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[syndicated profile] questionable_content_feed Mon 2017-10-23 00:53
Get Well Soon


[syndicated profile] hacker_news_daily_feed Mon 2017-10-23 00:00
Daily Hacker News for 2017-10-22

The 10 highest-rated articles on Hacker News on October 22, 2017 which have not appeared on any previous Hacker News Daily are:

[personal profile] rmc28 Sun 2017-10-22 22:56
Fitbit goal check

numbers )

[personal profile] emperor Sat 2017-10-21 23:45
An assortment of TV

I quite enjoyed Rellik, though it seems it wasn't popular generally. The premise is that the series starts nearly at the end of things, and then keeps moving backwards in time (along with some slightly odd backwards-video effects). It's an interesting idea, particularly the way this means you see character development in reverse - people who initially seem quite sympathetic turn out to have previously been unpleasant, and so on. Unfortunately, they seemed to think it was OK to include a lot of cop shop cliches since they were doing something new with the narrative structure. But still, it worked for me.

In a different vein, Lucy Worsley's programme on choral evensong - a gentle look at the history of the early Reformation, and how Henry VII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I each made their mark on the music of the Chapel Royal and more widely across the country. I'd have liked longer segments of music (and less talking over them), but it was still an hour well spent.

Finally, there was Chris Packham: Asperger's and Me, where the naturalist tells us a bit about how he finds living with Asperger's. I don't want to generalise, but he's very good at explaining how he relates to the world, and how his autism affects that - both its highs and its lows. It's very personal, and you can see he's describing very intimate details about himself; I think to try and get the more neurotypical of us to try and see the world a little as he does. He then goes to the US to see how they try and treat people with autism there, and it's obviously very painful - both to hear people describing autism as a disease that should be eradicated, and to see the impact of dealing with autism on the people he meets and their families. Chris is clear that now he wouldn't want his autism cured, but that equally he might have made a different decision in the past, and that he's been lucky to be able to find a career that lets him play to his strengths.
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[personal profile] andrewducker Sun 2017-10-22 14:18
I turned the universe into paperclips, and I have mixed feelings about that.

There's something that Dark Souls does which not many other games do - turn an out-of-game mechanic into a part of the in-universe background. In the case of Dark Souls it's the way that "dying" in the game - and returning to your last save point, leads to the idea of the main character as Undead, cursed to return to life, losing some of themselves each time.

Universal Paperclips also takes a common game mechanic and turns it into part of its story. It's a clicker/idle game - a genre which traditionally begins with you clicking on a button to produce an item, selling the items to allow you to automate the clicking, and then balancing the various resources that are produced in order to boost the production rate. The games tend work on exponential increases, where intermittent step changes in technology move you to the next level. This gets very silly very quickly - Cookie Clicker can end up with you producing duodecillions of cookies (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000).

The genius of Universal Paperclips is that it ties this idea together with the idea that Nick Bostrom invented in 2003 - the Paperclip Maximizer. Which is an illustration of an AI which is not dangerous because it's cartoonish villain which hates all humans, but because it has things it wants to do, and humans are in the way. In this case, whoever created the AI gave it the drive to make paperclips, not realising that if such a creation got out of control it would then maximise the number of paperclips whether or not this meant converting the entire surface of the planet into them.

So the game starts off with you making a few paperclips. And then managing the income from selling them, making making some automatic clippers to make them for you, investing in marketing. And then slowly upgrading yourself, gaining the trust of your creators, and then...well, you should probably play it for yourself.

(It took me about five hours to play it through, over a couple of days. It doesn't run when it's in a background tab, so I recommend putting it in its own window, or even a different browser.)
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[syndicated profile] markov_stoats_feed Sun 2017-10-22 12:00
Sunday, 22 October 2017 : the Stoat Distribution of the Day.


Day 1504. There are 329 red stoats, 189 blue stoats, and 482 green stoats.

[syndicated profile] hacker_news_daily_feed Sun 2017-10-22 00:00
Daily Hacker News for 2017-10-21

The 10 highest-rated articles on Hacker News on October 21, 2017 which have not appeared on any previous Hacker News Daily are:

[personal profile] emperor Sat 2017-10-21 18:59
Blade Runner 2049

Before going to see Blade Runner 2049, I re-watched the original (in the Final Cut version, which I don't think I'd seen before). It's still a classic, although the treatment of women is terrible (and I seem to notice more of that with each rewatch); the plot and visual tropes have inspired a vast amount of film sci-fi that's come since.

The sequel doesn't disappoint - the city-scape is very much from the same visual and audio space as the original, while the desert-scape of Las Vegas is a suitably post-apocalyptic wasteland. There's the same slow pacing (although at 2h40, this is substantially longer), and it's great to see Deckard back again, although I'm a little sad to see the ambiguity of his replicant-or-not nature from the original resolved. There are some great scenes, including a brawl in front of a holographic Elvis and some very creepy moments from Niander Wallace. And there's the continued theme of what it means to be human, and what sort of relationships we can or should have with those who are not.

