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Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

bluefoxlucid Re:Good news (412 comments)

If you ever look at interviews or post-war writings by historical figures when their diaries are also available, you'll find a huge disconnect in perception. During the war, you get "nobody saw this happening" and "it's all winding down now, and will be blown over in a few days"; after the war, you get "everyone was on-edge with the thickening tensions in the air" and "the end was nowhere in sight, and we were desperately afraid it would go on forever." People remember a completely different narrative.

2 days ago
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Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

bluefoxlucid Re:Good news (412 comments)

You know what I mean. What is the word for a play done on the screen, instead of live on stage?

2 days ago
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Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

bluefoxlucid Re:Yes. (638 comments)

Actually, all the money spent on welfare, plus about $100bn (not very much), amounts to $7,125 per person per year in 2012. The rough growth is 3.5% per year or something crazy (total amount of personal income increases by roughly 3.5% per year), so estimate $7900 in 2015, or $658/mo in 2015 for each natural-born, resident, American citizen over the age of 18.

Even at over $1/sqft (I paid less than $1/sqft to rent an apartment), a livable, 224sqft apartment can sell for $300/mo, leaving $358/mo for food, utilities (heating 224sqft isn't hard--I heated my living space for $60/mo for 4 years), soap, toothpaste, clothing, and the like.

By using a dedicated flat tax replacing OASDI, we tie it to total income: regardless of wages, operating costs, or price dynamics, we get the same money. If businesses automate and don't lower prices, they make a bigger profit (not paying labor), and the dividend increases by that proportion (10% more profit means 10% more in the dividend); if wages increase, profits slim down, and the rich come closer to the income of the middle class, we're taxing the middle class same as the rich to fund the dividend. No matter what the shape of the economic situation, we get the same amount of money.

$1.28 trillion comes out of the federal budget, and an extra $0.34 trillion imagined from the state's welfare budget. I actually leave that up to the states: there will be less need, therefor they can slim their welfare programs, possibly even eliminate them; but I'm against mandating anything in that regard. $1.62 trillion total in 2012, $1.72 trillion was what I estimated as a minimum; and the current situation probably changes the numbers a bit, such that we can implement a somewhat smaller tax and reach the same market situation (I haven't examined this yet, but it's a distinct possibility).

The total tax difference is some 3% in the worst case, and that's unbalanced; I can get it down to 1% by adjusting the base income tax brackets (which are slashed in half, mostly), and the worst case falls on the high-income earners. The current public disposition is a 50% or greater tax, rather than a 39.6% tax, on this class; I propose a 40%-42% tax, only if necessary to meet my end goals, which is vastly smaller.

It works. It makes the poor and unemployed a continuous profit source, creating a market opportunity to support them and become very rich in the process. It has a 15-year transition plan for social security (after which current retirees are grandfathered), and a risk control in that it doesn't decree the dissolution of state welfare (which largely drops state welfare costs, but leaves states room to catch my miscalculations and implement some sort of food security for large, unemployed families--a thing that shouldn't exist, but the world is a shit hole). It encourages work by continuing to pay out the same monthly dollar amount whether you sit at home watching TV or go CEO for a major oil company making billions of dollars.

Of all the UBI plans out there, mine is the only viable one. The idea is not new, but it's so newly integrated into the political mindset that people treat it like a secret sauce you can pour on top to make everything better. It's a very dangerous and volatile concept, and *will* destroy the economy if implemented incorrectly. I need people to catch up so they can suggest improvements, instead of "hey let's give everyone $20k/year and pay them $5k/year for each kid they have!" stupidity that will only lead to hyperinflation and a Reichmark economy.

2 days ago
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Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

bluefoxlucid Re:Good news (412 comments)

It's a demonstration of someone who thought the acting in the screenplay for Rocky Horror Picture Show was vastly superior to the acting in Avengers, and who has watched books get criticism for "unrealistic characters" who act uncannily like real human beings put under extreme stress.

