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Preferred Type of Game?

Settlers of Catan, you've probably heard about, but that was just the game which enabled the genre; honored for it, but otherwise left behind as a deeply flawed example of what a truly strategic board game should be.

While I agree with the general premise, you manage to give Catan both too much and too little credit. It was definitely not the first game in the genre, though it was probably the one that brought it to mainstream attention. But I don't agree with your statement that it is deeply flawed. I still find the basic game a lot of fun to play.

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Why Scientists Think Completely Unclassifiable and Undiscovered Life Forms Exist

Asimov: "Not as We Know it" (221 comments)

I'll confess immediately that I didn't read TFA. I just want to drop this link to a nice Isaac Asimov essay, back from 1962:
Not as We Know it – The Chemistry of Life

Remember that Asimov was a professor of biochemistry. In the article, he investigates alternatives to the chemistry of life as we know it. He comes up with the following list:

[H]ere, then, is my list of life chemistries, spanning the temperature range from near red heat down to near absolute zero:
1. fluorosilicone in fluorosilicone
2. fluorocarbon in sulfur
3.*nucleic acid/protein (O) in water
4. nucleic acid/protein (N) in ammonia
5. lipid in methane
6. lipid in hydrogen
Of this half dozen, the third only is life-as-we-know-it. Lest you miss it, I've marked it with an asterisk.

When you read the article, you may want to skip the first bit and start from about the paragraph "Well, that's what I want to discuss."

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Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

Re:Why is he worried (583 comments)

Life is life.

Na-naaa naa-na-na.

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Bot Tweets Anonymous Wikipedia Edits From Capitol Hill

"Anonymous" is not anonymous at all (95 comments)

Many people don't seem to realise that by editing Wikipedia anonymously, you're giving away your IP address for everyone to see. I'd expected a comment to that effect here but didn't, so I'll be the first to post it.

In that sense, editing with a registered account is much more anonymous. Only some Wikipedia staff members can look up your IP address, so edits from Capitol Hill using an account won't be picked up by this twitter bot. Also, those staff members (should) have to follow procedures before they can look up your IP.

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A Look At Quantum Computer Manufacturer D-Wave and Its Founder

Please, please use a command like \mathit or \text around text used in maths mode. I see $italics$ far too often still in papers and presentations.

So, you should e.g. write: $\Psi_\mathit{classical computer}$

about a year and a half ago
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Notification of Server Breach Mistaken For Phishing Email

This guy at seclists.org nailed it (65 comments)

Michael Sinatra over at seclists.org had the following to say:

If that is "too hard" and/or the analytics stuff is "too valuable" then we need to simply accept the risk that our users will get caught in phishing attacks. The bad guys have figured out that it is very easy to mimic our business practices, and they have gotten very good at doing it. Unless we change those practices, they will find us to be easy pickings.

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Online Ads Are More Dangerous Than Porn, Cisco Says

What Cisco's report actually said is that behaviour often perceived as "safe" (such as online shopping) carries more risk than generally thought.

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Online Ads Are More Dangerous Than Porn, Cisco Says

Re:TFA got the probabilities backward (110 comments)

...and Slashdot's title for the story that "Online Ads Are More Dangerous Than Porn" takes it still a level further. It's certainly not what Cisco said.

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Online Ads Are More Dangerous Than Porn, Cisco Says

TFA got the probabilities backward (110 comments)

The summary, and the Security Week article, write that "Users are more 21 times more likely to get hit with malware from online shopping sites than if they'd gone to a counterfeit software site".

Cisco's report says that "Online shopping sites are 21 times more likely to deliver malicious content than counterfeit software sites."

Those statements are not equivalent. Online shopping sites have many more visitors than counterfeit software sites, so they have more opportunity to deliver malware. The same goes for the factor of 27 for search engines.

Also, it's hard to check the factor of 182 for adult sites, since the report doesn't include that number, or in fact even the words "porn" or "adult".

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Fedora 19 Nixing MySQL in Favor of MariaDB

See this comparison. Wikipedia is moving, too. (116 comments)

Here is a comparison of MariaDB vs MySQL.
Probably most important to Fedora is this:

Truly Open Source

• All code in MariaDB is released under GPL, LPGL or BSD. MariaDB does not have closed source modules like the one you can find in MySQL enterprise edition. In fact, all the closed source features in MySQL 5.5 enterprise edition are found in the MariaDB open source version.
• MariaDB includes test cases for all fixed bugs. Oracle doesn't provide test cases for new bugs fixed in MySQL 5.5.
• All bugs and development plans are public.
• MariaDB is developed by the community in true open source spirit.

Wikipedia, too, is moving from MySQL to MariaDB.

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Norway Tax Auditors Want To Open Source Cash Registers To Combat Fraud

Just releasing the source may not fix it (161 comments)

Releasing the source doesn't guarantee that a specific cash register is also running that code. So will this be all that helpful?

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Fireflies Bring Us Brighter LEDs

In 1940, Robert A. Heinlein (writing under the pseudonym of Lyle Monroe) published a story called "Let There Be Light" where the firefly's bioluminosity whas studied leading to the development of "light panels", kinda-sorta predicting LEDs. It's a nice development that now the firefly is being studied to improve those LEDs. Though the mechanism is totally different of course.

The story is apparently in the public domain now, available here.

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Elite Looks Set To Make a Comeback

Re:It's still open and they will do a Mac/Linux po (113 comments)

Yes, GP confused me for a moment there. I decided to gave it a miss because I felt the sum was a bit large for a game quite likely not available on my platform. I almost thought I'd missed something.

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North Korea Jamming GPS Signals In South Korea

The GP's point still stands. He mentions "that the infrastructure you need to navigate without it has been neglected or even systematically dismantled". This includes lighthouses, many of which are no longer being maintained. I find this a bad idea: they offer a globally distributed and resilient fall-back option to the much more centralised (almost single-point-of-failure) technology that GPS offers.

more than 2 years ago
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How Windows FreeCell Gave Rise To Online Crowdsourcing

FreeCell is not np-anything. It's a finite tree that can be exhaustively searched.

Generalized FreeCell is NP-Complete.

more than 2 years ago
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Re: the debt deal reached Sunday night ...

But the point is, when people just repeat their HuffPo talking points, they are really clueless about the actual numbers of who pays taxes, and so forth. Most arguments about "the disproportionate tax burden on the poor" come from SSN/Medicare withholdings, which aren't taxes, precisely, since you get the money back eventually. More like a mandatory retirement program.

(Though if you expect SSN to have totally vanished by the time you retire, then sure, it's a tax.)

Yes, thank you for that insight.

more than 3 years ago
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Re: the debt deal reached Sunday night ...

For fuck's sake, stop getting all of your news from HuffPo. Corporations and Wealthy individuals (top 20%) pay 75% of all income tax in America. The bottom quintile pays NEGATIVE 10%. The middle 60% of America pays the remaining 25%.

That still leaves 10% then :-P

more than 3 years ago
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My Job Is..

or maybe: "It's not what you do or how well you do it, it's who you do and how well you do him/her."

more than 4 years ago
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How the Web Rallied To Review the P != NP Claim

That's exactly what he did. He mailed it to a small group of experts and asked them for their comments. Some of them sent it on, commenting: "hey, this looks like a legit attempt", and before Vinay knew it, his article was on the web.

more than 4 years ago

Slashdot: News for Nerds

A rolling disk gathers no MOS.