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Comment Re:Jews (Score 1) 150

Kings in the Dark and Middle ages were all Roman Catholic. The Church followed a teaching/verse from the bible that said that you cannot charge interest on money ("Neither a borrower nor a lender be" was taken to be a rule that people should actually follow!). As Kings began various wars, battles or land grabs they found themselves running short of gold and silver so they turned to the jewelers of the time (the Jews) who had the stuff in ingots and were willing to lend it for 2% interest. They also set very restrictive rules for repayment, since they didn't feel they could trust the kings and especially their descendants to pay off these debts, especially if they weren't successful.

SO, imagine the hilarity that would ensue when the Jewish "bankers" went to get their gold and silver back and it wasn't there. Imagine what the king's easy way out would be (Hmmm: filthy Jews are always telling lies and stealing gold from us!) Jews became the butt of not just jokes and ill-will, but it was encouraged into serious hatred and persecution over and over again. You would think the Jews would learn, but 2% of a bunch of gold was a lot of profit those days. Look at your credit card debt today to see what happened when the Pope stopped enforcing the "Neither a" rule. Bring back the Jews I say.

Comment Re:"Social Justice" prevents good journalism. (Score 1) 311

Sorry, but if you had taken some history classes you might be aware that racism is a thing in America. Here is a great example that I ran into reading something on William Lloyd Garrison, an abolishionist newspaper owner before, during and after the civil war. He was on a speaking tour with Frederick Douglas, the freed slave and British educated speaker, when, after he spoke, Douglas came on and was almost immediately booed and had rotten vegetables thrown at him on stage by the audiance. The people in the audience, who had cheered and given a standing ovation to Garrison just moments before, didn't want to hear or listen to a "filthy black" on the subject of their own emancipation. These were the people who wanted the blacks freed from slavery. The story is deep and continues all through American history, into my own life (as a son of the South). My mother who "didn't have a racist bone in her body," often talked about her many "colored friends" without ever failing to mention their color. She was so proud to have these connections to "the blacks."

Now I love my (dear, departed) mother but I must be realistic, she was someone who saw color always and forever. It was a primary marker of an individual and controled her relationship with that person. How she responded (patronizingly) to people of color was wrong, but not something she even recognized. She was, in this sense, a racist.

I argue that you, when you say "why is it that we never hear about the poor Chinese?" are trying to compare the history of black people held in slavery (and not the kind and generous Old World idea of slavery, but in a new and brutal form developed just for the New World) for hundreds of years against a people who came here as immigrants expecting to work hard and achieve success at the "golden mountain" (the Chinese name for San Francisco). Add to that the simple fact that Chinese and Indians arriving here today were born into higher estates in their home country which gave them a strong foundation education before arriving here to pursue advanced degrees and jobs. They are the top 1% of the top 1% in their home country.

Finally, I would argue that patriarchy works against everyone, male, female, black, white, Asian or Middle Eastern or European or American. We all lose when the best people for a job are sidelined because the vetting and choosing processes for employment or status in any social hierarchy are "gamed." When someone games them, no matter who they are, then everyone suffers. Unfortunately, people have become polarized by false arguments, straw men and logical fallacies promoted in the media and by people deliberately (or not) trying to warp reasonable discussion into something false and twisted. This story is just one of a daily barrage of these"cultural battles" that need to be addressed using reasonable discourse and thoughtful attention to reality and fact.

Perhaps, sadly, this is just the final "whimper" of our society disintegrating: if we don't promote reasonable discourse here in our own little forum that is peopled with educated, caring and intelligent people what can we expect from our children, politicians and others?
 

Comment Re:That sucks (Score 1) 276

The next poster says the US dept of Propaganda, but they don't have a wide enough view. Here is something from the register a few months ago:

{This reminds me of the occasion when the Daily Mail's ex-production editor tried to explain to me the underlying theme behind the popular British newspaper's unrelentingly frenzied quotidian obsession with house prices, illegal immigrants and things that supposedly give you cancer. "Every story is calculated to get across the same fundamental principle," he said, "and that's 'Be afraid be very afraid'."}

what possible chance do people who watch the news have when this campaign is going on 24/7 around the world. The media has learned what works: fear and sex. So that is what they sell. I can't stand it >

Comment Re:My nose (Score 1) 496

And we are already building at least one car that uses that same idea/tech: the Chevy Volt. Someone up or down from here said that this was only for the rich (electric cars in general they meant I suppose) but I make less than most of you and have a Volt that I bought new 2 years ago. I still love it, get 65+ mpg on average and most days just run on that 40 mile battery complained about.

Part of my success is making sensible and thoughtful choices. I leave the car at home many days because it is just easier to ride the bus to work. Takes longer, but I don't pay for parking, gas, extra wear and tear from road warriors putting on makeup at 7 AM, etc. Too many people only think about the pretty surface of what they want and not the chewy meat of it. In my case, my wife and I made choices that let us live a great lifestyle on about half of what other people I work with make. We do it by making unusual but good choices, like the Volt. One of the major offsets for us was the cost of fuel. Even today with the price in the basement, we save more than $100.00 a month compared to almost everyone in my office. Take $100 off your monthly car cost and see if a better car doesn't work out? Still not there, Take most of your maintenance costs off-- we have spent a grand total of $190.00 dollars for one oil change and one new tire in 2 years.

Oh, and all this would be much less except my wife uses the car two days a week as a courier and a couple nights a week for Uber/Lyft. Nuff said?

 

Comment Re:What? (Score 1) 325

What everyone is harping about (too much power in the hands of established editors) is the standard for academic acceptance of new information.

A story/an anecdote: My friend from Spain, Jorge, was working around US campuses as a visiting professor right after getting his newly minted PhD in Linguistics. He had discovered that he would never make it in a Spanish department where the Dean and the tenured professors were all much older than he was: they had set up their camp, only hired people they wanted who would defend the accepted ideas of the existing power structure and turn away anyone who didn't want to play the game their way. This is the reality for most departments with entrenched power structures.

Another, similar, power elite structure that occurs (and I maintain that these are all natural processes, not evil plans by greedy old men) is what goes on in my department (which is very young, very forward looking-- while the dean has a PhD, our "academic director" is still finishing theirs) and is still warped by an elite created by the simple numbers of faculty hired from the Applied Linguistics program run by our university. These kids come out of the program with a particular view of teaching that is reinforced by the fact that they all learned the same thing through the same process and expect the same results. Of course they see the world through the same filters. So someone like myself, with 15 years of experience in the field and another 4 years in this university, crashes into their established and "fully supported" approaches to the knowledge and its dissemination.

To conclude: To meet academic standards of quality for information, Wikipedia has recreated the established academic systems around areas of knowledge. This is really pretty understandable considering the reality of academic life. To rebuild, retrain, change expectations and outcomes and processes to something "better" without some kind of experimentation into results that improve the transmission of the information and the vetting process, there is no way to change it. The system does work, but very slowly and it stays at least a generation behind the times. Sometimes even more: I have been railing at the teaching of a particular piece of English pronunciation for almost twenty years, based on solid and easily reproducible and understandable research done in the 70s, and still it is taught, described and written as if the new ideas didn't exist. So, this is where human nature meets transmission of information.

Comment Re: Whoa (Score 1) 464

The history is deeper than this. Slavery in the new world was entirely different from slavery around the Mediterraean or in Asia and the Middle East. There were slaves in England, but they were called "Indentured Servants" and signed agreements to a limited time slavery. This was fairly common around the world. If your luck turned very bad it was an option that could save your life.
But new world slavery, that was entirely different. There was no agreement between the parties. There was a racial element that did not exist in the rest of the slave trade. In fact, the word "slave comes from "Slav" in other words Slavic people! They hit on hard times during the middle ages and sold themselves as slaves all over the world, and were white. Other differences: your children were born into slavery in the new world, but not in most other versions of slavery. Your marrieage was not legal, you could not educate yourself, or be educated by your owner in the new world. All of this marked a new kind of slavery that was easy to distinguish because of race.
So, that old argument, often used by racists and repeated but others who don't have all the facts (like me when I was young and unschooled in the world) can should be put to rest by the members of slashdot.

Comment Re:Marc Andreessen over-estimates his mental abili (Score 1) 106

And all of you running MA down have overseen the creation of much better, even world class, browser engines and finished browsers no doubt?

Really, whether you agree with MA or not, argue about the ideas, not the person. Didn't anybody, anywhere, anytime (mom, dad, teacher, mentor. professor?) ever teach you how to have a DISCUSSION? The focus of the discussion is on the ideas, not on the person. So let's reboot and try this again.

Shit! you just don't get it do you? Andressen, and what became of Netscape, are not the topic.

(actually, I liked Netscape more than anything else at the time. Then I liked Opera more. Then it fell behind and I went back to Netscape, except it was rebranded as Firefox, then I tried Chrome, then FF got better, then Chrome, then....

What was your problem to begin with? Oh, the way things change, ohhhh. And you are voting for Trump no doubt?

Comment Re: Duh (Score 1) 242

My, don't you wander a bit? First, the teachers don't get paid shit. I am a teacher, I belong to the union. They cabn't do much against the governor and the legislature who believe, as you have been told, that teachers are stupid.
But then you flipflop and talk about how wonderful the teachers are. What is going on with that? If they are so wonderful they wioll do as the last gen of teachers did and jump ship ASAP to someplace where they can get some money to feed family and self.

Comment Re:Schooling, perhaps? (Score 1) 519

Or is it just that if the kids stayed home then the parent would have to stay home, and therefore do something other than chauffeur the kids around. Remember though, that the kids the P is talking about are not the poor, they are the upper middies who can afford to have one of the parents as chauffeur. So this is less important for them. I would worry more about parents who are working threee jobs, kids unsupervised after school, homework not being finished or attempted, students not meeting the standards and goals set by the teacher and belonging to a group that prides itself on being "stupid."

That is the America in a lot of schools today, for poor kids especially.

Comment Re:Schooling, perhaps? (Score 1) 519

No, he is right. I belong to an NEA connected teacher's Union and we battle to get a 3% raise for faculty at a rising star university in Florida. Florida has the money, Florida needs to keep their faculty (and they are leaving now to get better pay in other universities) andwe are already in the bottom quartile for Adjuncts and instructors (instructional faculty as opposed to research faculty who are tenured or tenure track). But even the tenure track stars are still well below average here. The Unions struggle to keep @10% of the faculty as members, when we pay 1% of our income to the union for dues. So the 3% return is well worth it for our income which would be stagnant without the pressure they provide.

So, the old ideas about unions are real bullshit now, but, interestingly, I was teaching a History remedial class this past semester and in my prep I ran across anti-union speeches given by the 1%ers of the time and damned if they weren't reading from the same playbook more than 100 years ago. Join a union, get a payraise and lose your job because you are too expensive to hire any more.

Really, read some real history about working class and middle class people and forget what your buddies at Fox are telling you. They are the pawns of the system.

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"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman

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