2 days ago
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Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

bluefoxlucid Re:Good news (412 comments)

The difference is whether they're written from George Lucas's ideas of what's actually in the universe and how to construct a story about that, or some fan fiction writer's basement hentai word docs that he's cleaned up now that he's gotten hired to sit in for Uwe Boll. Is it Star Wars, as good or bad as it's going to be; or "random shit we made up and wrote 'Star Wars' on"?

2 days ago
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Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

bluefoxlucid Re:Good news (412 comments)

Yeah uh, the Jedi lived on ceremony, so didn't do shit like any rational human being. Obi-Wan let Anakin burn because it would be "of the dark side" for him to kill Anakin and put him out of his misery. This is the same reason Ben Carson talks about the world being 6000 years old and Homosexuality being a form of bestiality.

People aren't rational when given emotional conflicts. In your perception, the moment you backhand a woman, she realizes you are abusive and leaves; in reality, if you beat your woman regularly, she will be convinced you are a great guy and just things sometimes get a little out of hand, and maybe it's her fault, and she should defend you when people talk bad about you because they just don't understand. That's how people work.

Normal human beings are very broken.

2 days ago
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Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

bluefoxlucid Re:Good news (412 comments)

It obviously won't really be Star Wars; it won't be the story Lucas wants to tell, and will instead be some sort of mass Hollywood shoveled shit designed to appeal to the modal average and draw in dollars.

Lucas did an okay job with the prequels. Arguably, he did too good of a job: the players are all too human, and Jar-Jar is too fluid and well-executed for the movie. It clashes with expectations: people want textbook epic heroes and villains played the way modern, bland actors portray them, not complex human characters thrust into an epic fantasy.

2 days ago
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New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed

bluefoxlucid Re:Can somebody clarify? (176 comments)

Nicotine is one of the most toxic substances available to the average person. It makes you much more susceptible to various cancers, organ damage, neurological damage, and so on. Alcohol does the same when consumed in high quantities, but has almost no negative effects in moderate consumption.

Cigarettes also make you stink like shit.

2 days ago
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New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed

bluefoxlucid Re:Required vaccine? (176 comments)

That's the problem with becoming dependant on a behavior that you want to prevent.

I keep arguing for a flat tax to fund a Citizen's Dividend; while the Universal Basic Income guys largely want carbon taxes or wealth taxes, so as to not tax the poor. I tell them, what do you do when there is no longer an enormous gap between rich and poor? Tax the rich even more? What do you do when we switch to nuclear solar power? Let the poor starve? My system fails if and only if the entire economy fails: it skims a bit off the top of all income, and it doesn't matter who is receiving that income or for what.

What do you do about all the lost ticket revenue when you stop having traffic violations? How do police react when they lose the ability to use a traffic stop as an excuse to find drugs in cars?

You stop doing those things and start being honest. I just went to a hearing to argue for the elimination of fines for wrong-way parking on one-lane, two-way, residential side streets. These are those roads with parking on both sides, where you pull off the road if another car approaches from the opposite direction. You do not cross oncoming traffic to park on the left; you are always driving in the lane which carries oncoming traffic. I outlined all of the safety issues caused by right-side parking, all of the legal-but-unsafe maneuvers encouraged by right-side-only parking, and all of the reasons why the safety issue of parking on the left side of the street does not apply to one-lane street; but, most of all, I pointed out that many families in these areas cannot afford a $32 fine (literally: I've had people indebted to me for $20 because they could not survive without it, scraping for months to get it back to me), and that this just gives imperative to learn to shoplift, deal drugs, or engage in prostitution.

Fines terrify poor people. Fines create poverty. Fines encourage crime. You instill fines in poor neighborhoods where you want to control severely-detrimental behaviors; imprisonment works on the upper classes, since fines are cheap. I still advocate beatings for petty crime, because I don't believe someone shoplifting a few cans of Campbell's Soup warrants 30-90 days in jail--which is practically a death sentence, since they come out thousands of dollars behind, fired from their job, evicted from their home, and with no hope of getting back on their feet. Cane them a few times and send them home. If they're desperately hungry, they're going to steal food no matter what you do, so lowering or raising the punishment bar isn't going to change anything; most college frat jackasses, however, will quickly realize they dislike ass whoopings more than they dislike not having DVDs, so there's no reason to go straight to destroying their lives over a $15 copy of Avengers and two cans of Pringles.

