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Greenpeace Breaks Into French Nuclear Plant

kuactet Re:What if it turned out the other way? (561 comments)

80000 died in the bombing of Nagasaki. In the 20th century, 100000 people died simply mining coal, in the US alone and the US has a better safety record than most. It's too depressing to look up more numbers.

more than 3 years ago

Apple Remove Samba From OS X 10.7 Because of GPLv3

kuactet Re:GPL is the problem (1075 comments)

and people with an interest in engineering things for the world to benefit from and making a living in the process have a very well qualified criticism.

Yeah, and the proper response to that is, "Then don't fucking use GPL code. Really, it's not that hard. Christ."

more than 3 years ago

The Encroachment of Fact-Free Science

kuactet Re:Before we start the flame wars (962 comments)

You're wrong: the distinction between species is, in fact, arbitrary and unresolvable in any self-consistent manner. Here's just one example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_species

This doesn't mean it's not useful to talk about dogs being a different species than tapeworms, just that saying "Okay, fine, you have amply demonstrated evidence of one particular species changing over time, but you have not shown me that species changing into another one!" and acting like you won the argument makes you the problem.

more than 3 years ago

Apple Censors Consumer Report iPhone4 Discussions

kuactet Re:Zapp Brannigan's Reporting Strategy (588 comments)

That gets your money back; it does nothing to ensure this sort of thing doesn't happen again.

more than 4 years ago

Studies Prove BPA Can Cross Placenta To Fetuses

kuactet Re:One problem (234 comments)

Granted. But if it doesn't taste okay, it most likely isn't.

more than 4 years ago

Supreme Court To Consider First Sale of Imports

kuactet Sorry, but you're probably brain damaged. (259 comments)

I have to ask: what the fuck is wrong with you? Copyright is a monopoly on reproduction. Okay. What part of buying something and selling it again involves reproduction in any fucking shape or form? Where in this process is the copy made? It's like, you're writing in standard English, but all I read is meaningless bullshit, so I ask again, what the fuck is wrong with you?

more than 4 years ago

Chicago Debates Merits of ShotSpotter Technology

kuactet Re:Here's a radical idea (385 comments)

I came to this party late, so still at 0. Anyway...

Regarding OP, I read that as, "Let people have guns, and murder, robbery, and other violent crime rates will go down." I don't think he was looking at deaths by shooting (suicides, accidental, and crime-related), or even deaths in general, but overall crime statistics, which 'total gun deaths' doesn't really address.

Part of what makes this hard to analyze is that there are two distinct portions of each graph: the 'low gun control' (strictness ~40), and they have radically different behavior: low gun control states have essentially no correlation between strictness and any violent crime metrics, while for higher gun control states, the correlation is positive for murder and robbery, negative for rape, and null for 'property crimes' (slightly positive for 'overall' violent crime).

Another interesting thing, though, is that in pretty much all (except rape) statistics, both the highest and lowest crime rates are found in the 'low gun control' states; this suggests to me that crime rates have less to do with the availability of guns than with other factors particular to each state.

Regarding your last point, Washington DC is currently an experiment-in-progress.

more than 4 years ago

Chicago Debates Merits of ShotSpotter Technology

kuactet Re:Here's a radical idea (385 comments)

The problem with your data is that it counts 'gun deaths', not crime levels. Your data includes suicides and accidental shootings with the violent crime. That's a very convenient set of data to present if your agenda is to outlaw gun ownership, but it's a bit disingenuous.

So I'm going to counter with a few graphs of my own.

First, http://img339.imageshack.us/i/89312727.png/

This is the one you already made: gun laws on the x axis, gun deaths on the y. I guess most people can be convinced there's a negative correlation there. Let's move on.

I assert that suicides contribute a significant amount to that correlation. In support, I present http://img691.imageshack.us/i/96131586.png/ (source: http://www.afsp.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewpage&page_id=05114FBE-E445-7831-F0C1494E2FADB8EA) as support. The shape of the two graphs is pretty similar. This kind of makes sense, because guns are a pretty effective way to kill yourself, but I digress. Instead...


That's gun laws versus murder rates (source: http://www.infoplease.com/us/statistics/crime-rate-state.html). Suddenly the correlation is much less obvious. On the low end of strictness, data is all over the place, and on the high end, as availability of guns goes down, murders actually go up.

