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Comment: Re:Because... (Score 2) 325

by udippel (#47185621) Attached to: Fixing the Humanities Ph.D.

Tensions, stupidity, misguided masculinity, religious stupidity; all those are coming closer by the day; encircle us.

On what basis do you claim these things? Objectively speaking the world has been improving over the last 50 years along almost every dimension you could look at, in some cases dramatically: Air quality, water quality, length of workweek, access to information, health care and lifespan, crime rates of all kinds (murder, theft, sexual assault), standard of living.

Yep. For *some* of us, this is true. It is not true for the people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, almost all of the Maghreb. Anyplace tropical Africa and below, including South Africa. It is not true for the poor in the developed world, with the gap of the 'Haves' and the 'Havenots' increasing continuously. Read the article in The Baffler (referenced above) on the decline of North American Universities; at least their continued conversions into industries; and you'll find that the misery has increased, not decreased, since the 1970's for the underprivileged in the USA. Europe? Several countries hoovering around bankruptcy for some years now. Close to one billion people undernourished is not compensated by the epidemic level of obesity in the developed world. Languages are getting extinct; and so do species of flora and fauna in South-East-Asia; simple from greedily uprooting primary jungle. I don't remember how many acres are lost daily in Brasil, for the same reason.
Access to healthcare? I for one see an increasing number of people who drop out of healthcare for purely monetary reasons: they cannot afford it any longer. Oh yes, I am talking about the developed world. Access to information; that's true, because it brings a good ROI. Don't try to tell me any carrier increases coverage in Africa for humanitarian reasons. Are the Putins of this world what a statesman ought to be? Are the fundamentalist Muslims on the rise, and spread, or on the decline? Is democracy on the rise or on the decline? Standard of living? Cheapo tablets and great iPhones have advanced the standard of living - not so much for the exploited factory workers in PRC, who work non-regular hours under inhuman conditions ("length of workweek") to assemble all those machines; including being slowly poisoned. And the trash industry; I had the dubious honour to observe human beings crawling through dirt and trash to extract material for recycling; including wading in lakes of chemicals and pulling out things with their bare hands in Asia. For the advances that you describe above. Advances, true, but for a minority of the humans on this planet.

I stop here. I have nothing against bean counters, engineers, linguists, natural scientists, etc. I agree that everyone has the potential to improve this world of ours. Including writers, philosophers, you name them. But, and that's a big 'but', as we can see, including from the discussion in here, is that materialism and monetary / economic aspects have unabatedly taken the lead over anything else. Whatever someone does, is not based on a vocation, rather on economic considerations. And the results, samples given further up, are often based on economics having taken the primary lead in decision making. What a bleak future, when we decide to submit ourselves, our environment, our planet, to the dictate of maximizing returns.

(And only for completeness, no, I do not think the 'creation' of more and 'simpler' PhDs in the humanities would solve anything.)

Comment: Re:Because... (Score 2) 325

by udippel (#47182717) Attached to: Fixing the Humanities Ph.D.

Yes and no. While I shudder at the thought that a PhD in humanities should pay a 6-digit figure almost automatically, I also shudder at the thought, shudder even worse, that humanities are on the decline while actually seriously needed for the progress, if not survival of mankind. Look around, and the misery increases, globally. Tensions, stupidity, misguided masculinity, religious stupidity; all those are coming closer by the day; encircle us.
It looks like as if we had already passed the baton from the humanities to the bean-counters. That would've been an awful decision for the future of us and our children.

Comment: Re:Because... (Score 1) 325

by udippel (#47182629) Attached to: Fixing the Humanities Ph.D.

Perhaps the lesson here is that PhDs in Humanities are incapable of understanding their place in the world?

Wow, that last sentence of yours scares me! There is a lot to argue about the notion in the MLA report that sees almost everyone tenured - that also scares me! - ; but I am confident that we as human race are running into quick stagnation, if not decline, without humanities. Without arts. We are, and that's only my conviction, running aground once everyone starts to chose apprenticeship, undergrad or doctoral study based on future income.
I miss the old days, when many had the opportunity, and desire, and courage, to follow a vocation instead of a job.

