* Posts by Suricou Raven

1239 posts • joined 20 Jun 2007

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What's long, hard and full of seamen? The USS Harvey Milk

Suricou Raven
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He has become a very polarising figure. Those in the political left in the US have idolised him to the point of inventing a martyr, while those on the right have invented conspiracy theories in which he committed all manner of awful sex crimes which went unreported due to a cover-up operation by the state government and the media.

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Starbucks bans XXX Wi-Fi

Suricou Raven
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Re: Pointless.

Just had to return to the comments to mock this quote:

"Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, called filtering public Wi-Fi a “necessity” in a statement commending McDonald’s new policy.

“Pornography is linked to decreased brain matter, compulsive use disorders, and sexual aggression. In light of the technical capabilities, it has become socially irresponsible for any corporation, public library, or public school to leave its Wi-Fi unfiltered,” she said."

The NCSE was formerly known as Morality in Media. They rebranded.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Depends on context

"I'd have an entirely different view on a hotel carrying out this type of filtering however."

Many hotels make money off PPV porn. Internet filtering might be a way to preserve what's left of that profit stream. It's so dismal now though that some of the biggest chains have announced to great fanfare that they are no longer offering PPV porn services out of respect for marriage, family, and apple pie.

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Suricou Raven
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Pointless.

This achieves nothing at all. Very few people are going to want to watch porn in Starbucks, and those that do will simply use the mobile network or bring their own on storage.

What the decision does is convince the self-appointed moral guardians to shut up for a while and go bother someone else. The campaign group "Enough is Enough" recently announced they intend to commence efforts to pressure Starbucks into installing filters - Starbucks simply realised that they had no reason to resist. Their website (http://enough.org/) is already celebrating their victory, while I've no doubt that right now they are debating who to harass instead.

To give you some idea of what we are dealing with, take a look at http://enough.org/friendlymemes - notice something odd? That they use 'porn' and 'child porn' interchangeably? That's because they see no difference. It's all filth and sin and must be stopped by any means, because even perfectly unremarkable adult non-kinky porn will turn men into rapists and paedophiles.

I also love all their 'according to federal officials' claims that don't actually name an official, or a date, or a department.

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Nintendo to investors: Pokémon Go won't make money come

Suricou Raven
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There was a small scandal about the My Little Pony game doing that - completing the game without paying was possible, but required more grinding than any sane player would ever be prepared to do, and as the game was mostly played by children this resulted in more than a few upset parents discovering an unexpected bill. Hasbro had to reduce prices in order to avoid bad publicity.

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Star Trek Beyond: An unwatchable steaming pile of tribble dung

Suricou Raven
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Re: Nahh, the old Star Trek was for nerds...

There have been many, many, many pokemon movies.

Which can only mean one thing, I think.

BIG BUDGET REBOOT TIME!

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Nahh, the old Star Trek was for nerds...

No. If anyone in Star Trek is to be seen making a load of profit by selling overpriced tat to gullible fools, then his name shall be Mudd.

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Suricou Raven
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I, Robot did have many good moments - but they served mostly to illustrate all the ways in which the rest of the movie was so poor.

There was one good twist revelation at the end, but overall I think the writers were too unwilling to take risks and deviate from the tried-and-tested cliches. Killer robots and computers bent on world domination are tried-and-tested plot elements that usually get a good audience reaction. But they are so overdone all you really get is a very generic action movie.

It's made all the worse for having read the book - which was focused on subverting those very cliches. The final chapter is set as a dinner conversation, as a board of engineers discover that the robots are conspiring to overthrow human government. Then they take a look at what human government has achieved, realise that the robots are obliged by their design to act always in the best interests of those governed and incapable of doing otherwise, and decide to just keep quiet about the matter and let the robots win.

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Blighty's Coastguard goes into battle against waterborne Pokemon

Suricou Raven
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Re: Yawn. Nothing to see here...

Eventually the fans realise it's all a bit faddy really and lose interest.

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Debian: s/Chairman/Chair/g

Suricou Raven
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Be careful when using global replace.

It can have unforeseen consequences, as certain cdesign propositionists can testify.

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Facebook claims no bias

Suricou Raven
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I have a theory.

American political culture has two major factions. Is it perhaps possible that if one faction is more prone to lying or extreme hyperbole, then simple fact-checking processes may appear biased?

What I see here is a lot of organisations whining that their column "Obama's socialist plan to destroy America" didn't make the front page.

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Rolls-Royce reckons robot cargo ships are the future of the seas

Suricou Raven
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Re: Is it worth it ?

Semi-autonomous ship technology could still reduce the size of crew required. The ship can navigate itsself, steer itsself. You don't need to keep someone on the bridge at all times to watch the radar and listen for the radio. The crew can be reduced to just a very small number of people to perform maintenance tasks.

