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Comment: Re:Music (Score 2, Interesting) 89

by Kerrigann (#33472088) Attached to: 2010 May Be the First Year YouTube Turns a Profit

If there's an mp4 HD version of the video, and you dump (not re-encode) the AAC audio it can actually sound pretty good.

I'm assuming mp4 on youtube is always h.264/AAC, which it seems to be. Sometimes an flv video will also have AAC audio, but it's usually, like you said, compressed as hell.

Comment: Re:What about GNOME 3? (Score 1) 201

by Kerrigann (#33063222) Attached to: GNOME 3.0 Delayed Until March 2011

System Preferences -> Keyboard -> 'Keyboard' Tab -> 'Modifier Keys' button.

It's nice once you get used to it if you do unix-y things a lot, because ctrl-c, ctrl-z, ctrl-d do not conflict with copy paste undo, etc...

However, I understand completely why you wouldn't want to change from what you are used to. That tends to be Apple's thing, though: sacrifice customizability for the sake of usability. BUT, In this case, it IS very easy to change.

Comment: Re:Ordering and Convergence (Score 1) 981

by Kerrigann (#32728310) Attached to: The Tuesday Birthday Problem

It is apparently very difficult to talk about probability over a uniform distribution of an infinite space (link) so I'm not sure that what you're saying about a boy that likes the number 1835736583 would be true (see also xckd puzzle).

But yes, as N possibilities increases the probability seems to converge to 1/2, but it's hard to talk about if N is actually countably or uncountably infinite.

Sorry if you already know this or I grossly misunderstand something or are far more knowledgable than me on the subject (you probably are), I just thought it might be interesting if anyone hasn't read that article.

Caldera

Novell Wins vs. SCO 380

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-wait-a-minute dept.
Aim Here writes "According to Novell's website, and the Salt Lake Tribune, the jury in the SCO v. Novell trial has returned a verdict: Novell owns the Unix copyrights. This also means that SCO's case against IBM must surely collapse too, and likely the now bankrupt SCO group itself. It's taken 7 years, but the US court system has eventually done the right thing ..." No doubt this is the last we will ever hear of any of this.

Comment: Re:Gay rights are civil rights. (Score 1) 348

by Kerrigann (#31395188) Attached to: Xbox Live Now Allows Gender Expression

Okay, last one, I promise.

Hence, I am in full agreement that there is a clear biological component to sexuality.

Let me be clear, I acknowledge that the factors determining sexuality are probably more complicated than simple genetics, but the fact that sexuality is an immutable trait is not up for debate here. You're trying to argue the philosophical nature of being a turtle to an actual turtle.

But there is also a clear choice function in sexuality, as monogamy and even celibacy appear practicable in individuals who do experience biological drives to have sex. Not always with great success, of course! But the act is, if not really separable, at least a "separate event" from sexuality. Which leads to the recent official position of my particular faith ("it's okay to be gay if you never have gay sex") which, if someone were to say something similar to me regarding straight sex with my wife, I would laugh in their face. d^_^b

Even so, the emphasis on separability is a kind of clinging in the face of a materialistic (in the philosophical, rather than consumerist, sense) tidal wave. If homosexuality is an immutable trait, so must be heterosexuality, and bisexuality--and so might be any number of so-called paraphilias. Which I don't raise as some kind of bogeyman or parade of horribles (in my experience, the parade rarely arrives), but more to illustrate the reluctance of certain groups to accept the "genetic trait" argument. Genetic homosexuality is just one drop in a flood of mechanistic approaches to human behavior (genetic depression, genetic intelligence, genetic athletic ability...) that erode our ability to speak coherently about free will, which rests at the heart of not only many of our religious beliefs but also our criminal justice system and our own individual desire to be "free."

We're starting to get off track...

Do you think that your sexuality comes in to play when you kiss your wife goodnight? How about the crush you had on a little girl when you were 11? You're conflating the term "sexuality" with "having sex". You're, ahem, "chosen paraphilia" as you put it, pervades more of your life than maybe you realize. Did you have to sue the state government to go to the prom with who you wanted? Did you have Bill O'Reilly mouth off at your school for you and your girlfriend being nominated as cutest couple (with the balls to claim that it is because "sexuality" doesn't belong in high school)? Everyone *constantly* exerts their "sexuality" and doesn't even realize it. It blows peoples minds that you can be gay or lesbian without, gasp, actually having sex.

I *hate* the term sexuality. I wish there was another term that didn't have the word "sex" in it.

As far as the word "paraphilia" goes, the definition of paraphilia includes the precondition of being harmful. Apparently you're using it in a different way that includes heterosexuality? Unless you want to count your middle school heterosexual crush as paraphilia, please stop using the word that way. By the way, when you think "homosexuality" vs "heterosexuality" in the future, I want you to think of the earliest crush you had on a little girl, because that's the thing I think of, and they're both about that scary.

Because the prevailing zeitgeist is a small-l "liberal" tolerance of belief (or idea, or emotion), which we proudly and boldly distinguish from our intolerance of acts, no matter how inseparable they might seem to practitioners.

I'm lost now... small l liberals don't tolerate acts that violate the rights of others -- in fact they explicitly allow acts that do not violate the rights of others.

You're starting to get off on this tangent of free will vs genetics, and separating, uh, "belief" from acting on that "belief". See above, sexuality is more than actually having sex. It's pretty ridiculous to claim that someone should forego all romantic involvement and be alone their whole life simply because your religion says they shouldn't or because they lack the ability to breed. The responsibility is on you to show why it's harmful, not on me to prove it's not.

I think we are headed toward an eventual revolution of ideas on par with the Enlightenment, but more materialistic--I just hope that it is a revolution that favors liberty instead of one that discards it in favor of deterministic behavior-channeling. The "left wing" talks a mean streak about the liberty of (for example) homosexuals to marry, but also seems very eager to take away (for another example) a lot of my own liberty in the way I raise my children. These things get conflated in the minds of so-called conservatives, who take all of this together as an "attack on the family."

If "how you want to raise your children" refers to what I think it does, yes I believe you have the legal right to raise your children to think that homosexuality is wrong. No I don't think you have the legal right to demand that the state assist you in ensuring that they're never exposed to it.

Hah! No, I suppose not. Which is perhaps why samoanbiscuit invited me to join the real world and make a practical, instead of theoretical, argument for once. d^_^b I like to think that, if I just talk to them long enough, everyone will eventually see reason. I know from experience that this is not always the case. But I keep trying!

I might also hope to suggest that even many of my friends and family who make anti-gay-marriage arguments are not consequently homophobes (even if a few very much are). But politics abhors abstraction, and labels are very much in vogue, so perhaps this is just my lost cause du jour.

I don't think you're libertarian viewpoints make you homophobic, but as for your personal morals, I'd have to get to know you. Also, making the libertarian argument that marriage is not the responsibility of the government, or arguing that marriage benefits should be restructured around raising children is *light years* away from being "against gay marriage". There's a lot of connotation that goes along with the latter argument, whether you admit it or not.

Understandably so. Which in turn feeds the attitude that the first thing you have to do is assess motive--which (when I read that) struck me as simultaneously a bad way to start a conversation, and also probably a necessary one under the circumstances. :-/

It's difficult to have a calm conversation with someone who, politics aside, thinks the loving committed relationship with the person you want to spend the rest of your life with -- is an abomination unto the lord.

I'm very much willing to have high level legal and philosophical discussions on whether the state should or shouldn't be in the business of creating human relationship contracts, but when we venture off into moral discussions, you will find I am a bit more jaded. I've just had the conversation too many times.

I'm sorry if I react defensively, you seem like a nice enough person. Just please remember that behind this high level philosophical debate that you enjoy are actual people whose lives are much more difficult than they need to be.

Comment: Re:Gay rights are civil rights. (Score 1) 348

by Kerrigann (#31388124) Attached to: Xbox Live Now Allows Gender Expression

I know this conversation is a million years old now, but I'd like to say thanks again for being reasonable and civil, and, like samoanbiscuit said, not mentioning hitler, nazis, or satan even once! :)

I'd like to respond to some of the questions you had though...

I don't get automatic visitation and am not automatically able to make medical decisions for my partner if she is hospitalized.

In your state, is it possible to rectify this through a power of attorney or similar medical-related document?

I replied earlier with an (admittedly opinionated) story of how this often is far more difficult than it sounds or than it should be. Read about it here

If my spouse loses her job, we are put in federal income tax brackets as if we made twice as much as we actually do (even though I am providing for her).

This is interesting, and I'm not sure I understand it. My understanding of tax law is far from perfect, but as I understand it is possible to claim anyone you want as a dependent, so long as no one is claimed twice. Is that not operable here? Or is this something else?

