article suggests that a warming ocean might(hopefully, again) be the cause. But if the planet is warming, and seas are rising, this is going to put those seeps under deeper water, which is in fact more likely to slow them down. And if they've been bubbling away forever (ie contributing steadily and unaccounted-for levels of methane to the atmosphere), this could be the mechanism that then reverses warming.

about a week ago
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New Nail Polish Alerts Wearers To Date Rape Drugs

argStyopa Re:In 14 years practising emergency medicine (585 comments)

Because fearmongering about dirty, nasty predatory men is a lot more politically palatable than talking to young women about making bad choices and the consequences thereof. That's "substantiating the patriarchy".

The public narrative is about "victimization" not about "stupidity and carelessness".

Don't get me wrong, a man who takes advantage of a girl who's drunk is just as much a scumbag shit as someone who takes advantage of a girl who's been drugged.

But... I know that if I left my car running with the keys in it, even if the guy that (almost inevitably) would steal it should & would be prosecuted, simultaneously the insurance company isn't going to replace my car because of my own stupid choices.

Just sayin'.

about a week ago
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Lizard Squad Bomb Threat Diverts Sony Exec's Plane To Phoenix

argStyopa Re:Aaaand there goes the lizard squad (131 comments)

Agreed.
I can't mod this + enough.
There seems to be a sort of collective dismissal of the power of government in hacker circles, as if the fact that some faceless bureaucrat in a lowly department failing to deploy a firewall to protect trivial information, or the FBI wasting billion$ on a worthless systems upgrade, were representative of the technological competency of the whole of the US gov't.

I doubt that's the case.

What people fail to understand is that the government is *huge* and as easy as it is to find laughable examples of waste, abuse, and outright incompetence, that's only one end of the bell curve.

The OTHER end has incredibly competent people, giant fat gobs of money, and a wealth of resources that beggar the imagination (ie if they need something and cannot ask for or buy it, they can resort to overt legalities like subpoenas, or not-so-legal methods like property condemnation, deportation, or IRS audits) to compel behavior in pursuit of their goals. Further, the great bulk of the US populace (ie not the very vocal 0.01% on internet chat boards) is IN FAVOR OF LAW AND ORDER, full stop, and will cheerfully volunteer cooperation to "the authorities" however they can. The US federal gov't has tremendous credibility with most of the population.

My point is enthusiastically reiterating the OP: it's one thing to hack some nerd-gamer servers, but when you attack the infrastructure of the US (and make no mistake, that's what this was) you will come to the attention of the 'sharp, pointy' end of the bellcurve.

Good luck with that.

about a week ago
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Among Gamers, Adult Women Vastly Outnumber Teenage Boys

argStyopa Well no, not really (276 comments)

"Mental hurdle aside, the reality is that anyone who plays games, regardless of the platform, is a gamer."

Maybe a teenage boy wrote this summary, because this sort of sophomoric pedantry would be part for the course for a teenager.

Yes, according to the literal meaning of the words, a "gamer" is someone who has ever played a game. In the vernacular, however, the commonly-accepted meaning is substantially narrower than that, implying someone who is an habitual player of video games, in this context, themselves being more involved than minsweeper, solitaire, or yes, kandy krush.

about a week ago
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Professor Steve Ballmer Will Teach At Two Universities This Year

argStyopa Lesson one (179 comments)

Lesson 1: if the company executives are bigger news than the company and more importantly, its products, then you're doing something seriously wrong.

about two weeks ago
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Do Readers Absorb Less On Kindles Than On Paper? Not Necessarily

argStyopa sure until you get used to it (105 comments)

I am a bibliophile, and much prefer to read a book to my kindle.
Nonetheless, I travel a lot and a kindle is inarguably an advantage for me.
I found the kindle was terribly distracting for at least the first month, until I settled down and didn't have to think at all about using it. So I would like to see this test done with experienced users.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Would You Pay For Websites Without Trolls?

argStyopa What? (382 comments)

No, I wouldn't pay a single penny.

See, I'm reasonably mature, and if someone says something that I don't like, I can choose to ignore them or, if I feel like it, engage.

It's as simple as clicking away (or even just closing my eyes).

