March 16, 2012

This week in Guild Wars 2

Filed under: Gaming, Gaming — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 14:13

My weekly column at GuildMag is up: This week in Guild Wars 2. Big stories include the pre-purchase program, ArenaNet’s new community approach (including official forums), and lots more blog posts, videos, podcasts, and fan fiction.

Copyright MathTM

Filed under: Economics, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 13:38

Now remember kids: always buy your movies and other entertainment items legally. You’ll get this kind of experience:

And here’s the reason you pay for a legal copy, rather than being one of those evil pirates:

Update, 21 March: The actual numbers — “by an actual Copyright Mathematician” — behind the Copyright MathTM video.

HMCS Victoria successfully test fired a torpedo

Filed under: Cancon, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 12:51

After all these years, we apparently will soon have torpedo-armed subs in the Royal Canadian Navy:

These torpedo firings are part of the technical and operational tests of Victoria‘s weapons systems and additional weapons system trials are scheduled for the spring of 2012. In the exercise version of the torpedo, the warhead module is replaced with electronics for gathering test data.

Victoria also participated in training with a naval task group while off the west coast of Vancouver Island, focussing on coordinated anti-submarine warfare tactics. Equipment and crew trials will continue throughout March as part of Victoria‘s program to being declared fully operational later this summer.

The submarine fleet will achieve steady state in 2013; at which point Canada will have three of four submarines continuously available for operations. As part of the ongoing submarine operational cycle, the fourth submarine will be with industry, undergoing necessary deep maintenance. Submarines are an essential component of a modern, first-class Navy with a balanced set of capabilities that can act in defence of Canada and Canadian interests above and below the sea.

Recent stories about the Victoria class submarines here and here.

Last night’s storm

Filed under: Randomness — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 09:31

I had to shut down my computer last night as a thunderstorm rolled in. After the typical flashing and booming, the rain started. After a couple of minutes of rain, it changed to hail. The entire house was ringing with the impact of the hailstones. It continued off-and-on for about an hour and a half. It was so loud that both our dogs were huddled up to me, shivering. Once the worst of it was over, I went to bed.

This morning, I got up and noticed there were still drops of rain sitting on top of the gazebo in our back yard. A few minutes ago, I got up to let Xander out and noticed that the raindrops still appeared to be sitting on the gazebo roof.

They’re not raindrops:

A bit closer:

The entire roof of the gazebo looks like a “No Hunting” sign up north: riddled with bullet holes.

One symptom, but lots of different causes

Filed under: Britain, Economics, History, India — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 08:41

Tim Worstall responds to a simplistic definition of poverty:

What we then want to know is why do some individuals have a shortage of money? At which point we enter a forest of different explanations.

By far the largest cause of poverty is that people live in societies ruled by people variously ignorant, stupid or evil. N Korean poverty I would ascribe to that last. The early Soviets, I am sure along with Socialists of the time, really did think that planning would be more efficient, create more wealth. The evil came later, it was ignorance at first.

[. . .]

And, yes, really, there is also that culture of poverty that Ms. Ehrenreich wants to insist does not exist. Choices over drugs, booze, delayed gratification, marriage, children, education, all have their effects on poverty or not poverty.

Sure, poverty is indeed the lack of money. But there are different reasons for different people at different times about why they lack money. Given these different reasons therefore different solutions have to be applied. Our Down’s Syndrome lad does simply need a transfer of resources, of wealth, from others in the society to him.

But that is not to say that the cure for all poverty is such a transfer: poverty in India is going to be better alleviated by the continuing destruction of Nehru’s extentions of the Licence Raj, poverty among some others in the UK is going to be best addressed by a change in the behaviour of those individuals.

“Strengthening the UN Agencies In Order To Protect The Authors’ Paychecks”

Filed under: Environment, Media, Science — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 08:24

Willis Eschenbach reviews a paywalled article that isn’t actually called “Strengthening the UN Agencies In Order To Protect The Authors’ Paychecks” but really should be if articles were required to be truthful in their titles:

In fact it is called “Navigating the Anthropocene: Improving Earth System Governance” (paywalled), apparently named specifically so we won’t be forewarned what it’s about. It is a two page article produced by an entire alphabet of no less than 33 listed authors, from Abbott to Zondervan, supporting my theorem that V ≈ 1 / A^2. (Restated in English, my theorem says that the value V of a scientific article is inversely proportional to the square of the number of authors A … but I digress.)

So what is the huge problem they claim to be curing? First sentence of the article sez:

    Science assessments indicate that human activities are moving several of Earth’s sub-systems outside the range of natural variability typical for the previous 500,000 years (1, 2).

Gosh … really? “Science assessments”, that sounds impressive. You mean some scientists have actually falsified the null hypothesis, someone has actually shown that current climate is “outside the range of natural variability” for the last half million years?

Intrigued by claims that someone has completed the daunting task of figuring out how to measure the “variability typical for the previous 500,000 years“, and always willing to learn something new, I turned to references 1 and 2, expecting to find some irrefutable hard-hitting peer-reviewed scientific studies. After all, this is their excuse, the reason for their brilliant plan to redesign the world’s entire economy and governance systems, so it must rest on solid, verifiable science, no?

H/T to Matt Ridley for the link.

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