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Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 1233

You realize, that Muslim extremists are to Islam what the Westboro Baptist Church, Tripura, Assam, Odisha, anti-abortion bombers, and Hutaree are for Christianity, right? Sickening examples that leave the majority just as disgusted as you, the outside observer.

I know about Westboro Baptist, and I remember hearing about the Hutaree in the news, but why did you name three states in India?

Comment Re:Questions (Score 1) 1774

Are you an asshole when you delete a program you wrote? Are you an asshole when you destroy a machine you have built? Are you an asshole if you throw your self-portrait in the fireplace?

Are you an asshole when you kill your child? If you create a clone of yourself, does it have a duty to join your army? If you save someone from jumping in front of a car, can you demand his life back?

Agents cannot be owned by other agents. In fact, I'd argue that this notion of self-ownership is what fundamentally separates agents from non-agents. If we created a Kubrick style A.I. that was intelligent, or if Commander Data became real, I sure as hell wouldn't want you deciding their rights.

It's a cheap shot I guess, but in a way it makes sense that a document that depicts the 'boss man' as behaving so willfully and capriciously with his creations would also have no problem with slavery.

Comment formal != thrill (Score 1) 382

So let me get this right. Once upon a time, people treated getting into an aeroplane as a formal occasion, wearing suits and ties for a simple transportation event. Whereas we now treat it like any other instance of being out in public: it's fine to wear jeans and a teeshirt in a park or the subway, so it's fine to do the same in a plane. This is an argument for the old days?

And in which demented world is pressuring people to wear leather shoes instead of sandals or flip-flops on an intercontinental flight a "thrill"? Isn't there enough socially required formalwear at work?


Submission + - Theologian attempts censorship after losing public ( 3

RockDoctor writes: Theologian John Haught publicly debated prominent evolutionary scientist and atheist Jerry Coyne at the University of Kentucky back in October. Before the debate, both parties agreed to the debate being video-taped. Coyne is of the opinion that he convincingly won the debate over Haught. But we'll never know, because Haught, with the assistance of staff at University of Kentucky who sponsored the debate, is banning publication of the video of the event. They are even refusing to release the half of the debate containing Coyne's comments and questions, which is his intellectual property. And that latter is theft, plain and simple, in addition to Haught's cowardice.

Comment Re:Words Fail Me. (Score 1) 309

We have a government admittedly selling human organs for profit, the one thing that every medical ethicist in the world has always agreed would be the prima facie standard of "morally and ethically repugnant"

- [Citation needed]
- Not every ethicist surely. Here's one extremely prominent bioethicist who makes the opposite case.
- Doesn't apply to death row organs, but does apply to the sale of organs in general - why should everyone, from doctors and hospitals to the recipient to the economy, benefit from organ donation, but not the one fricking person who actually makes the sacrifice?

Comment Re:Small/Medium Businesses (Score 1) 515

Sally Dataentryspecialist has a computer that she can type up Word documents on. Jimmy Executive has a laptop that's just good enough to browse porn and play DVDs.

Get with the program. It's Sally the Dataentryspecialist. Jimmy the Executive. Were you asleep all of last year's election campaign?

--Gargle the Grammar Nazi

Comment Re:Obligatory Ghandi Quote... (Score 1) 430

Lol. I'll decode that delightfully - though gratuitously - dense first para as best as my lay mind can. I think you're saying a) that aspiration or lack of doesn't separate words in english (so? we're talking about how to indicate sounds that english speakers *can* make, which are from a language where it matters which of two sounds *is* made) b) that the h in english doesn't necessarily or sufficiently indicate aspiration (so? in both ghandi and gandhi the h clearly DOES serve to aspirate, just different sounds) c) that because there isn't a separate name ghandi there is no need to mark the contrast (eh? The quantity we're seeking to satisfice here is proper pronunciation of name, not confusion reduction. We're talking about a famous person for chrissake) d) the a stuff, which might in principle correspond to something about long and short a's (cmon, what American didn't instinctively throw around long a's when dealing with foreign words? :) )

fifth graders etc: I think we've radically different intuitions about how the a's would come out in this experiment, so perhaps the bet is still a good one. Do you really expect to see father-a in Ghandi and ant-a in Gandhi? Huh.