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Wannabe Prime Minister Andrea Leadsom thinks all websites should be rated – just like movies

Suricou Raven
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Re: greatest female leaders this country has ever had.

She who lead her people into a war that they had no realistic prospect of ever winning, and thus lost?

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Teen faces trial for telling suicidal boyfriend to kill himself via text

Suricou Raven
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Idiot.

If you are doing something that could land you in legal trouble, don't use any form of communication that leaves a record!

That's just common sense.

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Capacity limits are utter tosh: Toshiba fattens SSD, disk with flash layers, helium

Suricou Raven
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Hurry it up!

I've got sixteen drives in my home server, and I really want to bring that down.

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Humans and bees share the same sociability genes

Suricou Raven
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The killer whale is not actually a whale. It's a very large dolphin.

Humans, on the other hand, are very much apes. All go under Hominoidea. There are numerous anatomical features that are unique to great apes, and humans have them.

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Microsoft's Windows 10 nagware goes FULL SCREEN in final push

Suricou Raven
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Re: Over 300 million people...

This is a case where a giveaway is certainly not a lost sale. How many home users actually pay for Windows on it's own? They all, almost without exception, get it supplied with their new computer via OEM license. Only businesses and OEMs buy windows.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: A final throw of the M$ dice before?

Microsoft worked hard to earn their insulting abbreviation. It's a reference to their long history of aggressive business methods.

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Utah sheriffs blow $10,000 on smut-sniffing Labrador

Suricou Raven
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As a second layer, yes. But encryption has another issue: The police ask you to decrypt it. In the UK they can jail you for refusing to do so. They can't do that in the US, but your refusal will still look very damning in court and a jury will certainly take that into account.

If you're really good you can use a truecrypt hidden volume. Put on a big show of not decrypting it, finally give in, and decrypt it to reveal your stash of weird-but-legal fetish porn. Now you have a plausible story as to why you had an encrypted drive hidden under the floorboardds.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: What law?

Title 76 - Criminal Code, Chaper 10 - Offenses Against Public Health, Safety, Welfare and Morals, Part 12.

The production or distribution of pornography in any form, even just nudity, is a criminal offense in Utah.

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Drones, weed and prison: Bloke pleads guilty over plan

Suricou Raven
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Simple solution:

Just put a net over any outdoors areas. Problem solved. You'll need a fine net to make sure nothing larger than a box of matches can fall through.

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Patent trolls, innovation and Brexit: What the FT won't tell you

Suricou Raven
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Re: So why is Brexit the answer?

"The problem with fishing is nothing to do with the EU and everything to do with fishermen refusing to stop fishing until they have emptied the seas."

Yes, but their refusal is understandable. Fishing is more than a job, it's a way of life. Those stubborn fishermen learned the trade from their fathers, who learned it from their fathers, who learned it from their fathers. Whole towns have been supported by fishing and the associated support industries. It's not that they refuse to stop fishing: It's that they can't stop, not without giving up their local identity.

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A Logic Named Joe: The 1946 sci-fi short that nailed modern tech

Suricou Raven
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It did mention porn.

"Now kiddies, you punch this one for what you want. I'm gonna take the old one away before it breaks down?"

And I glance at the screen. The kiddies have apparently said they wanna look at some real cannibals. So the screen is presenting a anthropological expedition scientific record film of the fertility dance of the HubaJouba tribe of West Africa. It is supposed to be restricted to anthropological professors and post-graduate medical students. But there ain't any censor blocks working any movie and it's on. The kids are much interested. Me, bein' a old married man, I blush.

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Jacob Appelbaum quits Tor Project amid 'sex misconduct' accusations

Suricou Raven
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Re: Takeover of TOR

One thing the various leaks have now shown is that sometimes those conspiracy theories can be right.

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On her microphone's secret service: How spies, anyone can grab crypto keys from the air

Suricou Raven
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Re: How can that possibly work?

Phones use DC-DC converters too. The battery voltage varies too much to drive anything directly, and a lot of the components run at very low voltage for power efficiency.

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BBC's micro:bit retail shipments near

Suricou Raven
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It's rubbish

Minimal libraries available as of yet. Just enough functionality to not be useful without accessories. They'd have done better just making arduinos with extra LEDs and buttons.

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Work begins on Russian rival to Android

Suricou Raven
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Re: I'm surprised there aren't more of these.

It's the nuclear weapon of electronic warfare: It only needs to work once.

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Suricou Raven
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I'm surprised there aren't more of these.

Operating systems should be of major strategic concern. If a real war broke out - I mean proper war, not these middle-easten proxy-wars - it would be easy for, say, the US government to order MS or Google to publish a 'wipe drive and zero the firmware' update and send it via the auto-update mechanism to all hosts in a specified country, thus instantly causing billions in economic damage and crippling infrastructure, communications and ability to coordinate militarily. Or just use the trusted updates as a vector for targeted spyware.