Well, maybe... but it's not exactly the same. A married couple filing jointly get to take the married standard deduction (double the single SD), and pay taxes in brackets as if they were two individuals making the average of the two incomes (roughly). Say I made 80,000, and my wife lost her job and made 0 for the whole year (totally imaginary, I don't make that much :) If we were married, we'd have maybe $1,000 of income in the 25% tax bracket, while if we file separately, I get $40,000 dollars counted in the 25% tax bracket, if I'm doing the math correctly. Assuming head of household, I'd get a higher standard deduction, which I *think* equals the married filing jointly deduction once you add in the personal exemption for a dependent, but our income would get put in tax brackets like an individual, not a couple... so I think it works out that everything is the same, except $34,000 dollars gets taxed at 25%, instead of about $1,000 at 25%. My head hurts. The real solution is to structure tax law so that this works out the same either way, but that's not the way it works now. One of my very libertarian friends suggested abolishing the welfare system and implementing an equivalent negative income tax, which actually solves the whole marriage tax inequality problem nicely, but it is too early in the morning to argue the merits of that :)

In my state, it is illegal for us to adopt children.

Is it illegal for you to adopt children as an individual? (I recognize that this is an unattractive alternative to a committed couple, but I am not aware of any state where only married couples may legally adopt.)

Florida (the state I live in) prohibits single and joint gay adoption, as far as I know. It sucks. At least one of us could biologically have children, but I'm not sure if the other could adopt them. There's apparently a constitutional ruling on the 1977 law that's being appealed right now, so in the future, who knows...

It costs a great deal of money to put her on my company insurance plan, and everyone else at my company gets it for free.

Is this not something your company, or your insurance company, is willing to address? Or is it illegal for them to do so in your state? Do you feel that additional state intrusion is the best possible approach to this particular problem?

No, I don't think that state intrusion is the best approach, and of *course* it's not *illegal* for them to do so in Florida, but companies tend to follow the lead of the government. If there were no such thing as state sponsored marriage, then they'd have to come up with their own presumptively sane regulations governing insurance coverage, but since there is such a thing they just punt and refer to the state's definition for their guidelines... and thus I'm not counted. Some companies take it upon themselves to extend the state definition, but the eligibility requirements are all over the place. I'm not an expert on the topic though, because I was kinda lying... that was at my *last* job... in my current job, I was, ahem, "downgraded" to a contractor and thus have no company insurance :/

If we bought a house together, my spouse would have to pay inheritance taxes on the house in order to stay in it if I died.

Does your state not recognize joint tenancy with right of survivorship?

As far as I know, she'd have to pay taxes on the deed as a gift when the deed was modified for JTWROS (not necessary for married people). If we both signed the mortgage, then it might be different, but I'm not familiar with whether that's legal or possible (we don't own a house right now). Also, if she had bad credit, it might not be *possible* for her to be on the mortgage.

All in all, I'd actually prefer a system that was marriage neutral, but the reality of the situation today is that being "married but not married" in a culture where marriage is embedded so deeply in the culture is complicated. Even simple things like *renting a car* are a hassle when you have to argue with three different people so that you're not charged double what a heterosexual couple would be charged (sorry, off-topic, just annoyed because it happened to me recently)

Still, it's relevant and you were understandably annoyed. But again--is this really a problem for the government?

No, I don't think that the government should be in the business of controlling car rental rates, but they follow the lead of the government just like insurance companies when it comes to "spouses". Not always, mind you, but it's still unnecessarily difficult.

...assuming you're not gay, could you imagine having sex with another member of the same sex? That's how much of a choice it is. Now, if you believe that homosexuality is not congenitally determined... I'd say that's an axiom that we're probably not going to resolve here.

Right, well, not to mention that even if sexuality isn't congenitally determined, it may still not be much of a choice (due to environmental factors), in addition to the fact that whether it is a choice or not may not have any bearing on whether one has a "right" (e.g. religion is held to be a fundamental right in spite of the fact that it is clearly not congenitally determined).

I was purposefully skipping the complexity of when exactly GLBT traits are determined... as you know, it's... complex. This is a little off topic, but it may actually be very important in the upcoming legal debate on gay marriage whether or not being homosexual is congenitally determined or not. Whether or not a trait is "immutable" is used in the determination of whether or not a class is given strict or intermediate scrutiny vs simple rational basis scrutiny with regards to discrimination. Religion is given strict scrutiny because it is mentioned in the constitution. In comparison, sex, as a quasi-suspect classification is only given intermediate scrutiny. GLBT status will probably not get even intermediate scrutiny at the federal level any time in the near future.

