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+ - God, Darwin and My College Biology Class

Submitted by (3830033) writes "David P. Barash, an evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology at the University of Washington, writes in the NYT that every year he gives his students The Talk, not as you might expect, about sex, but about evolution and religion, and how they get along and how they don’t. According to Barash many students worry about reconciling their beliefs with evolutionary science and just as many Americans don’t grasp the fact that evolution is not merely a “theory,” but the underpinning of all biological science, a substantial minority of his students are troubled to discover that their beliefs conflict with the course material. "There are a couple of ways to talk about evolution and religion, says Barash. "The least controversial is to suggest that they are in fact compatible. Stephen Jay Gould called them “nonoverlapping magisteria,” noma for short, with the former concerned with facts and the latter with values." But Barash says magisteria are not nearly as nonoverlapping as some of them might wish. "As evolutionary science has progressed, the available space for religious faith has narrowed: It has demolished two previously potent pillars of religious faith and undermined belief in an omnipotent and omni-benevolent God."

The twofold demolition begins by defeating what modern creationists call the argument from complexity — that just as the existence of a complex structure like a watch demands the existence of a watchmaker, the existence of complex organisms requires a supernatural creator. "Since Darwin, however, we have come to understand that an entirely natural and undirected process, namely random variation plus natural selection, contains all that is needed to generate extraordinary levels of non-randomness. Living things are indeed wonderfully complex, but altogether within the range of a statistically powerful, entirely mechanical phenomenon." Next to go is the illusion of centrality. "The most potent take-home message of evolution is the not-so-simple fact that, even though species are identifiable (just as individuals generally are), there is an underlying linkage among them — literally and phylogenetically, via traceable historical connectedness. Moreover, no literally supernatural trait has ever been found in Homo sapiens; we are perfectly good animals, natural as can be and indistinguishable from the rest of the living world at the level of structure as well as physiological mechanism." Finally there is a third consequence of evolutionary insights: a powerful critique of theodicy, the effort to reconcile belief in an omnipresent, omni-benevolent God with the fact of unmerited suffering. "But just a smidgen of biological insight makes it clear that, although the natural world can be marvelous, it is also filled with ethical horrors: predation, parasitism, fratricide, infanticide, disease, pain, old age and death — and that suffering (like joy) is built into the nature of things. The more we know of evolution, the more unavoidable is the conclusion that living things, including human beings, are produced by a natural, totally amoral process, with no indication of a benevolent, controlling creator."

Barash concludes The Talk by saying that, although they don’t have to discard their religion in order to inform themselves about biology (or even to pass his course), if they insist on retaining and respecting both, they will have to undertake some challenging mental gymnastic routines. "And while I respect their beliefs, the entire point of The Talk is to make clear that, at least for this biologist, it is no longer acceptable for science to be the one doing those routines.""

Comment: Available paper : no black hole but a pinch/bridge (Score 1) 356

by (#47991261) Attached to: Physicist Claims Black Holes Mathematically Don't Exist
Yes, I think we should pay more interest to the idea that black holes may exist like we portray them since the word came out:

Black holes do not exist
Jean-Pierre Petit

ABSTRACT We reconsider classical features of Schwarzschild and Kerr metrics, which are the fundamental basis of the black hole model, through new space and time coordinates which transform the object into a space bridge linking two folds of the [...]

Parer available for download

Comment: Other scientist to credit (Score 1) 2

by (#47984541) Attached to: Physicist Proves Mathematically Black Holes Don't Exist
There's not alone claiming that there's no need to imagine black holes, and that they don't exist like we portray them since the word came out:

Black holes do not exist
Jean-Pierre Petit

ABSTRACT We reconsider classical features of Schwarzschild and Kerr metrics, which are the fundamental basis of the black hole model, through new space and time coordinates which transform the object into a space bridge linking two folds of the [...]

Parer available for download

Comment: Evolution of my setup (Score 1) 286

by (#47943615) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: What's In Your Home Datacenter?

- 8 ports 10/100 switch.
- Big noisy custom DIY file server, wall mounted, 6 hard drives, 1.3To , some with redundancy.

- 16 ports 10/100/1000 switch
- Compact silent low power NAS, 2 drives, 2 To, one logical drive is with redundancy, the other is for big files with no redundancy.

Comment: Why I wired Ethernet in most rooms (and no WiFi) (Score 1) 286

by (#47943561) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: What's In Your Home Datacenter?

First why I decided to not use WiFi at home:

1- Security concerns: I didn't want to invest so much time to learn how to secure my WiFi. It was 10 years ago, home equipment wasn't safe, and I had to learn from scratch.
2- Safety concerns: with baby and/or young children I felt I would rather not add RF generator inside my home. I know we are immersed in RF from everywhere, making some a few meters away is another level. I didn't want to add that. Just in case.
3- Network speed: 10 years ago, Ethernet was much faster than WiFi
4- Reinforced concrete could make dead spot in some rooms, what's the point of WiFi if I can't enjoy it everywhere or have issues?

Why I used Ethernet:

1- Rather easy wiring for my home configuration.
2- Fast and reliable
3- Security (neighborhood, not talking of Internet)

Why almost all rooms wired:

- Garage: my first noisy file server
- Two bedrooms out of three: Laptops / iMac
- Living room: gateway, main PC, printer, new file server, console, laptop, media player, guest laptop, ...
- Kitchen: laptop (after dinner)

+ - Satanists dramatize distribution of religious materials at schools

Submitted by tylikcat
tylikcat (1578365) writes "In response to a ruling allowing Christian groups to distribute bibles and other Christian oriented materials in schools, the Satanic Temple has decided to distributed their own The Satanic Children's Big Book of Activities. Let the games begin!

To be fair, the Satanic Temple is is forthright in stating that they would not have sought the right to distibute such materials on their own, but point out that most children will already be aware of Christianity, but this might be the first time they encounter to the practice of Satanism."

+ - A 16-Year-Old From India Built a Device to Convert Breath Into Speech->

Submitted by stephendavion
stephendavion (2872091) writes "A 16-year-old from India has designed a device that converts breath into speech. High-school student Arsh Shah Dilbagi invented TALK as a portable and affordable way to aid people suffering from ALS, locked-in syndrome, and anyone else speech-impaired or paralyzed. Prototyped using a basic $25 Arduino microcontroller, Dilbagi’s invention costs only $80, or about a hundred times less than the sort of Augmentative and Alternative Communication device used by Stephen Hawking. TALK works by translating breath into electric signals using a MEMS Microphone, an advanced form of listeningtech that uses a diaphragm etched directly onto a silicon microchip. The user is expected to be able to give two distinguishable exhales, varying in intensity or time, so that they can spell words out using Morse code."
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+ - Chinese City Sets Up "No Cell Phone" Pedestrian Lanes

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Chinese city of Chongqing has created a smartphone sidewalk lane, offering a path for those too caught up in messaging and tweeting to watch where they're going. “There are lots of elderly people and children in our street, and walking with your cell phone may cause unnecessary collisions here,” said Nong Cheng, a spokeswoman for the district’s property management company. However, she clarified that the initiative was meant to be a satirical way to highlight the dangers of texting and walking."

+ - European Space Agency picks site for first comet landing in November

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Europe's Rosetta mission, which aims to land on a comet later this year, has identified what it thinks is the safest place to touch down. From the article: "Scientists and engineers have spent weeks studying the 4km-wide "ice mountain" known as 67P, looking for a location they can place a small robot. They have chosen what they hope is a relatively smooth region on the smaller of the comet's two lobes. But the team is under no illusions as to how difficult the task will be. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, currently sweeping through space some 440 million km from Earth, is highly irregular in shape. Its surface terrain is marked by deep depressions and towering cliffs. Even the apparently flat surfaces contain potentially hazardous boulders and fractures. Avoiding all of these dangers will require a good slice of luck as well as careful planning."

+ - Ancient flying reptile was cross between a dragon and a pelican 1

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "An ancient flying reptile represents a cross between a dragon and a pelican. The front portion of the creature’s lower jaw had a deep, thin, crescent-shaped keel that may have been covered with keratin, akin to the beaks of modern birds. At the end of that bony keel, researchers noted a peculiar hook-shaped projection—a feature not seen in any other vertebrate, living or extinct—that might have served as an anchor for soft tissue. That distinctive bony projection suggests the creature's most distinct feature may have been a pelicanlike throat pouch that could hold fish gleaned from lakes and rivers. In a nod to flying creatures of our modern age, the new species has been dubbed Ikrandraco avatar—draco is Latin for “dragon,” and Ikran are the flying beasts depicted in the 2009 blockbuster Avatar. It’s difficult to estimate how much I. avatar weighed, the researchers say, but the fossils recovered so far hint that adults may have had a wingspan of about 1.5 meters."

+ - Why Munich will stick with Linux->

Submitted by Jason Hibbets
Jason Hibbets (2851661) writes ""There are many solved problems in open source. Groupware is not one of them," Georg Greve, co-founder and CEO of Kolab System starts off his post highlighting recent features of the latest release of the Kolab groupware project. He calls out a few newly elected politicans that don't like the current set-up, but says that thousands of users don't have the same experience. "In other words: The very problem used to criticise the LiMux desktop is already being solved.""
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+ - What Are the Most Confounding Features of Various Programming Languages?->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Every programming language has its own unique quirks, such as weird syntax, unusual functionality or non-standard implementations, things that can cause developers new to the language, or even seasoned pros, to scratch their heads in wonder (or throw their hands up in despair). ITworld's Phil Johnson has rounded up some of the WTFiest — from the + operator in JavaScript to the trigraphs in C and C++ and indentation level in Python. What programming language oddities cause you the most grief?"
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