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Comment Re:Change we can believe in (Score 1) 569

I don't think fascism fits exactly, either. It's the furthest thing from socialism, though. The Soviets were state capitalists, at least after Stalin came in, and likely before then. That leads a lot of Americans raised in the Cold War zeitgeist to view government control as socialism. Socialism definitionally means that the workers are in control, not capital and its holders, and not government. Socialism is an orthogonal concept to government, just as capitalism is. The closest political concept to socialism would be democracy. Oligarchal Collectivism is a better term for both the Nazis, the corporatist politics of the US, and to a lesser extent, the USSR. In a way, it's feudalism mixed with absurd levels of demagoguery. Orwell chose a good name when he called Goldstein's book "The Theory and Practice of Oligarchal Collectivism".

If in practice, you only have two virtually identical parties to vote for, or in practice only one in ten million people can come from a position of no capital to having their individual say affect policy, you don't have democracy, you have some form of oligarchy.

Comment Re:Thoughts from a real farmer (Score 2, Informative) 435

I'm also a farmer...went back to it after trying programming and hvac controls for a few years. Used to be considered a large farm, but now probably mid-sized (7000 acres at the high point when I was farming with family). I completely agree with all your points. There is a lot of naivete around this issue which looks quite ignorant from those of us who work in the field (pun intended). The hate-on for Monsanto is largely misplaced, IMO. The way farming was done before roundup became so prevalent was much worse. The environmental costs of the fuel and wear and tear on machinery cultivating out (for instance) quack grass, the economic costs of summer fallowing, the use of chemicals which were far, far, far more noxious than Roundup could ever be made for both less environmental and less economically valuable farming. There are many problems with Monsanto, BASF, and basically any of the seed suppliers or chemical companies, such as the IP issues or breeders rights. Roundup resistant weeds is not an issue. There are other chemicals to deal with that if needed. Roundup resistant broadleafs? Just use 2-4D or MCPA. They've been around forever. They're more toxic than Roundup, but they're not particularly bad. Roundup has drastically reduced the amount of toxic chemicals we spray on our land, and GMO strains of seed tend to make for more efficient, less energy consuming, and less chemically toxic farming. I've been drenched (and swallowed) more Roundup in a day than any thousand people will come in contact with in their lives. Sure we could go back to a mythological, pastoral past, but I don't see that happening. And I know I wouldn't want it, nor would anybody who actually understands the crushing labour it entails. If someone wants me to become an organic farmer, sure, I'll do it. But I'm not carrying the cost. Give me a few hundred thousand a year to offset the (inevitable) loss of profits from organic farming, and I'll be all over it. The sky is not falling over Roundup resistant weeds, and it seems silly to me how some people think it is.

Comment Which community... (Score 1) 697

...is the strictest, though?

I've read radical feminists who would view pretty much any diamond, alcohol, or shampoo commercial I've ever seen as obscenity. Hell, there's an article online (ICBATG) about the Firefly episode "Mrs. Reynolds" by some wingnut (Allecto, IIRC), which talks about it portraying homoeroticism, advocating misogyny, and showing sexual slavery positively/jokingly. I'm quite sure she'd find Firefly obscene.

The problem (well one of them) is that the 'strictest community' is inevitably going to be radical to some degree, and not representative of the larger community. That's pretty much tautological. They'll be a group more interested in changing the mores of society than in actually addressing the individual instance of a crime.

For the fun of it:
One of my favourite Bradbury lines: in Usher II from the Martian Chronicles

Comment Re:Ambigious Emotions (Score 1) 87

If you're uncertain, maybe it was both?

Seriously though, the only time cable hasn't had "undue control on the programming pipeline" in my area was when it only offered about eight channels, and the rabbit ear option picked up five. We're thirty years past that point, though. I suppose satellite TV is cheap enough now, but it's not ubiquitous enough to say cable has lost that control, IMO.

Comment Re:Lake Wobegon Effect (Score 1) 520

So while I agree that many may be overestimating their abilities, /. probably does have a crowd with a higher overall (or at least technical/logical) skill set. How many laborers or unskilled factory workers do you think read /.?

