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Comment: Why the outrage? (Score 1) 354

I don't understand the outrage over Netflix changing the terms of the deal. Let's face it, this happens all the time. Sometimes it's good for a given customer, sometimes it's bad. Businesses that stand still don't survive. In this case you get your disk a little slower in some cases. Previously, they added a bunch of original content (Orange Is the New Black anyone?).

When the deal changes in such a way you don't think you are getting your money's worth, don't buy it anymore

Comment: Re:Evolution at BYU (Score 1) 100

by ComfortablyAmbiguous (#46021139) Attached to: New Object Recognition Algorithm Learns On the Fly
It's easy enough to compare. It was not my last degree in sciences (others not at BYU), and I work in the field. Even during my undergraduate at BYU I had friends at several other significant universities, including MIT and Princeton. I took time off to spend a few week with each attending classes. I'm not looking at this from an isolated perspective.

Comment: Re:Evolution at BYU (Score 1) 100

by ComfortablyAmbiguous (#46019147) Attached to: New Object Recognition Algorithm Learns On the Fly

I suppose this depends on a number of things, and perhaps in the end you may be right. But at the moment there really isn't a clear conflict; the conflict is more manufactured than real, especially if you see religion as a road to life happiness and not an explanation of all things. I admit that there is a certain about of dealing with ambiguity that is required. Frankly, I tend to be much more of an agnostic or a deist than your average Christian. I tend to believe that my life is mine to live, there is such a thing as a good way to live life from a happiness perspective, and my religion provides some guidance along those lines, but ultimately I have to figure it out for my own life

So far as science is concerned I tend to think that we are very, very far from a complete understanding of the universe. There are so many things that we simply don't understand that I don't worry too much about conflict between the possibility of the existence of a God and what science is telling me. The evidence is what it is, we build theories to understand and predict it, and we use those to move forward, but I don't kid myself thinking that we have a complete understanding of the world around us. We will be working for a long time yet to get there.

You could make an excellent argument you can only be clear minded about science or religion. That is to say, if your world is evidence based but you are willing to work with things where there is no evidence I think you can still be a clear minded scientist. On the other hand if you put assertions without evidence in the first place and try to work science around it you're going to have problems.

If the religion is really real, the first approach will leave the two in agreement in the end, but if it is not true you aren't really in a bad place when you can see the whole picture. If you adopt the other approach inevitably you will end up with some kind of conflict that just doesn't leave room for thinking.

Comment: Re:Evolution at BYU (Score 5, Informative) 100

by ComfortablyAmbiguous (#46017325) Attached to: New Object Recognition Algorithm Learns On the Fly

At least there's one professor at BYU that believes in evolution!

I understand why it might be tempting to put BYU in a basket along with the rest of the evangelical christian universities. However, on the issue of evolution it could not be more different. I graduated from there with a degree in microbiology and my college at least evolution was the coin of the realm, just like it is in any serious biology department. I did not have a single professor that did not see evolution as you might expect a biologist to see it; as the only serious explanation of the data at hand, the only theory that works with what we know and provides valid predictions of future results. Not once did I hear even the smallest bit of credibility being given to creationism or its various variants (intelligent design, etc).

And yes, my professors were all Mormons. You might ask yourself how they square this. It turns out that while there are certainly Mormons that take a very literal reading of the bible on this issue, that is not the official church position, and there are many members that don't see it that way at all. Basically I had several professors that explained it as religion was about how to live life, science was about how life works, and we really have no idea how the two come together. The bible, while providing a lot of information to believers on a moral life, provides no real information on how the world works in any of the scientific fields.

Interestingly, many believe this is on purpose, that God has no interest in proving his existence; it's a matter of faith for a reason. Because of this He stays out of offering scientific explanations. I realize that sounds distinctly like a cope-out, but frankly it leads to a fairly rational place where you can function as a scientist an still be a Mormon. And by function I don't mean some half-way hands over eyes sort of a way, but in a real, go where the evidence takes you sort of a way.

Take it for what it's worth, but that was my experience

Comment: Re:Where is Separation in the Constitution? (Score 3, Insightful) 770

by ComfortablyAmbiguous (#45987183) Attached to: Creationism In Texas Public Schools
Funding or otherwise supporting a religion is understood to fall under the establishment clause. So when you fund something, or let it use your property, or otherwise enable it you are establishing it. The issues with this particular school is that it is publicly funded. There are many, many private, religious schools out there that teach all kinds of viewpoints including creationism that comply with one or more religious traditions. These are not in question, it is only the ones being funded by the government that are being looked at askance. If you choose to go against any number of supreme court decisions and take a very narrow view of the meaning of the word establishment to be a strict synonym with found or start it would allow the government to effectively promote a state religion by sending it unlimited funds. BTW, when you are reading about similar issues you will see the 'establishment clause' referenced. This is what they are talking about, saying that whatever the government is doing is supporting, funding, or otherwise establishing a religion in violation of the constitution.

Comment: Re:Translated for our international readers (Score 2) 195

by ComfortablyAmbiguous (#45345453) Attached to: The Feathered Threat To US Air Superiority
Bird strikes at supersonic speeds are not the issue. You will notice that the intended refit doesn't make the canopy handle supersonic bird strikes, only bird strikes up to 400 knots, or a reasonable cruising speed. The problem they are facing is hitting birds while cruising at much slower speeds than supersonic, much closer to the ground.

Comment: Re:Why is SSN secret? (Score 5, Interesting) 390

by ComfortablyAmbiguous (#45190165) Attached to: Experian Sold Social Security Numbers To ID Theft Service
Besides that, it's a horrible, horrible secret. Until just a few years ago the first five digits could be easily determined from your birthday and location of birth, leaving only 4 digits of somewhat randomness, and even that went in sequential order, giving you a pretty good guess at a much small range. To add insult to injury, whenever a company thinks they are helping you keep it secret they will ask you for the last four digits of the number, the only four digits that actually matter.

Comment: Re:That means they can go Galt ... in space! (Score 1) 366

Who's to say that's not what's going on right now? I don't know if you have noticed, but building the necessary infrastructure for privately managed low earth orbit access is all the rage among a certain class of rich people.

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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