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Comment: Re:Slippery slope (Score 1) 265 265

I'll tell you up-front that I do believe in a God and that this God is the uncaused cause that set everything else into motion. As this is a personal belief, it won't have much to do with my response to you, but I thought I'd mention it to add some perspective. By "personal belief", I mean "go form your own". I for one cannot stand the mindless group-think experience of most churches I've visited and the "security" of being surrounded by the like-minded is worthless. I think Big Questions like "is there a God?" are things you have to decide for yourself.

OK. I find the belief in unfounded god/s is one of the leading causes of murder, rape and mutilation etc throughout history. It has also repeatedly held humanity's progress back and tend to be non-democratic and unreasonable in nature having no place in schools or modern life in general.

The massive mainstream religions have become like a corrupt government. They served a purpose and provided people something they felt they needed, but various control freaks long ago realized they can also be used to control people. Like Jim Marrs says, religion and the monetary system are the two major methods of controlling people. This doesn't mean that currency of some kind has no legitimate use (barter has lots of problems) and it likewise doesn't mean that religion can only control people.

I mean, I've read the Bible. I'm not an expert, but I can say that I'm well familiar with it, specifically the words of Jesus Christ. When I read the words attributed to him, I see exhortations to be humble, to love your neighbor as you love yourself, the importance of forgiveness, turn the other cheek, etc. I've read multiple translations and they all agree on this point. I just can't find any teaching of Jesus that can be construed as "murder, rape, torture, etc are all perfectly acceptable". Those calling themselves Christian and claiming to have read the same Bible should have observed the same.

I argue that if there was a god he/she/it would not need any believers nor would he need them to be offended to defend his/her/its name or honour.

The actual concern for this comes from the idea that the Creator wants to have a relationship with the created, rather than just watch us like an aquarium or snow globe. It's also believed that people have an inherent longing for such a connection and don't have a full life without it.

The perversion used to control people is this idea that you must behave a certain way and become a certain typecast sort of person or else you're faulty in some serious way. It's just a way to enforce conformity, not in a "top-down" way but in such a way that the conformists themselves would feel ashamed to appear otherwise.

I've also argued to more than one religious person, that I doubt a term like "god dammit" would actually offend any serious God-concept. It seems like a childish position to me, to envision God as some sort of scolding parent. I know human beings who wouldn't actually be offended by terms they dislike; why should Almighty God be more petty than they? It just makes no sense to me.

If I believe, wholly and deeply in divine pink unicorns a legislation demanding that others respect such an unfounded belief would be an insult.

If you also had multiple witnesses providing written accounts of this, and said unicorns performed what appeared to be miracles in front of large crowds, and many people found this convincing and credible, well then you might be onto something.

The very questioning of belief is repeatedly a cause to offend some. After all, the only unforgivable sin is to deny the holy spirit, should such a spirit exist in the unlikely event that spirits become factual.

My own concept of God includes a desire for us to question everything worthwhile, and this certainly qualifies. Einstein said "the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible". I personally wouldn't want to create mindless robots with no sense of awe or mystery, no genuinely satisfying curiosity; they would never reach their full potential. If I can see what would be direly wrong with that, I assume a being infinitely more advanced than myself can also see this.

If by "unforgivable sin" you refer to Mark 3:22-30 and Matthew 12:31-32, this refers to permanently rejecting the Holy Spirit. In the context of Mark 3:22-30 the Pharisees tried to falsely attribute Jesus's powers to Satan ("ruler of the demons"). This represents a conscious rejection, a misunderstanding so profound that its bearer actively resists truth, even when it happens in front of them. It's the idea of someone seeing an act of God and calling it evil. In many matters not involving religion, this is how psychotic people operate: they've convinced themselves that the wrong thing to do is expedient, justified, expected, etc and therefore good ("greater good" is a common one).

Like Bill Hicks mentioned, I personally suspect that we are God's way of experiencing Itself subjectively. That would make questioning, reasoning, and personal refinement all the more important.

Not exactly a front-page story anymore, but when I read your post, it got me thinking.

Comment: Re:Mixture (Score 1, Insightful) 312 312

What, like the CIA and other government agencies do.....Train, Fund and supply "freedom fighters" who become next years terrorists.

The USA has had a LONG history of doing this.

Yes but the mass media conveniently keeps forgetting to mention this. That's ... strange, because one would think such an important part of understanding the Middle East would be newsworthy. Since the corporate media considers this subject taboo, it's known only to those who had the curiosity, initiative, and appreciation of truth to perform their own research.

Youtube

Ghost Towns Is the First 8K Video Posted To YouTube -- But Can You Watch It? 181 181

Iddo Genuth writes: 4K videos and movies are still far from common and now 8K seems to start making its appearance online. A few days ago, what might be the first 8K video entitled "Ghost Towns" was published on Youtube and you can now watch it for yourself in its full 7680 × 4320 pixel glory — that is if you happen to have access to a 8K display (or projector).

The video was created by cinematographer Luke Neumann who used a 6K EPIC DRAGON camera using some advanced and complex techniques such as shooting in portrait orientation and then stitched the video together in Adobe After Effects. Some shots simply scaled up by 125% from 6.1K to meet the 7.6K standard and handheld stuff was 6K scaled up by 125% and sharpened up.