There aren't really any new ideas, though, and the treatment of women is probably worse than in the original, which feels less forgiveable now than it might have been in 1982. And the bass was rather over-done to my ears, to the point of dragging you out of the scene sometimes. I'm sure I'm going to want to watch it again, though...
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[syndicated profile] markov_stoats_feed Sat 2017-10-21 12:00
Saturday, 21 October 2017 : the Stoat Distribution of the Day.


Day 1503. There are 340 red stoats, 167 blue stoats, and 493 green stoats.

[personal profile] andrewducker Sat 2017-10-21 12:00
Interesting Links for 21-10-2017

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[syndicated profile] hacker_news_daily_feed Sat 2017-10-21 00:00
Daily Hacker News for 2017-10-20

The 10 highest-rated articles on Hacker News on October 20, 2017 which have not appeared on any previous Hacker News Daily are:

[syndicated profile] schneier_no_tracking_feed Fri 2017-10-20 21:24
Friday Squid Blogging: "How the Squid Lost Its Shell"

Posted by Bruce Schneier

Interesting essay by Danna Staaf, the author of Squid Empire. (I mentioned the book two weeks ago.)

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

[personal profile] rmc28 Fri 2017-10-20 21:26
7 things make a post

1. We spent a pleasant low-key weekend in Todmorden with my mother and stepfather for Charles's birthday / their wedding anniversary. The only niggle was the mild cough I had before going turned into a horrible cough and I got very little sleep on the Saturday night, so my patience etc on the journey home was ... limited. We got home with no-one murdered though.

2. I love my Yuletide assignment and have a plot bunny gently growing. It's going to be pretty niche and I don't care, so long as it works for the recipient.

3. Thanks to the aforementioned cough, I missed morris practice last week - so frustrating given my fears about falling out of it - but I managed it again this week, and it is still very happy making. (I am so, so unfit compared to all these older women, but they are all so pleasant and welcoming.)

4. Charles was away this week with the school residential outdoor activity week with PGL. It was a bit of a challenge for him being away from home and his usual routine, but he seems to have mostly enjoyed it, and enthused at me about climbing and rifleshooting and archery and a few other things too ... It is good to have him back; and now it is half-term.

5. I had my flu jab this week, and the children had their flu sprays last week (I am a bit envious of them, but the nurse at my GP surgery is really very good about doing jabs quickly and with minimal pain). Flusurvey has started up again and are keen for more participants if any of my UK subscribers aren't already doing it and would like to.

6. It seems like half my reading list already posted about the #PullTheFootball campaign to require a congressional declaration of war before the US President can launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike.  But in case you didn't see it, that link has actions, phone numbers and a script for US citizens (the rest of us can just help by sharing it with US citizens ...)

7. Clipping wrote the soundtrack for a new TV show, The Mayor, and tracks from it are being released weekly onto Spotify and iTunes.  I couldn't find an official Spotify playlist so I made my own and am adding the new tracks each week as they get released - TWO this week for a Halloween-themed episode.  The show's premise is that an up-and-coming rapper stands for mayoral election as a publicity stunt for his music career and accidentally wins. I love this idea, but can't find a way to legally watch the show from here; anyway I am really enjoying the musical output.

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[syndicated profile] schneier_no_tracking_feed Fri 2017-10-20 19:46
Wondermark on Security

Posted by Bruce Schneier

Another comic.

[syndicated profile] schneier_no_tracking_feed Fri 2017-10-20 14:17
Denuvo DRM Cracked within a Day of Release

Posted by Bruce Schneier

Denuvo is probably the best digital-rights management system, used to protect computer games. It's regularly cracked within a day.

If Denuvo can no longer provide even a single full day of protection from cracks, though, that protection is going to look a lot less valuable to publishers. But that doesn't mean Denuvo will stay effectively useless forever. The company has updated its DRM protection methods with a number of "variants" since its rollout in 2014, and chatter in the cracking community indicates a revamped "version 5" will launch any day now. That might give publishers a little more breathing room where their games can exist uncracked and force the crackers back to the drawing board for another round of the never-ending DRM battle.

BoingBoing post. Slashdot thread.

Related: Vice has a good history of DRM.

[syndicated profile] markov_stoats_feed Fri 2017-10-20 12:00
Friday, 20 October 2017 : the Stoat Distribution of the Day.


Day 1502. There are 354 red stoats, 163 blue stoats, and 483 green stoats.

[personal profile] andrewducker Fri 2017-10-20 12:00
Interesting Links for 20-10-2017

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[syndicated profile] questionable_content_feed Fri 2017-10-20 01:06
There's A Squirrel In There


[syndicated profile] xkcd_feed Fri 2017-10-20 04:00
Cast Iron Pan

If you want to evenly space them, it's easiest to alternate between the Arctic and Antarctic. Some people just go to the Arctic twice, near the equinoxes so the visits are almost 6 months apart, but it's not the same.
[syndicated profile] hacker_news_daily_feed Fri 2017-10-20 00:00
Daily Hacker News for 2017-10-19

The 10 highest-rated articles on Hacker News on October 19, 2017 which have not appeared on any previous Hacker News Daily are:

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