Of course, this post might be labeled as a 'troll' because I'm deliberately being condescending, but that's a stylistic choice to convey that I believe someone, anyone, who claims to have been hooked by a troll 'against their will' needs to fucking grow up.

about two weeks ago
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Daimler's Solution For Annoying Out-of-office Email: Delete It

argStyopa Dear Daimler (232 comments)

Dear Daimler,

You don't really seem to 'get' the value of emails. The point is that they can be processed whenever. To delete them is stupid. Essentially, by negating the time-independent aspect of email, you're reducing it to little more than a phone call in terms of utility.

I'm not sure if you noticed, but the rest of the world doesn't conform to your standards of vacation, and there are even alternate TIMEZONES in this world, so it's entirely reasonable that someone might send an email while you're not there.

I look forward to the first time a Daimler exec sends an email to someone out of the office for something important to be done when they get back from vacation.

Dumb fucks.

about two weeks ago
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The Billion-Dollar Website

argStyopa Let's be absolutely clear (194 comments)

The key takeaway from the report is that nobody will be personally held to blame for the incompetence (at best; corruption and nepotism at worst) of the process and end result.

No punishments or consequences, all around!

about two weeks ago
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Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

argStyopa Re:of course (541 comments)

First, where'd I use the word "race"?

Second, I keep hearing this "there's no genetic basis!" bullshit as if it's a fact. Are you asserting that there is no genetic basis for epicanthic folds or for melanin levels in the skin? Are you seriously saying that these characteristics are not heritable?

Because if they're heritable, there's a genetic basis for it, and (generally) vice versa.

Now, the problem with race is as much one of definition as of identification.
The human 'race' isn't like a bunch of different color legos - discrete and identifiably different. It's more like a river flowing into a fen - due to geography and history, there's a diffusion of the 'theoretical root human' into a myriad of generally-observable channels, but even THEN none of them were ever really discrete, and mixing is continual at the margins.

NEVERTHELESS, to therefore deny that there are what are generally recognized as ethnicities because of this pedantic insistence on focusing on boundary-cases is silly.

about three weeks ago
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The Benefits of Inequality

argStyopa Re:Different approaches for different situations (254 comments)

It's honestly not a bad idea, except for the 'problem of the mandarins'.

Because our society is exceptionally complex, even the role of 'managing the managers' assigned to execute tasks/policy is a major challenge, and no single person can be expected to have enough expertise to do everything.

So politicians rely on mandarins - unelected, professional bureaucrats that ostensibly just know how to push the levers and pull the strings to execute the mechanisms of government.

When a freshman politician arrives, these mandarins wield a great deal of power, as this politician is pretty much at their mercy. If there's nothing BUT 'freshmen' politicians, these bureaucrats essentially run the government. A long-service, professional politician at least has a chance of intuiting when policy is being deliberately interfered with.

Is that 'ability' to babysit the mandarins worth the permanent old boy network of back-scratching career politicos? That's really the question, isn't it?

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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What use is a Math Major? What do they do?

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  about 4 months ago

argStyopa (232550) writes "I have a college sophomore who has declared himself a Math major; what does that really mean for his future? I'm hoping Slashdotters can explain what they do in Real Life. With the rise of 'big data', and the growing importance of encryption, it appears to be a good, long-term career path. Is Math (alone) that valuable, or is it actually Math in conjunction with other fields? Math + CompSci, Math + Physics, or Math + Statistics, etc.? What sort of an internship would a not-yet-completed Math major even seek?"
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So what do I really own?

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  about 6 months ago

argStyopa (232550) writes "I had an ample collection of DVDs, CDs, etc that all were destroyed in an apartment fire. Now, as I understand, according to the MPAA/RIAA I didn't actually own that media (and was not entitled to make digital copies) but merely a permission 'license' to view/listen to it.
Now that the physical media is destroyed, does that mean I am legally within my rights to download a copy from some online source? It would seem a double-standard to assert that the 'physical media is meaningless'...unless its destroyed, at which point it means you lose your rights to what you purchased.
IANAL (and I know most of you aren't either) but I'm curious if anyone knows about established precedent in this circumstance?"
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Target also lost personal data, emails, names, addresses

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  about 7 months ago

argStyopa (232550) writes "Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel just sent out a letter advising Target customers:

Late last week, as part of our ongoing investigation, we learned that additional information, including name, mailing address, phone number or email address, was also taken. I am writing to make you aware that your name, mailing address, phone number or email address may have been taken during the intrusion.

