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Comment: Re:More citizens should understand democracy. (Score 1) 466

by notwrong (#27483295) Attached to: Columnist Fired For Reviewing Pirated Movie

In a country that is democratic, reporters must be allowed to report anything that is true.

I agree with you on this. However, I think it is also the case that in a country that is democratic, media comapnies must be allowed to fire reporters who violate their stated policies in obtaining that truth.

Comment: Re:Or they're terrified (Score 3, Informative) 921

by notwrong (#27251781) Attached to: Study Finds the Pious Fight Death Hardest

That's some pretty serious twisting of the facts there to suit a particular worldview.

Atheist does not mean "non-monotheist". The Romans were by no means atheists. While there is evidence of persecution of Christianity for some time, it was eventually absorbed as the state religion, and coalesced into the Roman Catholic Church. The title of Pontifex Maximus, now applied to the Pope, was once held by Julius Caesar.

To assert that Christianity has been unchanged before or since this time is just strange. Ever heard of the Council of Nicaea or Vatican II? How about the fate of Gnosticism?

Your desert claims are ridiculous. Where did Jesus go for 40 days and 40 nights, to be tempted by the devil, if there was no desert in Ancient Israel?.

It is hard to buy your argument that Christianity somehow "works". It has split into innumerable denominations, further underlining its mutability. Allegedly righteous Christians launched the Crusades and used their religion as justification for colonialism and slavery for centuries. The modern world only even began to "work" when Europe was released from religious domination of state affairs.

I do agree with you that not all ideas ideas in established religions are simply random. Successful religions will tend to have properties that lead to that success. There is no reason to believe, however, that benefit for believers or alignment with actual truth about the world are well-represented among these properties.

Comment: Re:LaTex Who? (Score 2, Informative) 328

by notwrong (#27189833) Attached to: Collaborative Academic Writing Software?

Which fields? I also am a trained observer, and my observations are somewhat different.

I have submitted to conferences and journals in two rather distinct fields (cognitive science and natural language processing) and have come across few that did not accept LaTeX, though sometimes in cognitive science it was a bit of an uphill battle.

Most commonly for conferences (which in natural language processing and some other computer science fields are the main up-to-date research publication avenue) there is a style file and document template for LaTeX, which you use as the starting point for your document. You then send through a PDF which is already formatted exactly according to their guidelines from the moment of submission.

The premiere journal in natural language processing (Computational Linguistics) for example, certainly requires LaTeX.

I'm not saying you're wrong, as I'm sure there are plenty of fields where Word is the norm. It just varies. Personally I find LaTeX extremely frustrating, but it is sufficiently less frustrating than Word that I strongly prefer it. The key benefits for me all flow from the separation of format from content. The formatting instructions are explicit, rather than hidden in invisible characters and attributes of the document. If you keep the text-based source in version control, you can always get back to a previous state, and don't wind up have multiple divergent copies as attachments to a multitude of emails. Manually merging a word document that has branched is a bit of a pain, to put it mildly.

Comment: Re:Obama == Bush (corporate friend)? (Score 1) 546

by notwrong (#26897175) Attached to: Will Obama's DOJ Intervene To Help RIAA?

Are you sure that a country that has repeatedly elected one of the richest men in the world as Prime Minister is a good example of a one-person-one-vote outcome as opposed to one-dollar-one-vote?

I don't disagree that he, or several of the others are 'bad'. I just think that when someone is an immensely wealthy and powerful media baron, you can't really discount the impact of that wealth and media power on their political success.

Comment: Re:End Copyright (Score 1) 664

by notwrong (#26842949) Attached to: Pirate Bay Operators Stand Trial On Monday

There is a point to copyright law, and there is a point to drug prohibition laws. Neither of these do more harm than good... Similarly, if you had really been affected by drug abuse whether personally or by those close to you, you wouldn't be spouting such jibberish about ending it.

I know this is getting off-topic, but...

You imply that the effects of drug abuse which someone plausibly might have experienced are terrible. Given that these terrible effects can and do occur under the current prohibition laws, doesn't that give a strong indication that prohibition is ineffective?

Prohibition renders massive numbers of people who haven't harmed anyone into criminals, and pushes up the profitability of participating in the drug trade, funneling money to organised crime, militant groups and helping foster corruption in poorer states. Taking this along with its ineffectiveness in preventing drug abuse, I think the position that the current system does more harm than good is at least arguable. You are free to disagree with it, but it is hardly "jibberish".

Comment: Re:Perfection Has a Price (Score 1) 726

by notwrong (#26427297) Attached to: More Than Coding Errors Behind Bad Software

All of my code was reviewed by a senior developer for a period of time until I gained their trust and I could work independently.


Every development crew needs to have senior folks to show the junior people the ropes and talk them through the pitfalls that all young programmers fall into.

I agree that it is a good idea to have senior developers review junior developers' code - but I don't think this should ever have to stop. Having someone else actually pay attention to and sign off on code before it goes out is a good idea, irrespective of seniority. Having a less experienced person reviewing a more experienced developer's code is also useful: it can help them to understand the codebase and learn from the experience. They might even catch problems or laziness in the code, or have some useful ideas of their own.

"I may kid around about drugs, but really, I take them seriously." - Doctor Graper