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Comment Re: Rule of thumb: believe the man (Score 4, Insightful) 410

The story about the woman who wake up to him fingering her clearly states that she had explained to him on many occasions that he could share her bed as a friend, but that it did not constitute an invitation to have sex. If you go to bed with someone and nothing happens when they're awake and able to consent, why would assume that they're totally down for sex now that they're asleep? Also : even if you're involved with someone, even if you're sleeping in the same bed, this does not mean they're available for sex 24/7. There's such a thing as marital rape.

Comment Re: Hatchet jobs aside (Score 4, Insightful) 410

No one with an idea of what a healthy consensual relationship looks like would describe the "bath" story as you did. When someone repeatedly says "no", you're not supposed to keep insisting as if "no" was just an invitation to keep asking. That's textbook rapist "she said no but her body was saying yes", "she was just playing hard to get". It's also not "romantic" to grab someone and start washing them when they've clearly said that they didn't want to take a bath with you. It's fascinating how the same BS keeps popping up all the time. "She was wearing a miniskirt, so she clearly wanted me to fondle her". "Why would she show cleavage if she didn't want me to grope her boobs". Rapists all over the world have been using this excuse that their victim was somehow messaging her availability, e.g. by not respecting whatever standard of decency they decided was appropriate. If someone offers to share a bed and specifically warns you that they're not interested in having sex with you, you just can't claim ignorance and say that you thought it was an invitation to have sex. And even if they don't, why not just ask?

Comment Re:Cyclists DON'T obey the law! (Score 4, Insightful) 696

A lot of it is just jealously: drivers are incensed they have to wait at red lights when cyclists *sometimes* run the red light if it's safe to do so. The fact that it's against the law is mostly irrelevant: when the law changes to recognize that it's perfectly safe to do so at many intersections, drivers keep bitching about it, except that they now complain that the law is always favoring cyclists. Same for when lots of cities in Europe started allowing cyclists go against traffic in one-way streets (with signs and ground markings to warn drivers), even though it's perfectly safe. The vast majority of cyclists don't have a death wish: we're not going to blaze through a busy intersection with cars going 30+ MPH. On the other hand, there are many situations that do warrant running the red light. Simple example that I encounter daily: I reach the end of the bike lane and I'm supposed to be waiting for the green light at the Advanced stop line/bike box. Except that 90% of the time, there is already a car in that box, because some drivers think that it's just a buffer area that they're free to use. Which means that I'd be forced to wait right next to a car or, worse, a van or truck, which may or may not look when they decide to turn right. So, the safest course of action in this case would be for me to run the red light and take my rightful position in front of the car that has taken the safe spot the law provided for me. But, if I've already run the red light and now notice that there is no traffic in sight, I might as well keep going and clear the intersection. I've never endangered myself, or anyone else, whenever I've run a red light. Virtually all of my 'close calls' have been at uncontrolled intersections where I had the right of way, or when the light was green, and someone decided to turn right without looking properly.

Comment Re:Only YEC denies it (Score 4, Interesting) 669

Many evangelicals will be willing to grant some kind of natural selection that you'd have to be blind not to accept. They won't insist that the earth was created a couple thousand years ago. But my experience is that you'd better not say that you accept evolution unless you want all the zany people, whether young or old earth, to start trying to talk you out of it every opportunity they get. In the average evangelical church, an outspoken "evolutionist" would be marginalized and de facto excluded from positions of leaderships.

Yes, most churches won't come out and say that you need to be a YEC or a OEC. But they'll still have that double standard that someone who talks about Adam and Eve being directly, physically created by God will never have any problem, while those who point out that it's scientifically inaccurate will be labeled intolerant, divisive, unfit for leadership, etc.

Around 30% of evangelicals accept evolution. And that's with a very generous definition of evolution that allows for God to guide the process. If you ask people whether they think evolution is true and that was due to natural processes, i.e. the scientific consensus, you're down to 8%. I'm wondering if the Pope is not also leaving the door open to that when he says "evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve".

