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Comment Re:tip of the iceberg (Score 1) 1097

I don't think anyone is shocked. The shock for me comes when the suggestion is made that we should do a little self-censorship. Yeah, sure... this is just the one taboo we have to respect... this is the only bit of sharia law we infidels have to obey, right?

Stepping on an American flag seems to get quite the response from white Christian America. They really want people to practice some self-censorship there.

They are also not very fond of movies like "Dogma" or "The Last Temptation of Christ" and, though no one has done it that I know of, would respond, I suspect, negatively towards burning crucifixes or the like.

Except it doesn't end there. It can never end there. I mean hell, the hadith have in the past been widely interpreted to forbid all artwork of animals and humans. They've given up that battle... for now. But rest assured, they have not forgotten. None of this barbarous shit in any of the Abrahamic faiths can ever be truly forgotten, because all sitting there in the unalterable book waiting for someone to decide to take it literally again."Respect" for religious insanity is a continuous spectrum of masochistic self-censorship trailing down into an infinite abyss. Or do you really, honestly believe that ISIS's current set of laws is the most extreme interpretation possible?

It's possible to resist the scaremongering of the right (no, neither ISIS nor any of the other bearded fuckwits are in any position to do us significant harm at this very moment ) while still acknowledging that over the long run this is a zero sum game with no possibility of common ground.

We cannot share a planet with these people. So yes, let's keep making the bastards angry.

Comment Re:The Perfect Bait (Score 1) 1097

I've seen many cartoons depicting Jesus, but I can't recall many protests or people getting killed for it.

Perhaps you don't remember "The Last Temptation of Christ" and the related death threats from Christians? Ok. How about "Dogma" and the death threats Kevin Smith's family got.

There aren't protests over drawing Jesus because there's no proscription in the religion that disallows it. To Muslims and very orthidox Jews, drawing something that exists in heaven or Earth is idolotry.
"You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below" - Exodus 20:4

Though the Muslims doing stuff like this miss the point that it's a commandment *to Muslims*, and someone else doing it has no more effect than someone else eating pork.

Comment Gender Gap (Score 4, Insightful) 634

For example, at Princeton, the student chapter of Engineers Without Borders has an executive board that is nearly 70 percent female

This seems like a real problem. How can we get more men into Engineers Without Borders? We need a presidential comission and a lot of news articles !?!

Or is it only a problem when women are the minority group?

Comment Re:Why the hate for VB (Score 1) 181

Because VB brings us such fucking abominations as:

If myVar IsNot Nothing AndAlso myVar = "something" Then
' do something
End If

The problem with VB is in it's attempts to be English like it's just ended up requiring you to spout nonsense. No one says "Is not nothing", they say "Is something".

It's too verbose and ends up forcing you to write stuff that's inherently less readable than if it didn't try and fudge English into it's syntax.

Right: because if (myVar != null && myVar == "something") {
'do something

Yea. That's much closer to English. I routinely say things with more special characters than letters in them.

And that's a terrible line.. since it must be not nothing to be something. You could have cut the entire first part.

I'm a big fan of self-documenting code. If you want to give up readability to gain brevity; then I'd hate to try to follow your variable and function names.

Comment Re:Well done! (Score 1) 540

Our public school is a high poverty district and, at one point, we considered private school. Then we saw the cost: $16,000 per year per student (we have 2 kids). They have scholarship programs but we heard from people that accepting the scholarship means you open your finances wide open to their scrutiny. e.g. If you take one family vacation a year, they'll ask you why you're spending money on that versus giving them the money.

We can't afford to move to a wealthier district either so, in the end, we're sending our kids to public school because it's our only option at the moment. Luckily, so far, our schools have been committed to doing the most with what they have (despite our governor's attempts to destroy the public school system).

It seems like you also had the option to apply for a scholarship, open your finances, and not take vacations.

I don't fault you for your choice; but you *did* have a choice.

Comment Re:Well done! (Score 1) 540

You can't blame parents for doing whatever they can--moving, paying an arm and a leg for private school, etc--to help their children out. It's really just human nature.

Can you blame (mostly)Mexican immigrants coming to the US for similar reasons?