So not only are CC# and PINs 'in the wild' but personal data as well. As the letter goes on to note: "...Here are some tips that will help protect you: Never share information with anyone over the phone, email or text, even if they claim to be someone you know or do business with. Instead, ask for a call-back number...." "Anyone" apparently including Target. I wonder if this will encourage Mr. Steinhafel to have his cashiers stop asking for email addresses etc. at the point of sale as well?"

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MN town bans domestic drones for 2 years

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  about a year and a half ago

argStyopa writes "Even small towns are beginning to resist government's creeping encroachment on its citizens: St. Bonifacius, a tiny 1-square-mile town of 2200 has taken the lead in MN, banning the use of drones for domestic information-gathering for 2 years, citing concerns to privacy and constitutional rights of US citizens. “We don’t want to exclude a lawful purpose (for use of drone technology), but we want to be aware when it happens.” Flying of a drone without a warrant will be considered a misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $5,000. (Charlotteville, Va., became the first city in the United States to pass anti-drone legislation on Jan. 28)"
Link to Original Source
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Harry Harrison dies at 87

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  about 2 years ago

argStyopa (232550) writes "Harry Harrison, famed Science Fiction author of such seminal genre series as the Deathworld Trilogy and the Stainless Steel Rat has passed away at the age of 87. He was also famed within the writing world for his friendliness and approachability, and was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Harrison's entertaining, engaging, and action-packed writing introduced many of us to a lifetime of science fiction reading. He will be missed."
Link to Original Source
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Valve's Gabe Newell slams Win8, "catastrophe"

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 2 years ago

argStyopa (232550) writes "Newell claims Win8 will force developers to migrate to Linux and argues that MS is intending to close the OS to outside vendors, much like the Xbox.. "I think that Windows 8 is kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space." Of course, Newell's Steam profits primarily from selling games to PC owners, so the idea of MS turning Win 8 into a walled-garden directly threatens his revenue stream."
Link to Original Source
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Dutch firm plans Mars Colony by 2023

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 2 years ago

argStyopa writes "Dutch firm Mars One plans for ongoing habitation on the Martian Surface by 2023, including additional crews arriving every 2 years thereafter. Intro video at http://www.youtube.com/embed/6QoEEGySGm4 is flashy, almost suggesting a pending TV show. The fact that one of their stated suppliers is SpaceX — who recently announced their Red Dragon module as a Mars-destined vehicle — might suggest that they're totally serious."
Link to Original Source
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Where to start with a game idea if you don't want to program it yourself?

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 2 years ago

(arg!)Styopa (232550) writes "I have a mobile/flash game idea, but my own programming skills are of little relevance anymore. It seems like there are already tons of extremely talented indy game studios out there that might be interested in a well-developed game idea that's not just a re-hash of Farmville. Even if I was going to freshen my code-fu and do this myself, the publishing part is ground that seems to already have been well-trod; I'd rather devote my efforts to building the game than the distribution/marketing, etc.
I'm unsure how to proceed, or even where to start? How does one pitch an idea to a developer in a serious, thorough, and convincing way yet protect ideas and IP from being Zynga'd?"
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Best Guides for a basic understanding of Practical Electricity?

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 2 years ago

(arg!)Styopa (232550) writes "Watching the interesting video (at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2oSFpKh_Uw&feature=player_embedded#!) about using old ATX powersupplies for a lab-bench powersupply, I realized that for years I've had an interest in DIY electrical experiments, but never tried them mainly out of sheer ignorance of all things electrical. Sure, I know what amps and volts, but what's the difference between +5V and -5V? 2-phase vs 3? What's a resistor, and how does it put a 'load' on a current? Why is this important?
With all the DIY tinkerers on /., can anyone suggest good books or sites for a good "grounding" (sorry) in the sorts of electrical basics that might help prevent me getting killed experimenting?"

Link to Original Source
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What rights do I have to media I "buy"?

