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Comment Re:Still think Wikileaks knows what they're doing? (Score 4, Interesting) 632

The real question is not whether you or I, or the next guy thinks killing Osama will accomplish anything. It is whether the general public will think so.

The US culture has, for the past few decades, evolved to expect the "Good Guys Always Win" ending. It has been hammered into our heads by practically every movie, TV series, and book targeted for the mainstream audience. You and I may know perfectly well that the world is a complex inter-related network of challenging problems, but for the average Joe there is only a bad guy that needs to be defeated, and a world/girl that needs to be saved. Such a view may be depressing for those of us that can see through the illusion, but that does not change the fact that a huge section of the US society thinks this way.

Killing Osama simply plays right into this mentality; Yet again the US is the stereotypical "Good Guy" that killed the "Big Evil Villain." There was then a big party with a ton of booze and women, and now the credits are rolling, and everyone is getting up to leave the theater. This is a huge milestone not in terms of world events, but in the minds of millions of people in the US that wanted nothing more than to go to Afghanistan and kick one guy in the face.

So again, you can analyze the hell out of the problems of the world. You can create model after model and scenario after scenario for what will happen in all the various organizations. You can point out that the terrorists are still terrorists. However, you can not ignore how all of these things will sail straight over the heads of a good 95% of the population. Given that unfortunately these are the people that decide the elections, I will say that damn right this changed something.

Comment Re:No. (Score 1) 1486

I think the question you should be asking is not "what is science" but "what is faith?" You seem to be assigning a slew of negative connotations to the word, just because it is used by religions to justify their belief structure; a structure you clearly do not like. Clearly you would prefer to interpret it in the most negative fashion, instead of stepping back to consider the argument being made from a neutral point of view.

Faith is defined as "complete trust or confidence in someone or something." Whether science delivers or not is not the matter being discussed. In fact, it is because science delivers that we are so ready to place our trust in it. Because you have faith in the scientific method, and the results it generates, you go online and argue that science is so much better than religion, and for that very same reason you are voted +5 Insightful.

The argument being made is that many if not most of the people that profess to understand something because of science do not actually understand what they are claiming, they just understand that someone they trust says it is so. Yes, the reason they trust that person is because he or she is a scientist and has likely understood the matter in question. Still, that does not change the fact that most people simply do trust science just because.

Yes, you could open up the books, read everything about anything, conduct countless experiments to verify the current understanding, but there is simply not enough time for anyone to do all this for every subject ever. Because of this, science too comes down to simple trust. You trust that someone that makes a claim has really tested it fully, and that other specialists will verify that claim. You trust that the scope of our understanding of the matter in question is sufficient to answer the questions being asked. You trust that the scientific method is enough to overcome the challenges of human nature, and provide a single concise answer. You trust that science is demonstrable, repeatable, and self-correcting, because it has show itself to be all of those things.

Honestly, if that's not a "complete trust or confidence in someone or something," then I really have no clue what is.

Comment Re:do it mozilla. (Score 1) 284

My grandmother uses Skype. She has not yet figured out that an email address will not work if you misspell it. After repeated lessons. That's about as complete a noob as you can find. What more, she is most certainly not a unique example in this respect.

Skype is one of the most popular mainstream online communication systems out there. The fact that they are doing something like this means the problem is probably serious enough that they had no other option.

Comment Re:World is changing (Score 1) 553

Some black guys are also presidents of the US, however that seems to not be the norm for that genetic and social group. Sure, you can find examples of really smart people that are able to communicate, but I assure you those are the exception and not the norm.

What more, those people probably have invested a significant amount of time using the full extent of their intellect to figure out how to explain the material in question. I mean if you are a genius, this should not be that much of a challenge. That said, the GP's point still remains, if you are significantly smarter than the average, and do not take the time to carefully consider how to explain a concept you may completely lose your audience simply because you consider amazingly complex concepts to be absolutely trivial.

