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Comment Re:Guilty conscience? (Score 1) 790

You'll really need to reference your religious conservatives claim too.

Given that this is a public Internet discussion forum where people spew all manner of opinion, conjecture and outright BS, I really don't think that I "need" to reference anything. I'm not a policy advocate, writing a book, nor is this my doctoral dissertation.

However, since you didn't demand references from onecomplement's broad and anecdotal claims in the post I originally responded to, I'm hoping that my "religious conservative claim" might have gored one of your sacred oxen--thus I'm willing in this case. The following is a quote from Who Really Cares: America's Charity Divide; Who Gives, Who Doesn't, and Why it Matters by Arthur C Brooks:

"First, imagine two people: One goes to church every week and strongly rejects the idea that it is the government's responsibility to redistribute income between people who have a lot of money and people who don't. The other person never attends a house of worship, and strongly believes that the government should reduce income differences. Knowing only these things, the data tell us that the first person will be roughly twice as likely as the second to give money to charities in a given year, and will give away more than one hundred times as much money per year (as well as fifty times more to explicitly nonreligious causes).

The author apparently got his information from something called the 1996 General Social Survey. No, I didn't go back and read the actual survey and re-compute the numbers. As far as the other information about defining the terms rich, poor and middle class, you can read the book if you really care. You'll love it--it's heavily footnoted and has lots of documentation. I'm a lousy typist anyway.

Comment Re:Guilty conscience? (Score 4, Informative) 790

Actually, rich people are the lousiest charitable givers.

That is false. Actually, as a percentage of income, the middle class is the worst. The poor give away between 4 and 5%, the rich between 3 and 4%. The middle class gives much less than either. Unfortunately, all classes are starkly divided along the lines of givers and nongivers. While the average poor person is much more likely to be a nongiver, the averages are "fixed" by the one-in-four poor person who gives with extraordinary generosity.

This will be unpopular here, but the fact is that the group that gives the most is religious conservatives (disclaimer: I am religious but not conservative). And before anyone tries to negate the giving of the religious because a lot of that money is tithes, etc., understand that religious conservative people are actually more likely to give to secular charities than secular people, despite the fact that secular households earn about 16% more on average than religious households.

Comment Re:Ya pretty much (Score 1) 600

Many "going out of business" sales work like this:

-Merchant contracts with a liquidation company to handle the "going out of business" sale. This company may or may not bring in their own salespeople.
-Liquidation company brings in a bunch of sub-standard, old or damaged merchandise, using the buzz of the "going out of business" sale to move this crap.
-Much like in an auction, the people who aren't really savvy about the products in question get smoked. Caveat emptor.

Comment Re:It could be worse (Score 3, Interesting) 268

The real problem with any security software is the old EYE DEE TEN TEE error. Consider the following scenario:

User (thinking to himself): I sure would like to whack off to some girl-on-elephant porn!
User finds and clicks the link for girl-on-elephant porn.
Security software: "H4xor696969Bestiality.exe is requesting permission to infect your computer, anal rape you and reduce your home to rubble. Allow or Deny."

So, what's Joe Computer User going to do? You *know* what he's going to do. And when he brings his computer to you to be fixed, he won't tell you what happened either. In ten years of fixing computers, I have only had two customers admit what they did.

Comment Re:religious or spiritual beliefs (Score 1) 216

Respectfully, I guess that I never quite understood that. Outside the context of the supernatural, how is behavior either good or bad? Why isn't it just homo sapiens behavior, like it would be in any other species?

That behavior is either good or bad implies that we have a choice in our behavior (i.e. free will). No one has ever made a strong case to me that--outside the existence of a higher being--that we're all not in a completely deterministic universe. If you subscribe to the notion that the exact cause will always have the exact effect, one might say that the fact that I'm sitting in my kitchen, typing badly on my laptop was preordained from very first instant that time began.

Of course there are those who will invoke the mysteries of quantum theory but, once we have broken the inviolable bond between cause and effect, what can ever truly be known and how do right and wrong exist?

Comment Re:Helped their evolution (Score 2, Insightful) 216

Exactly! This is like saying that throwing apples on the ground is hurting gravity. I also don't understand why we feel the need to associate words like good or bad with evolution. The only thing that is good or bad is when the effect of evolution affects us in some way. Is entropy acting mean today?

It's interesting to see how inconsistent people here do tend to be.

