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Comment: Re:Freedom to discriminate == no protection ... (Score 1) 357

Yeah, I just *hate* haters, don't you? /irony.

You might want to review http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-...

But here's the key: When a Scientologist (or Muslim, or Christian, or yoga enthusiast) says it works for them, this is what they're talking about. The mythology isn't important -- if these rituals have saved your life and later on a teacher says, "Yeah, this technique works because of the ancient thetans that live in your *******," you're going to shrug and say, "Sure, sounds good." If you tell the lady in yoga class that the reason she feels better afterward is because negative spiritual energies tend to pool in the hip joints, you'll get the same reaction.

Then if you, as a cool, rational person, butt in and say, "Actually, yoga is just engaging the endonomic nervous system and reducing cortisol levels," all they're going to hear is you replacing a very easy-to-understand explanation with a very complicated one that sounds like gibberish. If you smirk and roll your eyes at these gullible lemmings, then go grab a mirror and smirk at yourself, partner, because you do it too.

You physically don't have room in your brain to keep track of how everything in your world works (****, you don't even really know how your brain works) so you can feel all superior to a Christian who doesn't believe in evolution, but somewhere there's an engineer who feels superior to you for not knowing how your iPhone works (and you know "endonomic nervous system" is just a nonsense phrase I made up, right?). The reality is that you don't know how your iPhone works because knowing that wouldn't change your day-to-day use of it at all. Likewise, thinking the Earth is only 6,000 years old doesn't make it any harder to have, say, a career-repairing air conditioner. But believing that self-discipline, patience, and hard work are sacred virtues from God definitely makes it easier.

And if you look hard enough, you'll see that this flaw -- favoring what works to the exclusion of everything else -- encompasses everybody. The compulsive liar got to be that way because it works. So did the bully, the racist, and the greedy bastard. And every single cult, hate group, or political party has figured out that you can ensnare people by gluing the weird parts onto a bunch of common sense axioms that nobody can disagree with.

Comment: Eventually, values will clash (Score 1) 357

At some point your freedoms will clash with my freedoms. Who wins then, Tim?

For every person demanding that kids be taught that homosexuality is normal and natural and thus should be accepted by all (as proved by its persistence throughout history despite brutal efforts to suppress it), I'd like to submit that we - using the same criteria - teach that murder, rape, and war are LIKEWISE "normal" and "natural".

Oh wait, one is obviously "good", the other obviously "bad"? Some people might assert that homosexuality is biologically deviant and phylogenically a waste of resources, while war culls the weak.

(I'll just point out that even composing this post and the examples above was an intellectually challenging exercise, but the moment we don't TRY to understand the viewpoint of our ideological opposite - who likely has the same moral stance, just a different set of facts/priorities/filters - our arguments are bankrupt.)

Personally, I believe that racists, and homophobes, and sexists should be allowed to just do what they want, and be who they are, as long as they don't actually harm anyone. If they want to refuse service in their business, that's a commercial decision they can make, and can cheerfully live with the consequences of that choice - I mean, it's not like the internet would make it simple for the world to be informed of these choices, and the marketplace - the true democracy, with people casting votes they actually care about with their $ - can vote on whether it's anathema or ok.

Comment: Perhaps that's not what they meant to prove? (Score 1) 145

by argStyopa (#49370289) Attached to: At the Track With Formula E, the First e-Racing Series

If the racing guys can't figure out how to give electric cars a reasonable range with their budgets and top-end engineering skills, then no, electric cars are NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME.

Besides, WTF is this:
"...Although power is limited to 150 kW during the race, three drivers are actually able to use 180 kW for up to five seconds. This is called the FanBoost, as fans vote online for their favorite drivers in the hours before the race. This extra slug of energy can come in handy to overtake or defend against a rival, although obviously it will drain the battery even faster than normal...."
This is absolutely idiotic. It would be like fans voting which batter can take an extra strike, or if a team gets an extra down in (American) football. Who comes up with this crap?

Comment: Climate never STOPS changing (Score 3, Interesting) 360

by argStyopa (#49366489) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient

Of COURSE it isn't sufficient.

When - ever - has an activist said "yeah, well, what's being done is pretty much good, yeah. I'm happy. I guess I don't have much to be upset about any more"?

Here's a hint: if there's one thing I can guarantee the climate won't do, is be static.

Comment: Re:welcome to home buying 101 (Score 1) 221

by argStyopa (#49356131) Attached to: Broadband ISP Betrayal Forces Homeowner To Sell New House

So much this.
If that single factor (be it "Xmbps broadband", or "no cat dander" or view of the fucking Eiffel tower) is the controlling factor of whether you can live in a house or not, then just put it in the closing documents as a contingency.

Done.

Not one line of new regulations or laws required.

Comment: Re:Bullying (Score 1) 640

by argStyopa (#49347529) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

"I've watched every episode of Top Gear since Clarkson joined the programme. I like him as a presenter. But I see him now for what he really is"

Seriously, I find Clarkson amusing, but if you are only just now figuring out that he's an arrogant, narcissistic prick, I'm not sure if you really even saw a single episode?

Comment: I don't buy it (Score 1) 69

by argStyopa (#49332569) Attached to: Jupiter Destroyed 'Super-Earths' In Our Early Solar System

This paper, and its conclusion seems remarkably premature.

