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Comments

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The Hobbit: the Battle of Five Armies Trailer Released

nmb3000 Such a Waste (153 comments)

After the travesty of the first two films, I'm not looking forward to the third movie.

While far from perfect, I felt that Peter Jackson at least made an attempt to stay true to the original story in Lord of the Rings. For the Hobbit he didn't hold anything back as sold out to the suits at Warner Brothers. Both he and the Tolkien family should be ashamed they agreed to this abortion screenplay.

2 days ago
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The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

nmb3000 Re:Turing test not passed. (285 comments)

It was passed as defined

The Turing Test was not passed, and the only people who claim it was are ignorant reporters looking for an easy story with a catchy headline and tech morons who also believe Kevin Warwick is a cyborg.

The test was rigged in every way possible:

- judges told they were talking to a child
- that doesn't speak English as a primary language
- which was programmed with the express intent of misdirection
- and only "fooled" 30% of the judges.

And, even after all that, Cleverbot did a much better job back in 2011 with a 60% success rate.

This Eugene test outcome was a complete farce -- something to remind everyone that Warwick still exists and to separate the ignorant and sensational tech news trash rags from the more legitimate sources of information.

about three weeks ago
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I prefer to settle down at night with a good..

nmb3000 Re:NOTA: Podcast, or old time radio (139 comments)

I'd rather listen to a nice old radio show, or a nice new podcast (like Penn Jillette's "Sunday School").

I hadn't heard of Penn's Sunday School, but it looks interesting. Thanks for the suggestion.

about a month ago
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Interviews: Ask Andrew "bunnie" Huang About Hardware and Hacking

nmb3000 Re:Hacking the Xbox (58 comments)

And the second half of my question:

I remember you posting the voicemail of the Microsoft employee asking you to remove the images of the Xbox ROM from your website -- something I got a good laugh out of. What other kind of fallout from Microsoft that you have to deal with?

about a month and a half ago
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Interviews: Ask Andrew "bunnie" Huang About Hardware and Hacking

nmb3000 Re:Hacking the Xbox (58 comments)

I don't agree that multiple question marks necessarily == multiple questions, but I'll take the advice of my anonymous friends and restructure my question:

During your original Xbox expose, was there a memorable experience you had that stands out -- perhaps a particular part of the hardware that you found especially well-designed (or laughably poor), or maybe a method that yielded unexpected success (or failure)?

about a month and a half ago
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Interviews: Ask Andrew "bunnie" Huang About Hardware and Hacking

nmb3000 Hacking the Xbox (58 comments)

One of my first forays into the realm of hardware hacking was following along as you recorded your exploration of the original Xbox console. I was fascinated by the hardware, but enjoyed your analysis and methods even more. It was you that got me interested in hardware and hacking. (Aside: Thank you very much for releasing your book as a freely-available download and for the open-letter about Aaron and MIT)

What was the most memorable experience for you of your Xbox expose? Was there a particular part of the hardware that you found especially well-designed (or laughably poor)? A method that yielded unexpected success (or failure)? What kind of fallout from Microsoft did you face? I remember you posting the voicemail of the Microsoft employee asking you to remove the images of the Xbox ROM -- something I got a good laugh out of. And as a follow-up: do you have a feeling for how "secure" hardware has changed in the decade since the original Xbox launch?

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, and also for all the work you've done pushing for a world with both open software and open hardware.

about 1 month ago
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Auditors Release Verified Repositories of TrueCrypt

nmb3000 Re:7.1a for x64 linux (146 comments)

Luckily I have a copy of 7.1a for x64 linux

I noticed something the other day when looking for a copy of the install on my own system. It turns out that when you install TrueCrypt for Windows, it puts a copy of the installer in the destination directory! If you're on Windows, take a look in your %ProgramFiles%\TrueCrypt directory. You will probably find a TrueCrypt Setup.exe file (at work so not sure of the exact filename). This can be used to install/repair/reinstall TrueCrypt on any computer.