Comment: From the summary, the approach is wrong (Score 1) 165

by udippel (#47027011) Attached to: US Navy Wants Smart Robots With Morals, Ethics

[And who would ever read TFA; we are in /. !]
Reading the summary, I gather the usual driss that AI has been offering over the last 2 generations: A pre-programmed decision tree instead of an instance of real ethics, morality, or thought. The whole scenario does not sound like the US Navy would get anything close to an autonomous apparatus to be send out into the field, gather information, learn and improve from it, and take reasonable decisions based on a full analysis of the underlying facts. It rather reads like a dictionary of possible, pre-defined situations were stored, with some values of 'niceness', priorities, conveniences and disposables attached to them, and then the machines will follow their - kind of - hardcoded inherent rules.

If this was the case, there's nothing to be seen here, and everyone may well move along.

Comment: helpful?? (Score 1) 589

by udippel (#46926157) Attached to: Microsoft Cheaper To Use Than Open Source Software, UK CIO Says

"most staff are already familiar with Microsoft products"

this is very much true, and the main reason for Microsoft's grip on the market. People intuitively reject change, new interfaces, etc.

"and [that] Microsoft has been flexible and more helpful"

kind of invalidates the good person's arguments. Firstly, it actually is not the case (at least not for organisations as large as Hampshire County Council); and then a prostitute tends to be more helpful to a man's sexual needs than the wife/partner; otherwise the client's visit at her place of work would be superfluous.

Comment: Recently, in Ruhrort (Score 1) 264

by udippel (#46897753) Attached to: An MIT Dean's Defense of the Humanities

I noticed some words painted on a defunct building while passing by on a tram. It said something like "Kunst ist keine Krücke, sondern das Rückgrat der Gesellschaft" (my excuses if cited not totally correct) - "Art is not the crutch but the the backbone of society". I have remembered the meaning ever since.
Humanities are on an induced decline - but arts are even more at the receiving end of the queue, because it serves even less in economic terms compared to the humanities.
It is obviously forgotten that man is not a human without art. So Henlein was correct with the 'insects' - highly intelligent in a specialized area or not makes no difference. Ants are surely better in a number of collective functions than humans.

Comment: Re:Time to move into the Century of the fruit bat. (Score 1) 1198

by udippel (#46883903) Attached to: Oklahoma Botched an Execution With Untested Lethal Injection Drugs

Vengeance? It's no vengeance I'm in for. Actually, I would not want him tortured. My question was rhetorical. No, we should not stoop to the level of that.
Though - and you might not like it either - I have no qualms to see his eviction from the living part of the human race. His deeds have forfeited him all rights to live among humans; and if only because there is no regret, no extenuating circumstance, only bloody lust of hurting and killing that he has demonstrated.
He is, you may call me cynical if you want, however entitled to a torture-free death and that's what he was deprived of through the clumsiness of some medical staff.

Comment: Re:What's the problem? (Score 1) 1198

by udippel (#46882847) Attached to: Oklahoma Botched an Execution With Untested Lethal Injection Drugs

The whole idea of punishing criminals seems pointless to me. How about rehabilitating them? If somebody is innocent, then we rehabilitate them and in theory that should go pretty quickly since they weren't particularly prone to committing crimes in the first place. If somebody is a likely criminal, then rehabilitation should involve whatever it takes to make them no longer a likely criminal.

Sorry, but you come across like a tad naive person. What do you mean 'then we rehabilitate them'?? How's this done?? Do you think it only takes some effort, a bit of psychology, and then - voilà - the murderer cum rapist who buried alive the girl he had raped before turns into an angel? Or what?

Comment: Re:Time to move into the Century of the fruit bat. (Score 1) 1198

by udippel (#46880527) Attached to: Oklahoma Botched an Execution With Untested Lethal Injection Drugs

I have to doubt that locking up for life is actually cheaper. Okay, a prison is no 3-star hotel, but a lot of items, food, clothing, medical care, heating, eventual air-conditioning, etc. and not to forget round-the-clock guards .... No, I can't believe that.
Revenge is a strange animal in this context. He found it 'okay' to bury someone alive. If it is okay for him, what's wrong with doing the same on him?

The first Rotarian was the first man to call John the Baptist "Jack." -- H.L. Mencken