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Comment: Sigh (Score 1) 201

by fyngyrz (#48284677) Attached to: Most Planets In the Universe Are Homeless

Now that we've finally detected the first of these, we have an excellent idea that this picture is the correct one: most planets in the Universe are homeless.

Now that we've finally detected the first of these, we have an excellent idea that this picture is the correct one: it appears that some planets in the local area where we can actually take a measurement are homeless. The broader aspect of our universe's distribution of homeless planets remains completely unknown, as does the explicit state of the local area.

FTF TFS and perhaps even for TFA.

Comment: It's not pandering -- it's rejection. (Score 4, Insightful) 737

by fyngyrz (#48273705) Attached to: Tim Cook: "I'm Proud To Be Gay"

the 'proud' crap is just pandering to a demographic

You're entirely missing the point. There are many people who feel that gay == shameful, the direct implication being that they want gay folk to feel ashamed. Proud is an in-their-face declaration that they are not ashamed.

That's all it is.

It's the same for any aspect of life for which there are detractors; some people think geekery is a bad thing; hence "geek and proud." Some people think prostitution is a bad thing; hence "sex worker and proud", and so on for a long list of "your prejudices do not define me" issues.

It's a very natural -- and correct -- reaction to a society where people are encouraged to coerce others into specific behavioral channels without regard for the consent or interest of those others.

Comment: Re:For the Future (Score 1) 73

by Rei (#48259471) Attached to: Location of Spilled Oil From 2010 Deepwater Horizon Event Found

I question how much it's still "oil". Oil, outside of reservoirs, evolves. The volatiles slowly separate out; their ultimate fate is evaporation and photodegradation. The shortest chains are lost rapidly, but the longer they get, the longer they take to disappear. As volatiles are lost, the oil thickens. It eventually becomes tar, and then basically asphalt.

Comment: The "atheism engenders murder" fallacy (Score 1) 992

by fyngyrz (#48255953) Attached to: Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

Stalin and Mao found no ideas in atheism -- lack of belief in a god or gods -- that led them to kill anyone. This simply because there are no such ideas. Atheism has no dogma, no canon, no nothing. The state of atheism consists of a lack of belief in a god or gods, and nothing else. Consequently, ideas like "kill some number of people" by definition come from another source. And in particular:

Stalin and Mao were psychopaths (crackpots, frankly), and that is where you want to look to find out what drove them to kill. Whatever you find, it is an absolute certainty it won't be atheism.

However, the crusades were, in fact, driven to a significant extent specifically by theist reasoning, canon and dogma. As were the murders and tortures perpetrated during the inquisitions, the witch-hunts and subsequent burnings, blood libel, and pogroms, many events such as the 9/11 incidents, various wars, as well as the lesser but still despicable centuries of subjugation of women, repression of sexuality, interference with relationships and legislation, social ostracism, and so on.

I will also say that theist thought has also been the prime motivator for a massive amount of great art in many forms -- sculpture, paintings, architecture, music and a whole host of various other artifacts, and when charity and compassion are foremost and the compulsion to impose belief is absent or at least minimal, theism is at its absolute best at doing little to no harm while doing extensive good. This does not, in any way, say that we should forget, or forgive, or ignore, the many evils done in the past, being done now, and those impending, in the cause of theism.

So you want to be very careful before you go waving Stalin and Mao around as examples of atheism causing problems, or, as a counter to the historical fact of the murders committed directly for the (various) causes of religion . Atheism providing a rationale to harm others is not the reality. It's never been the reality. Claiming it is the reality is either disingenuous or ignorant.

Comment: Re:needs rebranding (Score 1) 64

by Rei (#48248901) Attached to: Lava Flow In Hawaii Gains Speed, Triggers Methane Explosions

I just typed it. But Slashdot simply "disappears" thorn characters, which is annoying.

Bárðarbunga is full of eye candy. I can point to abundant examples including no shortage of videos on Youtube / Vimeo.

As for pronunciation: Á is said "ow". BOWR-dthar-BOON-ka. The R is an alveolar tap or trill. If that's too hard for you, you can also call it Holuhraun (HOLE-ih-HROYN), Nornahraun (NORDN-uh-HROYN), THorbjargarhraun (THOR-Byardg-ar-HROYN), or a bunch of other names (the TH should really be a thorn, but again, Slashdot silently eats thorns). Among the many proposals for names was Holuhraunshraunshraunshraun, which was suggested because it would be fun watching foreigners try to pronounce it ;) It was never actually a serious contender, but I wrote an article poking fun at the concept on Uncyclopedia at one point ;)

Comment: Bangage (Score 1) 992

by fyngyrz (#48247409) Attached to: Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

we do know that the big bang created a whole lot of hot, dense plasma with incredible amounts of energy

No. We don't know that. It is the theory with the most adherents today; but inasmuch as it depends upon physics that we have no inkling of, we're quite short of "knowing" that this is what happened. Right now, it might as well have a formal basis of "it started with magic."

We're extrapolating backwards; and like a thrown baseball where the pitcher was unseen, we run the danger of assuming the ball came out of the ground and trying to make up an explanation to fit that idea -- because we can't see the pitcher. If true, that would take new physics understandings/discoveries. The big bang has the same requirements. That should be more than enough reason to not apply really high confidence to the big bang idea -- yet. Still, based on hand-waving though it is, it's the best there is at this point in time because like the thrown baseball, we can make the picture work all the way down to the ground, It all makes sense until... it suddenly doesn't. The odds are decent that it is correct, and we just have to figure a few more things out (or a lot of them), but since we have not gotten there yet... some reserve is called for.

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