Amarok's recent activity

  1. Comment on FDA to propose ban on menthol-flavored cigarettes, with industry likely to challenge in ~health

    Amarok
    Link Parent
    In the US, the 'tobacco product' is the category all the regs apply to, and the FDA did indeed lump e-cigs into it around '09. Considering the larger players in the tobacco industry have also...

    In the US, the 'tobacco product' is the category all the regs apply to, and the FDA did indeed lump e-cigs into it around '09. Considering the larger players in the tobacco industry have also become the larger players in the e-cig industry it makes some sense to regulate them together.

    People who want the fancy liquids can still get them. Bottles of VG/PG are cheap at the pharmacy, and one can order all sorts of flavorings and mix one's own. I'd expect this sort of ban only to apply to what can be sold over the counter at your local head shop or gas station ready for consumption - packaged liquids, tobacco, cartridges, etc.

    3 votes
  2. Comment on FDA to propose ban on menthol-flavored cigarettes, with industry likely to challenge in ~health

    Amarok
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    Let's ban menthol cough drops next. Makes just about as much sense. The correct way to do this is to ban all forms of additives, period. You get tobacco in your smoking products, and nothing else.

    Let's ban menthol cough drops next. Makes just about as much sense.

    The correct way to do this is to ban all forms of additives, period. You get tobacco in your smoking products, and nothing else.

    14 votes
  3. Comment on SSD manufacturers start warning that mining proof-of-space blockchains like Chia Coin will void warranty in ~tech

    Amarok
    Link Parent
    I can't see any reason I couldn't plug in a big PCIe card stacked with RAM and then tell the OS that it's a hard drive. The throughput on these devices handily obliterates other storage...

    I can't see any reason I couldn't plug in a big PCIe card stacked with RAM and then tell the OS that it's a hard drive. The throughput on these devices handily obliterates other storage technologies. For Chia mining that would be best in class easily, and it won't wear out either.

    12 votes
  4. Comment on What's something that took you a long time to like? in ~talk

    Amarok
    Link Parent
    It took me a while to get into all of the crazy kinds too, but oh the fun. For people who think they hate beer, there's always Lindemans. I enjoy dropping those like bombs on unsuspecting beer...

    It took me a while to get into all of the crazy kinds too, but oh the fun.

    For people who think they hate beer, there's always Lindemans. I enjoy dropping those like bombs on unsuspecting beer haters and watching their eyes bug out over the apple, peach, and raspberry. This stuff is as close to ambrosia as I've ever found. They'll have it at most beer stores.

    6 votes
  5. Comment on Joe Rogan spread anti-vaccine misinformation. Spotify's CEO redirects and refuses to address problematic behavior. in ~tech

  6. Comment on Joe Rogan spread anti-vaccine misinformation. Spotify's CEO redirects and refuses to address problematic behavior. in ~tech

    Amarok
    Link Parent
    Well, let's be honest with ourselves. We've never managed to contain any variant within its country of origin. Bit optimistic to expect this one to play out differently. :/ Can we please pencil -...

    Well, let's be honest with ourselves. We've never managed to contain any variant within its country of origin. Bit optimistic to expect this one to play out differently. :/

    Can we please pencil - get less bad at pandemics - into our todo list for this century?

    6 votes
  7. Comment on Joe Rogan spread anti-vaccine misinformation. Spotify's CEO redirects and refuses to address problematic behavior. in ~tech

    Amarok
    Link
    Joe, take $5m of that $100m and set up your own video host. Then you can say what you like, offer Alex Jones a spot, make money from legions of other podcasters globally who are sick of tiptoeing...

    Joe, take $5m of that $100m and set up your own video host. Then you can say what you like, offer Alex Jones a spot, make money from legions of other podcasters globally who are sick of tiptoeing around everyone, and extend a fat middle finger to the press and the government. I'm sure Rackspace has a datacenter in or near Austin, and I like your odds in Texas with this Supreme Court on free speech issues.

    I suppose you'll have to find some way to wiggle out of that Spotify contract first, though. Good luck with that. I mean, you could call covid a hoax every single day and they'll still keep you on until the end, if only to avoid having you as competition...

    4 votes
  8. Comment on Recommend some upbeat / high-energy music that, if I listen to it in my car, will make me want to roll the windows down and drive at unsafe speeds in ~music

    Amarok
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    Spock's Beard - At The End Of The Day Warning: Do not use to breach warp barrier, we can't bring you back...

    Spock's Beard - At The End Of The Day

    Warning: Do not use to breach warp barrier, we can't bring you back...

    1 vote
  9. Comment on Happy 3rd Birthday, Tildes! in ~tildes

    Amarok
    Link Parent
    I'm still in awe of how it just never gets old... even after two decades...

    I'm still in awe of how it just never gets old... even after two decades...

    7 votes
  10. Comment on Happy 3rd Birthday, Tildes! in ~tildes

  11. Comment on On the ground info on India COVID situation in ~health.coronavirus

    Amarok
    Link Parent
    I haven't seen any hard data on this yet myself. In theory the vaccines confer immunity to the entire SARS collection of viruses. Patients that had the original SARS or MERS are immune to covid 17...

