spctrvl's recent activity

  1. Comment on What are you confused by? in ~talk

    spctrvl
    Link Parent
    You're right, I wasn't meaning to imply that conclusions can't be drawn and analyses can't be done about societies. I just wanted to make the point that it's kind of dubious to make simple...

    You're right, I wasn't meaning to imply that conclusions can't be drawn and analyses can't be done about societies. I just wanted to make the point that it's kind of dubious to make simple causative arguments, country x is like y because z, on such a broad and complicated topic as a country's inventiveness.

    3 votes
  2. Comment on What are you confused by? in ~talk

    spctrvl
    Link Parent
    Oh yeah no, I didn't think you were, I just wanted to offer another perspective on that argument: namely that it isn't even unethical practices in the name of innovation, it's just unjustifiable...

    Oh yeah no, I didn't think you were, I just wanted to offer another perspective on that argument: namely that it isn't even unethical practices in the name of innovation, it's just unjustifiable oppression that harms innovation and hurts everyone involved.

    The mass poverty and economic and social stratification that we've practically promoted are gargantuan millstones around our country's neck, both restricting the talent pool and slowing economic growth through reduced consumer demand, dynamism, and velocity of money.

    In short, I think America innovates in spite of its system and not because of it, a testament to the scale of the economy and not its efficacy. People take risks when they can afford to, and in America, fewer people by the year can afford to, so we're left hoping that the scions of wealth are innovative enough to keep up the pace of progress we had during more egalitarian times. I don't see it.

    3 votes
  3. Comment on What are you confused by? in ~talk

    spctrvl
    Link Parent
    The problem with making such a bold claim as "the United States' cutthroat society fosters invention" is that we don't have a control United States with a better social safety net to compare. You...

    The problem with making such a bold claim as "the United States' cutthroat society fosters invention" is that we don't have a control United States with a better social safety net to compare. You could just as well attribute it to the fact that America is by far the most populous developed country, with the largest internal market, meaning that we simply have a greater quantity of innovators, some portion of which will inevitably succeed.

    Moreover, as an American, I think there's a much better argument that our economic system hurts innovation. For every person who invents something, builds a business around it, and makes it rich, there's probably a dozen or more equally capable people who stick it out in dead end jobs to avoid destitution and starvation, who lack the education and connections to build a business, or whose creations are litigated into the ground by rent seeking corporations.

    You look at the big captains of industry, the people we think of as innovators, and it's quite rare that they didn't start in at least the upper middle class. They may have taken risks, but mainly the sort where if they fail, they get a cushy office job with their family connections, not get thrown on the streets. The people who really suffer under the grind of our horrible economic system, the people who actually live in our cutthroat society, represent a large pool of innovators whose talent is largely untapped.

    6 votes
  4. Comment on Slay the Spire is coming to iOS this month, with an Android version in the works in ~games

    spctrvl
    Link Parent
    Yeah, I think the only way to have it playable on an android device would be to use the iPad version, or its interface anyway. I bet you could mod it in to the desktop version and then stream it...

    Yeah, I think the only way to have it playable on an android device would be to use the iPad version, or its interface anyway. I bet you could mod it in to the desktop version and then stream it over steam or some such, but it's a lot of effort to go to for something that could easily have run natively if it had gotten the port.

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

    spctrvl
    Link
    Having finished my rewatch of The Last Airbender, I read the graphic novel series before rewatching Korra. They're really good, but they're only set a few months after TLA, and I was kind of...

    Having finished my rewatch of The Last Airbender, I read the graphic novel series before rewatching Korra. They're really good, but they're only set a few months after TLA, and I was kind of hoping for more filling in of the 70 year gap between it and Korra. As is, while it tied up a few loose plot threads from the series, I don't feel like I missed a whole lot. That said, while I don't know what the general expectations are for the Netflix live action TLA adaptation, I suspect animating the comics might have been a better move.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on Slay the Spire is coming to iOS this month, with an Android version in the works in ~games

    spctrvl
    Link Parent
    Ah, don't remind me. Still a bit irritated with never having gotten FTL on Android.