How do you fund roads with a gas tax when cars become more fuel efficient and eventually switch to electricity (often generated at home with solar panels)?

The electricity needed to power your car is nearly your home's entire electricity usage. You'd spend more on the charging array than you would on the car itself. I estimated $3.16 to charge a full 300 miles (my car runs 300 miles on a tank and gets filled 2-3 times per month), but some old man with a Tesla told me he pays about $4-$4.15 per full charge. (I use about 300-500kWh of electricity, and usually pay more in customer fees and transmission fees than I do for actual usage: $15/mo each for Electricity and Gas customer fee, plus as much for transmission as the cost of the actual electricity.)

It makes much more sense to take transit tax as income tax, really.

2 days ago
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New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed

bluefoxlucid Re:Heroine vaccine? (176 comments)

We already have opium antagonists.

2 days ago
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New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed

bluefoxlucid Re:Why would you want this? (176 comments)

Nicotine isn't very addictive. Non-nicotine cigarettes create heavy cravings. The solution to smoking is cognitive behavioral therapy targeting the oral fixation; restricted environment sensation therapy helps a bunch, too.

2 days ago
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Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

bluefoxlucid Re:unfortunately, it probably assumes (638 comments)

I assume a lot of human greed, minimal to no ability to raise taxes, problems in transition, large inherent long-term risks, and a restriction largely to the same budget. There are a lot of risk controls involved, and transitional phasing both to control risk and to uphold existing social contracts within reason. It's mostly a patch to make Capitalism work properly, since it's by default as broken as Marxism: just make providing basic needs to the poor a huge profit motive.

2 days ago
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Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

bluefoxlucid Re:its a tough subject (638 comments)

The specific example may have been wrong; but that wasn't the point.

If you start banging some girl and you never discuss a relationship, but she behaves in a way that suggests she expects monogamy, you have accepted the social contract of monogamy. It's what's reasonably expected and understood, given the tone of the relationship. Technically not having discussed or agreed to it doesn't really matter when you've entered a situation where the reasonable expectation exists. Notice this is a very fuzzy situation and carries a lot of "you'd notice if you weren't retarded" going on in there; and, by the same token, you should be able to recognize a situation where no such social contract is expected, without being told.

Welcome to society! It's a mess of insanity, and somehow works.

2 days ago
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Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

bluefoxlucid Re:No way! (506 comments)

Common sense is dropping the Federal student loan program, Federal college assistance programs, and free Federal college education plans, and focusing on improved K-12 education. Then, when the businesses come crying that they have to pay high salaries and have other businesses sniping their labor, tell them to attend their social responsibility and train entrants into skilled professionals.

But we won't do that, no. We want to perpetuate the wild fantasy that the responsibility of job training should be dumped on the shoulders of the individual, that this carries no risk, and that it helps the poor and the minorities gain upwards mobility. Far be it for us to realize the poor have to take speculative risks they can neither compute nor handle falling through, and that businesses would otherwise have to hire job entrants and train them for the positions they know they're expanding--at little risk to the business.

College education should be left to the responsibility of the market, where it will fall on the shoulders of businesses. H1-B allotment should be based on measured job demand, not available labor. Nobody in America *wants* to be a farmer, and their average tenure is weeks? You can hire 200,000 Mexicans, then. Everyone wants to get into IT, but hasn't been through college? Well. You have all these people who want to work. Send some of them to college; we're not giving you H1-Bs to hire Indians when you have all these Americans begging you to teach them and employ them.

It's the most efficient and effective way to build a strong, educated labor force. Our current method gives us low salaries, tons of student debt, and 74% of STEM degree holders working at McDonalds next to the Liberal Arts majors.

2 days ago
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Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

bluefoxlucid Re:its a tough subject (638 comments)

You can overwhelm someone's immunity to a disease by high exposure. HIV is present in saliva, sweat, and other bodily fluids; but you need some 10,000 virons transmitted into the blood to overwhelm the immune system and establish an infection. Sexual and blood contact can transfer a hell of a lot more virons than kissing.

