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Comment Re:The problem is people will comment on the bad. (Score 1) 132

I guess human nature varies. If I'm not 100% satisfied at a restaurant, I'll generally chalk it up to them having an off day. I might tell the proprietor, but I'm not gonna go rant on Yelp. If I have a really nice meal, I'll go give a good review. It's sort of the YMMV approach.

I'm generally not much for bad reviews, just as I very seldom mod any comments down. I'm a believer in the carrot over the stick.

Comment Re:Not bad in principle (Score 1) 132

Anger is a much more powerful motivator than being happy with something.

Speak for yourself. I'm much more motivated to leave positive reviews than negative ones.

And if someone is actually angry at a business for bad service or bad products, why shouldn't they be able to leave an angry review.

The way you overcome negative speech is with positive speech. So do the right thing and get good reviews.

All I'm saying is that there has to be a way to counterbalance human nature to give a somewhat fair and accurate picture.

Sure, you come up with a way to "counterbalance human nature" that doesn't favor people with the money to hire reputation managers.

These online fluffing services are going to do nothing but benefit those with money. They will absolutely, positively NOT give a fair and accurate picture of anything. They'll just allow people with resources to hide their misdeeds.

Comment Re:Not bad in principle (Score 5, Interesting) 132

Well, think of this example: you run a nice little restaurant in town. Along comes Yelp and Google reviews, so people can post reviews of your restaurant online. Some customers are just assholes, and you happen to get one who is completely unreasonable, says racist stuff to one of your staff, whatever. Anyway they go away angry and write a nasty and completely false review of your restaurant on Yelp.

One way you can deal with that is to make sure you have lots of positive reviews to drown out the nasty ones. And you get lots of positive reviews by doing positive things, like serving great food and having great service, not by hiring a bunch of people who have never been to your restaurant to write good reviews.

But you raise a good point.

Comment Re:Not bad in principle (Score 5, Insightful) 132

Yes. Quite a few of them actually. Reputation management is something we all do to some degree. I don't know how you would exist in a complex society without some amount of effort directed towards maintaining your reputation in the community.

Yes, but most of us do our "reputation management" by, you know, behaving properly rather than going around trying to erase any record of our misdeeds.

Reputation management, the way it's practiced by the "New Media Strategies" type of outfits, is basically organized lying.

Comment Re: Well, that's embarrassing (Score 1) 591

There are some problems with your Flavian theory.

There were certainly Christians in Rome by the time Tacitus was writing (probably the late 70's or 80s). Assigning blame to them may be more political than historical. Just a thought.

I'm not that heavily invested in whether or not Joseph Atwill's theories about Titus are true. I don't believe the historicity of the Christ really makes a difference to the value of Christian teachings. It's all a matter of faith, for those that have faith.

Comment Re:Well, that's embarrassing (Score 1) 591

Matthew's gospel was written in Hebrew.

No Hebrew manuscript of Matthew has ever been found. The claim that it was written in Hebrew comes from two fragments written by second century bishops, who also said that they had never seen a Hebrew manuscript.

In fact, there is enough linguistic agreement between the gospels that most historians (and linguists) believe that all four were written in Greek. The people who say Matthew was written in Hebrew (or Aramaic) are in every case proponents of the extraordinary claims of Christianity. It's like saying that you believe Obama was born in Kenya because some Fox News blonde said so.

Comment Re:I should have thought of that (Score 1) 234

My point is that if a bank is pointing towards a particular option it's because it's the one they are going to make the most money on

I know the arguments:

"Climate scientists are all getting paid billions by fat Al Gore"
"The media is in the tank for climate change because they want to destroy the economy"
"If climate change was real, then why was there so much snow last winter? Boom!"
"The numbers that Citi came up with for climate change cannot be trusted because they're all getting paid billions by fat Al Gore and they took a bailout in 2009"
"Insurance companies projections on climate change should be ignored because they're all being mind-controlled by the Marxist/Fascist Obama. And fat Al Gore (who owns his own fleet of jets piloted by John Travolta and leaves his air conditioner running 24/7, even in the winter)."

Am I missing any?

Banking is merely legalized theft.

That is partly true. But banking itself isn't legalized theft, but it is the way Citicorp does it. However, Citicorp is a huge conglomerate with shareholders and divisions and investments in lots of industries and probably stand to lose a lot more from climate change than they stand to gain.

And how exactly is slowing climate change supposed to mean staggering new profits for Citi? The entire carbon credit industry is projected to get as big as $30 billion. This is about half as much as Citi pays in fines every few years.

Comment Re:Well, that's embarrassing (Score 1) 591

Yet we have quite a lot written about some ancient carpenter

Even the historians who support a historical Jesus don't believe he was a carpenter. Just for the record.

The original Greek word used in the passage calling Jesus a carpenter is "tekton", which means "builder". Considering how few structures in that period were made of wood, it's far more likely that a historical Jesus, if he existed, was a stonemason.

