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Comment Re:Another possibility (Score 1) 611

There are some possibilities that you missed. This one, for example:

* God is a good experimentalist, and like all good experimentalists, he rarely intervenes with the way things play out in his creation/experimental system. He sits back and passively observes, for hundreds or thousands of years at a time, and Jesus is the product of "Ok, I'm tired of the dynamic that the most intelligent carbon units have gotten into; let's see what happens if I have one of them teach some ethical principles to the others."

I didn't miss it, because this is an inconsistent possibility (not that it is possible to come up with a coherent and consistent theory of God, but that's a REALLY long discussion) Let's see. How could God be a good experimentalist? Well we usually perform experiments to learn something where we don't know the outcome. But God is omniscient, and cannot NOT know the outcome (and remain God), at least not unless you want to become a Hindu monist pandeist and imagine Mahavishnu/Brahma splitting its omniscient universal self (Brahman) into all of the many sparks of life (Atman) that have forgotten the perfect knowledge of Brahman. However, this view is generally opposed by most Abrahamic theologists because it destroys the essential dualism required to have a God to worship who can punish and reward and make the whole system work (not to mention that it contradicts pretty much all of the sacred texts of the family of religions).

Now, God could also be an experimentalist by playing dice with the Universe -- just rolling out a big, unknown Universe with no idea how it will all come out, a big reality simulation, just to see what happens, and then he could sit there blaming the lifeforms that emerge for being precisely what the dice he used plus the ruleset he used produced and invent ANOTHER pair of realities, one in which those lifeforms can live forever being tortured by demonic merciless robots, one in which those lifeforms can all sit around and chant praises for eternity to make him feel Really Important. But I hope that we agree that this is a rather ugly picture of God as well.

Besides, you're contradicting a number of essential statements from the Gospels, notably John, and your comment stinks of the Arian heresy that was stamped out post Nicaea (with fire and steel). Jesus is the alpha and omega, dude, and was there at the beginning and will be there at the end. So God cannot decide to send us Jesus to teach us ethical principles because there is no real difference between Jesus and God. Jesus/God sent himself, as he knew he would at the beginning, to produce precisely the outcome he predestined at the end. If you are damned, you have no choice in the matter as you were damned from the beginning of time. Not that the Gospels are consistent on this point. But let's have a look:

Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
4:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

Mark 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

Matthew: 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

So, apparently, Jesus and God are different, Jesus is not God and doesn't even claim to be good! He deliberately teaches those predestined to be saved in parables so that ordinary people won't get it and WON'T be converted and saved. Thanks, Jesus! I'll adopt his methods in my physics class, I guess, and teach physics using metaphors instead of equations just so I can flunk all of the students I confuse. Hey, it's OK! It was predestined! But it is Matthew that directly contradicts your assertion. God has come up with a scheme that he hides from the wise and prudent and reveals only to the young who are stupid and foolish!

You might think about this (this is hardly the only time this is stated in the NT). Even at that time, Christianity made no real progress with people who weren't idiots, because even 2000 years ago, sensible people could recognize a charlatan when they saw one. Look earlier in this same chapter! Not even John the Baptist, who supposedly baptized Jesus to the accompaniment of many miracles, is certain Jesus is the messiah -- he doubts it from inside his prison cell as he supposedly awaits execution! But not to worry! Jesus proves it by rubbing spit in a blind man's eye:

Mark 8:23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.

or was it mud, made with spit?

John 9:6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
9:7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

This, apparently is a record of how Jesus cured things like blindness. With spit and dirt from the ground in a country where all non-foot transportation is provided by animals and where there is nothing like a sewer system or sanitation, dirt that has been urinated on and shat upon by animal and human alike since time immemorial. The mouth, you might recall, is literally the dirtiest part of the human body as far as dangerous bacteria are concerned. But not holy spit! That cures anything!

Interestingly, this story is in both a synoptic and in John. If you take the gospels seriously, that makes it rather more likely that this is an authentic account of how Jesus worked his magic in the crowd -- take the person out of town (away from the crowd), "heal them" with a show of traditional magic (because it certainly wasn't medicine) where only a few people could see, and then let the rumor spread. This is how he tried to convince John the Baptist that he really was the messiah over his apparent doubts. And since just a bit further down, he disparages John to the crowd and makes himself and his listeners out to be much greater (if they follow him) it doesn't take much imagination to think that just maybe he was trying to replace John and take over John's disciples and followers.

You can go to many third world countries and watch witch doctors work exactly this kind of "miracle" today. They even still frequently use, and used in the past, spit:

(see e.g. page 229). Holy spit isn't limited just to Jesus:

or even only to humans:

Holy Horse Spit! Or if you are willing to "believe", you can join a contemporary cult that uses this sort of technique:

Oh, wait, SGI doesn't do this. This was used as the archetype of cult fake medicine.

But I could do this all day. If you simply applied precisely the same common sense to Christianity and its scriptures and claims that you have absolutely no problem applying to Hinduism, Shamanism, the Great Spirit, Islam and Muhammed, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Heaven's Gate, and so on you would not conclude that sending Jesus to the Earth to model healing techniques based on rubbing muddy spit into the human eye is an ethically defensible practice for an omniscient omnibenevolent being. You would also just possibly have to face up to the true magnitude of the problem of theodicy.

