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Comment: Re:maybe (Score 1) 496

The Nazis did many things but are known primarily for their most evil deeds - the terms "fascist" and "Nazi" have deep, profoundly negative connotations. Saying "the Israelis are like Nazis in this narrow sense" doesn't get you brownie points - you're still doing reductio ad hitlerum.

Hitler was also a vegetarian and antivivsectionist - should we thus compare PETA to Hitler? The Nazis were eugenists as was Margaret Sanger - should we thus compare Planned Parenthood to Nazis? The National Socialist Party was initially anti-big business and anti-capitalist - do we thus compare the Occupy Movement to Nazis? The Nazis wore armbands with a cross on it as does the Red Cross - are the Red Cross then Nazis? This can go on and on.

Being compared to Nazis, for better or worse, is shorthand for unmitigated evil. Feeling the need to compare the greatest victims of the Nazis to Nazis says something about you, not the Israelis.

Comment: Re:maybe (Score 1) 496

I singled out the Arabs simply because it's the same piece of land - they colonized an area they had no historic claim over and invented a religious rationale for it after the fact. They did this largely because the Jews were the main native group that resisted conversion to Islam - the Christian and Jewish converts came to be known as "Palestinians" while the Jews remained the Jews. And yes, I'm well versed in the relatively benign conversion pressures of the early Umayyad period but by the time of building of al-Aqsa, they were using more of the stick than the carrot.

The Hebrews did much the same thing a few thousand years earlier. At least the Jews and the Palestinians were essentially the same people - just with differing religions (Yawheh-ism vs Canaanite/El then, Rabbinical Judaism vs Islam now). The Umayyads were classic foreign invaders.

But getting back to main topic, it is grotesque to highlight a few areas where Israeli policy overlaps Nazi policy (Lebensraum vs Greater Israel) because it neglects the enormous differences (Israeli Arab citizenship, lack of gas chambers, etc.) and because the horror of the Holocaust is still within living memory of people living there. You can easily use non-Nazi comparisons or use non-comparative strong denunciations for violating expected social norms. That people choose not to do so is not "bravery" or speaking truth to power - it's Jew hatred.

I wouldn't use that analogy anymore than I would compare the Navajo to Andrew Jackson in their current dealings with the Hopi - I could conjure areas of overlap but the comparison is inapt and offensive.

Comment: Re:maybe (Score 1) 496

Again, this is simply a poisonous statement, designed to offend and ahistorical. You can easily compare them to any number of colonial powers (European, Turkic, Persian, Han, Malay, etc.). You could compare them to North Americans (who depopulated, unwittingly at first and then purposefully, nearly an entire continent). You could compare them to Iberians, who marginalized and/or decimated the native peoples of all of Central and South America.

You could even compare them to the Arabs, who built the Al-Aqsa Mosque right on top of the holiest site of Judaism, the Temple Mount, marginalized the remnant of Jews still living there and fabricated a mythic night journey that never happened in order to lay a religious claim to the city.

Colonizers do shitty things to the populations that are already there. Israelis are probably in the middle in terms of nastiness - not angels but certainly no worse than many others occurring right now. If you want to argue that Western nations shouldn't be funding them, or that as a democracy they should behave better, that's fine - but let's drop the Nazi comparisons. There's no comparison there.

Comment: Re:I know you're trying to be funny, but... (Score 5, Informative) 695

by brianerst (#47545139) Attached to: Linus Torvalds: "GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken"

To be fair, the tirade occurred on the Linux Kernel mailing list and was intra-kernel team bitching. This wasn't directed at the gcc devs personally - he was telling another kernel dev that the output of from his version of gcc was crap. It's a snapshot of a mailing list conversation, not an official statement.

His actual bug report was professional and courteous. He thanked the gcc devs for quickly coming up with a fix.

Comment: Re:maybe (Score 1) 496

Maybe you wouldn't be considered an anti-semite if you didn't compare Israelis to Nazis.

A comparison to South Africa or Rhodesia/Zimbabwe would be more apt - at least you've got some similarities (and some differences too - having a diaspora return to an ancestral homeland that still has a remnant of the original population is different than pure colonization). But nothing that is occurring in Israel/Palestine comes close to what the Nazi's did in a decade. It's a category error.

Comment: Need more thumbs (Score 1) 77

by brianerst (#47485235) Attached to: Wearable Robot Adds Two Fingers To Your Hand

That's interesting (if a little clumsy). I wonder if a different arrangement of digits would work better.

