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Comment Re:One idea... (Score 5, Interesting) 390

The problem is that recent history demonstrates one thing: People will gladly accept free crap of virtually no journalistic value over cheap crap that at least has a much higher value.

In the tech field, there is plenty of good free online journalism. Their expenses are relatively small, and are easily supported by advertising. Outside of the tech field, things get more costly due to scope - and the free alternatives either lean heavily on "pro" material (one of the news industries biggest complaints) or else just feed us trash worth about as much as what you get out of any scandal rag.

On the other hand, the previous guy's idea of forcing everyone to pay for some content is extremely distasteful. I think it would be much better to enforce some basic rules on content re-appropriation. While I love getting well-written news for free online, it's also one of the main reasons the people who write that news are going out of business - they don't get paid, and no one sees the ads that would normally fund them (because they're looking at the ads that fund the site that ripped off the content).

Attribution is fine, but in this case I think the newspapers are within their right to cooperate on this matter, because it's not price fixing if there are still going to be many free alternatives.

Comment Re:Required reading (Score 1) 628

Pain and death are horrible because of your level of awareness of them.

When you stub your toe, the pain is intense. It's a brilliant flash that you'd rather avoid. It can hurt worse than being shot - but being shot has a lot more emotional response associated with it. There's the aggression involved, violence, and of course fear of death or injury. It's the fear of what that pain means that makes it agony, that and the hardware to fully experience it rather than just register and react - more so than pain itself.

I'm pretty damned sure that a fish can be overloaded with pain signals. If you started gutting it alive, it would definitely feel it. But be honest - it wouldn't experience it in the same way that a lizard, or even a frog, would. Fish can display a basic mechanical intelligence, but the thing has no consciousness in a meaningful sense - it doesn't experience the world, it just exists in it. Any pain it feels is along the lines of a stubbed toe - it's reactions are out of reflex, there's no depth.

Do we know a fish has no mind? No, not with any certainty. Maybe everything is aware on some level, and it's wrong to kill anything for your own sustenance, etc etc. But... I don't believe in mysticism - a primitive animal is a primitive animal, and I'm not going to shed any tears for what happens to them. That changes as you go up the ladder, though. I have concern for a cow or a pig's quality of life, but I'm not remotely sorry for their death. I just wouldn't want them to suffer for it, because they're mammals (to be blunt about it). Chickens, I'm not as concerned about, within reason. Reptiles, I give the benefit of the doubt, and same with amphibians - though more grudgingly. Fish and anything lower, as far as I'm concerned, have no "well-being" to worry about.

A crab or lobster is so far down the totem pole that I don't think concepts like misery or torture can apply to them in any form. They react to pain, but that pain does not have the same meaning as when we're talking about something with an actual mind.

Tossing them in boiling water looks gruesome, but it's effective. All this talk of a quick kill ignores the fact that total removal of the head doesn't do a whole lot. You boil them because poison or impact trauma are about the only other alternatives. If you want to be more humanitarian, electrocute them. It's a little like worrying about offending a cockroach though - there's no common-sense in it.

Comment Re:Rational (Score 1) 807

I didn't say anything about profit. Growing any plant for profit is a lot of work and effort.

How much effort does it take to germinate a few seeds, plant the healthiest ones (spaced out), identify and weed out the males, and then let the females grow? Cannabis Sativa grows easily - all it needs is sun and water, and it's a much hardier than many of the common houseplants people grow every day. It doesn't take a major undertaking to maintain one or two plants - it doesn't even take skill. True, the THC content won't be as high as something grown by a pro, but if you followed a few easy rules you would have a serviceable home grown product.

No actual equipment is required beyond basic gardening tools. No intensive work is required - they're very pest and disease resistant. You would need an outdoor area to do it naturally, but a significant chunk of the population has that. A single healthy plant could satisfy an occasional smoker if buds are selectively harvested (instead of taking the entire plant like a for-profit operation) - and a single healthy plant takes no real effort compared to the other home hobbyist examples given earlier.

I don't disagree with a single thing you said, but you're arguing a point that I never intended to make. I meant small-scale personal use.

And for the record, I have never tried to actually grow one. Oh but I've dreamed, though. That means there could be something specific I'm overlooking due to inexperience, but I'm also pretty familiar with the process.

Comment Re:Rational (Score 4, Insightful) 807

Please stop making this ridiculous argument. Beer is easy to make at home, but is legal and taxed. Food is easy to grow at home, but is legal and taxed in some (many?) states. Clothes are easy to make at home, but are legal and taxed in some (many) states.

Beer is doable, but not all that easy to make at home. You have to build at least a minimal apparatus, and you have to employ some fairly stringent (for a home environment) anti-contamination protocols. It takes time, and the end result usually ends up tasting a little better than horse piss. It's fun (and mine quit tasting like horse piss after a few tries), but not something that will ever be common. Regardless, you are still limited to a very small setup for tax reasons.

Food is food. Apart from subsidies, the growth of food is not very regulated (if for your own consumption). It's about as fundamental a right as there is. Food is also different - you're taxed on profit, but food itself is largely untaxed. Therefore grow all you like.

Clothes are not easy to make at home, at least nothing you'd wear outside. It takes skill and a minimum of equipment. It's not that difficult to build this skill, and brief "homespun" fads have hit the country many times since the Revolution, but on the whole clothing is something that you can rely on never being made at home - except for the statistically small hobbyist, and those who can't afford new clothes. Also, prohibiting clothes made at home would be extremely difficult to provide a reason for, no matter how much any industry screamed for it.

There are a number of reasons why cannabis was illegalized - and most of the common ones you hear are actually true to one extent or another, but none stand out much on their own. Taxation, immigrant paranoia, easy enforcement results, propaganda, and actual honest public health issues. However, brewers were one of the main original impetuses that got the ball rolling, so protecting profits was a major initial cause.

Note that, even today, the alcohol industry is STILL one of the primary sources of funding for anti-legalization. It's easy to see why.

Comment Re:Proprietary solutions (Score 0) 149

Brother, might I suggest that you read a copy of the new 14th Edition? I noticed you applied an unword in your post. Groupwise goodtalk is doublegood for all. War is unwar. Unthink is strongwise. Crimethink is crimethink. [note: "Freedom is Slavery" is scheduled to be redacted as an Ingsoc motto due to inherent incompatibility with Newspeak]

Comment Re:Oranges to oranges, please. (Score 1) 696

I prefer all my Mac hardware to Windows . Huh?!
And I like my Logitech keyboard better than WordPerfect.

I don't quite get what you mean.

Though this christmas I do hope I get that nice 52" 1080i South Park I've been wishing I could afford. I'd have gotten one already, but I blew too much money on the 6-disc Iron Maiden I installed in my car last month.

Comment Re:Think Different! (Score 5, Interesting) 696

The thing about OSX is that I'm not sure I actually like it. It's the prettiest OS I've ever used, but I almost never use my Mac anymore.

I got a Mac laptop a few years back - I got it more for the physical design than anything else. It was a little weird using a Mac (after rarely using them since the early 90's), but I got used to it. I also clocked a lot of hours on a more powerful desktop Mac at work. I'd say that's given me plenty of time to get used to the difference between a Mac and a Windows box.

Windows used to piss me off to no end - constantly crashing, making me lose my work. It's been a while since that's been the case though - of course, I'm still an XP user with no intent on migrating to Vista in the near future. I've got a lot of the "cool" features turned off - no transparency, no fade-in boxes or menus, and a generally stripped-down interface.

On the hardware side, I love Macs. Except for the prices I've paid for them, I prefer all my Mac hardware to Windows (except for mice - a single-button mouse is a good example of art over function. I quit using single-button mice on a mac years ago, and hate being stuck on someone else's).

But the operating system, while pretty, just doesn't do it for me - even after years of using it. The standard GUI is too simple to suit my needs, and it's advanced interfaces aren't so well designed as the alternatives. I got to like both KDE and Gnome quickly (they just suffer from a lack of decent apps to make them worth my using them), but I still see Macs, software-wise, as belonging in the domain of unskilled users, and techies who use them just to use a Mac.

All the same, I hope Macs have a bright future - if nothing else than to drive their competition.

Submission + - Icelandian calls White House, labelled a terrorist ( 3

An anonymous reader writes: A 16-year-old boy in Iceland called a secret government phone number, which he thought was Bush's private number, and posed as the president of Iceland. After passing some impromptu security questions, such as President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson's birth date (which he answered with Wikipedia), Bush's secretary told him to expect a call back. Instead, police surrounded his house and interrogated him on where he got the number, threatening to put him on a no-fly list if he didn't tell. He claims he can't remember where he got the number, but says "I must have gotten it from a friend when I was about 11 or 12."

Submission + - Texas & Florida to Revise Evolution Textbooks (

eldavojohn writes: "Texas, the second biggest textbook market among the states, & Florida plan to revise their textbooks & education standards to make room for creationism. The bulk of this article looks at whether or not this is a cunning move by The Discovery Institute (Creationism's proponent in the scientific realm) to eventually move these ideas to a national level. From a letter from the National Center for Science Education, "The DI has a long history of involvement with the Texas standards process and with textbook adoption in Texas.... Because of the size of the Texas textbook market, and because many other states follow their lead, publishers generally follow whatever direction Texas points them in." This could be a step back to teaching evolution as merely a 'theory' and thereby allowing teachers to expound upon other possibilities like intelligent design, Beelzebub, Zoroaster or even The Flying Spaghetti Monster's Noodly appendage."

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