There have been some good attempts to create a trustworthy TrueCrypt archive, but nothing beats your original installation source, which you can use to verify against various signatures found online.

about 2 months ago
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Millions of Smart TVs Vulnerable To 'Red Button' Attack

nmb3000 Re:It doesn't take a genius to come up with an att (155 comments)

How can I make this clear? Do. Not. Fucking. Want. Yet another reason to avoid "smart" TVs, I guess.

You really can't as far as I can tell.

You still can, though it might depend on what size of TV you're looking for. I'm in the market for a new TV right now, and I've noticed that Costco carries "dumb" TVs up through the 40" range. There are both smart and dumb sets at 40", with the dumb sets being about $75 cheaper.

But yes, if you're looking for a large set you may have a hard time avoiding them at this point.

about 2 months ago
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Millions of Smart TVs Vulnerable To 'Red Button' Attack

nmb3000 Re:Good luck with that (155 comments)

Okay, so far so good, but how about the signal amplifying and transmitting part?

TFA discusses that:

a $250 1-watt amplifier could cover a 1.4 square kilometer area. [...] By positioning the retransmission gear at a decent height within line of sight of a tower (on a drone, say, or on the roof of a tall building), a hacker in Flushing, Queens could deliver malicious payloads via the Home Shopping Network to a potential audience of 70,000 people per square kilometer. Or he could also hijack 10 different stations including CBS , NBC and Fox from a single antenna in the Inwood neighborhood of upper Manhattan that reaches 50,000 people per square kilometer. With a more powerful 25-watt amp (about $1,500) the hacker can cover more like 35 square kilometers, taking the reach of the attack into the hundreds of thousands of people.

about 2 months ago
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Millions of Smart TVs Vulnerable To 'Red Button' Attack

nmb3000 Re:It doesn't take a genius to come up with an att (155 comments)

Abstract: In the attempt to bring modern broadband Internet features to traditional broadcast television, the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) consortium introduced a specification called Hybrid Broadcast-Broadband Television (HbbTV), which allows broadcast streams to include embedded HTML content which is rendered by the television.

And for anyone wondering just why the hell anyone would want this, TFA clarifies:

Broadcasters and advertisers have been eager to use the HbbTV to target ads more precisely and add interactive content, polls, shopping and apps, to home viewers.

So let me get this right... "Punch the Monkey", coming to a TV near you? Flashing and bouncing "Take the "Which Ninja Turtle are you most like?" poll for a chance to win $1000!!!"? Malicious "Your TV isn't secure! Click here to upgrade!" ads that install some bullshit TV "app" that does only god-knows-what? Remote scripting running on a device designed without any security in mind, and which will probably never be updated during its 8+ year lifetime?

How can I make this clear? Do. Not. Fucking. Want. Yet another reason to avoid "smart" TVs, I guess.

about 2 months ago
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Bill Watterson (briefly) Returns To Comics

nmb3000 Re:hmmm (119 comments)

From what I've read, Watterson simply values his privacy and his family's privacy, and he has virtually no interest in publicity for its own sake. Apparently, any former celebrity who doesn't so desperately long for attention that they appear on Dancing With the Stars or jump at every chance for an interview or public appearance is so incomprehensible to most people that the only way to make sense of it is to label them a "recluse".

I agree with you 100%, with two small exceptions.

First, it does appear that Watterson is a bit more removed from society than even your average author.

Second, I think there's a kernel of reason in the idea that someone of renown -- someone who has made a lot of money and become a familiar name in the process -- is expected to give a little bit back to their "fans" in return for benefiting them so much financially. In no way to do mean that Watterson should be on Celebrity Jeopardy (he'd probably never beat Sean Connery anyway), but it might be nice if he did small things like book signings at local bookstores. I have that nice set of hardcover Calvin and Hobbes books, and I would absolutely love to have an opportunity to get it signed by Watterson. Sadly, autographs is one of the things that Watterson appears to refuse to do.

