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Comment Weight (Score 1) 591

I personally get tired of carrying around a bulky, heavy, cheap plastic piece of crap. Netbooks are generally too tiny to do any real work on, though I have done so successfully. The MBP and MBA are the best hardware out there, but you have to pay for it, and run OSX, at least for the retina display AFAIK.

Comment Re:Bias (Score 1) 353

See, that's the problem (see my post below) - these things sound crazy up front, and so are easy to dismiss. Very few people in the church are privy to this material, though it is spread all over the nets in various forms. All of the introductory material consists of things like "how to overcome ups and downs in life," how to get what you want from personal and business relations, etc. The next step past this is to purchase professional counseling, aka auditing, which will have you do some monotonous drills but they mainly ask you about problems in your everyday life. Really, no more than lightly guided psychotherapy, which Even Hubbard admitted was usually effective. You have to be around for a while or be overly ambitious for the topic of past lives to come up for the first time. So you see, this is exactly my point, it is very easy to show someone that the crazy stuff is not what Scientology is about at all, and their salesman are coached on how to do exactly that, and when you're put in a room with a competent salesperson it doesn't take much to convince most people that the vague murmurings of "crazy" that they've heard about the church are only that.

Comment Re:Bias (Score 3, Informative) 353

Truly, for the parent to claim to be a Scientologist and assert this claim in the same posting is ludicrous. One of the principle tenets of Scientology is that not all opinions, or even information, are equal and valid, which flies in the face of post-modernist doctrine but is really just common sense. Honestly, a lot of Hubbard's writing consists of very spot-on observations of human interactions, and a lot of common-sense and decent prescriptions, at battle with the tendencies of a machiavellian sociopath.

Comment Re:Bias (Score 5, Insightful) 353

I'm a Scientologist. NOT in the cult known as the "Church of Scientology"

Funny that, the cult would consider you to be a "squirrel," a dangerous renegade who seeks to destroy LRH's perfect life-saving and soul-redeeming "technology", so I think that by both the general "wog" public and the church's standards, you would be considered crazy;)

It is unfortunate that no serious journalism has thoroughly investigated the tech itself. Not the OT stuff, but the tens of millions of words of non-OT tech that Hubbard wrote/spoke during his lifetime. I guess it is not a very compelling story, but it is what draws people in, and what presumably keeps you self-identifying as a Scientologist. It's certainly what drew me in years ago, and is mentioned casually in the review: the promise of a better life, neatly packaged in a repeatable, formulated, "scientific" manner. It tends to draw a person of a spiritual but non-religious bent, and of above average intelligence -- to read through all of Hubbard's writing is no mean feat, to be on staff requires a high IQ (determined by a non-standard test), and to progress far requires a fair amount of money, which most people in the Western world get by some level of professional acumen. This draw will grow only more popular with the general secularization of society and increase in disposable income, and the church has largely edged out competition for this lucrative niche through very shady practices over the last 50+ years.

I know that journalists are regularly screened for, and have been ejected from, the church for trying to report on it, so the general public is destined to stay ignorant of the techniques used to draw in, retain, and ultimately bleed dry its target market. Celebrity is only one of those techniques, and it clouds public perspective on the issue, as Hubbard undoubtedly knew would happen. Everyone knows celebrities have eccentricities, but everyone secretly admires them and fancies themselves capable of celebrity in some sphere of life, so this type of reporting will doubtfully chase away many potential recruits.

Comment Re:Step 1 (Score 3, Interesting) 207

Nobody is likely to become a competitor based on a slashdot post. Any number of people are likely to purchase something from his site based on a slashdot post (he is, in fact, selling things, despite your claim to the contrary). Nothing wrong with people buying his stuff or him advertising, but it feels pretty sleazy in this context.

Comment Re:Wrong question to ask (Score 4, Insightful) 112

Lexical scoping, fast interpreted language, automatic memory management, same language client and server-side, dynamic typing, are all good reasons to use it, if you actually want all these things; otherwise there are almost certainly better choices. JavaScript is a really nice language if you ignore the parts of it that are terrible. The language is largely mis-understood and has a long history of abuse at the hands of those who mis-understand it. This is a real problem if you want to build a maintainable system and all the developers don't have a clear view of how to program well in JavaScript. The language is more like Lisp (specifically Scheme) than it is like Java, but not that many people know or even understand the idea behind Lisp nowadays. I would think that the resurgent interest in functional programming would ameliorate this to some extent but most of the JS I've worked on is crap and I would strongly recommend against using it unless you have a clear picture of why you would want to do so.

Comment Re:Congratulating yourself? You should be sorry! (Score 4, Insightful) 375

Whenever I hear these types of arguments I always think there must be some psychological term for this. That is, whenever someone has been deprived of some benefit, it is all too easy to get him to rally behind depriving others of the same.

Why should every business endeavor be a race to the bottom for everyone but the shareholders?

And good god do you really want the people who will do the job just because it's a job? Desperation breeds loyalty by necessity but it is not a very healthy state of mind. I guarantee the civil service job is anything but sexy and probably pays nothing more than a reasonable wage. These are the tradeoffs that, generally speaking, have emerged from the free market system.

Comment Re:Watson - not for vets! (Score 4, Interesting) 100

You are wrong, broadly speaking. This is the whole point of machine learning: given a very complicated task that it would take a human a tremendous amount of effort to program correctly, you can instead get the machine to figure out how to perform the task itself, rather than explicitly programming it to do one thing. Some types of learning are supervised, particularly classifiers: I tell the computer which items belong to which class, and given a new, previously unseen item, the computer attempts to determine its class based on the training. Others are unsupervised: set the robot free in the environment with some goal function and let it learn through trial-and-error how to optimize its behavior toward the goal. Watson is a combination of first-order logic (prolog and a huge kb) and a variety of such learning algorithms. Some of this is stuff that was considered an industry failure in the 80s but, paired with modern machine learning techniques, is quite powerful. Indeed we may be seeing the first instances of computers that have some form of this "intelligence" of which you speak, though I think we are still a long way from "strong AI".

Comment Re:A truly ridiculous idea. (Score 1) 166

Isn't he proposing a hyped-up relay station (I have not RTFA)? Even a relay station with just the relay capabilities is going to need a decent amount of processing power. "Supercomputer" is hopelessly vague, but it will have to operate autonomously to relay a large amount of traffic, and be radiation-hardened and able to operate in near-0K temperatures. Probably more ambitious than any other computer we have launched out of our gravity well, but then again probably only by an order of magnitude or so.

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