Finally, Jesus is hardly the first, or the best, of humans who have supposedly taught ethical behavior to carbon life forms. The teachings of the New Testament, looked at objectively, fall far short of a perfect ethos for human existence, with or without the God component. And yes, I can quote the NT all day on the issue because, unlike most "believers", I've actually read the damned thing, multiple times, especially the Gospels. As well as a lot of the OT (I get bored too quickly to properly finish it). As well as the Quran, the Upanishads, the Puranas, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, the Book of Mormon. I would strongly recommend reading it, carefully, and asking yourself "is this the consistent record of anything LIKE perfection on earth?" Sure, Jesus has some decent ideas, although pretty much all of them are not unique to him and are common threads in the moral system of many religions or philosophies. But give him some credit. But don't blind your eye to the crap! Cursing a fig tree? Preaching in parables so many listeners will stay damned? Curing blindness with spit and mud? Telling his followers they have to hate their parents and relatives and love only him or they cannot be saved? This stuff isn't even consistent with the half-assed "morality" of the ten commandments (some of which are OK, or would be if the prescription for breaking them weren't to be stoned to death by the tribe, and others of which are sheer nonsense)!


Comment Re:What About Nutrition? (Score 1) 62

Yeah, I have all but given up the battle as to what Organic is supposed to mean, I only mentioned it above for clarification. But making compost tea is Organic(tm)-OK, whether or not it's truly "organic gardening" or "organic farming" etc etc.

There's lots of ways to do hydro organically-within-the-law.

Comment Re:Now we need... (Score 2) 108

An 8 billion human population is overall better for mankind and also arguably for the planet, than just 1 billion.

[citation needed], and also false dichotomy. With current practices, the Earth is provably over its carrying capacity. We have the technology to fix the problems, but do we have the will? Film at eleven.

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 62

This isn't an open field, though. There are entry points to the "farm" and if they control what goes in and comes out, and if they keep an eye open for any proliferation of pests and take them out as soon as they show up, it's feasible.

It isn't, you will need something eventually. That something might be organic and plant-derived, but if you're not keeping absolute clean-room procedures going then you will certainly bring something in on you eventually. Nothing short of bunny suits and chemical showers can ensure that.

Like the other guy up there, though, am more interested in the "nutrient" they are using. Unless they are changing the soil regularly or rotating crops, they must be adding something to the soil, and whatever it is, I doubt it will be very "organic".

They're not even using soil! You can do organic gardening without soil just by making compost tea and flowing that as your nutrient. The most common feedstock is horse poop. All you need to keep the reaction going is an aquarium pump and a bubbler stone.

Comment Re:What About Nutrition? (Score 1) 62

This *is* organic farming. There's nothing to compare here.

It depends on which definition you want. If you mean the government definition, it is certainly organic. If you mean the definition as it was envisioned by the people credited with the founding of the organic gardening movement, it certainly is not. Go forth and look up "Organic" to find the principals, then dig down to their particular WP pages for the cites. It's all in there.

Organic gardening, before the corporations got their hooks into it, was about cyclical systems involving local food production and soil health intertwined with community health. There's not even any soil here. This is not organic gardening, although it may be Organic(tm).

Comment Re:Status was NOT divulged, only email identities (Score 3, Insightful) 57

Using CC or BCC as a substitute for a mailing list is a good indicator that the organisation in question has no IT skills at all and probably shouldn't be trusted with any data that you might want to be confidential and that they might want to store on a computer.

Comment Re:And this is News? (Score 1) 96

Well, the problem with that approach is it delivers a death blow to market-based and libertarian ideas.

Either you've got to support a strong court system and the threat of force to back it up, or you've got to live by caveat emptor and not only let people simply deal with the consequences of fraud, but also make all debt the responsibility of the lender and not the borrower. Then you don't need a court system, and you can just work by might makes right. The only part which changes is not needing a court system. Guess that's anarchism.

Does this mean libertarianism is best described as the belief that a private court system is the best way to enable capitalism, which in turn is supposed to magically cure all ills with an invisible hand?

Comment Re:Interesting (Score 1) 484

why would you ever want to actually write a sorting algorithm? After all, somebody out there has already done it better, and that's nothing you would ever need to do as real programmer.

This sounds like the assignments were badly designed. Unless your data has an entirely random distribution, with some knowledge of the data that you're sorting you can do a much better job of sorting than any generic comparison-based algorithm. If you're sorting English words, for example (a very common example data set for this kind of thing), then a radix sort implemented by a student will do a better job than a standard library quicksort that's doing a full string comparison on each pair. If the course also asks them to implement a quicksort, and to evaluate both against libc's qsort(), then they should hopefully learn both when it is and when it isn't appropriate to implement their own.

Comment Re:the comparison is pointless (Score 1) 82

How do you know he's a desktop user?

Because (in the part of the post that I quoted in my reply), he said:

-Os frankly is of little interest to desktop developers

And I replied that -Os is relevant to desktop users, which you then disputed by saying that it's not relevant to HPC.

Modern desktops are putting a lot of effort into reducing the number of wakeups per second in orer to reduce power draw. This means that on most systems, there are a lot of processes, but very few running at any given time.

Timer coalescing does the exact opposite. It means that you'll have a single wakeup and then a load of processes run, and then sleep. This increases i-cache pressure, it doesn't reduce it.

Comment Re:The same basic approach works everywhere (Score 1) 100

I filed a bug with Apple about the ease of spoofing the Keychain authorisation and privilege elevation dialogs against OS X 10.2. Maybe by 10.11 they'll fix it...

Apple bug or security reports are like petitions on If they notice them at all, it's to mock them. Sadly, the same is true of Android. Still no pinless pairing after how many years of people asking for it on the same two bug reports?

Comment Re:Marketplace Justice (Score 0) 80

Bingo. So someone can hack the monitor and listen to my baby sleep or not sleep. Or even watch him sleeping. What exactly is the threat? What information can they really gain that is of use? That the sheets are green instead of blue?

Would-be molesters could drive down the street with a bundle of baby monitors, I suppose. Watch out for church vehicles emitting a video glow at night.

We don't really understand it, so we'll give it to the programmers.