Thra11's recent activity

  1. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    Thra11
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    I've been playing my way through Red Dead Redemption (yes, I'm a bit behind the times). I'm enjoying it, for the most part. Here are my opinions: They've done a pretty good job with the...

    I've been playing my way through Red Dead Redemption (yes, I'm a bit behind the times). I'm enjoying it, for the most part. Here are my opinions:

    • They've done a pretty good job with the horse-riding, achieving some sort of balance between playability and realism. That said, they could have made the choosing and obtaining a horse a more interesting. As it is, you have one of the best horses, the war horse, available 'on-demand' right from the start of the game (We have the "Game of the year edition"), so there's not much motivation to tame and try out other breeds.
    • The scenery, lighting and weather is really impressive (I suspect it might not look so good compared with more recent generations, but like I say, I'm a bit behind the times).
    • The "open world" doesn't always live up to expectations. While you get a lot of freedom to wander wherever you like in between missions, you're still mostly tied to a single linear story. For example, you get to choose whether you herd some cows first, then raid a gang hideout, or raid a gang hideout, then herd some cows, but ultimately, you have to do both if you want to advance through the game. At times it feels more like you're watching a film than playing a game.
    Possible spoilers In the Mexican revolution bit, in particular, it becomes a little frustrating as it becomes increasingly obvious that the Mexican army aren't going to help you, yet the game forces you to keep going back to help them, despite the fact you've already started helping the rebels.

    I feel that they could have split the storyline into two or three different stories which you follow based on your choices. As it is, making a choice either has no consequences (e.g. you choose not to execute a captive, so an NPC does it instead), or you immediately fail the mission and get taken back so that you can make the right choice.

    • The "mission gameplay" is ok, but in the later stages of the game starts to feel a bit same-y (This is a different mission, honest! Look, you're hiding behind rocks, taking pot-shots at men in hats: the previous mission we were hiding behind walls, and the men didn't have hats! Totally different!) and with a similar restrictiveness: follow this character, walk here, shoot this person/thing, here's a reward, see you on the next mission.
    • It's a bit glitchy. As a software engineer myself, I can only imagine how hard it must be to create such an enormous world without issues, but sometimes the glitches can be quite frustrating when they happen at a bad time.
    • With that in mind, while the game provides many hours of entertainment on the first playthrough, once I've completed the main storyline and finished the ambient challenges, I can't see myself replaying the game much. It's already frustrating to re-do a mission due to a glitch and there's not much in terms of, "this time I'll do X differently".

    So in conclusion, I'm enjoying it, but it feels a little restrictive after a while and the story & missions drag a bit towards the end.

  2. Comment on I got a piano in ~music

    Thra11
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    Will it be tuned in situ once its arrived? Pianos don't like being moved much. It may need more frequent re-tuning than usual in its first year after moving, while it adapts to its new...

    should arrive perfectly tuned.

    Will it be tuned in situ once its arrived? Pianos don't like being moved much. It may need more frequent re-tuning than usual in its first year after moving, while it adapts to its new environment.

    I don't know how long you had childhood piano lessons for and to what level, but my experience has been that it's "like riding a bicycle": after a long break, you can pick up more or less where you left off.

    I think the most important thing w.r.t it not being a chore is finding the right music for you to play. Ideally, you want plenty of pieces which:

    • Are about the right level of difficulty for you.
    • You like to listen to.

    If you can get that warm contented feeling that comes with a beautiful sound that you have made yourself, then you're much more likely to keep it up.

    The fact you like classical music should be a huge benefit, as there's lots of classical music written for piano, so you're more likely to find pieces that fit the brief. If a piece you like is a bit complicated, there are often simplified arrangements available that still sound good.

    5 votes
  3. Comment on Bolsonaro's regime incentivizes landlords to burn off forests; anarchist fire brigades pick up the slack in ~enviro

    Thra11
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    I don't think there's any such distinction between the two systems. In both countries, I think that many would agree that: The volunteers / amateurs deserve praise for doing what is necessary,...

    I find it strange that anarchist firefighting by (presumed) amateurs is presumed good and volunteer firefighting by people with (likely) better training and equipment and better coordination with professionals is a symptom of something wrong. When should we celebrate and honor unpaid work?

    I don't think there's any such distinction between the two systems. In both countries, I think that many would agree that:

    1. The volunteers / amateurs deserve praise for doing what is necessary, despite not being paid to do it.
    2. Both situations are symptoms of something wrong. No country should need to rely on unpaid firefighters.

    You can praise the volunteers who step up to fill the gap, while criticising the failures that lead to there being a gap in the first place.

