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Submission + - I'm Thinking. Please. Be Quiet. (nytimes.com)

hessian writes: Then, around 1850, Schopenhauer pronounced noise to be the supreme archenemy of any serious thinker.

  His argument against noise was simple: A great mind can have great thoughts only if all its powers of concentration are brought to bear on one subject, in the same way that a concave mirror focuses light on one point. Just as a mighty army becomes useless if its soldiers are scattered helter-skelter, a great mind becomes ordinary the moment its energies are dispersed.

And nothing disrupts thought the way noise does, Schopenhauer declared, adding that even people who are not philosophers lose whatever ideas their brains can carry in consequence of brutish jolts of sound.

Comment Signs that Rome II is falling (Score 1) 184

The luxury drink in questionâ"Kopi Luwakâ"is produced from coffee beans pooped out by the palm civet, a time-consuming process that helps contribute to the beverage's price tag of between $330 to $500 per kilogram.

I have a word for this fetishistic novelty which is pursued for the sheer purpose of displaying wealth:

Decadence.

With it comes the downfall of empires. Don't adjust your set!

Submission + - National Geographic says Redheads set for extinction (digitaljournal.com)

hessian writes: Because of the smaller percentage of redheads present in the population, it has reduced the chances considerably for the redheads to get redhead partners, so their offspring may or may not be a redhead. The redhead can produce a baby from a single redhead parent; the chances rise when both the parents are redheaded, however.
Some experts warn those with red hair could be gone as early 2060, but others say the gene can be dormant in the reproductive system for generations before returning.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/220229#ixzz2af4jDqnT

Comment Sexual liberation is a dead-end (Score -1, Flamebait) 210

Society was happier when people were focused on family and behaved in a (relatively) chaste manner.

Part of maintaining that structure requires a clear sexual values system, including a sense of what is normal.

When we go pluralistic, or make "anything goes" the new normal, this traditional order is threatened.

While I will never support the persecution of someone for being quietly gay, I think a lot of the excesses of that time were designed to counter-act the rising sexual liberation movement.

Comment Nothing to predict (Score 4, Insightful) 213

All technology is used by those who are in power, or want power.

That surveillance is one of those powers isn't particularly new. People had networks of spies in ancient times.

The real question is the people in power. They will have this power, and they will use it; toward what end? And, what is their level of moral rectitude?

I don't think we can use rules, laws and regulations to keep them in line. They need to be good people.

Submission + - The hacker approach to education (hou2600.org)

hessian writes: Even more than boring, education was about the wrong approach entirely. It set up cute little thought-experiments, taught you some simple versions, and then hit you with more challenging ones on the final. Since this is easy to defeat, teachers relied heavily on trickery and detail-based grading, which rewards those who essentially bury themselves in the classwork and memorize.

Zero relation to (a) actual problem solving and (b) having the skill of thinking itself. In fact, worse than zero relation; negative relation. Thinkers find this kind of environmental stultifying and try to escape it.

Comment World peace can't be done. (Score 1) 1737

There are some truths about reality that offend our sense of personal importance.

1. World peace can't be done. There will always be irrational people, and you must oppose them with force.

2. Pluralism doesn't work. Society only functions when there's a single standard of values and thus behavior.

3. Diversity doesn't work (corollary to point #2). The happiest societies are unified in values, heritage, culture, language and basic philosophy.

4. Group delusion is normal. A large group of people will settle on not only a lowest common denominator but on a wishful thinking illusion.

5. We are not all equal. Some are better at others than certain things and deserve more power.

There are more, but these are some starter heresies for our modern time. Our society is as controlled as the Soviets, as lynch mobby as the Salem witch-burning days, and as closed-minded as the toughest religious fanatics.

We're just doing it in subtler ways.

Comment He's turned into a classic traitor. (Score 1) 658

Snowden? I thought his name was Kim Philby.

He betrayed the USA for supposedly lofty goals, but now he's hanging out with our enemies and leaking secrets totally unrelated to his "whistleblower" mission.

Over the last week, he's started to look less like white knight and more like garden variety traitor.

No one's going to blink when Obama drones him.

Comment This law is broken. (Score 1) 161

AT&T wants us to believe that because their website was so insecure that feeding it sequential data would reveal private customer information, the problem can be solved by throwing the "hacker" -- who notified them immediately and did not leak the customer information -- into jail.

Yeah, right. The overseas hackers aren't going to even care that much. They'll take your information, use it to rob you blind, and presumably AT&T will cover it up, since their response has not been to address the actual problem in this case.

Weev is caught in the crossfire. American industry wants to have government protect it from its own sloppy coding. The truth is that protecting industry encourages more sloppy coding, which then helps the Chinese hackers who are robbing us blind.

FREE WEEV!

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