    I haven't seen any hard data on this yet myself. In theory the vaccines confer immunity to the entire SARS collection of viruses. Patients that had the original SARS or MERS are immune to covid 17 years later, so that immunity is expected to be long lasting.

    That said, nobody has run the numbers. That's just an educated guess until we do. No one knows if the virus is cagey enough to dodge the vaccine immunity or not.

    6 votes
  12. Comment on On the ground info on India COVID situation in ~health.coronavirus

    Amarok
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    Well, shit. That's not supposed to happen, generally speaking. Most viruses get more friendly and benign so they don't kill their hosts. This is deeply troubling news, and it means we haven't seen...

    mutating into a super deadly strain that affects hitherto safer section of population (young people)
    spreading exponentially faster than past strains
    worsened symptoms

    Well, shit. That's not supposed to happen, generally speaking. Most viruses get more friendly and benign so they don't kill their hosts. This is deeply troubling news, and it means we haven't seen the worst of this pandemic yet by a long shot.

    5 votes
  13. Comment on Looking for recommendations for a high-end / "prosumer" network router (that is not Ubiquiti) in ~tech

    Amarok
    Link Parent
    I would. If a company had these issues at the enterprise level with their products they'd be out of business before they could blink. It's bush-league bullshit no one should put up with for an...

    I would. If a company had these issues at the enterprise level with their products they'd be out of business before they could blink. It's bush-league bullshit no one should put up with for an instant. It speaks to the laziness and lack of diligence of all of the concerned companies. They want to chuck a few chips together with linux they didn't have to pay for, then toss a sticker on it and sell it as high end for a couple hundred bucks. That's a dangerously irresponsible mindset in something as crucial to any network as the main internet gateway. All it'll take is one little exploit in a popular model to compromise everyone using it.

    You're right as far as I can tell - most devices out there really are this shitty at the consumer level, regardless of company. One can move to using ddwrt or tomato or other more reliable, well tested open source firmware to get around some of these issues, if one can find a model that supports them.

    5 votes
  14. Comment on Looking for recommendations for a high-end / "prosumer" network router (that is not Ubiquiti) in ~tech

    Amarok
    (edited )
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    I'm interested in this too. One of the main drawbacks to pfSense is that it is geared towards wired networks. That's still my firewall of choice, but I can't purchase a minicomputer geared towards...

    I'm interested in this too.

    One of the main drawbacks to pfSense is that it is geared towards wired networks. That's still my firewall of choice, but I can't purchase a minicomputer geared towards being a firewall/router with wifi that works with pfSense. I just run an attached wifi and bridge it in with a crossover cable as a separate zone. My current wifi ap is an absolutely ancient netgear, a beta of the first model they offered with 5G support before that standard was even finished. :P It works great, but it's long in the tooth and it'll die on me within a couple years I think. It's running ddwrt.

    It'd take some seriously good router firmware to make me give up pfSense, though. When it's a trust issue I like my bsd-based systems, and the feature set pfSense offers is hard to match. Updates and backup/restore of complex configurations are utterly painless. I'd be ticked off if I'd lost my firewall setup too, that stuff takes time to rebuild.

    4 votes
  15. Comment on What are some casual, kid-friendly games that can be played remotely, over a videoconference such as Zoom? in ~games

    Amarok
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    Well, you might consider digging through the Cheapass Games Archive. They are all print and plays, free. Cheapass, however, might better be named smartass games. While all of these are truckloads...

    Well, you might consider digging through the Cheapass Games Archive. They are all print and plays, free. Cheapass, however, might better be named smartass games. While all of these are truckloads of ridiculous fun, there are some snarky games in there that probably aren't suited for children. Just perfect for teenagers, though.

    4 votes
  16. Comment on Exploring the top of the D&D power curve with Vecna in ~games.tabletop

    Amarok
    Link Parent
    We usually play with 5-8 people so it's even worse than you might expect. I use a minute-long hourglass to streamline the combat - one minute per player per turn to settle on the actions and then...

    We usually play with 5-8 people so it's even worse than you might expect. I use a minute-long hourglass to streamline the combat - one minute per player per turn to settle on the actions and then we resolve them. Using android apps like Dicebag helps cut down on the dice rolling and time it takes to add all of that up - the dice themselves are by far the worst time sink in the combat.

    Most combats tend to finish very fast, though - one to three rounds and the fight's over thanks to the high DPS and the large number of abilities. Only the epic combats with epic monsters tend to go longer, but that's the fun of fighting the big bads in the first place. I'd say most combats take less than an hour, and the epic boss fights might get up to two hours at worst.

