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Comment Re:I suppose the ultimate solution is... (Score 5, Insightful) 296

Sadly I think this may well be true in the future if hacking your own PC is treated by Microsoft the same way that modchipping your PS is treated by Sony

I haven't really been paying attention to what Sony has been doing (don't own a PS3), but I wonder if Sony really cares about modchipping itself, or if they just want to keep modded consoles off of PSN?

The latter seems reasonable to me... If you want to mod the console, fine. Just don't expect to be allowed to play in the sandbox with all of the unmodded consoles. You know if they let modded consoles on that games would be flooded by griefers and other annoying breeds of adolescent (chronological or mental).

Not picking a fight, just wondering if I'm missing something...

Comment Re:Ex-Gaming (Score 5, Insightful) 559

Certainly the military doesn't have to do any particular mission overseas; however, if it does no missions overseas, eventually it will be doing such missions within the State.

Ugh. You know, I was mostly with you up until that. Really? You are rolling out the old "if we don't fight them overseas we'll be fighting them at home" chestnut? What if, I dunno, we didn't do things to provoke them in the first place? Have you really bought into the BS rationalization that it's because "they hate our freedoms"?

I come from a military family. Father, both brothers. I chose a different path, but I'm very sympathetic to and have much respect for those who choose to serve. I don't, however, accept bullshit rationalizations from the war-mongers who stand to profit (financially or politically) from never-ending conflict. You really think OBL and Al-Qaeda were that much of a threat before we made them so? Believe what you want, the rise of OBL was at least what those in the intelligence community call "blow-back", if not something more orchestrated by those who saw the decline of the USSR as a threat to the defense industry money train.

Don't be so naive. Invading Afghanistan as a response to 9/11 mostly made sense; they were harboring the bad guys who did it, and the mission was pretty clear -- turn over the rocks (with high kinetics) to squash the bugs. Iraq was straight-up bullshit. I understand the need for those on the ground to make their sacrifices mean something, but wanting to believe something doesn't make it true. Don't dishonor their memories by accepting the crap being fed to us by the mil-ind machine.

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." -- (former FIVE-star) General Dwight D. Eisenhower, 17 Jan 1961

Comment Re:Good Timing! (Score 2) 816

No. I am being completely honest. I was born into a fundamentalist christian cult. I know them from the inside out in a way that no outsider ever really can.

Ditto, and ditto. Those nice Lutherans down the street? That's not who we're talking about. You think Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin were hyping stuff up for the cameras? Maybe they were, but there are a lot of people who believe _exactly_ what those two say they believe. And worse.

Comment Re:Keynesian solution my ass! (Score 1) 311

Still I would rather have a 1940 size US government with a 1940 size budget and 1940 amount of federal regulations.
(and a 2012 respect for civil rights)

In order for that to work out you're going to need a 1940-size population (and never let it grow -- maybe some more world wars) and a 1940-style population distribution. I've been thinking a lot lately about the implications a larger, more urban population has for the American experiment. In all the discourse I hear/read, I never come across anyone pointing out the simple fact that things are very different than they were when the founders did their thing. Hell, things are incredibly different from what they were just 2-3 generations ago, when this census was taken.

1790 population:
3.8M, 3% urban, 81% white (18% slaves!!)

1940 population:
131M, 56% urban, 88% white

2010 population:
308M, 81% urban, 75% white

Look at those numbers. Taken from Look at those numbers and tell me that they're not striking. In 72 years, the population has increased by nearly 2.5 times, it's become far more urban (i.e. more people cheek-by-jowl with far less community), and less homogenous.

Some people will say those are good things, some say they're bad. I think that's silly. They're facts. They just are. But no one seems to want to explore those facts. What does it mean that so many of us now live in cities? There is interesting work (Dunbar Rule, Monkeysphere, etc.) which indicates that we're wired to perform best socially in smaller groups. Social mores hold stronger sway when anonymity is limited.

I think the fact that people don't police themselves (why shouldn't I cut off this asshole, he doesn't know me, I won't see him again!) has led to the crazy layering of laws put in place by politicians who have to be seen to be "doing something" even if that something is passing new laws which overlap with laws already passed to "do something", leading to unintended consequences and a dysfunctional legal system which is now based almost entirely around plea bargaining (90+ %!!) rather than trial by jury of one's peers, as the framers envisioned. Think about that. As most of us don't wind up in the criminal justice system, I think most of us still have this romanticized notion of how law works -- lawyers make their cases before a jury of our peers, the jury goes away and weighs evidence, then makes a decision, etc. etc. No, actually what happens is someone from the AD's office and your defense lawyer sit down and play the bargaining game. If your lawyer is good enough, they bargain down so you get the minimum time possible, it goes to a judge, and you go serve your sentence. No jury. No courtroom drama. If everyone demanded a trial by jury, the system would grind to a halt.

What's the point of all this ranting? I don't know. Mostly I'm just venting to get this idea out there, to get people thinking and talking about the idea that the systems we have in place now (government, law, etc) may have gone well beyond their ability to scale to the size of our population. It's like any other scaling problem... Take the technology that is working now, keep throwing band-aids and duct tape at it until it completely crumbles under the load, and then throw it out in search of what works at the next level. Often times that changeout in technology isn't a clean progression -- some things have to work differently in order to deal with the increased load. Just because it's different doesn't mean that it's worse, though.

Comment Re:Sounds awesome! (Score 2) 222

I've lived in cities all my life and AFAIK, I've never seen the Milky Way.

You'd know it if you saw it. It's unmistakable, and it's breathtaking, the first time you see it in all its glory. I remember the first time like it was yesterday. I was 10, and at a summer camp in the wilds of West Virginia, right next to a national forest. 50 miles to the nearest city, nearest small town was ~10 miles away. I was out walking across the athletic field one night, and happened to look up. Nearly fell over, because the milky way was so astonishingly bright and beautiful. I grew up in a city, too, and I'd had no idea what an unpolluted night sky looked like.

