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Comment Money corrupts (Score 4, Insightful) 147

You see the influence of money, and the power it commands, everywhere nowadays. Sportspeople who, 50 years ago, were forbidden to earn a penny from their talent on pain of exclusion for professionalism, can now earn millions in a few short years. Result: an explosion of drug-taking and other forms of cheating. Politicians who had no visible property and very little income when they began their careers seem to retire as multi-millionaires. Result: an explosion of dishonest practices, including treason. But the worst of all is the corrosive influence of money on science - which used to be the hallmark of reliable, objective truth. It's usually quite subtle, indirect, almost unnoticeable. But it leads to very clear and definite consequences. Scientists who challenge the established paradigms are no longer just up against intellectual inertia; they will be mocked, traduced, slandered and often find that strings are pulled to get them dismissed or ignored.

One good example (out of the thousands that could be mentioned) is the career of Dr John Yudkin, the British scientist who suggested 40 years ago that dietary fat was unlikely to cause disease, and that sugar was a much more likely cultprit. That ran directly counter to the gospel being preached (most profitably) by the American scientist Dr Ancel Keys, who told the world that fat and cholesterol cause heart disease, strokes and cancer. Keys directly libelled and slandered Yudkin, with the result that his work was disgracefully neglected. Today it is perfectly clear that, in all essentials, Yudkin was right and Keys was wrong. But guess which of them died rich and famous?

"Pure, White and Deadly" by Dr John Yudkin

Comment Re:Clouds are good mkay (Score 1) 168

Maybe it's time I mentioned again that IBM mainframe I came across about 25 years ago. The users were complaining about slow response time, but a waiver was issued because they were in Australia and the mainframe was in London.

Oh, didn't I say? The slow response time was 2 seconds. Normally it would have had to be under half a second.

Comment Re:Can't we all just get along?!?!? (Score 0) 312

Here's a good example of how the word "liberal" is now used by some to mean its exact opposite:

The Democratic Party, many of whose members consider themselves "liberals", apparently wants one of its elected legislators to be (unconstitutionally) ejected from Congress because of something she said. Now that is illiberal, because liberals believe in freedom (as far as possible) - including freedom of speech. Of course the freedom of legislators to speak their minds is, if possible, even more important than that of ordinary citizens. The fact that Tulsi Gabbard is absolutely right to ask for some evidence before the USA is committed to yet another war, is a separate matter.

This state of affairs, deplorable and dangerous as it is, has not come about recently. Mark Twain remarked on it in 1897.

"It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them".

- Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar, Ch. XX

Comment Re:Can't we all just get along?!?!? (Score 1, Insightful) 312

and find some common ground... like the fact that Hillary and The Donald are BOTH scumbags who don't deserve to be president?

And right there you have the issue with the USA as a "liberal democracy". How can it be a liberal democracy when the "democracy" part gives voters the choice between a vile rich callous selfish lying warmonger and a vile rich callous selfish lying warmonger? And how liberal can it be when absolutely no one in the senior ranks of the government - or of either major political party - is in the least liberal?

I use the word "liberal" in its original and correct sense:

n adjective
1 respectful and accepting of behaviour or opinions different from one's own. Ø(of a society, law, etc.) favourable to individual rights and freedoms. ØTheology regarding many traditional beliefs as dispensable, invalidated by modern thought, or liable to change.
2 (in a political context) favouring individual liberty, free trade, and moderate political and social reform. Ø(Liberal) relating to Liberals or a Liberal Party, especially (in the UK) relating to the Liberal Democrat party.
3 (of education) concerned with broadening general knowledge and experience.
4 (especially of an interpretation of a law) not strictly literal.
5 given, used, or giving in generous amounts.
n noun
1 a person of liberal views.
2 (Liberal) a supporter or member of a Liberal Party, especially (in the UK) a Liberal Democrat.

        liberalism noun
        liberalist noun
        liberalistic adjective
        liberality noun
        liberally adverb
        liberalness noun

        Middle English (originally in sense 'suitable for a free man' hence 'suitable for a gentleman'): via Old French from Latin liberalis, from liber 'free (man)'.

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