2 days ago
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Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

bluefoxlucid Re:its a tough subject (638 comments)

Contracts are not things you sign. Things you say and things which are reasonably assumed are legally binding as contractual.

2 days ago
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Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

bluefoxlucid Re:its a tough subject (638 comments)

Disney is not the only employer in the world.

2 days ago
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Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

bluefoxlucid Re:its a tough subject (638 comments)

Disney is a government. They have their own police force and governing body controlling the surrounding municipal area.

2 days ago
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Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

bluefoxlucid Re:Yes. (638 comments)

Our welfare system is broken. I designed a much better one in a week that solves poverty for roughly the same cost.

2 days ago

Submissions

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Why don't all consumer motherboards use SODIMMs?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about two weeks ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "I have an extra SODIMM from upgrading a Mini-ITX, which could go into a DDR3 laptop; I also have an extra 8GB DDR3 DIMM, which can go into a desktop. As far as I can tell, they have the same timing, speed, heat concerns, capacities, and cost. Standardizing SODIMMs would make the market demand easier to predict, stabilizing supply-side risk and reducing costs to manufacturers. SODIMMs on desktop boards would reduce space usage, allowing for more slots or bigger on-board feature chipsets. Why don't desktops use SODIMMs rather than DIMMs?"
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US Currency Finally Achieves Universal Suffrage

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about 10 months ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "On April 2, precisely one day later than expected, SCOTUS voted 5-4 to eliminate the cap on individual donors political campaign contributions, finally granting universal suffrage to US currency. "Now, at long last, all U.S. money has a voice in Washington—a strong, loud, clear voice that can no longer be suppressed or silenced by anyone.”"
Link to Original Source
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Retro-Bit's Retro Duo: Is It Worth Game Developers' Time?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about 10 months ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Retro-Bit is serious about conquering the living room: the American technology firm has launched Retro Duo, a gaming console that not only allows 16-bit game play, but also 8-bit. That 8-and-16-bit capability makes Retro-Bit a threat to Nintendo, which rumors suggest is hard at work on a software implementation capable of doing the same things. In addition, Retro Duo puts the screws to other gaming hardware, including Sony and Microsoft's PS3 and XBOne, as well as smaller game consoles such as Ouya (a $99, Android-based device). Much of Retro-Bit's competitive muscle comes from its willingness to sell hardware for cheap (the Retro-Duo retails for $35) on the expectation that owners will use it to enjoy time with and without their friends, ultimately garnering further sales. Those players who've grown a library of NES and SNES games have an advantage when it comes to migrating software to Retro-Bit's new platform. While Retro Duo could represent yet another opportunity for game developers looking to make a buck, it also raises a pressing question: with so many platforms out there (iOS, PC, etc.), how's an indie developer or smaller firm supposed to allocate time and resources to cartridge manufacture?"
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Speed reading apps for ebooks?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about 10 months ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Speed reading has matured into technological solutions. Rapid Serial Visual Presentation, or RSVP, provides faster reading than the manual finger-following method, with retention on par with standard reading at 250 words per minute. Research shows most people can start at 400WPM, and reach 800WPM in an hour; and further advancements used in products such as Spritz and Sprint Reader claim 1000-1800 words per minute when practiced by offsetting and context pausing.

