Thought for the day: on NPCs

A few months back, there was a big fuss about people calling others NPCs, after the non-player-characters in computer games, who mostly either follow the player around, or just stand there to answer questions from the player or look pretty.

Obviously, the usual suspects whined about how awful this idea was and everyone is an equally unique snowflake and… whatever.

But, when you think about it, we have no problem believing that animals aren’t sentient and humans are. So, somewhere between a rock and a human is a point where matter goes from not-sentient to sentient.

Why, then, is it hard to believe that might apply to people, too? That some are literally not sentient. It’s even backed up by psychological studies which have shown that some people have no internal monologue, and merely exist.

Firefox is such a piece of crap

It was inevitable, really, when they went all SJW on us, but Firefox has been going downhill for a long time. Most recently there’s been the ‘I’m going to use all your CPU for no reason’ bug where the ‘Web Content’ process would start maxing out all cores on the machine until it was restarted.

Today, though, they’ve decided to disable all addons because, well, why not?

In case you’re wondering, the workaround is to go to about:config and set xpinstall.signatures.required to false. But set it back if Mozilla ever becomes more concerned with producing software than ‘diversity’.

Why do I still use it? Basically because it’s the default on most Linux distros and because of NoScript. I’m mostly waiting for Brave to be officially supported on Linux before I switch.

De-Aging Cells

More interesting research:

https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2019/03/turn-bio-transiently-reprogramming-cells-to-near-pluripotence-as-a-therapy-for-aging/

It seems that when you roll cells back to stem cells, they first roll back to an earlier age, and then to stem cells. So if we can control the process, we can roll the body back to a younger age without converting the cells to stem cells which can then create cancers.

This could be one of the biggest technologies in reversing ageing.

Logan’s Run TV Show

Why does the solar-powered car in the Logan’s Run TV show… have headlights?

That’s the kind of question I’ve found myself thinking as I watch the DVD set. Yes, you could explain it away, perhaps they’d be turned on in bad weather (but then you wouldn’t be going far on solar power), and it does run a short distance in the dark in one episode, but it also stopped immediately in the first episode when the sun was blocked.

I’m almost at the end of the DVD set now, and, frankly, it’s just not very good. It’s a straightforward cheap SF show of its era with a ‘post-apocalyptic society of the week’ format.

In the original movie, the City of Domes was pretty much it, and only a handful of people survived outside. In the TV show the country is plastered with groups whose technology is comparable to theirs, yet they’ve apparently been living for centuries in isolation like that.

As a kid, I found it entertaining, but as an adult, it’s pretty silly. It also skips over all the interesting aspects, like the way Logan presumably killed dozens or hundreds of runners in his time, yet now he’s suddenly a good guy. I don’t remember any ‘but it’s my first day on the job’ excuses in the show, and I find his personality unbelievable as a result. The movie Logan wasn’t.

There were some good episodes, like the time traveller from Sanctuary (despite the ancient tape drives on the future computers), the girl in the bunker and the frozen people in the crypt, but most are pretty forgettable. I’ve also found the repeated use of Star Trek sound effects a bit distracting.

Overall, it’s a cheap show, and decidedly forgettable.

Explorers vs Asshats

There are two kinds of people in the world: explorers and asshats. History is a long story of asshats trying to take over what explorers have found and created.

Here’s how it goes.

First we have a society where explorers and asshats live side-by-side. The asshats impose more and more stupid rules on the society, until the explorers get fed up, and leave.

The explorers… explore. Find a new place to live. Build a new society free of asshats. And they’re happy for a little while.

But, sooner or later, the asshats notice there’s a thriving new society out there. And they start to move in. One or two at first, then more and more as the news spreads.

And then the asshattery begins. More and more rules that wreck the society the explorers build, until it’s the same mess they left.

So they leave again, and the cycle repeats.

But that only continues until we run out of new spaces to explore. Which is exactly where we are today. The explorers are surrounded by asshats, with no way to escape.

We should have been living on the Moon and Mars by now, but instead the asshats demanded an ever-growing welfare state that has sucked up trillions of dollars and achieved little but to create an ever-growing welfare underclass. So the cycle is stuck, until we get a global war or we do manage to get a significant number of people off the planet.

3D Printing

A couple of months ago I bought a Prusa Mk 3 3D printer kit, as it generally seems to be considered the best for under $1000. Took quite a while to put it together, as I was doing it in short spurts when I had some free time, and on two or three occasions I had to take parts of it apart when I realized I hadn’t assembled them correctly.

But I got it working over Christmas and it’s printing without many issues; the biggest one is that the filament sometimes gets caught on the spool where one layer has somehow become caught under another, and that’s screwed up a couple of prints so far.

My main advice for assembly would be to read the comments on the online instruction manual, because there’s a lot of information in there that’s useful to prevent you from doing things you shouldn’t.

I also managed to slightly crack one 3D-printed part by tightening a bolt just a little too much, but so far it’s not affected operation. It’s just the duct that directs cooling air from the fan onto the material near the print head, so a slight misalignment probably won’d do much.

Eliminating Defective Mitochondria

Here’s an interesting one:

https://actu.epfl.ch/news/targeting-an-rna-binding-protein-to-fight-aging/

It seems that an excess of PUM2 protein in cells causes a reduction of mitophagy, which eliminates defective mitochondria from cells. This then causes a lack of energy in old age which contributes to many of the problems of ageing. Removing that protein in old animals helps rejuvenate and extend lifespan.

Moving in

I’m in the process of moving my blog over to this site because the old one was becoming too much of a pain to maintain when I no longer post that much.