Oh the other hand, because you find things so trivial if you DO put in the extra time, your explanations will be all that much more concise and clear.

Comment Why so exclusive? (Score 1) 282

There is a common myth that it is either breadth or depth of knowledge, and that your brain could not hope to do both. I find the opposite is true. As long as you take the time to actually learn a topic in depth the breadth that the Internet gives you only helps you excel in your chosen field by applying knowledge from other fields. The only negative claim I do give weight to is the difficulty focusing; while too much knowledge is not a bad thing, the rate at which it comes needs special efforts to ensure you are not sacrificing your ability to focus when you need to. This is why I suggest meditation if you spend your entire life online.

Comment Re:Not this again... (Score 2, Interesting) 861

I feel that I disagree with you. I, and most people I know, stopped downloading everything except the songs we might listen to once and forget the instant you could just buy MP3s in a web store. We stopped downloading all but the most questionable games the instant you could log into Steam and install on as many computers as you need to. Why do you feel movies would be different?

Comment Re:hmmm (Score 1) 459

I imagine these new designs will be an entirely different beast from the Concorde. For one, new advances in material sciences are likely to allow such planes to fly much higher than the Concorde could, eliminating many of the common complaints. Second, advances in engine technology will make operating such flights significantly cheaper per person, to the point where the time saving would be worth the gas premium.

Comment What's the problem (Score 1) 233

That looks like a reasonably deep and detailed strategic map? Do people perhaps think that directing an entire national army to affect another nation is a simple matter? I would probably make that hierarchical, so not everything is quite so cluttered, but the breadth of information is what I would expect from something this important. Basically, they need to work on the presentation. Once that is out of the way, the rest is pretty reasonable.

Comment Re:Lol? Sif it will happen. (Score 1) 280

I think slimjim already covered most of your post, but I wanted to add my bit too. No one is discounting a group of people based on the news channel they watch. Instead, people are discounting a group of people based on the beliefs they hold, since those beliefs are rooted in lies, and misinformation. The reason you see people blaming Fox News is because Fox is most often the source of said misinformation.

So the thought process goes: "Person A believes Points X. Points X is based entirely on inaccurate data N, and is therefore itself inaccurate. Data N (And most likely Point X) was first reported by Fox news. Ergo, Person A is wrong because they watch (and believe) Fox news. Further, this statement applies to a significant number of vocal people that share the belief in point X, therefore, people that watch Fox News are generally working off incorrect information."

Instead of explaining the logic step-by-step like I just did, most find it simpler to just say, "Person A watches Fox news, and is therefore wrong." It's an oversimplification, so you just need to follow it backwards to understand what they are really trying to say. After all, plenty of reasonable people watch Fox News too; the question is how many blindly believe it.

For the spending bill; do you believe that these so called pet projects implement themselves? Each one creates some jobs, while also improving the country in some way. Creating jobs is not as simple as waving a magic legislative wand, and wishing really hard for more jobs to appear. Obama has to balance not only the needs of the citizens, but also the corporations, the politicians, the special interest groups, and many other political players. This is a fact of Washington; trying to ignore any of the above will result in your legislation dying in committee, before it even makes it to the House or Senate, much less the President.

About health care, we will not be providing full service for at least 4 more years. The bill that passed is just setting the groundwork for that system. Again, the thing to realize is that you are working to change a gigantic system, and that will take a lot of time. In a better world, the health care bill should have passed congress, with bi-partisan support, within a few months, and left the various branches of government with a course of action for the next four years. Instead, the Republicans decided to draw it out into a long, and ultimately futile battle, decimating their public image in the process.

As for pre-existing conditions. Yes, they do force everyone to pay for it. That's sort of the idea. The fact is that people with pre-existing conditions could not afford to pay for it separately; it would simply not be economically possible. As such, not enforcing a mandate means that you have an entire segment of citizens in your country denied the chance to live a healthy life. So, the mandate, quite simply, promotes general welfare. At this point you do not have to be a constitutional scholar to see the connection.