The same trend repeats with violent crime ( http://img220.imageshack.us/i/72421515.png/), property crime ( http://img260.imageshack.us/i/21861589.png/), and robbery ( http://img176.imageshack.us/i/84688439.png/). Interestingly, though, not with rape ( http://img519.imageshack.us/i/45149589.png/); can't really explain that one.

So, yeah. I don't think anyone would argue that more guns leads to more gun-related deaths (which the data you provided does show, however weakly), but we were never arguing about gun deaths. We were arguing about crime, where the correlations are much less clear-cut.

more than 4 years ago

Federal Agents Quietly Using Social Media

kuactet Re:"Publicly available" (171 comments)

Being moderated "Funny" must be hella demoralizing.

more than 4 years ago

Hollow Spy Coins

kuactet Re:are they even legal? (322 comments)

The key word there is 'fraudulently'. That means, to be illegal, you have to try to use the altered coin as real currency.

more than 4 years ago

Silicon Valley VCs and the Gender Gap

kuactet Re:America is already screwed up (375 comments)

You asked for it...

A summary of some literature:

For peer-review...
"Peer reviewers cannot judge scientific merit independent of gender."

For letters of recommendation...
"Letters written for female applicants were found to differ systematically from those written for male applicants..."

There's a lot out there.

more than 4 years ago

A New Libel Defense In Canada; For Blogs Too

kuactet Re:Truth as a defense? (146 comments)

The legal system is part of the government. Losing this sort of lawsuit then is by definition the government stifling dissent. Or, to put it another way, without the government in place, the person bringing the lawsuit would be shit out of luck trying to punish someone for their speech.

Either way, you're wrong.

more than 5 years ago

ACLU Sues DHS Over Unlawful Searches and Detention

kuactet Re:What took them so long? (460 comments)


The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

more than 5 years ago

The Tech Behind Preventing Airplane Bird Strikes

kuactet Re:Not that hard. (242 comments)

You auk not go there, friend.

more than 5 years ago

Psystar Wins a Round Against Apple

kuactet Re:Hell yes! (660 comments)

The reason software requires a license is due to the fact that running a program requires a copy of it to be made from the external representation (disk, CD-ROM, DVD) to internal storage (memory). Only the copyright holder, by default, is allowed to do this. In order to allow others to use the program without breaking copyright law, current law says that they must be granted a license.

You're wrong. 17 USC section 117:

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that computer program provided... that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine and that it is used in no other manner

So, in short, software licenses are bullshit.

more than 5 years ago

Review: Spore

kuactet My review of Spore (605 comments)

Part 0: Preamble

I don't usually follow the gaming press, but it is impossible to have missed Spore, so big was the hype surrounding it. You should know that I am not what you would call a 'hardcore' gamer; I don't spend ten hours a day in front of a computer, I don't have ten level 80s in World of Warcraft, and I can't say that I particularly enjoy totally pwning myself some noobs. That puts me square in the center of the Spore target audience, and, I hope, makes me qualified to write the following review.

I shall begin with getting the game.

There was a package outside my door yesterday morning; I guess the mailman had left it while I was still asleep. I brought it inside and took it into the kitchen. I poured a scoop of coffee into the machine and started to unwrap it while I waited for my coffee to brew.

It was, indeed, Spore. The game box is pretty standard, with the cover picture, naturally, not being related to the gameplay in any way. In the box was a manual and an install disk. My coffee maker dinged before I could examine them closely. I poured myself a cup and took a sip. I had been expecting it to wake me up, but for some reason it just made me angry.

I popped the disk into my laptop and began the install; I had expected it to take a few minutes, given the sheer mass of content it would have to move, so I was pleasantly surprised when it launched the game almost instantly, taking me directly into...

Part I: Cell Mode

In cell mode, you control a protozoa (the box-shaped critter) at the very beginning of its evolutionary journey. You use the mouse to guide it as it swims around the primordial soup, devouring lesser microbes; the goal is to eat and avoid being eaten.

I guided my cell to swim around a little, eating the floating icons, and generally dominating the game space.

Some time later, I advanced enough to begin using the editors (more on that later), and began designing fantastic new creatures.