As someone who would probably be called a "recluse" by more than a couple of people, I can truly understand to desire to be removed from the limelight, but still, it's sad for those who adore his work that they don't have the opportunity to try and express that just a tiny bit.

about 2 months ago
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It's Time For the Descent Games Return

nmb3000 Re:Hell Yes! (251 comments)

Descent was the first game that really blew my mind when it came to graphics and gameplay together. The difficulty curve was perfect, and the continued addition of new game elements made it stay fresh (and Descent II was even better at this than the first game).

It's also the reason I bought (or more acurrately, convinced my father to buy) a very nice joystick. There's a reason fighter pilots don't control their planes with WASD.

And who can forget the 3D wireframe maps which, towards the end of the game, got insanely complicated? I can't begin to guess how much time I spent trying to figure out just where the hell I was, where the hell I was trying to go, and how the hell to get there :D

about 2 months ago
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Blizzard Sues Starcraft II Cheat Creators

nmb3000 Re:uh (252 comments)

Luckily precedent from the past shows that claim holds no water: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/....

That's a fantastic point. Fixing your link: Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc. v. Nintendo of America, Inc. In the same way that Game Genie didn't infringe on Nintendo's copyright, the court should rule that this game modification does not infringe on Blizzard's.

I like to think of it as a variation of Plato's Forms -- the copyrighted product "Starcraft II" exists only as what is on-disk -- a fixed collection of code, art, and everything else that makes up the game. However, once this "ideal" form of the product is loaded into the computer's memory, it becomes a separate and mutable thing. The game itself has become a different and derivative thing simply by executing it, and any number of things can cause that state to be changed. This one single participant of the "Starcraft II" form is ephemeral and isn't being distributed (redistribution being the one reason their suit might be reasonable).

Trust me, I hate people who cheat against others as much as anyone, but this is a much larger issue with far-reaching consequences. Restricting what someone can do with code running on their own computer is a slippery slope, and we have already had enough ignorant court rulings (such as Blizzard v. bnetd). There's also the question of single-player cheating -- should it be illegal for someone to mod their single-player game, to give themselves infinite health, for example?

Blizzard is attempting to rectify a relatively simple technical flaw through the court system, and that's just sad. I hope you're right, AC, that the Game Genie precedent will be upheld.

about 2 months ago
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Google Testing Gmail Redesign

nmb3000 Re:How about "no thanks" .... (218 comments)

Really, you can blame the whole "UX" fad for destroying sensible HMI/HCI based design.

The stop sign is a classic case of form following function. Bold red colour, so you notice it. Unique shape, so you can tell what it is before you get close enough to read it. Simple and to the point, designed by engineers.

UX brings in a shit load of bollocks around it rather than making it as simple as it needs to be.

Exactly this. UX as a whole is a cancer on modern computing -- nothing more than a combination of follow-the-leader and a circle-jerk. All it takes is for someone presents a (completely wrong) idea and, as long as they are authoritative about it, the other UX sheep will view that opinion as gospel, not to be questioned but only blindly followed. This might be a teacher at a school or a company like Google.

A perfect recent example is this Stack Exchange question regarding traffic signals. An ignorant (but inquisitive) person asks why traffic signals are always three vertical lights instead of some cool new UX-y system of LEDs and poor contrast. An answer posted which sounded very authoritative (but included no references) and had a few pretty pictures was immediately up-voted by the other UX sheep, even though the answer is completely wrong. The author eventually went and made some edits to claim his view was "just historical" to cover up the fact that he was glaringly wrong about the issue of color blindness.

You can see this behavior everywhere. Microsoft following Apple, Mozilla following Google. It has nothing to do with something being empiraclly or evidently better -- it's simply everyone following the hipster cool kid in class around because, well, he wouldn't be popular if he wasn't right!

