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Comment: Re:Anti-math and anti-science ... (Score 1) 503

by Bruce Perens (#47930331) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Hm. The covenant of Noah is about two paragraphs before this part (King James Version) which is used for various justifications of slavery and discrimination against all sorts of people because they are said to bear the Curse of Ham. If folks wanted to use the Bible to justify anything ISIS says is justified by God's words in the Koran, they could easily do so.

18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Comment: Re:Simple set of pipelined utilties! (Score 1) 238

by hey! (#47930309) Attached to: Torvalds: No Opinion On Systemd

I don't think people understand the Unix philosophy. They think it's about limiting yourself to pipelines, but it's not. It's about writing simple robust programs that interact through a common, relatively high level interface, such as a pipeline. But that interface doesn't have to be a pipeline. It could be HTTP Requests and Responses.

The idea of increasing concurrency in a web application through small, asynchronous event handlers has a distinctly Unix flavor. After all the event handlers tend to run top to bottom and typically produce an output stream from an input stream (although it may simply modify one or the other or do something orthogonal to either like logging). The use of a standardized, high level interface allows you to keep the modules weakly coupled, and that's the real point of the Unix philosophy.

Comment: Re:US is next? (Score 1) 503

by mr_mischief (#47929143) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Unfortunately many people have never learned to deal with cognitive dissonance very well. There have been great scientists who believed one thing as religious truth and who supported the objective evidence within a scientific model at the same time.

Allegory, fable, parable, subjective experience, and unobservable conjecture about spirits and deities is not anti-science or counter to science. The problem is when people try to conflate their by definition subjective, unobservable, untestable beliefs with what by definition must be objective, observable, and testable.

Religion and theology are informed by a wholly different part of philosophy than is science. Science assumes an acceptance of objectivism, which is anathema to most religions (in fact any religion with a supernatural explanation for anything). It's no wonder they are incompatible.

If someone wants to have faith in something, I have no issue with that. If they want everything proven to them, I have no problem with that. If they want to separate one form the other, I even have no problem with that. If, however, they want to bash science because it's not in accords with their scary invisible, inaudible, uncommunicative, unobservable supreme being in another existence then they need to step back and consider that their religion is not at all even germane to the discussion of science.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 298

by squiggleslash (#47925799) Attached to: Say Goodbye To That Unwanted U2 Album

Wait, iPhones autoplay music? As in, not only did Apple push the unwanted album to phones, but they then set up the iPhone to play it at full blast whenever you were nearby, forcing you to listen to it?

If that's the case, then that has been left out of the widespread news coverage of the story, which has just concentrated on the "Being uploaded to phones that were set up to automatically download new purchases", which most of us consider a minor inconvenience, if that.

Comment: Re:Lucky them (Score 1) 154

by squiggleslash (#47925323) Attached to: Court Rules the "Google" Trademark Isn't Generic

The results I get seem to be mostly people trying to come up with clever blog titles, not actually cases where someone innocently said "Well, I googled what you asked for, and Bing gave me over a gajillion results."

Indeed, I suspect there are multiple levels here. If someone tells me to "Go google something", I may use Bing in my quest to research whatever it is I've been asked to look up. OTOH, if I say "Well, I googled it, and found...", it'll generally be the case that I'm saying I actually used Google.

Comment: Re:If there was only one viable choice ... (Score 1) 154

by squiggleslash (#47925305) Attached to: Court Rules the "Google" Trademark Isn't Generic

Pro-tip, which I learned recently: Google has actually a hidden (well, obscure, it's there but there's no reason you'd think it does what it does) option that means "Just give me the results using the algorithms you used back when Google was useful." Search Tools -> (All Results) : Verbatim.

No, you can't make it a default. They track that you're probably male, probably interested in tech, and that you'd be a good person to present ads for spiked leather underpants to, but they don't track that you actually want useful search engine results. Sigh.

Comment: Re:Well, if you're going to push... (Score 1) 154

by squiggleslash (#47925247) Attached to: Court Rules the "Google" Trademark Isn't Generic

I'm in my forties, and I don't recall anyone ever using the term "Xerox". I've heard it used as an example of someone using a trademark generically, but not actually seen that occur in practice.

Same, BTW, goes for Kleenex. Everyone I know, since the dawn of time, has said "tissue".

Coke and Tylenol, yeah. But not Xerox or Kleenex.

Comment: Re:Not the only strategy (Score 1) 299

by larkost (#47922389) Attached to: New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance

The problem is that it is really easy to move "profit" from one place to another. A common ploy is to have one part of a company that is in a low-tax area to charge other parts of the company "licensing fees". In some cases this "licensing fee" means that the other parts of the company now make no profits.

If you try to tax revenues rather than profits, then you wind up really hurting (true) low-margin companies, and wind up under-charging (relatively) high-margin ones.

The best proposal I have seen yet is to tax companies on a percentage of the global profits based on the percentage of revenue earned in that tax district. However this would be really difficult to enforce in a reasonable way because 1) How do you audit all of the books in all of the countries to make sure they are not just hiding things? 2) It is still difficult to define profits, especially when you have multiple countries laws to deal with. 3) There is a major possible loophole in just moving all of the profits from one company to another using the same "licensing fee" trick, and having the licensing company have a presence only in a tax haven country.

Comment: Re:So, a design failure then. (Score 1) 152

by hey! (#47921919) Attached to: Developing the First Law of Robotics

It depends on your design goals.

In Asimov's story universe, the Three Laws are so deeply embedded in robotics technology they can't be circumvented by subsequent designers -- not without throwing out all subsequent robotics technology developments and starting over again from scratch. That's one heck of a tall order. Complaining about a corner case in which the system doesn't work as you'd like after they achieved that seems like nitpicking.

We do know that *more* sophisticated robots can designed make more subtle ethical systems -- which is another sign of a robust fundamental design. The simplistic ethics is what subsequent designers get when they get "for free" when they use an off-the-shelf positronic brain to control a welding robot or bread-slicing machine.

Think of the basic positronic brain design as a design framework. One of the hallmarks of a robust framework is that easy things are easy and hard things are possible. By simply using the positronic framework the designers of the bread slicing machine don't have to figure out all the ways the machine might slice a person's fingers off. The framework takes care of that for them.

New systems generate new problems.

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