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Comment Re:Can't you simulate a chemistry set with softwar (Score 4, Interesting) 446

I agree. Real explosions are fun. Real fire is fun. I still remember the day in 7th grade when we were finally allowed to use bunsen burners. It is in my top 10, despite losing an eyebrow. I think the danger of getting hurt or, in rare cases that probably involve doing something deeply stupid that might well disqualify you from the gene pool, killed are outweighed by just how a) fun and b) useful learning science can be.

And rulers? Rulers? Are you fucking kidding me?

Comment Re:Great news! (Score 1) 414

The point is that I tend to view massive loss of life as a negative. Sure, killing off 99% of the world's population would, in the end, lead to a population that is "more fit." And yes, perhaps we need that sort of thing right now. And yes, the world, science and evolution care fuck all for my indvidual sensibilities. Be that as it may, I'd prefer to live in a time where 99% of humanity (and I have no illusions - I'll be in that 99%) wasn't experiencing natural selection in a very up close and personal fashion.

But from a completely detached and amoral (and not intending to use that word in a judgemental way) point of view, sure, you are totally correct.

Comment Re:Great news! (Score 1) 414

is disruptive ... newsflash ... you believe in evolution, right ? Does "Adapt or die" sound familiar ? It's just as valid for civilizations as it is for people, mice and bacteria.

Well the issue is, if it's adapt or die, a pretty fucking huge number of people will end up dying. Yes, with the earth being warmer, perhaps the net amount of usable land would increase. But if said usable land is in a different location than the current usable land there might be a few, you know, issues in picking up the entire agricultural infrastructure of the world and relocating it. Especially when you take into account things like national borders which countries tend to be a little touchy about.

So yeah, sure, we'll adapt, it won't be the end of humanity. But the transition is going to suck.


Biometric IDs For Every Indian Citizen 166

wiedzmin writes "This month, officials from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), armed with fingerprinting machines, iris scanners and cameras hooked to laptops, will fan out across the towns and villages of southern Andhra Pradesh state in the first phase of the project whose aim is to give every Indian a lifelong Unique ID (UID) number for 'anytime, anywhere' biometric authentication. While enrolling with the UIDAI may be voluntary, other agencies and service providers might require a UID number in order to transact business. Usha Ramanathan, a prominent legal expert who is attached to the Center for the Study of Developing Societies in the national capital, said that, 'taken to its logical limit, the UID project will make it impossible, in a couple of years, for an ordinary citizen to undertake a simple task such as traveling within the country without a UID number.' Next step, tying that UID number and biometric information to to their RIM BlackBerry PIN number."

Comment Re:But what created the law of gravity? (Score 1) 1328

Well organized religion tends to screw things up, to be sure. But then again, organized $InsertAnyGoodIdeaYouLike tends to screw things up.

Personally, while I find the moral/philosophical teachings most important, I also like a bit of abstraction too. That said, it's not really essential to my belief system and I'm happy to acknowledge that, objectively speaking, it's a little silly.

Comment Re:But what created the law of gravity? (Score 1) 1328

Well no, it's not. You can have Buddhism with or without deities and it works fine either way. But some of Buddhism's claims, in re: the endless cycle of rebirth and suffering have a bit of a non-material feel to them, and veer a little more towards the religious side of things. And it does tend to assimilate whatever sort of deities happen to be around in the countries it ends up.

Of course, the thing about Buddhism is that it "works" even if you do away with all the supernaturalist elements - the Buddha's teachings about suffering etc., applied to a single lifetime, are quite useful (in my opinion, that is)

Comment Re:But what created the law of gravity? (Score 2, Insightful) 1328

And I was being a pedantic one, sorry.

And also thinking that, shit, give someone a few million years to mull it over and maybe, assuming the Buddhists are right, the Christians might be able to say "well holy shit, I don't think this here Jesus guy is working for us, what with all the constantly being reborn and suffering and all." That might be optimistic.

Comment Re:But what created the law of gravity? (Score 4, Insightful) 1328

Just a minor quibble, but if it turns out the Buddhists are right, Christirans won't spend eternity being reborn and suffering - they only spend as long as it takes to figure out that the Buddhists were right and to get with the program. Unlike Christianity, Buddhism isn't one of those you get one chance, don't fuck it up kind of religions. (And yes, all of the above is just a huge fucking oversimplification - I am aware of that, but the point stands).

Comment Re:Not to say he's long winded or anything (Score 1) 157

The thing is, I don't mind all the long windedness. I personally think he's a good enough writer that he can be long winded and still be, by and large, entertaining. What I'm not super excited about is him being long winded in a non-text media. Does anybody remember that music video thing that accompanied (or prefaced, I don't recall which) Anathem? It was kind of a bit crap.

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