And note that many among the 30% are not the most committed people. If you were to look at the leadership and other influential people in churches, the percentage would be a lot lower.

Comment Re:Can you stop your patronizing already ? (Score 2) 322

It's not patronizing to point out that both Russia and China are much poorer countries that the US. All you need to do is look at their GDP/capita figures to see the wide gap. As for scholastic achievements, cross-country comparisons are always difficult especially when dealing with non-democratic countries that need to look good for propaganda purposes. Examining the latest PISA figures, it doesn't look like Russian students fare better than Americans. Russia and the US have similar scores for math, but Americans are better at reading and science. Unfortunately, no data is available for China as a whole. Students in Shanghai perform much better than Americans but this is comparing apples and oranges and I doubt that students in poorer, rural areas of China would score as high.

Comment Re:Hamas are Terrorists (Score 4, Insightful) 402

Two-state solution = apartheid. Would the ANC have accepted a two-state solution in South Africa, which would only have vindicated the racist ideology of white South Africans who claimed that blacks and whites had to be separate? That's something that pro-Israel people never understand. Whenever someone says 'apartheid', they'll talk to you about the Arab minority in Israel, which completely misses the point. Apartheid, in this case, refers to the fact that, in the area that is historically known as Palestine, there is apartheid in that the goal is to have a Jewish state and a Palestinian state even though both groups believe that they have claims over the entire land.

This is why it's very different from many other conflicts: in Ukraine, for instance, you could potentially partition the land since you have a rather clear line dividing east and west over language and political views. Same in (South) Sudan for instance where you could separate majority Muslim populations from majority Christian ones. Not so much in Palestine, at least if you go back to 1946 before there were large population transfers.

If you look at population statistics from that era, you find that Palestinians outnumbered Jews virtually everywhere. If you had had a free and fair referendum and assuming that people would have voted along ethnic lines (why would Jews vote against having their own state, why would Palestinians decide that they wanted to be ruled by Jews), the Jewish state would have been the Jaffa region, period. And that's a huge problem. The right to self-determination is not only for white people, even though it took Western countries close to 20 years to finally realize that. The Jewish people certainly had the right to go to Palestine, purchase land following willing-buyer-willing-seller principles and perhaps one day become a majority there. I believe in open borders, so I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is when people claim that the fact that their ancestors may or may not have been forced to leave that area 2000 years ago means that they now have a right to exclude people who are currently living there. We all have roots somewhere in modern-day Kenya, that doesn't mean it's now okay for me to go and colonize that place. There's been invasions, etc. for thousands of years everywhere on earth and we don't go back 2000 or 3000 years to see who *really* has a claim on the land.

Comment Re:Hamas are Terrorists (Score 1) 402

Of course, it depends on what you mean by 'recognize Israel's right to exist". If it means that the Palestinians are supposed to say that it's fine for the Israelis to keep their own separate state while they're confined to their little Bantustans, then it's no wonder that they're not so keen on doing this. The two-state solution is literally apartheid since it involves separating the inhabitants of Palestine based on their ethnicity/religion and letting them develop separately.

Comment Re:Poor Israel (Score 2) 402

The amazing thing about propagandists is that one day they'll tell us how great Gaza is and how Palestinians are all liars who want to make it sound like they have it bad ( Then the next they'll come and tell us that Gaza has been chaotic since 2005, presumable because Palestinians are too dumb for self-rule. Plus you have to define 'pulled out completely'. It seems to me that the IDF has been reentering Gaza periodically since 2005 and that Israel still maintains a large degree of control over what and who gets to enter and leave Gaza. They just realized that it was much easier to cordon off the area and do some "grass mowing" (seriously, that's how they refer to it) from time to time, rather than directly maintain occupation in the midst of a hostile population and widespread international condemnation.

Comment Re:Thanks for the pointless scaremongering (Score 1) 409

That must be one of the main reasons, in addition to perhaps trying out some experimental treatments.

