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Comment: Amnesty International has dealings with terrorists (Score 1) 109 109

Which isn't to say that they shouldn't necessarily have dealings with terrorists, but they don't always do a great job at keeping them at arm's length (like the ACLU generally manages to do when they defend people like the Ku Klux Klan), particularly in their dealings with Moazzam Begg.

But even if they were doing a better job of maintaining their moral clarity (a moral clarity built on fighting against arbitrary indefinite detention and torture, which is of course extremely important) in their dealings with extremists, they still might be legitimate surveillance targets simply because they are dealing with a significant number of people who, by any sane definition, we can reasonably suspect to be engaged in terrorism.

I'm one of the strongest opponents out there of mass surveillance, but it seems reasonably likely that this is targeted, and correctly targeted at that. This isn't a defense of unlawful imprisonment or torture. Amnesty should be able to meet with suspected extremists as frequently as they want, and intelligence services should (provided they are obeying the letter and spirit of their charter) be able to keep an eye on anyone who voluntarily goes to meet with (reasonably) suspected extremists... and particularly after Amnesty goes on to forge some ties with a rather nasty jihadi group. If we give them too hard of a time with targeted surveillance... well, we already know what the alternative is.

Comment: Re:Depression subtypes (Score 1) 182 182

Also, let me just highlight a few things here:

Rich people have have problems too, just like the rest of us: family feuds

If I was rich I could move the hell away from the family drama. Both my wife and I would love to do this. Problem (mostly) solved. I don't deny there could be some lingering stress, but when you're a few hundred miles away it would not be debilitating.

marriage problems

The number one issue of contention in most marriages is money. The number two issue is infidelity, which is entirely up to the personality and attitudes of the people involved--we're in an (nominally, at least) open marriage so that won't be an issue.


If you're rich and worried about bills then you either suck at managing your money, you like living extravagantly/dangerously (not us. We were all set to buy a lovely little $50,000 fixer upper house on half an acre before I lost my last job), or you aren't really rich at all.

poor health

Granted, not everything is curable even with a ton of money. But a ton of money cures (or at least treats) a hell of a lot more than no money.

but depression could just as likely make it hard to find or maintain a job.

If you are rich you do not need a job, and/or you can afford to take your time finding the right job, and/or you can afford to take some time off from work for a while without the dread of the future pressing down on you and crushing every little moment of happiness you have during your break from the grind.

Comment: Re:Depression subtypes (Score 1) 182 182

Sorry, but this is nonsense. Again, I don't deny that some depression subtypes are not affected by money but it's pretty damn insulting to insist that a poor depressed person will simply find something else to be depressed about if they do get money. I don't want to get into too many specifics, but in no particular order these are a few of the things that most depress me at the moment:

-Inability to afford medical treatment for several physical medical conditions that myself, my wife and my son suffer (most of them not very serious, all of them annoying, all of them ultimately treatable)
-driving around in an extremely, extremely shitty car for hours on end without air conditioning in Florida during the summer. Anxiety over what will happen when said car eventually breaks down for good.
- living with my parents. Again. Not having enough space to store my stuff, not being able to find anything at all in chaotically packed boxes after several necessary spur of the moment moves. Not having a yard to enjoy or work in. Not having any privacy whatsoever. Having to listen to and deal with my parents' issues. etc.
-7+ years after I went back to school, realizing my net worth has dropped hugely with nothing to show for it and pretty much no long term career prospects
-realizing that my son is going to end up in some very shitty public schools in a couple years unless things magically get better
-trying to deal with friends and family in a society that demands significant expenditures of money (most notably eating out all the goddamn time) to be considered properly socializing
-inability to enjoy virtually any leisure activity because of the knowledge that I am in horribly dire straights financially and have no path out. This is worth highlighting--I could rattle off a list of a thousand things I could be doing right now that would have me interested and engaged and happy, except it would require tremendous effort (and possibly no small amount of booze) to be able to forget my current situation long enough to enjoy doing them for even an hour, and then I look up and remember where I am again and it all comes crashing down.

Comment: Depression subtypes (Score 1) 182 182

I disagree. Depression is not a monolithic thing, and while there can sometimes be clear-cut medical causes, other times there are rather clear-cut external causes. Perceptions of the outside world, in other words, affect brain chemistry. Money won't always give you the perceptions you need to be happy, but it's foolish and (I must say) slightly insulting to imply that it can't be a major factor, or even a primary factor.

