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Comment Re:Allegory (Score 1) 1014

If you want to make real decisions then those decisions have to have real consequences. Having free will means living in a world where you at times when you have to deal with suffering. That's the whole point of the story.

I think "Spiderman" is a better story, with more or less the same message. We should replace the Bible with it. And maybe in a thousand years people will have forgotten that it's a fiction.

Comment Re:Double Standard (Score 1) 775

totally random chaotic interactions which favor chaos instead of order. Thus it is far more likely to not have an organism "evolve" than for it to evolve.

This is a complete misunderstanding of darwinism, not a flaw in it. Evolution does not happen when random chaotic interactions happen, it happens when three things are there:
- we have "stuff" that can reproduce itself (heredity)
- there are random mutations when the reproduction happens (changes)
- there are limited resources, so not every "stuff" has a chance to reproduce (selection)

Note that 1) it doesn't only apply to organisms but also to molecules, so even random chaotic interactions among atoms form stable structures and 2) the random mutations are only part of the process; without selection there is no evolution.

You may think it's unlikely that evolution via natural selection is the cause of our existence, but there is no doubt that the process of evolution happens and can create complex stuff from seemingly random interactions. It's easy to simulate on a computer. That'll never prove the process happened on earth, but that proves that the process does work as we thought it did.

People act like science is perfect, but one new fact could totally change everything scientifically. Does that sound like a good position to be in?

That sounds much better than the other option: a position where a new contradictory fact couldn't change anything would be blind faith? Science is a quest for truth. If you're searching for truth, you must be able to change your mind. Blind faith, on the opposite is hoping that truth fits your beliefs, and disregarding facts that are contradictory to your beliefs. Is that a better position to be in?

Comment Re:Sadly OSX is not an option (Score 1) 294

You should try XFCE. I recently made the switch due to un-ending frustration with the new Ubuntu; it mostly looks the same as Gnome 2, or can be configured to, but it's more configurable, and its window manager is better than Metacity. And for some reason the bugs I attributed to my video driver must have been Metacity bugs, since they all disappeared.

Comment Re:Travelling Salesman (Score 5, Informative) 228

It's not a travelling salesman problem, it's a shortest path problem, and as such is much easier. For the distance between two specific people, you'd need the Dijkstra algorithm, and for the distance between any two people, you could use Floyd-Warshall. This one is in O(n^3), where n is the number of users; that's a big number, but it's nowhere near the (supposed) complexity of the TSP.

Comment Re:This is the way it's supposed to be (Score 2) 137

Playing the lottery is being called a tax on the mathematically challenged because we know the expected payoff is negative. We (reasonable people) don't know the expected payoff of SETI, so it's a bet, not a tax or a scam. Most research is a bet.

(Please note I'm not trying to convince you, as you made it clear with your flat-earther comparison that you can't be convinced. I'm just stating my opinion for the sake of other readers: http://xkcd.com/386/)

Comment Re:This is the way it's supposed to be (Score 1) 137

First of all, the OP seemed to question de belief that "there is something out there", not the belief that SETI can detect anything. Wikipedia says our galaxy is supposed to contain about 50 billion planets, so the belief that more than one might be inhabited doesn't strike me as unscientific or religious (given that we know of one that is inhabited).

I don't have much hope in SETI as it stands today, but I don't think they expect to catch random radio waves, I think they're hoping to catch a powerfully broadcasted "hello world", from much farther than our own solar system.

Comment Re:This is the way it's supposed to be (Score 1) 137

I'm not part of SETI, never invested money in SETI and never will, because I don't believe they stand a chance of detecting anything. There goes your 'believer' ad hominem.

I assumed you meant that it was unscientific to believe in ETI today, with our current knowledge, because we only had the Drake equation. Did you mean that we have other evidence that could make it scientific, but the SETI guys only rely on Drake, so they're not scientific? If so, I stand corrected. If not, I think I addressed your argument, but feel free to ignore it and continue feeling unjustly attacked.

Comment Re:This is the way it's supposed to be (Score 2) 137

I'm wondering how you calculated that probability of [b]ZERO[/b]. I have no idea about the number of advanced civilization out there, but the only one I know of did broadcast messages to potential neighbours. Granted, it did so for a very short time, so that probably wasn't very effective, but it tried, and it might try again.

You probably mean that that probability is not zero, but is too low for us to spend money on it. That would be a bit more reasonable, wouldn't it?

Comment Re:This is the way it's supposed to be (Score 1) 137

The OP's message claims it is unscientific to believe that there is "something out there", it says nothing about broadcasting EM, or likelyhood of detecting things that actually are out there. There are many good criticisms to SETI's approach, calling it religious or unscientific just isn't one of them.

Comment Re:This is the way it's supposed to be (Score 1) 137

SETI is about belief that something may be out there. You don't search for something if you don't believe it might exist, what a surprise. What's unscientific is believing, like you seem to do, that we are very special and that there can't be intelligent life on the other billions of planets in the vicinity.

Once upon a time, SETI opponents relied on the fact that we didn't know if there were exoplanets. Now we discovered hundreds of them. What's your theoretical basis for claiming that life can only appear on Earth?

Comment Re:Supplements to improve memory (Score 1) 207

Ginko's been claimed to be memory loss/dementia preventing. Mixed bag there on the research (some research indicating so, some not...)- but they DO know it has an impact on healthy individuals by boosting attentiveness considerably through it's ability to inhibit norepinephrine uptake. I'd say it'd help in remembering things because of that aspect.

Would you have a reference, regarding Gingko having an impact on healthy citizens? I've done some research in the past and found no study saying that.

The Internet

Submission + - Data Retention Act passed in Norway (aftenposten.no)

An anonymous reader writes: On Monday, the Data Retention Act of the European Union was passed in the Norwegian Parliament with a narrow majority of 89 votes against 80. The Act mandates telecoms and other providers to save all traffic data about all (mobile) phone calls made and and all email sent for at least six months, so that it will be available to the police in case it is needed for an investiagion. The debate preceeding the vote lasted for ten hours, and representative Tine Skei Grande of Venstre made her final remarks with a quote from Star Wars — "So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause.".

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