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Interviews: Andrew "bunnie" Huang Answers Your Questions

werepants Thanks for the responses (32 comments)

Thanks, bunnie, for doing the interview, I found your answers interesting and I enjoyed the read. Also, thanks samzenpus, for not doing the video thing that seems trendy for slashdot interviews lately. I much prefer this format, and find that for interviews on this site, where the questions are often highly technical, that a written response is much more useful. We have enough inane, dumbed-down youtube soundbites if we want them, some lengthy and technically detailed answers are much preferred.

yesterday
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Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

werepants A step in the right direction (198 comments)

I'm tentatively pretty excited about this. I got acquainted with 2nd edition D&D through Baldur's Gate (I think that was their ruleset) and then spent a summer playing 3.5E like crazy and investing way too much time in character optimization and digging through forums. I've played a session or two of 4E.

Cool things that make me excited about this edition:
Attributes, races, and classes seem very faithful to old school D&D.
Combat seems similar to old-school D&D (none of the sliding around BS from 4E).
Classes seem balanced but unique. Casters are nerfed somewhat but still quite powerful, fighter is the only one with multiple attacks, rogue gets multiple actions (of certain types) per round to be versatile. Many things that were previously must-have feats for a class and therefore made you "follow the rails" to have a decent character are now built in (Weapon Finesse for 3.5 rogues, for instance).
Every level gives new abilities. You don't have any "dead levels" with minimal progression.
The whole Background system both encourages character backstory development and makes it mechanically purposeful. Cool and versatile and should aid the storytelling.
The Archetypes allow you to meaningfully distinguish a character of your class from all the others, while keeping some thematic consistency. Easy customization like this is great.
The system is certainly recognizable as D&D but also makes significant strides to simplify. Many complex mechanics have been replaced - don't have to confirm a critical hit or worry about which damage bonuses get added when (just roll double on the damage dice). You roll two D20's to represent an advantage or disadvantage - pick the higher of the two in the first case, the lower in the latter. You don't have modifiers for two-handed fighting, etc. At the same time, armor and weapons are the same as they've always been, along with ability modifiers and many class features (Evasion, for instance).

I'm sure people will find things to dislike, but overall this is a positive move. It seems that they are trying to accentuate the fun parts of the game while remaining faithful to the essence of D&D. And, if I'm not mistaken, I detect similar language and design approach to Legend, which is a very innovative yet D&D-esque system published by a company called Rule of Cool. Their lead designer, Jacob Kurzer, left earlier this year because of mysterious new employment with a noncompete agreement that prohibited him from further development of Legend. I wouldn't be surprised if he had a hand in the development of this new release, and if he is now at WotC I'm really excited to see what else they'll be coming up with.

about a week ago
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Introducing Slashdot's New Build Section

werepants A bunch of whiners (34 comments)

I, for one, welcome our new Making overlords. Or at least, I think this is a useful addition, so that those of us who are interested in 3D printers and Arduino and Raspberry Pi can find the articles that interest us, and those of you who aren't interested can more easily avoid them. I swear I've never heard of a group of more change-averse readers.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

werepants Re:Beards and suspenders. (637 comments)

You made the analogy that bit-bashing is to modern programming what classic greek is to modern logic. So, mostly irrelevant and unnecessary. And you tried to use Amazon and Facebook to prove your point. Don't blame me for the implications of the words you chose. The bottom line is that there is a lot of programming out there that isn't web development, and so bit-bashing is often a very useful thing to know.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

werepants Re:Beards and suspenders. (637 comments)

You're claiming that bit-bashing is obsolete and irrelevant, because you won't use it working for Facebook or Amazon. Yes? If that isn't the argument, why the fuck do you even mention Facebook and Amazon?

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

werepants Re:Beards and suspenders. (637 comments)

And as soon as you work for Facebook or Amazon, you will never have any use for 'bit bashing' again.