After about two hours, I started making some real progress: a little notice popped up saying that the evolutionary battery was running low. Surely, I thought, I will soon evolve. Then my laptop turned off, the game apparently over.

Part II: Initial Thoughts

I was somewhat disappointed with Spore. Not only had the advanced multi-cellular features been cut, but the ending felt unfulfilling and tacked-on. Seeing some sort of cutscene congratulating me on my victory would have been nice; at the very least, I would have expected Maxis to run the credits.

Then again, it's an interesting bit of commentary on the state of our society that they needed to shut down my computer, surely as a way to combat ever-increasing rates of video game addiction. While gaming is entertaining, there is a whole wide world outside the glow of the monitor; thank you, Maxis, for reminding us of that. Taking their message to heart, I got up from the computer and found the list of things I had been putting off...

Part III: Replay

I returned to the Spore this morning, having spent the rest of that day fixing my car's brakes, painting the garage, and reading with my son. I started a new game, hoping to see some of the content I might have missed the first time through, but this time I beat it less than a minute.

Part IV: The Editors

I don't understand the hype about the customizability, as that part of the game is really nothing special. In fact, I was halfway through the game before could edit my creature at all. Sure, it's nice to be able to change the its basic color scheme (through the handy, though somewhat clunky, 'Appearence Settings' box), but you can't change its shape or the structure of its markings, nor can you add things on to it. It's entertaining to see the sorts of beasts you can make, once you figure out your way around the editor, but I really didn't feel that my choices really affected the gameplay. Some more depth in this area would have been much appreciated.

Final Score:

Spore's a pretty good game. I had a lot of fun, despite the massive cuts from what had been promised. However, it was disappointingly short given its eight year development time, and the replay value is practically none. Pick it up in a few months, after prices have dropped a little.

Four stars.

more than 6 years ago



My review of OSX 10.6

kuactet kuactet writes  |  more than 4 years ago

kuactet writes "Friday, August 28th, 54 AJ (2009 AD)

9:00 a.m.

Hello. Imagine, if you will, yourself. You stand, stranded, on a wind-swept Tibetian steppe, a light snowfall drifting around you. The wind howls, and there is not another human in sight. You shiver, unprepared for the bitter cold. There is no shelter around, and nothing to build it with. As it begins to sink in that, very soon, you will die, you spot a flicker of movement in the corner of your eye.

Hope begins to stir in your chest. Is... is it rescue? Salvation? You turn to get a better look...

No! It's a Goddamn Snow Leopard! And it's running right at you! Game over, man!

That was the dream I had early this morning. Remembering it brings a smile to my face. That's right. Despite having no friends, no life, no education no job, and no prospects, despite the war in Iraq, a depression rivaling The Great One, the looming energy crisis, global warming, and the sheer horror of being alive in this day and age, this morning, I woke up happy, for today would be my most exciting review: OSX 10.6 was being released.

I am not normally one to get excited about reviewing a product, especially if it is my first time using it; usually there is a feeling of trepidation about stepping outside my comfort zone, but today, it is notably absent. Perhaps because I have been following this product since its inception, living the Apple lifestyle in preparation, and becoming fully engrossed by the user community. The experience has been like a second birth to me, and the release of 10.6 is the wonderful culmination.

But I should back up. For those of you who have been living normal, healthy lives, 10.6, also known as the majestic Snow Leopard is the single most anticipated OSX release of 2009, packed with new features that will surely leave its competitors (the monolithic Microsoft and agile Linux) stunned and possibly bleeding as it whizzes by in a flurry of growing market share and spots.

Apple Inc., the Cupertino-based personal electronics company behind the Snow Leopard, burst into the public view in 2001 with the introduction of the phenomenally popular iPod music player. Apple then followed up that success with the iPhone brand cellular phone, which has sold over 20 million units since its 2007 debut. Today, Apple hopes to leverage that success to bootstrap its long-stagnant personal computing platform, the Mac.

Until recently, the Mac had maintained a relatively constant 5% share of the global computing market. However, in the wake of the Vistapocalypse, OSX 10.5 (the Leopard) has been steadily climbing the market share tree. Releasing the Snow Leopard, Apple hopes, will drive the Windows Sheeple even farther from the abusive comfort of their paddock. The Snow Leopard will then pounce, intuitively dragging them to the weather-beaten earth and devour them stylishly.

