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Barbarian Force Five

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Some barbarians for an upcoming RPG session.  I decided to be a little more creative than brown, brown, brown and brown.

From left to right: Kingdom Death Lion Armor, 02476: Lorna the Huntress, 77055 Anval Thricedamned and 02528: Kara, Female Archer.  I was going to go all Reaper, but realized I actually don’t have that many male barbarian minis.


Filed under: fantasy, finished, metal, miniatures, plastic Tagged: axe, barbarian, bow, female, Kingdom Death, male, Reaper Miniatures, spear, sword





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Assault Kommander Strakhov and Kommandos

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Finished!  I tried to get lots of dark colors in there without the mini looking too dark.  I’m very pleased with how they came out.

Red: MSP Red Shadow highlighting up to P3 Khador Base

Brown: MSP Walnut Brown highlighting up through Ruddy Leather and Oiled Leather (and maybe some Burnt Orange)

Blue: MSP Nightmare Blue up to Dragon Blue and Ghost White

Blond Triad for the Hov’s hair, Citadel red-gold for insignia and buttons, and VGA Chainmail silver for the guns.  Some wood color on the gun stock.


Filed under: fantasy, finished, metal, miniatures Tagged: female, gun, Khador, male, Privateer Press, unit, warcaster, Warmachine









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One Bitcoin Transaction Now Uses as Much Energy as Your House in a Week

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Bitcoin's incredible price run to break over $6,000 this year has sent its overall electricity consumption soaring, as people worldwide bring more energy-hungry computers online to mine the digital currency.

An index from cryptocurrency analyst Alex de Vries, aka Digiconomist, estimates that with prices the way they are now, it would be profitable for Bitcoin miners to burn through over 24 terawatt-hours of electricity annually as they compete to solve increasingly difficult cryptographic puzzles to "mine" more Bitcoins. That's about as much as Nigeria, a country of 186 million people, uses in a year.

This averages out to a shocking 215 kilowatt-hours (KWh) of juice used by miners for each Bitcoin transaction (there are currently about 300,000 transactions per day). Since the average American household consumes 901 KWh per month, each Bitcoin transfer represents enough energy to run a comfortable house, and everything in it, for nearly a week. On a larger scale, De Vries' index shows that bitcoin miners worldwide could be using enough electricity to at any given time to power about 2.26 million American homes.

Expressing Bitcoin's energy use on a per-transaction basis is a useful abstraction. Bitcoin uses x energy in total, and this energy verifies/secures roughly 300k transactions per day. So this measure shows the value we get for all that electricity, since the verified transaction (and our confidence in it) is ultimately the end product.

It's worth asking ourselves hard questions about Bitcoin's environmental footprint

Since 2015, Bitcoin's electricity consumption has been very high compared to conventional digital payment methods. This is because the dollar price of Bitcoin is directly proportional to the amount of electricity that can profitably be used to mine it. As the price rises, miners add more computing power to chase new Bitcoins and transaction fees.

It's impossible to know exactly how much electricity the Bitcoin network uses. But we can run a quick calculation of the minimum energy Bitcoin could be using, assuming that all miners are running the most efficient hardware with no efficiency losses due to waste heat. To do this, we'll use a simple methodology laid out in previous coverage on Motherboard. This would give us a constant total mining draw of just over one gigawatt.

That means that, at a minimum, worldwide Bitcoin mining could power the daily needs of 821,940 average American homes.

Put another way, global Bitcoin mining represents a minimum of 77KWh of energy consumed per Bitcoin transaction. Even as an unrealistic lower boundary, this figure is high: As senior economist Teunis Brosens from Dutch bank ING wrote, it's enough to power his own home in the Netherlands for nearly two weeks.

Digiconomist's less optimistic estimate for per-transaction energy costs now sits at around 215 KWh of electricity. That's more than enough to fill two Tesla batteries, run an efficient fridge/freezer for a full year, or boil 1872 litres of water in a kettle.

It's important to remember that de Vries' model isn't exact. It makes assumptions about the economic incentives available to miners at a given price level, and presents a forward-looking prediction for where mining electricity consumption could go. Despite this, it's quite clear that even at the minimum level of 77 KWh per transaction, we have a problem. At 215 KWh, we have an even bigger problem.

Read More: Ethereum Is Already Using a Small Country's Worth of Electricity

That problem is carbon emissions. De Vries has come up with some estimates by diving into data made available on a coal-powered Bitcoin mine in Mongolia. He concluded that this single mine is responsible for 8,000 to 13,0000 kg CO2 emissions per Bitcoin it mines, and 24,000 - 40,000 kg of CO2 per hour.

As Twitter user Matthias Bartosik noted in some similar estimates, the average European car emits 0.1181 kg of CO2 per kilometer driven. So for every hour the Mongolian Bitcoin mine operates, it's responsible for (at least) the CO2 equivalent of over 203,000 car kilometers travelled.