You assume all programmers would want to work for Facebook or Amazon. I have no interest in that sort of thing, and it turns out that bit-bashing has been pretty damn useful in the areas I have programmed in (robotics, electronics testing, data analysis).

about three weeks ago
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Inside the Facebook Algorithm Most Users Don't Even Know Exists

werepants Re:Because (130 comments)

Exactly. I wish Facebook would just leave it alone - I don't want "intelligent" delivery of the posts facebook thinks I want to see - I would rather see a true feed representative of the people in my social network, rather than some secretly curated selection based on inscrutable mechanisms that I have no control over.

about three weeks ago
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Ancient Skulls Show Civilization Rose As Testosterone Fell

werepants Re:Makes sense (387 comments)

There's a complicated relationship between muscle mass and testosterone. Higher levels of testosterone do help you to build muscle, but there's also a strong indication that heavy resistance exercise increases testosterone and that higher levels of muscle mass will increase your testosterone production.

about three weeks ago
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How Stanford Engineers Created a Fictitious Compression For HBO

werepants Re:Meh (90 comments)

Your definition of "random" and your understanding of quantum mechanics isn't quite right, although the rest of your post was quite interesting. A thought experiment known as EPR (Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen), followed up by the Stern-Gerlach apparatus and Bell's theorem, actually proved that certain attributes of particles in no way persist between measurements, and that they "choose" outcomes based on a mechanism that is not only unknown, but proven by experiment to be non-describable by deterministic theories.

I was going to spend a while typing up an explanation, but this is a very thorough discussion of all the possibilities that is much better than I could hope to do myself: http://www.scienceclarified.co...

about three weeks ago
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NASA Tests Microwave Space Drive

werepants Re:I had a Crookes radiometer as a kid (201 comments)

Can someone explain to me again why this couldn't be modified, scaled up and used as a micro thrust system for satellites and such?

First problem: it goes round and round, but doesn't produce net thrust in any one direction.

Second problem: it doesn't work in a vacuum. Those bulbs are partially evacuated - too much atmosphere, and it doesn't work, too little, and it doesn't work. Which points to this being some kind of expansion-contraction thermal effect rather than some kind of spacey photon-momentum thing.

Point of interest: I've also heard that if you put one of these things in a freezer you can get them to run backwards...

about three weeks ago
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SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short

werepants Re:NASA needs to fix it's Org. . (132 comments)

> Private industry already designs and builds basically everything they do

Indeed, and dishonest cost estimates from private companies are usually the main reason for things going way over-budget.

And this is exactly where it needs to restructure itself. Dismantle the SLS program, pour more funds into research and facilities like JPL.

I'm not convinced that all the restructuring in the world will fix NASA as long as congress keeps using them as a jobs program with some technical objectives stapled on top as an afterthought.

about a month ago
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SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short

werepants Re:NASA needs to fix it's Org. . (132 comments)

SLS is NOT a decent project. It's an old-school design based on expensive and outdated tech with known problems! The only thing SLS succeeds at is keeping the same cash flowing to the same congressional districts. That money would be far better spent on commercial crew or developing an entirely new system from the ground up.

about a month ago
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SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short

werepants Re:NASA needs to fix it's Org. . (132 comments)

I don't think you really understand how NASA works. Private industry already designs and builds basically everything they do - NASA doesn't have manufacturing capabilities. The thing that kills them is cost-plus contracting and the fact that they have to make engineering decisions not based on technical merit, but based on what will appease congress.

about a month ago
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SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short

werepants Re:SLS and comparing to spacex (132 comments)

Not to mention, by the time SLS block II happens (if ever) SpaceX will likely have been flying on their giant methane-based Raptor engine for years. We're talking 100 tons+ to MARS, forget LEO.

about a month ago
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SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short

werepants Re:pfft, 3.5% overrun (132 comments)

I agree with you that NASA is a worthy recipient of our tax dollars, but as long as congress keeps mandating that they design rockets based on how many people they can employ in how many districts, we're never going to get out of LEO again. This money would be better spent on commercial crew type programs, with a commercial-off-the-shelf model rather than the chronically over-schedule and over-budget cost plus approach.

about a month ago
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SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short

werepants Re:putting OP's bullshit into context (132 comments)

sure, the project is expensive but people need to understand there are immense differences between NASA's vehicle and the others. Not to mention all three companies are standing on the shoulders of a giant, NASA, and their projects are all dwarfed by what nasa is attempting to create.

SpaceX: hopefully delivering the CST-100 version 2, but honestly hasnt contributed a whole lot other than a sexy brand to the effort. CST100 was delivered by Boeing.