Anyway, it sounds like your basic objection to my actual position (abolish state-sponsored marriage) is that it is too remote, not necessarily because it is too complicated (though it might be that) but because it is politically unlikely--while formal gay marriage is not only in striking distance but actually implemented in some places.

This I think is a coherent response. What troubles me is that it falls prey to the same band-aid-the-bullet-wound approach that is painting our political and economic landscape such a lovely shade of red.

Nevertheless, I've no real objections to your proposal. What pleases me more is that you recognize the existence of a need to discuss the matter. I have a lot of very intelligent friends and family who I doubt will ever see the issue as I see it. They aren't stupid or crazy, and they have reasons for believing as they do, and many of those reasons are completely rational.

Yes! That is very much what I was trying to say, but you said it much more coherently. I agree that, in the *grand* scheme of things, your way is ultimately better, but there is a *lot* that would have to change to make that system work. I honestly think the best way forward would be to nuke the "terminology" argument by making "civil union" the only legally defined status, and using the word "marriage" strictly in a religious/societal sense. Pass a law stating that all national/state/local references to marriage now refer to civil unions, and state that a civil union can be obtained by any two consenting adults. Then, set about dismantling the "civil union" concept until it is no longer necessary.

By the way, to put this whole terminology argument in perspective, remember that polls showed that only 34% of americans strongly favor homosexuals serving in the military, but 51% strongly favor gay men and lesbians serving in the military. Try selling the plan I mentioned to the average American, you'd be "making their marriage illegal"... Sigh.

Nevertheless, I've no real objections to your proposal. What pleases me more is that you recognize the existence of a need to discuss the matter. I have a lot of very intelligent friends and family who I doubt will ever see the issue as I see it. They aren't stupid or crazy, and they have reasons for believing as they do, and many of those reasons are completely rational.

I do think there is a lot to discuss on exactly *how* we make our laws non-discriminatory to GLBT people. I don't think there is a lot to discuss on *whether* we should make those laws non-discriminatory, but I think we're mostly in agreement here.

But I will never convince them of anything if they are constantly told that their views make them "homophobic" or "haters" or crazy or evil or stupid. I have convinced some of them that we should just abolish state-sponsored marriage altogether, but when they don't even feel free to express their views for fear of raging reprisal, it is hard to convince them of anything at all.

No, I don't think that any of the things you've stated make you homophobic or hateful, but you're not the average sort of person engaging in this debate :)

The first thing that everyone on, well, my side of the debate does is try to assess motive. We've all had discussions that start with "well, I just think it's a matter of definition" and end with "I pray you will one day end your sinful lifestyle" and "I won't let you around my children". I've had it happen to me, and it hurts. A lot of the people I know are, well, punch drunk from it. We also live in the bible belt south, though, so YMMV. Allow me to apologize for any of the knee jerk reactions you may have gotten from people on my side of the issue. It's easy for us all to get a little testy after a while ^_^

Anyway, thanks for being civil and understanding about everything. If more people discussed emotionally charged issues like this I think we'd all be a lot better off ^_^

Comment: Re:Gay rights are civil rights. (Score 1) 348

by Kerrigann (#31385388) Attached to: Xbox Live Now Allows Gender Expression

And finally, if the abolishment of state-sponsored marriage is equivalent to the adoption of state-sponsored gay marriage, are conservatives wrong when they say that same-sex marriage is in fact an attack on traditional marriage?

I was following your argument until this point.... buh?

Very dumb analogy: Suppose the government gave financial incentives for curling, but not ice skating. What everyone here is trying to show is that only one of:

1. neither should receive an incentive
2. all sports should receive incentives in a sport-neutral way
3. incentives should be predicated on another *unrelated* factor

is fair. Is this an "attack on curling"? That's an illogical and emotional argument... but maybe that's what you're trying to show? I'm honestly not following.

(Maybe I should have made a car analogy :)

Comment: Re:Gay rights are civil rights. (Score 1) 348

by Kerrigann (#31384976) Attached to: Xbox Live Now Allows Gender Expression

The rights and obligations incident to marriage are almost all available through other means--for example, a carefully drafted will, or a contractual relationship. Of course, that "almost" is a sticking point, and the comparative convenience is also something worth discussing.

But you're painting the picture as deliberately bleak. This is good rhetoric, I suppose, but if my statements were disingenuous for painting an unnecessarily rosy picture, yours fall prey to the same problem in reverse

Methinks you may have not tried it before.

