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Comment Re:Well, that's embarrassing (Score 1) 493

This is a joke. Full disclosure: I'm a Muslim. Nonetheless, I've read this article and it's bollocks. There are at least two major flaws that I can see:

a) Paper back then was a valuable resource, and it is highly likely that this parchment was either made and stored for several years before being used, or could have been reused.
b) Radiocarbon dating is NOT accurate to 2 years in 1400, or about 0.14% which is what they are claiming.
c) Even if we DO accept the radiocarbon dating, the date range confidence intervals overlap the historically recorded dates anyway well within one standard deviation so I don't know where all this "OMG this Koran is older" nonsense is coming from, unless some idiot journalist took the mean value and took that as, ahem, gospel.

As I said earlier, in the interests of intellectual honesty I'm disclosing the fact that I am a Muslim and that I would have to engage in significant review of my world view, were this proved correct. But as I see it, there just is nothing to this claim that warrants any time spent considering the possibility that the whole historical record to date is wrong.

Comment Re:Sounds like what we need (Score 1) 42

is a firewall for the firewall.

I just don't understand how people who design commodity networking gear can be so bad at network security.

Another response to your inquiry handles the cynical/pragmatic answer, but there's another half to it: Unfortunately, 'commodity networking gear' has to work for the same type of people who install 'flashlight' apps on their phones that require access to contacts and GPS. If you and I had our druthers, SOHO routers would ship with DD-WRT or PFSense out of the box...but unfortunately, these boxes get sold at Wal-Mart...to the kinds of people who buy routers at Wal-Mart.

I am by no means a network expert, but it seems as though some of these things are just common sense....

Pull 100 people off the sidewalk and ask them if any of these sentences mean anything to them. Odds are good that an unfortunate Saturday afternoon involving whiskey and a circular saw would leave you with enough fingers to count the number of people who could provide an explanation to these concepts. Thus the "common" in "common sense" doesn't really seem to apply.

- Don't have ports open to the Internet ("stealth" or otherwise) by default

Okay. And precisely how do you expect Skype to work? FaceTime? Windows Update? POP/IMAP e-mail? watch all that traffic shuffle over 80 and 443, thus making 'ports' useless...or the applications, in the short term. Saying 'screw FaceTime' is a guaranteed way to ensure that people blame the router, and replace it with something basically mirroring what the router does now.

- Don't use unencrypted protocols... period

That's beyond the scope of responsibilities for a router. With respect to the greater internet, kindly inform me why Windows/Android/iOS Updates need to be encrypted...or Netflix streams (DRM notwithstanding)...or a dozen other kinds of data that are high volume and don't have security requirements...there's no need to waste CPU cycles on them.

- Don't enable wireless by default

A wireless router that ships with wireless disabled...you must be delusional. Remember, there are a whole lot of laptops being sold now that don't have wired capabilities...and cell phones and tablets don't have them at all. People buy routers explicitly for this purpose, and disabling it by default is a guaranteed way to ensure that people return them saying "it doesn't work", the high rate of returns making the entire retail chain roll their eyes, the brand getting a bad reputation, and being suicide for the product. No. Netgear has this right - ship it with a unique WPA2 password, by default, written on the bottom of the router. That is how the wireless problem is, for all practical purposes, solved.

Seems like just doing those things our routers would be a lot safer than they are now.

Yes. Now put one of your routers in the hands of the general public, and see exactly how far 'security' gets them - Their iPads don't connect, Skype doesn't work on their desktop, and certificate authorities get to determine who lives and who dies on the internet.

For places where your line of reasoning is practical, there is SonicWALL, Cisco, Smoothwall, and Barracuda. For home users, there's Asus and Netgear.

Comment Re:Free speech hundreds of miles out in the desert (Score 1) 164

Yes. I have not been to a public fireworks display without police being there.
Of course it is really silly to compare Burning man with a 4th of July event. I have never been to a 4th of July event were the use of illegal drugs is very public and well known.

Comment Re:Well, that's embarrassing (Score 2) 493

Your points about the shroud of Turin and the alleged tomb are spot-on.

As for the Qur'an, it would indeed be a major problem for Islam intellectually if it were found to preexist Mohammed. However, even though I don't have any desire to defend Islam, from a critical standpoint I think that these findings are really too weak to even imply such a claim.

In the first place, the fact that the dating belongs to the parchment and not necessarily the ink is huge. Since parchment was relatively rare and expensive, it was a common practice (even among Christians) to re-use old parchment, e.g. blank pages in other manuscripts or even at times writing over other texts. In fact, the manuscript in question seems to be a copy of the Qur'an, and no claim seems to have been made that it was the original copy penned by Mohammed himself, and so this opens up seemingly endless possible scenarios where somebody found an older piece of parchment and copied the Qur'an onto it.

Secondly, the real and obvious character of the Qur'an is not so much that it plagiarizes other written texts but that it borrows explicit elements from Judaism, Christianity, and local religious thought, and reshapes all of this material through a particular lens that services Mohammed's political and social agenda. This is clear even without any specific manuscript dating, as it is a process that is more internal and subtle than merely taking a page from one book and inserting it into a another. Understanding this, it actually makes even more sense to suppose that a copyist reused an older parchment, because it fits with the spirit of Islam, a spirit that is evident in ISIS's systematic destruction of antiquities, even if a substantial portion of Muslims may be horrified by this action as well. Islam is in many ways a white-washing and concealment of history; Allah's transcendence breaks into history as an external and alien power and provides the Qur'an as a kind of divine text without history. Hence the Qur'an cannot be translated or critically examined because to do so would be to submit the text to historical forces. (If anyone reading this sees a resemblance between this kind of thinking and Christian fundamentalism, this is not at all surprising.)

Christianity in contrast, despite significant variations and particular groups that lean more in the direction of Islam, is like Judaism a deeply historical religion. By breaking into history in the Incarnation, God takes on our history as his very own, in such a way that the history of human beings becomes transcendently meaningful. Hence the Bible is written by human authors in human language (not a divine dialect of Arabic), but mysteriously transmits the Word of God. Hence it really would be no problem for Christianity (except for a few particular groups) if it were found that certain of Jesus' famous sayings had already been said verbatim by someone else. The divine authority of the Qur'an is premised upon a denial of any human element, but the divine authority of the Bible is premised upon a divine acceptance of human language.

Comment Re:Douchebag Editors (Score 1) 281

" "Historic central/eastern Pacific outbreak- 3 major hurricanes at once for the first time on record!""

Yep, ON RECORD. But since the records barely go back more than 120 years, and the sats needed to spot storms that form so far from any habitable area have only been in geostationary orbit for about 50 years, the record is extremely short and says NOTHING about global warming.

Comment Re:Free speech hundreds of miles out in the desert (Score 4, Interesting) 164

I think it is funny that anyone is shocked at the fact a "gathering" that involves drug use and pyrotechnics is being watched. The fact that they have never came in and raided the event shows that the FBI really is not going in for busting up free speech.

Comment Re:His first mistake was changing his lifestyle (Score 1) 774

Most of my friends have kids or grown kids. Oh and they are married as well.
I am kind of surprised that Markus is not in the same position as I am. He is 36 but he is single. I think that is a big issue. Being super rich and single could make it really difficult to find a true mate.

Comment Re:I don't want a fucking TV channel! (Score 1) 274

It wasn't so much that they had a falling out with the movie stuidios as that the movie studios decided they could all each charge consumers directly. So we got a disney channel and a warner move channel and etc.

None of which I subscribe to.

Netflix was actually a bargain. It's less of a bargain today tho I still subscribe (for now).

Once it's dead, I'll probably drop to subscribing to it every few years and perhaps go back to torrenting content (tho that's getting riskier than it used to be).

Comment Re:For starters... (Score 1) 774

He did. They got a big payout when the company was sold.

More critical to me was his statement that some day he would opensource minecraft when it started to die off. Part of what made minecraft succeed was the open sourcey feel to it. If he had said upfront it would be closed source owned by microsoft many of the people who helped it succeed wouldn't have invested their time into it.

"Imitation is the sincerest form of television." -- The New Mighty Mouse

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