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Comment I guess Francis was patina and facade after all (Score 1) 894

As an agnostic, the popularity of Francis seemed quite justifiable thanks to his relatively liberal stances (for a pope, I mean). In fact, I was quite surprised at how far he was willing push his establishment. But I see no difference between his "expectation of violence if you say disrespectful things" and "women should expect to be raped if they dress provocatively".

Nothing new under the sun, sadly. If this is the best the Catholic church can offer, there's no hope for any religion to be even remotely progressive (euphemism for "rational"). It's no wonder they get made fun of constantly ....

Comment Dear FTC: Huntington Theater Company in Boston (Score 1) 136

I love the arts, and in fact have been to see their excellent plays ... but whoever Huntington Theater Company hire to run their calling campaign (for donations) needs to learn about the law. They've turned this liberal into an avid hater of one of the best theater companies in Boston!

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 1359

Most Americans say they are Christians because they think itâ(TM)s the âoerightâ thing to say.... The truth is that most people are basically agnostic.

Americans believe that saying they're Christian is the right thing to say? In this day and age? Wow.

I think most people are in fact not agnostic at all. It's actually quite an uncomfortable admission to say you don't know the truth either way, that in fact it may be unknowable. That's what pushes people into religion or science, after all....

Comment Treat Dr. Who like sushi (Score 1) 655

(Stay with me: there's a point to this story) The first time I had sushi I was a guest in some sort of luxurious retreat in Japan. I think each meal cost some $200-300 per person (in grad school I ate Jack in the Box for a whole year, to give you a sense of my wonderment). Needless to say, the meal was totally, utterly wasted on me. I actually disliked it, in fact. Nowadays I love sushi, yet to this day I can't pinpoint when I had that second meal of sushi. I just remember always loving sushi, except for that first meal. Somewhere between that first and the second meal the revelation came, unforced and unannounced.

Dr. Who was the same way for me. My first episode was David Tennant's second (I love love LOVE Tennant btw) and after it was over I just sat there scratching my head in bemusement. I was with my family-in-law so you know, when in Rome .... I thought it was a bit naff, to be honest (Earth is saved thanks to ... I won't give it away, but come on: a beverage?!). Now I absolutely adore Dr. Who, yet I can't remember when I watched that second episode. I just seemed to always love it, except for the first time.

So my advice is: pick the first episodes of any particular actor who plays a modern Doctor -- i.e. Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith -- and if you don't like it outright, set the other episodes aside for awhile. Come back to it when you have a particularly boring afternoon when you can't think of anything interesting to do, and then watch the next episode. You'll probably find you have come to love it already!

P.S. I happen to like Tennant and Smith, so those get my vote for a first Doctor. Actually I think Smith may be the best of the modern Doctors, but this is so highly dependent on the quality of the writing that it's safe to say that if you don't like one of the three, you won't like the other two.

P.P.S. And, if you missed it: as others have mentioned, if you're an Amazon Premier member, all the modern Doctor Whos are free to watch on Instant Video.


School District Drops 'D' Grades 617

Students in one New Jersey school district will no longer be able to squeak by in class after the Morris County School Board approved dropping the D grade. Beginning in the fall students who don't get a C or higher will get an F on their report card. "I'm tired of kids coming to school and not learning and getting credit for it," said Superintendent Larrie Reynolds in a Daily Record report.

Game Difficulty As a Virtue 204

The Wii and various mobile gaming platforms have done wonders for the trend toward casual or "easy" games. But the success of a few recent titles, despite their difficulty, has caused some to wonder whether the pendulum has swung too far; whether a little frustration can be seen as a good thing. Quoting: "The evidence is subtle but compelling. For one example, look to major consumer website GameSpot's Game of the Year for 2009: Atlus' PS3 RPG Demon's Souls, which received widespread critical acclaim – none of which failed to include a mention of the game's steep challenge. GameSpot called it 'ruthlessly, unforgivingly difficult.' Demon's Souls was a sleeper hit, an anomaly in the era of accessibility. One would think the deck was stacked against a game that demanded such vicious persistence, such precise attention – and yet a surge of praise from critics and developers alike praised the game for reintroducing the experience of meaningful challenge, of a game that demanded something from its players rather than looked for ways to hand them things. It wasn't just Demon's Souls that recently flipped the proverbial bird to the 'gaming for everyone' trend. In many ways, the independent development scene can be viewed on the macro level as a harbinger of trends to come, and over the past year and into 2010, many indies have decided to be brutal to their players."

Comment Re:99.3% accurate? (Score 2, Insightful) 239

That's, what, 28 incorrect base pairs out of 4000? I'm not a biologist, but is this considered an acceptable error rate? Even the hopes of 99.999% accuracy seems really awful when there are about 3 billion base pairs in a human genome.

I realize that we aren't going to be trying to make a cloned copy from this data, but what uses is this "good enough" for?

More than good enough for forensic work at least, I'd wager.

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