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Comment Re:Not a level playing field (Score 1) 2837

There are whole swaths of research that suggest teams that are comprised of a healthy mix of males and females are actually more performant than their less diverse counterparts. Therefore, it would be in the interest of economic and societal stability to not let the nation's jewels be guarded by an incestuous gentleman's club.

Speaking of which, I still don't understand society's fascination with "economic growth". I for one would strive for a comfortable equilibrium instead. But that's just me. It seems I have a fetish for balance above all.

Comment Re: Trump 2016!!! (Score 1) 2837

You should flip the order of your concerns. The tax one is the most important one.

Lower taxes for the wealthy and for corporations means the lower and middle classes are either squeezed for more money or will receive fewer benefits and shittier service, and thus have a crap life while .05% of society walks off scot free with the nation's collective resources.

This will breed poverty and discontent, which in turn might breed violence and instability, especially give the rather onerous decision to let all manner of weaponry float about in society.

Comment Re: Trump 2016!!! (Score 1) 2837

My good man! I'm not sure you have bothered to ever understand Nazi ideology. Do read up on them a bit, if you get the chance.

To me it seems that state sanctioned civil violence is a jolly bad idea. It's uncivilized, it makes your country less safe (judging by the murder rate) and what's worse, this whole poppycock about owning guns (which you shouldn't) distracts from more pertinent political debates such as poverty, income and capital inequality, employment and education for all and lastly the deplorable state of health of quite a few Americans. That last bit is one of mine... The girth of many Americans is becoming quite unacceptable, you see, and they are very poorly insured.

Socialism is just a way of looking at economic re-distribution, it does not equate a violent racist regime. I for one am a socialist. This means I am constitutionally conservative (I wish to conserve Dutch constitutional values, not the shoddy American one with the guns and distrust), progressive by nature, non-violent, in favour of greater socio-economic equality and against too much free market kool-aid. No more, no less.

Being a socialist does not mean I want to invade Poland or kill homosexuals, you see. But do carry on trying to add to this rather lively and colourful debate.

Comment Re: Trump 2016!!! (Score 1) 2837

True that, amazingly.

On the night of the election I actually spoke to a colleague of mine in Vegas. She appears to be a technician, republican, lesbian-in-wait-to-be-married (but can't, because it's illegal), Texan, Gun Lover and Pro-lifer.

When I asked her why she'd vote for a party that would stop her from marrying her love, she mumbled something about guns and freedom. Then when I asked her how she reconciles the notion of being a Gun Lover while proclaiming to be "pro-life" she basically told me to bugger off.

These people really don't like it when you start rubbing their cognitive dissonance too much.

Comment Re:Tarnished legacy (Score 1) 170

The Democrats are oddly the American party that thinks state intervention in things like healthcare and social benefits are good, so one should logically expect Democrats to not mind a bit more state surveillance either.

But then I've always thought it funny that it's precisely the Republicans who tend to cry "no government is good government" while simultaneously voting for significant government interference:
- The State should stop abortion, which is a private matter
- The State should stop gay marriages, another private matter
- The State should increase their police, surveillance and armed force apparatus
- The State should willy-nilly be able to collect large amounts of data on its citizenry

None of the above is really a move towards more "freedom" and "autonomy" for the citizens, although they do call anyone opposed to these ideas a socialist. As if that would be an insult.

I truly don't logically understand American politics, the US or its citizens very well. Having just returned from an involuntary week in Las Vegas I can only say I am happy to not be living there if only because the coffee sucks and portions are jolly well uncivilized.

Comment Re:Censorship has never improved society (Score 1) 117

Well... If you say a couple of evangelical DJ's caused the genocide in Rwanda, you are casually sidestepping 200 years of colonialist politics on the African continent where western powers (In the case of Rwanda Germany and mostly Belgium) defined borders that went straight across areas regardless of culture, tribal status or inhabitants. What's worse, the propensity of the Belgian colonialists to incite the population divide by elevating one of the present tribes to a position of privilege so as to secure their own footing in said colony didn't exactly stabilize the region either.

But hey, I do doubt said evangelical DJ's helped matters much, I'll give you that.

Comment Re:Censorship has never improved society (Score 2) 117

I wonder why such a misinformed and misleading post is deemed insightful by forum members.

Firstly, in most European countries, the right to free speech is not actually legally or even constitutionally enshrined. There is the usual right to assembly, free thought and a freedom to adhere to any creed one wishes, but in most European countries Slander, Inciting to Hate or public unrest and Defamation are all illegal under criminal law, mind you. Therefore, as a default, there are legal limitations to how free speech actually is. And this is a good thing.

When the "free speech" mob starts trotting out "censorship" as a mule to flog, I get a little tired. In a world that contains 7 billion people of all colours, creeds, genders, races and beliefs, one should not strive for completely unmoderated speech. Because there are too many narrow minded morons in this world, it would descend into chaos and anger. As my grandfather wisely used to quip: You can think what you like, but you can't say whatever you think.