    6 votes
  4. Comment on Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós have claimed they face financial ruin or even jail following an 'unjust and draconian' second prosecution for tax evasion in ~music

    Thra11
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    Looking at this, it appears that you can be retried for the same offence if either There is new evidence, or The first trial was defective It also appears to imply that you could be tried again if...

    How can they be charged again for the same thing?

    Looking at this, it appears that you can be retried for the same offence if either

    • There is new evidence, or
    • The first trial was defective

    It also appears to imply that you could be tried again if the original trial did not end in a "final acquittal or conviction". It looks like in this case the original charges may have been dropped, which probably doesn't protect the defendant from similar charges in the future.

    4 votes
  5. Comment on Ancient Roman Placenta – Honey Cheesecake in ~food

    Thra11
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    Well I was glad to find that an ancient Roman placenta isn't actually one of the ingredients! It's odd that they explicitly say not to reduce the spelt to flour, but later on it says that what we...

    Well I was glad to find that an ancient Roman placenta isn't actually one of the ingredients!

    It's odd that they explicitly say not to reduce the spelt to flour, but later on it says that what we really want is alica prima, spelt that has been ground and graded by sifting. It doesn't actually explicitly say whether the prima grade is the coarsest or the finest, but it would be reasonable to guess the finest, in which case I would have thought it would be quite flour-like.

    3 votes
  6. Comment on Names and Identities Change – You Should Design for That in ~comp

    Thra11
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    That's good to know. I hadn't seen anything about it for a while, but when I did a quick search for the issue beforehand, I didn't know what it was called, so I only turned up results about...

    That's good to know. I hadn't seen anything about it for a while, but when I did a quick search for the issue beforehand, I didn't know what it was called, so I only turned up results about changing your git username on your computer.

    2 votes
  7. Comment on Names and Identities Change – You Should Design for That in ~comp

    Thra11
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    Two things I've come across which aren't like the services discussed in the article but nonetheless aren't designed to accommodate name changes: Version control systems like git: You can start...

    Two things I've come across which aren't like the services discussed in the article but nonetheless aren't designed to accommodate name changes:

    • Version control systems like git: You can start committing with a different username and/or email address, but as far as I'm aware, all your existing commits will always be credited to your former name, and git won't link the two.
    • Academic publications: I know at least one person who changed their surname when they got married, but still uses their previous name in academia to avoid becoming disconnected from their existing publications.
    3 votes
  8. Comment on The 100 best fantasy books of all time in ~books

    Thra11
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    It looks like a very English-centric list (which is fine, it's in an English-language publication, aimed at an English-reading audience), with the exception of "The Arabian Nights", which is a...

    It looks like a very English-centric list (which is fine, it's in an English-language publication, aimed at an English-reading audience), with the exception of "The Arabian Nights", which is a translation from French/Arabic[1]. I couldn't see any others that I recognise as translations, though I don't recognise all of them. I assume this is because foreign language fantasy novels, even if bestsellers in their native language, rarely get translated into English.

    Has anyone here read Arabian Nights? Does it still hold its own against the other 99, or is its notability largely down to its long history?

    [1] As I understand it, the first English version was translated from the French version, which was a combination of translation from Arabic and compiled oral accounts.

    5 votes
  9. Comment on Roasted garlic is one of the easiest hands-off cooking projects around in ~food

    Thra11
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    For a very quick alternative, I've found that you can just put individual cloves of garlic, with the skin on, in a frying pan with a little bit of oil (just enough to wet the surface so the heat...

    For a very quick alternative, I've found that you can just put individual cloves of garlic, with the skin on, in a frying pan with a little bit of oil (just enough to wet the surface so the heat transfers better, not the 1 inch (!) of oil the article uses), then cook it on a high heat for a few minutes, turning once. When the skin is scorched almost black on both the flat sides, take the cloves out and remove the skins (they come off really easily). The result has a mellow flavour similar to roasted garlic, but in a fraction of the time.

    2 votes
  10. Comment on Tildes helped my wife find work! in ~talk

    Thra11
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    I also got 9/14. I assumed that the amount of time looking at each face was meant to decrease in the later questions, presumably as a way to get some differentiation at the top end of the scale....

    I also got 9/14. I assumed that the amount of time looking at each face was meant to decrease in the later questions, presumably as a way to get some differentiation at the top end of the scale. (There were other ways that the questions were getting harder too. For example the first question was literally the same photo, whereas later questions had people at different angles, wearing sunglasses in one picture, and so on)

    1 vote
  11. Comment on Today I bough some duct tape in ~creative

    Thra11
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    It probably varies between different english dialects, but at least in my dialect, if you have something, and you use it all up (so you don't have any left), then it's more idiomatic to say that...

