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Comment Re:Thelema (Score 5, Insightful) 539

Some of the best people I've known in life have been believers

Likewise - and from a similar range of backgrounds. However, to the extent that their beliefs contain things I find abhorrent, I see their 'native' generosity as being constrained by religion, not the result of it. Certainly many of those I know who started as believers and came to reject the beliefs they were raised on did so from the dissonance between principles and expression, internal inconsistencies or an internal growth that left the original belief system behind.

More, some of the most dangerous and damaging people I have met have been fervent believers. Some have used their belief system to justify behaviour that is essentially self-serving. Others, from genuine belief that what they were doing was 'right', have caused more harm than the first group.

If you should encounter a really horrible person online, say on a forum or Twitter or something, chances are very good that they're atheists

There are certainly a lot of nasty, self-important people who are atheists. Just as there are plenty who are Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu ... I suspect a degree of confirmation bias in your assertion.

but because being horrible almost requires non-belief

As T.S. Eliot observed “Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.” Belief can be, and often is, used to justify action that would otherwise be clearly horrible.

they tend to stick out because they tend to make a spectacle of themselves

As do your online atheists, above. How can you tell an atheist who doesn't loudly announce it at every opportunity?

but belief seems to have the properties of a good ingredient.

Unquestioning belief can be blind. Unchallenged belief is limiting. Unexamined belief can be stagnating. In as much as it's easier to co-operate with people with whom you share a common belief, belief builds communities - but it's a short-cut to really understanding and acceptance of an individual. As you say, all too often it becomes tribalism by another name. Just because some people can be amazing and also believe says little about the worth of belief.

It's almost as if the part that makes you better is the process, more than the specifics of any faith tradition.

With this I am in total agreement.

Comment Re:I feel an irregular verb coming on (Score 2) 232

or doesn't commending 9/11 with a call to complete it by hitting the White House and Capitol Hill strike you as unacceptable?

I disagree with both the commendation and the call to further violence, but it is only when we disagree with what someone is saying that we are tested on our commitment to the principle of the free exchange of information and ideas. To be clear, I do not wish to see statements, such as above, censored or blocked (to paraphrase Hall wrt Voltaire).

Let them speak. If the idea has no merit, it will have as much impact as any other rant or rave of the fringe lunatics. If, on the other hand, there is some group of people who might be swayed by the ideas, then the problem doesn't lie with the message but with the circumstances that have created such a group or allowed them to arise. Treat the cause, not the symptoms.

Comment Re: Does it run macOS? (Score 2) 140

A large number (most?) of people who buy a computer are never going to repair or upgrade it. Of those machines that are opened up, a large number will be repaired or upgraded by a technician or support staff and even then, the vast majority are only going to have RAM increased. Gamers and people with a technical bent like to be able to access their machines, but for almost everyone else, they are appliances and accessibility just adds space and cost.

I'd also love to see something between the mini and the Pro in a tech-friendly format, but both of us belong to a very small market sector and one that Apple has no interest in.

Macs used to remain useful for longer than Windows PCs. Part of that was OSX, part of it was different users and use cases. AIOs made no sense in the PC world, where you'd need to be throwing the whole thing away every couple of years, rather than upgrading components. It was a better proposition on the Mac side of things. These days, however, a 5 year old mid-level PC is still useful. A Windows/PC AIO isn't as bad a choice as once it was. Microsoft can make decent hardware, but suffers from coming late to markets with products that are as good as _but_no_better_ than those already in the field. If it can avoid playing catch-up with Apple and the iMac a Microsoft AIO isn't necessarily a bad concept.

Lot's of 'ifs'.

Submission + - SPAM: The outlook for the British tourism industry is bleak

cithotelservice writes: THE one thing we know for certain about the longer-term consequences of last month's Brexit vote is that we don't know what all those consequences will be. For the travel industry, that is especially true. Even so, hope is currently in short supply.

