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Comment Re:Well, sorta (Score 3, Interesting) 193

Dealing with particles via magnetic field was actually the job of the Bussard Collectors (you know, those red glowing things at the front of the nacelles), a.k.a., ramscoops. Which actually didn't deflect it, but collected all that mostly hydrogen in the ship's path.

They were around several years before Star Trek picked up on them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bussard_ramjet

For a fairly long time, in the gap between TOS and TNG, when the books were adding to and fleshing out the universe, there was the idea that the vast majority of interstellar hydrogen is antimatter (discovered by Voyager 6 or something like that, when it transmitted back what it found and was promptly annihilated). That was the key thing that allows for travel without having to carry around a ton of reaction mass. Then add dilithium crystals, which were discovered to have a very powerful resonance effect near a matter-antimatter reaction. The discovery was an lab-bench accident, similar to the discovery of X-Rays. Of course, this is back when first contact was between Earth and Alpha Centari, and the Alpha Centariuns (who look like humans, only a bit more stocky and a second opposable thumb instead of a pinky) worked with Earthlings together to discover warp theory. TNG and later canon continuity wiped out most of that, but I haven't seen anything that directly contradicted the "interstellar hydrogen is mostly antimatter" idea.

Comment Re:Not Even Wrong By Law (Score 1) 601

But like Miranda, the ruling of the SOCTUS didn't invalidate EVERY other police action where a suspect wasn't read his Miranda Right before the ruling came about. Miranda v Arizona established the legal president that required Miranda Rights. Before that it was a legal gray area, much like what the NSA is doing. It has been argued that they are gathering no more information about average citizens that what is available about their mail by scanning all the To, From & weight of every piece mail.

Comment Re:Wrong by law (Score 1) 601

Legality is defined by current interpretation of the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was approved during an age of slavery. And slavery was upheld as legal & constitutional. Even after the end of slavery, we still had to deal with laws that later would be deemed unconstitutional were 1st upheld as just that(Jim Crow & separate but equal), constitutional. By having a document that can change with the times, we are able to have our laws adapt to what is currently happening, not what happened yesterday.

And Snowden didn't infiltrate anything, he lied so he could take advantage of the situation. Not a little white lie, like telling your wife those jeans don't make her look fat, but a bold face perjury lie. And it is my principles that tell me that lying to get an advantage is wrong, as it should be for everybody. Those kinds of lies are the ones that lead to corruption in our government, fraudulent wastes, athletes who feel it's necessary to cheat to win, and almost all the ills that I see so adamantly screamed against here. Those who lie are, not nor will every be, heroes worthy of any amount of admiration.

Comment Re:Wrong by law (Score 1) 601

Is your customer DB evidence of illegal activity? Also, Snowden did not sell the information to a competitor, so this analogy is incorrect in multiple ways.

Was what the NSA did illegal? Where's the legal ruling that has established such? And he did sell it to a competitor, or was telling the Chinese of the NSA hacking activities not a part of what you were talking about?

Because reporting this illegal activity without any evidence would have gained a response? Why wouldn't the NSA just claim it is the lies of a disgruntled former employee? Do you trust the NSA what willingly give up this information?

Again, no legal ruling that phone metadata is private & subject warrant searches, but we already covered that. And no I don't believe that the NSA would surrender the info, but whose to say that the right people wouldn't have listened. Heck, he could have worked through proper channels while still working and if that didn't work THEN leave & report. I'm fairly certain that there are members of congress who would have loved to listen to him, if for no other reason than to embarrass an opponent.

But he has admitted to taking the job for the soul purpose of getting information to embarrass the NSA & the US government. He then proceeded to leak it to those he knew would use it to that end. I don't care who you are, but joining an organization for the purpose of leaking information is not heroic.

Comment Re:Not Even Wrong By Law (Score 1) 601

If, therefore, he broke a law which itself contravened the Bill of Rights, he cannot have acted illegally.

Has there been a legal ruling been made that the gathering of phone metadata is illegal? I'm not talking about wiretapping, but simply getting a list of the phone calls made, by whom & their duration? Because until there has, his actions are illegal.

Comment Re:Wrong by law (Score 1) 601

To ignore them is to passively accept what they're doing. To accept a position of trust, then defy it is treason. It's a Catch-22.

Absolutely wrong.

Treason is working against your nation. He worked for this nation. The enemies of this nation are the traitors he outed.