As the world of operating systems is dominated by three companies, all of them based in the US, every country that may conceivably face war with the US at any point in the next fifty years should be working on a way to neutralise that threat by developing their own operating system. Yes, it's a slim possibility - but so is nuclear war, and countries still invest heavily in missile defence.

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iPhone 'Error 53' plaintiffs say Apple not giving reimbursements

Suricou Raven
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Re: Suing?

It wasn't a bug. It was sabotage. Apple issued a patch which has the purpose of disabling a phone if repaired by anyone other than Apple. It was a deliberate decision to prevent third-party iPhone repairs.

Apple claims that disabling phones with compromised fingerprint sensors is a security measure - but then why not just disable the fingerprint detection functionality? The fingerprint sensor is part of the screen, the most often-replaced component due to drop damage.

There's a difference between the unavoidable bugs that come with any non-trivial programming project and a deliberate decision to issue a patch that disables a product for business reasons.

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Your next server will be a box full of connected stuff, not a server

Suricou Raven
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Re: Am I the only one

Might be an idea for cloudy hosts running huge datacenters. You could cram the racks closer together if you didn't need to fit humans in between them to replace faulty hardware. A 50% increase in servers/m2 might justify the cost of a robot capable of pulling a failed server out and carrying it up to the service bay. Then all you need is a human engineer to come in every week to turn the pile of broken servers into a pile of working servers and put them back in the 'spares' rack for the robot to pick up again.

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Is uBeam the new Theranos?

Suricou Raven
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Re: Air is elastic

If the wind stopped, the air would pile up at the turbine. You need to bring air out at the same rate it goes in mass-wise, but at lower speed, which means higher density. So part of the incoming kinetic energy has to go into compressing the air, which imposes a theoretical maximum efficiency. The Betz limit, or about 60%. Practical turbines tend to be around 50% at most, because achieving that last few percent is disproportionately expensive.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Worlds best tranducer, Worlds best microphone

"Inverse square law applies to all point sources, whether omni or directional, in a linear transmission medium."

My laser pointer disagrees. There is no such thing as a point source - it's just a mathematical idealisation. You can point a beam of ultrasound just like you can point a laser. That's the basis for their claim. Like all the best bad science, it has just a grain of truth in it.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Serbia Strong!

The story is of a mechanical oscillator clamped to the building, not sound transmitted through air, and unintentionally. It's not a reliable source - it comes from a journalist prone to exaggeration who claims he heard it from Tesla himself.

I imagine that the experiment may have happened, but the scale was exaggerated in the retelling - he probably just hit the resonant frequency of the building and made it shake hard enough to scare the residents. The story from Tesla claimed he was working on an oscillating steam-driven generator, which is certainly plausible - he did design something like that.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Worlds best tranducer, Worlds best microphone

The inverse square law only applies to omnidirectional sources. Their website talks about forming directed beams.

It's still a stupid idea though. At the frequencies they are talking about (60+KHz), sound decays very rapidly - bats run up to a bit over 100KHz for some species, but most call lower, exchanging precision of imagery for range. The beam-forming technology needed is doable but crazy-expensive, and the receivers would need to send a homing pulse so the transmitter could know where to point. And the losses would be highly impractical.

But inverse square law is one of the few things that doesn't kill the possibility.

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Photoplethysmography up

Suricou Raven
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Re: Why?

This sensor is also not going to do you a lot of good on carbon monoxide: It binds to the blood in just the same way as oxygen does. An optical sensor would have a very hard time telling them apart.

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Suricou Raven
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Why?

I already have an internal sensor for blood carbon dioxide level, and can get a pulse rate just by touching the side of my neck.

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Super-slow RAID rebuilds: Gone in a flash?

Suricou Raven
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They probably wanted to include a super-fast storage device to test the limitations of the software when not held back by storage bandwidth or access time.

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Suricou Raven
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What about post-RAID?

It's getting harder to manage RAID these days.

That's why next-generation filesystems like ZFS and btrfs were invented.

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Would we want to regenerate brains of patients who are clinically dead?

Suricou Raven
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Re: ick, ethicists

"Deliberately with-holding medical care so that someone dies is murder."

In many US states, it's legal to withhold medical care from your children if you do so for religious reasons.

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China's new rules may break the internet warns US government

Suricou Raven
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Fight them with technology.

The only way to prevent censorship of the internet is to build it using technology that resists censorship efforts.

Even simple SSL is a powerful tool: MITM isn't practical on a country-wide scale, so it prevents governments from selectively blocking individual pages or inspecting content - all they can do is block an entire host, which creates much more upset from the population. It also makes monitoring communication to identify subversives much more difficult.

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Bots half all web traffic

Suricou Raven
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Re: Um, so? And?