We've had computer usability studies for decades now which have provided some keen insights into how people intuit the function of computer (some very interesting ones from the original Mac and Windows 95 timeframes). UX, however, has nothing to do with research or study -- it's little more than populist bullshit.

about 3 months ago
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Yahoo Stops Honoring 'Do-Not-Track' Settings

nmb3000 Re:Yahoo, kill yourself! (300 comments)

Horrible decision, a standard isn't being honored ANYWHERE so you decide to undermine it entirely without replacement?

FTFY.

The simple fact is that Do-Not-Track was a damned bogus idea from the outset. Saying to the massive web of advertising conglamorates and third parties -- all of which make more money the more they can identify you down to an individual -- "Won't you kindly not track me? That would just be great, thanks" is akin to asking the mob nicely not to burn your place down when you refuse to pay protection money, or calling up the NSA and asking them nicely to stop spying on your personal affairs.

If you don't want to be tracked, you need to take steps to make it happen yourself. The tools are there -- use them. If enough people start blocking all forms of advertising, perhaps the intrusiveness and privacy violation will recede. Or maybe the entire advertising industry will collapse (one can always dream).

about 3 months ago
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Why Should Game Stories Make Sense?

nmb3000 Re:Story (169 comments)

Interesting. It looks like a ripoff^Wcopy of I Wanna Be The Guy (which is free and completely awesome, btw), but with slower gameplay and looser controls.

about 3 months ago
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Vintage 1960s Era Film Shows IRS Defending Its Use of Computers

nmb3000 Original Source (146 comments)

For those not interested in helping useless middle-man ad farms, here's the original source on the National Archives website (including the YouTube video):

How Computers Changed the Tax Game

about 3 months ago
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Seagate Releases 6TB Hard Drive Sans Helium

nmb3000 Re:~1000 *Bits* per square inch? (147 comments)

1 Mbit per square inch makes a lot more sense

Oh, derp. Make that 1000 Gbit per square inch. Worst part of no edit on Slashdot is all the simple math mistakes irrevocably left for posterity :)

about 4 months ago
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Seagate Releases 6TB Hard Drive Sans Helium

nmb3000 Re:~1000 *Bits* per square inch? (147 comments)

I thought that in 21st century we are talking about Gbits/inch^2, not just bits...

Paul B.

That caught my eye as well. Assuming 1000 bits per square inch, we're talking about:

6 * 1000 * 1000 * 1000 * 1000 * 8 / 1000 = 48,000,000,000 square inches to store 6TB at 1000 bits per in^2.

1 Mbit per square inch makes a lot more sense, putting it at 48 square inches, or about 8 square inches per platter.

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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nmb3000 nmb3000 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

nmb3000 writes "Apparently some schools and teachers in the United Kingdom are more concerned about offending their students than teaching them history. Specifically, schools are dropping subject such as the Holocaust to avoid "upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial." Other parts of history some schools are removing are the Crusades, and the conflict-filled history of the state of Israel. If "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it", what does that mean for future generations who never learned of it?"
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nmb3000 nmb3000 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

nmb3000 (741169) writes "There has always been a separation between PC games and their cousins on game consoles, and one of these defining barriers has been the inability to play networked games that mix PC and console clients together into a seamless cross-platform experience. It seems, however, that this may be about to change with a new lineup of games coming of Windows Vista in 2007. Microsoft recently announced at CES that games for Vista utilizing DirectX 10 will be able to connect and participate fully in Xbox Live's services. This includes online game play and all related features such as voice communication. This means popular online games such as Halo 2's multiplayer will no longer be limited to console owners; from the article: "In addition, "Halo® 2" for Windows Vista (Microsoft Game Studios/Bungie Studios) will also support Live, including enabling Windows gamers to communicate with Xbox Live gamers and earn Achievements in the famed "Halo 2" campaign — a first for any "Halo" title on any platform.""
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nmb3000 nmb3000 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