Immediately after the referendum, airlines were lumped in with banks and property firms as the shares to sell. IAG, the parent company of British Airways, has lost a third of its value since the results were announced on 24th June. That is only to be expected. It seems certain that outbound travel from Britain will take a hit. As the pound falls and the rest of the world becomes more expensive, and low business confidence causes firms to rein in corporate travel, fewer Brits will go abroad. (And that is before we factor in the unknowns, such as whether British carriers will be able to maintain unfettered access to EU skies.)

The impact of Brexit on the number of people visiting the United Kingdom (if such a thing will still exist) is much less sure. But a gloomy note from Euromonitor, a research firm,...Continue reading

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Chilcot report: Iraq invasion 'not justified', UK government report finds (theage.com.au)

aphelion_rock writes: The UK chose to invade Iraq in 2003 based on flawed intelligence that should have been challenged but wasn't, and which was presented in a way that glossed over reservations and ambiguities, according to the long-awaited "Chilcot report".
British prime minister Tony Blair allowed the US's military timetable to override his own, abandoning plans to pull together international consensus and to properly plan for the post-invasion period, because he decided it was "right and necessary" to defer to his close ally, the report finds.

Comment Re:Oxford English Dictionary is against you (Score 1) 71

The use of the term 'cop' or 'copper' to refer to the police has a number of possible roots. From the Latin 'capere' meaning to catch, perhaps. Maybe from the Dutch 'kapen'. From the French or even Anglo Saxon. There's evidence of the use of the modern form 'cop' meaning to catch in the 1700s and the use of 'copper' as 'one who catches' about the same time. Suggestions that the term has to do with copper buttons or helmets, or that a copper-a-day was the wage of a policeman are fanciful, as are backronyms like 'Constable on Patrol' and 'Civilian Officer of the Peace'.

The word 'civilian' has meant different things at different times. The link Bruce66423 so thoughtfully provides gives a number of these, and being the OED, provides a history of examples of usage. I'm not sure what you mean by 'revisionist history'? 'Civilian' has variously meant someone who practices civil law, someone who is moral without being christian, someone who is not in the military and someone who is not in a specified professional group. That last, the definition you are objecting to, has examples that are all informal. I consider it a stylistic fault for an article to use a police/civilian split, but it's not incorrect. I think that in an environment of increased militisation of police that it's tasteless, but it's still not incorrect.

I'm not sure what you are getting at with insisting that the police are under 'civil law'. Certainly in my country (Australia) police have certain rights that differ from non-police as well as certain restrictions and obligations. I think the militarisation of police is a concern; I think that movements away from Peel's 'policing by consent' towards increased use of force, decreased transparency etc. are concerning. To the degree that you seem to be saying something similar, I agree.

Comment Re:Suicide by politician (Score 3, Insightful) 1010

Snopes quotes sources and gives reasons for the conclusions that are drawn. While that may not be a terribly high bar, it's usually more than those who "bring[s] up any of the 'holes in the matrix'".

I love how people quote that bullshit site like it's the fucking Encyclopedia Britannica

It's a starting point. Usually conversations run something like "Outrageous Claim!", "Counterpoint - link to Snopes" ... followed by silence or claims that Snopes lacks rigor, lacks authority, is itself part of the conspiracy etc. If Snopes is such "garbage" it should be reasonably simple to refute but I rarely see challenges to the conclusions Snopes draws based on evidence or analysis. Just breathless accusations.

You seem to be claiming that people use Snopes as an appeal to authority, and then attack Snopes 'authority'. Which is kind of an ad hominem. I read the Zero Hedge link and then the Snopes link. One quotes similar sites, the other references court documents, interviews officials and attempts to show why and how misinformation was used to create the 'story'. Clear 'win' to Snopes. Burden of proof back to original claim.

it's a webpage run by some guy

Yup. It's credibility would ... double! if only more than one person was involved in writing the articles.

Now, would you mind telling me why I should believe the claims of Zero Hedge (that Ashe was killed as part of a Clinton coverup) when Snopes pretty clearly (to me) explains how the cause of death was misreported and how that was used to create the accusation the Zero Hedge promotes? If you could also address the discrepancy between the claims Zero Hedge makes (that Ashe was due to testify in a case against Clinton) and the court documents and clarification from the US District Attorney's office, with a similar (or better) standard of evidence, then I'll happily concede the point. Until then, your assertion that Snopes is garbage seems unfounded.