I'm dealing with fairly severe dysphoric atypical depression at the moment (which is more common than typical depression. Which is typical of the hackneyed insanity that is modern psychiatry, but I digress) and while I'm sure there are a number of factors in my personality and my brain chemistry, I fucking promise you that it is nothing a large infusion of cash could not solve. My depression stems largely from my persistent inability to solve the problems around me (which of course becomes self-reenforcing as the bullshit piles up and the depression saps my energy), but 95% of those problems would be trivially solved if I could throw buckets of money at them. It would still take time and effort, but believe me I would be tremendously happy while heaving those buckets of money around and waiting. Indeed, during those periods in my life where it looked like my career was going places and I mistakenly believed I would soon have, if not bucketloads, then at least a reasonable amount of money, my depression was at an all time low.

Depression isn't monolithic in its causes or its effects. The DSM V doesn't even begin to scratch the surface, and it should be noted that psychiatry in general is tailored towards people who visit psychiatrists, i.e. people who at least have enough money to afford transportation and health insurance. That excludes me, and it excludes the majority of humanity who are living in the third world right now. So, instead of relying on the DSM or whatever pop psychology definition is trendy these days, let's consider how they define depression in animal models: giving up, not seeking out food, not trying to avoid an unpleasant stimulus... apparently because they have lost the will or belief that they can improve their situation. Translated to human terms in modern society, this positively screams "money." And anyone who disagrees has almost certainly never been poor.

Comment: Re:Very Disturbing Trend (Score 1) 1083 1083

Those laws are equally wrong and should be challenged (in the case of WIC, it could be easily rewritten to refer to people who are or were recently pregnant, which given the current state of medical science does not absolutely exclude men.) Whether this actually happens or not... well, you take the victories where you can get them. Just because society is hopelessly wrong on X (polygamous marriage, for instance) doesn't mean that we should also give up the fight on Y if it's possible to win that fight.

Comment: Re:AMD used to kick ass (Score 1) 138 138

I had thought it was still in development then.

That's just what I said. The op was saying that AMD has always played second fiddle, including (his words) 10 and 15 years ago. The developments I outlined (Athlon/Opteron/Duron beating the crap out of P4&PD/Xeon/Celeron) took place precisely during that era. I guess ~10 years of domination is a long time in the computing world but it's sad that slashdot's collective memory seems to be that short, particularly since it appears (as I've said) that we are fast approaching another fork in the road with fab resolution nearly maxed out and Intel busy uddying the waters like crazy between their different processor lines.

Comment: "Like the look" (Score 1) 266 266

Err, I think that buying a truck because you like how it looks and not because you need a truck is one of the clearest cases of conspicuous consumption I've ever seen. It's a free country and all of that, but do you really think this sort of thing should pass uncommented on? It's a goddamn truck. It has shit mileage, shit road handling, and shit passenger space. If you buy a truck but you don't need any of its cargo/towing/offroad capabilities then I think people are entitled to shake their heads a little. And you're entitled to console yourself by... I don't know, doing whatever it is in your new truck that makes you smile. Everybody wins.

Comment: AMD used to kick ass (Score 1) 138 138

Um, your "15 years" bit is off the mark. 15 years ago Intel was so busy chasing the mhz marketing dollar with the Pentium 4 (and the derived Pentium D) that AMD was able to dethrone them at the top end, and for an encore they then turned around and demolished Intel's 64-bit Itanium server architecture with the backwards compatible AMD-64 (which Intel quickly licensed from them. And renamed.) For the hat trick, they absolutely destroyed low end Celeron with their AMD Duron. For several years there, Intel was the worse (and most expensive) option in every major market segment.

Of course at this point Intel pulled their heads out of their asses, reached a little deeper into their pocketbooks and used the Pentium M's design as the way forward instead of the hz-obese Pentium 4 / Pentium D, and AMD (which simply cannot compete on a research dollar level) has been playing catchup ever since. But they absolutely deserve credit for keeping Intel on their toes. Even VIA (formerly Cyrix, remember them?) deserves some credit for taking some important first steps towards x86 low power design and motherboard miniaturization, and being the first company to introduce hardware cryptography instruction sets (which to this day remain superior to AES-NI, though it was under-supported and it's now stuck in a very badly aging and overpriced processor lineup.)

Has Intel been the undisputed CPU performance king for the past few years? Of course. But this can easily change, particularly since we're so close to hitting the transistor quantum size barrier. In 5-10 years there is not going to be a single clear path forward any more, and it remains to be seen whether Intel will choose the correct path, particularly in light of their increasingly befuddling market segmentation tactics.

Comment: Re:"the best we can do" (Score 1) 173 173

An immensely expressive language

I just have to say that speaking as a Common Lisp fan, this sort of thing makes me choke a bit. C++ templates are a very hobbled, messy version of what you can do with a Lisp macro and/or a CLOS generic function. While it's true that optimized C will be 2x-3x faster than fully optimized Common Lisp (most people think it's orders of magnitudes, but it's not. CL is a very mature, fully compiled language with plenty of ways to optimize, including turning on static typing), I very much question whether the messy, verbose, and quite limited 'expressiveness' of C++ is worth it.

