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Comment Re:Fuck Israel (Score 1) 486

So the Nazis weren't really racist? The death camps were more of an anti-religion kind of thing?

Actually, sort of, to an extent. From Wikipedia (which references other sources):

Anyone with three or four Jewish grandparents was to be exterminated without exception. In other genocides, people were able to escape death by converting to another religion or in some other way assimilating. This option was not available to the Jews of occupied Europe,[29] unless their grandparents had converted before 18 January 1871 [the day the German Empire was proclaimed]. All persons of enough recent Jewish ancestry to be considered a Jew were to be exterminated in the German occupied territories.[30] The Holocaust

This is clearly not a purely religious classification (as converting away from Judaism is not relevant from 18 January 1871 onwards). However it doesn't seem to be a purely racial classification either, on the face of it, since the lineage is traced back to people who were adherents of Judaism on the 18 January 1871 (unless I've read it wrong).

That said, I guess that would be adherents of Judaism according to some official record, and people may be unlikely to officially denounce a religion their parents believe, even if they don't believe it themselves, so in practice the point may be somewhat moot.

Comment Re:Plenty people in power should be hanged.. (Score 1) 486

Religion, not just islam, is the root of all evil..

While I'd agree that religions are the root of much evil, I think this statement probably overgeneralises in several ways. For one, it seems to tar all religions with the same brush. While Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share a common heritage, many smaller religions developed independently (and many of them were wiped out by these three). I don't think it's fair to assume all were evil. Also, some ideologies were evil without having any supernatural components, so don't qualify as religions (e.g. Soviet Communism). Finally, I think some people just manage to be evil independently, without needing any particular religion or other ideology.

Comment Re:Plenty people in power should be hanged.. (Score 3, Insightful) 486

Islam is a mono-cultural ideology that by definition tolerates no other cultures on basis of equality.

Christianity is hardly a beacon of equality either. According to Christianity, Christians will be rewarded with everlasting paradise, and everyone else will be punished with everlasting torture, and this is right and just, because they are evil and deserve it, and it is the will of an all-loving god. By no means does this view espouse equality. Granted, Jesus tells his followers not to be violent, while he'll bring an army of angels to cast the unbelievers into the pit of fire that they deserve. (Do as I say, not as I do.) That said, if a Christian should kill an unbeliever, they will be forgiven, and still go to heaven, while the unbeliever will still burn in hell.

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)

Christianity inspired the crusades, inquisitions, and witch hunts. (Seriously, if you think you've got the seed of Satan spreading evil among you, and they deserve to be killed, and you'll be forgiven for killing them, would you not?) The practice of religious tolerance in the West began begrudgingly in response to wariness from over a hundred years of Christian infighting in the European wars of religion. Modern liberal Christianity (the "don't be such a literalist, when Jesus said non-believers deserve to be burned, it was a metaphor for something nice" variety) draws its morals from the Enlightenment (atheist thought), not Christianity, although it steadfastly refuses to acknowledge it. Modern liberal Islam is relatively benign mental masturbation in the same vein.

Comment Re: Problem with Artifical Stupidity: discriminati (Score 1) 386

Apparently we need better software, designed to be able to prove it is non-discriminatory. Furthermore, we probably should require this software to be transparent, enabling us, as society, if we think the grounds are acceptable.

I expect the algorithms are likely to be closely guarded secrets, because they are surely a big part of the way credit companies try to gain an edge over each other.

Thus we could lead discussions like this, is it acceptable policy to deny heavy drinkers a loan.

It sounds reasonable to me. It seems likely that it would be a predictor of the ability to repay debt, and it's something that, in some sense, people have the ability to choose, leaving them in control of the outcome.

With regard to race, I would be surprised if it was a useful predictor of the ability to repay debt. It would be a losing proposition to offer credit to someone solely on the basis of their race, and if credit history was available, I can't imagine that a person's race would usefully supplement this information in any way. Not that this would necessarily stop people from using it though, I guess.

Comment Re:SAFE secure SPACE there is your problem. (Score 1) 618

Yeah, I kind of figured they wouldn't be available world-wide, but the links contain enough details (season 19, episodes 1 and 5) that you should be able to locate them on, shall we say, "other" sources.

I'm not sure what it's like in other places, but in New Zealand, copyright law requires ISPs to disclose information about accounts used for P2P, and account holders can be charged without trial. Law to fight internet piracy passed

I expect there are ways around this, but I tend to try to adhere to copyright law, even if I don't agree with it (while some other people I know seem to have it the other way around--go figure).

