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Grand Theft Auto V For Modern Platforms Confirmed

cje Denser traffic? (133 comments)

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.

about 3 months ago
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Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029

cje I don't know. (294 comments)

If the contents of my Facebook feed can be taken into consideration, one could reasonably make the argument that robots are smarter than humans right now.

about 6 months ago
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Nearly 1 In 4 Adults Surf the Web While Driving

cje Re:first post from the road! (365 comments)

I realize that you're dead, but you browsed the Internet while driving... on dialup? That's pretty hardcore.

about 10 months ago
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Microsoft Creative Director 'Doesn't Get' Always-On DRM Concerns

cje He doesn't get it. (572 comments)

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 ago
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Reiser4 File System Still In Development

cje Aliens (317 comments)

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.

about 2 years ago
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Libertarian Candidate Excluded From Debate For Refusing Corporate Donations

cje Re:Slashdotter in congress (627 comments)

"Mr. Speaker, I move that we... pour a bowl of hot grits down our pants!"

about 2 years ago
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Ask Steve Wozniak Anything

cje Apple II graphics / text "Venetian" interleaving (612 comments)

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.)

about 2 years ago
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TSA Spending $245 Million On "Second Generation" Body Scanners

cje Re:Note to TSA (335 comments)

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.

about 2 years ago
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Secret Security Questions Are a Joke

cje Bad security questions (408 comments)

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:

"Fifth Street"
"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.

about 2 years ago
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Skydiver Leaps From 18 Miles Up In 'Space Jump' Practice

cje Heh (192 comments)

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.

more than 2 years ago
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Don't Super-Size My Smartphone!

cje Personally, I don't want them bigger (660 comments)

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.

more than 2 years ago
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Bas Lansdorp Answers Your Questions About Going to Mars

cje Re:Sex (189 comments)

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).

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Joseph Palaia About Building Lunar Machines and Living On Mars

cje Protection from space-based radiation (107 comments)

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?

more than 2 years ago
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Introducing SlashBI

cje Re:This will go down well...lulz (339 comments)

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

more than 2 years ago
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Tennessee "Teaching the Controversy" Bill Becomes Law

cje Burgers don't flip themselves... (672 comments)

...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.

more than 2 years ago
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Tennessee "Teaching the Controversy" Bill Becomes Law

cje Re:There you have it (672 comments)

You're making a joke, but in many ways, gravity is much less understood than biological evolution is.

more than 2 years ago
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Teens Share Passwords As a Form of Intimacy

cje Thanks for the spoilers warning (533 comments)

I was planning on reading Romeo and Juliet this winter.

Now it looks like I don't have to.

Assholes.

By the way, Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father, and Bruce Willis was dead for the whole movie.

more than 2 years ago
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Inside Obama's Twitter Blitz On the Payroll Tax

cje Well, this one is. (294 comments)

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.

more than 2 years ago
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NTSB Recommends Cell Phone Ban For Drivers

cje Re:Ban all the drivers.... (938 comments)

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.

more than 2 years ago
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New Theory Challenges Need For Dark Matter

cje Re:Don't know anything about Physics (302 comments)

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 -- in 1956.

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.

more than 2 years ago

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