People are complaining about them being flown in now, but give it enough time and they would have found a way to blame the Obama administration for not helping these heroes. Imagine the accusations that they deliberately left them to die because they were conservative Christian missionaries. The mid-terms are coming up in November.

Call me cynical, but this is the best thing that's ever happened to Samaritan's Purse. They're a VERY controversial organization whose president is known for saying that the Obama administration has the “the spirit of Anti-Christ" and for supporting Putin's anti-homosexuality bill. A lot of their work involves using people's needs to try to convert them to Christianity. They're one of the few large organizations that have never signed the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief. Everyone else has: secular ones like Doctors without Borders or Save the Children, but also all the large faith-based organizations (World Vision, Caritas, UMCOR, Norwegian Church Aid, etc.). It's actually cost them money since some organizations require that they become signatories before they grant them money, so it's a deliberate decision. Probably because it requires that "aid will not be used to further a particular political or religious standpoint", which is the main reason why Samaritan's Purse exist.

Until this week, when people heard "Samaritan's Purse", they thought "sending evangelical tracts to children in developing countries". Now they'll think "heroic missionary who risked his life/died for the poor". If you check out their website, you'll see that their PR machine is in full motion. Even the statements from the family were obviously written by a professional PR person and are all about how their faith means that they're all fine and happy regardless of what happens, the wonderful support that their God from their church, etc.

Comment Re:Actually they ARE working on some treatments. (Score 2) 409

I don't believe he was working on them. He is a medical missionary, not a researcher, and the experimental drug was flown in after he had become sick. So, no, he's had no special treatment before. Just a regular guy straight out of residency who had gone to Liberia to provide regular medical care and found himself in the middle of an Ebola epidemic.

Why are they flying him in? Good question. Although it's very unlikely that Ebola would start spreading in the US, there may be isolated cases, which means that it could be a good idea to see what can be done in a more controlled environment, as you point out. Plus it might allow the family to say goodbye to them if they're not gonna recover. Sooner or later, people would have complained that America/Obama/Democrats let down two American heroes who were left to die in a foreign country when perhaps they could have been saved. Especially if they're missionaries working with a rather polarizing organization.

Comment No so sure about this (Score 4, Insightful) 91

Can we please stop with the "children who have no PC will be at a disadvantage in the classroom" charade? Computers are great and useful, but we don't need to pretend that they will magically help children do better in school. If anything, the limited evidence available from larger-scale voucher programs suggests that they may very well reduce test scores. Which is rather intuitive. Sure, you can use your computer to do your homework and prepare your next presentation. But you can also use it to play games or go on Facebook and Buzzfeed instead of doing more productive tasks. If you're a child with low impulse control/intrinsic motivation to study, having a PC only means one more source of distraction.

This kind of program appeals to nerds like us because we remember getting our first PC, learning how to use Linux to set up our first home server, learning how to code, spending a lot of time online acquiring new knowledge, etc. That's literally the first paragraph of the article. But we're not the average person. Most children will not do that: ask non-nerds around you how they felt about the time their parents bought their first computer and you'll get a "meh" because, in the pre-internet era, you could easily see them as glorified typewriters if you weren't a nerd. Nowadays, the average child will start playing Flash games on the web and be content. And gaming is much more fun than doing your homework.

I think it's also good to distinguish between "cannot afford a computer" and "does not think a computer is worth the cost". What I mean is, if instead of providing a computer or a voucher that can only be used to buy a computer, charities gave people $200 (enough to buy a Chromebook or Chromebox that's sufficient for all school-related uses), would they go out and buy a PC? Or is it a paternalistic endeavor that insists that poor households REALLY need a PC because WE couldn't live without one, so they must just not know what's good for them? Of course, if you give away something for free, people will take it. That doesn't mean they value it as much as you think they do. I see that they're trying to identify people who really need it, so kudos to them, but it's difficult and, so far, willingness to pay remains to best way to do that. Provided of course that people have enough money to have real options. This is where I start my rant about how charities are at best a stop-gap solution fraught with problems such as the fact that people always start them because they think they know what poor people REALLY need ("a PC", "no, toys", "no, cans of food", etc.). What about: a decent income so they can make their own choices rather than having to rely on handouts?