C++ and its bastard child Java are responsible for infecting the minds of countless computer programmers with all manner of horrible square-peg-round-hole paradigms, which are triumphantly proclaimed as "design patterns" instead of "hacky verbosity that makes self-documenting code much more difficult to write".

Comment: Re:Very Disturbing Trend (Score 1) 1083 1083

But your thread of logic is incomplete/broken here. The point isn't that marriage is an constitutional / inalienable right. The point is that equality before the law is an inalienable right.

So if some people want to ban state recognition of marriage, so be it. If you want to expand the legal benefits granted by marriage, so be it. The issue is when the government tries to grant privileges to only some people and not others. This is unconstitutional under the 14th amendment and (as I've argued elsewhere), also under the 9th for anyone with a shred of respect for what the founding fathers were trying to accomplish.

Comment: Christ, READ THE NINTH AMENDMENT (Score 2) 1083 1083

Look, I know it's not fashionable (several high profile justices have outright said that the ninth amendment cannot be used for anything, and almost everyone else relies almost exclusively on the equal protection clause in the 14th amendment), but the founding fathers anticipated this bullshit argument. There was, in fact, a huge debate over having a bill of rights at all because they did not want to provide ammunition to people like you who would argue, again and again, that people do not have any inalienable rights at all unless they are explicitly granted by the constitution.

So, in order to address this concern, they crafted a specific amendment--the ninth--which says "hey look, this isn't an exhaustive list!"

And then everyone decides to ignore it and keep using the exact argument it was designed to address. Your argument.

If they can make up rights out of thin air

THEN THE COUNTRY WILL BE A MUCH BETTER PLACE. The right to privacy (ANY privacy, other than a physical search of papers) isn't in the constitution, either. I think the right for the government to keeps its nose out of my chromosomes and out of my crotch is also a pretty obvious, fundamental right. The ability to "make up" rights doesn't give the SCOTUS unlimited power; it only gives them the ability to limit the power of government, which is an ability that many people on both the right and the left greatly value.

and scalia calls the court egotistical..with an overreaching hubris...

Scalia is a hypocritical hyperreligious twat. Hubris is the quality exhibited by lawmakers (and their supporters) who think that the state should have the power to examine the chromosomes/genitals of its citizens in order to decide what rights they are entitled to.

Comment: Re:one down, about a dozen to go. (Score 1) 851 851

High Fructose Corn Syrup has turned us into a nation too fat for everything from coffins to military service. numerous studies concur this isnt sugar. Links please. And please analyze the language of those studies to see how they are damning HFCS while rendering other sources of fructose-apples, grapes, etc.-- as harmless.

among other things we could cut down on are processed foods in general.

Ah nevermind, no need to bother. You are clearly just one of the neo-luddite brigade. Transfats are of course bad and the health officials responsible for pushing it should be taken to task, but the danger of "processed" foods is nothing compared to the danger posed by the marketing- and luddite-driven pro-"organic" movement.

Quick, I've noticed you've left aspartame off of your list! You'd better put it on there because it causes brain cancer! Wait no, that one was always bullshit. You'd better put it on there because it causes kidney damage! Wait, crap, also bullshit. You'd better put it on there because a recent small-scale preliminary animal study implied it might cause a gut flora alteration resulting in some weight gain! *Whew*, that was a close one. That one isn't conclusively disproven yet, so the organic stevia industry should be safe at least for another year or two.

Comment: Christ Almighty (Score 1) 851 851

How does this neoluddite shit keep getting modded up? If you're against sugar then fine, but the anti-HFCS movement is mostly completely fine with table sugar used as a substitute, and it appears that absolutely none of these blowhards are advocating treating the fructose in fruits the same as the fructose in corn.

If you're against HFCS but pro-grape juice (increasingly being used as a sweetener in some products that want to avoid HFCS cooties), you are either a Dr. Oz-loving neo-Luddite moron who needs to turn in his geek card immediately or you are sitting on some earthshaking unpublished scientific studies.

Comment: The Neo-Luddites are taking over (Score 1) 851 851

Even if you don't understand the biochemistry, the two basic rules still work well - don't buy stuff in the middle of the grocery store and don't eat anything your Grandmother wouldn't recognize as food from her childhood.

Really? This is really the shit that gets modded up to +5 these days, again and again? Do I even have to spell out what's wrong with it?

On your fructose rantings: your explanation, if true, vilifies almost all fruits just as much as it does HFCS. No doubt you'll come up with some anecdotal, pulled-out-of-your-ass justification for treating HFCS differently, though.

Also, let's just keep completely ignoring the fact that heart disease and stroke are top killers worldwide, even in countries where they have never heard of HFCS.

"Poor man... he was like an employee to me." -- The police commisioner on "Sledge Hammer" laments the death of his bodyguard