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Comment: Re:Does this mean we don't need dark matter anymor (Score 2) 63 63

As far as I can tell, dark matter is just the modern equivalent of the cosmological constant - "I dunno, but if we fudge-factor in n it all works!"

Nope. Dark energy is that: we have a large-scale measurement we can't explain, but we have to call it something, and since it might not actually be constant, they didn't want to call it "cosmological constant".

Dark matter explains galactic rotation rates and lensing, and also predicted the CMBR data with some precision: the predictions of dark/familiar matter made from galactic rotation matched the observed ratio in the early universe measured by the CMBR probes.

Lots of black holes were among the MACHOs theories for dark matter, but the CMBR data confirmed the WIMPs theories had it right. We may not no much about these particles, but black holes, brown dwarfs, and so on are right out.

Comment: Re:Hidden Blackholes (Score 1) 63 63

There's no difference between "area where time moves slower" and "gravity well" in general relativity, which shows great robustness as theories go. "Time moves faster" (or a large anti-gravity well) wouldn't cause the lensing we see.

Anyhow, dark matter explains the CMBR data and galaxy rotation rates and lensing, which is pretty good. Any alternative proposal would need to explain all three.

Comment: Re:Your biggest screw up (Score 0) 332 332

Hypocrite much? Or was I whooshed?

It's impossible to tell the difference between the most crazy hyperbole and sincere SJWs these days. That's what makes the Reddit game "Stormfront or SJW" so much fun! We're beyond Poe's law now to some surreal place through the looking glass.

Comment: Re:How do you define a "gun part"? (Score 1) 359 359

Everything but the lower receiver is easily available online as those parts are "not a gun". It's really the CnC milling of the lower that's relevant here (3D printing the lower is still not anything practical or sane). I fully expect someone will make those plans available in printed book form, or perhaps on a T-Shirt like the DeCSS T-Shirt I still have somewhere.

Comment: Re:Lawrence (Score 1) 232 232

Evangelical originally referred to protestant churches in general, excepting those that were Catholic in all but name - that is, the ones without assigned "sales territories" were evangelical. This meant successful churches had to "evangelize" in order to grow the flock, and in a nation where almost everyone was already attending one church or another, this meant churches became successful by attracting people away from other churches, often of the same faith. Much marketing, entertainment, and socializing ensued. When "hellfire and brimstone" sermons were in fashion, evangelical churches might seem very conservative if you judged by their sermons, but that was just the fashion. The term has become non-technical over time, but still means "working to attract new membership" as it's core. That's the sense in which people speak of "an evangelical Pope" - no longer an oxymoron as it once would have been.

Here's a long-winded piece on the distinctions. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/r... I think the following captures the distinction well:

The distinctive hallmarks of post-1925 fundamentalism are 1) adding to those essentials of Christianity non-essentials such as premillennial eschatology, 2) âoebiblical separationâ as the duty of every Christian to refuse fellowship with people who call themselves Christians but are considered doctrinally or morally impure, 3) a chronically negative and critical attitude toward culture including non-fundamentalist higher education, 4) emphatic anti-evolution, anti-communist, anti-Catholic and anti-ecumenical attitudes and actions (including elevation of young earth creationism and American exceptionalism as markers of authentic Christianity), 5) emphasis on verbal inspiration and technical inerrancy of the Bible as necessary for real Christianity (including exclusion of all biblical criticism and, often, exclusive use the KJV), and 6) a general tendency to require adherence to traditional lifestyle norms (hair, clothes, entertainment, sex roles, etc.).

My grandparents were fundies in that sense. The perhaps surprising thing was, they weren't all that devout - they never really talked about church except on Sundays, and while their morals were certainly set by this, it wasn't their main hobby. Still, in any discussion of religion, they had great certainty, and they went to a church that emphasized literal interpretation, witnessing to spread the faith, and the like. Really creeped me out when I would go there as a kid when visiting them.

Fundamentalists point to Lakewood Church as the example of the distinction from their side. A church that most would consider evangelical, that "rarely mentions Jesus, and never mentions sin" (to quote from a fundie rant), that is incredibly successful by any objective measure, mostly by avoiding everything quoted above and focusing on an entertaining and uplifting social experience. It's a pattern followed by many evangelical churches, often described as "up with people! and, by the the way, Jesus". This is religion with solid mainstream appeal. Fundies are generally a subset of evangelicals, but they don't like to see it that way, as separation from churches like Lakewood is a big deal to them.

Comment: Re:obligatory Good Luck With That (Score 2) 137 137

they spend all this time on writing DRM code... which will be blown out within a week anyway why not better spend that money and time working on actually making the browser better????

No one's going to bother breaking the DRM on a video stream. Why bother? If you want the content without paying, torrent it, rather than messing with streams with quality/bitrate that can change for reasons outside your control.

Plus, since normal people don't care at all about DRM nerdwhining, they just want it to play when they click, arguably MS is improving the user experience here. Ideally, they'd include a native module letting you right-click on any DRMd stream and automatically torrent it while you watch, but I somehow doubt they're that forward thinking.