I think it's more likely to work the other way, actually. Manipulating material and tools all day would probably hone one's spatial reasoning far more than dealing with abstract or logical problems. I just got back from a 600 mile solo kayak trip in NW Manitoba a couple of weeks ago, and I only looked at my compass 6 times, twice to set magnetic north, and four times to double check what I already knew. I think growing up on a farm fixing engines, welding broken machinery, or inventing machinery modifications probably did a lot more for my sense of direction and spatial reasoning than calculus, PERL programming, or any other strictly rational activity.

Comment Re:People definitely neglect science... (Score 1) 656

Honestly... I think people who know a lot of science are probably the biggest problem with science education.

I can't remember the exact quote, but in "Down and Out..." Orwell says something like:

"Socialists, like Christians, are generally the worst advertisements for their beliefs"

It's probably true for most people who primarily identify themselves by a shared group belief, really.

Comment I like this poll. (Score 1, Interesting) 860

The poll left out my favourite doctor, though: Granny Weatherwax. I occasionally ask people whom I meet who their favourite fictional character is, and often find out interesting things about them that way. I think it's a better question to ask, compatibility-wise and conversationally, than favourite music or movie type questions. It lets you know more about what personal traits they like or are interested in.

Comment Sheesh. (Score 1) 379

No, you shouldn't be worried.

Just as the Ubuntocalypse (which occurs after the Zealous Zebra release) is a constant worry for us all, there are only about four unused Toy Story names, which would mean Debian will run out of names in 2138. A third Toy Story movie should give us about five hundred more years of Debian release names.

By that time, the "Toy Story" branch of releases will enter "Testing", and "The Incredibles" branch of releases (based on dozens of movie sequels) will become the "Experimental" branch. This should last until the heat death of the universe, at which point all Debian releases will be classified as "Stable".

Comment Re:7.777777777 miles per day (Score 1) 137

That's probably not a bad average speed for travel on foot, really. I go on extended canoe and kayak trips, and although I've had days where I've covered over fifty miles, most days of travel are only about 25 miles. The average is only about 15-18 miles/day, though. Occasional rest days, bad wind/water days, fishing days, "too much rain" days etc usually make up about 25% of total days. My longest so far is only 40 days, and I think I'd be purposely slowing myself even more so I wouldn't get fatigued for a 90 day trip.

Wind, whiteout, gear repair, and rest days would have to be assumed for their terrain, I think. 7.8 miles a day average seems totally reasonable. Considering it's a 90 day average, maybe even slightly optimistic. It's nearly 1/3 of a marathon/day over ice and snow (pulling hundreds of pounds), every day, for 90 days.

Comment Re:Not quite... (Score 1) 255

Okay, right up to this point:

Alice only has access to the information she *brought* with her when they separated.

it makes sense, and is essentially determinism, AFAICT. I don't really understand how this is possible:

And after she sees the half-coin, if she polishes the tail image off and inscribes another image ... no more entanglement! That is, by looking at her half-coin, you no longer are capable of learning what Bob had.

Okay, she wipes out the state (or rather non-state?) of the particle by the interaction of viewing. It's not my field at all, but it looks pretty much identical to Schroedinger's Cat. But I'd say that's the point that gets viewed as weird/possibly mystical. I could be completely off base, but it seems to me that the simplest example is the problem of knowing an electron's position vs. its velocity. That seems pretty straight forward to me. The physics and math between that and "a quantum way of thinking" are either non-existent (AKA I'm completely off base) or generally esoteric enough that they come across as nonsense to a layman.

Looking at it, my interpretation is: a particle which is not acted upon behaves deterministically (but this is not possible to know), a particle that is acted upon was indeterminate until acted upon. You know she has "tails", logically, but it can't be proven until its checked, at which point its original state becomes uncheckable. Anyhow, that's the rampant conjecture that happens with me, and where it gets mysterious. Spooky, no. Nor capable of miracles of Star Trek teleportation etc, but still mysterious and open to my own ridiculous speculation.

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I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman