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Comment Re:Disgousting behaviour (Score 3, Interesting) 560

You should also understand that they represent a very very small minority of the people with Islamic beliefs.

It is much, much higher than you think. An organization like Al Qaeda can't exist on its own. It needs support from a significant percentage of the population in order to provide them with new recruits, financial support, logistical support and so on. And bin Laden didn't manage to elude capture for a decade without support in Pakistan, including from high levels within the military or intelligence agencies. That doesn't mean that everybody or even a majority of the people have to approve of and support Al Qaeda and bin Laden, but if it was just a "very, very small minority" then they simply could not exist.

So let's look at the numbers. I decided to Google this, and the results I came across were pretty shocking. According to a 2011 poll by Pew Research, a think tank that monitors this kind of thing, when asked about whether terror attacks on civilians were justified, 81% of Palestinian Muslims responded with "Often", "Sometimes," "Rarely," or "Don't know". Just 19% said that violence against civilians was never justified. 38% of Egyptians said terror attacks are never justified. The "never justified" number is 39% for Lebanese, 55% for Jordanians, 60% for Turks, 77% for Indonesians, and 85% for Pakistanis. And for U.S. muslims? 81%. 6% of U.S. Muslims said "don't know", 5% said "rarely", 7% said "sometimes", and 1% said "Often". So even in the U.S., we have a full 13% of the population that is OK with murdering civilians under certain circumstances. That's roughly one in every seven American Muslims. And another 6% who feel there is some moral ambiguity here.

It's obviously not accurate, fair, or helpful to assume that all Muslims support violence. And since the countries with the most Muslims (Pakistan and Indonesia) are against violence by a wide margin, it's fair to say that supporting violence against civilians is a minority view in the Muslim world as a whole. But it's definitely not accurate to say that this is a small, fringe minority with little influence. In some countries a large majority of the population actually supports violence.

Comment Re:Why worry (Score 1) 153

We know that an asteroid of sufficient size is going to hit again. It's only a matter of time. Maybe that time is a million years from now, maybe it's a week from now.

Asteroids are a lot like sharks. They're scary and exciting, they're good antagonists for movies, and so we tend to overestimate the danger they pose. Yes, a shark can tear your arm off, and if you happen to run into one while swimming, you should probably head the other way. But the reality is that far more people are killed by dogs, bees, car accidents, choking on food, drug reactions, and soforth.

In terms of natural disasters, the big killers are earthquakes, cyclones, tsunamis and floods. Wikipedia has a list:

. Since 1900, the most deadly natural disasters have included the 1931 China floods (150,000-4 million deaths), the 1971 earthquake in China (240,00-800,000 deaths), the 1970 cyclone in Bangladesh (500,000 deaths), and the 2004 tsunami (280,000 deaths). There are no well-documented instances of meteorites causing mass casualties, but even taking an ancient Chinese report of 10,000 deaths at face value, the worst impact event in the past 1000 years wouldn't even score as the worst natural disaster in the past two years.

Or look at it in geological terms. The human species has been around for about 200,000 years. There is just a single well-documented case of an asteroid causing an extinction in the past 500 million years, the Cretaceous-Paleogene Chicxulub impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. The odds of such an event happening in the next ten thousand years or so are vanishingly remote. And other major extinctions coincide with ice ages (Eocene-Oligocene event, Ordivician-Silurian event) or volcanic eruptions (Permo-Triassic, Triassic-Jurassic, Cenomanian-Turonian events). So if we really want to worry about existential threats to the survival of the species, we should worry about ice ages and volcanoes, not asteroids.

Comment Re:Lets get something straight now (Score 4, Informative) 698

The 911 attacks were a result of eight years of capitulations by Clinton.

That's simply an outright lie. The Clinton administration actively pursued bin Laden. In 1996 the CIA created a special group tasked with tracking bin Laden. In 1998 Clinton ordered a Tomahawk strike against bin Laden's training camps. In 1999, the Clinton administration directed the CIA to train and equip 60 Pakistani commandos to take out bin Laden, but the plan fell apart after a military coup in Pakistan.