As goes the Bitcoin price, so goes its electricity consumption, and therefore its overall carbon emissions. I asked de Vries whether it was possible for Bitcoin to scale its way out of this problem.

"Blockchain is inefficient tech by design, as we create trust by building a system based on distrust. If you only trust yourself and a set of rules (the software), then you have to validate everything that happens against these rules yourself. That is the life of a blockchain node," he said via direct message.

This gets to the heart of Bitcoin's core innovation, and also its core compromise. In order to achieve a functional, trustworthy decentralized payment system, Bitcoin imposes some very costly inefficiencies on participants, for example voracious electricity consumption and low transaction capacity. Proposed improvements, like SegWit2x, do promise to increase the number of transactions Bitcoin can handle by at least double, and decrease network congestion. But since Bitcoin is thousands of times less efficient per transaction than a credit card network, it will need to get thousands of times better.

In the context of climate change, raging wildfires, and record-breaking hurricanes, it's worth asking ourselves hard questions about Bitcoin's environmental footprint, and what we want to use it for. Do most transactions actually need to bypass trusted third parties like banks and credit card companies, which can operate much more efficiently than Bitcoin's decentralized network? Imperfect as these financial institutions are, for most of us, the answer is very likely no.

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acdha
40 days ago
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🍿 Cue bros trying to maintain the supply of greater fools telling everyone that Bitcoin will magically scale up 5+ orders of magnitude to compete with Visa…
Washington, DC

This Future Looks Familiar: Watching Blade Runner in 2017

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I watched Blade Runner for the first time this week. Since I have apparently been living in a cave for the past few decades, I thought that Blade Runner was kind of like Tron but with more Harrison Ford, and less neon, and maybe a few more tricky questions about What Is The Nature Of Man.

That is the movie I was expecting.

That is not the movie I saw.

I told a lot of people that I was going to watch Blade Runner for the first time, because I know that people have opinions about Blade Runner. All of them gave me a few watery opinions to keep in mind going in—nothing that would spoil me, but things that would help me understand what they assured me would be a Very Strange Film.

None of them told me the right things, though. So, in case you are like me and have been living in a cave and have never seen Blade Runner before and are considering watching it, I will tell you a little about it.

There are cops, and there are little people.

There is a whole class of slaves. It is illegal for them to escape slavery. The cops are supposed to murder the slaves if they escape, because there is a risk that they will start to think they’re people. But the cops know that the slaves are not people, so it’s okay to murder them. The greatest danger, the thing the cops are supposed to prevent, is that the slaves will try to assimilate into the society that relies on their labor.

Assimilation is designed to be impossible. There are tests. Impossible tests with impossible questions and impossible answers. The tests measure empathy. It is not about having enough empathy, but about having empathy for the correct things. If you do not have enough empathy for the correct things, you will be murdered by a cop who does have empathy for the correct things.

In Blade Runner, an absurdly young Harrison Ford is a hard-boiled, world-weary kind of man named Deckard, and he is given a choice. He can be exactly as small as everyone is, or he can catch some escaped slaves for the police. He decides to catch the escaped slaves.

Except that ‘catch’ means ‘retire,’ and ‘retire’ means ‘murder.’

Deckard feels that he has no choice in this matter. He says it himself, and the person giving him the choice confirms that he is correct: no choice. But of course, there is always a choice. Certainly, the escaped slaves who he is chasing see that there is a choice. He can be power or he can be vulnerable to power. He chooses power. And power means murder.

The first such murder we witness is that of a woman who escaped slavery and came to Earth. She has found herself a job. It’s a degrading job, a job that even the hard-boiled, world-weary Deckard flinches away from watching. But it’s a job. She is participating in society. She is working. She’s doing the things that she has to do in order to be a part of the world that she risked everything to reach.

Deckard comes to her workplace. He finds her there, and he knows what she is, and she runs away from him because she knows what cops do to women like her. He chases her through the street and corners her. He aims his gun at her through a crowd of people. He squints. He takes a second too long to decide whether to shoot. She runs again.

(Nobody tells you about that part, when you tell them you’re about to watch Blade Runner for the first time. They tell you about all the different versions, and they tell you about the ambiguity of the ending, and they tell you about the fact that all the effects are practical effects. But nobody tells you about the part where a cop aims a loaded firearm into a crowd of people and tries to decide whether it’s worth risking their lives in order to murder an escaped slave.)

She runs, and then he corners her again, and then he shoots her. He shoots her in the back while she’s running away from him, running from death with so much panic that she crashes right through a shopfront window. Glass rains down around her, and she is dead. Not a dead person, of course. Because, as we have been told, she is not a person—they are not people. But she is dead, and when death happens in public, people will come to look. A small crowd begins to gather.

And then a police vehicle hovers overhead, and the police vehicle repeats the same two words over and over, in the same tone the crossing light uses to prompt those who can’t see the walk signal: Move on, move on, move on.