I would hazard a guess that there is a much higher percentage of atheists and agnostics among slashdotters than what is in the general population, so I just don't get the whole ascribing good/evil tags to human impact upon evolution. As I understand it, there is no right or wrong in evolution, only cause and effect.

If one ascribes no special status to humans (e.g. "made in the image of God"), then how can we be anything more than causes and effects within the process? Do we ascribe malicious intent to beavers, because they flood a valley and force a bunch of meadow voles and rabbits out of their homes?

Comment Re:I could be sarcastic (Score 2, Insightful) 459

I live in Texas, and trust me, this backwards-thinking culture is everywhere. It's a badge of honor. If the former President can spend all his free time moving brush around from one pile to another, it must be good, right? Unless you live in Texas, you have NO idea how true that statement rings to many people. Hell, the whole concept of owning a ranch is based on the fact you drive around in your pickup truck, clearing brush.

I guess that we're some of those people too. To my wife and me, the perfect day is spent on our farm, clearing brush, splitting firewood, enjoying the sunshine, playing with the dogs and drinking a few beers. After a hard day, we sleep better in the small, lumpy mattress in the cabin than on the king-size bed at home. I guess to some people working up a sweat != misery.

My brother-in-law puts it best when he says that different people relax in different ways.

Comment Re:I could be sarcastic (Score 1) 459

This really depends on how you define "hard work." A lot of high-paying jobs require you to work hard (long hours, demanding schedules, long periods of intense concentration) in order to reach highly-paid status. Ask anyone who has slogged through medical school and the subsequent internship or a new attorney in big law firm.

I don't know any principled people who make good money who haven't had to grind at least a little to get it.

Comment Re:Who thought it was a good idea... (Score 4, Interesting) 459

Many people (I venture to say that the majority, in the US) think that business success is a clear sign of overall excellence.

It seems to me that business or political success is *usually* more a result of some type animal cunning with a heapin' helpin' of ruthlessness thrown in for good measure.

As for Calvinists, they always seemed to me like the people that Jesus warned us about instead of the ones he advocated becoming.

Comment Re:I could be sarcastic (Score 4, Insightful) 459

I am sure they all mean well - but education is too big and complicated, and depends too much on local factors, to benefit from this kind of investment.

I'm not an educator but it seems to me that we're all in search of a process. Maybe outcomes are less of a product of the system that is used and more a result of the skill and effort level of the educators and parents in question.

Not that I have much experience with the subject; merely an uninformed opinion...

Comment Re:Wrong. (Score 1) 221

And they are always moving to maximize todays profit - even if that means destroying the long term sustainability of a company to do it.

Shareholders have ousted several boards for favoring long term profit over the quarterly report, so it's not surprising that boards & CEO's are pushing more for the quick buck & less for the sustainability for that profit.

This is one of the problems that I see with publicly-traded companies in a free market. John Deere is a perfect example of this.

Deere used to be a brand with a legendary reputation for quality, which allowed them to charge a premium price for their small farm tractors and lawn mowing equipment. However, the quest for "alternate profit streams" led JD to slap their venerated green and yellow logo on every rebranded piece-of-shit weed whacker, can opener and work boot that came around the bend. They compromised the quality of their lawn tractors by putting the lower-quality Sabre line under the Deere nameplate.

This did generate some good short-term profits for a few years, but the problem with cashing in your reputation is that you can only milk that cow once. Is it any surprise that--in terms of perceived quality and resale value--Kubota small farm tractors have surpassed Deere & Co's offerings?

Comment Re:WTF??? (Score 2, Interesting) 168

Well, somebody who is inclined toward cynicism might conclude that the company deliberately chose to release this information when public attention would be diverted elsewhere. I get it. Still, there was that plane that landed in the Hudson a few days back, yesterday was MLK day, the Super Bowl will be in a couple of weeks. Not to mention that it would seem that it would be in their best interests to get the word out to minimize losses.

Comment WTF??? (Score 1, Insightful) 168

Brian Krebs over at the Washington Post just published a story that Heartland Payment Systems disclosed what may be the largest data breach in history. Today. During the inauguration.

WTF??? What does the inauguration have to do with this? I suggest we go back to all Slashdot stories and insert what happened on that day. Examples:

* Researcher says Linux is better than Windows on Friendship Day.
* Researcher says Linux is better than Windows on Fall Equinox.
* Researcher says Linux is better than Windows on Kwanzaa.

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