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Comment Re:Here one angle (Score 1) 1123

I have seen far, far too many Christians tie themselves in knots making God's "love" compatible with large-scale genocide (have you read the Old Testament?) and misogyny to accept their claims about deified love at face value. But good on you for recognizing the human decency of scientists, who are often confused with their nerdy, self-obsessed caricatures in movies.

Comment Re:Science answers how. (Score 1) 1123

Religion does not answer the 'why'. It wishes it could and gives you speculation, ignorance, and, best of all, ancient speculation and ignorance.

It is true that science isn't going to give you personal value judgments. It will show you how X affects Y, it can show you how dismal conditions are if you set up society certain ways, but it won't tell you that it's "good" because that isn't something directly supportable by the data, it must be set up by individuals and societies. Because science won't do that, for some reason people assume it's A-OK for someone in a frock to jump in and claim authority over that domain - you must question that. Human ethics and philosophy address those questions (and are more general) without having to appeal to pseudoscientific/unscientific claims to existence of things like a deity, hell, creation myths, or intrinsic properties of the universe (which religion does routinely, despite your appeal to NOMA). This does not make a given set of ethics or philosophy automatically right, either, nor does it mean they have "the answers".

Comment Re:There is nothing wrong with being spiritual (Score 2, Interesting) 1123

There's a common confusion here. Grandparent is not being explicitly intolerant - they are being critical. Criticizing religion or stating a problem are not in the same league as demanding coercion or social ostracization (i.e. racism). The fact that racism is based on ignorance, blind fear, and the intrinsic properties of a person also makes it a poor comparison for a criticism of religion, which has (quite obviously) many intellectual faults and is an academic (heh) topic, something chosen by people.

I think I've made it clear that I also oppose religious thinking, but that should not detract from my point.

The second point I'd like to make is about being "open-minded" in science. Being open-minded does not mean accepting ideas uncritically or even being polite about all ideas. It means being open to a reasonable possibility and deferring to the data and predictions, no matter how strange. Some ideas or claims are simply stupid or insulting (and utterly unsupported) and being "open-minded" should not and *will not* impede scientists from saying so. Luckily, most scientists who are also religious don't confuse their religion with their science and try to keep up a strict barrier: most caims about existence subject to rigorous skepticism are placed in the 'science' area, "personal beliefs" about existence largely shielded from skepticism in the "religion" area. While I think this is intellectually indefensible, they are at least *mostly* consistent within each of their domains.

I seem to be rambling. The point is that the status quo holds claims of existence to have at least two domains: religious and scientific. These domains are fairly arbitrary, the primary difference being that religious claims are utterly unsupported by rigorous empiricism and are not routinely subjected to intense rational skepticism. Pointing out the failings of religion and their illogic does *not* make one intolerant, it makes one observant. It does *not* make one narrow-minded to criticize or to treat truly ridiculous ideas as laughable, it makes one realistic.

Finally, if I had such a knee-jerk reaction as the parent, I'd call them intolerant as well - they are clearly not fine with criticisms of religion and want it to be suppressed as "intolerance". Instead, I know that they are just falling prey to the status quo of religious claims getting the nerf bat treatment.

tl;dr: grandparent isn't intolerant, they're critical. There's a difference and scientists, of all people, know this very well.
PC Games (Games)

Civilization V To Use Steamworks 295

sopssa writes "2K Games today announced that Civilization V will be using Steamworks for online matchmaking, automated updates, downloadable content and DRM for the game. Steam's Civ V store page is also available now, revealing some new information about the game. There will be an 'In-Game Community Hub' for online matchmaking, communication, and for sharing scenarios between players. While including Steamworks might put some people off, it might also indicate better online gameplay than in the previous Civilization games, where it was almost impossible to have a good game without playing with just friends."
Businesses

Wii 2 Delay Is Hurting Nintendo 310

BanjoTed writes "Michael Pachter's ongoing spat with Nintendo regarding the Wii 2 is well documented. Pachter is sure it's coming, Nintendo says it's not. Now the analyst has gone one further by claiming that the declining sales of the Wii documented in the platform holder's recent financial statements will only get worse unless it speeds up attempts to get its successor to market. He said, 'The reason for this is clear: the software being created is just not interesting enough or compelling enough to drive Wii owners to buy more than two [games] per year, and most of those purchases are first party software. We can blame the third party publishers for making shovelware, or for misjudging the Wii market, but the simple fact is that the publishers have to develop completely separate games for the Wii because its CPU is not powerful.'"

Comment Re:Litigation Land (Score 2, Insightful) 558

Hmm, let's see.

Universe created itself: funny, I don't see this being any kind of non-Christian dogma. The people you're probably criticizing i.e. skeptics tend to be fine with admitting they don't know where 'everything' came from. Pretending to know things when you truly don't is a more religious idea. Yes, there's the Big Bang, but that's a highly explanatory model of how our universe formed, but does not answer the ultimate question of 'why is there something?'.

The Nature Channel = Humanist ethics: care to name a single person who forwards this? You can certainly learn a lot about ethics itself from some nature programs, but have you ever actually met anyone who claims to base their actions on, 'lion eats dead zebra'?

"none of us actually exist": what?

I expect someone might claim that the "Jewish zombie' quip is just as inaccurate as your claims, but that simply isn't the case. The most that can be legitimately said about that oft-repeated meme is that it's disrespectful to Christianity and Jesus returned from the dead != undead (as if that's the point).
Classic Games (Games)

How Do I Create a Spiritual Game Successor? 125

An anonymous reader writes "I've recently been on a legacy video game binge, reliving the nostalgic days, when I realized that one of my favorite old games can be vastly improved with a few tweaks. This game is pretty much made for a controller, so I would love to get it done on Xbox Live, but doing it on the PC is just as viable. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure the game is not in the public domain yet. Based on previous stories covered here, some companies are all for community made successors while others choose to give them the crushing blow from the start. My question is: how far is too far when one is trying to make a spiritual successor? I do not intend to copy any materials, but it would be lovely if I could incorporate some game design ideas (very general level design, movement, and just one or two game features)."