That out of the way, the legal definition of hate speech is quite well defined in a number of European countries as well, and prosecutions can actually be realised. Specifically the Germans have *ahem* learned a couple of painful lessons from their own history, although it must be said that Europe between 1860 and 1940 had large institutionalised racist agendas with the so-called "Race-biological Institutions" in various countries, so by no means do I want to single out the Germans as the only purveyors of a certain breed of thinking. So while this is not a reductio ad Hitlerium argument, one must be vigilant of the possible consequences of unchecked hate speech, "Volksverhetzung", "Aanzetten tot haat", "Agitation publique" or whatever you wish to call it.

As for those who actually use social media to spread poppycock, hate-speech, racism, bile, xenophobia and religious fervour alike, I for one do think it would be great if these people be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The law is there to be enforced, whether you intend to kill, steal, embezzle, con or incite to hatred. But the lack of editorial decisions from Facebook's side is something they should indeed be held accountable for. Facebook serves as a news outlet to some 38% of the American public. I shudder to think about that, given the amount of moronic vitriol and cat video's that permeate that network. The likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter wield quite a bit of power, and their corporate nature drives them to shun any form of responsibility.

From my perspective, it is heartwarming to see a nation state such as Germany finally spring into action to protect the education, sovereignty, privacy and safety of its citizens by holding these media corporations (which they are by now) accountable for the information they provide to said citizenry.

Comment Re:A wasted vote... (Score 1) 993

Democracy in the US is a funny thing. You don't want to follow the money, you don't want to spend too much time thinking about the effective two-party system, and you don't want to reflect on the meaning of your choices boiling down to an empire-building felon and an equally empire-building megalomaniacal moral vacuum.

But Hillary seems to be the best of the choices because Trump manages to look like a bit of a dick wherever he goes. I particularly found him funny when he waltzed into Scotland, where people hate him anyhow on account of some, eh, real estate decisions, on the day of the Brexit, and said how wonderful the democratic process is while standing on soil inhabited by 70% nay-sayers who seem to be unhappy about their English overlords for the past 700 years.

If anyone ever deserved the moniker "You insensitive Clod", he'd be the prime candidate.

Comment Not slashdot too..... (Score 5, Interesting) 965

Terrorism is a statistically completely irrelevant cause of death. 2014 was the most peaceful year in human history. Recently, only 0.9% of all deaths are violence related and there are indications this is on the decline. Life Expectancy is rising, Child Mortality is dropping and life seems to be moving on. Apart from Cancer, Heart, Lungs and stuff like Malaria, traffic is a big one we should be worried about, really. Having a staircase in one's house is, for instance, more dangerous than the notion of terrorism ever will be.

Now, here come the news outlets. Apart from all this "Educating and Informing The People", "Freedom of Speecht" and "Checks and Balances" bullshit, the press and media generally exist to make money. In some cases they even seem to exist for more Machiavellian purposes, but to make money is a biggie. So when something as statistically insignificant as a terror attack happens *Close By*, the news explodes. It's like a gigantic circle jerk in which everyone and their uncle needs to fill yards and yards of column space or air time to talk about What May Have Happened, Why It May Have Happened or What May Happen Next and Which Refugees To Treat Like Shit Because Of This.

So generally speaking, the Media seem to take events like this and add to the sense of fear that terrorists would have instilled in the citizenry. As such, I'm beginning to view the media as culpable in the problem of terrorism, because any wacko can get a world wide platform by misbehaving in an instant. Social media are even worse when it comes to knee jerk bullshit and mass panic.

Which leads me to Slashdot. I think Slashdot is a haven of alternative news which offers refreshing takes on things, interesting articles, sometimes brilliant and inspired discussions. It is a news aggregator / outlet that works differently, feels differently and makes me feel at home in more than a few ways.

I am sad to see that even here, there needs to be a discussion on Paris. I came here to avoid that news. Moreover, I came here to avoid certain discussions about Guns, Islam, The Administration and Refugees. Because these discussions are boringly predictable, polarised, fraught with no-fact-debates and generally just plain stupid.

Comment Re:A Bad Trade (Score 2) 252

Quite. The funny thing is that "Wintertime" as we call it is actually the default time. "Summertime" where we gain light in the evening, is the change.

I for one am sick and tired of this fascism of the early bird. Aside from catching the worm, I suggest the early bird goes and f$#ks itself. As a late person, I want my light in the evening. When, you know, I am awake, productive and generally more cheerful.

Now on /. I wonder... How many folks are with me to abolish the Wintertime / Daylight Savings Time altogether?

Comment Re:BBC / other state broadcasters? (Score 5, Insightful) 132

Well, mate, if you'd then bother to learn someone else's language for a change, you could enjoy the Dutch NPO, the French France Televisions SA, the German ARD, Sveriges Television and many other public broadcasters.

Now I would not mind at all if you watched programmes on the Dutch NPO which I payed for with my NL TV License fees. It's just that you can't. Because you're uni-lingual. The fact that the average German, French, Dutchman and Scandinavian can watch your shows because we hablo Ingles and possibly few other languages doesn't change that fact.

So instead of bickering about me enjoying the odd re-run of Allo Allo and nature shows narrated by Sir Attenborough, I suggest you go back to school.

Now you might say that I respond harshly to your comments, but please remember that the people in the smaller countries and smaller language zones bend over backwards to accommodate the English speaking world. One fringe benefit of me watching your BBC would be that you can actually get a fish and chips in Amsterdam, and we'll happily converse with you about the weather in Wales while we serve it to you from the English menu you just read.

So is it worth your TV license fee to not have to feel like a hapless idiot when you travel the mainland?

Comment Re:They (well some of them) are mental disorders (Score 1) 412

You manage to misrepresent transgenderism in one fell and foul swoop there.

Gender, in terms of how the brain is wired, is actually wired into the system before the testes drop or not. To cut a very long and technical story short, you are mentally wired to be male or female regardless of how your body turns out. For a small percentage of society, this means that their brains don't match their physical attributes, and the consequence of this is indeed a life long quest to become "right".

Stigmas and taboos are quite counterproductive for these individuals, and what Russia is doing is a gross violation of human rights. Then again, I don't expect much sympathy from US citizens, because the LGBT community is still under siege in the US as well. Laws are discriminatory, and public discourse is not very accepting of these folks. All you need to do is watch some Fox News and you'll get the gist.

Characterising the transgendered plight as "dress up in women's lingerie" only serves to exacerbate this situation, even if the intentions are quite OK.

Comment Re: islam (Score 1) 1350

"Capitalism" is really quite a useless term. It frames the discussion in terms of a dichotomy that does not exist in reality. The Americans have now even started equating Socialism with Communism and by proxy of that full fledged Marxism, and then turn around to oppose this with "Freedom" or a "Free Market".

Now I have said this in another post, but there is no such thing as a free market. A free market has an unlimited amount of sellers, an unlimited amount of buyers and no regulations whatsoever. As soon as there's a discrepancy between the supply and demand side, like monopolies, cartels, monopsonies the market isn't truly "free".

Then as soon as you regulate the market in any way, shape or form it isn't truly free. Now for those libertarians out there, or those "no-government is good government" folks on this forum: "Capitalism" as translated into free market doctrine really sucks at morality. Do you agree that child labour ought to be illegal? Are you against slavery? Do you think some oversight should exist as to the circumstances under which labour is performed? If you answer yes to any of those questions, you yourself do not believe in a "free" market.

This means we can quit demonizing "Socialists" because of their alleged "anti-freedom" stance, and we can get on with having some constructive discussions on how we want to redistribute assets so as to maximize the welfare of the world population as a whole. Preferably based on fact rather than faintly religious notions.

Now the notions of a "free market", the "trickle-down effect" and most importantly the "rational actor model" that have been put forth by the Chicago school of economics and their ilk have been proven to be wrong and ineffective countless times. It should become clear if you look at the state of the US today, actually. For reference I would point towards the collected works of Joseph Stiglitz and Ha-Joon Chang.

Yet the public at large seems to want to keep paying lip service to these faulty theories and continues politicians, bankers and businessmen to act in accordance to that which is known to fuck up.

If you are saying people act according to "mutual benefit" you are a proponent of the "rational actor model" I talked about earlier, and that notion is bunk. This is not only made clear by Kahneman et al, but if you delve into George Lakoff's work you'll see that even our definition of rational thought is somewhat fictionalized. Dan Gardner will allow you to see how there is nothing rational about our calculation of risk and Barry Schwartz and Dan Azriely have written volumes on how we are impacted by choices.

To cut a long story short: Cognitive science has long proven that we wouldn't know what "mutual benefit" really is if it kicked us in the ass, which is illustrated by the ever narrowing of the definition of "rationality" in the rational actor model. So yes, the invisible hand as you define it is fictitious at best and completely religious at its worst.

We need government and we need to make some moral decisions as to the kind of society we wish to live in, and enforce that notion through the rule of law, also where economic policy and redistribution of wealth are concerned.

Comment Re:islam (Score 1) 1350

But then religion has already lost all meaning. It just doesn't realize it yet.

I understand the need for some notion of spirituality because people can be freaked out by the prospect of a finite and largely meaningless life, so in order not to go insane I guess some of us need imaginary friends and a promise of an afterlife.

However, in daily life neither my religious neighbors nor I do not ask god to charge our mobile phones. We use a charger that was built and engineered by mankind. Similarly, I don't need a god for morality either. Simple empathy will enable us to do the right thing. We can recognize suffering and decide to try and end or minimize it all by ourselves.

I'd even go as far as to say that a morality that hinges on an external factor dictating it is weaker than a fully internalized and autonomous morality.

Given that opening statement, there is no practical and discernible difference between a religion, dogma and ideology.

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