Or so it is planned. But will Apple be able to succeed where so many others have failed? Will the dynamic duo, Leopard and Snow Leopard and awesome hardware, finally be able to wrest control of the desktop from the Monopolist? Yes, of course. But it is my duty as a reviewer to show, not just tell. So join me as I drink deeply of the Steve Jobs Kool-Aid and plunge myself into a Snow Leopard, to prove this Apple revolution is truly the way of the future.

3:30 p.m.

The cold rain pours down outside, but under the glass roof of the Christiana Mall, it is warm and dry. Twenty yards away is the only Apple Store for miles, and consequently where one must go for the latest Apple releases.

Though I had arrived early, there is already a sizable line, stretching back to where I find myself now. The head of it, I am told, had been waiting since early morning, growing progressively more excited as the day wore on. His manic energy is infectious, it seems, and the light buzz of excitement percolating through the crowd quickly set my nerves on edge in the best possible way. This, I decide, is better than most drugs.

I strike up conversation with the man waiting impatiently in front of me. When I ask him what he intends to do with the Snow Leopard when he brings it home, he stares at me, silent, for almost twenty minutes. His steady gaze says more than any words could, and when he tells me he will teach it to love, and then maybe read his email, I weep for the sheer joy that wells up in my heart. He holds me, understanding.

5:57 p.m.

The excitement has reached an almost painful level. It is a silent buzz permeating the very air; the crowd is like a swarm of angry bees awaiting a software release. My chest begins to throb. Is this how it feels?

5:58 p.m.

The anticipation builds higher and higher as the seconds crawl by. I thought it had been painful before, but now it is agonizing, dreadful, pre-orgasmic. The crowd begins to murmur and I feel the fabric of reality cracking.

5:59 p.m.

And, suddenly, the buzz is cut off: a store manager, black-shirted, goateed, and chiseled like a Greek god, has stepped out, and is waiting to address the crowd. There is instant silence, not even the sound of breathing. The surrounding mall, too, is quiet, as though grasping the gravity of the situation.

Apple's local Adonis speaks in a whisper, but everyone can hear:

"Mac OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard... is on sale..."

6:00 p.m.

"... now."


Oh God, release.

The women moan and the men shudder. I go weak at the knees and drop down, thanking Jobs for the simple gift of being alive to witness this moment, and I am not alone.

6:02 p.m.

One by one, we stand, reforming the original line, and slowly thread into the store. There is no hurry, no urgency in our movements. That moment has passed; this is the afterglow.

6:25 p.m.

I stand at the counter dedicated to this event. I had often come here, in my fantasies, but no amount of dreaming could ever measure up...

"One box," I say, slapping $30 onto the counter, "Of magic." He hesitates a second, and I cringe at my faux pas. "Snow Leopard, please," I clarify.

He smiles. Not the store policy smile of the world-weary cashier that has been on his feet far too long. No, he is genuinely happy as he reaches back and pulls a box from the stack; this job means something.

"Welcome to the fold, oh my brother," he says, holding out the box. He leans forward and plants a kiss on my forehead as I accept the prized software. Our fingers brush, and it is love. I smile sadly, for I cannot stay; he smiles, for he forgives me.

The box is heavy in my hands. No, not heavy; sturdy, powerful, as though the beast contained within was projecting itself beyond the confines of its cardboard prison. Or perhaps it was the weight of newfound brotherhood.

Kool-Aid indeed.

6:51 p.m.

All through the drive home I kept glancing over at the box, halfway worried that if I took my eyes off it for too long, it would disappear, like a dream. I shielded it from the rain with my body on the way to the car, and again on the way inside.

I don't even kick off my shoes, instead running straight to my laptop and powering it on.

I sit down in front of the glowing screen and gingerly open the box. I tip it over, and the DVD comes out; I like to think I didn't imagine the small roar that accompanied it. There is no manual, a testament to the operating system's ease of use.

The disk itself is simple, and deceptively light. I pick it up gingerly and insert it into my computer's drive. I shiver in anticipation as it begins to spin up. This is the moment, finally, that I had been waiting for...

An error message?


My laptop is an HP. Not a Mac. So OSX won't work. At all. On the other hand, it's still better than Vista.

Five stars."


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