Youtube is now offering an 8K option and according to Google: "8K video has been supported since 2010, but that labeling for 8K video (the 4320p/8K quality setting like pictured above) was added "earlier this year — but presumably there was noting to view — until now...
Classic Games (Games)

1-Pixel Pac-Man 41 41

szczys writes: Retro games just aren't the same since the display technology resolution has exploded. I went the opposite direction and chose a display with less resolution than the original. This reinvention of Pac-Man uses a 32x32 RGB LED module which are made for LED billboards. This makes the player just one pixel. Add in an Atari joystick and we have a winner.This is a great programming challenge. If you've never looked at Pac-Man AI before, it's fascinating and worth your time!
China

China Unveils World's First Facial Recognition ATM 129 129

An anonymous reader links to an article at IB Times according to which: China has unveiled the world's first facial recognition ATM, which will not allow users to withdraw cash unless their face matches their IDs. The machine was created by Tsinghua University and Hangzhou-based technology company Tzekwan. It has a camera installed in it that captures the facial features of the user then compares it with a database of identification photos.
Businesses

How Elon Musk's Growing Empire is Fueled By Government Subsidies 356 356

theodp writes: By the Los Angeles Times' reckoning, Elon Musk's Tesla Motors, SolarCity, and SpaceX together have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support. The figure compiled by The Times, explains reporter Jerry Hirsch, comprises a variety of government incentives, including grants, tax breaks, factory construction, discounted loans and environmental credits that Tesla can sell. It also includes tax credits and rebates to buyers of solar panels and electric cars. "He definitely goes where there is government money," said an equity research analyst. "Musk and his companies' investors enjoy most of the financial upside of the government support, while taxpayers shoulder the cost," Hirsch adds. "The payoff for the public would come in the form of major pollution reductions, but only if solar panels and electric cars break through as viable mass-market products. For now, both remain niche products for mostly well-heeled customers." And as Musk moves into a new industry — battery-based home energy storage — Hirsch notes Tesla has already secured a commitment of $126 million in California subsidies to companies developing energy storage technology.

Comment: Re:well that was sudden (Score 2) 206 206

That it got this far without being summarily rejected is problematic all by itself.

The FTC does not, and should not, do summary rejections. Even evil corporations have a right to due process.

In general I would agree with you, but not in this case. That they are natural monopolies would be grounds for a summary rejection. There's no reason that cannot be a special exception.

Chrome

New Chrome Extension Uses Sound To Share URLs Between Devices 77 77

itwbennett writes: Google Tone is an experimental feature that could be used to easily and instantly share browser pages, search results, videos and other pages among devices, according to Google Research. "The initial prototype used an efficient audio transmission scheme that sounded terrible, so we played it beyond the range of human hearing," researcher Alex Kauffmann and software engineer Boris Smus wrote in a post on the Google Research blog.
Encryption

Australian Law Could Criminalize the Teaching of Encryption 208 208

New submitter petherfile writes: According to Daniel Mathews, new laws passed in Australia (but not yet in effect) could criminalize the teaching of encryption. He explains how a ridiculously broad law could effectively make any encryption stronger than 512 bits criminal if your client is not Australian. He says, "In short, the DSGL casts an extremely wide net, potentially catching open source privacy software, information security research and education, and the entire computer security industry in its snare. Most ridiculous, though, are some badly flawed technicalities. As I have argued before, the specifications are so imprecise that they potentially include a little algorithm you learned at primary school called division. If so, then division has become a potential weapon, and your calculator (or smartphone, computer, or any electronic device) is a potential delivery system for it."
Microsoft

In-Database R Coming To SQL Server 2016 94 94

theodp writes: Wondering what kind of things Microsoft might do with its purchase of Revolution Analytics? Over at the Revolutions blog, David Smith announces that in-database R is coming to SQL Server 2016. "With this update," Smith writes, "data scientists will no longer need to extract data from SQL server via ODBC to analyze it with R. Instead, you will be able to take your R code to the data, where it will be run inside a sandbox process within SQL Server itself. This eliminates the time and storage required to move the data, and gives you all the power of R and CRAN packages to apply to your database." It'll no doubt intrigue Data Scientist types, but the devil's in the final details, which Microsoft was still cagey about when it talked-the-not-exactly-glitch-free-talk (starts @57:00) earlier this month at Ignite. So, brush up your R, kids, and you can see how Microsoft walks the in-database-walk when SQL Server 2016 public preview rolls out this summer.

Comment: On Individuality (Score 2) 42 42

What I observe with the majority of people: they are fully capable of being free-thinking individuals, but the main way they use this capability is to follow the crowd.

With herd animals that are prey creatures (i.e. cattle, sheep) this makes sense in terms of survival. There is safety in numbers. Stray from the herd, and you get targeted by ever-present predators.

With humans, who are at the top of the food chain and generally have no natural predators, it's just a form of cowardice. I'm not sure the DNA of fruit flies is going to provide a satisfying explanation here, at least not one that can be extrapolated to include people, fascinating though it may be.

Stats

Interactive Map Exposes the World's Most Murderous Places 187 187

Lashdots writes with this selection from a Fast Company story: In 2012, 437,000 people were killed worldwide, yielding a global average murder rate of 6.2 per 100,000 inhabitants. A third of those homicides occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean, home to just 8% of the world's population. But data on violent death can be difficult to obtain, since governments are often reluctant to share their homicide statistics. What data is available is sometimes inconsistent and inconclusive. Adds Lashdots: To make this data clear and to better address the problem of global homicide, a new open-source visualization tool, the Homicide Monitor, tracks the total number of murders and murder rates per country, broken down by gender, age and, where the data is available, the type of weapon used, including firearms, sharp weapons, blunt weapons, poisoning, and others. For the most violent region in the world, the 40 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, you can also see statistics by state and city. That geographic specificity helps to underscore an important point about murders, says Robert Muggah, the research director and program coordinator for Citizen Security at the Rio de Janeiro-based Igarapé Institute, in the above-lined story: "In most cities, the vast majority of violence takes place on just a few street corners, at certain times of the day, and among specific people."

I'm all for computer dating, but I wouldn't want one to marry my sister.

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