    Ah, don't remind me. Still a bit irritated with never having gotten FTL on Android.

    2 votes
  7. Comment on Thermoelectric stoves: Ditch the solar panels? in ~enviro

    spctrvl
    Link
    Man, I love low tech magazine, but they really do have a thing for unscalable, impractical ideas with worse environmental impact than the things they would replace. For the amount of power...

    Man, I love low tech magazine, but they really do have a thing for unscalable, impractical ideas with worse environmental impact than the things they would replace. For the amount of power generation you can get off a thermocouple, you'd be much better off with a hand crank generator, let alone a bicycle generator. And the amount of batteries you'd need to store enough solar energy to have a competitive amount of on demand power isn't that significant either. You could beat thermocouples with maybe 2-4 18650s, and that's without having to search for firewood and deal with its particulate pollution.

    6 votes
  8. Comment on What do you think is the next big technological breakthrough? in ~tech

    spctrvl
    Link
    While I'm pretty optimistic about the near future of fusion, before that happens I think we're going to see a revolution in space development, starting during the 20's. Even forgetting about...

    While I'm pretty optimistic about the near future of fusion, before that happens I think we're going to see a revolution in space development, starting during the 20's. Even forgetting about SpaceX's Starship, the Falcon 9 has, with comparatively little fanfare, achieved most of the Space Shuttle's original design goals when it comes to launch cost and cadence. The satellite market is slow moving, thanks to the huge lead times for construction and launch under the conventional paradigm, but once it fully adapts to even current launch costs, I think the market is going to explode, and that's before we see if Starship and New Glenn come into their own.

    3 votes
  9. Comment on What do you think is the next big technological breakthrough? in ~tech

    spctrvl
    Link Parent
    I think we're closer than a lot of people realize. Newer high temperature superconductors let you achieve net gain in tokamaks that are more on the scale of JET than ITER. Look up MIT's ARC and...

    I think we're closer than a lot of people realize. Newer high temperature superconductors let you achieve net gain in tokamaks that are more on the scale of JET than ITER. Look up MIT's ARC and SPARC concept reactors.

    2 votes
  10. Comment on We need to speak honestly about the GOP’s evolution into a conspiracy cult in ~misc

    spctrvl
    Link Parent
    I haven't read any articles or anything on it (though I'd also love to if anyone wants to link a relevant one), but I think it's mainly down to the old paradigm for for-profit news. News media,...

    I haven't read any articles or anything on it (though I'd also love to if anyone wants to link a relevant one), but I think it's mainly down to the old paradigm for for-profit news.

    News media, since it's overwhelmingly funded by ads or subscriptions, has historically had a very strong incentive to try and target the broadest audience possible, which means going to pains to not alienate members of one political party or the other, regardless of how egregious their behavior. Fox is the exception that proves the rule there, since while it does operate for profit, it was built from the ground up, in an era of already balkanizing media, to spread an ideology, and to inhabit a particular niche doing so, whereas the old networks, ABC, NBC, CBS, et al. were not; they were built for a world of fewer choices and bigger audiences.

    Even though fox has pretty much cornered the market for conservative viewers of TV news, there isn't really an equivalent in the newspaper world to my knowledge, and even in the TV market, whether it's through denial or inertia, networks continue to court conservative viewers, despite the futility. While there's probably at least some people with a misguided instinct for impartiality in the face of atrocity, I think most of it is to do with not wanting to alienate potential or existing customers, otherwise I don't think it'd be anywhere near as systemic a problem.

    4 votes
  11. Comment on Haven't gamed on a PC for 10 years. Built a gaming rig. What games do I install? in ~games

    spctrvl
    Link Parent
    As long as you keep your settings at a place where you can hold 60fps with vsync, you literally won't notice a difference. Freesync is really for two things, high refresh rates and marginal...

    As long as you keep your settings at a place where you can hold 60fps with vsync, you literally won't notice a difference. Freesync is really for two things, high refresh rates and marginal hardware, and you don't really have either. I recently upgraded to a 75hz freesync monitor, and it isn't super noticeable.

