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Comment Re:This is one of occasions wher... (Score 1) 845

Well the intent of the new law is to outlaw: "publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion, with some defences permitted". So the stated objective is not to require you to believe anything, but to require us all to treat other people's beliefs with respect. But whatever the stated intent, it is a very silly law. I am a Christian, in fact, an unpaid minister in the Anglican communion. But I do not want this law, I do not need its protection - and neither does my faith community. I am not even sure that I would not be breaking this law every time I went to Mass, because my recitation of the creed could be considered deeply offensive to Jews and Moslems. The point is, I think, that whatever people may or may not say, the choice about wether I am outraged remains entirely mine. If you speak things about Jesus that I consider offensive, it is up to me to decide whether I am outraged, or whether I react with compassion and understanding. Since Jesus famously forgave the people crucifying him, I am fairly sure what reaction He would expect of me. This legislation seeks to penalise *you* for any immaturity in *my* response to your speech. That seems absurd and utterly unworkable. If a prosecution is ever brought, it will play out in the European Court of Human Rights.

Comment Re:Got one. Love it. (Score 1) 118

I agree. I'll get one when they launch in Australia. I guess the reason these 3G plans are so expensive is that business travellers are prepared to pay this much to stay in connected. If you do most of your work in the office, or at home then why bother. But if you travel for work, and can't afford to be out of connection, it is a pretty useful device. Here in Australia, 3G performance is pretty slow and unpredictable. I get pretty cranky about it, but there isn't a viable alternative.

Comment Re:I don't understand (Score 3, Insightful) 339

The people who are most pissed off by the Christian right are this of us who *are* Christians, but see issues like this as frankly silly. I have no problem with anyone looking at porn; I have huge problems with the fact that 6,000 children a day die from drinking contaminated water. On the one hand pictures of genitals, the universal equipment of every human, on the other hand, dead children and grieving parents because the developed world withholds its resources. Which is the more important? it's a no brainer! Just because I disagree with the Christian right doesn't mean that I should stop identifying myself as a Christian. The Christian faith is no more single voiced than any other faith, or any other large scale grouping. Just because I am a Christian doesn't mean that I have to agree with any and every other person who self-defines as a Christian any more than the fact that I define myself as a socialist means that I agree with every other socialist about every other issue. I may completely fail to understand how anyone can read the Gospels, or the prophetic tradition (Especially Amos, Micah and Isaiah) and not conclude that the key ethical issues are around social justice, but the fact is large numbers of people do just that. My strong suspicion is that faith traditions act like amplifiers. If you are concerned with control and repression then you can find faith-based rhetoric to support that. If you are primarily motivated by liberation and social justice then you can find faith-based rhetoric to support that too. If I ask the question what does the Jesus revealed in the Gospel support, the answer seems pretty clear to me. But we all have to make up our own mind - and ultimately we are all responsible for the use we make of our faith.
GUI

Rob Pike Responds 284

He starts by clearing up my error in saying he was a Unix co-creator in the original Call For Questions. From there he goes on to answer your questions both completely and lucidly. A refreshing change from the politicians and executives we've talked to so much recently, no doubt about it.
Books

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dr. Larry Niven 484

Several Slashdot staff people are major Larry Niven fans, so we feel he needs no introduction. You asked. He answered. Enough said. Read and enjoy.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Douglas Adams Answers (Finally) 293

I've gotten lots of e-mail asking, "Where are Douglas Adams' answers to our questions? Has he forgotten us?" Obviously, no one was forgotten, but the man had a screenplay on deadline and had to work, work, work. Yes, if we had a hall of fame category for "Longest time between interview questions and responses to them," this one would be #1, but it was worth waiting for. Obviously there was never any cause for panic, but all true Douglas Adams fans already knew that, right?

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