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Comment: I don't like Wired (Score 1) 44 44

Am I the only person here who doesn't like Wired?

I remember back in the mid-to-late 90s when a friend had a subscription. It seemed like bunk to me--full-color glossy pages and a kind of self-congratulatory almost outside-in look at computers and geek culture. My friend (an artist and self-avowed geek) loved the magazine, while I (a programmer) just never got the appeal. I liked the programming magazines that gave code samples!

I can't say I've seen an issue of Wired in probably 10 years, but judging from the Wired blog sites like "GeekDad" it seems to me that it's still full-on geekporn rather than a real technical magazine. I'm quite sure that my experiences 15 years ago have biased me against Wired, but are my impressions at all correct?

Comment: Re:I hereby ascertain the bankruptcy of Greece. (Score 2) 1240 1240

I have a question for you. The few times I have been in Europe specifically for business, the businesspeople in Switzerland and Belgium who I met with spoke rather derisively of the "southern Europeans." Certainly from the comments on Slashdot today there seems to be a lot of anger and, from my perspective, prejudice (justified or not is another question) against the southern European countries. The southern European countries also seem to just be doing what they've always done.

So my question is--given this, why did banks lend so much to Greece? This seems to me as criminal as the subprime loans in the US.

Comment: Re:What they are cheering about? (Score 1) 1240 1240

I have nothing against the Greeks - I like them - they are kind, warm and similar to slavian people. But they need to learn that paying taxes is what makes you country function. They need to learn that if they are into some international community they can't lie about their finances to get a credit. And so on.

Slavian people? Are you referring to Slavs? The Greeks of today basically ARE Slavs (this is, of course, debatable), after the huge Slavic migrations during the late Byzantine and Islamic periods.

Comment: Re:Not a mistake (Score 1) 233 233

You're 100% correct, and I wrote poorly. We should belittle ISIS and their twisted beliefs.

What I was trying (again, poorly) to say was that we trivialize their beliefs at our own risk. President Obama saying pretty much "that's not true Islam" might make for a nice feel-good quote, but what's the point of the statement? Does he think ISIS is going to rethink their beliefs because a Christian from the US thinks they're interpreting the Qur'an wrong?

Comment: Re:Lawrence (Score 2) 233 233

You might try learning the difference between evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity. Nothing of what you said is a good generalization of evangelicals, which is why the fundamentalists don't like them much. Evangelicals are about the church (and especially the financial success of it), while fundies are often as you describe. It's fun to remind fundies that they are also, technically, evangelicals (an evangelical church is simply one that does not have an exclusive territory assigned, but must compete with other churches of the same faith for followers and tithes).

I disagree with everything you just wrote. There is a considerable overlap between fundamental and evangelical Christianity. No part of the definition of evangelical stresses that they are "about the church" or the "financial success" of the church. I think you are conflating evangelical with Pat Robertson / Jerry Falwell breed of televangelist?

It is not true that an evangelical is just a church that does not have an exclusive territory assigned...that's jut not it at all.

I don't really care to get into a pedantic argument over definitions of different Christians sects, but on quick google for "what is an evangelical" (there's of course the WIkipedia page too, with a bullet point definition, see, e.g., the rise of fundamentalism in evangelical Christianity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelicalism#Fundamentalism) comes up with plenty of pages, from the horses mouth so to speak, that talks about what it means to be evangelical.

Comment: Re:Lawrence (Score 3, Informative) 233 233

That is complete nonsense.
Everyone I'm aware about doing bible interpretations is fully aware about the fact that the bible was written by humans.
We all know Jesus was not "walking on water" as the amaraic phrase only means "to stroll at the beach".

With all due respect, "everyone you're aware of" does not constitute probably much but a tiny fraction of the diversity of religious belief in the world. Just google "Bible divinely inspired" or see the Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_inspiration or view a local evangelical or fundamentalist church service. Many Christians do believe that while the Bible was written by humans, it was divinely inspired and as such is the literal word of God.

This belief is even more universal in Islam, where there is much less of a history of critical or literary theory reading of the Qur'an. It's a tenet of faith that the Qur'an was "revealed" to Muhammad one revelation at a time. There is a concept of the "Umm al-Kitab" -- the mother book -- a sort of celestial ur-book of wisdom and religious teaching that sets there floating in the ether. The Qur'an is but a portion of the umm al-kitab that God chose to reveal to Muhammad.

Care to point some out? AFAIK the new testament has not much to say about sexuality.

Sure. Most are in the Pauline epistles (that's actually why I mentioned Paul in the section of mine you quoted), but they appear directly as quotes from Jesus too. Here are just a few:


http://www.biblestudytools.com/nkjv/matthew/passage/?q=matthew+5:27-28 -- Looking at a woman with lust is the same as adultery. (Matthew 5:27-28)

http://www.biblestudytools.com/nkjv/matthew/passage/?q=matthew+5:31-32 -- Divorce is as bad as adultery. (Matthew 5:31-32). (You can also get out of these two that adultery is bad)


http://www.biblestudytools.com/nkjv/1-corinthians/passage/?q=1-corinthians+5:1-5 -- Sexual immorality is a big deal. (1 Corinthians 5:1-5)

http://www.biblestudytools.com/nkjv/romans/passage/?q=romans+1:26-32 -- More on sexual immorality. Those practice such things (one of such things being ... well, read it and see!) are "deserving of death." (Romans 1:26-32)

You can find probably dozens more.