At least, when it comes to PCs, money is quickly becoming a non-issue. A Pi with case, keyboard, mouse and Wifi dongle can be purchased for perhaps $60-$70. Spend a little more and you can buy a Banana Pi or another cheap Chinese ARM machine. When you factor in the time it takes to check that donated computers still work well, set up the Linux OS, coordinate donations, etc., I'm sure 'free' PCs end up being more expensive.

Comment Re:france has law designed to protect bookshop (Score 1) 309

I've seen this argument on many French websites, but I have a hard time wrapping my head around it.

Before the law:
- €10 book on Amazon: €9.5 (+free shipping)
- €10 book in a bookstore: €9.5 (+ no need to ship it, though the store is free to offer it)

After the law:
- €10 book on Amazon: €10.01
- €10 book in a bookstore: €9.5

Clearly, this tilts the balance in favor of bookstores who can now sell books cheaper than Amazon. They didn't just fix the law, which already ensured that both Amazon and other stores had to sell the book at the same price, but they made books more expensive on Amazon.

You could say that offering free shipping is an extra advantage that should be taken into account. But not only could other stores also offer free shipping if they wanted to, they also offer other advantages that have value to the customer: advice, instant availability, free gift wrap, etc. Why is free shipping any different?

This goes far beyond what the previous iteration of the law did. When the law was passed in the 1980s, no-one suggested that big box stores should be prohibited from offering free parking since that put downtown bookstores at a clear disadvantage.

Comment Re: Not France vs US (Score 4, Informative) 309

Actually, the law says no such thing. Before this new law, booksellers in France could sell a book with at most a 5% discount relative to the mandatory price set by the publisher. The idea was to prevent supermarkets and larger booksellers from competing on price and driving smaller shops out of business. In the 1980s, it made some sense, as people were afraid that supermarkets would only stock bestsellers and that smaller shops were necessary to ensure the availability of more specialized, less popular books. Back then, the only people shipping books were mail-order book clubs, which re-published bestsellers after a year or two and did not have much market share.

With the advent of the internet, booksellers started complaining that Amazon and FNAC were too successful. Since they could offer both the 5% discount and free shipping, customers paid as little as it was legally possible and enjoyed the extra convenience of not having to visit several bookshops to find the rare book that they'd been looking for. This is definitely a good thing for consumers and Amazon takes care of the long tail much more effectively and efficiently than smaller booksellers. Plus everyone was treated equally: smaller shops could also offer free shipping if they wanted to: they just could not afford it due to the lower volumes involved. Amazon can negotiate very good shipping rates and buy books much cheaper. Publishers sell them their books with a 50% discount, versus 30-40% for smaller bookstores.

The law now says that you can still offer a 5% discount BUT, if you ship the book to the customer, this 5% discount must be deducted from the shipping fees, which cannot amount to zero. Thus, if Amazon sells a €10 book, they probably charge a €0.51 shipping fee, which ends up being €0.01 after the 5% discount. They're still at a disadvantage since a physical store can sell the same book for €9.5. Which means that the law now clearly favors physical stores, much more than it did small bookstores vs supermarkets before.

Comment Re: Not France vs US (Score 1) 309

France does not prohibit websites from storing credit card information. The regulations say that the merchant must first ask the customer whether they agree to let them store their CC information. If the customer agrees, the customer name, CC number and expiry date can be stored in an encrypted format. What cannot be stored is the CVV number.

This is a common-sense rule that minimizes the risks of identity theft and fraudulent use of credit cards in case customer information gets in the wild, as has happened repeatedly in recent years.

Comment Re:This just illustrates (Score 2) 365

They already do it, but negative prices are a rare occurrence and it's probably not worth investing in additional capacity. Storage and reducing production are both more expensive than paying people to accept the extra electricity. In a way, this is the same as installing resistors, except that you're just letting other people dispose of the electricity without incurring capital expenses yourself.

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