    It probably varies between different english dialects, but at least in my dialect, if you have something, and you use it all up (so you don't have any left), then it's more idiomatic to say that you'll buy some more, as long as there isn't a significant passage of time between running out and deciding to buy some more. "I've just used the last onion. I need to buy some more onions." "I've run out of duct tape. I'm going to buy some more duct tape." I assume that's what MonkeyPants was getting at.

    4 votes
  12. Comment on Subway bread does not meet tax exempt legal definition of bread, Irish court rules in ~food

    Thra11
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    You're right. I didn't phrase it very well. What I meant was that if you look at something like different "types of bread", i.e. recipes that are generally referred to as "bread" or the equivalent...

    You're right. I didn't phrase it very well. What I meant was that if you look at something like different "types of bread", i.e. recipes that are generally referred to as "bread" or the equivalent in other languages, then the majority of bread types probably don't have sugar in. This is, of course, not the same as the majority of loaves consumed not having sugar in, as places like the US have large populations consuming a lot of sugary (or HFCS-y) bread.

    1 vote
  13. Comment on My heart has been breaking for years over the incredible generosity of the Biblical scholars at r/AskBibleScholars in ~humanities

    Thra11
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    I like to think of religion as a bit like a bundle deal. Typically companies like BT / Sky / <whatever telecoms companies you have in your country> will try to be your sole supplier for a number...
    • Exemplary

    I like to think of religion as a bit like a bundle deal. Typically companies like BT / Sky / <whatever telecoms companies you have in your country> will try to be your sole supplier for a number of different services, such as:

    • Telephone landline rental
    • Broadband internet
    • Satellite television

    In a similar way, religions provide a number of services:

    • A belief system
    • A philosophy or set of morals to live by
    • A community
    • A set of traditions and a sense of identity

    Like the telecoms giants, some religions often like to give the impression that the services are inextricably linked. For example, that you can't subscribe to some of their philosophy or have morals without also believing in their God, or that kindness and forgiveness are "Christian morals", and not simply morals that Christianity is supposed to encourage.

    However, just as you don't actually need a landline to have broadband, and you don't need to get your TV service from the same provider as your broadband (if you even get TV these days), you don't need to get your beliefs, philosophy, traditions and community from the same place, and you can do perfectly well without some of them.

    The problem, as I see it, is that in the same way that the big telecoms companies have squeezed out much of the competition, centuries of the church (or equivalent) being the main place to get your beliefs, philosophy, community and traditions has stifled the creation of other, non-religious, providers.

    If you're a Christian, and you move to a new town, you can find the local church, introduce yourself and join the community. For an atheist, there isn't usually anything quite the same. You can join a sports club if you like a sport, or a group that does crafts if that's your thing, or if you like drinking, you can go to the pub. But there's no general community.

    If you are a religious person, but you stop believing, then while you only really want to drop the belief system, you effectively eject yourself from the community too. You may love the familiarity of your childhood traditions, but there's a hollow feeling now that you don't believe in the reason behind many of them. I know quite a lot of people who don't really believe any more, but cling to religion because they would miss the rest of the bundle. Similarly, I know people who weren't really looking for God, but have joined a church because the community welcomed them.

    13 votes
  14. Comment on Subway bread does not meet tax exempt legal definition of bread, Irish court rules in ~food

    Thra11
    Link Parent
    Most bread has zero added sugar, so 2% is actually quite forgiving. You can still make and sell loaves with more sugar in, they're just considered a luxury rather than a staple, so they aren't...

    Most bread has zero added sugar, so 2% is actually quite forgiving. You can still make and sell loaves with more sugar in, they're just considered a luxury rather than a staple, so they aren't exempt from tax (I think they can still qualify for a reduced rate, just not 0%).

    You can read the relevant definition of bread here:

    For the purposes of this Part “bread” means food for human consumption manufactured by baking dough composed exclusively of a mixture of cereal flour and any one or more of the ingredients included in column (1) of Table 2 to this paragraph that do not exceed the quantities (if any) set out for each ingredient in column (2) of that table, but does not include food packaged for sale as a unit (not being a unit designated as containing only food specifically for babies) containing 2 or more slices, segments, sections or other similar pieces, having a crust over substantially the whole of their outside surfaces, being a crust formed in the course of baking, frying or toasting.
    ...
    Sugar ­— Not exceeding 2%

    9 votes
  15. Comment on DigitalOcean's Hacktoberfest hurts open-source maintainers by incentivizing low-quality, unsolicited pull requests in ~comp

    Thra11
    Link Parent
    Most definitions of malice require intent to harm, which probably isn't there. However, given that they are aware of the problem and haven't immediately ceased their harmful actions, it certainly...