Comment Re:Avatar pains (Score 1) 532

Personally, I prefer smaller theater, circularly polarized 3D experiences. I thought that Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was much more pleasant at a 'normal' theater than in IMAX, where there was significant and obvious bleeding of the images.

With that said, I haven't seen a side-by-side comparison using the same screen size, which would be important. I also tend to find 3D distracting when you have to hold your head perfectly level at all times (you'll be quickly reminded why) and a scene with high contrasts shows you 2-3 images at once. In my opinion, 3D is usually encumbering for an experience, not an improvement. The exceptions are tasteful nature documentaries (no random attacks on the audience just because they can) and Avatar. The worst of the worst are those films with about 10 minutes of 3D, where it's obviously not worth even the novelty and all it does is remind you that hey, you're watching a movie. Completely destroys the point of many movies, which is immersion.

Yes, I did hone my complaining skills on the job :).

Comment Re:Avatar pains (Score 5, Informative) 532

Wikipedia is wrong. IMAX 3D is and has been linear polarization for quite some time now (when it wasn't the shuttered glasses). The only way it could be accurate is if IMAX switched within the last few weeks, which would not represent an Avatar experience anyways.


I know this because I've worked at an IMAX theater for ~4 years. Here's a quick test to see if the 3D glasses you are using are circularly or linearly polarized:

1. Get to pairs of glasses (borrow a friend's).

2. Place one of the lenses of one pair in front of one from the other so that you're looking through two lenses at once.

3. Rotate the glasses, see if the light getting through cycle through black/clear (a period of 180).


Linearly polarized glasses will do this, since it relies on the angle at which you overlap the glasses/projected image. Circularly polarized will not and will be either all-dark or all-light regardless of rotation.

Comment Re:The slashdot post is kinda funny... (Score 1) 404

I'd like to add that while there are TLRs for Gram-negative structures (e.g. lipopolysaccharide), the same is true for things like lipoteichoic acid, found in Gram-positive bacteria. In fact, the same TLR that binds lipopolysaccharide binds lipoteichoic acid! Bacteria in the blood or otherwise sterile tissues is 'recognized' as a bad thing by many cells, particularly immune cells. Gram-negative or Gram-positive, your system (if effective) will produce a response and inflammation. And yeah, the summary was way too sensationalistic and... stupid. Gram-negative is a normal term, not something you put in scare quotes, and a particular Acinetobacter species (or more likely, subtype) is the actual topic of the article. The Gram stain has been around for over 100 years. If people start thinking a particular Gram type is scary then I'm going to have a few angry years.
Media

Lack of Manpower May Kill VLC For Mac 398

plasmacutter writes "The Video Lan dev team has recently come forward with a notice that the number of active developers for the project's MacOS X releases has dropped to zero, prompting a halt in the release schedule. There is now a disturbing possibility that support for Mac will be dropped as of 1.1.0. As the most versatile and user-friendly solution for bridging the video compatibility gap between OS X and windows, this will be a terrible loss for the Mac community. There is still hope, however, if the right volunteers come forward."
Space

Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."

Comment Re:Damned if they do Damned if they don't (Score 3, Informative) 1011

> No. If you were asked to peer review a paper, would YOU sign off on it without seeing the data that went into it or (usually) the program code that processed the data? Really?

Yes. Do you seriously expect to see the data for every experiment or paper put together? Do you have any idea how much raw data there can be? Peer review doesn't work by looking at raw data *unless* there's a reason that it's particularly dubious or if the dataset is extremely small and part of the paper itself. Ideally, the data would be open. Realistically, you don't get paid for open data (not as often, anyways) and you can use that same data to make further papers, making it in your interest to *not* disclose with the very first one. This is common in all sorts of sciences.

> Most of this global warming stuff isn't much more than the data. They take raw data and either process it and make projections or use it to feed a computer model that makes projections. The only part published is the end result which is taken on faith since there isn't much more to work with. The raw data isn't submitted as part of the publication/peer review process and apparently the actual computer code driving the models is equally private.

Yes, a lot of science is proprietary. However, if you had actually managed to *read the summary*, not even RTFA, just the summary, you'd know that there is also quite a bit of open work done on climate and it matches the *normal science*.

> So exactly has been being reviewed all these years?

The papers. What else do you think gets reviewed? Peer review at a journal isn't about tearing through another person's data, it's about screening for signs of fraud or incompetence. Peer review doesn't stop there, either, it continues on after publication as your *peers* (colleagues) criticize your reports or works. If necessary, a reviewer (at the journal) could access more particular things or ask for them.

> And forget duplicating the 'work.' You would basically be finding your own datasets (often with no way to even know if you are using the same data) and doing everything from scratch. Science has really fallen this far?

What, you think scientists were completely open in the past compared to today? BS. Despite your utter speculation as to how you could duplicate an experiment without *sharing the dataset or exact model*, it's done all the time in all kinds of sciences. Papers are specific enough for anyone competent in the field to do the same work, it doesn't mean you can have someone else's work handed to you on a silver platter with explanations of what a listed Monte Carlo method is.

Perhaps in the future, rather than running your mouth off with apparently no familiarity with science, you ask some actual scientists! They're quite accessible, even those apparently 'fallen' climatologists.

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