I'm thinking of placing an opposable thumb opposite the existing thumb (a mirror image of the existing thumb) and one on the base of the wrist pointing up which would curl up when the fingers curl down. Without modeling it, it would be hard to tell if the extra digits would get in the way too much, but they would greatly increase the ability to do certain types of grips.

(And why does Firefox seem to think opposable isn't a word?)

Comment: Re:The Gripping Hand? (Score 1) 77

by brianerst (#47485163) Attached to: Wearable Robot Adds Two Fingers To Your Hand

The GP was imprecise. The Gripping Hand of the Moties in the Niven/Pournelle CoDominium universe is a third arm/hand - it is used for strength and better grip. Two hands for detail/fine work, one for heavy lifting/gripping.

It's also used in the sense of a "third way" between two sides of an argument - "on the one hand, on the other hand and on the gripping hand". The gripping hand argument is supposed to be the strongest one and a way around the weakness of the core conflict.

Comment: Re:Probable cause (Score 1) 223

by brianerst (#47420359) Attached to: Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On

To be fair, at least one of the targets (Nihad Awad of CAIR) appears to have been targeted only during the period that his organization was labelled an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial. When the label was removed (by court order), the surveillance stopped. (This assumes that the data released by Greenwald is complete and the lack of surveillance after January 2008 is real.)

Awad has some questionable associations in his background but that alone shouldn't be cause to put him or anyone under surveillance.

Comment: Re: What's the big deal? (Score 1) 561

by brianerst (#47323831) Attached to: Match.com, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

Absolutely - I don't think they measure much else other than pattern matching and a specific subset of abstract reasoning. I think they're reasonably effective at measuring those skills and those skills are reasonably correlated to fitness to certain types of tasks. But that's true of any decently designed test - a test of leaping ability is useful to some degree for athletics but it'd be ridiculous to think it was the only or even the most important criteria.

Comment: Re: What's the big deal? (Score 1) 561

by brianerst (#47322355) Attached to: Match.com, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

There's some thought that assortative mating of 'geeks' is one cause of the rise in autism rates. High IQs tend to correlate with a better than average ability for pattern matching and focus. Combine two people with those abilities and maybe you get kids who are laser focused on patterns all the time.

It's an interesting theory (I'm the father of an autistic son so I do a lot of reading on the subject) but there's not much more than circumstantial evidence behind it. But probably as much as evidence as "the kid will be an asshole" theory...

Comment: Re:And not an EQ above 50 among them (Score 3, Interesting) 561

by brianerst (#47322151) Attached to: Match.com, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

If I had to guess, I'd say nearly all the Mensans I've ever bumped into have been liberal Democrats. The idea that "the sheeple" need to be lead by smart people who will make the best decisions for them is sort of endemic to that side of the aisle. Not that Republicans are anything to write home about, but the idea of "rule by smart people" is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the GOP...

The Democrats tend to draw the wonkiest of the wonks and the elite professional class into their orbit. Identify a problem (or "problem") in society and bring together a small group of experts who will make the best decision for each of the 330 million people living in the US is the operating assumption for them. The Mensans I've run into fit into that mindset pretty well.

It's only when you accept your own limitations and appreciate the different gifts that everybody has that you realize that no group of people, no matter how intelligent and well meaning, can possibly understand, let alone fulfill, the competing needs and desires of our diverse human family. Lay down some broadly accepted rules and provide a focused and best-in-class set of services, but otherwise, get out of the way.

Comment: And not an EQ above 50 among them (Score 1) 561

by brianerst (#47322019) Attached to: Match.com, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

When I was eight, I thought that Mensa must be the coolest thing in the world - a Club for Geniuses! When I got a bit older, I ended up going to a few meetings (I had had a school administered IQ test done when I was skipping a grade and that was good enough for the local chapter). Between the painfully shy, the weirdos and the snobs, even my 12 year old self figured out this wasn't the club for me.

I had hopes that maybe it was just the local chapter that was nuts but every time I hear anything about Mensa, it generally confirms my original impression...

Comment: Better filters (Score 1) 69

I'd think one good use for such biological machines would be as super-filters - organs that could scrub the blood of excess cholesterol and other lipids as well as various toxins we haven't evolved to efficiently process.

I, for one, welcome our new bioprinted organs that keep my arteries clean as a whistle...

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