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Comments

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Could You Pass Harvard's Entrance Exam From 1869?

azaris Re:Agreed (741 comments)

I admit, I struggled a bit with the polynomials as I don't work much with them anymore, I still don't see any direct application for them even after years of working in scientific computing. Therefore, I see them as a graduation test only, meaning "If we can force you to learn this, then we can force you to learn anything.".

Just for that you fail the exam.

more than 3 years ago
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Swiss Bank Has 43-Page Dress Code

azaris Perhaps it's targeted at the guys (212 comments)

I recently opened an account in UBS and I must say, the female staff were all dressed in rather stylish form-fitting pantsuits. In comparison their male counterparts looked decidedly more homely. I wonder if this policy has not been introduced to bring some equality between the sexes.

more than 3 years ago
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Graduate Students Being Warned Away From Leaked Cables

azaris Re:Guilty much? (685 comments)

I think the point the GP was making was that, yes the US military can instantly and overwhelmingly wipe out any civil resistance. However that is entirely dependent on said soldiers of the US military actually following those orders. If there was a civil insurrection, there is a real possibility that soldiers would simply refuse to open fire on civilians and also possible that they would simply join them.

Doesn't happen much, does it?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson_State_killings

more than 3 years ago
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The Luck of the Irish Runs Out

azaris Re:People would protest against raising corp. tax (809 comments)

Look, left-wing parties are likely to do well in our next election, but no-one sensible here, left or right, wants to raise the corporation tax rate. These companies provide our jobs.

If a raise would be announced, ordinary people here would really start to protest.

Ireland is not the US, where lower-middle class working people will protest on the streets saying that Mario Antoinette should have more cake.

more than 3 years ago
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FPS Games That Need a Remake

azaris Re:please don't (518 comments)

I think he was referring to the "Press X to duck behind this crate. Press Y to shoot your opponent. Wait 5 seconds to heal fully from any and all damage you've taken. Watch a five minute cutscene" type gameplay that passes for console FPS.

more than 3 years ago
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Developing StarCraft 2 Build Orders With Genetic Algorithms

azaris Re:On the subject of games (200 comments)

I'd like to see a game that isn't a click-fest, but still would offer some action and nice visuals. Something with the gameplay involving giving orders to partially autonomous troops. After giving orders, you could watch and see how they fare and perhaps give some further orders, maybe with some possible penalty incurred for breaking radio silence. Or in the setting of a Total War type of game, there could be a limited number messengers who would take time to reach the troops and even have a chance to fail in delivering your orders.

Scourge of War: Gettysburg and its predecessors Take Command: 2nd Manassas and Take Command: Bull Run pretty much work that way. The graphics are dated (think Medieval: TW quality) but functional enough, the gameplay fairly slow and meticulous. Most battles start with 5-20 minutes of maneuvering into attack positions, after which you order your divisions/brigades their set targets and watch them march into the fray. If and when things start looking bad you start to micromanage individual batteries and regiments. That's when it gets really hectic and interesting. Or you can play Empire: TW and watch the beautifully rendered but historically ridiculously inaccruate soldiers run up and down mountains on a tiny battlefield while being bombarded by overpowered artillery.

more than 3 years ago
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Astonishing Speedup In Solving Linear SDD Systems

azaris Sounds like multigrid (157 comments)

Multigrid is theoretically O(s), so I don't immediately see how this is such a huge leap. Of course the actual complexity also depends on the problem and the implementation. Maybe their method.is applicaple to a wider variety of problems.

Also, the "iterated sparsifying" sounds a lot like algebraic multigrid.

more than 3 years ago
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Online Shopping May Actually Increase Pollution

azaris Re:Watch this be used... (410 comments)

Why is this a troll?

Because anyone who points out that modern greens have abandoned real convervationism for made-up issues like CO2 "pollution" gets modded a troll on /. nowadays.

more than 3 years ago
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BioWare's Star Wars MMO To Have Space Combat

azaris Worked really well in XWvTF multiplayer (122 comments)

Dozens of identical TIE advanceds circling around in one big furball, desparately trying to get on each others' tails for minutes on end. No skill needed. Just lean on the stick and twitch the trigger whenever you see a craft flash past your sights.

No thanks.

about 4 years ago
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Spore-Inspired Action RPG Darkspore Announced

azaris Re:Not an RPG (86 comments)

Seriously guys, we're limited by the technology. There's a reason CRPGs and JRPGs are what they are -- it's just not feasible to make the kind of experiences you are asking for. Consider Mass Effect or Dragon Age, games that have hundreds of thousands of pages of text. Even they feel "railroady" at times. You can't join the villain, after all, because they didn't have an extra 5 years to write, script, draw, program, etc that scenario and the 500 sub-scenarios involved.

That's the problem with modern games. They assume the player needs to be inundated with pages upon pages of mediocre fantasy guff to keep them engrossed in what is otherwise a plastic and unconvincing game world that has an economy entirely run on monster loot.

Make the game world logical if not realistic, fill it with NPCs that act like you would expect them to, and allow the PCs to act in meaningful ways with them. The players imagination can fill in the gaps and come up with a great story. Darklands might play like a multiple choice quiz at times, but it did this nearly two decades ago.

about 4 years ago
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Spore-Inspired Action RPG Darkspore Announced

azaris Re:Not an RPG (86 comments)

RPG nowadays means: Follow pre-scripted whiny one-dimensional stereotypes run around cliched worlds fulfilling repetitive fetch quests while having a tenuous chance at actually changing the course of events at one or two specific points in the plot.

about 4 years ago
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UK Home Office Set To Scrap National ID Cards

azaris Re:Trying to grip the issues involved... (334 comments)

I Finland everyone has a national identification number.

So am I living in some socialist police state, or is it just a matter of what kind of government implements this kind of a scheme?

Finland is one of those countries that could be turned into a police state if TPTB were more motivated towards evil and if the national spirit was a bit different. Off the top of my head, we've recently had:

  • Police raiding people who grow chili peppers in their homes because they bought too much irrigation equipment from the store and looked sufficiently suspicious.
  • Foreign-looking people in a popular nightclub getting rounded up until they can produce evidence they are in the country legally.
  • Internet-blocking software that randomly blocks you, telling you you're visiting "child pr0n websites" when you for example try to visit a site describing the problems in said filter. And maintaining a site for anonymous reporting of "Internet crime", apart from child abuse material, which is to be submitted to a private advocacy organization (who are accountable to no one) for processing.
  • Deanonymizing people and dragging them into court for gossiping about a woman who had an affair with the prime minister.
  • Convicting people of blasphemy for pointing out historical facts about Islam that are embarrassing to followers of said faith.

more than 4 years ago
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Civilization V To Use Steamworks

azaris Re:Sid Meier, deity ; ). (295 comments)

In CIV the player turns are concurrent (turn-based WEGO). It works pretty well, although if you're used to strict turn-based IGOUGO in single-player the combat will throw you off a bit.

more than 4 years ago
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Second Inquiry Exonerates Climatic Research Unit

azaris Re:Get back to me... (764 comments)

Back already!

Seriously, read the article. Yeah, I must be new here. Sure the panel contains some climate scientists. It would be a bit dumb not to. It also contains a statistician and a physicist.

But now I've just spoiled your latest notion, you'll have to find another bogus reason to disbelieve it.

Two unbelievers out of seven do not matter when you read the report. It's only nine pages long. It flat out says they are not interested in discussing whether the science is sound. They spend more paragraphs castigating AGW critics than they do the deplorable conduct evidenced by the CRU emails. My favorite part is the one where they state that more advanced statistical methods would probably not have improved the results, while at the same time suggesting more advanced statistical methods be used next time. So the purpose of using better statistics for the panel is not to obtain more certain results, but simply to obtain a more credible facade for the spaghetti reconstructions the climatologists love so much.

more than 4 years ago
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Second Inquiry Exonerates Climatic Research Unit

azaris Get back to me... (764 comments)

...when they're exonerated by a panel of scientists who are NOT connected to renewable energy sources, environmentalist groups, conservation movements, carbon trading etc. That is to say, physicists, statisticians, and real mathematical modellers. In general people who are not doing science because it suits the environmental fancy they picked up in the 1980s and who are not willing to overlook glaring problems with their results (like a disappearing medieval warm period) simply because the results confirm their preconceived notion of impending catastrophe.

more than 4 years ago
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Cleaner Air Could Speed Global Warming

azaris Climate alarmism in action (344 comments)

Let's play climate alarmist bullshit bingo:

"If we continue to cut back on smoke pouring forth from industrial smokestacks, the increase in global warming could be profound," Kintisch writes in an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times. Kintisch isn't talking about greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide; he's talking about another kind of pollutant we put in the sky -- "like aerosols from a spray can," he tells NPR's Guy Raz. "It turns out that those particles have a profound effect on maintaining the planet's temperature." Greenhouse gases and aerosol pollutants work in opposing ways on the Earth's climate, Kintisch explains. "The greenhouse gases warm the planet when they're emitted, because they absorb heat reflected up from the ground -- the greenhouse effect. These aerosols, though, do the opposite. They block sunlight, they make clouds more reflective -- and by doing that, they actually cool the planet. "The problem is that we're cutting the cooling pollution as we make our air cleaner," he says. Some scientists, he says, are confident that this is connected to global warming, but they don't know how large the effect is. "That's the frightening thing, because if it's a big cooling effect, it means that we've been actually warming the planet more than we know," Kintisch says. "As we take away that unexpectedly helpful cooling mask, we're going to be facing more global warming than we expected.

BINGO!

more than 4 years ago
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China's Research Ambitions Hurt By Faked Results

azaris Re:Ever done business in China? (338 comments)

OTOH, the Chinese classic - the "Tao teh Ching" positively prohibits cunning and urges people to stop being too smart. It also talks about how the government should never interfere with the people and never to make too much of a commotion about anything.

I never knew Ayn Rand plagiarized her screed from the ancient Chinese.

more than 4 years ago
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Warhammer Online Users Repeatedly Overbilled

azaris Re:Insane (216 comments)

The key part was "Of all the ways they could screw up". And for many, not being able to buy groceries for 2 weeks is pretty damned bad.

I suppose they could have accidentally mailed fliers laced with ricin and DMSO, but that's a bit of a stretch.

Yeah, only Ubisoft does that to their customers.

more than 4 years ago
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Twins' DNA Foils Police

azaris Just goes to show (209 comments)

DNA by itself should never be used as the sole evidence to convict someone. It can be a useful indicator for finding suspects, but there always needs to be more direct evidence to provide a conviction. It is not just that people who don't have twins can be convicted solely based on DNA evidence, while people who do have twins cannot because of the possibility of convicting an innocent person. And that is not even going into DNA collisions or tainted samples.

more than 4 years ago
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China To Tap Combustible Ice As New Energy Source

azaris Re:well yeah, (185 comments)

"Does the resulting CO2 from burning methane contribute less to greenhouse effect then the pure methane?"

Very much so. It really is a win win.

Except that the water vapor released is an even more potent greenhouse gas. The catastrophic AGW scenario of CO2 is entirely dependent on the greenhouse effect caused by water vapor that is accelerated by CO2 induced warming, not by the greenhouse effect caused by CO2 alone. Depending on who you ask, the increase of water vapor will either accelerate the warming or stop it due to the extra cloud formation blocking the radiation.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Two Racing Games Vanish from Digital Distribution

azaris azaris writes  |  about 5 years ago

azaris (699901) writes "Books mysteriously disappearing from Kindle isn't the only downfall of digital distribution and the ability of publishers to withdraw content licenses at a whim. Codemasters series of racing games include TOCA Race Driver 3 and Colin McRae Rally 2005, and now these two games are having their licenses expiring. This means that people who bought these games as digital downloads also stand to lose their ability to download and install said games.

Typically racing games featuring real-life teams and drivers need to license their likeness from an official body, and it seems like Codemasters aren't bothering to renew their licenses for these two games. This means they also have to pull the games from sale. Digital game distributor GOG.com have announced they will pull the downloads of these two games from customers who have purchased them, but at least they aren't remotely deleting existing game installations. An interesting question is, how would a digital game distributor with more stringent DRM handle this kind of situation?"
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Google Book Search Reaches Settlement Agreement

azaris azaris writes  |  more than 5 years ago

azaris (699901) writes "A class-action lawsuit filed against Google Books has been settled. According to the details released by Google, once the agreement has been approved it will be possible to purchase full online access to millions of books through the service. Institutional subscriptions are also made available. The good news is that out-of-print books will become available for purchasing by default, unless the author/rights holder decides to opt out.

Unfortunately the settlement affects U.S. users only, so international Books users are out of luck for now."

Journals

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You call this "Insightful"?

azaris azaris writes  |  more than 9 years ago

If you happen to read my posting history, you might notice I'm not big on the whole /. groupthink phenomenon. But hey, one can always skip the M$/Linux/Mac articles since they're bound to be full of inflammatory tripe and lame putdowns, right?

What annoys me is when otherwise interesting stories are ruined by inept moderating. Take for example this story. Now, I've done some investment analysis and trading as a hobby so I'm more then willing to chip in some insightful comments on topics such as this. The problem? Before the people who know what they're saying have thought out and composed their posts, the thread is full of stupid crap that gets moderated to +4 or +5 based on groupthink and tired stereotypes. Just look at all the tripe that got moderated up in this story:

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=118635&cid=10020259 http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=118635&cid=10019409 http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=118635&cid=10019417 http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=118635&cid=10019575 http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=118635&cid=10024789 http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=118635&cid=10019551 http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=118635&cid=10019443

Even worse, once the corrections and actually insightful posts come out, most of the moderation seems to have already happens and many interesting posts end up languishing at 0 or +1. Just look at these examples:

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=118635&cid=10020834 http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=118635&cid=10020802 http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=118635&cid=10022885 http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=118635&cid=10020193

As a workaround, I employ Friends and Foes quite liberally as means of self-moderation. Anyone posting clever and original stuff will probably make it to my Friends list, and anyone who posts tired cliches and shallow rethoric probably ends up on my Foes list. That still misses the occasional insighful AC post but at least I catch the naysayers who frequently post good stuff under a certain topic but who never get modded up or get ran over by the slashbots.

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