The study starts with the assertion "The statistics of extrasolar planetary systems indicate that the default mode of planet formation generates planets with orbital periods shorter than 100 days and masses substantially exceeding that of the Earth. "

That's a pretty substantial, definitive statement right there. Yet, two of the very basic rules of statistical analysis are collection bias and contextual sample size.

In reverse order, then, first we're looking at a TEENY sample of systems, given the potential population. This is quite literally, taking a drop of water from the ocean and drawing massive, systemic conclusions therefrom. Now, one could even perhaps make such conclusions decisively from a small sample if one could be sure that one's sample was representative - leading to a Godel's Theorem sort of problem in which you can't know enough about your sample to be sure that it's representative without knowing more about the context, which implies a larger sample anyway. Our testing methods allow reasonably certain detection (of a minimum size, more on that later) to what, the nearest 40,000 stellar candidates? That's 4/100,000ths of 1%. Do we know that our system is 'typical'? Do we know our stellar neighborhood, the Orion arm, or even the Milky Way is 'typical'? Without knowing that, we can hardly be categorical that our pinprick of data is at all representative of everything else, even relatively nearby.

Second, and I believe more important, is selection bias. We have a number of different methods to detect planets today, but I think it's relatively accepted that we're still in the very early stages, where our methods are - at best - looking through a glass darkly. If your methods can only detect relatively major stellar motions (requiring massive perturbing bodies) or gross dips in luminosity (consequential of substantial occlusion taking place) then logically all the samples you'll get are large. It's like casting a 1" crid net into the ocean, and concluding that none of the fish out there are less than 1" long

Comment: Finnish is a very difficult language (Score 1) 103

by argStyopa (#49323067) Attached to: Finland To Fly "Open Skies" Surveillance Flight Over Russia

"During the flight that will be conducted along the mutually agreed route, Russian specialists* on board of the aircraft will ensure strict compliance with the agreed flight schedule and monitor the use of the equipment stipulated by the treaty."

*every time I read this, 'specialists' rhymes with schmostages.

Comment: Re:Too much focus on 'working life' (Score 1) 213

by argStyopa (#49322563) Attached to: Finland's Education System Supersedes "Subjects" With "Topics"

My education didn't fail me, I just don't live in a fantasy utopia.

I didn't say life was about MONEY, did I? Not at all.

I said life is about work:
- working to earn a living to have a home, food, clothing
- working to raise your kids
- working to keep your marriage together

If you assume you are somehow entitled to any of those things, without putting in a great deal of effort, you're a naive utopian who hasn't the faintest concept of the bloody, dirty, gritty underpinnings of the blithely thoughtless life you apparently drift through.

Life is rich and wonderful, moreso when you understand how much it took to earn the peaceful, safe, stable world most of us enjoy.

Comment: "all the FUD that's fit to print" (Score 2) 92

BoAS has been crying that the world is in *imminent* danger of destruction since at least the 1970s. At a certain point, even they have to question their own credibility insisting that the sky will be falling 'any moment now'.

Look at their logo for the doomsday clock, for pete's sake: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... it implies there is no conceivable reading in which we're not in immediate, constant danger.

This is PRECISELY the sort of crap that has led to much of the public disregarding "science" as a thing that can speak to many issues in our daily life - the BoAS may be staffed by nominal scientists, but they're otherwise pretty much typical, naive, left-wing academics trying desperately to parlay their "sciency" credentials into credibility in foreign policy and geopolitics.

Would you read a periodical on Particle Physics written by Michelle Bachman, Henry Kissinger, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi? Maybe for the laughs, I admit.
Then why would anyone give any more credence to a political pamphlet published by scientists?

Comment: Re:Too much focus on 'working life' (Score 1) 213

by argStyopa (#49319667) Attached to: Finland's Education System Supersedes "Subjects" With "Topics"

I've heard this before, and it's kind of a load of bollocks. "Oh noes! The 'system' is indoctrinating people to be workers in their patriarchy!"

First, I'm not sure what's wrong with that. Contrary to millenialist fantasies, life is about work (even communists are too pragmatic to believe otherwise). You work the bulk of your adult life in an office, or a shop, or a factory, as a surrogate for roaming the woods fighting bears for food. It's simple. If you don't work, someone else has to gather food for you. Even "the rich" who don't apparently work, somewhere back in their history (or their family's) is someone who worked their ASS off to ensure their descendants could take it easier. So I honestly don't see the problem with a higher-educational system focused on providing absolutely needed work-focused skills, especially when our primary/secondary education seems to be more focused on self-esteem than fundamental knowledge.

We could, of course, always go BACK to the system where college was a luxury enjoyed by the wealthy and/or extremely talented. In that case, sure college could just be about teaching kids how to be better humans. (When you're spending tax dollars to make sure that nearly every Mary and John go to college, the public has a right to insist that there be measurable value/skills delivered for their funding.) The public tax rolls are not there to ensure that poor people get a better life, sorry. That's really one of the basic reasons why you should be working hard NOT TO BE POOR.

Comment: Re:backstory (Score 1) 334

And you're absolutely correct.
I went back to the book I read that in, and I misunderstood Nixon's role.
However, it doesn't materially change my point that Nixon witnessed the courts siding strongly in favor of the confidentiality of the president and his files, which later turned out to be not quite so when HE wanted to be.

To downgrade the human mind is bad theology. - C. K. Chesterton

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