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Comment Re:Three Seashells (Score 1) 134

and basically all paper (it's just cheaper for paper).

A lot of the paper pulp is coming from tropical palm plantations; they are much quicker to yield than temperate forests. Paper pulp demand is still causing deforestation in tropical areas, just not so much in the US.

Comment Re:Programming (Score 1) 548

I'm sorry, I tried to read your post, and Culture20's post, with your reasoning in mind, but everything that was written reduced to "words", and then to letters, and then to dots on my display, all the same thing, no meaning remaining at all.

So I think I'll stay with "coding" and "programming" taken to mean making computers do things for us. Yes, "coding" applies to a markup language. "Programming" does not. From TFS: "Olga Khazan writes in The Atlantic that learning to program involves a lot of Googling, logic, and trial-and-error—but almost nothing beyond fourth-grade arithmetic."

Now. Let's say you are ejected from school on the first day of fifth grade. You passed 4th grade with flying colors, though. Now you are sent to a desert island with a computer. Alone. No network. No books. No communications. No reference materials on the computer. Just you, an abundance of tropical fruit and fish, your grass hut and a computer, let's say solar-powered. You are not going to be able to program it until, or unless, you figure out a great deal more than "fourth-grade arithmetic."

Programming. It actually means something more than piddling about with markup language and 4th grade math.

Comment Re:No Apple (Score 1) 98

The question is why people should care about Apple being in the consortium.

Sure. And people shouldn't care - unless they are heavy Apple users. For the typical person (meaning the 85%+ case), Apple support is immaterial, because they don't have an Apple platform.

If you're a content provider (like Youtube, Hulu, Netflix) then you'll target the biggest segments first, and that often means Apple comes up short, and late.

Comment 3D programming requirements (Score 1) 548

Linear algebra (matrices) and trig are essential for doing 3D graphics.

Trig is. Matrices aren't. Translation, rotation, scaling, texturing, light and shadow simulation -- all can be done without matrices. Matrices have nothing inherently linked to 3D about them. They are simply a neat way to concatenate operations and/or factors that can be, but don't have to be, used.

Comment Life (Score 1) 424

There is this little thing called "life". I know, its going out of style what with cyborgs taking over the world any day now or something, but in the meantime we have these inconvenient biological chauvinists who feel they are entitled to "life" including things like, oh, I don't know, a viable family where "viable" includes replacement reproduction that they can afford. Replacement reproduction now costs so much (including an education to keep the next generation in the disappearing "middle" class) that there is emerging an elite in the upper east side of Manhattan who flaunt their wealth by having almost as many children as did the parents of the Boomers.

Disgusting, I know, that people who build the foundations of technological civilization might feel entitled to replace themselves in the next generation -- but there you have it.

Comment Re:No Apple (Score 1) 98

I didn't realize the plan was to sell the video codecs. I though the consortium was putting together an open-standard video codec and then including it - gratis - in a multitude of platforms. That would assist those who create content (videos, specifically - not apps) to appeal to a very wide user base. But I guess if you want to talk about app purchases - something not at all related to the whole article - be my guest!

Comment Re: Sounds like (Score 1) 79

What your experience is like depends on which level of government you're working with. I had a business that had hundreds of municipal, county and state clients, and life was simple. You put in a bid at competitive price and when you won you signed a relatively straightforward, common sense contract Then in the post 9/11 era we started bidding on the bonanza of federal anti-bioterrorism projects and life got very complicated. The big consultancies we were competing with usually formed wholly owned subsidiaries so as to contain the arcane bookkeeping requirements. In a nutshell anyone can bid on contracts at the state level and below, but to bid on federal contracts you really need to specialize in that.

Oh, and there's a big difference between states too. Insofar as state or local governments work at all, its because there are good people in them that have to take a lot of shit from the public and from their deadwood colleagues; but generally places where the public is the most cynical have the most deadwood It's a chicken-or-egg thing. If public employees are

It helps to be connected anywhere of course, although ideally that shouldn't matter. It also helps anywhere to be personable, attractive (especially for women), and to like golf. We hired an engineer who was probably the second worst engineer we ever hired, but he played golf and liked to go out with the clients for a drink after work. Best. Hire. Ever.

Comment Re:Another possibility (Score 1) 611

There are some possibilities that you missed. This one, for example:

* God is a good experimentalist, and like all good experimentalists, he rarely intervenes with the way things play out in his creation/experimental system. He sits back and passively observes, for hundreds or thousands of years at a time, and Jesus is the product of "Ok, I'm tired of the dynamic that the most intelligent carbon units have gotten into; let's see what happens if I have one of them teach some ethical principles to the others."