Comment Re:Wrong by law (Score 1) 601

He is merely wrong by law, not by morality.

Not necessarily. Have you ever singed an Non-Disclosure Agreement? Or been entrusted with information that could cause damage to people who don't "own" that information? Both Snowden & Manning did. They, like many of us in the IT world, took multiple oaths, signed multiple NDAs, and probably even went to numerous "training" classes where they were told the proper method of whistle blowing. Are keeping your promises no longer considered moral? Is making sure that people can trust you not a moral imperative?

These guys aren't heroes any more than your coworker who sells your customer DB to a competitor. They aren't noble or selfless, what they did was for their own personal gain & infamy.

I recently heard an opinion of whistle blowing from a ranking member of the armed forces that I really like. If you want to whistle blow, fine, leave the organization you are with & do so. Don't abuse the trust given to you to steal what you feel is damning information. Either use the methods in place for raising such complaints or do so as a former member. Hell, if it works for religious organizations, why can't it work every other organization?

Comment Re:CoS is a cult ... (Score 4, Insightful) 205

I know plenty of Christians who by definition (it's what makes them Christians) believe stuff that is just as wacked. But unlike Scientologists, these people mean well so they deserve a shitload of slack.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

A specific Catholic might mean well, but they are still supporters of an organization which actively engages in predatory behavior. Their policies are designed toward the specific goal of increasing human suffering in order to increase the demand for their services. Anti-choice to increase the number of poor and unwanted. Lying about condoms to help spread AIDS so that they can use their victims as poster children. Raping children and then blaming the victims while protecting the rapists because if they didn't cover it up people would think they weren't good. Spreading hatred of gay people because they're not going to produce more victims, and hence aren't really people in their book.

They're the most successful business in the history of the world based on their business model of increasing human suffering and using a small part of their income to ameliorate a small portion of it.

A specific fundie nutjob might mean well...who am I kidding, they have nothing but hate.

Not everyone who is delusional, is a sociopath.

No, but almost all religious organizations *are* sociopathic. One's intentions don't matter at all if their results are consistently the opposite of their intentions and they fail to adjust their actions based upon the outcome for the benefit of a sociopathic organization.

Maybe you're talking about some specific Christians who attend some specific churches, but that has little bearing on the big picture.

Unless their church actively supports birth control, reproductive choice and is openly accepting of people who don't harm others, then they are supporters of sociopathic organizations. Actively working to increase human suffering when your stated purpose is to decrease it is a business tactic to increase demand for your services.

They can spend all day whining about their intentions, but what matters are results.

All the major religions have much more in common with Scientology than you admit.
Individual Scientologists might be decent people in their own right, they're just brainwashed and deluded like the rest of religious people. The organizations are hard to tell apart if you look past the specific details and look to the general case.

It's just a different business model.

Comment Re:So is every other church (Score 2) 205

In many countries the mainstream churches were or (as in the US) are an import social factor in the battle against poverty and much of their money is going to 'Worthy Causes' that save the community at large from a lot of grief.

Dead. Fucking. Wrong.

The churches you speak of do everything they can to create and promote those very problems so they can solicit donations and use them to ameliorate a small amount of the damage their policies intentionally cause while pocketing the profits.

Their anti-choice, anti birth control, and anti gay policies exist to *increase* poverty. They exist to ensure that there are *more* children born into poverty in a vicious circle leading to more need for their "help" in the "battle against poverty".

Now, think it through. Even if you don't understand and are unwilling to accept that that is the reason that they have such policies, it is absolutely unassailable that their policies have this effect regardless of their reasons.

If they actually give shit one about anything decent, then they would change these policies in order to attain results with a shred of decency.

But they do not. They continue applying shotgun blasts to the face of society and jump up and down claiming great moral superiority when they toss a band aid at their victims.

Yeah, and let's not forget that the *majority* of Christians support an organization that has as an official policy to aid and abet the rape of children and lie about condoms to promote the spread of AIDS.
And that's not even talking about the whack job fundies in America.

So, no, they are not "import" social factors in the battle against poverty. They're the enemy in that battle. As part of their business plan.

Comment Re:From a citizen's standpoint (Score 1) 1073

So what is your stance on polygamous or multiple partner relationships being recognized in civil unions? I only ask because besides same-sex relationships, the only "unacceptable" relationships are ones that are obviously unacceptable. Or what about roommates simply asking for the same benefits as "married" couples?

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What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

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