Paying for it too is not as simple as it sounds. Firstly, the bill already does balance a good chunk of its costs. The remaining holes need to be resolved using standard budget tools. To pay for a project you need to know how much it will cost. To do that you need to get the bill into place, understand how it is affecting the nation, and plan for its long term sustainability. However, trying to work a pending bill into the existing budget will simply not work; the US already has a lot of money committed to a whole lot of projects, and scrapping them based on a bill that might pass is not going to fly with the stakeholders of those projects. Just saying, "Well, the health care overhaul might need this money will not fly." By contrast it is a lot easier to say, "The new health care system is short $x billion dollars. These projects are not critical, and can make up the shortfall." This is called balancing the budget, at it is done knowing the predicted expenditures based on existing items, not based on legislation that may or may not pass.

Insurance industries overcharging is another common concern that is actually much overstated. The fact is the overhaul creates a lot of competition in the insurance market. The government does not need to go out of its way to declare that you cannot overcharge. If one company decides it can make a good buck by hiking your rates 30%, someone else will come in and go, "Well, we can offer you what you had before, for the same price." You can then say good-bye to the first insurer. Also, because of the nature of insurance, the bigger the pool of people you cover is, the lower the premiums that the company needs to sustain the pool. The formula is not linear obviously, but more is generally cheaper when you come down to it.

By contrast, you cannot really legislate what sort of medical procedures you may or may not receive. Sometimes a procedure you think is unnecessary may actually be done for a reason. However, with a bigger pool of insured patients, the hospitals would be less likely to perform something truly useless, since there would almost always be someone for whom such a test would be quite a lot more relevant.

Finally, regarding the birth certificate. The matter is twofold. First, as a citizen of the United States, the President has a right to keep his personal documents private. Second, when your opponent is wasting time and resources pursuing a matter that you know will not provide them with any benefit, it is strategically more beneficial to let them continue to commit to the dead-end cause. Otherwise, they would be forced to dedicate those resources to another cause, which may be more successful. Also, please don't try the "but the legal costs" argument. The people that are still pursuing the birth certificate have proven themselves to be sufficiently unstable, that should Obama somehow really prove beyond any minute shadow of a doubt that he was born it the US (Maybe if God came down and said, "Hey. This guy was born in Hawaii."), they will keep litigating for the first new reason to come along.

Meh. This became a lot longer than I thought it would. The main issue I am trying to get across is something Speaker Pelosi has mentioned before. Most people really don't understand the Health Bill because it is a political entity, just like any other bill. When it comes to legislation, often times there will not be language specifically designed to address each and every problem, because the bill will create a situation where such problems will no longer be viable. Of course there are also some items that simply did not have the political support necessary, either since the Democrats had to satisfy every single member of their caucus once it became clear that Republicans did not want to be a part of the process, or because too many other stakeholders were against it (The Public Option might ring a bell). In all, I suggest you research your claims a bit more, and discuss them on political forums. You may be surprised with what you find.

Comment I would hope not (Score 3, Interesting) 375

Once it's in your browser, it's just a bunch of well formed data. These days almost any browser has extensions that may inadvertently modify this data, even without getting into specific tools like Greasemonkey.

If they really feel that strongly about a topic, they could try to obfuscate the data somehow, to make it more difficult to write such an extension. This would not be too hard on their part, though obviously more computationally expensive.

Comment Re:Useful to whom? The racists who care about skin (Score 1) 902

That sentence does not actually forbid using census data for other purposes. All it does is say that a census must be conducted every 10 years, and that the method for conducting the census shall follow the laws of the land. It goes on to spell out how that data will be used to determine the number of representatives a state is allocated. However, there is no clause in the constitution that says, "The aforementioned cases encompass all of the uses of the US census data." As such, I invite you to point out specifically what part would you like to change to allow such use of data, since I cannot find a part that disallows it.

When it comes to law, if it is not explicitly stated, there is always some wiggle room.

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