    2 votes
  12. Comment on Haven't gamed on a PC for 10 years. Built a gaming rig. What games do I install? in ~games

    spctrvl
    Link Parent
    It's very nice for keeping things smooth through frame dips, wouldn't say it's the best thing since color. For a 60hz monitor, it makes dips into the high 40s pretty much unnoticeable. The real...

    It's very nice for keeping things smooth through frame dips, wouldn't say it's the best thing since color. For a 60hz monitor, it makes dips into the high 40s pretty much unnoticeable. The real use case though is high refresh rate monitors, since the framerate you can maintain above 60 will tend to vary wildly, which makes it nice to be able to keep it synced. Check your monitor spec sheets, a lot of monitors from the last few years have it, even if it isn't advertised.

    2 votes
  13. Comment on Employee monitoring software surges as companies send staff home in ~tech

    spctrvl
    Link Parent
    You definitely should. In addition to being just really fun and hilarious, I think it's got some of the most prescient social commentary in cyberpunk. I really can't think of any other books, let...

    You definitely should. In addition to being just really fun and hilarious, I think it's got some of the most prescient social commentary in cyberpunk. I really can't think of any other books, let alone of that vintage, that really hit upon the ideas of viral ideas and post-rationality that make so much of our current hellscape, not to mention the smaller stuff like what I also wondered if you were referencing.

    5 votes
  14. Comment on What programming/technical projects have you been working on? in ~comp

    spctrvl
    Link
    More a hardware project, but I'm working on building a router out of some old desktop hardware. Ran into a bit of a hitch today, the 4-port NIC I got off ebay seems to be incompatible with my...

    More a hardware project, but I'm working on building a router out of some old desktop hardware. Ran into a bit of a hitch today, the 4-port NIC I got off ebay seems to be incompatible with my motherboard, as the computer won't boot with it in. It's an HP 331FLR, and although the spec sheet claims it's compatible with PCIe, and it physically fits in the slot, further research seems to indicate it's actually intended for a particular interface unique to HP servers. So yeah, didn't do enough research before I got it, but I didn't even know that was a possibility. Oh well, at least I'm not out much money for it.

    I'm looking for a replacement card, but google is just dreadfully bad at turning up useful information on this stuff. I actually did better using the reddit search on the pfsense sub. Currently looking at an IBM-branded Intel I340-T4 for about $25 on ebay, but I'd love some input if anyone else here's done something like this before.

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

    spctrvl
    Link Parent
    The trick with Lionels is to sneak up behind them (I like to use revali's gale), mount them, and do a bunch of free damage from the back. After you get thrown off the first time, you can just use...

    Why are the Lionels so strong? They outclass pretty much everything else in the game, including all the bosses, in terms of difficulty. I suppose there had to be some kind of challenging enemy to force you to use all the mechanics at your disposal but yowza. They feel like the Valkyrie fights from God of War, except just thrown in the middle of the game world. They're at least placed well but even 1.5 playthroughs in, I still never feel ready to fight them at all. They're like what Final Fantasy games would save as secret, superpowered optional bosses.

    The trick with Lionels is to sneak up behind them (I like to use revali's gale), mount them, and do a bunch of free damage from the back. After you get thrown off the first time, you can just use stasis to freeze them for a second and headshot them with a bow to stun them, then you run up and repeat the mounting thing. It's a lot easier to do (ironically) with the Lionel weapons, especially the 3x/5x shot bow for maximizing your chance at a headshot, but it's doable as soon as you get any weapons that do more than 30ish damage (for silver Lionels anyway, could probably do it a little earlier on the ordinary ones). Barbarian gear helps of course, and it's the main reason to go Lionel hunting anyway, since you need their drops to upgrade it.

    4 votes
  16. Comment on Recommend me a book that _________ in ~books

    spctrvl
    Link Parent
    2312, also by Kim Stanley Robinson, does tilt more towards exploration of his hard scifi setting (which is sort of a sequel to the Mars trilogy) than character driven stuff. It's not completely...