Thus far I have not found any software to read ebooks with these methods. Are there any open source applications, Nook or Kindle Fire applications, or otherwise to read ePub or Mobi or Kindle books via RSVP?"
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Should we research new kinds of nuclear bombs?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "The Orion Drive never got off the ground primarily because, essentially, blowing up a lot of nuclear material in atmosphere is a bad idea. That means a new kind of nuclear bomb--for example, clean-pumped fusion that uses a non-fissile source to initiate chain reaction hydrogen fusion into helium with only neutrino output and no ionizing radiation or fall-out--would provide a great enabler for space flight. Unfortunately, such an awesome bomb would also provide great opportunity for military uses--and associated politics. Infinitely scalable (notably smaller) nukes with no fall-out are just conventional bombs, right? Is the promise of effective launch and space flight worth the bitter in-fighting at the UN table that would occur just for implying new research into new nukes, as well as the moral implications of greater, more deadly warfare?"
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Why are there no open printers?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "With Printer Steganography, we can trace any document printed on a modern color laser printer back to its printer. This is because the serial number and time of printing are encoded into the document as a series of small, yellow dots scattered about. With all the concerns about privacy flying about, we must ask the question: why no open printers? These could have multiple, RepRapable adapters for various manufacturers' drums and cartridges, avoiding the need to become an ink or toner supplier. They could also run Linux, BSD, or Minix internally, with a replaceable, open source OS. The implications of adaptability to various toner and ink cartridges is also interesting, especially for inkjets: a color inkjet that could select for Lexmark or hp cartridges with a cheap carriage replacement would foster price competition."
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Why no 5.25 inch hard drives?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Back in the day when you kids weren't all up in my lawn, we had "Bigfoot" style hard drives--5.25" form factor hard drives. A 5.25" circular platter would be 2.25 times as big as a 3.25". The actual platters are smaller, making the difference less striking; but then there's a spindle in the middle too, cutting away at the space on a 3.25" but not diminishing the extra space added by widening the total diameter. With Seagate getting 1TB per platter and drives hanging in bays with plenty of space around them in all but the smallest form factors, why aren't we running 5.25" hard drives and doubling the disk size?"
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Account of LAPD protestor's arrest

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "There is now this account of Patrick Meighan's arrest in LA. The LAPD were brutal and abusive. Protestors were held without bail--bail was set, but not accepted, and there was no access given to legal council. Physical violence was used by police to provoke reflexive reactions to pain, which was then reacted to with more violence. I must be missing something here, because the police seem to find peaceful protesters more dangerous than rapists and murderers."
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JP Morgan Calls In a Bribe

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Well, it seems that JPMorgan threw $4.6M at the NYPD recently. In other news, the NYPD has arrested 700 people who were annoying JPMorgan. Just for the record, these people were blocking traffic and engaging in other dangerous stupidity on the Brooklyn Bridge; but also for the record, it seems the police guided them out there, then arrested them en masse. Most of these people got citations, so I guess $4.8M isn't a lot of money."
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OnStar to Track You No Matter What

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "From the article:

Navigation-and-emergency-services company OnStar is notifying its six million account holders that it will keep a complete accounting of the speed and location of OnStar-equipped vehicles, even for drivers who discontinue monthly service.

OnStar began e-mailing customers Monday about its update to the privacy policy, which grants OnStar the right to sell that GPS-derived data in an anonymized format.

Enjoy your Chevrolet."
Link to Original Source

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Incandescents use less energy, CFLs an elaborate c

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "From the article, "BANNING the humble 60-watt light bulb to make way for so-called energy-saving ones and 'help save the planet' was last night exposed as an elaborate EU con." What justification could the have for such accusations? "The carbon footprint of manufacturing, distribution and disposal of a compact fluorescent bulb is far greater than the energy usage of a standard bulb." Imagine that. Complex electronics and mercury tubes are harder to make than an evacuated glass bulb with a wire in it; and reclaiming hazardous waste takes more energy than just chucking a harmless glass bulb in the standard recycling bin."
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Cancer Cured by HIV

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Apparently cancer has been cured, by injecting people with HIV. From the article, "As the white cells killed the cancer cells, the patients experienced the fevers and aches and pains that one would expect when the body is fighting off an infection, but beyond that the side effects have been minimal." Nifty. Poorly edited run-on sentence, but nifty."
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Terrorism, Money, and Oil