Some historians believe the "builder" story was just cover for the political activities of Jesus. The way politicians put on work clothes and go clear brush to make people believe they're just regular folks. There's also a very good argument that the Jesus of the bible was actually royalty. From what I've read, the most compelling argument is that the stories of Jesus were actually allegory describing the campaigns of Titus Flavius. And since Josephus was a known traitor in collusion with the Romans, it would make sense that he was acting as a Titus Flavius' press agent and made up the story of Jesus out of whole cloth.

This does not diminish one bit the teachings presented in the gospels, and I have great respect for Christians. The Pauline books are a bunch of hokum in my opinion. Paul is the one who turned the Jesus story into a religion, and all of his personal kinks were carried along for the ride.

Comment Re:Well, that's embarrassing (Score 1) 591

Also, Josephus mentions Jesus in his historical texts.

Josephus was born after Jesus died. The historicity of his writings are suspect.

Also, the two (2) references to Jesus that Josephus makes were almost certainly scribal additions, added much later by someone who was not Josephus.

"Josephus was born after Jesus died, so in the most charitable interpretation, he is simply passing along second-hand information. More damning, scholars almost universally agree that this was not original to Josephus. He was a Jew, not a Christian, and this isn’t what he would’ve written. Also, the passage interrupts the flow of the book at this point (that is, the book would read better if this passage were removed), and it is briefer than similar summaries in the rest of the work. This is what you’d expect from a later addition.
From the Jewish standpoint, Josephus was a traitor. Formerly a Jewish commander, he defected to the Roman side during the First Jewish-Roman War in around 67, and his history was written in Rome. Jews had little interest in copying his works to keep them in circulation, and it was mostly Christians who copied them. They might have been motivated to “improve” Josephus.
The earliest copy of the Testimonium Flavianum is from Eusebius (324 CE or earlier). That it is traceable back to Eusebius raises concerns. He is not considered an especially reliable historian, and it’s possible that he added this paragraph.
The second passage is a bit long, so let me summarize. Ananus was named the new high priest. He was eager to establish his authority, and he sentenced a group of men to death, one of whom was James the brother of Jesus. There was an outcry against this execution (perhaps it was hasty or was built on insufficient evidence—the text isn’t specific), and concerned citizens petitioned the Roman procurator to rein in Ananus. The procurator agreed and removed Ananus from the high priesthood, “and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest.”
Let’s return to James, one of the unfortunates executed by stoning. The text says:
  [Ananus] assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others
While this doesn’t celebrate the miracles of Jesus, it does at least establish the existence of Jesus Christ in the first century, since the book was written in about 93 CE. However, David Fitzgerald (Nailed, p. 58–61) summarizes a Richard Carrier argument that makes an intriguing case that this isn’t what it seems to be.
The first problem is that this isn’t how other accounts describe the death of James the Just, the brother of Jesus Christ and first bishop of Jerusalem.
Next, notice the clumsy sentence structure:
“the brother of Jesus,
who was called the Christ,
whose name was James ”
rather than simply “the brother of Jesus, whose name was James.” Imagine if “who was called the Christ” was originally a marginal note in a copy that was merged into the manuscript by a later scribe. Scholars can point to many examples of these scribal insertions. In the form that we have it, it’s like a chatty email that drops “and then I saw Jesus” into a rather boring summary of a trip to the mall. Surely the reader of Josephus would say, “What?? Who cares about James? Go back and elaborate on that Christ bit!” This is what journalists call “burying the lead.”
The argument for that phrase being an addition goes from intriguing to convincing when we consider how the passage ends. Who replaced the hotheaded Ananus? It was “Jesus, the son of Damneus.” (Don’t forget that Jesus or Yeshua was a popular name at this time.)
Before, you had some random guy named James, highlighted for no reason from the list of those who were killed. But delete the “Christ” phrase as a later addition, and the story makes sense. Ananus the high priest irresponsibly kills some people, and he’s removed from office. The title is transferred to Jesus the son of Damneus, the brother of one of the men killed, as partial compensation for the wrongful death.
The most charitable interpretation of Josephus gives faint support for the Christian position—Josephus simply is passing along hearsay of supernatural events. We would give this the same credibility deserved by any ancient book with supernatural claims.
A critical review shows why both of these could be later additions, suggesting an original Josephus with no references to Jesus Christ. This is just educated guesswork, and scholars don’t argue this position with certainty, but dismissing it is a poor foundation on which to build any truth claims of Christianity."

Comment Early to bed... (Score 2) 82

Lack of sleep puts you at risk for just about everything in the way of illness.

Go to bed, people. Don't look at any screens for at least a half-hour before you hit the pillow and it will help you fall asleep.

Sleep is wonderful. Get 8-9 hours if you can. The longer you sleep the more you'll dream and dreams (even nightmares) are crucial for good mental and physical health. In fact, some of the best days I've ever had seemed to come after a night with one of those nightmares where you wake up shouting, jumping off the bed and grasping the covers.

Artificial lighting has screwed us up a bit. If I could, I'd go to bed a few hours after dark and wake up at dawn every day. I do it during the summer, but where I live it gets dark pretty early in the winter.

Many people are unenthusiastic about their work.