Clinton tried to take out bin Laden but never succeeded. But there's no evidence that the Bush Administration ever pursued bin Laden or even took much interest in him before 9/11, even with the warnings of an impending attack, and they dropped the ball after 9/11. They were too interested in Saddam. Of course, in the end, it turned out that Saddam no longer had an active WMD program. The reason? Airstrikes ordered as part of Operation Desert Fox had destroyed Saddam's weapons programs and with the sanctions in place, he was never able to get them started again. Those airstrikes, by the way, were ordered by Bill Clinton.

Comment Re:Because Romney is a liberal. (Score 3, Interesting) 376

If you'd asked me about Romney a month ago, I'd have said he seemed like an okay guy. Boring, but okay. I'd have voted for him if I thought he had a better economic plan than Obama.

But the Libya press conference changed my mind. He was openly gloating. Maybe the Obama administration did screw up in Libya. But Romney saw this first as an opportunity to score points on Obama, and second as a tragedy, if he even thought it was a tragedy at all. He went through the motions of expressing regret, but that asshole smirk was the only genuine, believable part of his entire performance. What kind of person does that, I thought? Then it hit me: the kind of person who picks on a gay kid, holds him down, hacks off his hair, then when confronted years later, lies about it. An asshole.

That Romney went back behind the curtain again for a bit. I wondered if maybe I'd been too harsh on him. Then came the 47% clip. Some people said he was just playing to the crowd. But again what I found striking was the way Romney spoke. He was dynamic, engaged, alive. He didn't sound like the pandering guy on the campaign trail. There was conviction.

People ask about the real Mitt Romney... watch those speeches, and you'll see him, you'll see the real Mitt Romney slip out from behind the carefully constructed mask.

Comment Re:So... (Score 4, Insightful) 148

The internet has definitely changed the espionage game. If you think about it, the entire premise of Star Wars falls apart completely in an internet society. The movie starts out with Vader trying to recover the plans for the Death Star which are stored on R2D2, and then the entire middle of the movie involves trying to physically transport R2 to the Rebels to allow them to stage an attack. If the Empire had internet, then the rebel spies would have just uploaded the plans for the Death Star to the Rebel Alliance, and you'd skip straight to the final scene of the movie.

Comment Re:First sentence is a doozy. (Score 3, Funny) 334

Doctors and government health officials should set limits, as they do for alcohol on the amount of time children spend watching screens

I agree totally. Three-year-olds get really belligerent after a beer or two.

Really? Mine usually asks the girl next door if she'd like to come over and play doctor. She always says no, then he gets moody and quietly stares into his sippy cup. After that, it's outside, and after a couple of laps around the yard in his Power Wheels, he usually ends up hitting the rhododendron.

I guess every kid is a bit different. But that's what makes being a parent so great!

Comment Re:I bet.. (Score 5, Funny) 381

I would suggest voting Libertarian, but Azeroth is already a Libertarian paradise: no taxes, neither the Alliance nor the Horde maintain a police force, fire department, or public library system; there's minimal public investment in infrastructure like roads (in fact virtually no government to speak of), government does nothing as demons and undead stalk the land (I don't know what the official Libertarian position on a plague of the undead is, but I assume Ron Paul would argue that this should be left up to the private sector). Plus, everyone's on the gold standard!

Comment Re:I bet.. (Score 5, Funny) 381

It doesn't matter whether you vote for the Horde or the Alliance. It's not a real choice because ultimately both of them are owned by the moneyed interests of the guild banks and the vendors, and will do anything for a few gold pieces and some high-level items. Until we break free of this two-faction system there will never be any change in Azeroth.

Comment Re:the message is clear: MAKE IT !!! (Score 1) 632

In other words a gun in France is 4 time less liable to kill somebody than in the US....

Or put in another form, american culture and social makeup explains approx 30 000 dead people per year, the fact that it is gun related is not the main factor.

This is the argument Michael Moore made in "Bowling For Columbine" and, like most arguments Michael Moore makes, it's bullshit. He argued that since Canadians have lots of guns but don't kill people as often, it must be America's violent culture that's to blame. There might be some truth to this; social inequality tends to lead to violence, and Canada has a bigger social safety net than the U.S. But "Bowling For Columbine" dishonestly glossed over a big difference between the U.S. and Canada: the Canadians have far stricter gun control laws. You need a license to possess a gun, guns are registered, and there are limits on clip sizes. Same goes for France: you need a license and a background check, guns are registered, handgun ownership is severely restricted.

Comment Re:Had to be said (Score 4, Insightful) 332

The long charging time (1/2 an hour to get enough charge for 3 hours of driving) still seems like a problem. The press release argues that it's not a big loss of time, since you probably want to take a half-hour break every few hours to get some food, go to the bathroom, etc. That's probably true, but it ignores the problem that your car is sitting at the charger for half an hour, so no one else can use it. A single gasoline pump can refuel your car in maybe five minutes, so you can service cars at maybe six times the rate of an electric charger. So if you get there just and there's a line, you could find yourself waiting a long time before you even start to charge.

Comment Re:internet (Score 3, Insightful) 145

I know spam is annoying and all... but you Canadians should really take a moment and consider how amazingly lucky you are. Consider that in your country, the conservatives are shamelessly pandering to homosexuals, instead of trying to deny them the rights everybody else has, and treating homosexuality as some kind of failing to cure with prayer. Maybe some day people in this country will get emails about how Republican politicians have promoted gay rights abroad. It could be 20 or 30 years, as the kids who are now in college move up into political positions. Then again, given how things have changed rapidly on the gay marriage front, it may not be quite so long.

Comment Re:Vegetarian? (Score 2) 342

I call bullshit on this article. So first off, there's nothing to suggest that hominids needed some kind of special adaptation to be able to move out of Africa, after all, they had already done it hundreds of thousands of years before. Homo erectus was the first hominid out of Africa; it's present in Eurasia almost two million years ago, and H. erectus eventually gets as far east as India, China and Indonesia. The Neanderthal-Denisovan lineage then moved out of Africa roughly half a million years ago, with Neanderthals inhabiting Europe and the Middle East, and the Denisovans ultimately going all the way to Siberia. So hominids were already highly adaptable animals, they didn't need some mutation to allow them to persist outside of Africa.

Second of all, the first wave out of Homo sapiens out of Africa actually seem to have taken the coastal route, not an inland route. The first people out of Africa are the australoids, who include the Australian aborigines, Japanese Ainu, probably the Sri Lankan Veddah, and possibly Kennewick Man in Washington. They move out around 70,000 years ago, and since they're today found on islands (Sri Lanka, Australia, Japan) or coastal areas (Washington) they seem to have been early seafarers (the Eurasians move out maybe 30,000 years later, likely taking an overland route). So that doesn't really fit with their idea that the move out of Africa is associated with eating plants and cutting ties with marine resources.

Third, the whole argument is based on the idea that, up to this point, humans are "obligatorily tethered to marine sources". What's the evidence for this? They make some vague claim that early humans in Africa lived "at the margins of lakes, rivers, or seashores in central and eastern Africa." But they don't provide any evidence or argument to explain why humans couldn't have existed anywhere else. Okay, so you get early human remains near lakes, rivers, and oceans... well, for one thing, humans need water, so they camp near lakes, streams, and rivers. Second, fossils get preserved when they are buried in sedimentary rocks. Sedimentary rocks primarily form in lakes, rivers, and oceans. So virtually all fossils are deposited in water. That's just paleontology 101. It's hardly surprising to find early humans in association with water, and you can't from that evidence conclude that humans needed fish to survive.

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