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Comment Re:a game that tells the truth about religion (Score 1) 523

Hitler claimed to be a christian. Mao and Stalin killed people for 'the greater good' or something like that. I'm actually hard pressed to find any incidents where a bunch of atheists killed people for being religious.

If anything Hitler was against Christianity, but felt that the time to deal with Christians was to be left to a time well after the other "lesser races" were dealt with. There clearly was anti-Christian bias in some of the letters and writings of Hitler, and a sort of psuedo-religious cult that came up in the form of Nazism that transcended Christianity.

Certainly the anti-Jewish sentiment in Nazism was not grounded in Christianity, but rather in something far more profound and a sort of religion in its own right.

As for being hard-pressed to look for any incident where a bunch of avowed atheists have explicitly killed those harboring religious beliefs as their only "crime"? I don't think you have looked hard enough. Millions have died at the hands of atheists, or at least governments that have sought explicitly to purge religious thought. Both Mao and Stalin were involved in that killing, and both professed official atheism. It wasn't merely "the greater good", but that was indeed the rationale. It also involved more than just these two men.

Even today in China, if you tried to open a church or express your religious beliefs in a public manner without formal state approval you will get arrested and possibly even killed on the spot for what in most "western" nations would be considered a non-violent protest. I'm not talking twenty or forty years ago, I'm talking today. People are still being killed today in the name of atheism, or because they don't disavow their religious beliefs.

Comment Re:Combination of Factors (Score 1) 552

What educational system are you talking about? Rote memorization was the mainstay of the educational system up until the 60s when we started getting all warm and fuzzy and stopped caring about facts. Rote learning provides the basis for critical thinking (which is best done at the college level) by grounding the individual in facts. I'm afraid what we've been producing for the past 30 years are students who mostly avoid the hard work of thinking that the hard sciences require and instead go for MBAs to make money as painlessly as possible. That probably has a lot to do with the decline in basic science work, as well.

Comment Re:Success relies on our tendency to get well or d (Score 1) 713

Yes, and Medicine has long relied on this. I've read (sorry, no citation) that it wasn't until sometime in mid-19th century that you were statistically better off consulting a physician than not. Of course, that depended greatly on whether the problem was in that limited subset of illnesses they could actually do something about. But people went to doctors anyway and were regularly bled, purged and given near-poisonous drugs and thanked the good doctor for his attention. Some even survived..

Comment Re:I'd care more (Score 1) 334

It didn't say "Congress" it said "Federal Government" as in opposition to the State government. Doing badly on this test I think mostly results from: 1. Ignorance of history... If you don't have a clue what the Federalist Papers or the Lincoln-Douglass debates were all about, you lose. 2. Inability to read closely....
Robotics

The World's Heaviest Robot 142

Roland Piquepaille writes "This distinction goes to a future autonomous version of the 700-tons Caterpillar mining truck. In this article, Discovery News reports that Caterpillar engineers and computer scientists from Carnegie Mellon University have teamed up to develop this autonomous truck. Japan-based Komatsu has already delivered autonomous mining trucks to its customers, but these are smaller than the Caterpillar ones. Both companies are transforming their trucks into 'robots' for three reasons. Improvements in safety, efficiency and productivity will reduce costs and increase availability."
Space

Space Litter To Hit Earth Tomorrow 443

A refrigerator-sized tank of toxic ammonia, tossed from the international space station last year, is expected to hit earth tomorrow afternoon or evening. The 1,400-pound object was deliberately jettisoned — by hand — from the ISS's robot arm in July 2007. Since the time of re-entry is uncertain, so is the location. "NASA expects up to 15 pieces of the tank to survive the searing hot temperatures of re-entry, ranging in size from about 1.4 ounces (40 grams) to nearly 40 pounds (17.5 kilograms). ... [T]he largest pieces could slam into the Earth's surface at about 100 mph (161 kph). ...'If anybody found a piece of anything on the ground Monday morning, I would hope they wouldn't get too close to it,' [a NASA spokesman] said."
Security

Stealing Data With Obfuscated Code 101

Weblver1 writes "A recent report by web security firm Finjan shows how easily data can be accessed on PCs by malware which circumvents existing defenses. With the use of obfuscated code, antivirus software and static Web filters could not identify the scrambled attack code as a threat. The report walks through a real-life scenario of the infection process step-by-step, and tracks what happens to the stolen data. This demonstrates how stealing sensitive data has become unbearably easy — especially, given the abundance of easy-to-use DIY crimeware toolkits. Finjan's report is available here (PDF, registration required). Shortly after this report, Security firm RSA has released their findings of a huge amount of stolen 'virtual wallets' in one of the largest discoveries of stolen data from computers compromised by the Sinowal trojan. While the trojan can be traced back to 2006, it managed to become more productive over time with frequent variants. Given the scale, ease of use, and hiding techniques making infections extremely difficult to find, no wonder today's crimeware achieves such 'impressive' results."
Wireless Networking

Submission + - Infrared radiation: The other wireless technology

StonyandCher writes: Although the recent auctioning of the 700MHz wireless spectrum bands have garnered great interest in the media (not to mention the billions of dollars being thrown around to own some of this), it's not the be-all and end-all answer to our wireless hunger.

New research is starting to be conducted in the area of infrared radiation. Cheap to develop infrastructure for, super fast and with huge amounts of spectrum available (literally many terahertz), is this the unlicensed answer to the dearth of wireless spectrum? This article delves deeper into the world of IR and looks at its pros and foibles.
Operating Systems

Submission + - Are spaces in filenames worth it?

innocent_white_lamb writes: After yet another episode of having a perfectly good script (this one straight out of a book, in fact) fail due to a space in a filename, I was just thinking.... Do you think that the "convenience" of having spaces as allowed characters in a filename outweighs the special processing that having a space in a filename requires when you are trying to do something from the commandline? Even if you're typing a simple command, you still have to use a \ in front of every space in the filename, which adds characters to what you're typing. And in bash scripting you get into little joys like single and double quotes and so on.

In the day of DOS, you had to work at it to get a space into a filename. (And with 8.3 you generally wouldn't want to waste that character even if you could do it easily.)

My Letter to Aunt Sally.txt is indeed somewhat more readable than MyLetterToAuntSally.txt, but is it sufficiently better as to justify the additional special handling it will require if you're trying to deal with it from a commandline?
Utilities (Apple)

Submission + - Good note-taking software

An anonymous reader writes: I've noticed that I do a lot of brainstorming on paper, and I wondered why I don't use my computer more. I realized that one of the things I like about writing on paper is the ability to arbitrarily position my text. Is there good software for OS X that lets me put the cursor anywhere I want and begin typing immediately? As for PCs, I think OneNote allows this — is there anything else? What about software that also lets me drag and drop entire blocks of text any way I want to organize them?

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