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Comment Re:LOL (Score 1) 334

I hate to get pulled into any sort of religious debate, but I'll blunder in on this one. I would prefer to live in a predominantly atheist country, which tends to be more cultured, educated, constructive, and happy, rather than one manipulated by religious fundamentalism, which tends to have huge disparities in wealth allocation, more oppression, offer less individual liberty, have higher rates of disease, poor living conditions, and paltry education--and they feel entitled to kill other people.

Atheists, at least in my own observations, value the awesomeness of life and the potential of humanity, and they care about making life better not only for themselves but for other people, including those in the future. A disconcerting number of deists have the destructive mentality that everyone who does not hold beliefs identical to theirs are evil sinners and deserve only hell and pain; that taking care of the future of life here is not important because they'll be going to a sweet afterlife and besides, screw the sinners and screw this rock we live on; and the most troubling of all, if they repeat a couple empty mantras, they have free license to be a total douche and still be rewarded for it.

They also are more likely to believe falsehoods just because they WANT to believe them, and unfortunately they enjoy hating things and LOVE to hate other people. This has the potential to be extremely dangerous to not only a nation but to the rest of the world. I am reminded of the Fox propaganda machine and how appalling that it is not only viewed, but the rest of us are just letting it continue to lie to the mentally feeble and to constantly motivate them towards a movement of violence and destruction. ( Consider also that some in our government are part of an offshoot of the Christian religion that believes it's the wealthy and powerful who are God's favorite people, and they are totally God's BFF even if they're dictators who massacre their own people by the thousands. That's totally the kind of faith I want in my government. I know this is by no means true for every deist and there are cool ones, but by putting "GOD GOD GOD" on everything, not only is it alienating to everyone who is not Christian or Catholic, it's allowing the whack job fundamentalists to believe they are further entitled to slow down the progress of the rest of humanity.

I would rather we just acknowledged as a whole that life is pretty neat and important, and whether or not there is a God, It would be way more impressed if we were being decent human beings on our own--not because we thought we could trick God into thinking we're good enough to get into heaven by appealing to Its curiously human ego. Don't get me wrong, I think religion has served an essential function in humanity's advancement, but religion must evolve as humanity and society does--or else we will become stagnant and mad.

I suppose I am just an idealist because I feel that given the vast amount of wealth, advancement, and potential available to all of us but had by only a handful, we could get over our primitive pettiness and understand that quality of life for the individual is very important and is something that affects all of us, and for even the most selfish of us to realize that our success this far has been dependent entirely on cooperation balanced with individuality.

But there are those who would rather own all the caves than share the future of possibilities.

Comment Re:In summary: (Score 1) 298

I could not agree more with you. This is the more worrisome part of this whole thing. First censorship without due process for websites--how far could similar attacks go on other aspects of society? Once it is deemed lawful for suspected websites, it can be lawful for other "inconveniences" once it's phrased and lobbied properly. This isn't the kind of lawmaking that should be allowed to start in the first place.

Something that particularly irks me is that our government is pretty much deciding for us that the profits of a single NON-ESSENTIAL industry are far more important than for an entire NATION (--world?) to exercise basic constitutional rights (though this is pretty standard government policy by now). Under this act, any content may be censored whether or not it is actually infringing copyright, and they don't even get to defend themselves. Are movies and TV shows really THAT important for Americans? We're just going to Sharpie over whole lines in the Bill of Rights for f*cking Twilight? If so, then we deserve to stay on our current road to third world oppressed obscurity.

If people realized AND cared enough, they should just not even watch these programs anymore, at all. They're essentially paying a private industry to whittle away their rights, even if it seems like a pointless little thing now. I personally can't even enjoy movies anymore, knowing what disgusting, appalling legislature I've financially contributed to.

Comment Re:Used to dislike history class ... (Score 1) 207

Those kind of teachers are the best--helping students understand WHY, instead of memorizing relatively useless facts. I had a teacher like that for biology, who taught me the fundamentals of algebra in fifteen minutes after a semester of pre-algebra class taught me to hate math. I got to Calculus BC because of that guy, and could figure out the answers to equations correctly even if I didn't remember the exact formula. I later used the same method of explanation to tutor some kids in their algebra class, and they all said they understood it better than when their teacher instructed them.

Too much of the standard curriculum is just memorization, without any regard to thinking critically or reasoning, and it's taking its toll on our youth. With the great wealth of resources available through the web, memorization is becoming more and more obsolete. It's time to start instructing students by helping them fully understand underlying principles instead, especially since they are well aware that they will not be using most subjects in their future careers--and end up thinking most of their classes are a waste of time (when they don't have to be).

Comment Re:Hmm... (Score 1) 93

Everyone I know, myself included, who have utilized torrents will go watch a movie at the theater if it is an experience worth the time and money invested--there are a lot of movies I would not watch even for free, at least not silently. Something that has really reduced our downloading by quite a bit, however, is the improved selection available for immediately streaming through Netflix and Hulu.

Getting something for free is only part of the reason people torrent. There are other prominent reasons, such as getting something quickly, replacing material from a purchased CD/DVD that has been damaged, and getting the desired version, i.e. a subbed version instead of dubbed for foreign productions--and in such cases, sometimes a fan-subbed version is more true to the original story than a company's translation, further encouraging piracy of that material.

That aside, if there is a show or movie I enjoy with replay value, I will want to buy a hard copy, for the higher quality, transportability for social viewing, and to support the creators of it. Many brilliant TV shows have been prematurely cancelled due to inadequate advertising and attention, and because the television programming model is antiquated and going out of use.

Similarly for albums--most of my favorite current artists will release a vinyl of their album, with a digital and/or disk copy, bonus artwork, and similar goodies. It is something I gladly pay $20-$60 for, something I will likely have my entire life. It may be worth noting that while CD stores have closed for good, record stores are seeing more and more business as people want to enjoy an analog format of music as an experience, not just background noise from a crappy mp3 file.

Long-winded, but I think punishing fans and prospective customers for trying to enjoy something is the wrong way to go about this, and it's not going to be prevented by putting kids in jail and suing their parents, nor by passing laws that adversely affect all web users. The industry needs to change along with the rest of the world, not impede progress in futility.

Submission + - US targeting foreign piracy websites (

nk497 writes: "The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency is going after piracy websites even if they aren't hosted in the US, by targeting those with .net and .com domain names, which are managed by US company Verisign. Meanwhile, a lawyer suggests such even that isn't needed to take a site to court in the UK, saying as long as the content is directed at UK users, that's connection enough to ensure jurisdiction."

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