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Comment Re:Violence! (Score 1) 336

It was a war. Shit happens.

No, it wasn't a war. It was a series of heavy-handed, ultra-violent overreactions to minor incidents which themselves were responses to systematic oppression. Military action often does kill civilians, the so-called "collateral damage", but herding groups of unarmed women and children into a building and then deliberately shelling that building to kill them all is not collateral damage; the unarmed civilians were the target.

If you want to understand what's really going on in Israel, I highly recommend you read "Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel", by Max Blumenthal. It's a hard book to read, not because Blumenthal isn't a good writer but because the truth is so horrible. And if you doubt that it is the truth, check the included citations.

Comment Re:Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence (Score 1) 187

What you seem to be missing is that War is a macro-aggressive, acute failure of society. Microaggression is a stealthy, sinister, chronic failure of society that is far more widespread and far more damaging to the long-term health of humanity than is an acute War that has a beginning and an end.

Others have addressed the first major flaw in this argument, which is that killing people is worse than being mean to them.

But there's another flaw, which is your apparent belief that microaggression is something new. It is definitely not. People have always been nasty to each other, and we're significantly less nasty to each other today than ever before. The notion of microaggression is perhaps the best proof: previous generations didn't even bother thinking about microaggression, because it was just normal. Today, we recognize this subtle form of personal attack and work to expose it and thereby reduce it.

You should read the first few chapters of Steven Pinker's "The Better Angels of Our Nature", in which he documents historical evidence of the ways in which people were nasty to each other. He focuses mostly on physical nastiness, violence, but lots of other sorts of nastiness are covered in passing, or obviously implied. Society is much, much better than it used to be. Empathy for strangers is normal today. It wasn't always.

Comment Re:Things are looking up (Score 1) 187

In 1914, there was no entertainment as you imagine.

So radio, films, plays, books, and concerts didn't exist?

Note the correction of the year. 1940 was obviously a typo, the discussion was about 1914.

Radio was demonstrated but not used commercially in 1914. No, films didn't exist. Plays and concerts did, but high-quality productions were pretty much limited to major cities. Books, yes.

books were expensive and rare, etc.

Poppycock, etc.

I have difficulty believing anyone could be so completely ignorant of history. But apparently you are.

Compared to today, yes, books were expensive and rare. Most everything was dramatically more expensive than it is today, in terms of what a person with the median income could afford, and that included books. In 1914 most homes had a small number of books, far fewer than today. But the typical person also had far less leisure time.

Comment Re:Percentages vs raw numbers (Score 2) 187

In things like disease, things are getting better, as a percentage and absolute numbers. Polio has dropped from hundred of thousands to hundreds of cases in 20 years. Of course cancer and diabetes in the US is up, and HIV did not exist 50 years ago, but many ailments that cursed our civilization for known history have become much less virulent. I would also say percentages do matter. The black death eliminated half the population of major cities, but the total number of probable dead was only half the population of the current US. Likewise the mortality rate at birth in the US is not that bad in absolute numbers, but as a percentage the US is below the level of developing country. The serial killer example is very aprospro. It is information, and the inability to scale and rationalize that information, that drives out perception of a dangerous world. If someone were to ride a horse from town to town, and kill a person secretly, no one would like know that such a thing were happening. Most would just think that an accident got them, and no one. This may be one reason why the term serial killer did not appear until the 20th century. The point is it would be hard to compare the murder rate of the 21st century, to anything 100 years ago when we had no idea who simply disappeared and who was murdered. I would say that the fact that we actively count and respond to murders is an indication that the world is a better place.

Comment Much todo about zip--ConsoleKit2 is also supported (Score 5, Informative) 748


First, only an idiot would want a monoculture, particularly in the Linux world, so to those saying "just to systemd full bore or go to (someplace else)" the rest of us need to respond with a very loud and resounding: Fuck You.

That said, things aren't nearly as dire as this post implies. Reading from the responses to the bug he himself linked to, I find the following:

> Unless KDE is prepared to make a statement that it depends on systemd

of course not. Powerdevil recently also gained support for ConsoleKit2, see:

Which turns it into a distro problem. Your distribution configured the system in a way that suspend/hibernate is broken. It doesn't come with any of the supported solutions Plasma provides. Which makes it a distro problem. The distro integrates various parts of the software stack. This includes it's the distro's task to ensure that components work together. It failed here by ripping out systemd and replace it with well nothing.

So while I'm sure the systemd zealots would love to see KDE, Gnome3, etc. only work with systemd and drop support for all other distros, this doesn't appear to be happening. In the case of KDE, ConsoleKit2 is supported (and therefor Funtoo, Gentoo, Arch with OpenRC, etc. will continue to work just fine).

Comment Re:anti-business liberal scoring points (Score 1) 346

If they are publicly traded and their principal business is not risk, then they are required to be by law.


I'm fairly certain there is no such law. What publicly-traded businesses are required to do is to do what they say they'll do in their articles of incorporation and their prospectus. For most, these documents state that their focus is to generate a responsible return on investment (language varies, but that's what it boils down to). However, it is perfectly acceptable for them to include other goals, and even to prioritize those goals over making money.

Were SpaceX to go public, they could specify that their primary goal is to get to Mars, for example, rather than to make money. That would probably lower their valuation, but there would be nothing at all illegal about it.

Comment Re:yet more engineer bashing (Score 1) 492

The real question is not are engineers 9 times more likely to be terrorists. The real question is are they 9 times more likely to hold extremist beliefs, or just 9 times more likely to act on them because to engineers the point is to solve problems.

I suspect it's some of both. It seems to me that engineers do tend to be more passionate about their interests (whatever those may be) than the average person. And they think in terms of how to solve problems.

Comment Re:Works for me (Score 1) 137

And in the meantime it is sending bog-knows-what to who-knows-what. I think I'll pass....

I didn't pass, I checked. I had my router log the packets from my TV for a couple of weeks, then fired up Wireshark to look at who it was talking to and what it was sending. Result? On a daily basis it sends a tiny request to the manufacturer, which I suspect is checking for firmware updates. Other than that, it appears to connect to Netflix when I watch Netflix, my DLNA server when I watch stuff from it, YouTube when I watch that, etc. That's it.

It also occurs to me... if you're worried about a information being sent who knows where, why are you not worried about your Roku, etc.? How do you know what it's sending? Why is a Smart TV riskier than any of the other network-connected media-playing devices you might hook to it?

Comment Re:What purpose does registration serve? (Score 1) 192

Hunting and fishing licenses are also to ensure the proper level/age/gender of animals, or at least close to it, is hunted, for conservation, etc. purposes

No, no they are not. Licenses don't do that. The only thing licenses do is make sure that someone has spent money. Only enforcement does that. Enforcement already happens; they have wardens out all year making sure that people aren't poaching. I live in major hunting country, so there's lots of them here.

For most big game, there's also a tag attached to the license, which much be attached to the game animal when taken. Tags do serve (with enforcement) to ensure that the right number, age and gender of animals are taken. Other game species have daily limits, but those could be enforced without any sort of specific licensing. Of course, the license fees generally pay for the enforcement, so licenses do help manage hunting for conservation. License fees generally pay for lots of other conservation measures as well.

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