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Preferred Type of Game?

phaunt Re:Modern board games (171 comments)

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.

about two weeks ago

Why Scientists Think Completely Unclassifiable and Undiscovered Life Forms Exist

phaunt 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."

about a month and a half ago

Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

phaunt Re:Why is he worried (583 comments)

Life is life.

Na-naaa naa-na-na.

about 2 months ago

Bot Tweets Anonymous Wikipedia Edits From Capitol Hill

phaunt "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.

about 5 months ago

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

phaunt Re:Not a QC! (96 comments)

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: $\Psi_\mathit{classical computer}$

See also: http://www.tex.ac.uk/cgi-bin/texfaq2html?label=mathstext

about a year and a half ago

Notification of Server Breach Mistaken For Phishing Email

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

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

This should be a lesson to all of us, since EDUCAUSE is definitely not alone here: We all do regular, legitimate business in ways that is sometimes indistinguishable from phishing, at least to regular users. That needs to stop. Email marketers and analytics junkies will not like to hear this, but we need to put an end to embedded email links that are redirected through other systems. IMO, we should put an end to *all* legitimate links in emails; instead have a business portal with all of the links to surveys, training sites, etc., and have notification emails for when new things appear on the portal. In addition, we could modify our SSO sites so that they alert users when they need to take care of something that we would normally use email for which to notify the user. Once that's done, we can assure users that we will NEVER ask them to click on a link in an email, just like we currently remind them that we never ask them for passwords.

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.

about 2 years ago

Online Ads Are More Dangerous Than Porn, Cisco Says

phaunt Re:Risky != Risky??? (110 comments)

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

about 2 years ago

Online Ads Are More Dangerous Than Porn, Cisco Says

phaunt 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.

about 2 years ago

Online Ads Are More Dangerous Than Porn, Cisco Says

phaunt 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".

about 2 years ago

Fedora 19 Nixing MySQL in Favor of MariaDB

phaunt 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.

about 2 years ago

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

phaunt 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?

about 2 years ago

Fireflies Bring Us Brighter LEDs

phaunt Heinlein "predicted" this (111 comments)

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.

about 2 years ago

Elite Looks Set To Make a Comeback

phaunt 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.

about 2 years ago

North Korea Jamming GPS Signals In South Korea

phaunt Re:GPS reliance (290 comments)

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

How Windows FreeCell Gave Rise To Online Crowdsourcing

phaunt Re:Missing from article (93 comments)

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

Re: the debt deal reached Sunday night ...

phaunt Re:Common Sense, anyone? (788 comments)

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

Re: the debt deal reached Sunday night ...

phaunt Re:Common Sense, anyone? (788 comments)

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

My Job Is..

phaunt Re:Ugggh hate it (404 comments)

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

How the Web Rallied To Review the P != NP Claim

phaunt Re:The greatest gift (160 comments)

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

New Email Worm Squirming Through Windows Users' Inboxes

phaunt Re:What do you mean 2001? (473 comments)

They all contain links to weird-looking pages which, of course, I never open.

If you never open them, how do you know the pages look weird? Or did you mean to write "They all contain weird-looking links to pages which, of course, I never open"?

Anyway, I believe many of those work on a slightly different principle: not downloading an EXE but simply asking you to enter your MSN/hotmail password to be able to see the embarrassing pics in question... and then mailing /IM'ing themselves on.

more than 4 years ago



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