So the crowd moves on. The story moves on. And Deckard moves on.

He still has work to do. One down. The rest to go.

He murders other escaped slaves before the end of the film. He finds where they are hiding, and he murders them.

It is important, in the world of the film, to remember that the things he is murdering are not people. That it is their own fault for seeking free lives. That the cops are just doing their jobs.

It is important to remember to have empathy for the right things.

There is one escaped slave who Deckard does not murder. She asks him if he thinks she could escape to the North, and he says no. Whether that is true or not, we as the audience do not get to find out, because she does not escape. She does not escape because he decides to keep her. He is asked to murder her, and instead he decides to keep her for his own.

(Nobody warns you about that part when you tell them you’re about to watch Blade Runner for the first time. They tell you to watch for the origami, and they tell you that you won’t believe the cast, and they tell you about the celebrities who have been asked to take the Voight-Kampff test. But nobody warns you about the part where a cop convinces a slave that she cannot escape unless he is allowed to keep her. Nobody warns you about that part.)

Blade Runner does not ask us to sympathize with Deckard. At least, not in the version I watched, which was the Final Cut. I am told that there are other cuts which were deemed more palatable to theatre audiences at the time of release. Those cuts, I am told, reframe the man who chases a terrified escaped slave through the streets of a futuristic Los Angeles and then puts bullets into her back. They allow us to believe that he is a good guy doing a hard but necessary job, and that the hard but necessary job is hard because he is good. They allow us to believe that it is possible to be a good guy while doing that kind of a job.

This is a thing that it is very tempting to believe. It is a thing that we are accustomed to believing. It is as familiar as coming home.

Most people told me the same thing, when I said that I was going to come out of my cave and watch Blade Runner for the first time. When they were giving me their watery opinions so I’d be prepared for what I was about to see, they all said: “It’s a Very Strange Movie.”

They weren’t wrong. Not exactly. Not in the thing that they meant, which is that it is bizarre. They weren’t wrong about that. It is bizarre. The movie itself is ambiguous and nuanced and asks a lot of the audience. Asks too much of the audience, if you agree with the studio executives who released the original, theatrical cut. It is baffling and beautiful and terrible and tempting. It’s Surrealist Science Fiction Pulp Noir—it has to be weird and unsettling. That’s the genre.

But I would not call the world of Blade Runner strange, because it’s the opposite of strange. It’s familiar. If you subtract the flying cars and the jets of flame shooting out of the top of Los Angeles buildings, it’s not a far-off place. It’s fortunes earned off the backs of slaves, and deciding who gets to count as human. It’s impossible tests with impossible questions and impossible answers. It’s having empathy for the right things if you know what’s good for you. It’s death for those who seek freedom.

It’s a cop shooting a fleeing woman in the middle of the street, and a world where the city is subject to repeated klaxon call: move on, move on, move on.

It’s not so very strange to me.

Hugo and Campbell award finalist Sarah Gailey is an internationally-published writer of fiction and nonfiction. Her work has recently appeared in Mashable, the Boston Globe, and Fireside Fiction. She is a regular contributor for <a href="http://Tor.com" rel="nofollow">Tor.com</a> and Barnes & Noble. You can find links to her work here. She tweets @gaileyfrey. Her debut novella, River of Teeth, and its sequel Taste of Marrow, are available from <a href="http://Tor.com" rel="nofollow">Tor.com</a>.

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zippy72
59 days ago
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Interesting take on the original Blade Runner.
FourSquare, qv
fxer
66 days ago
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quite an overly simplified viewing, strips out a lot of nuance and depth about what it means to be human from the movie. also completely omits that replicants are into torture and killing. pretty good discussion in the comments though
Bend, Oregon
fanguad
67 days ago
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The best kind of science fiction makes you think.
gmuslera
67 days ago
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Now I'm very afraid f what other messages have the 2017 version
montevideo, uy

Zuriel

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Filed under: fantasy, finished, metal, miniatures, resin Tagged: Hordes, Legion of Everblight, Nephilim, Privateer Press, Warbeast













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Sorceress and Hellion (x2)

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After being out of town for nearly two weeks, I’m back in the painting groove attempting to hit 30 points this month.  The first batch of finished minis are a pair of Blight Nyss Sorceresses and their Hellion mounts.

Colors are my standard Legion of Everblight scheme – I did more work with the airbrush this time, in particular the blends to Snow Shadow on the top of the Hellion were done with the airbrush.  The other thing I did was a bit more edge highlighting.  The skulls are from GW’s new box of skulls – very convenient to clip off a few and glue them to the base.

Pictures were taken with my new Surface Pro 2017 with HDR mode enabled.  HDR makes the pictures look a bit nicer but stretch the contrast a bit more than reality.  Compare:


Filed under: fantasy, finished, metal, miniatures Tagged: blighted nyss, cavalry, dark elf, female, Hordes, Legion of Everblight, Privateer Press, wizard















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