nmb3000 writes "Raymond Chen of the Old New Thing points out that disaster was recently averted due to international time zones. Yisrayl Hawkins, the leader of The House of Yahweh, predicted September 12th 2006 as the day of nuclear war between North Korea and the United States. Now three days later, Hawkins explains that "a nuclear war between the US and North Korea only failed to kick off Tuesday as expected due to difference in international time zones." Unperturbed as always, Hawkins' website now warns, "-3 days remaining before the start of nuclear war". I don't know about you, but I'm stocking up on Twinkies and Bawls."
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nmb3000 nmb3000 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

nmb3000 (741169) writes "CNN is reporting that Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin was killed by a string ray off Australian coast. While filming a new movie about deadly creatures, Irwin was swimming along the coast when a stingray hidden in the sand thrust it's barb into his chest, and through his heart. Only 44, Irwin was killed almost immediately by what's been described as a "freak accident". When considering his life and work at his zoo and the Australian outback, it is ironic to note that deaths from stingrays are incredibly uncommon, with only 17 recorded fatalities in Australia since 1969. Included with the article are several videos detailing the incident and public reaction."

Journals

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Mod Points Gone Wild

nmb3000 nmb3000 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

So this is odd enough I figured I'd make a note of it. I'm aware that the way the Slashdot moderation gremlins decide who gets points how often is veiled in secrecy, but still, does anyone have any ideas about this?

I've had an active Slashdot account for a while now. At the beginning I got mod points now and then, no big deal. When my karma hit excellent, I got them a little more often maybe. Okay.

Then about two years ago, they just stopped dead. My karma stayed the same, my posting, site visitation, and metamod habits stayed the same. I have notifications on to tell me about metamods who disagree with my mods and never saw very many of those. For some unknown reason I just stopped getting mod points completely.

Now, all of a sudden last Thursday or so (the 15th), out of the blue, I see that I have 5 mod points. Wow! I spent 4 of them I think and let the last one expire. The day after they expired, 5 more points. I spend all of them I think. The day after they were set to expire, today, bam! -- 5 more points.

It's just odd. I get blacklisted from moderating (I assume) and then out of nowhere get 15 points in some 9 days dumped on me. Did I piss off an editor (I have made fun of a few... it's too easy sometimes) and get an arbitrary 20-ish month ban on modding which has run its course? Seems unlikely, but...

Hmm.

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Autism Quotient

nmb3000 nmb3000 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Saw this in Kymermosst's journal.

I find it hard to believe anything a 50-question test tells me, but here's the idea:

Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues at Cambridge's Autism Research Centre have created the Autism-Spectrum Quotient, or AQ, as a measure of the extent of autistic traits in adults. In the first major trial using the test, the average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher. The test is not a means for making a diagnosis, however, and many who score above 32 and even meet the diagnostic criteria for mild autism or Asperger's report no difficulty functioning in their everyday lives.

I scored a 35.

Sure it's clichéd, but clichés usually have basis in fact: I'd guess that most people on Slashdot score slightly higher than average. Based on the questions, it seems many people interested in technology and engineering may be slightly autistic, being detail-oriented and slightly to largely unsocial.

Or it's just me.

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Slashdot's 1337 new look

nmb3000 nmb3000 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I posted this in another discussion, but figured I'd copy it here for kicks.

---

if you don't like it then tell us some specifics on why you don't like it!

Very well. Here's what I've got so far.