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "A recent submission about the cost of terrorism to the economy brought a few things to mind. This article looks like a repeat of an article Bruce Schneier linked to on his blog in November, 2010 which, among other things, explains how terrorists spend $1 for every $1,000,000 of economic damage done. The Rolling Stones blames Goldman Sachs primarily for the oil and food price hikes due to speculation on futures, although I also tend to blame Monsanto for raising seed license fees while lobbying heavily for biofuels--and selling even more corn and soy seeds for ethanol and biodiesel. We also can't forget the news media, a modern circus designed to grab attention so the networks can get sponsorship money; they have a huge incentive to create panic, which only over-hypes the low risk posed by the terrorist "threat" (more of a "minor annoyance"), allowing politicians to pull the Politician's Syllogism and strip us of our rights while derailing our economy further. Does anyone work in our favor anymore?"
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Books and Audiobooks in Other Languages?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "I've been learning various languages and I want to get some deep exposure. Sans-$100k employment, multiple 2 week vacations every year to various countries is untenable; therefor I have found an excellent solution: audio books and dead tree books in German, Japanese, Urdu, Russian, and the like. The only problem: I can't find such a thing. Amazon doesn't sell audio books on Amazon.de that I can find; maybe this is because my German is poor and I just can't find it. Any idea where to get audio books in other languages?"
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Why does the new slashdot look like ass?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Is anyone else quickly getting sick of staring at this fuzzy, overly-cartoony iteration of the Slashdot UI? The last one was fine; this one is starting to cause nausea. Overly softened, looks like a kid's site. Digg's aesthetics look much better now."
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US to reduce fluoride in drinking water

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about 4 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "The US is slated to reduce the amount of fluoride recommended for drinking water. According to WebMD, "The HHS is recommending that water supplies contain 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water, replacing the current recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams. [...] The new HHS recommendation, Messina says, makes sense because in recent years the population has gotten more fluoride from other sources, such as toothpaste and mouthwashes. [...] Some data suggest that excess fluoride may also be linked with skeletal bone damage, she says, and possibly hormone disruption. It has also been deemed an emerging neurotoxin." Fluoride supplements are sourced directly from industrial toxic waste, which cannot safely be dumped into the environment and so instead goes into the water supply. Conspiracy theorists and crazy generals obsessed with commie plots to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids are, of course, rejoicing."
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9/11: Time to Forget

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about 4 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "After almost a decade (it will be so in 9 months and some days), we still all remember 9/11. I can't for the life of me recall (or care about) the date for the Oklahoma City Bombing... in fact I can't recall anyone caring that much when it happened. Somebody blew stuff up, people died, it hit the news, there was a manhunt. It was time to demote 9/11 to this level of care back in 2005... beyond time. So why do we still remember it like a big important thing? Why do people still wave flags on September 11 of each year and claim it as a patriotic American holiday, a day of celebration, a day to applaud the stripping of our rights and the deaths of thousands? Is it time to move on? Must we actively antagonize people who make a big deal out of 9/11 until they feel foolish and give up on the whole thing?"
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UK to vote on Doubling, Tripling Tuition

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 4 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "As per Wikinews, "The new policy on tuition fees will allow universities to double the current tuition fees from £3,290 per year to around £6,000 per year, as well as allowing some universities to get special approval from the Office For Fair Access (OFFA) to raise their fees to £9,000 per year." Apparently teachers were encouraging high school students to walk right out of class for this, too; I guess when you can't hope to afford college it doesn't much matter. The economics here are, of course, non-trivial; but this is a huge fee hike all at once. This has got to be the only useful thing I've actually seen televised news cover in the US in a long long int time."
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Game review: Go

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 4 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Before Risk, before Axis and Allies, before Pentago and Polarity and Settlers of Catan, before Dungeons and Dragons, even before Chess, there was Weiqi. Weiqi appeared somewhere around 2200BC in China, and soon spread to Korea as Baduk and Japan as Go; over 4000 years later, the game is as well known in Asia as Chess is in the rest of the world. Played by taking turns placing single, non-moving stones on a grid of 19x19 lines, the rules of Go are extremely simple; the playing of Go, however, is uniquely complex and contemplative.

