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Submission + - Geek Cultural Canon? 1

RailGunSally writes: It has recently come to my attention that some of the younger geeks of my acquaintance are unable to correctly answer the canonical question: "What is the airspeed of a fully laden swallow?" The youngsters are certainly worthy of the "geek" title in my opinion, and are merely the victims of temporality in this instance. Given the simultaneity of these two facts, I must ask whether there exists an authoritative canon of geekly materials to which I might guide the lads for the more classical phase of their ongoing education. It may well be that I am deficient in the more modern canonical works and could benefit as well. Surely there can be no room for discussion in the matter of which materials should be included in the Canon? I now smirk.

Comment Re:Creationism... (Score 1) 848

That's a myth put about by the scientists and religionists who want a conflict...

Ad hominem.

...(after all, it sells books), that I believe can only be sustained by taking an unusual definition of religion (or science).

Very well. What are the usual definitions?

What do you think science is? What do think religion is?

Science is the systematic empirical inquiry into the nature of the universe. The hypotheses, theories and laws of science are characteristically falsifiable. They are also subject to alteration upon the introduction of new evidence. A scientific conjecture can never be proven, only disproven.

Religion is characterized by steadfast belief in a set of cultural myths in spite of the presence of contravening evidence. Given an ever-present choice between myth and incontrovertible fact, the religious practitioner chooses myth. Religion is therefore inherently irrational.

Why do you think one is the antithesis of the other?

Precisely because science, claiming to be capable of knowing nothing beyond a statistical certainty, starts from ignorance and uses evidence and logic to proceed toward a description of the universe which is both logically and factually consistent.

Religion, antithetically, begins with the assumption of factual certainty of propositions not in evidence. Religion strives to maintain belief in myth in the face of outright disproof.

Hint: religion is far more empirical than most of its critics realise.

Unsubstantiated and preposterous.

By the way, slightly tongue in Hegelian cheek: if religion (being older than science) is the thesis, and science is the antithesis, what do you thing should be the synthesis?

There can be no synthesis even in principle. Hegel assumed rationality and intellectual responsibility on the part of both parties to a dialectic. Religion is categorically irrational precisely because its tenets are immutable by definition. There can be no rationality because there can be no ratio, no balancing or weighing of fact. Religion alters its dogma only as a last resort in the face of overwhelming evidence. Absent science, the Catholic Church, one can only presume, would happily be teaching geocentric cosmology -- if the word can be applied to such a thing -- to this day.

Comment The Meridian Magazine Article (Score 1) 540

...contains this gem:

>There are precedents. Even though President
>Bush and his administration never said that Iraq
>sponsored or was linked to 9/11, you could not
>stand the fact that Americans had that
>misapprehension - so you pounded us with the fact
>that there was no such link. (Along the way, you
>created the false impression that Bush had lied
>to them and said that there was a connection.)

Oh, that's rich! Here's a quote from a Boston globe Article dated June 16, 2004:

>Bush has previously said there was ''no
>evidence" linking Hussein to the Sept. 11, 2001
>attacks, but he and other members of his
>administration have continued to say they
>believe there were ties between Hussein and Al
>Qaeda. In a speech to the conservative Madison
>Institute in Orlando on Monday, Cheney called
>Hussein ''a patron of terrorism" and said ''he
>had long established ties with Al Qaeda."

Please stop reading Orson Scott Card. He's completely full of shit.


Submission + - Unix Admin's Unit of Production? 4

RailGunSally writes: I am a (strictly technical) member of a large *NIX systems admin team at a Fortune 150. Our new IT Management Overlord is a hardcore beancounter from Hell. We in the trenches have been tasked with providing "metrics" on absolutely everything from system utilization to paperclip recycling. Of course, measuring productivity is right up there at the top of the list. We're stumped as to a definition of the basic unit of productivity for a *nix admin. There is a school of thought in our group that holds that if the PHBs are simple enough to want to operate purely from pie charts and spreadsheets, then we should just graph some output from /dev/random and have done with it. I personally love the idea, but I feel the need for due diligence, so I put the question to the Slashdotters: How does one reasonably quantify admin productivity?

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