videogames, science, tech & politics. and jokes?http://gamesandfood.tumblr.com/
219 stories
·
9 followers

If you read one sci-fi series this year, it should be The Broken Earth

1 Share

The final book in the trilogy, The Stone Sky, just came out. It completes an incredibly satisfying exploration of the overlap between scifi and fantasy.

Sometimes a book series is so important that you want people to put everything aside and just read it. I'm not the only one who feels this way about N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy. The first and second novels in Jemisin's trilogy, The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate won the prestigious Hugo Award for the past two years in a row—the first time this has happened since Ender's Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead won sequential Hugos in 1986 and 87. Now the final Broken Earth book, The Stone Sky, is out. You can gobble up the whole series without interruption.

There are very light spoilers ahead.

A mesmerizing world

There are a lot of reasons why this series has been hailed as a masterpiece. There are unexpected twists which, in retrospect, you realize have been carefully plotted, skillfully hinted at, and well-earned. There are characters who feel like human beings, with problems that range from the mundane (raising kids in a risky world) to the extraordinary (learning to control earthquakes with your mind). The main characters are called orogenes, and they have the ability to control geophysics with their minds, quelling and starting earthquakes. Somehow the orogenes are connected with the lost technologies of a dead civilization, whose machines still orbit the planet in the form of mysterious giant crystals called obelisks. To most people on the planet, the orogenes are known by the derogatory term "rogga," and they're the victims of vicious prejudice.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read the whole story
icepotato
33 days ago
reply
Seattle WA
Share this story
Delete

Upgrading the Nemesis system for Middle Earth: Shadow of War

1 Comment

The well-received Nemesis System from Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, dubbed an "orc management simulator" by some, is getting upgraded to include more emergent narrative potential in the sequel. ...

Read the whole story
icepotato
33 days ago
reply
"Normally in an RPG, you grow in power, and power is good. In The Lord of the Rings mythos, power is fundamentally sinister, and growing in power is a dangerous thing"
Seattle WA
Share this story
Delete

Time To Transfer

1 Comment

TN-wall-clock hg

When people think about government, they usually think about a President or Prime Minister, Senators, MPs, or what have you. But government isn't just a handful of people at the top of the food chain: there's government all the way down to the city level, quietly making the country run. Driver's licenses have to be issued, as do pet licenses. Buildings have to be inspected and certified. All those elevator certificates get printed up somewhere. Increasingly, these small functions are being computerized—in bits and pieces, in incompatible systems—and hooked up to the Internet.

Lisa was the lead engineer for one of these public websites. At its core, it took in personally identifying details and spat out some sort of official document. This meant they had to deal with the PII issues that come with taking people's information: encrypting and salting the data, securing the database backend, et cetera.

One of the pieces in this chain was a separation of data: until the user had paid for the document, proving their identity (or at least their possession of the credit card for the person they claimed to be), their data sat in a frontend database accessible to the Internet. After payment was taken, the data was sent to a more secure database in the backend and removed from the potentially hackable frontend. The frontend ran in a VM that could only make an outgoing connection to the database. It could receive incoming connections and respond, but not initiate them. Basic security for this type of system.

There was one issue, however, that Lisa struggled to track down. It seemed that a small percentage of users, fewer than 1%, were getting an error page immediately after payment. Their application was fine; payment was received, and their document was sent to them along with a confirmation. But they saw an error page suggesting they hadn't completed their transaction.

When Lisa managed to catch the issue in the act, she was able to reconstruct the sequence from the logs:

  • The user entered their card info
  • The payment processor accepted the payment
  • The application marked the record as paid
  • The application responded with the redirection back to the confirmation page
  • The transfer service kicked in and moveed the data
  • The user landed on the confirmation page—and the record was no longer there to display.

In other words, a timing issue. So far, this was just a run-of-the-mill everyday problem. Race conditions happen all the time, after all. The problem was, Lisa had already fixed this race condition: the logic indicated that the system would wait at least 5 minutes before moving the data from the frontend to the backend, to allow for the confirmation page to be generated.

So, what gives? Lisa wondered.

The logic was still in place. In fact, the logs showed that the data hadn't been moved until 5 minutes after it was marked to be moved. But the confirmation page had generated in mere seconds. How could this possibly have occurred?

"It just doesn't make sense," she complained to her coworker.

"What time is it on the server right now?" he asked with a frown.

And that was it: the transfer service was 6 minutes off from the frontend box. As soon as it was marked eligible for transfer, the backend box would move the data. If the periodic service ran right when the row was generated, the user would get an error.

With a groan, Lisa put in a ticket to have both boxes sync to a time server.

[Advertisement] Release! is a light card game about software and the people who make it. Play with 2-5 people, or up to 10 with two copies - only $9.95 shipped!
Read the whole story
icepotato
60 days ago
reply
Great bug!
Seattle WA
Share this story
Delete

Google fires engineer who “crossed the line” with diversity memo

1 Comment

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. (credit: Sam Churchill)

Google has fired James Damore, an engineer who wrote a controversial essay arguing that the company has gone overboard in its attempts to promote diversity. Damore confirmed the firing in an e-mail to Bloomberg.

“At Google, we’re regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership,” Damore wrote in an internal posting that went viral within the company over the weekend. The posting was subsequently leaked to Gizmodo. However, he argued, that’s “far from the whole story.”

Biology is partly responsible for differences between men and women, Damore wrote, and “these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read the whole story
icepotato
74 days ago
reply
if you author a document that gets external press coverage and called "the google memo" and advocates for illegal gender discrimination, you should not be surprised to get fired.
Seattle WA
Share this story
Delete

Metamorph-Assist

2 Comments and 4 Shares

The post Metamorph-Assist appeared first on The Perry Bible Fellowship.

Read the whole story
icepotato
102 days ago
reply
NEW PBF!!!
Seattle WA
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
Dugstar2020
102 days ago
reply
I love how the spiders eyea make a smiley face

By "BunnysKitty"

1 Share

Today, I wanted to pack my lunch with some of my homemade meatloaf leftover from last night's dinner, but I couldn't find it anywhere in my fridge. Later in the evening, my boyfriend's parents invited us over for dinner. They served meatloaf. The meatloaf they stole from my fridge last night when they visited. FML

Read the whole story
icepotato
102 days ago
reply
Seattle WA
Share this story
Delete
Next Page of Stories