    2312, also by Kim Stanley Robinson, does tilt more towards exploration of his hard scifi setting (which is sort of a sequel to the Mars trilogy) than character driven stuff. It's not completely absent of it, and there is some interplanetary politicking that's kind of meh, but it's more on the level of Green Mars than Blue Mars. For what it's worth, I entirely share your opinion on the Mars trilogy (I never even finished Blue Mars), and I enjoyed 2312 well enough.

    The Revelation Space series (and some of Reynolds' other stuff) might also be worth a look. It's not the practically diamond hard scifi of the Mars trilogy, but it's a reasonably grounded take on the space opera genre without staples like FTL, and Reynolds is really good at building original and compelling settings.

    I would also tentatively recommend a few of Charles Stross' books, namely Singularity Sky, Glasshouse, and Accelerando, but aside from Accelerando (which frankly is one of his weaker books), they do feature FTL travel and some other clarketech, although in a way that just puts them in the "One Big Lie" category of hard scifi, rather than taking them out of the genre. Might not be quite what you're looking for, but they are very good books.

    6 votes
  17. Comment on Trump says he is taking hydroxychloroquine to protect against coronavirus, dismissing safety concerns in ~health.coronavirus

    spctrvl
    Link Parent
    I doubt he's actually taking it. Even if he's not just cynically lying about it, I can't imagine white house medical staff would just let him poison himself rather than give him a placebo.

    I doubt he's actually taking it. Even if he's not just cynically lying about it, I can't imagine white house medical staff would just let him poison himself rather than give him a placebo.

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

    spctrvl
    Link Parent
    Haha, yeah, I guess it'd be more accurate to say that the combat is just more dialogue. And yeah, I have a thing for the industrializing/modernizing fantasy world trope, which is another thing...

    Haha, yeah, I guess it'd be more accurate to say that the combat is just more dialogue. And yeah, I have a thing for the industrializing/modernizing fantasy world trope, which is another thing that Disco Elysium did well, but kind of subtly. I really hope they do more games in the setting, it's really something else; one of my favorite new IPs in a loooong time.

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

    spctrvl
    Link
    I played through Disco Elysium for the first time recently. Wow, I didn't know they still made games like this. It's a combat-free isometric RPG, which is already super appealing to me, since...

    I played through Disco Elysium for the first time recently.

    Wow, I didn't know they still made games like this. It's a combat-free isometric RPG, which is already super appealing to me, since while I love the writing in the classics like Fallout and Arcanum, I feel like the games' flow just totally breaks down whenever combat is initiated. But the writing and worldbuilding in Disco Elysium just puts other games in the genre (that I've played anyway) to shame. In addition to being completely hilarious, it's just really well put together, believable and smart, using and referencing ideas from philosophers from Berkeley to Hegel. I also really love how the whole total amnesia in an unfamiliar world thing leaves you trying to figure out fundamental things, like, is magic actually real, or are these people just superstitious crazies? I can't recommend it enough.

    12 votes
  20. Comment on Is there any way to filter out users? in ~tildes

    spctrvl
    Link Parent
    It's definitely an interesting thought; while capitalism and socialism have reasonably precise technical definitions, most people are pretty unfamiliar with them, and will confuse things like...

    It's definitely an interesting thought; while capitalism and socialism have reasonably precise technical definitions, most people are pretty unfamiliar with them, and will confuse things like capitalism and market economies, or socialism and social democracy. And a lot of the socialist jargon is super outdated and misleading; I'd bet that if you started throwing around terms like dictatorship of the proletariat, abolition of private property, or abolition of rent, almost nobody would correctly interpret what you were saying except people who were already socialists.

    At the same time, I really feel like you do need some sort of shorthand for saying 'my overall political program is to build a radically egalitarian economy by having the workers control the means of production' or 'I believe we should improve quality of life without changing our economic paradigm', since when put in the context of a broader political agenda, the same programs can have quite different goals, and that bears keeping in mind.

    3 votes