Comment: Re:Lawrence (Score 2, Insightful) 233 233

My understanding of ISIS (mostly from a Muslim Arab coworker, so of course my "expert" could be wrong) is that they're "religious" in the same way Scientology is: they have all the trappings of religion, but it's all quite contrived. They emphasize whatever parts of scripture helps their goals and ignore the rest in a very obvious and transparent way that fools almost no one. It's not that they're murdering "moderate Muslims" per se, they're simply murdering anyone who speaks up about how evil they are, or simply speaks against them, whether on religious grounds or any other grounds.

I would argue that that's true of all religions, and everybody. If you can show me an entirely internally consistent religion and a person who follows 100% of those teachings exactly, I would be shocked! Everybody emphasizes whatever part of the scripture they want and ignore other parts. Some conservative Christians glide past the "Do not judge" part and spend a lot of time focusing on sexual immorality! Some liberal Christians glide past the many parts of the new testament that deal with sexual immorality and spend a lot more time with the "do not judge" part! That's just religion for you. Remember, even a religion as seemingly peaceful as Buddhism had adherents who really perfected the modern concept of the suicide bomber.

Personally, I was offended when President Obama attempted to define what true Islam was, and who was a true Muslim and who was a faker. How colonialist of him to attempt to be the arbiter and definer of native religion!

There are many other places in the world where IMO the problem really is religious fundamentalism, but those guys aren't raising armies and conquering vast territory. Even in Afghanistan it's just one tribe after another, not a united fundamentalist army.

I think you're partially right and partially wrong. The issue is that Islam to a very large degree overlaps with parts of the world that have maintained pre-modern tribal ties to a degree that most of us in the east and west are no longer familiar with. Thus, in Afghanistan, it's not that the fundamentalists aren't united, but that many tribal coalitions have been unified through fundamentalist Islam.

I think it's a mistake to confuse the problem with fundamentalist Islam in other parts of the world and other cultures with ISIS and the Arabian Peninsula.

I don't. We could have a nearly infinite discussion about the history of Islam, the history of the Middle East, the rise of the West, and the economic and social morass of much of the Islamic world. We would actually probably end up agreeing about a lot of these things! Militant fundamentalism used to be a part of Christianity, but was stamped out a long time ago. Militant fundamentalism in Islam has yet to be eradicated. If you think the trappings of Caliphate, the revival of the 'Uthman dinar and other potent symbols of early Islam, and the persecution of historical enemies exist in a vacuum, I think you're very wrong.

Have you ever heard a evangelical Christian Bible study or lesson? It's interesting. They will focus to an incredible degree on each word of the verse they are studying. They will talk about the word in the original Greek (or Aramaic, etc.) and its connotations, how it compares to other Biblical accounts, etc. We're talking nitty gritty minutia and some interesting historical analysis. BUT, they also start with the inviolable precondition that the Bible is the literal word of God and divinely inspired. So, forget any line of reasoning like "Maybe Paul said XYZ because of his Jewish heritage and don't forget that the Roman governor had been stamping down on ABC, so if the early Christians wanted to avoid being persecuted, they had to act this way." The correct answer is always "Because God."

Same for ISIS. They are VERY grounded in history, but they are very one dimensional. Belittling (or disregarding the validity of) their beliefs is a huge mistake, however.


To Learn (Or Not Learn) JQuery 125 125

Nerval's Lobster writes: jQuery isn't without its controversies, and some developers distrust its use in larger projects because (some say) it ultimately leads to breakage-prone code that's harder to maintain. But given its prevalence, jQuery is probably essential to know, but what are the most important elements to learn in order to become adept-enough at it? Chaining commands, understanding when the document is finished loading (and how to write code that safely accesses elements only after said loading), and learning CSS selectors are all key. The harder part is picking up jQuery's quirks and tricks, of which there are many... but is it worth studying to the point where you know every possible eccentricity?

Comment: Re: In other words (Score 1) 305 305

So, because they said, "We're going to commit treason," before they did it makes it not treason? Sorry, but allowing unilateral opt out of government by any individual or group makes government meaningless. So, saying, "You're not the boss of me!" first doesn't alleviate the charge of treason.

I've got to say, I hate the idea that if you join the US you, it's eternal on pain of death. I'm pretty much universally for the devolution of powers and rights to smaller political entity. Just look at countries ranked on the wellness and happiness scales. People have far greater trust in government institutions in smaller countries.

I believe states should be able to secede, regardless of reason. I'm not saying the southern secession followed a good protocol in deciding when to secede, but I think you would be very surprised if you actually read some of the history of how the transition took place. Think about everything that has to switch over. The federal government was far less monstrous 150 years ago, but courthouses, judges, tax officials, military installations, etc, all had a transition to go through. Many were very straightforward. Courthouse employees came to work one day as US employees, the next as Confederates. IMO, once the secession took place, the view of the north was the treason already occurred.

Short version: treason can be a justified rebellion if the state is committing crimes, it's just treason when done to continue committing crimes.

No, completely wrong. Treason can be justified IF YOU WIN, in which case, it's no longer treason.

Comment: Re: In other words (Score 1) 305 305

Why do you assume that just because I did a poor job at imitating a Southern accent that it was "ebonics?" Frankly, I was trying to use the character Huckleberry Finn's dad as a reference, and apparently mixed things up *shrug*.

That's why I was confused! Perhaps you have never actually talked to someone who has a southern accent?

And why would making fun of someone crying that one state government won't be flying the symbol of those who committed treason in defense of chattel slavery cause you to support said crybaby? I, personally, think that the retailers have gone overboard. I would love for every ignorant f*ck who thinks the South rebelled for any reason other than to maintain its "peculiar institution," and wants to support that banner of savage traitors, to wear it willingly. That way they'll have a nice, big, scarlet letter that will let everyone else know that they're somewhere between ignorant fools and bigoted scum.

You know how you hate southerners and think southern culture is reprehensible? That's why. I don't support statehouses flying confederate flags, but I sure as crap support retailers, ebay sellers, etc, selling them. I remember being disgusted when I read about how Nazi memorabilia or historical items were banned from resale in Germany--history-avoiding pansies. Well, now here we are. In fact we're worse--you can still buy Nazi gear, but mention of a confederate flag is verboten!

History is written by the victors. We know who the victors in the civil war were. By the time of the civil war war, every one of my ancestors had been in the US for at least one generation. I'm fortunate enough to have the diary one of ancestor who participated in Sherman's march to the sea (he was from Ohio). Completely harrowing stuff. On another side, another ancestor fought for the south at Gettysburg (he was from the high mountains of VA/NC area). He lost six brothers in just two days at Gettysburg and was severely wounded. Interestingly enough, not a single ancestor I have tracked down who fought for the confederacy ever owned slaves (at least that I can tell). Most of them are from the mountains, where slavery was never as big. Slavery was the raison d'etre of the civil war for elite on both sides. That's not why the commoners fight. Commoners never fight for the real reason a war is being fought (or rarely, at least), they fight because they are whipped up into some kind of group-fervor. It's clear that even today the northern/southern culture divide exists and is pretty damn pungent.

Comment: Re: Hawaii is not legally a part of the USA (Score 2) 305 305

That's a bad argument. The US says they annexed Hawaii and built military bases there. Nobody stopped them. Ergo, Hawaii is part of the US.

Russia says they annexed Crimea (with a popular vote even [allegedly]) and built military bases there (technically already had military bases there). Nobody stopped them. Ergo, the Crimea is part of Russia.

Actually, the Russian claim to the Crimea goes back far longer and probably has more substance.

Comment: Re: In other words (Score 1) 305 305

I don't understand why you're writing that in a pseudo-Ebonics dialect? Many of the dialectic features you've toss out there are really primary features of AAVE, not so much SVE (though there is of course overlap).

I've got to say, if your goal is to make Southerns--even those of us whose families are transplants, who don't fly the confederate flag, and who don't have an accent--want to stand up for southern culture--mission accomplished! And no, being a fan of southern culture does not mean you love slavery or hate black people.

Comment: Re:Shawshank Redemption (Score 3, Interesting) 80 80

The corruption and abuse in the prison system, and the collusion between the prison industry, the unions, and the police, to keep it going, does not need to be "exposed" because it is done openly, and generally with the support of the public. Any attempt to fix the prisons needs to start with a massive reduction in the number of people incarcerated. Per capita, America imprisons far more than other countries, and far more than even authoritarian countries such as China and Russia.

If you add the number of forced "stays" at mental health hospitals in other countries, the numbers are substantially equalized. This is, of course, damning on its own, as the US has defaulted to using prisons and jails to incarcerate the mentally ill. This is not ideal from a humane or a fiscal point of view.

Another counter argument is that crime rates have dramatically and universally fallen across the US during the same time period that rates of incarceration have risen.

Before election day, you will see ads, and receive mailers, from politicians promising to "get tough on crime", along with endorsements by the police chief, and the police union. Please vote for someone else.

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. Pretty much every organization, and certainly every union out there from the Piano Tuners 421 to the police, are going to endorse somebody. Having lived in Chicago--well-known as a union town--for several years in the 00's, and around the country, I don't recall anything like the level of organization you are claiming. I've certainly never received a mailer from a police union, nor do I think I've ever seen an ad run by the union.

There is very little future in being right when your boss is wrong.