Breaking with traditions, an up-front listing of resources for Go would seem appropriate. First off, the absolute best way to learn Go is to find a Go teacher and study with him; this works about as well outside of Japan as ordering Haggis in a Denny's works outside Scotland. In the English speaking world, however, Janice Kim's book series, "Learn to Play Go," is widely considered the best resource for beginning students. Sensei's Library provides an online resource for Go players in the form of a Wiki. Finally, the Internet Go Server allows players to observe or play games against each other online and automatically calculates rank and handicaps.

With that out of the way, Go is a fantastically simple game. The aforementioned book or a YouTube tutorial would introduce the game more clearly than a wall of text; but the rules are brief. Two players elect to play either black or white; black plays first. Players play on a 19x19 grid, or for faster games on 13x13 or 9x9 grids, by placing stones on the intersections. Each open space on the four cardinal directions represents a liberty; if one player surrounds the other player's stone on all 4 sides, that stone is captured. Stones of the same color sitting on adjacent liberties become a connected group, and thus the whole group must be surrounded to be captured.

The final rule, as consequence of the above play, is the Ko rule. The Ko rule simply states that one play cannot put the board into the exact preceding position. The Ko rule results in "Ko Fighting," a phenomena where a player cannot play a stone to recapture a point immediately, and thus instead must play a stone in a position that produces disproportionate gains if not answered immediately. The opponent will either respond to this threat, allowing recapture of the taken point and capture of the attacking stone; or settle the Ko, ignoring the threat and losing something in exchange.

Based on these simple rules, players must move to make territory: controlled area surrounded by the borders of their own stones. Players can reduce each others' territory by taking control of areas inside the opponent's border. For example, if black controls a third of the board mainly around the lower right corner, white can reduce this territory by taking control of a fifth of the board including the lower right corner. White must do this by creating life in that area: a group of stones is alive if there is no possible way to capture it. At the end of the game, the rules of scoring give each player one point for each point of surrounded territory minus one point for each stone the opponent has captured.

Between all this, the simple game of Go gives rise to many, many concepts. The primary concept of Go is that of Life and Death. A group of stones that is impossible to capture by correct play is "Alive," while a group of stones that cannot avoid capture by any means is "Dead." Groups are otherwise "unsettled." Further, there exists the concept of seki or "Dual Life" by which two groups of stones are both alive only because whichever player plays first to kill the other group will instead kill his own group. The study of life and death greatly improves a player's skill at Go: players that recognize shape early and move to prevent life can more easily retain territory; players who recognize shape and move to create shape that leads more easily to life can more easily invade their opponent's territory. As a final consequence of Life and Death, by the way, dead stones are removed from the board and captured automatically during scoring; therefor there is no reason to waste moves capturing unless your opponent forces the issue.

Another concept in Go is Joseki, which indicates a "settled pattern" of moves that produces a balanced outcome. Joseki are usually played in the opening and represent optimal play by both players: the outcome is balanced because neither player has a sufficient advantage to overwhelm the other, and thus deviation from Joseki weakens the player who deviates. Proper joseki helps players avoid entering midgame at a disadvantage when hostilities break out during the opening.

Other studies in Go follow connections and basic moves to play. While groups are only formed with solid connections, players can eliminate the threat of cutting a connection by playing non-solid connections such as diagonals and bamboo joints, or even wider shapes that cannot be effectively cut. Often moves such as the Knight's Move, hane (Turn the Corner), or Monkey Jump represent complex play that turns what appears at a glance to be a somewhat scattered set of stones into a strong, solid shape during combat and capturing races. Thus the playing of Go relies on extremely distant abstract thinking in situations that can rapidly change and have many, many open options for play.

Go does not rely on fate (as in Backgammon and other dice games) or conflict (as with Chess). It can be said that Backgammon is a man versus fate game, where winning depends on pure chance; while Chess is a man versus man game, concentrating on the concrete goal of outmaneuvering your opponent to capture his king. One can consider Go, on the other hand, as a problem of man versus self: the playing of Go is only improved by judgment, balance, and understanding of play, and such conflict and capturing that arises between the players is often brief and only a minor part of play. Go is a matter of playing the position, not playing a calculated military strategy. This makes Go extremely challenging and enlightening, and very rewarding for players who spend a fair amount of time not only playing, but also studying."

