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Comment: Re:News? (Score 1) 388

by ultranova (#49626453) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

About a third of the population is simply incapable of abstract reasoning. If you think otherwise, I invite you to come to my house, and I will give you a free dinner while you explain "vectors" to my 15 year old daughter.

"15 year old" and "daughter" are abstract concepts. It's not possible to use English, or any language for that matter, without capability for abstract reasoning. So if your daughter can talk, she can reason; whether she wants to is another matter.

Most people simply have no use whatsoever for abstract math, so they won't put in the effort needed to become good or even passable at it. That's all there is to it.

Comment: Re:Not Actually $3500 (Score 1) 309

by ultranova (#49614035) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

You don't even know what it's being used for, so how can you call it a waste?

It's being used for providing cloud gaming - or somehing similar - services. nVidia GRID is specialized enough technology to pinpoint it, and furthermore, every user gets two SSDs. And waste or not, hosting a personal data center is pretty atypical.

Comment: Re:Looks like the prophet's gunmen (Score 4, Insightful) 1047

by ultranova (#49611899) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

Well, when all you have to convince people that they should work for you is promises of eternal bliss after death without any kind of proof, you can't really expect nobel prize material to flock to you...

But that's not all fanatics have. It's just local flavoring. What their message is is the same as always before: "All your problems are caused by group X. Join me and take your revenge!"

Such memetic viruses don't strike at stupidity but at lack of self-awareness and -control - in other words, immaturity - and consequently, being smart - even Nobel-smart - doesn't help protect against them. In fact, should the infection take hold, all that intelligence will simply be used to construct elaborate rationalizations of the fanaticism's guise which make it even more virulent.

Fanaticism is a memetic disease. If you have lots of angry young people, you get outbreaks, just like with flu. And sooner or later one of these outbreaks mutates into a form that can cause an epidemic, or perhaps even a pandemic. In the 30's, we got fascism which eventually mutated into nazism; in the middle of the century we got small outbreaks of red terrorism, but thankfully general prosperity made the population too resistant for transmission to continue except in much-diluted form; and right now we're seeing an epidemic which is parasiting on Islam. Islam itself isn't the problem, it simply provides a new outer form - like robes for a ringwraith - for the same force that was behind Hitler and has now returned for round n+1. But the heart of this darkness is the same as it has always been.

The question is: what to do about all this? Is this some kind of inevitable function of human biology or merely an artifact from our cultural past? Would it be possible to rid the world of suhc maladjusted memes once and for all, or perhaps develop memes that work as antidotes - for example, surely knowing all this helps notice when someone's trying to pull the trick on you? As noted above, greater general prosperity would help a lot, but is not foolproof, is already being worked on, and perhaps most importantly, current iteration of the fanaticism pandemic seems to be evolving to get around it - bin Laden came from a very privileged background, and many people who have lived their entire lives in the West have gone to join Isis.

Comment: Re:Remeber (Score 1) 121

Of course, he was writing to kings, most of whom had an interest in keeping their country runnning for mutiple generations.

Except they didn't. Kings of old didn't give a shit about what happened to their countries after they died. Why would they had? They were divinely appointed to their office, so whatever happened as a result of said appointment wasn't really their problem. Peasant's starving because the king sold all of nation's wheat to fund a war waged for his ego? God's will.

And of course this is still the case with the modern aristocrats. Shut down the only factory in a city and kicked all the workers to the roadside? No problem, the Invisible Hand will sort the worthy from the undeserving. A homeless guy asks for money? Hell no, he's suffering penance for his sins - if he had some marketable skills or connections he'd be sleeping in a mansion. Roads crumbling from lack of repair? Invisible Hand must be getting ready to release a flying car. The planet getting warmer? No worries, the Invisible Hand will surely save such devoted servants! And figure out some way to kick that homeless man some more in the process for being economically worthless.

There comes a point of no return, when the damage already inflicted makes it impossible to rise funds to stop more from occurring. The question is, can this pathological secularized religion be removed from power before the damn cult dooms the entire country, and possibly whole West?

Comment: Re:More religious whackjobs (Score 1) 279


Citation? You aren't likely to find that as government PR spin but actions speak louder than words. So review native american treaties, the acquisition of Texas, the rest of the southwest, and California.

New mexico for instance was invaded, ownership by claim of might equals right was recognized by the US, the US purchased it for a song then didn't actually pay the bill to Mexico because the US was strong enough to get away with it.

Comment: Re:More religious whackjobs (Score 2) 279

"Natives as a group have the lowest standard of living in the state."

Like he said... "They are better off than anyone else in Polynesia, and have one of the highest standards of living in the world."

Just because it's a low standard by Hawaiian standards doesn't mean its a low standard with any reasonable perspective.

Comment: Re:More religious whackjobs (Score 1) 279

"The reason why these whackjobs's opinions matter is the US is an invading and occupying colonial power who has given the vote to illegal settlers and who has appropriated this Hawaiian land, manifest destiny and all. I get that all of the native American treaties are void and most of the US should be legally reverted to native control and the illegal settlers expelled; but natives don't have nukes or numbers only casinos at the whim of the occupying power."

Oh please. No human beings are the genuine natives of a single square inch of the planet and all of it has passed in possession from hand to hand. There isn't a single person within Hawaii who was there when it wasn't part of the US and they are all born US citizens. Along with all the other native americans. The treaties were nothing more than kindness to people with leaders too stupid to surrender before getting everyone they were responsible for protecting slaughtered.

A treaty is no different than any other contract, you break it when the benefits outweigh the consequences. It's no different than breaking a cell phone contract when the new offer outweighs the cancellation fee. I have native blood (Blackfoot, not Hawaiian) and I have friends who are full blooded and some of them refuse to take the money from those casinos. They don't feel they are entitled to any special treatment just because of the accident of birth.

Comment: Re:Innate Value (Score 1) 251

by shaitand (#49605943) Attached to: Bitcoin Is Disrupting the Argentine Economy
"That needs not be the case."

That's a common misunderstanding. It does need to be the case and has been mathematically proven that it needs to be the case. Bitcoin miners are performing work, specifically, they are validating transactions. If they were doing something else instead the blockchain wouldn't be guaranteed to be valid and bitcoin could be counterfeited.

Today bitcoin would be a perfect choice for exchanging value between two untrusting parties, even governments. You could have an entity set up a mining operation and control all mining of a bitcoin clone and then distribute based on some other work being performed but then you are back to trusting the entity doing the mining.

If you disagree and think the math is flawed you are welcome to dazzle us all and build the solution. People do things that aren't supposed to be possible every day.

Comment: Re:Can he win? (Score 1) 391

by ultranova (#49604627) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

Our country's finances have always been the fault of the congress and its creature, the Federal Reserve.

No. The fault lies with voters who want both low taxes for themselves and a high developmental level for their country. Infrastructure, whether social or physical, is expensive; if you don't pay it with taxes you'll end up paying in some other way, such as through ever-growing debt and its consequences, whatever those will eventually turn out to be.

The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work. -- Richard Bach, "Illusions"