    3 votes
  17. Comment on Exploring the top of the D&D power curve with Vecna in ~games.tabletop

    Amarok
    Link Parent
    It's honestly not that different from normal play, except that the numbers are bigger and characters tend to be much more mobile. Balancing encounters comes down to one thing only in the end:...
    • Exemplary

    It's honestly not that different from normal play, except that the numbers are bigger and characters tend to be much more mobile. Balancing encounters comes down to one thing only in the end: Action economy. Sure, you might have five hundred tricks on your sheet, but you still have to deal with having only an action, bonus action, movement, and reaction available. It's not what you've got, it's how smartly you use it that counts, and you can only do one or two things at a time.

    If the villain can do two things, and there are six players that can also do two things, the villain is outnumbered on actions by six to one. Encounters typically go in favor of whichever side has the most actions available as long as both sides have similar levels of power. That's what makes legendary actions so powerful, since the villain with five of them can take five more actions of his choice, and not just on his turn, but after any other action taken by anyone. Those legendary actions are the great equalizer.

    When I want encounters to be challenging, I just toss some legendary saves, actions, hit points, and unique abilities that fit the flavor on the creatures that are being fought. What's in the monster manual is basically a template, so I start with that and then kick it up a couple of notches on the fly. I also tend to lean away from direct boss battle style encounters - it's more interesting if the players have another agenda besides killing everything in the room. Epic games can get boring (for the GM as well) if it's just one big boss beatdown after another.

    For example, we were running a gladiatorial battle in an arena with 2v2 (two of the players and some NPCs). The challenge there wasn't just beating the other guys down, but performing for the crowd, so I was encouraging the players to use their acrobatics, athletics, metamagics, performance and other skills to put on a show.

    While this was happening, there was an incident where rather a lot of tough creatures used in some of the arena games escaped from their containment nearby. When those creatures rolled up on the players in the middle of the arena fight, the goal wasn't to kill them (which would have been easy), it was to protect the crowd and then try to round up these creatures before they killed people or wrecked parts of the city or even got themselves killed in dangerous parts of the undercity.

    One does need a world that's built for this stuff, which is why these games tend to get into planar adventures, spelljamming, and campaign settings like Oathbound or Sigil or The Astromundi Cluster or The Nexus. Those settings make sense of why everything is more powerful and provide the framework.

    If Epic level characters are hassling normal folks and wrecking a campaign world, that's what Gods are for (like Rhynn here). It's not uncommon for Epic characters to be on a first name basis with Gods, since their ranks are precisely the place pantheons will recruit new demigods from. Gods are much more likely to show up and put a stop to something that's wrecking their neighborhood if they know it requires their powers to put a stop to it - and they won't be happy with the players. They effectively take the place of the town guard. All of them can sense epic magic across their realms, so players have to understand that keeping a low profile keeps the gods out of their business.

    I have a little one-minute hourglass to make sure players finish their rounds promptly. I don't always use it, but if people are getting bogged down in the morass of choices they have, I'll use it to put the pressure on and keep the combat moving quickly and if it runs out before they decide, they will lose their actions.

    We do use some phone-based tools for rolling damage, though. The dice start to pile up fast past level fifteen, and the simple act of rolling 2d12+10d6+7d8+20 for damage eats up a lot of time when the player has five of those attacks per action. For most parts of a fight we use the tools to get the rolls out of the way faster. When it's a kill shot or other important story moment that's when we do the real dice rolls.

    There's also a section in the Epic Legacy book that primes players for playing epic games - there's a mindset that includes respecting the game world, and for these games to work you really need everyone on the same page before the game starts. It does take a rather skilled player to make the most out of an epic character because there are so many abilities. It's hard to keep track of them all, unless you've been playing D&D for decades, which many in this group have.

    I know precisely one player who could use this sheet for Vecna to its full potential. He's been playing wizards almost exclusively for four decades, though, so he has the entire spellbook in his head. It's certainly not the sort of thing you want to drop on brand new players.

    5 votes
  18. Comment on Nassim Taleb: Bitcoin failed as a currency and became a speculative ponzi scheme in ~finance

    Amarok
    Link Parent
    Oh, it gets better. Check out how Chia does its mining. The storage market is about to encounter the exact same market forces, and at a time when semiconductor shortages are already making a mess...

    On top of raising electricity use massively, mining crypto has also done irreparable damage to the PC gaming and GPU market. It's largely the reason why new graphics cards are often sold out due to both miners and scalpers seeking to resell them at incredibly marked up prices.

    Oh, it gets better. Check out how Chia does its mining. The storage market is about to encounter the exact same market forces, and at a time when semiconductor shortages are already making a mess of everything.

    8 votes
  19. Comment on Exploring the top of the D&D power curve with Vecna in ~games.tabletop

    Amarok
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    I've been running an Epic level game, and that of course requires some Epic bad guys that can challenge a group of many Epic level characters. This is the character sheet I've put together for...

    I've been running an Epic level game, and that of course requires some Epic bad guys that can challenge a group of many Epic level characters. This is the character sheet I've put together for Rhynn Kwll, the man behind Vecna. Just to see how high and how far we can push the rules, really. Now that I know what the top of the power curve looks like, it's easier to model encounters and manage the group's own powers and abilities. I figured some folks might get a kick out of it.

    4 votes