    Most definitions of malice require intent to harm, which probably isn't there. However, given that they are aware of the problem and haven't immediately ceased their harmful actions, it certainly looks selfish and careless. Personally, I can't imagine that nobody at Digital Ocean has heard of perverse incentives, which implies that while nobody decided that they wanted to cause harm, somebody decided to ignore the obvious potential for harm.

    Here's a good example of the type of terrible "contributions" that are being created because of this, on the django-typeform repo: that's 16 PRs in the last 10 hours that are all adding random garbage to the README.

    One thing that I haven't seen mentioned yet is that many projects, like this one, have all sorts of continuous integration tools which are automatically run on PRs to e.g. confirm that the code would still build with the PR, to check that the contribution adheres to formatting rules, check that any new code has adequate test coverage, and so on. I bet there's at least one project somewhere whose CI isn't written to handle this massive influx of garbage (because under normal circumstances, it doesn't need to be), wasting hours of compute time and causing genuine PRs to get held up in the CI queue.

    2 votes
  16. Comment on If you could completely refresh something and rebuild it from the ground up, what would it be and why? in ~talk

    Thra11
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    It's actually quite common for different dialects to disagree on what words or parts of words are homophones. If you change the spelling to reflect the fact that your dialect pronounces uses the...

    The problem is that under current English orthography there is not correspondence, and so the same sound can be written ough, ow, oh, o, etc. If we were to always represent this sound as "o", this would be useful regardless if you pronounce the sound as "eh", "ah", "ih", etc.

    It's actually quite common for different dialects to disagree on what words or parts of words are homophones. If you change the spelling to reflect the fact that your dialect pronounces uses the same sound for two different words, then that's not "useful" to the speakers of dialects in which the words have separate pronunciations.

    For some concrete examples, see this list: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:English_dialect-dependent_homophones. Basically, for any pair of words on that list, there are some people who might think, "Why do we have two different ways of spelling the same sound, it's just unhelpful!", and some people who will think, "They're completely distinct in sound and meaning, spelling them the same way would be unhelpful!".

    2 votes
  17. Comment on British plugs are better than all other plugs, and here's why in ~design

    Thra11
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    There are about 5 main socket types in Europe (Types E, F, J, K & L), each with a corresponding plug type, plus some plugs such as the "Universal" CEE 7/7 Plug which fits multiple socket types. In...

    There are about 5 main socket types in Europe (Types E, F, J, K & L), each with a corresponding plug type, plus some plugs such as the "Universal" CEE 7/7 Plug which fits multiple socket types. In some cases, you can insert one type of plug into a different type of socket, which will often result in the appliance appearing to work, but without an earth connection (dangerous). There are also issues with non-standard live/neutral polarity in some countries. More detail here.

    4 votes
  18. Comment on This word does not exist in ~humanities

    Thra11
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    er... no, I think that's a word. Based on the usage example, the algorithm also seems to be up to speed on UK politics.

    nonfunctionality

    non·func·tion·al·ity

    1. a financial matter considered as one which can be regulated by other industries
      "considering that he is the Minister responsible for the nonfunctionality of his government"

    er... no, I think that's a word. Based on the usage example, the algorithm also seems to be up to speed on UK politics.

    5 votes
  19. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    Thra11
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    I tried reading Perdido street station a while back, having seen that it had some good reviews. I remember reading the lavish description in the prologue and thinking, "aww yesss, this is going to...

    I tried reading Perdido street station a while back, having seen that it had some good reviews. I remember reading the lavish description in the prologue and thinking, "aww yesss, this is going to be good...", then I found the first few chapters so incredibly clumsy that I abandoned it. As I remember it, we are introduced to some of the main characters, a human and some sort of alien with a chitinous exoskeleton. The problem was that Mieville needed to describe said alien to the reader, but had made things really hard for himself, because in terms of the plot had little reason to do so. Often authors use a device such as a character who is an outsider, which allows the author to describe strange new things that the character sees, their reaction and how they speak of it to other characters, without it seeming forced. With the start of perdido street station, we have two characters who know each other well, so they have no reason to discuss their differences, and yet they are made to say weird stuff like, "I love you, even though you don't have a hard exoskeleton like me. Shall I make you some coffee with my chitinous appendages?"[1] just to shoehorn in anatomical details for the reader.

    So my question is… should I give Mieville another go? If so, is it worth persisting with perdido street station, or did I pick the wrong book as an introduction to his work?

    [1] It was several years ago, I may be misremembering and/or exaggerating.

    1 vote