Comment Re: SAFE secure SPACE there is your problem. (Score 1) 618

I moved to the EU a few years ago, so now I just pay for a VPN service. Most are very affordable, and I don't have to put up with those invisible internet boarders anymore.

Thanks, but it seems likely that this is illegal in New Zealand. ISPs used to offer access to geo-blocked content, but this was challenged by the television companies, and ruled to be illegal (violating copyright law by importing without distribution rights, I think). Global Mode goes dark - broadcasters win legal fight

This probably wouldn't be an issue for VPN in practice, but I'd rather adhere to the law anyway, even if I don't agree with it.

Comment Re:SAFE secure SPACE there is your problem. (Score 1) 618

Thanks for the suggestion, but no luck, unfortunately.

Sorry, currently our video library can only be watched from within the United States

Hulu is committed to making its content available worldwide. To do so, we must work through a number of legal and business issues, including obtaining international streaming rights. Know that we are working to make this happen and will continue to do so. Given the international background of the Hulu team, we have both a professional and personal interest in bringing Hulu to a global audience.

Comment Re:SAFE secure SPACE there is your problem. (Score 2) 618

South Park has been covering this stuff brilliantly this season. ...

Sounds interesting, and I have some time to kill.

Sorry New Zealand
Full Episodes Coming Soon
We are working hard to resolve our pre-existing contractual obligations and bring you Full Episodes as soon as possible.

So it seems I can't watch it, but at least I can feel the progress of science and the useful arts being promoted as I don't.

Comment Re:Same applies to so-called "climate science" (Score 1) 213

Sorry, just checked this thread.

I'm not very well read on this topic, and thought I'd better read something before responding, so had a browse through the Wikipedia page on the hockey stick graph, but don't feel I know a great deal more, except that it all sounds rather complicated. (Thanks, BTW, I didn't know what the AC's "45-degree slope" referred to--I assumed it was some temperature prediction, and had heard of the hockey stick graph, but didn't make a connection.)

My "understanding" of climate models still basically goes no further than: People are putting more CO2 in the atmosphere, and atmospheric CO2 traps heat. I guess it's the sceptics' view that this effect is relatively minor in the scheme of things?

Comment Re:Same applies to so-called "climate science" (Score 1) 213

The following from James Delingpole yesterday says it far better than I ever could:

The gist seems to be that he read about an omission in climate models, claims it's grounds to question the evidence for climate change, and takes umbrage that others disagree. In particular, he quotes:

The atmospheric chemists from France and Germany, however, could now show that isoprene could also be formed without biological sources in surface film of the oceans by sunlight and so explain the large discrepancy between field measurements and models. The new identified photochemical reaction is therefore important to improve the climate models.

From this he concludes:

The computer models on which anthropogenic global warming theory are based are inadequate to the task because they fail to take into account all the real-world data.

Earlier in the article he stated:

You don't need to be a climate scientist to understand this stuff. Or even a scientist.

I don't find the article convincing, because I think you do need an understanding of a model to determine how much of an impact a discrepancy in particular data will be likely to have on the model's reliability.

In some particular model, some data may be critical, and other data less so, and it may be possible to approximate some data without a large effect on the outcome. To take an extreme example, astronomical models often approximate stars and planets as point masses, thereby approximating all of us out of existence. This is clearly a gross approximation for many purposes, but often not so much of an issue for astronomy.

I know something about astronomical models, at least with regards to Newtonian physics, and am fairly comfortable making the above claim. I don't know much about climate models, and don't claim to know the significance of the discrepancy. There's nothing in the article, however, to convince me that the author knows any more about this than I do.

Comment Re:Not quite the same thing (Score 1) 91

To allow "hacking" to circumvent encryption, the FBI must have (direct or indirect) access to a suspect's device. For that, they must first have a suspect. Encryption can still prevent becoming a suspect in the first place.

According to them, encryption would still prevent people becoming suspects anyway, as I understand it. I believe they claim that they'd only ever use the back door* to access encrypted data of people who are already suspects, not to conduct fishing expeditions.

*Erm, I mean the "front door",which only they can use, leaving me to use the "back door" I suppose, meaning, metaphorically, I would have to walk around the house whenever I wanted to enter or leave it, which sounds rather metaphorically inconvenient, but I digress.

Comment Re:I wonder if they're going to use this as "proof (Score 1) 657

That's total bullshit, a lot of things CAN trigger a bomb. The trigger isn't the dangerous part, the exploding part is the dangerous part.

So you admit an alarm clock could be used to trigger a bomb. Worse, it could also be used to wake someone up on time to set that bomb. Frankly, I find your cavalier attitude unfathomable.

365 Days of drinking Lo-Cal beer. = 1 Lite-year