Comment: Re:Gay rights are civil rights. (Score 2, Interesting) 348

by Kerrigann (#31384784) Attached to: Xbox Live Now Allows Gender Expression

First of all, let me state that I've read all your posts for this story, and you seem to make very cogent, logical arguments. Thank you. Even if I disagree with someone, hearing a well, thought out, rational argument is never a bad thing :)

I'm also coming in to the conversation pretty late, but I felt I had to respond to some of your suggestions because this actually affects me personally:

What you don't seem to realize is that everything you have argued that gay people should be allowed to have, they are allowed to have in virtually every state in the union.

Huh? I don't get automatic visitation and am not automatically able to make medical decisions for my partner if she is hospitalized. If my spouse loses her job, we are put in federal income tax brackets as if we made twice as much as we actually do (even though I am providing for her). In my state, it is illegal for us to adopt children. It costs a great deal of money to put her on my company insurance plan, and everyone else at my company gets it for free. If she had emigrated to the US from another country, my spouse would not automatically be eligible for citizenship. If we bought a house together, my spouse would have to pay inheritance taxes on the house in order to stay in it if I died.

Most of these things are true in most states, as far as I know.

That being said, I see where you are coming from with your suggestion that the government should get out of the business of marriage in general. I agree that, given enough time, you could dismantle the 1,138 federal laws referencing marriage and make sure that they applied in a marriage neutral way, or eliminate them altogether.

I'm also not necessarily against the idea that many of the rights given to married couples could be be predicated on actually raising children, but I would argue that this should apply to couples who raise adopted children also, including same sex couples who do so.

All in all, I'd actually prefer a system that was marriage neutral, but the reality of the situation today is that being "married but not married" in a culture where marriage is embedded so deeply in the culture is complicated. Even simple things like *renting a car* are a hassle when you have to argue with three different people so that you're not charged double what a heterosexual couple would be charged (sorry, off-topic, just annoyed because it happened to me recently)

Most people that I know that are a proponent of legalizing gay marriage are also not automatically against the idea of doing what you suggest, but just feel that it's the looong way around. How about a compromise? Legalize gay marriage now, *then* set about dismantling the national/state/local marriage system. (Hah! there's a suggestion that angers just about everyone!)

I'm also not necessarily against the benefits for polyamorous couples and other forms of marriage, but there's one point that needs to be made here.... Choosing to participate in a polyamorous marriage vs a two person marriage is very much a choice, whereas choosing to participate in a heterosexual vs homosexual marriage is very much *not*. I am aware this assumes some pretty modern, romantic, western values here where people are not forced into marriage for the mechanical act of child bearing, but still... assuming you're not gay, could you imagine having sex with another member of the same sex? That's how much of a choice it is.

Now, if you believe that homosexuality is not congenitally determined... I'd say that's an axiom that we're probably not going to resolve here.

Comment: Re:Right of free speech + right of association (Score 2, Interesting) 1070

by Kerrigann (#30851324) Attached to: Supreme Court Rolls Back Corporate Campaign Spending Limits

The debate is not so simple. Corporations aren't just groups; their members are shielded from liability for the corporations actions, so they don't make decisions like normal people do.

I think a lot of people would take issue with such a simple assertion that the constitution automatically grants natural rights to artificial entities.

The issue has been debated for forever, so I'm not going to replay it here. I just wanted to point out that it's not so simple.

Comment: Re:Who cares? (Score 1) 114

by Kerrigann (#30409560) Attached to: Is Earth's Atmosphere an Import?

You're right, of course. This is something I did know, but had a momentary lapse in thinking. Thank you for pointing it out.

That being said...

I understand completely, but it can get a little silly. If you're sitting on another planet, and that planet's moon eclipses the star, is it called a star eclipse? An extrasolar eclipse? If we send a rover to an exoplanet, will it be powered by star power, from star panels (As opposed to solar power, from solar panels?)

[Thousands of years in the future, in some planetary system, near an expoplanet...]

OMG, we're about to crash into a planet!

Uh, we're 20 light years from Sol, how can we crash into a ::CRASH::

Plus I always liked "planetary system" rather than "star system", since "Star system" carries a connotation of a star cluster.

Comment: Re:Who cares? (Score 5, Insightful) 114

by Kerrigann (#30408914) Attached to: Is Earth's Atmosphere an Import?

Maybe it would give us hints about what to look for in other solar systems when looking for rocky planets with similar atmospheres?

Maybe it would tell us something about whether or not our type of atmosphere is rare in the universe?

Who knows, it might be useful. It should be at least as useful as studying the mating habits of the short-tailed horned lizard, or a million other things scientists study.

To understand a program you must become both the machine and the program.

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