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Comment Re:Instilling values more important (Score 2) 698

Technology is completely unimportant.

The important things to learn are:

  • Value learning and education. Be someone who learns all their life. Learn about science, art, cooking, technology, and ethics. And whatever else strikes your fancy.
  • Be a rational person. Value the scientific method, logic, reason, and evidence. This doesn't preclude a sense of awe and wonder about the natural beauty around us, and the amazing facts of the history of the universe that brought all of us to this point. Logic and reason are what make us human.
  • Value morality and ethics - based on secular enlightenment values, thought, and reason. You can't truly be good by following arbitrary rules set down by iron age sheep herders. Actually stop and think about morality and ethics now and then. Read some philosophy.
  • Enjoy living. You've only got one life, make the most of it.

Comment Re:Is anyone surprised? (Score 1) 180

I've enjoyed all the books in the series. I thought A Dance with Dragon's was a very strong entry. I've seen authors lose steam in a long series, but I'm still enjoying this series. Lots of other people are too - just look at the book sales.

I generally avoid series, especially if over three books. Few authors can keep up a long series without running out of good ideas. Stores set in the same universe, but not one long story can often work better, like the Iain M. Banks Culture series.

Comment Re:What Neil Gaiman said about GoT future (Score 1) 180

And how could any reasonable person see it as a betrayal that an author is taking a while, or years, to complete a book? He isn't painting a house, or some other rote, mechanical task - he's writing. Writing can't be forced if you want good work.

Publishing a book isn't some sort of implied contract to keep writing at a pace that will keep all fans happy. The author owes nothing to his fans. It is supremely self centered to think buying a book makes the author owe you anything.

Comment Re:Never finish (Score 1) 180

I disagree, I do not think he is milking it. I'm not generally a fantasy fan, preferring SF, but the Song of Ice and Fire series has been great, each book being an excellent read. Once it is all done I'm planning on going back and reading the whole thing through.

It is true that due to the delay between books it takes a while to refresh your memory about some of the minor characters and sub-plots.

Comment Re:Make it easier to hire people? (Score 1) 628

In the long term we should WANT to eliminate jobs. If robots can do all the work then great, that frees people up to do what they want instead of what they have to do.

Capitalism is going to end when automation is producing everything. Some sort of socialism is going to be the dominant economic system - this trend can be seen in most of the 1st world already. Even in the USA where the "free market" seems to be worshiped there is a growing number of people who see that helping out people is more important than accumulating wealth.

Comment Re:It's hard to take this article seriously (Score 1) 628

Today's tech still requires people, but it is obvious that improvements in automation and related computer technologies are reducing the number of people required to produce the things we need. This trend will accelerate over the coming decades. The current economic system isn't going to work well when no one, or even very few people, need to work.

A good first step would be to move to a 4 day work week. The 5 day work week was only adopted nationally in the USA in 1940. The 4 day work week is something all the first world nations should do at the same time.

The next steps will involve a gradual shift to a system that most people would see as a mixed capitalist/socialist economy with socialism becoming the dominant factor over a number of years. This trend has started in many countries, with the USA being a notable exception.

If governments and the rich and powerful try to cling to what will become untenable systems then there will be revolution. If governments make changes like the 4 day work week, minimum income, etc... then the transition will be much more peaceful.

These changes can't be stopped. Society and the economy will have to change as technology improves production and eliminates jobs.

This is all a GOOD thing. People will get to do what they want. Most people, given the chance, do want to do useful constructive, or creative things. They want the respect of other people. I expect the percentage of people that sit on the couch and watch tv will be quite small. And even if it isn't it won't matter!

Comment Re:Stupid, trucks cause the problem (Score 2) 554

You have to look at the issues, and the pros and cons individually.

Austerity is terrible.
Depends on what you think is more important: preventing a recession from becoming a depression, or minimizing government spending, taxes, and government debt. I agree that generally governments should only be spending what they collect in taxes, but in exceptional circumstances, like a financial melt down, it IS a good idea to have the government spending to prop up the economy until things get better. Generally less expensive than having the economy completely tank and have to deal with a depression. Some people seem to think all the government can is screw up, when in fact good government does many thing correct and right.

Obama deserves a vacation.
I haven't been following his work habits closely enough to have a strong opinion, but any hard working person deserves a vacation. Americans really should consider mandating more legally required vacation. You end up with much more productive workers.

Sympathy for the IRA
I don't think so.

How cheap and free Parking Screws up Cities
It brings more cars to the city, clogging up traffic, and making more people chose to drive instead of using transit. On the other hand, if you don't have enough parking you can keep people away from city business. I like the idea of fairly expensive day time parking when its mainly commuters who work and likely can take transit (assuming a well run city with real transit) and cheaper parking in the evenings to promote night life, social life, and shopping / dining. Bring the city to life in the evening.

Not all opinions you don't like are automatically propaganda. There can be good reasons to hold and value diverse opinions.

Comment Re: here we go (Score 1) 834

Funny how these men who have had "evolution shaped us for doing the violent, risky work in a world" don't harass women who are with men who might punch them in the face. Maybe something in their brains lets them override these base impulses, some sort of higher function. Could it be that men have brains that are more complex than a rutting cat?

We all have brains that can over ride these base instincts, and men should behave with courtesy at all times - not just when they think they will be called out.

Comment Re: here we go (Score 1) 834

You are not sure women get harassed more than men? Why not? Ignoring tempests in a teapot like gamer gate, there is lots, and lots, and lots of evidence that women are harassed more than men at work, in public, online, and even in the home. Even in so called civilized places like Europe and Canada women have to deal with being harassed, stalked, and assaulted (mainly by men) much more than men face these same issues. Yes, men can be harassed. Yes, men face some discrimination in child custody cases, but by and large it is a man's world. And I have not yet mentioned any Muslim countries were women are second class citizens by law and very entrenched custom.

Women asking be treated the same as men, with respect and equal before the law is not harassing men. Asking for equality is not taking anything from men.

I'm a white male living in a multicultural society that was over 60% white 40 years ago and is now about 40% white. I've been the victim of discrimination exactly once, it was comparatively minor, and had no real or lasting effect on my life. I don't think I know ANY woman who haven't had to deal with worse experiences on an at least weekly basis, and truly horrible behavior at least once a year. There is a great deal of room for improvement on the way men treat women. Admitting this doesn't make me less of a man, or imply all men are horrible. Admitting this is the a good step, among many, that will make our society better.

Comment Re: Welcome! (Score 1) 139

The conviction can not be any stupider as it was the stupidest case ever brought to trail - stupid even for Italy's notoriously fickle justice system.


They said, rightly,that the recent "swarm" of small quakes did not increase the risk of a big quake. They never said there was no risk. The area has a a higher than normal risk for quakes which was never denied. Government officials did want to shut up a technician that was predicting a big quake due to radon reading - a method that has been discredited - to prevent unnecessary alarm. If you live in an earthquake zone you have to accept there is going to be a big one eventually, and you have to accept to one can predict when.

The conviction was a travesty. You might as well convict them of not predicting every heart attack that was going to occur in the city for the next year, even with everyone's medical records.

They caused no harm. An unpredictable natural event did that no one could predict. "Swarms" of smaller quakes happens in that area regularly and the last big quake was in 1706.

It is a very well established legal principal that you don't hold people responsible for things they have NO control over!

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