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Comment ...you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld (Score 1) 622

And then you'll get rid of the Dane!

Even if you don't believe in bright-line ethical rules in favor of free speech, surely any consequentialist calculation of what will happen by bending this rule has to include not only the present murderers' reduced incentive to complain but also any future complaintants' increased incentive to murder.

Comment Re:Actually Miguel... (Score 2) 933

Certainly "with compiz, it's snazzier" - for a while with Gnome2 + Compiz, even non-Linux blogs were filling up with "wow, you could make your computer look like *this*!" Youtube videos. Has anybody seen videos of Gnome 3 or Unity which impress non-users?

The newest XFCE + Compiz on Ubuntu 12.04 doesn't seem to be stable enough for me, though. Not sure which of them is to blame (or if it's NVidia's drivers, something else...)

Comment Re:What did you expect? (Score 1) 355

The additional facts and context are much appreciated. However:

Now, I'm not trying to say "knocking every anonymous remailer off the internet is justified". Please don't assume I think that.

Do you instead think that "allowing unlimited anonymous communication is justified", even if it means that false bomb threats become as common as litter? Although I'm sure we'd all agree that ethically there's a middle ground between these two points, that may be a moot point if technically no such middle ground exists. And I don't see a technical middle ground, do you? Either truly anonymous speech is possible or it isn't. The mixmaster software can't distinguish between good and evil messages passing through.

Comment Re:Amazing (Score 2) 118

Isn't the Space Age as dead as a 19th century coal locomotive?

Coal locomotives are dead because they were supplanted by much better designs. Space Age rockets are dead because they weren't. Huge difference.

Would anyone get excited if a "private" company was building a large coal-fired boiler and saying "wow, one day we'll be able to do what we did in the past! Glory days!"

If a private company unveiled a locomotive engine whose performance-to-price ratio was an order of magnitude better than the current state of the art , everyone would be rightly excited.

Almost everyone would be excited, I mean; there's never been a shortage of idiots. I'm sure there were 19th century equivalents of this AC, demanding to know why everyone was getting so excited about putting a two-millenia-old technology like an aeolipile on wheels.

Comment Re:you're a troll but even so.... (Score 1) 612

You are accusing them of being suicidal.

"Potential mass murderers aren't a threat if they'd have to commit suicide in the process" is almost a hilariously unpersuasive argument.

Also: are we particularly worried about rockets, here? Rockets travelling at 7,000 m/s are only important for retaliatory strikes, where you need to get your nukes in the air before the bases storing them become craters. For an unexpected first strike, cargo ships travelling at 7 m/s would do just fine instead. Not just fine, but much, much better in the case where there exists more than one potential culprit. If Tel-Aviv mysteriously explodes tomorrow, I'd agree that Pakistan will "become a glass desert in 1 day". If Tel-Aviv mysteriously explodes in 50 years, when nobody's sure whether to blame Pakistan or Iran or Saudi Arabia or Indonesia or whoever else has invented/bought/seized nukes by then, odds are the bombers get away scot-free.

Iran never invaded anybody and never toppled any foreign government while the US army and the CIA did, multiple times.

On the other hand, it is hard to argue with this. At best the warmongers are just the boys who cried wolf now. "Fool me once, shame on... shame on you. Fool me... you can't get fooled again."

Comment Exactly (Score 1) 798

If this was LeenuxSux88@hotmail.com's blog post, then it would have been trolling for Slashdot to link to it.

But this is an explanation for why Unity sucks, written by the man most responsible for Unity. It's not an explicit, *intentional* explanation, mind you, but the chasm between intent and reality here is just another part of the implicit explanation.

The guy doesn't even understand the power geeks he's stereotyping. Most of us *love* graphical bling. That even goes for silly fun like wobbly windows or funny-shaped window border decoration themes, not to mention actually useful features like translucency. Regardless, as long as it's optional (i.e. designed correctly), it's a great option to have. It's even a fine default option, so long as you automatically fall back properly for incompatible hardware and you don't make it too hard to turn off for unimpressed users.

What we hate is systems with fewer options and systems with less usefulness. If there's something that used to be possible or even simple but is now impossible or more complex, then the system has become worse. Gnome 3 has become worse than Gnome 2, and Unity is worse than Gnome 3.

Comment Bingo! (Score 1) 633

A constant positive debt/GDP is basically a heavily regressive transfer payment program: you take money from people based on income (i.e. "new money") and you give it to other people based on wealth (i.e. "old money").

A great scheme for the old money, if only they could have pulled it off. The trouble is keeping politicians on a short enough leash that they can maintain "constant", despite them having every incentive to trade short-term economic growth ("look what great stuff I bought on the credit card!") for long-term pain ("look what a horrible person that other guy is for suggesting we pay down our credit cards!").

Comment Re:Say what? (Score 1) 633

Ah, so it's like how I don't have to worry about whether my mortgage costs more than it's worth, because I can always pay back my debt by selling my always-appreciating house at a higher price. Or maybe it's more like how I can always recoup the cost of my Pets.com stock regardless of profits because I can just find some new buyer to take the stock from me for even more money?

One thing's for sure: ignoring the intrinsic values of a transaction because we'll always be able to cover our butts by finding some one even more ignorant later is a well-thought-out plan that could never possibly backfire on us horrifically.

Comment Green goo may be more limited than grey goo (Score 1) 234

The main reason our particular species of green goo hasn't overtaken the planet, for example, is that we find lots of other species cute and so we've made a conscious decision not to exterminate them. And even then we lost (and are still losing) quite a few other interesting and useful parts of the biosphere, as we pass through the dangerous "apes with tools" phase on the way in between "apes" and "apes with tools and self-restraint".

What if "bacteria with tools" turn out to be just as big a step above bacteria? Evolution has surely found a pretty good local optimum for bacteria, but intelligent invention may still be able to find a non-local improvement. Apes evolved to be successful omnivores for a very long time, but that didn't mean it wasn't a huge change when some of them started equipping themselves with spears, bows and arrows, guns...

Comment Facts from Paul Revere (Score 1) 767

"I, PAUL REVERE, of Boston, in the colony of the Massachusetts Bay in New England; of lawful age, do testify and say; that I was sent for by Dr. Joseph Warren, of said Boston, on the evening of the 18th of April, about 10 o'clock; when he desired me, ''to go to Lexington, and inform Mr. Samuel Adams, and the Hon. John Hancock Esq. that there was a number of soldiers, composed of light troops, and grenadiers, marching to the bottom of the common, where there was a number of boats to receive them; it was supposed that they were going to Lexington, by the way of Cambridge River, to take them, or go to Concord, to destroy the colony stores.''

The stores being referred to here are guns, gunpowder, and shot. And their suppositions turned out to be correct: Gage and his troops were indeed heading to seize and destroy those stores.

Moving past your mistakes of fact and on to your mistake of philosophy: facts only have to hurt you if you let them. Learning unexpected new truths, and more importantly figuring out which biases had led you to believe old falsehoods, are good things. The less you fight the process, the less it hurts.

Comment Allopathy (Score 1) 349

Explained most beautifully here:

For those who don't know the jargon, "allopathic" is a homeopath's word. "Homeo"= same, "Allo"= other. So real doctors are "allopaths" because they treat diseases with something other than what homeopaths think causes the disease.

Homeopaths actually regard this as a pejorative, which tells you just how fucking dumb this shit is.

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