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Comment Here come the relativists... (Score -1, Troll) 506

By the time this thread gets up to 200 comments, there will probably be several people saying "but Christianity/Judaism did X for thousands of years too!" to try to downplay the fact that Islamic societies are really not that much different in many ways from where they started. Go back 2,000 years and you'll find that the level of behavior we all find barbaric (crucifiction, torture, rape-as-war-tactic and many others) were very common all across the world. What you'll find, though, is that the societies that systematically started moving away from them the hardest are the ones that embraced monotheism of the Judao-Christian line.

The problem isn't the Arabs, Persians, Egyptians, etc. The communities that embrace the other Abrahamic religions in those countries are peaceful. A Christian Arab is no more likely to violently attack The Other on the street than a typical mainline American Christian. Similarly, white American converts to Islam are often as violent and extreme as conservative Arab and Persian Muslims.

If Saudi Arabia were overwhelmingly Coptic, not Islamic, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Comment Thanks, guys (Score 1) 364

As a resident of Virginia, where taxes are low and there a lot of good software engineers employed tenuously in the government contracting business, I'd just like to say thank you to the Massachusetts legislature. Send your people here, have them write an interstate contract enforceable in Virginia not Massachusetts and reap the savings!

Comment You know what would be nice? (Score 2) 31

If when a company like Facebook gets caught (as I believe they did recently) grabbing contact data without authorization they'd get the "CFAA-book" thrown at them by the federal government. Novel idea, right? Your mobile phone is your computer system in the palm of your hand. They greatly exceeded reasonable access. They're "hackers**" so eff them and eff them hard in the federal court for "hacking."

**Term Nazis: we all know Hacker != Cracker outside of an African-American Studies program on race in IT... ;)

Comment Not necessarily (Score 1) 391

Microsoft is a software company targetting hardware here. Android vendors are hardware companies targetting software here. It's bad for the former to bring the cost of software down to $0. Likewise, it's bad for the latter for Microsoft to practically give the hardware away. Since Android's marketshare is now so much higher than that of Windows 8, and iOS would barely even notice the loss, the only companies that might have a real claim of injury would be Blackberry and those behind things like FirefoxOS.

Comment Old Testament Law versus federal law (Score 3, Interesting) 309

When I read Leviticus and Deuteronomy, what struck me the most about them was how fair they were to the defendant. Modern liberals and even many conservatives roll their eyes and treat the Old Testament Law as barbaric, but in reality it was actually more advanced in protecting the defendant than our system. Nothing equivalent to a felony (that I can remember) in the Old Testament was convictable with less than two credible eye witnesses and the punishment for false testimony was to be punished according to the standard for the charges. That means anyone who bears false witness in a murder case is automatically going to be executed no matter the guilt or innocence of the defendant. The "testilying" cops of today would be mercilessly stoned to death under Old Testament Law and if the defendant could prove that the prosecutor knowingly brought their perjury into the case could possibly get the prosecutor executed as well.

I'd like to see that standard of perjury brought to our legal system and I'd also like to see the Old Testament's open court proceedings where more than one person can be convicted simultaneously in the same proceeding as well. Cases would take longer, but it would provide a lot of balance. For example, today a defense attorney would be allowed to bring charges against a testilying cop and have the jury consider the perjury charges during their deliberations.

At one point, I saw a stat saying that there about 600-700 laws in the Old Testament that cover the entire civil-criminal-religious legal life of ancient Israel. There are approximately 4,200 federal criminal acts one can commit. Many of these are not even genuine crimes but charges that can be used to get around the 8th amendment like "possession of a firearm while committing a drug crime." Really. Either you are actually committing a violent felony with said firearm or it's just a way of overcharging someone for a fact that is at best ancillary to the primary criminal act.

Comment A simpler, cheaper alternative (Score 2) 51

1. Repeal the USA PATRIOT Act and Homeland Security Act
2. Triple the budget of the reestablished US Border Patrol and direct it to hire at least 40k new agents for the southern border and at least 10k new agents for the northern border.
3. Double the size of the US Coast Guard.
4. Spend the remainder of Homeland Security's former annual budget on hardening the electrical grid against an EMP attack.
5. Suspend all travel visas from countries that have a serious problem with their citizens being recruited by radical Islamic countries.

See? No war, no torture, no idenfinite detention, no one's junk getting man-handled at the airport. Homeland security is 95% "keep the borders secure, keep the known problem populations away from our territory."

Of course, it'll never happen because even if the MIC and DHS could be overpowered politically, you'd have half the country saying "no sir, I'd rather maintain the status quo than be perceived to be discriminating against people from different countries."

Comment Health inequality is not always bad (Score 0) 272

The case was a battle between those who would privatize good health, making it a privilege to be enjoyed in proportion to wealth, and those who see it as a right for all — and a central component of a fair society and well-functioning economy

Another central component of a fair society and well-functioning economy is a feedback mechanism for bad behaviors that discourages people from committing them before they become social parasites. We live in a society that is extremely self-indulgent in all of the vices and then many still shriek about a right which amounts to bailing them out of their own bad behavior at tax payer expense.

You know what that sounds like? The poor man's equivalent of TARP.

And I say this as someone who is actually not opposed to a social safety net for indigent children, the truly disabled, the retarded, and others who cannot really support themselves or bear responsibility for their choices.

Comment And yet that proves nothing (Score 0) 770

And yet women are set to overtake men in terms of higher education achievement (if they haven't already in your country -- they have here).

1. Women are also typically in "fluff majors" that have lower career prospects.
2. Women also lead the way in student loan debt making a lot of middle class girls undesirable marriage prospects. Want to get married and have a home? Fantastic. Nothing says that more than having the better part of a new mortgage in inescapable student loan debt already going into the marriage!
3. Women in STEM fields also benefit heavily from either affirmative action programs or a mindset of "let's fast track her because we need more diversity!"
4. Grade inflation. Nuff said.

Submission + - Melbourne Restauranteur Promotes Addition of 'Th' Key (

beaverdownunder writes: Melbourne restauranteur Paul Mathis has developed a one-character replacement for the word 'The' – effectively an upper-case "T" and a lower-case "h" bunched together so they share the upright stem – and an app that puts it in everyone's hand by allowing users to download an entirely new keyboard complete not just with his "Th" symbol, but also a row of keys containing the 10 or 15 (depending on the version) most frequently typed words in English.

Mathis has already copped criticism on Twitter (one correspondent called him "a crazy arsehole") from people who claim he is attempting to trademark a symbol that is part of the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet (pronounced "tshe", the letter represents the "ch" sound found in the word "chew").

Submission + - Why are Japanese men refusing to leave their rooms?

fantomas writes: The BBC reports on the Japanese phenomenon of Hikikomori: young people, mainly men, who are holed up in rooms in their parents' houses, refusing to go out and engage with society. Why is this happening? and is it a global phenomenon or something purely due to Japanese culture? (we're all familiar with the standing slashdot joke of the geek in their mom's basement for example)

Submission + - New Study Fails to Show that Violent Video Games Diminishes Prosocial Behaviour (

trawg writes: A new Australian study on the effect of violent video games on Australia has just been published, failing to find any evidence that playing video games affects prosocial behaviour. The study compared groups who played different types of games, including notably violent titles like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, as well as non-violent titles like Portal, comparing their behavioral response through a simple pen-drop experiment. In a follow-up interview, the researcher noted his perspective on how violence might affect people has changed since he started the research:

I’ve played video games for most of my life and got into this research because I couldn’t believe that violent video games could make me do something I didn’t want to do, that is, be aggressive. My attitude has changed somewhat. These days I find it totally plausible that violent video games could influence people’s behavior, but the real question is whether their influence is harmful, and I’m not yet convinced of that.

Submission + - This Student Project Could Kill Digital Ad Targeting (

An anonymous reader writes: New School Student's System Confuses Ad Targeting With Cookie Misinformation.
Meet Rachel Law, a 25-year-old graduate student from Singapore, who has created a game that could literally wreak havoc on the online ad industry if released into the wild.

Submission + - Discrete Log Problem Breakthrough Threatens Crypto

tbonefrog writes: Cryptographic ground truth is changing fast. In February Antoine Joux produced a new record subexponential discrete logarithm algorithm running at L(1/4) speed and beating the long-standing L(1/3) mark. On June 20 a quasipolynomial algorithm was announced at the Workshop on Number-Theoretic Algorithms for Asymmetric Cryptology in France, and explained by Stephen Galbraith

Discrete logarithm and factoring are different problems but progress on one tends to lead to progress in the other. Get a paper bank statement mailed to you each month, order some paper checks, and buy stamps and envelopes for paying your bills via snail mail.

Submission + - Harlan: A language that simplifies GPU programming released ( 1

hypnosec writes: Harlan – a declarative programming language that simplifies development of applications running on GPU has been released by a researcher at Indian University. Erik Holk released his work publicly after working on it for two years. Harlan’s syntax is based on Scheme – a dialect of LISP programming language. The language aims to help developers make productive and efficient use of GPUs by enabling them to carry out their actual work while it takes care of the routine GPU programming tasks. The language has been designed to support GPU programming and it works much closer to the hardware.

Submission + - Companies Turn to Switzerland for Cloud Storage Following NSA Spying Revelation (

DavidGilbert99 writes: The NSA spying revelations are having a huge impact on governments across the globe, as well as seeing people becoming more and more worried about their privacy. But a so-far unseen impact is happening in the background. The services which could be affected by NSA spying — such as Dropbox, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft's Azure cloud platform — are now seen as unsafe. This however is good news for one company, with Swiss-based ultra-secret hosting company Artmotion recording a 45% rise in revenue since Edward Snowden blew the whistle last month.

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