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The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight

kevlar_rat Why a blood moon? (144 comments)

This is an unusual event because its part of a series of 4 lunar eclipses in a row (in subsequent 6 full moon cycles), a tetrad which occurs once per 33 years on average. The term 'blood moon' is sometimes used for a lunar eclipse, but it's been popularised for this tetrad by John Hagee to promote his book and claim that it means the end of the world.

2 days ago
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The Best Way To Watch the "Blood Moon" Tonight

kevlar_rat Yeah, (144 comments)

we should kick them off Terra

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

kevlar_rat post apocalyptic is not medieval (723 comments)

someone capable of swinging a sword and lopping the heads off marauders intent on dragging off the young women and torching the village.

I doubt a post-apocalyptic world will be much like the mediaeval times portrayed in Game of Thrones. In fact the medieval world wasn’t much like that.
Swords were very expensive and used only by the nobility. The peasants use staffs or slings - i.e. sticks and stones, or long bows at certain periods.
As others have pointed out, there can be expected to be plenty of rusting machinery available, so the economy & warfare would be different. It's a lot cheaper to get iron by melting a car engine block - no matter how rusted - than smelting it from iron ore.
So maybe weapons would be different, too. Perhaps with more metal available everybody would have a metal bow, or perhaps with fewer forests and less firewood, metal would be more expensive and nobody would have swords.

4 days ago
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CSIRO Scientists' Aquaculture Holy Grail: Fish-Free Prawn Food

kevlar_rat It's all the prawn shop sells? (116 comments)

If everybody else in the world was vegan, would you still be insisting that it's 'normal' to eat animal products?

Err, no, because it wouldn't be - by definition.
In fact I'm not sure what your point is.
If everybody went around with their face painted blue and said "I've traveled from 1983 to say this" before every sentence, that would be normal. But it wouldn’t make it a good idea.
Perhaps your saying that 'normal' isn't the same thing as 'natural', but since societies where the unnatural (painting your face blue) is normal are the exceptions, it's a good approximation to it.
This isn't a good argument for veganism, because most societies throughout most of history have eaten meat. So meat eating is normal and therefore likely natural.
Another possibility is that you don't know the meaning of the word 'normal' and think it actually means 'natural'. In the west that level of ignorance is ... normal.

4 days ago
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Dyn.com Ends Free Dynamic DNS

kevlar_rat domain != dyndns (240 comments)

There is a little confusion here. Dynamic DNS means the domain record is constantly updated to point to the correct IP address. Its completely independent of domain registration. godaddy does not offer a dyndns service. Most dyndns services do not offer domains.
DynDNS is useful if you want to be able to always contact a box on a domain, but it's got a dynamic IP address - i.e. typically for running a server on a home box. I use it to ssh into home when I'm away, I just do ssh mydyndomain.org and don't need to worry about IP addresses.
I have had domains with godaddy in the past, but I've always used dyn.com as well.
It is possible to use a script to update your A record through your registrar's web interface, but this will break every time they update the site.
P.S. I recommend not using godaddy.

about two weeks ago
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Why No One Trusts Facebook To Power the Future

kevlar_rat federated social networks (218 comments)

federated social networks will go the same way e-mail has gone: yes, there's tons of minor e-mail servers, but a few large companies control a very large fraction of e-mail traffic (espeically for personal use) because running a server is hard.

For a federated system based on an open protocol, it should be possible to have a desktop client which installs in a few clicks. You can install a mail server yourself, of course, but the main barrier to this is needing a domain name pointing to it. For a desktop 'node' of a P2P system, either it is always on, or you have a name resolution system built into the protocol, or you have to have a domain name and a static IP (or use a dyndns service). All of these have downsides. A workaround is to use the email system as a transport layer. Email servers then effectively act as proxies.

Another problem with a p2p service is that p2p networks require more processor and network usage than centralized services, so they make poor applications for mobile devices.

Well, with the federated model you would just visit a website. If the protocol allowed it, you could use a desktop app on your PC and a website on your mobile with the same account.

about two weeks ago
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Why No One Trusts Facebook To Power the Future

kevlar_rat p2p social messaging system (218 comments)

Perhaps there is already someone doing this?

Yes, there are a number: diaspora, Friendica, and an emerging system based around RSS, this type of thing is usually called the federated social web. This is my own overview.

meta data and messaging data is spread around different peers as encrypted chunks

This is my proposal for exactly that

about two weeks ago
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Interview: Ask Bruce Perens What You Will

kevlar_rat Better still? (129 comments)

Or better* http://squte.com/ which also forwards posts to Usenet - so there is a permanent archive that isn't locked in to any one site and a potential community of the millions of Usenetters.
* for sufficiently small values of better

about two weeks ago
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Xbox One Reputation System Penalizes Gamers Who Behave Badly

kevlar_rat separate metric (183 comments)