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What really causes global warming?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 5 years ago In trying to solve the world's energy problems on the back of a napkin (see blog), I think I figured this global warming thing out. Mind you, I don't believe in human-caused global warming; but this one's a little more generalized. Basically, the sun and the earth are the same; the earth's a lot dimmer, but it radiates thermal energy out into the universe, and has struck an equilibrium with input (from the sun) versus output. Plants store thermal energy; bacteria and animals eat plants and release thermal energy. Well, every machine running on electricity also releases thermal energy. Whether we burn biofuels or throw up solar panels, we're absorbing energy from the sun that's normally reflected wholesale back to space and/or releasing it faster into the ambient environment than useful (i.e. burning plants in 30 seconds, rather than letting them decay in 3 months). With all the extra absorbed and wholesale-released heat, the equilibrium point shifts upwards, and the earth maintains a higher temperature-- it gets hotter! It gets hotter with every man, animal, and machine that walks the surface of this damn planet!

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Dynamic story rating?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Having a simple idea, I figured I'd write it into the journal as a first usage; and why not let them post it as a story too if they want? Anyway, the basic idea: users ranking stories, users accepting rankings. Why let armchair security experts and self-described IT experts rate your stories? Why not pick the users your think have a clue and only count their votes? Read on to see how this fleshes out in my mind.

The premise for this idea is that some Slashdot stories are good, some are bad, and some come from armchair experts who know nothing and can hype a good but inaccurate and relatively useless pile of FUD. The editors are not experts on everything either, and have let a few FUDs through in the past under the guise of breaking news. At the same time, we can't rely on armchair warriors to tell us whether or not stories are good.

The solution I've come up with is simple. Stories are rated by any user wishing to cast a rating. Users select other users they believe are knowledgeable, selecting which topics they believe the users are knowledgeable in. Each user then sees a story with a rating computed based on the opinions of users he's decided understand what they're talking about; other users are discarded.

At the simplest level, a user has other users he believes understand a topic. A more robust solution is also possible where users can go a certain depth into a web of trust. In order to accomplish this, the user sets whether or not he trusts those knowledgeable users to also recognize other knowledgeable users, and thus considers those users that the knowledgeable user considers knowledgeable as knowledgeable as well.

This trust model can be set to a specific depth, where this evaluation is followed down 1, 2, 5, or 10 steps deep. A full depth evaluation would also be possible; however it would require caching and triggering on modification of the full depth with loop detection, otherwise it would be very slow. Even with caching, a lack of loop detection will allow the system an easy route to an infinite loop. A mandatory maximum depth will prevent this, but will still bring the system to its knees for a short time.

Loop detection is important to avoid a DoS for anything more than even 1 step deep; 3000 users with all of each other trusted will otherwise cause the second step of evaluation to pass through 6,000,000 nodes, fully evaluating each node 3000 times. Simple loop detection will check if the node has been evaluated yet, and skip it if so.

Caching on changes may be the most CPU effective solution, where when any user changes his settings the changes are applied upwards through those users that depend on that setting, to avoid on-the-fly evaluation. On-the-fly evaluation may reach the 9000-node-evaluation problem at only a few steps, where users may trust 30 users who each trust 30 users, giving 9000 total users; building this list at each page view would be too expensive.

As a final measure, some users may just want to know what "the experts" think is hot. This is a low hanging fruit problem; users can simply allow the top 100 most popular, top 5%, or users accepted directly by over 1000 or 1% of Slashdot users in each topic. These selections would not be counted in these statistics; only users directly accepting individual users as knowledgeable would count. In this way, users can pull in ratings based on the users other users think are smart.

I believe this system would be useful in allowing users to weed out useless headlines and promote useful headlines because it would allow users control over who they are relying on to judge the articles. Those users not thought capable of making useful decisions are ignored in this system, giving every Slashdot user a personalized rating. Most appreciated Slashdot users are publicly known, allowing users to blanket accept the most knowledgeable users per topic. This should allow users to customize their Slashdot experience with high quality ratings of a personal value.

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