Grand Theft Auto V For Modern Platforms Confirmed
While some of the proposed changes (e.g., better draw distance, more detail, etc.) aim to make the game better on modern hardware, it seems like adding things like "denser traffic" would have the effect of changing the gameplay itself. While denser traffic would certainly make the game's Southern California setting a little bit more realistic, I'm not sure that it would make the game more enjoyable. In particular, it seems like a change of this nature could make some of the game's high-speed chase missions and side events into a big pain in the ass.
The fact that you
can do something doesn't necessarily mean that you should.
top Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029
If the contents of my Facebook feed can be taken into consideration, one could reasonably make the argument that robots are smarter than humans
top Nearly 1 In 4 Adults Surf the Web While Driving
I realize that you're dead, but you browsed the Internet while driving...
on dialup? That's pretty hardcore.
top Microsoft Creative Director 'Doesn't Get' Always-On DRM Concerns
The issue is not "intermittent Internet connectivity." Most of the people who are spun up on this are concerned about the principle of always-on DRM in general. Even if people had an iron-clad agreement with their ISP that they would provide them with five-nines uptime on my WAN connection, it doesn't change the basic principle that lots of people are miffed that their Internet connection is being used on a 24-hour basis to demonstrate that they are, in fact, not thieves.
Of course, this doesn't even address the fact that the most reliable Internet connection in the world is completely useless if the server(s) that you're attempting to connect to are down due to incompetence, unanticipated demand, DDoS attacks, etc.
about a year and a half ago
top Reiser4 File System Still In Development
The murder of his wife was the straw that broke the camel's back, but for me, I started turning away from Reiser based on the sliminess of the Burke character he played in "Aliens". Of course, that "Mad About You" shit didn't help much, either.
top Libertarian Candidate Excluded From Debate For Refusing Corporate Donations
"Mr. Speaker, I move that we... pour a bowl of hot grits down our pants!"
top Ask Steve Wozniak Anything
Anybody who programmed the Apple II back in the 1980s is familiar with the interleaving "venetian blind" effect due to the relationship between locations in both the text/low-resolution and high-resolution video RAM and their actual locations on-screen. I seem to remember reading that this was a conscious design choice by you early on and that it resulted in somewhat simpler hardware. Can you shed some light on how the Apple II's graphics structure came to be?
I spent so much time writing code to generate lookup tables to map locations in video RAM to their on-screen counterparts that at one point I had the hexadecimal 6502 machine language sequence memorized. This, sadly, is now gone (replaced by quotes from Seinfeld reruns and meaningless football statistics.)
top TSA Spending $245 Million On "Second Generation" Body Scanners
The problem with the Israeli model is that it isn't terribly feasible at a large scale. It works because Israel is a tiny country with only one major international airport (Ben Gurion) that needs to be secured. This type of massive security infrastructure (extremely tight physical perimeter around the airport, security personnel with extensive psychology training, countless constantly-monitored security cameras, legions of plainclothes guards, etc.) is not a realistic scenario when you have hundreds of major international and regional airports like the US does.
top Secret Security Questions Are a Joke
Not only are some of the "standard" security questions bad because they're easy to research, some of them are bad because there are multiple correct ways to answer them, and it can be difficult to remember how you chose to answer.
My least favorite security question is "What street did you grow up on?" Depending on the answer to this question, there could be four completely valid ways to answer it. For example, I grew up on 5th Street. So depending on whether or not I feel like the word "street" ought to be included in the response, there are four correct ways to answer this question:
"5th Street" "Fifth" "5th"
Now, I'll choose one today, when I provide my initial answer. But when I'm asked this question six months down the road, am I going to choose the same one? Maybe not.
The key is not just choosing good security questions that are hard to research and/or guess. They also should have unambiguous answers.
top Skydiver Leaps From 18 Miles Up In 'Space Jump' Practice
I'm the original author of this little piece of satire, and it amazes me that it still continues to pop up regularly after more than a decade.
top Don't Super-Size My Smartphone!
I have an IPhone 4S, and it's about the right size for me. Most days, I wear jeans to work, and anything bigger than the IPhone would be uncomfortable to carry around in my front pocket (not to mention cumbersome to take out when I need to answer it). I can see the benefits to having a larger screen with a higher resolution, but the bottom line is you have to drag it around with you.
There's always the option of using a belt clip, which would make it easier to carry around a phone with a larger form factor, but I just don't like that from an aesthetic perspective. To me, it's a compromise between screen size/resolution and convenience, and I'm perfectly happy with the 3.5" screen.
top Bas Lansdorp Answers Your Questions About Going to Mars
If it's a boy, you could name him Kim (after Kim Stanley Robinson).
And if it's a girl, you could name her Kim (after Kim Stanley Robinson).
top Ask Joseph Palaia About Building Lunar Machines and Living On Mars
One of the biggest impediments to long-term settlement of Mars is the fact that it lacks an Earth-like magnetosphere to protect surface dwellers from solar flares/CMEs and other forms of energetic particle radiation. Similarly, the very thin Martian atmosphere provides little of the protection that the Earth has from photon-based radiation (e.g., UV/X-rays, etc.)