    - First up: Big pages load and render SLOW. Pages with a large number of comments like this one [slashdot.org] make IE crap it's pants
    - I don't want it to blockquote something when I explicitly use <i> (like in this entry--it didn't use to do that, did it?)
    - Score and 'Read More' on the right away from other relevant information.
    - The 'Sections' link is worthless and annoying.
    - Spacing in IE is flunky. Various elements don't line up with others. Yes, it's probably IE's fault, but you can't ignore IE.
    - Links in the navigational menus (left and top) have different colors for visited/not visited. Looks better if they are the same and it doesn't really matter if you've clicked them before.
    - Comments are not indented enough.
    - Arrows on left-hand menu get out of sync easily.
    - Method of changing item color (gray/green) in left-hand menu is slow in IE.
    - Element spacing on User page blows in IE.
    - YRO is still ugly as sin.
    - The menu that opens when you click 'Sections' is a nasty kludge. It's way too slow to open, closes by reloading the page (real stupid).
    - The boxes containing "what is this" blurbs in Preferences are too big and conspicuous. They're supposed to be a subtle help, not obfuscate the main content.
    - IT is still puts Janet Reno to shame.
    - Comment headers (containing the subject) seem too big and waste space.
    - It'd be nice if there was some indication the little arrows were clickable (like using the pointer cursor).
    - The 'Sections' section closes after going into a section, regardless of its previous status. Annoying if you're browsing sections.
    - An old bug still exists where the content of a page will sometimes start a full page lower than it should in IE. Stories and user pages are affected.
    - Bad things usually happen if you click the Sections header after IE starts navigating to another page.
    - Simple Design option + the Sections header box = nasty.
    - Too much whitespace. Reduce it or perhaps go with a real light gray in areas.
    - I miss OMG Ponies! Really.

Personally, I think we should get the option to use the old template.

George Lucas raped my childhood and CSS raped Slashdot *cry*

---

The new design does feel a little 'cleaner' but I think the problems significantly overshadow the advantages. And I know that plenty of people will proclaim "to hell with IE, standards are all that matter!" The problem is you can't just ignore a browser with it's market share.

Anyway, fun fun.

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Slashdot Moderation at Work - Part II

nmb3000 nmb3000 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

So perhaps it wasn't the most Slashdot-friendly thing to say, but I said it anyway. What do I get in payment? Some dumbass with mod points decided that my comment was soooo inflammatory that they used their points marking my last 5 comments "Overrated". I suppose I should be flattered that I got the troll to spend all their points on little old me.

In the end they accomplished nothing, so I'm not sure if I really should be irritated. The only thing that bugs me about it is that while I've had Excellent karma for over a year now and I metamoderate on a regular basis, I haven't seen mod points for the last 6 months, yet morons like this apparently still get them. I suppose it comes down to hoping that there is some system (there certainly should be) that monitors moderations and takes some action if a user uses all their points on negative moderations. This goes double for Overrated mods which bypass review by metamoderators.

Oh well.

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Slashdot Moderation at Work

nmb3000 nmb3000 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Don't bother with the journal much, but thought this was worth noting.

I love the Slashdot crowd's perdictable nature. I posted this comment about 30 hours ago knowing very well that it's score would bounce around some, and would probably come to rest either at 1 or 0. I had no idea how much it would really move.

Right now it's at +2, Funny without a karma bonus, however it's not been an easy ride having been at both +4 and -1 two different times each. I decided to watch it as close as I could for a while and from what I was able to tell, it's moderation went about like this:

1 (Initial posting)
2 (+1 Funny)
3 (+1 Funny)
4 (+1 Funny)
3 (-1 Overrated/Troll)
2 (-1 Overrated/Troll)
1 (-1 Overrated/Troll)
0 (-1 Overrated/Troll)
-1 (-1 Overrated/Troll)
0 (+1 Funny)
1 (+1 Funny)
2 (+1 Funny)
3 (+1 Funny)
4 (+1 Funny)
3 (-1 Overrated/Troll)
2 (-1 Overrated/Troll)
1 (-1 Overrated/Troll)
0 (-1 Overrated/Troll)
-1 (-1 Overrated/Troll)
0 (-1 Overrated/Troll)
1 (+1 Funny)
2 (+1 Funny) (current)

It's bounced around a fair bit and based on the age of the article I bet it won't move much more. What I thought was interesting was that in the course of all this 21 mod points have been spent just to juggle a sarcastic comment about Bush around.

Anyway, I just found it interesting.

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Page 23 Continued

nmb3000 nmb3000 writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Just saw this in Kymermosst's Journal and figured it was reason enough to post for the first time in my /. journal.

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Turn to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

Sure:

"The Times."

I've got a shiny nickel for anyone that can tell me what book that came from. I'll post the name in a while I guess.

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