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 2 years ago

(arg!)Styopa (232550) writes "I bought a video decades ago, and subsequently that video was corrupted/wrecked (but the original tape/box is available to provide proof of ownership, if needed). I recently got the DVD of this movie from Netflix and found that it's a direct-from-video transfer, no improvement in quality nor any 'special features' compared to the VHS tape. IANAML(bihwb) (I am not a media lawyer because I have warm blood), so could I legally burn a copy of that DVD? As I see it, if I actually owned the thing I bought, I'd be out of luck — as if I owned a book and it was destroyed. But I believe that the MPAA/RIAA asserts that buying media only allows the purchaser a right to view it, and grants no actual ownership. In this case (burning the DVD) I'm merely getting 'back' what I'd purchased...or no?"
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The world ends tomorrow?

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 3 years ago

(arg!)Styopa (232550) writes "Patch 4.0.3a — the one that will radically and irreversibly change the face of Azeroth — is now expected to drop during the usual patch downtime 11/23. Massive changes to the game are already present in code since patch 4.0.1, this patch will simply activate many of them. What's in and what isn't: http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/2086-Patch-4.0.3a-on-live-realms-this-week
Note — many of the most-awaited features (new races, archaeology, guild levels, flying in the old world, and new zones) remain locked until the release of the Cataclysm expansion slated for 12/7/2010, but this will be the patch that is expected to actually implement the world-shattering Cataclysm."

Link to Original Source
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Passport RFID security

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  about 5 years ago

Styopa (232550) writes "So I've gotten the shiny new RFID passport issued by the US gov't. The government insists it's secure. Hypothesizing that perhaps the government might not be right in this case, is there any homebuilt method of shielding it? Would carrying it wrapped in a layer of alu-foil do anything except make me look like a paranoid at the airport (not that I mind, but I don't want to do that if it's not really going to improve security significantly)? Would the gauge of foil matter? My understanding is that the passport books already include this in their covers/spine, and examining the edge, it DOES seem that there are front/back cover plates laminated in there, but I don't see anything at the spine. I'd rather not have to go buy a Faraday-case of dubious efficacy from a commercial source. Thanks for any advice /. can offer."
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Is more knowledge really a good thing?

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 5 years ago

(arg!)Styopa (232550) writes "Seeing the recent Slashvertisment for twitter (How to supplement election coverage http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/11/01/2141228), that got me thinking — are we past the point of value in terms of information flow?

Understand, this would be a serious paradigm shift. Personally, I've lived my whole life with the concept that 'more information is better' — with admittedly a patronizing opinion of people who didn't have the same view. "You mean you DON'T know about (insert world event)?!?" "What do you mean, you don't care about (desperate current issue)?!?" The idea that we may have reached a point where more information is a negative thing, that's simply anathema to one of my core beliefs.

I'm even having trouble writing this, conceptualizing a world where there is some sort of limit on the knowledge I want to have. Does anyone else feel this way?

Reading a newspaper every day — what does that get me? Checking web news reports multiple times a day, 24-hour news feeds from TV, all of that devoted to burying the public under more and more news coverage...for what purpose? Aside from a general understanding of the world around us which one could get from a weekly newspaper, or even a monthly magazine, is there really a benefit? I'm not saying that I prefer my news edited, digested, and mashed into consumer-ready pap — not at all. But I can get by sufficiently for my daily life without the bombardment — an occasional, general summary is probably enough.

I certainly believe that having the information AVAILABLE is a good thing. If I had family members in some crisis area of the world, or ran a company whose interests were directly affected by some obscure events, I'd like to be able to delve into the data in as much detail as possible. But the firehose for the general public? Not so much. In the same sense that we all get by with a general weather forecast for the day, we'd be uselessly overwhelmed if we got new full reports with temperature, wind, barometer, and weather every 10 seconds.

I grew up in a rural Minnesota farm town, where most of the people followed world events but didn't care too much about them. A war? Sure, some boys would go off and wouldn't come back, and that would be tragic. Without a war, probably a similar number of teens would die in equally-tragic drunk-driving accidents. A big crash on Wall Street? Meh, interest rates will tighten, crop prices will continue to go up or down. Politics? Ha, no matter who wins, taxes will go up.

I don't WANT my election coverage supplemented. Why would I? I'll vote how I vote, I don't particularly care how my neighbors vote, and the result is whatever it's going to be. Why watch with bated breath to see people make meaningless prognostications JUST so they can get my eyeballs to sell more advertising?