Been there. I made a database with a web interface - I didn't bother to bot-proof it as only I had the address and never published it. All was well until I upgraded apache. Somewhere in the process my 'Options -Indexes' on the folder above was lost, exposing the database frontend address to the bots. I got hit by two of them, which between them managed to really mess up the data. I eventually had to get the logs and write a script to identify every URL accessed and undo the operation therein.

Then I put some http basic auth on it. Enough to keep the bots out.

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Suricou Raven
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Solved it.

1. (optional) Exclude /bait/ using robots.txt if you only want to block the dishonest ones.

2. Create a link on your index to /bait/banme.cgi, but give it the appropriate css to be entirely hidden from view. Now only bots can see it.

3. Create a /bait/banme.cgi that adds an iptables rule to drop anything from the originating IP.

Well, that was easy.

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Chip company FTDI accused of bricking counterfeits again

Suricou Raven
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Re: "That's not recommended for performance-intensive drivers"

It's actually just serial logic data. It's not RS232. It does have the right timing for RS232, but not the right voltage levels. If you want that you need another chip that does the level conversion.

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First successful Hyperloop test module hits 100mph in four seconds

Suricou Raven
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A bit more than required.

Converting to metric and allowing for the planet nearby, you're pulling about 1.5G in that. Enough to make any passengers feel rather uncomfortable, so more acceleration than the finished product needs. I expect they are accelerating a bit harder so they can use a shorter test track, and to test the structural limits of designs.

I still don't see how the expense of this project can be commercially justified. Yes, it can get you across the country super-fast. But high-speed rail is 'fast enough' for a fraction of the cost.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Snake Oil

"This can go a bit too far. In Japan, Nagoya and, to some extent, Kyoto and Osaka are becoming dormitory towns for Tokyo."

Half of the southeast UK is becoming a dormitory for London - the city provides a huge number of jobs, but very few people can actually afford to live there.

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Nvidia Pascal GTX launch

Suricou Raven
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Re: It has this screenshot thing

The stuff-not-rendered must still be in memory in case of a sudden change of viewpoint, to it's easy enough to render a single frame of omni-view. It'd take a lot longer than a normal frame, certainly, but it's only one frame - I don't think users will object if their video freezes for a fifth of a second when they take a screenshot.

I can pretty much promise it *won't* capture geometry, just a pre-rendered image, because the ability to easily extract 3D geometry would seriously annoy game developers... or rather, their legal departments.

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Ten years in the clink, file-sharing monsters! (If UK govt gets its way)

Suricou Raven
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Re: Actually, no

I am reminded of the NET act over in the US - it was written to target commercial infringement, but defined commercial as including supplying infringing material with an expectation of receiving more infringing material in return.

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Cinema boss gives up making kids turn off phones: 'That's not how they live their life'

Suricou Raven
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I have another theory on this one.

The 'boomers' grew up with a television in the corner. It was a somewhat fuzzy image on a small screen with one or two internal speakers. They went to the cinema for the full immersive experience - a screen as big as they can see, detail enough to see the pores in the actor's skin, sound that'll make your body resonate.

The 'millenials' grew up with a 1080p 42-inch surround-sound home cinema system. They see the cinema as just like watching a movie at home - except you have to travel, and it costs more, and there are noisy people everywhere, and the seats are less comfortable than sprawling on the sofa. The only reason they would even consider going to the cinema is that the latest film is super-hyped and not yet viewable by any other means.

Video killed the radio star, and big screen blu-ray... I wish I could say it was to the detriment of cinema. But look at the numbers - the box office takings are higher than ever. Despite the dire claims that piracy is destroying the industry, they are still managing to rake in record net income (though this being hollywood, they always lose money on paper).

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Flying Spaghetti Monster is not God, rules mortal judge

Suricou Raven
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Re: Apologies in advance to all Christians......

" a man who can magically turn water into wine"

Everyone who could afford it drank wine. It was weak wine compared with the wine of today, and consumed in vast quantities. The diet coke of the ancient world.

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Suricou Raven
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Re: Too slow -- again

There's a long history of organisations adopting religious dressing for legal purposes, and the CoS is a prime example. One of their two main symbols is a crucifix with a thin diagonal cross behind. They say that the points each represent a tenet of the organisation or something like that, but the real reason is not difficult to see: It makes them look superficially like not only a religion, but a Christian religion. They aren't - they have barely anything to say about Jesus, and what little they do say is rather unflattering - but they do know that looking Christianish is great PR because a lot of people automatically equate Christian with good.

Another example might be Medi-Share. It's a church to which members make a monthly donation, in return for which the organisation makes a non-binding promise to cover member's medical expenses in event of illness or accident. It is most definately not a health insurance provider though, because those have to pay taxes and are subject to all sort of regulations.

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