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Comment: Re: North Pole (Score 1) 464

by Pseudonym (#49748647) Attached to: The Brainteaser Elon Musk Asks New SpaceX Engineers

You cannot stand on the surface of the Earth at the North Pole, because it's underwater.

The correct answer... well, there are actually an infinite number of correct answers, but they're all within 1 + 1/2pi miles of the South Pole. You want a location such that walking West for one mile will take around a complete ring of latitude an integer number of times, then one mile north of there will do it. The most obvious one is the one where walking one mile will take you around the pole exactly once.

Comment: Re:A useful link for all of ya ... (Score 1) 1097

by Pseudonym (#49668961) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

So first you argue that Caliphates coexist with people ... now you'll argue that everyone doesn't coexist anyways.

I have no idea what you just said.

Whatever you're trying to argue, it hasn't contradicting my observation: The Muslim religion is objectively more compatible with violence and conquest than other ones.

A hundred former European colonies around the world would strongly dispute that.

Speaking of which ... which country inspired the creation of the word, "genocide"?

According to Wikipedia (which isn't the best source in the world), the word was coined by Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin in 1944.

Comment: Re:A useful link for all of ya ... (Score 1) 1097

by Pseudonym (#49661793) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

It is morally right to break the taboo based on the I am Spartacus principle alone combined with even the tiniest bit of respect for the principle of free speech. I'm sorry if you believe that free speech isn't worth fighting for, but I hope you can at least understand where we are coming from.

I do believe that free speech is worth fighting for. But I don't think that all speech is worth fighting for.

This taboo isn't dead; it's dormant. The religious commandments supporting it are still there in the hadith [...]

That's kind of irrelevant. Jewish and Christian taboos against lending money at interest are well and truly dead, despite the commandments supporting them still being very much there.

So, my question to you is simple: what is the criteria you use to determine which taboos of Islam must be respected by non-Muslims?

I'm going to leave aside the objection that there is such a monolithic entity as "taboos of Islam", on the grounds that I know what you meant.

To me, this isn't the interesting question. Taboos do not demand respect, people demand respect by virtue of being human. Given that I live in a multicultural society which contains a large number of ethnic groups each of which has its own cultural beliefs and practices, what is the best way to respect those people and simultaneously protect the rights and freedoms of everyone in that society?

A taboo against drawing some historical figure is, by itself, completely harmless. Moreover, it is a right that deserves to be protected; the government should not be in the business of mandating portraiture.

The point where it becomes harmful is the point where some in that community might seek to impose it on others. Up to that point, I would not go out of my way to break the taboo in their face. After that point, those who seek to impose the taboo on others, and only those people, deserve to be insulted.

So if you can find where the half-dozen-or-so people who hold the "behead those who insult Islam" signs at rallies (who seem to disproportionately attract TV cameras) live, I would be part of a "Draw the Prophet" event to be held outside their houses. I strongly believe in insult as a form of protest. It is a fine tool, not a blunt instrument to be wielded indiscriminately.

Did that help?

Incidentally, if you think that's weird, try this on for size. Here in Australia, there are some indigenous peoples who have a cultural taboo against depicting or naming people who have died. How do you "respect" that?

Well, one compromise that we have is that we run a content warning ahead of any TV show which is specifically targeted to Indigenous Australians. Does that seem so unreasonable?

Comment: Re:A useful link for all of ya ... (Score 1) 1097

by Pseudonym (#49644833) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

To wrap it all up a little tighter, then: the taboo of Muhammad not being drawn (in a neutral or positive manner) should be broken by anybody and everybody.

This is a genuine point of disagreement.

Anyone and everyone has (and should have) the right to break this taboo without fear of violent or legal reprisals. It does not follow that it's morally right to go out of your way to break the taboo.

The purpose of etiquette is to put other people at their ease. If you want people to feel uneasy, especially a sector of society which is already marginalised and (let's be honest here) oppressed, you should have a very good reason. "I think your cultural taboo is pointless and stupid" is not a good reason.

I've never drawn Mohammed for the simple reason that I've never had a reason to draw Mohammed. Drawing Mohammed takes effort, and I am lazy, and there is no issue that is both important enough to compel me to do it, and for which doing it would make anything better.

The vast majority of the people who would feel uneasy about it are not the people whom I want to feel uneasy. Most of my Muslim friends and colleagues are living in my country precisely because the regimes in their countries of birth are intolerable. Why the hell would I want to go out of my way to make them uncomfortable about living here? Because the culture in which they were born has a relatively harmless taboo?

In some cases, it would literally[1] be adding insult to injury.

No, you can count me out. I'm not going to spit in a billion faces just on the off chance I might hit the 10,000 or so that really need to be spit in. I'd like to think that we nerds can come up with something a bit more clever than that.

the phrase "neoconservative" originally referring to ex-liberals who broke with the left over the issue of confronting the USSR

If you've never seen the Adam Curtis documentary, The Power of Nightmares, I suggest you head over to the Internet Archive and watch it ASAP.

1. I get points for using "literally" correctly, right?

Comment: Re:A useful link for all of ya ... (Score 1) 1097

by Pseudonym (#49635985) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

Two of the 9/11 hijackers had PhDs from western institutions. The rest had all attended college and (IIRC) most had degrees. "Jihadi John", the ISIS guy who was personally cutting off the heads of aid workers, had a career in computer science. Osama bin Laden was a millionaire. The men in charge of Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi nightmare are extremely wealthy.

I am poor, and I would like to make fun of these rich fascist assholes.

I highly encourage you to make as much fun of all of these individuals. These individuals are obviously not the precise people we were talking about. Any Muslim that you are personally likely to meet is unlikely to be a rich sociopath (unless you have the bad luck to have one as your CEO).

But no, you say I shouldn't do so because these evil men and their beliefs are representative of all of the poor Muslims in the nation.

On the contrary, I say you should because these evil men and their beliefs are not representative of all the poor Muslims in the nation.

One thing that Osama bin Laden believed (or at least, something he claimed; he could very well have been lying) was that there was a grand apocalyptic war between the decadent West and Islam, and that every regional dispute which involved Muslims around the world was part of that.

I'm happy to make fun of these claims, even when they are echoed by paranoid non-Muslim people, such as the SIOA who organised this event. I'm also happy to make fun of powerful people who want to ban books or items of clothing, such as the guest of honour at this event. "Asshat" seems appropriate, and possibly even a little mild.

Comment: Re:A useful link for all of ya ... (Score 2) 1097

by Pseudonym (#49625233) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

They did not "coexist" with European monarchies. The Caliphates conquered as much of the area around them as they could, and it was the European countries that had the geography and political powers to resist conquest.

You made me spit my coffee, thanks.

Do you honestly think that the Caliphates were in any way different from European colonists? Do you honestly think that Persia left everyone alone for the 1500 years before Islam came along? Do you know about the Russo-Persian and Anglo-Persian wars, or the 1953 Iranian coup? Do you know anything about the history of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Algeria? What do you think caused the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan?

The history of Islam is war with non-Islam. There have been periods of peace ... but we're exiting that, right now.

The history of Islam is the history of everywhere else in the world.

Incidentally, you wrote this less than a week after the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Gallipoli, where the British Empire (Australians and New Zealanders commemorate the battle most closely) fought the Ottoman Empire, which was Germany's ally.

It is tragic how many people are killed each year by European Christian suicide bombers and terrorists.

The West prefers drone strikes these days. It's far less personal.

Still, I think the Religion of Peace is winning in bodycount.

Nobody has yet beaten the record of Mao's China, although Stalin's Russia came pretty close.

The world is no nursery. - Sigmund Freud