For that matter, it's not just an academic question. Would the housing crisis have been as bad if people only heard about it once per week instead of a constant tocsin of impending, inevitable doom?

As a kid, I used to look at the farmers and adult townspeople in my town as irredeemable hicks, that they didn't care about politics, world events, or much outside their locality. Now, especially when I see the vitriol and energy people are putting into a political contest which will really have only a trivial impact on how this country actually runs either way, I'm starting to wonder if perhaps those irredeemable hicks had a good idea: pay attention only to what you need to, and don't waste energy on stuff that you really can't change anyway."
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DTV is coming...I'm not ready.

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 6 years ago

(arg!)Styopa (232550) writes "As an 'early adopter', I have an HDTV-ready set WITHOUT an integrated tuner. Now the airwaves are full of voiced proclaiming the end of analog television next February. My suspicion is that the $40 set-top box at Walmart is the minimum functional to get by — ie. simply a digital-to-analog converter, and NOT an HDTV receiver.

Something like 2-3 years ago, I plunked down the money for a nice UHF superantenna (I'm about 40 mi from the towers, so not-quite-but-almost fringe reception) and searched for a HDTV converter to pull down HDTV OTA broadcasts. They were EXTREMELY hard to find — none at Radio Shack, Best Buy, Ciruit City, or Ultimate Electronics (all the local bigboxen).

I ended up buying a SIRT150 from ebay which never showed receiving a signal, despite confirmed reception (on the set's normal tuner) of both VHF and UHF channels.

So, now — any advice from the brilliant crowd at /. on what to look for in a set top box? Are they easier than they were to find, with the upcoming signal switch? Is it going to cost me an arm and a leg, or is it somewhere near the $40 Walmart special. Will Uncle Sam's $40 coupons count towards it?

I'd like very much to be able to find a physical store where I could go see the signal, before I decide if the HD signal is worth the upcharge, if any, over simple DTV.
Thanks!"
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Paradox to offer Europa Engine....free ?

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 6 years ago

(arg!)Styopa (232550) writes "From their press release: "New York, USA (April 25, 2008) — Paradox Interactive today announced a unique agreement with leading PC download portal GamersGate to release its "Europa" engine to the gaming community worldwide. The "Europa" engine has been the basis of many award-winning games like the Hearts of Iron series and Europa Universalis II and has been the focus of significant financial investments over the years.

In an unprecedented deal, GamersGate will make room for these indie-developed products on the digital distribution platform and offer each team or individual the same financial deal given to established publishers on the platform.

"Through GamersGate, creative gamers worldwide will be given access to a development tool that will allow them to fulfill their game developer ambitions while getting access to a global distribution network without the costs and risks that are normally involved in game development and distribution, said CEO of Paradox Interactive Theodore Bergquist.

While Paradox Interactive plans to set a few minimum criteria, anyone interested will get a shot at using the technique to develop games and then sell them on GamersGate.

"This initiative is a way for us to give back to the gaming community by facilitating for game developers to turn their hobbies into lucrative projects, continued Mr Bergquist. "

The title of the press release is "Free engine for gamers released!" so presumably the code is available free, but commercial development of the products of the engine requires one to go through GG and probably some sort of license fee to Paradox if it sells."

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argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 7 years ago

(arg!)Styopa writes "I'm curious what the current conventional wisdom is from the /. crowd about wiring a home for phone/data/sound. A previous /. post had once suggested PVC conduit for cable runs, accepting that obsolesence is inevitable and subsequent cable pulling should be as easy as possible, and we're probably going to do that. However, as I can see it, essentially we're going to have phone, data, and speaker-wire networks essentially running all the same places — could we conceivably use a single cable (Cat 5e?) and pull pairs for each various use? Or would phone traffic (it has a small voltage) induce noise in the data/stereo lines? Could a single pair of ethernet wires serve as speaker wires? For now, we're going to have a simple stereo pumping sound, but I can obviously see convergence with a home media system eventually, serving music to various rooms. I'm a novice, but I have the help of an experienced phone tech, although neither of us knows much about installing data cables beyond attaching connectors. Any recommended resources? Thanks"

Journals

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Maundering

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 5 years ago

So, there really is a journal function?
It'd be more useful if this would dovetail with a blog like facebook. If someone is such a narcissist that they think people care about their opinions, might as well keep it to a minimum and focused?

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