Submission + - US Efforts To Regulate Encryption Have Been Flawed, Government Report Finds (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: U.S. Republican congressional staff said in a report released Wednesday that previous efforts to regulate privacy technology were flawed and that lawmakers need to learn more about technology before trying to regulate it. The 25-page white paper is entitled Going Dark, Going Forward: A Primer on the Encryption Debate and it does not provide any solution to the encryption fight. However, it is notable for its criticism of other lawmakers who have tried to legislate their way out of the encryption debate. It also sets a new starting point for Congress as it mulls whether to legislate on encryption during the Clinton or Trump administration. "Lawmakers need to develop a far deeper understanding of this complex issue before they attempt a legislative fix," the committee staff wrote in their report. The committee calls for more dialogue on the topic and for more interviews with experts, even though they claim to have already held more than 100 such briefings, some of which are classified. The report says in the first line that public interest in encryption has surged once it was revealed that terrorists behind the Paris and San Bernardino attacks "used encrypted communications to evade detection."

Submission + - Here's how a hacker is shaking down a medical clinic (bankinfosecurity.com)

SpacemanukBEJY.53u writes: A hacker going by the nickname The Dark Lord is threatening to release nearly 48,000 medical records unless an orthopedic clinic in the U.S. pays $165,000 by July 8. The batch of data is one of three lots he's stolen from health care clinics that are now advertised on The Real Deal underground market. If the data is accurate, this particular clinic has no good options, a dilemma faced by organizations confronted with extortion attempts by cybercriminals. It's an unsettling tale. The hacker sent a highly personal ransom letter to the clinic's director, including the names of his family members and their Social Security Numbers. "I do not feel bad or guilty about any of this," the hacker says.

Submission + - Activision abuses DMCA to take knock indie game entirely off Steam

He Who Has No Name writes: We've seen brain-dead, overzealous, and entirely over-automated DMCA takedown requests bring down music and videos, but this may be the first case of an entire video game being knocked out. Earlier today David Prassel, creator of Trek Industries and developer of the not-without-controversy ORION: Dino Horde / Prelude and the early-access Guardians of ORION, posted that his current project had been entirely removed from Steam after a questionable DMCA allegation from Activision. Prassel explains further, "We've made Steam our primary platform, but this has put a definite scare into us going forward considering our entire livelihood can be pulled without a moments notice, without any warning or proper verification. I cannot even confirm that the representative from Activision is a real person as absolutely no results pop up in any of my searches." Image comparisons against at least two of the weapon models claimed to be infringing were posted by Prassel and in at least one thread on reddit in /r/pcmasterrace.

What's more, it appears Activision is alleging not a vertex-for-vertex and texel-for-texel theft and duplication of the Call Of Duty: Black Ops 3 2D & 3D art assets, but in fact an infringing artistic similarity and design of separately created art content — something that the DMCA does not cover (and which more would likely fall under copyright or possibly trade dress).

Since this takedown falls directly in the middle of the Steam Summer Sale — which probably is not a coincidence — and will profoundly impact Trek Industry's potential sales, does this make a case for substantial reform in the appeals & response process in DMCA takedown demands, adding a due process and rebuttal window to prevent takedown requests from being essentially weaponized?

Submission + - Microsoft Loses Precedent-Setting Unauthorized Windows 10 Upgrade Court Case (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: If you're among the many Windows customers running Windows 7 or Windows 8 that are sick of the Windows 10 nag screens along with unprompted upgrades, you'll be happy to hear that at least one "little guy" has won a battle against Microsoft in court. Teri Goldstein claims that her computer was forced into upgrading to Windows 10 shortly after it became available during the summer of 2015 — all without her authorization. "I had never heard of Windows 10," Goldstein told The Seattle Times. "Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update." Windows 10 left her computer unstable and prone to frequent crashes. According to Goldstein, her computer became unusable, which is problematic considering that she uses the machine to run a travel agency. So Goldstein decided to do what the majority of other hapless Windows 10 victims were unwilling to do: sue Microsoft. She decided to battle MSFT in court, citing lost wages and the need to purchase a replacement computer. Much to the surprise of Microsoft, Goldstein actually won her case. Goldstein was awarded damages in the amount of $10,000.