Yes, I understand it is a simplification.
As soon as you have a separate 'trust' factor, you have to start rating the moderation i.e. have meta-moderation.
This is more complex, which can put off users getting involved. So since the simpler algorithm works for me, I'll stick to it for now.
The problem with using neural nets is you may get 'overfitting' to the initial moderators prejudices, leading to an amplified filter bubble

about three weeks ago
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Xbox One Reputation System Penalizes Gamers Who Behave Badly

kevlar_rat compared to forums (183 comments)

This is fascinating. I run a website that applies a user reputation system to Usenet - a medium notorius for flame-wars (it's where the words 'troll' and 'flame' come from, after all) - so I'm aware of some of the theory, but it seems games have gone further than forums.
The algorithm I use is much simpler, the 'trust' metric is identical to the user Karma, presuming that users who act sensibly will also moderate sensibly. It works very well and filters out >95% of flames and trolls.
To those who ask how to stop reporting being abused, it's actually simple:
* weight reports by the number of reports. If a user only reports one other person per thousand the reports carry more weight than if they report every other user.
* as you said, have a 'trust' factor that weights the reports. In the case of my site, this is just their Karma score - if they get reported a lot as an arse, they are more likely to be an arse in the way they themselves report.
* Make reporting really easy. The more data you have from legit users, the more your algorithm can work on.

about three weeks ago
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What day of the week is your most productive?

kevlar_rat productivity (91 comments)

There's a neat answer to this in the first ever 'time management' book how to live on 24 hours a day. It's about the work week, but if you get your projects done then, you can have the weekend to yourself anyway.
Basically, as has since been confirmed by scientific research, we are at our peak productivity in the afternoon - when we're at work - and our lowest energy levels in the evening, which is typically the time when we try to do our personal projects.
People then can't summon the energy to do their stuff, just want to chill, so blame themselves for not having the willpower.
The solution is so simple it's silly: You go to bed as soon as you get home, without even eating anything. you can then get up about 6 hours before you have to go to work.
Your peak energy levels are then when you are at home. uninterrupted, you can work on your projects for a least 2-3 hours before work and still have free time.
Your low productivity is on your employers time (after your lunchtime 'supper').
If you do this you'll get so much done you can enjoy your weekends guilt-free.

about three weeks ago
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What day of the week is your most productive?

kevlar_rat Wednesday, because Science (91 comments)

According to this: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/down... (see figure 1) most work is done on Tuesday through Thursday, with Wednesday being the most productive. This matches the old story about a boss deciding people must be faking sickness because 20% of days off are taken on Monday and Friday.

about three weeks ago
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Why San Francisco Is the New Renaissance Florence

kevlar_rat soylentnews (250 comments)

If SoylentNews wasn't so shit I'd be tempted to move over there.

I think the other sites have better stories on average, but there are better comments on /.

about a month ago
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Russia Blocks Internet Sites of Putin Critics

kevlar_rat Hypocrisy is always on topic (309 comments)

The issue is that there is a claim of moral superiority in TFA. It says that

Putin [has] tight control over Russian society

, but the US gov't also tightly controls US society - so there is nothing to be smug about. Hypocrisy is an inconsistency between two things - the response when someone else does something, and when we do the same thing - the only way you can tell hypocrisy is to compare these two things. So if you only ever look at one thing at a time - and declare any comparison is 'off-topic' - then you will never notice any double standard.

about a month ago
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Amplify Education's New Intel Tablet Begs For Abuse

kevlar_rat digital utopianism (33 comments)

The idea that you can just throw tech at education problems is so common its got a name: 'digital utopianism'.
It's failure was seen with the OLPC project: in Uruguay all school children have an XO laptop but only about a fifth of teachers use it in the classroom daily, similar statistics apply to Alabama. Even the OLPC now admits you need to combine technology with teacher training and community buy-in

about a month ago
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What "news for nerds" sites should I use?

kevlar_rat Lots of options (8 comments)

There are a number of options.soylentnews has been mentioned, pipedot is coming along. There are a lot of ex -slashdotter on the comp.misc newsgroup. squte (my own site) provides a slashdot-like interface to newsgroups. There is also technocrat.org - but that seems dead so far.

about 2 months ago
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Chrome 33 Nixes Option To Fall Back To Old 'New Tab' Page

kevlar_rat Burning Chrome (125 comments)

So basically a successful company forced a new UI on their audience, ignoring a mountain of negative feedback, without really understanding the community?

about 2 months ago

Submissions

kevlar_rat hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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Updates to squte.com

kevlar_rat kevlar_rat writes  |  about three weeks ago

I have made some updates to the site. As well as minor bug fixes and UI changes, the big change is 'notifications'. You can 'subscribe' to posts in particular groups, or to other posters, tags, etc and be emailed when there are new posts. As always, I am relying on you to tell me of any bugs you find. If I don't know about it, I can't fix it!
All notifications are off by default, so you shouldn't be bothered by any spammy emails about new content you're not interested in (as is the case with some other sites).
To answer a question asked in another forum, there is no way to make a donation to squte.com, the best way to support it is to put a link to squte.com in your sig in any other sites you use and to tell people about it.

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