I didn't miss it, because this is an inconsistent possibility (not that it is possible to come up with a coherent and consistent theory of God, but that's a REALLY long discussion) Let's see. How could God be a good experimentalist? Well we usually perform experiments to learn something where we don't know the outcome. But God is omniscient, and cannot NOT know the outcome (and remain God), at least not unless you want to become a Hindu monist pandeist and imagine Mahavishnu/Brahma splitting its omniscient universal self (Brahman) into all of the many sparks of life (Atman) that have forgotten the perfect knowledge of Brahman. However, this view is generally opposed by most Abrahamic theologists because it destroys the essential dualism required to have a God to worship who can punish and reward and make the whole system work (not to mention that it contradicts pretty much all of the sacred texts of the family of religions).

Now, God could also be an experimentalist by playing dice with the Universe -- just rolling out a big, unknown Universe with no idea how it will all come out, a big reality simulation, just to see what happens, and then he could sit there blaming the lifeforms that emerge for being precisely what the dice he used plus the ruleset he used produced and invent ANOTHER pair of realities, one in which those lifeforms can live forever being tortured by demonic merciless robots, one in which those lifeforms can all sit around and chant praises for eternity to make him feel Really Important. But I hope that we agree that this is a rather ugly picture of God as well.

Besides, you're contradicting a number of essential statements from the Gospels, notably John, and your comment stinks of the Arian heresy that was stamped out post Nicaea (with fire and steel). Jesus is the alpha and omega, dude, and was there at the beginning and will be there at the end. So God cannot decide to send us Jesus to teach us ethical principles because there is no real difference between Jesus and God. Jesus/God sent himself, as he knew he would at the beginning, to produce precisely the outcome he predestined at the end. If you are damned, you have no choice in the matter as you were damned from the beginning of time. Not that the Gospels are consistent on this point. But let's have a look:

Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
4:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

Mark 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

Matthew: 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

So, apparently, Jesus and God are different, Jesus is not God and doesn't even claim to be good! He deliberately teaches those predestined to be saved in parables so that ordinary people won't get it and WON'T be converted and saved. Thanks, Jesus! I'll adopt his methods in my physics class, I guess, and teach physics using metaphors instead of equations just so I can flunk all of the students I confuse. Hey, it's OK! It was predestined! But it is Matthew that directly contradicts your assertion. God has come up with a scheme that he hides from the wise and prudent and reveals only to the young who are stupid and foolish!

You might think about this (this is hardly the only time this is stated in the NT). Even at that time, Christianity made no real progress with people who weren't idiots, because even 2000 years ago, sensible people could recognize a charlatan when they saw one. Look earlier in this same chapter! Not even John the Baptist, who supposedly baptized Jesus to the accompaniment of many miracles, is certain Jesus is the messiah -- he doubts it from inside his prison cell as he supposedly awaits execution! But not to worry! Jesus proves it by rubbing spit in a blind man's eye:

Mark 8:23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.

or was it mud, made with spit?

John 9:6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
9:7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

This, apparently is a record of how Jesus cured things like blindness. With spit and dirt from the ground in a country where all non-foot transportation is provided by animals and where there is nothing like a sewer system or sanitation, dirt that has been urinated on and shat upon by animal and human alike since time immemorial. The mouth, you might recall, is literally the dirtiest part of the human body as far as dangerous bacteria are concerned. But not holy spit! That cures anything!

Interestingly, this story is in both a synoptic and in John. If you take the gospels seriously, that makes it rather more likely that this is an authentic account of how Jesus worked his magic in the crowd -- take the person out of town (away from the crowd), "heal them" with a show of traditional magic (because it certainly wasn't medicine) where only a few people could see, and then let the rumor spread. This is how he tried to convince John the Baptist that he really was the messiah over his apparent doubts. And since just a bit further down, he disparages John to the crowd and makes himself and his listeners out to be much greater (if they follow him) it doesn't take much imagination to think that just maybe he was trying to replace John and take over John's disciples and followers.

You can go to many third world countries and watch witch doctors work exactly this kind of "miracle" today. They even still frequently use, and used in the past, spit:

(see e.g. page 229). Holy spit isn't limited just to Jesus:

or even only to humans:

Holy Horse Spit! Or if you are willing to "believe", you can join a contemporary cult that uses this sort of technique:

Oh, wait, SGI doesn't do this. This was used as the archetype of cult fake medicine.

But I could do this all day. If you simply applied precisely the same common sense to Christianity and its scriptures and claims that you have absolutely no problem applying to Hinduism, Shamanism, the Great Spirit, Islam and Muhammed, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Heaven's Gate, and so on you would not conclude that sending Jesus to the Earth to model healing techniques based on rubbing muddy spit into the human eye is an ethically defensible practice for an omniscient omnibenevolent being. You would also just possibly have to face up to the true magnitude of the problem of theodicy.