Comment: Re:Lawrence (Score 1) 232 232

Have you ever heard a evangelical Christian Bible study or lesson? They will focus to an incredible degree on each word of the verse they are studying. They will talk about the word in the original Greek (or Aramaic, etc.) and its connotations, how it compares to other Biblical accounts, etc. We're talking nitty gritty minutia and some interesting historical analysis. BUT, they also start with the inviolable precondition that the Bible is the literal word of God and divinely inspired.

You might try learning the difference between evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity. Nothing of what you said is a good generalization of evangelicals, which is why the fundamentalists don't like them much. Evangelicals are about the church (and especially the financial success of it), while fundies are often as you describe. It's fun to remind fundies that they are also, technically, evangelicals (an evangelical church is simply one that does not have an exclusive territory assigned, but must compete with other churches of the same faith for followers and tithes).

Comment: Re:Lawrence (Score 2) 232 232

I think the fundamental difference here (so to speak) is that ISIS is not a fundamentalist uprising. Oh, sure, they claim to be a religious movement, but everyone in the region does. Fundamentalism, in any religion, is not typically accompanied by using sexual slavery as an incentive to get young men to fight for you (ISIS has quite the flexible and convenient moral code).

My understanding of ISIS (mostly from a Muslim Arab coworker, so of course my "expert" could be wrong) is that they're "religious" in the same way Scientology is: they have all the trappings of religion, but it's all quite contrived. They emphasize whatever parts of scripture helps their goals and ignore the rest in a very obvious and transparent way that fools almost no one. It's not that they're murdering "moderate Muslims" per se, they're simply murdering anyone who speaks up about how evil they are, or simply speaks against them, whether on religious grounds or any other grounds.

There are many other places in the world where IMO the problem really is religious fundamentalism, but those guys aren't raising armies and conquering vast territory. Even in Afghanistan it's just one tribe after another, not a united fundamentalist army.

I think it's a mistake to confuse the problem with fundamentalist Islam in other parts of the world and other cultures with ISIS and the Arabian Peninsula.

Comment: Re:Fee Fees Hurt? (Score 2) 265 265

There have been 3 Slashdot stories about specific cases that I remember. (This isn't about "anti-child porn laws", but about very specific "block this list of sites at all ISPs" laws). I remember the UK for sure, the other 2 my memory fades on the details: it had become "oh, this shit again" by then. Give a crooked politician a tool like a blocklist and it will be abused.

Anarchy scares people

WTF is wrong with people these days? Any comments about "maybe a tiny bit less overwhelming government power" are always met with this "but anarchy is bad!" BS. Neither extreme is good, OK? "Regulate nothing" and "regulate everything" are both dystopian ideas.

Comment: Re:Fee Fees Hurt? (Score 2) 265 265

Oh? Familiar with safe spaces? "Triggering"? Colleges in the US are fraught with students claiming emotional distress over a speaker whose politics don't match the groupthink exactly. (This really happens). I can only hope this problem is contained to the US, but we've raised a large group of people so fragile that ideas contrary to their beliefs are considered emotional distress.

But what does it matter if the government is dishonest? Give a government any tool which allows them to jail someone for speech, and it can be twisted far enough to fit the government's needs.

Comment: Re:Fee Fees Hurt? (Score 1) 265 265

The claim is that it won't create "a right to be offended", because the term "Serious emotional distress" is supposed to exclude mere outrage. Nor embarrassment, anxiety or worry.

It always starts that way, and usually ends at "say anything that offends the ruling party and they throw your ass in jail". On the internet this seems to happen at internet speed, to. Most countries that forced ISPs to block a list of "child abuse/exploitation" IP addresses or site, which of course were not made public, only took 3 years or so before opposition party's material mysteriously was being blocked. Funny how that works.

The only real way to protect speech critical of the ruling party is to protect all speech (we're talking at the criminal level here, not torts for libel etc). Anything else is the camel's nose under the tent.

Comment: Re:Once Again (Score 1) 141 141

are saying that taxing people diverts spending away from non gov't goods and services, you are wrong

No, I'm saying that government spending does that, regardless of whether the revenue comes from taxes, borrowing, or glowing presses. Collectively we make what we make (goods and services), and whatever portion of that GDP is diverted into government hands is just that much less for the people (except for the remarkably tiny percentage of government spending that actually goes to needed infrastructure, perhaps, but that's almost a rounding error in recent budgets).

the economy is in a slump; in that case, gov.t spending is good

Oh, yes, it worked so well for the Greeks, I'm sure it will work just as well for us. It's individual consumer spending that has pulled us out of every recession, and that waits on stability more than anything else. The best thing the government can do in a recession is: change nothing: no new regulations, no obviously-temporary programs. Historically people start spending again once they feel they've adjusted to the "new normal".

your idea that lower taxes = more productivity is just wrong in some, and perhaps most circumstances

Again, spending, not taxes, is what affects efficiency, not productivity. "Broken windows" are great for productivity, but do nothing to actually make things better.

Comment: Re:They could save space (Score 1) 121 121

Facebook seems to have your friends in mind, at least for now. They have a system where old photos are store quite cheaply, because they simply fail to display the first time you try to view them. By giving up on storing them in a way that can serve a web page hit, Facebook can be quite cheap (though I hear they use powered-down HDDs, not optical - and Western Digital has a new line of HDDs just for this purpose).

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman