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Comment: Re:To avoid this.. (Score 1) 396

by residue (#27567263) Attached to: Was the Amazon De-Listing Situation a Glitch Or a Hack?

The question under debate (which we do not have an answer on, unlike the eye color question) is actually two questions in sequence:
- Whether homosexuality falls into the first, second, or third category from above.

Do you have control over being attracted to men vs. women? You may be attracted to both, or choose to pursue or not pursue your attraction, but I don't know how you can even consider this question "under debate." I know lots of gay people, and also lots of straight people, and all shades in between, and I don't know anyone that thinks they can control the object of their sexual attraction.

Comment: Re:To avoid this.. (Score 2, Insightful) 396

by residue (#27567215) Attached to: Was the Amazon De-Listing Situation a Glitch Or a Hack?

why is it unfair that parents (whose interest is in seeing their kids marry and produce the next generation) would be worried about their kids being told that homosexuality was "perfectly normal", "acceptable", or something else?

Because parents' interest is usually not in seeing their kids "produce the next generation" - but in seeing their kids live happy lives! Sure, they want grandkids, but not ones raised in a family with an unhappy parent who lives a concocted life that doesn't represent his/her natural desires!

Comment: Re:To avoid this.. (Score 2, Insightful) 396

by residue (#27567189) Attached to: Was the Amazon De-Listing Situation a Glitch Or a Hack?

Here's an experiment for you - find some random object/picture and stare at it while jacking off. Do that enough times, and you'll start to get horny when you see the object. It's a conditioned response involving brain chemistry and hormones. See also: Pavlov.

Actually, quite the opposite happens with me. When I jack off looking at one thing, after a few times, I no longer find it erotic. I'm willing to bet it's the same with you.

Like it or not, we do have natural inclinations when it comes to sexual attraction. I've known a lot of gay people, on account of my sister being a lesbian, and there really are as many different varieties of sexual identity as there are people. But in no way is it ever a conscious choice who you are attracted to. Many of the people I know curse their fate for making them what is seen as unacceptable in the eyes of society. That's why growing up knowing that "it's OK" is very important.

Comment: Re:Is this really "counting" (Score 1) 184

by residue (#27451657) Attached to: Baby Chicks Have Innate Mathematical Skills

but if they're able to keep track of shifting quantities that's math.

I don't think so. If they could see the quantities directly, it wouldn't be math, right? For example, seeing which has more water, a puddle or a lake - you wouldn't say that requires math.

So the difference is that they can't see the quantities. I think it's more likely to attribute to the chicks a primitive ability to visualize, rather than an ability to "count"... counting is just too abstract.

Comment: Re:Sesame Street & the Importance of Bilingual (Score 2, Interesting) 1077

by residue (#27407805) Attached to: Shouldn't Every Developer Understand English?

I visited St. Petersburg in Russia a week ago and nobody spoke english well.

Unfortunately this is so. I'm from St. Petersburg originally, and recently worked there briefly as a developer. Developers in Russia are actually the most English-literate group (other than linguists?) - they have the most incentive to be immersed in any sort of English-speaking medium.

The problem is simple - dubbing. More than half of TV and movies shown in Russia are from English-speaking countries, like everywhere else, but they are all overdubbed with Russian speech. Change that to subtitles and at least the structure and intonations of the English language become internalized as you grow up, making the acquisition of English a piece of cake.

My cousin in Israel grew up perfectly trilingual, because she was from a Russian family and all of TV was in English.

Comment: Re:This is nothing. (Score 1) 521

by residue (#27334875) Attached to: Microchip Mimics a Brain With 200,000 Neurons

Mod parent up. Any Turing-complete computing device, given enough memory and storage, can replicate anything this hardware can do.

The point is not that this is some new process that couldn't be replicated, it's that this is a massively-parallel computer (like our brain). When simulated in software running on serial hardware (even pipelined!), it is 200,000 slower, therefore completely impractical. It's like trying to break RSA encryption by hand.

Comment: Re:I always figured it would take this to get true (Score 1) 521

by residue (#27334743) Attached to: Microchip Mimics a Brain With 200,000 Neurons

The chip might take several redesigns over several years to get a solid model of a properly functioning neuron. I mean, who is going to notice a schizophrenic ant or beetle, or a rat with the mental equivalent of down's syndrome?

Schizophrenia and Down's syndrome are HUMAN diseases; these neurons are being constructed not to build a human brain, which has a structure at least as intricate as the human BODY, but some generic processing unit.

What you are implying is a little like saying, hey we were able to join 200,000 generic cells together into a unit in the lab, but we better get all the chemicals right, or else the unit will have kidney stones.

Comment: Re:Or they're terrified (Score 4, Interesting) 921

by residue (#27248785) Attached to: Study Finds the Pious Fight Death Hardest

It makes absolutely no sense to me how people can believe in religion when things like this are fairly common.

This is the problem with all Slashdot discussions on religion. All you see is logical analysis of faith and doctrines, pointing out inconsistencies, irrationalities. Of course, most techies have overemphasized rational thinking, and most don't realize that this is but one faculty governing a man's life, and the feeling that this faculty is the one that sits in the big chair is illusory.

And occasionally you see a Christian defend faith, but on the same rationality battlefield, bringing up specious "complex design" or "unprovability of the absence of God" arguments. This is the same fallacy that pits religion against science, as competing descriptions of the world. Inevitably religion loses this concocted battle, because science actually provides a model of the world, while religion is a FEELING.

Why do people believe in religion? And I don't mean people that were born into it and inertially follow the organized traditions, without delving into the questions and their own personal relationship to religion. It is also primitive and uninsightful to attribute the persistence and strength of religions throughout human history to some vague conspiracy-leaning theory about how religion is just another way to hold power and kill people. The people that form the living heart of religions, those that sustain its strength and move it forward (yes, religions progress!) are those that perceive what Jung called the numen, a divine feeling from the inside.

So, why do such people believe in religion? Because the stories of God coincide with the numinous feelings that they themselves experience. The question of where, psychologically, evolutionarily, these feelings come from is irrelevant to these people, since such feelings are often the most real-seeming experiences of one's life, laden with meaning and filling their lives with a sense of purpose.

Now, before you dismiss me as some nutcase, I don't myself have such strong experiences, and am more interested in studying them from a psychological standpoint, but my research consistently points out the ignorance of modern man in regard to what religion really is - a basic perception. Do you believe in sound? Or just hear it?

Of course, it is religion's own fault for not articulating itself better in today's ultra-rational world, and attempting to lay claim to some part of the physical world, through a physical God.

Comment: Re:Blindsight, Deafhearing and Alien Limbs (Score 1) 191

by residue (#26234485) Attached to: Blind Man Navigates Obstacle Maze Unaided

I'm referring to the "running through a pitch-black forest" and "navigating the desert at night" - in these cases the light really isn't there!

If you can't see because there are too few photons reaching your retina, it doesn't matter which neural pathways you're using, you're blind!

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.