Finally, Jesus is hardly the first, or the best, of humans who have supposedly taught ethical behavior to carbon life forms. The teachings of the New Testament, looked at objectively, fall far short of a perfect ethos for human existence, with or without the God component. And yes, I can quote the NT all day on the issue because, unlike most "believers", I've actually read the damned thing, multiple times, especially the Gospels. As well as a lot of the OT (I get bored too quickly to properly finish it). As well as the Quran, the Upanishads, the Puranas, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, the Book of Mormon. I would strongly recommend reading it, carefully, and asking yourself "is this the consistent record of anything LIKE perfection on earth?" Sure, Jesus has some decent ideas, although pretty much all of them are not unique to him and are common threads in the moral system of many religions or philosophies. But give him some credit. But don't blind your eye to the crap! Cursing a fig tree? Preaching in parables so many listeners will stay damned? Curing blindness with spit and mud? Telling his followers they have to hate their parents and relatives and love only him or they cannot be saved? This stuff isn't even consistent with the half-assed "morality" of the ten commandments (some of which are OK, or would be if the prescription for breaking them weren't to be stoned to death by the tribe, and others of which are sheer nonsense)!


Comment Re:What About Nutrition? (Score 4, Interesting) 98

Except this very local, which is the whole point.

Except that's not the whole point of organic agriculture. Organic farming has a number of points, some of which are valid, some of which are not.

Now the locality issue has to do with the sustainability arguments of organic advocates, which I consider generally more plausible than their ideas about nutrition or toxins. Centralizing agriculture far away and transporting pesticides and fertilizers to that site and then transporting the produce, sometimes half-way across the globe, represents a huge waste of energy, with the pollution that goes along with that.

That said, growing crops indoors with electricity derived from, say, a coal-fired power plant is hardly "sustainable agriculture". If you're growing those crops with solar or wind power from your roof that's possibly a different story.

In any case I'd regard a food system that was more local than what we have in the US to be a good thing. However I don't think that an *entirely* local food system would be a good idea. Yes, local agriculture has sustained human populations for thousands of years, but for thousands of years local famines were common too. So why I purchase locally grown produce, including excellent pasture-raised pork and beef, when it is in season, I don't feel guilty about purchasing Californian or Chilean produce when local produce is out of season, although I'd welcome some kind of "green seal" of sustainability, which would not necessarily be as stringent as, or necessarily a subset of the requirements for the "organic" label.

Comment Re:Status was NOT divulged, only email identities (Score 1) 62

The newsletter is intended for people using its HIV and other sexual health services, and gives details of treatments and support.

This strongly implies there's some medical issue with all the recipients of this e-mail newsletter. After all, why would someone be subscribed to this who is not HIV positive or has some other affliction? And if you read the article, their full names were included in the list, as is common with e-mail. Frequent gaffe or not, this is a huge breach of privacy for those involved.

I'm curious... does anyone know if there a way to create a mailing list in Outlook (or whatever they used) such that it can ONLY be sent via BCC (at least without taking obvious steps)? If not, why in the world is that not a feature? If you're requiring an employee to manually choose the correct field (which typically isn't the default field) every time the mailer is sent out, then it's only a matter of time before they get it wrong, and the whole damned list gets sent to everyone. We see this blunder being made all the time. You'd think someone would have found a solution other than telling the operator "don't be an idiot", because *everyone* makes mistakes from time to time.

Comment Re:Marketplace Justice (Score 1) 87

I'm starting to believe that we should simply not allow any internet connected consumer device to be sold without the ability to automatically patch it's own software / firmware, and a clear commitment from the company up front as to how long they'll continue to support it. If a company is not willing to add that capability to the device, then it's not secure enough to be sending or receiving internet data. We don't let toy cars drive on the freeway. Maybe we should think of internet-enabled devices in the same way.

Maybe devices like Google's OnHub router are the way we need to go (ignoring who it's from for a moment). The device pings the mothership and automatically updates itself as needed. There's nothing all that difficult about auto-patching firmware if the devices is already internet enabled and has flash-able firmware. It's expecting too much of normal users to know which of a thousand models of hardware they have, and to know if they need to patch it because of a critical vulnerability. I mean, it's apparently too much for many supposed professional IT departments. How can we expect that of normal consumers?

I really wish the industry would get off its ass and start taking responsibility for things like this, but it's just not happening. It's more profitable to just throw some half-assed features on there and put the "watch from anywhere on the internet" bulletpoint on the box. Unfortunately, they're going to keep this sort of nonsense up until enough people start calling for legislation and regulation. Getting the government involved is always a mixed blessing.

The value of a program is proportional to the weight of its output.