I know it's phrased passively, in the form of a question; but isn't that inference a straw-man?

I don't blame a bear for wanting to eat me; but I still do what I need to in order to not be eaten.

I believe his point was: "We do what we need to do to give our children the best opportunities. We'd like to see other children do better; but not at the expense of our own."

Comment Re:Without them completely? No (Score 1) 365

Without them for energy? Yes.

Fossil fuels are far more important as fertilizer and medicine than they are as energy products. We can, fairly easily, replace them as energy sources with alternatives that may be more expensive but are viable.

We don't have shit for a way to replace the fertilizer supply, which means we'd probably have a great dying due to starvation if we completely abandon fossil fuels.

Then of course theres all the medicines we make from oil. If the starvation dying doesn't get you, the lack of medical supplies is going to curb another large portion of our population.

... in the short term

The bigger question is what it would take to get us back to the point where we *can* get to those petrochemicals... where we can build the machines we can build today.

Infrastructure is a big worry, and societal collapse... but if we could magically turn people into a well-organized, forward-thinking group I assert we could get from there to here pretty quickly.

Electricity is quite doable, though not to modern levels, without modern resources. Electricity gives you the ability to make the machines that will make the machines.

Electricity also gives you biodesil (though yes, that will be competing with food crops as, yes, starvation and disease will affect many, many more people).

Comment It would depend on how focused we are (Score 1) 365

Wind and hydro-electric production are implamentable without signifigant prerequsite manufacturing. Yes, they are more efficient with high-tech equipment; but if the more basic generators created an "island of power" were more high-tech manufacturing could be performed you could easily kick-start back to a modern system.

Use the low-tech hydro-power for a biofuel plant (power digging or recycling equipment) and the production of better hydro-power generators (or solar-power, etc).

Don't get me wrong: there are some massive hurdles to overcome; but for key infrastructure we could replace oil even in a boot-strap society.

Note: the whole supply-chain is far more complex than most people realize. The dark ages weren't so much about lost knowledge as lost infrastructure. In a "new society", getting the needed resources to the needed location would, I think, be the biggest single problem. You can't just build a microprocessor plant out of the blue; it requires hundreds of other systems to make it go.

The biggest issues on a "global restart" are "population" and "infrastructure / government"... at least in terms of moving back to an industrial society.

Comment Re:Realistic (Score 1) 374

Nothing is stopping anyone from using solar.

That's not exatly true. One of the laws involved, at least here in Florida, prohibits non-utilities from selling power.

See: what has happened in some states is that companies have offered a deal where *they* fund the solar panels on your roof and, in exchange, you pay a certain per kw/h rate for what power they provide that you consume. But that's forbidden by law here in FL.

Comment Re:Fuck it - everyone for themselves. (Score 2) 374

"The wealthy" are the people putting solar on their roof, and net-metering pushes costs onto people less well off. So at least in this case, "the fossil fuel industry" is acting in the interests of the little guy.

One of the laws involved, at least here in Florida, prohibits non-utilities from selling power.

See: what has happened in some states is that companies have offered a deal where *they* fund the solar panels on your roof and, in exchange, you pay a certain per kw/h rate for what power they provide that you consume. This means that the poor could, indeed, get solar power (and one presumes it's less expensive than grid power or no one would take the deal).

Your conclusion is based on an apparently flawed pre-condition.

Comment Re:The title is misleading (Score 1) 81

The article is vague on the details but, to me, the most likely error in your assumptions is "suberbs aren't cities".

Or, another variation: "Suberbs are seperate cities".

Do you believe that the population of London is less dense now than it was 200 years ago? How tall do you think the buildings were then?

Comment The title is misleading (Score 4, Interesting) 81

What they are actually saying is that ancient and modenr chities can *be described* by the same formula.

Referring to the article: When a modern city doubles its population, it grows 83% in size (ther than 100%); this seems to hold true for ancient cities.
When a moden city doubles its population, it's per-capita GDP (and wages) increase 15%. Using the number of monuments per-capita as a guide, the researchers found this also correlated with ancient cities.

It's an interesting article (I'd like more details) but, per Slashdot norms, a lousy title.

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