You should make it happen, at least once in your life. Really helps to put things in perspective.

Comment Re:A Minor Alteration (Score 3, Insightful) 328

Google (and the rest of the tech giants) have been dodging taxes and I hope that when those Oakland OWS demonstrations spill over into Mountain View that the police don't have enough tax money to keep drenching the protesters.

I won't argue that there isn't something wrong with the fact that those businesses paid so little in taxes, but I do wonder why your ire seems to be directed at the businesses themselves, rather than the dysfunctional government which allows the loopholes. If what they did is legal, then why wouldn't they take advantage of the loopholes to preserve value for themselves and their shareholders? When you do your taxes, do you take all of the deductions available to you, or do you take some sort of moral high road out of patriotic duty? I'm annoyed that my net worth isn't enough to let me play the same games. Hoping that the US tax system will become fair is useless. What most folks don't recognize is that making adjustments to the tax code is a powerful tool for Congress-critters to reward or punish friends and foes. Probably more powerful than earmarks, because it's subtle.

Comment Re:I have problems with this (Score 1) 1319

What's your point, exactly? That my faith in the logic of math and science is equivalent to Sarah Palin's faith in the veracity of Genesis as an explanation for why we're all here? If so, that's pretty stupid. You seem to be saying that because I abdicate responsibility for understanding every detail of how the A320 I'm in gets and stays in the air, that I've put faith in someone else and therefore it's exactly the same thing as placing faith in L. Ron Hubbard's claim that Galactic Overlord Xenu blew up billions of rebels on Earth 85 million years ago and their souls hang around to cause mental illness today.

Yeah, that makes sense, thanks for pointing it out. I never would have made that connection.

Comment Re:I have problems with this (Score 3, Interesting) 1319

Why can't religious people see this as a much, much greater feat of creation, resulting in God being infinitely more omnipotent?

My theory, having been raised fundamentalist Pentecostal and losing the scales over my eyes in my late teens: Religious people fall into one of three categories:

1. Completely incurious and uninterested in anything which contradicts or otherwise isn't addressed by a literal interpretation of their scripture (never mind that the scripture often contradicts itself!).
2. Recognize that religious belief is not necessarily completely logical but are OK with that and don't try too hard to reconcile religion and science beyond a weak "god of the gaps" approach.
3. Some combination of the two, usually moving in the direction of 1 -> 2... In my experience, this is the dangerous time for religious belief, as a person with enough curiosity and/or intelligence will begin to recognize how completely illogical (and perhaps damaging) fundamentalist belief is, and may well become completely disillusioned with the whole thing. An individual starting on the 2 side of things may not feel that religious belief is as pernicious as one moving from 1 -> 2 and may be more comfortable with keeping it as part of their cultural identity.

So to more directly answer your question, most religious people aren't interested in trying to develop a more nuanced form of belief, because it requires a LOT of work! If A is actually possible, then maybe B is too, and well let's think about C too, oh, and then there's D..Q, etc. etc. I suspect that this mental shuffling is why personal-belief style religions (e.g. evangelical christianity) tend to attract more rigid people than hierarchical and paternalistic religions (e.g. catholicism, eastern orthodox, islam, etc), where the thinking is done by a select few who get a lot of reinforcement from their peers (other clerics) and the predigested Deep Thoughts are passed down to the faithful who happily believe without taking responsibility for forming the basis of their belief.

Comment Re:Definitions (Score 1) 943

Personally, I find it useful to have a distinction between people who strongly believe in the non-existence of God (I think those exist, not only as a lie by the church) and those who view that question as somehow undecided.

Have you ever actually met one of these people who devoutly and fervently believe in the non-existence of God? Really? Insecure theists love to imagine (at some level, perhaps not concretely) that there is some kind of Anti-Church where all the Atheists go every Sunday and not-believe in their God. The idea that there could be people who don't believe in anything in particular just Does Not Compute for them.

For most of human history, the vast majority of us have all believed in the existence something other than the physical world (be it a well-developed mythos like modern religions, or simple animism, or something in-between). The concept of just plain old not-believing is not something those who have been steeped in belief are wired to "get". At least people who believe in something else are comprehendible (but WRONG!) to them.

The reality, as so many other have pointed out, is that atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby. Or to go all Zen about it: A Believer asked a non-believer what he believed in. The non-believer replied, "Mu." The Believer was not enlightened, and went away more confused and hostile than ever.

Having agnostics as a third category besides believers and atheists provides that distinction

A useless distinction to allow insecure folks some kind of pointless illusion of non-confrontational middle ground. Either you're a Believer, or you're not. Period. Have some courage in your (non-)convictions.

Comment Lustre (Score 3, Informative) 320

Lustre is pretty cool, but it's not magic pixie dust. It won't break the laws of physics and somehow make a single node faster than it would be as a NFS server. It's for situations when a single file server doesn't have the bandwidth to handle lots of simultaneous readers and writers. A "small" Lustre filesystem these days usually has 8-16 object storage servers serving mid-high tens of TB. The high end filesystems have literally hundreds of OSSes and multiple PB served. The largest I know of right now is the 5PB Spider filesystem at Oak Ridge National Labs.

One nice thing about Lustre on the low end is that you can grow it... Start out small and add new OSSes and OSTs as you need them. This often makes sense in Life Sciences and digital animation scenarios where the initial fast storage needs are unknown or the initial budget is limited (but expected to grow). But if you're never planning to get beyond the capacity of a single node or two, Lustre is just going to be overhead. I don't know much about the other clustered filesystem options.

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