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Comment: Re:OK, but... (Score 1) 89

by FalseModesty (#49262623) Attached to: Mike Godwin Interviewed

What do you mean "you should be able to explain"?

That's absurd. If you're talking to somebody who shares NONE of your cultural values, you can never convince them of anything. You have to start your argument from some point of agreement.

Hitler is used because he is the ONLY universally shared cultural value.

Comment: even Godwin misunderstood Godwin's Law (Score 1) 89

by FalseModesty (#49262607) Attached to: Mike Godwin Interviewed

Godwin's Law is true, but apparently even Godwin doesn't understand why.

People inevitably make Hitler comparisons because it's the only moral bedrock we have left. There is no other issue upon which we can all be expected to agree.

Here's how Internet discussions work:

I say "X is bad". Somebody disagrees, so I say "X is bad because Y is bad". Somebody says "but Y isn't bad", so I have to say "Y is bad because Z is bad". Given the vast diversity of the Internet, there's going to be somebody who says "but Z isn't bad". To make my argument I have to find some basic moral bedrock, a thing that is so bad that we can ALL agree it's bad. Hitler is the ONLY thing that fits that description, so eventually every discussion will get there. That's why Godwin's Law is true.

Godwin's Law is about the fact that humans don't agree about morality. No more, no less.

The Internet

Mike Godwin Interviewed 89

Posted by samzenpus
from the nationalsozialistische-deutsche-arbeiterpartei dept.
theshowmecanuck writes CBC Radio in Canada has just posted an interview with Mike Godwin, the originator of the famous Godwin's Law. Unbelievably it comes after a week where Canadian politicians started flinging the H word at each other. Part of the interview reads: "I really wanted people not to make silly or glib comparisons that really show no awareness of history... and I think that to that extent Godwin's Law has succeeded."
Idle

GIF Becomes Word of the Year 2012 315

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-other-arbitrary-news dept.
mikejuk writes "GIF started out as a humble acronym 25 years ago, entered common parlance as the format used for web graphics and now achieves fame as a verb by becoming Oxford Dictionaries USA Word of the Year 2012. GIF as a noun has always been an all-capital letter noun. Becoming a verb has caused problems concerning the use of capital and lower case letters. The common form is to keep the noun in caps and add the verbal endings in lower case — as in GIFed,GIFing), However, an all lower-case spelling with the f duplicated (giffed, giffing) is also being used."
Crime

Dutch Cold Case Murder Solved After 8000 People Gave Their DNA 513

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-me dept.
sciencewatcher writes "A 1999 cold case rape and murder in The Netherlands has been solved. Dutch police asked 8000+ men living within 5 kilometers of the crime scene to volunteer their DNA so that the murderer could be traced through (close or distant) family members sharing part of this DNA. As it turned out, the man now in custody turned in his own DNA, resulting in a 100% match. The request of the police was discussed here on Slashdot in September. The percentage of people participating was closing in on 90%; in the midsize town of the victim it was 96%."

Comment: failure (Score 1) 113

by FalseModesty (#41915491) Attached to: MIT Slows Down Speed of Light In New Game

This was a bad demonstration of relativistic effects. All it really does is demonstrate the Doppler effect, and it does that poorly. People are evidently not warm, because they do not glow when infrared light becomes visible. Chimneys do, but so do shadows under roofs.

The huge mushrooms emit what, gamma rays? They emit light that is visible even when enormously red-shifted.

There is no Sun or sky. No campfires. No warm machinery. No radios. No flowers with UV patterns. Nothing familiar that will illustrate something interesting about the Doppler shift and the world of invisible light.

It's a nifty idea, but finish it before releasing it.

Real Users find the one combination of bizarre input values that shuts down the system for days.

Working...