What the hell? SpaceX has the Dragon (and Dragon 2), not the CST100. SpaceX has had several successful, on-schedule, on-budget flights of the Dragon for cargo (including safe reentry) which has demonstrated the functionality of many subsystems that will be used in the manned version. The Dragon 2 has potential to be the safest manned capsule of the bunch - it can abort at literally any point in the launch profile, land with pinpoint accuracy, and has a strong enough heatshield for a return from Mars. Not to mention the Falcon 9 is the only rocket out there that can suffer an engine failure and still make mission. They have another rocket in development, again using many proven systems with which they have flight heritage, which will have more capability than any other existing rocket - Falcon Heavy. It has comparable capabilities to SLS Block I and is scheduled to fly 2 years sooner. Crossfeed capabilities will improve the capacity even more.

Boeing: not sexy, just practical. a design ripoff of many other NASA firsts, it is restricted to suborbital and cannot carry cargo. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

I would say not sexy or practical, given that all they've demonstrated is a mockup and word is there are some serious technical issues with wind tunnel testing, etc. There's a good chance the CST100 won't survive the commercial crew downselect in August, and there's no indication that Boeing cares much about this.

Sierra Nevada: building what nasa did 30 years ago, this is designed for cargo and people. it is strictly suborbital. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Entirely wrong. This is an orbital craft - did you not see the dozens of marketing pictures of this docking with the ISS? This is a neat little craft with some significant development and test milestones already checked off - successful flights of a complete engineering model, engine tests, and reviews. They also have a launch scheduled for 2015, which they are financing on their own dime to demonstrate capability and earn at least some initial flight heritage. This has a unique capability, too, with the ability to abort during almost any time in the flight and land on runways all around the world.

NASA SLS: cargo, crew, suborbital, and interplanetary transport system. SLS is to be capable of lifting astronauts and hardware to near-Earth destinations such as asteroids, the Moon, Mars, and most of the Earth's Lagrangian points. SLS may also support trips to the International Space Station, if necessary. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

This is a paper rocket at this stage in the game. I can make a powerpoint presentation about a system that will go to Mars and back tomorrow - doesn't mean I can deliver. Sure, this rocket COULD be developed, and all of these exciting missions COULD happen, if we doubled NASA's budget - as it is, they don't even have the funding to properly develop and test the first article, much less finance an extended campaign of missions. Every dollar spent on this would go 5 times as far developing commercial crew capability, but it wouldn't funnel money to Alabama to build obsolete and failure-prone SRBs, so congress (and therefore NASA) will never drop it if they can help it.

about a month ago
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The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

werepants Re:Pft (962 comments)

Well, that is kind of an impossibility for a self-test, yes? No pleasing you guys.

about a month ago
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The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

werepants Re:Occams Scalpel (962 comments)

We'll have to agree to disagree, I suppose. I am not familiar with the organization, they are apparently a podcast done by the women on IGN's staff, where they discuss games from a female perspective. That does not sound remotely sexual to me. The visual scheme on their homepage is a boxing glove and some stylized text. This is a podcast aimed at women - I don't think there's any reason to believe they are using sexual innuendo to titillate their target audience.

If anything, the fact that you feel the term is sexualized kind of supports their point - it is difficult for females to participate in this industry as equals.

about a month ago
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The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

werepants Re:Pft (962 comments)

I used to hold an attitude very much like yours, but I took some tests on this site

Congratulations, you've just been push-polled. Those tests aren't built to discover bias, they're built to convince you that you are biased.

Except that they showed I held no bias with race. Why don't you actually try it, and see if you can find a flaw with their methodology? Researchers need a good tool to study bias, and AFAIK this is a pretty highly regarded one. It's published by the psych dept. at Harvard FFS - I don't know what you WOULD consider a good test for bias.

about a month ago
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The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

werepants Re:Occams Scalpel (962 comments)

They aren't complaining about being sexualized, as far as I can tell. They are complaining about being harassed. And the fact that some men get their rocks off on violence between women doesn't make the concept inherently sexual. The first page of google hits on that term include a film about a woman boxer and a women's martial arts academy.

about a month ago

Submissions

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$99 iPad rival NoteSlate

werepants werepants writes  |  more than 3 years ago

werepants (1912634) writes "NoteSlate — a digital drawing pad, or at least the idea of one — is burning a hole in the blogosphere. A few weeks ago, descriptions and mockups appeared online at NoteSlate.com. Since then, hundreds of technology news and gossip sites around the globe have written about it in at least half a dozen languages, heralding the imminent arrival of a $99 e-ink digital tablet that mimics the simplicity of old-fashioned pen and paper."
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