How much of a problem is space-based radiation for future Martian settlers, and what would be the best way to deal with it?
top Introducing SlashBI
Slashdot died the day that Jon Katz left.
Please, for the love of everything that is good and holy, bring back Jon Katz!
/runs and hides
top Tennessee "Teaching the Controversy" Bill Becomes Law
...and even a high-tech economy needs ditch diggers.
Do I feel sorry for kids in Tennessee? Sure, I suppose. They didn't really have anything to do with this. But at the same time, it's not like this happened by accident.
top Tennessee "Teaching the Controversy" Bill Becomes Law
You're making a joke, but in many ways, gravity is much less understood than biological evolution is.
top Teens Share Passwords As a Form of Intimacy
I was planning on
reading Romeo and Juliet this winter.
Now it looks like I don't have to.
By the way, Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father, and Bruce Willis was dead for the whole movie.
top Inside Obama's Twitter Blitz On the Payroll Tax
I hate to say it, because it's horribly unpopular from a political perspective, but this payroll tax "holiday" is just disastrous policy. Depending on what numbers and what year you're looking at, anywhere from 81 to 89 percent of the entire U.S. budget goes to two things: defense and entitlements. And of those entitlements, the biggest long-term liabilities and problems that we have are Social Security and Medicare.
When you hear these Presidential candidates talk about how they would fix the budget deficits by getting rid of things like the EPA, the IRS, the Departments of Commerce / Energy / Education, etc., then you know should know that they are not making any sort of good-faith effort at solving the problem, and that they cannot be taken seriously. The dirty little secret is that you could cut out 100% of the discretionary non-defense spending (i.e., everything
except for the military and entitlements) and you would have barely made a dent in the problem as a whole.
The whole purpose of the payroll/FICA tax is to provide funds for Social Security and Medicate. Again, these are the two biggest problems that the U.S. has from a budget perspective -- biggest by leaps and bounds. So not only does this policy make the deficit problem worse, it makes it worse in the
worst possible way. Politicians can claim that these tax cuts are "paid for", but everybody knows that these types of Washington claims are usually just shell games for political purposes.
For what it's worth, I
like the fact that the payroll tax holiday disproportionally benefits those towards the lower end of the income scale. But there has to be a better way to do this, especially at this critical time in history when the Boomers are retiring and we're going to need these trust funds more than at any time in our history.
top NTSB Recommends Cell Phone Ban For Drivers
I don't disagree with this at all, but the cynical side of me fears that there would be a slew of special-interest groups (everybody from law enforcement agencies who are reliant on traffic ticket income to MADD) who would move heaven and Earth to prevent something like this from ever seeing the light of day.
top New Theory Challenges Need For Dark Matter
I just want to say- what little I do know, I've always disliked dark-matter. It always seemed to be a case of "we can't explain 'x' - so let's claim there is dark-matter and that will make our hypothesis match what we observe."
But you should realize that this technique has been used throughout the entire history of modern science, and its track record is actually quite good.
Back in the late 1700s, after the discovery of the planet Uranus, astronomers made careful calculations of its orbital elements and published a table the position of the planet in the sky over the years (and decades). As the years (and decades) wore on, they discovered a curious thing: the actual position of the planet was beginning to diverge from what had been predicted.
At this point, there were a few different explanations:
1) Perhaps the initial orbital elements were incorrect.
2) Perhaps our fundamental laws of gravity and motion were incorrect. 3) Perhaps there was a massive, as-yet-undetected eighth planet whose gravity was influencing the orbit of Uranus.
Most astronomers fell into the third camp; after all, the observations of Uranus's orbit had been made with considerable precision (for the time) and there was little reason to believe that the fundamental laws of physics would start to break down as you move further away from the sun. And so they made their calculations and narrowed down the location of this hypothetical planet to a fairly small window in the sky. After that, it was just a matter of pointing a telescope there and looking.
This is the story of the discovery of the planet Neptune.
Astronomers did not find this planet by accident. It was not discovered by a kid in the backyard with a streak of cosmic good luck. (In fact, many observers from antiquity had seen it, but had not realized what they were looking at.) They found it because they
knew it had to be there.
Now, you might think that this comparison is a bit of a stretch. But it's just one example; there are countless more. Back in 1930, Wolfgang Pauli was studying beta decay in atomic nuclei. He realized that the process, as he was seeing it, could not possibly be happening unless there were (again, hypothetical) particles being emitted as a consequence. If there were not, then all sorts of fundamental principles of physics were being violated (e.g., conservation of matter / angular momentum / etc.)
This particle, eventually named the "neutrino", remained hypothetical and undetected for more than a quarter of a century until it was finally detected --
I could go on, but the point is that postulating the existence of something hypothetical in order to explain deviations between theory and observed results is part of the best traditions of natural science. It's not hand-waving or charlatanism. And it works more often than most people might think.