Submission + - Is It Ever OK to Quit on the Spot? 3

HughPickens.com writes: Employees and employers alike have the right under at-will employment laws in almost all states to end their relationship without notice, for any reason, but the two-week rule is a widely accepted standard of workplace conduct. Now Sue Shellenbarger writes at the WSJ that employers say a growing number of workers are leaving without giving two weeks’ notice. Some bosses blame young employees who feel frustrated by limited prospects or have little sense of attachment to their workplace. But employment experts say some older workers are quitting without notice as well. They feel overworked or unappreciated after years of laboring under pay cuts and expanded workloads imposed during the recession. One employee at Dupray, a customer-service rep, scheduled a meeting and announced she was quitting, then rose and headed for the exit. She seemed surprised when the director of human resources stopped her and explained that employees are expected to give two weeks’ notice. “She said, ‘I’ve been watching ‘Suits,’ and this is how it happens,’ ” referring to the TV drama set in a law firm.

According to Shellenbarger, quitting without notice is sometimes justified. Employees with access to proprietary information, such as those working in sales or new-product development, face a conflict of interest if they accept a job with a competitor. Employees in such cases typically depart right away—ideally, by mutual agreement. It can also be best to exit quickly if an employer is abusive, or if you suspect your employer is doing something illegal. More often, quitting without notice “is done in the heat of emotion, by someone who is completely frustrated, angry, offended or upset,” says David Lewis, president of OperationsInc., a Norwalk, Conn., human-resources consulting firm. That approach can burn bridges and generate bad references. Phyllis Hartman says employees have a responsibility to try to communicate about what’s wrong. “Start figuring out if there is anything you can do to fix it. The worst that can happen is that nobody listens or they tell you no."

Submission + - Physicists Confirm A Pear-Shaped Nucleus, And It Could Ruin Time Travel Forever (sciencealert.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Physicists have confirmed the existence of pear-shaped nuclei, which challenges the fundamental theories of physics that explain our Universe. "We've found these nuclei literally point towards a direction in space. This relates to a direction in time, providing there's a well-defined direction in time and we will always travel from past to present," Marcus Scheck from the University of the West of Scotland told Kenneth MacDonald at BBC News. Until recently, it was generally accepted that nuclei of atoms could only be one of three shapes: spherical, discus, or rugby ball. The first discovery of a pear-shaped nucleus was back in 2013, when physicists at CERN discovered isotope Radium-224. Now, that find has been confirmed by a second study, which shows that the nucleus of the isotope Barium-144 is too asymmetrical and pear-shaped. In regards to time travel, Scheck says that this uneven distribution of mass and charge caused Barium-144's nuclear to "point" in a certain direction in spacetime, and this bias could explain why time seems to only want to go from past to present, and not backwards, even if the laws of physics don't care which way it goes.

Submission + - A Massive Botnet of CCTV Cameras Involved in Ferocious DDoS Attacks (softpedia.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A botnet of over 25,000 bots is at the heart of recent DDoS attacks that are ferociously attacking business across the world with massive Layer 7 DDoS attacks that are overwhelming Web servers, occupying their resources and eventually crashing websites. This botnet's particularity is the fact that attacks never fluctuate and the attackers managed to keep a steady rhythm. This is not a classic botnet of infected computers that go on and off, but of compromised CCTV systems that are always on and available for attacks.

The brands of CCTV DVRs involved in these attacks are the same highlighted in a report by a security researcher this winter, who discovered a backdoor in the firmware of 70 different CCTV DVR vendors. These companies had bought unbranded DVRs from Chinese firm TVT. When informed of the firmware issues, TVT ignored the researcher, and the issues were never fixed, leading to crooks creating this huge botnet.

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