My point with Ghan-di was about sounds really. That set of sounds is just odd to me. I don't think the aspirated gh sound goes with the long father-a in Hindi at all, almost certainly not to begin words. That needn't be a problem for your view of course, but I do want to clarify/suggest that it's the oddness of that word, not just the fact that it isn't in fact a word.

Comment Re:Obligatory Ghandi Quote... (Score 1) 430

'Pedantry' is name calling? Jeez, what a hothouse flower you are! :)

I don't see the hypocrisy charge; I don't think it sticks. We are not - and certainly not merely to avoid charges of pedantry - to avoid distinctions all together. It is excessive or overly sophistical distinction that we are to eschew. And which ones might these be, you ask? Well, obviously there is no clear cut rule set in stone for such things, and we are to cultivate such intellectual virtues as allow us, on a case by case basis, to judge whether a particular distinction is relevant.

Here's how I judge it: a) There are typically patterns that guide how words in a language/script are spelled in another. 'H signifies aspiration' is as uniformly applied a rule re Hindi/English writing as you're likely to find. b) I'll bet you a moderate sum even a class of fifth graders would pronounce Ghandi and Gandhi differently in predictable ways, that in particular the latter comes much closer to how both Indians and decently educated westerners pronounce the word. c) the spelling of a man's name is such a thing as he quite typically gets to decide. d) The alternate spelling, assuming it corresponds to 'ghan-di' is not even a common Indian name.

Now if you disagree (and reasonable people can disagree with each of a - d), contest actual frickin arguments! Instead, you, in response, brought up "transliteration" and how it differs from "transcription". Except inasmuch as you're arguing that name-spelling should abide by "transliterational" or "transcriptative" principle to conform to the pragmatics of hindi-english orthography, that display of technical vocabulary seems like no more or less than an empty show of erudition, a nitpicky display of casuistic quibbling. Just naming two concepts doesn't show that points a-d are mistaken or insufficient. Hence, I called it pedantry, though perhaps academic showing off is more apposite. IOW, do the actual argumentative heavy work. If you think a spelling - in a language that uses 'h' to signify aspiration - that aspirates the wrong phoneme of a word is perfectly kosher, make the case. If you think the words you introduced add something to that case, great, show how.

Comment Re:Obligatory Ghandi Quote... (Score 1) 430

All this, while it may be perfectly correct for all I know, strikes me as pedantry of the worst sort. Most people, native hindi speakers or not, aspirate the g when they encounter the name Ghandi. Most people, whether they are hindi speakers or not, aspirate the d when they encounter Gandhi. The latter is an excellent approximation of how a hindi speaker would in fact say the word - I'd know, I'm one of them. The latter is how Gandhi himself wrote his name in english. It is how his descendants write their name still. If what they're doing is "transcription" instead of "transliteration" (or is it the other way around?), fine, I'm delighted to concede the point. One spelling is still misleading where the other isn't.

Comment Re:That they would get power, then abuse it... (Score 1) 401

On a tangent, but

Far smarter people than you and I disagree with you. Far smarter people than you and I agree with you. That doesn't indicate who is right; but it does mean that calling the other side 'ludicrous' indicates you are probably approaching the issue irrationally.

So very smart people on either side of an issue can't believe ludicrous things? Obviously not, so your ludicrous standard essentially serves to expunge a perfectly good word from the english language, as you'd have only the smartest person on the planet use it against his opponents, for his purposes.

Pragmatics. When a person says an opinion is ludicrous, he isn't offering a proof in S5 that said opinion is mistaken. He's offering for discussion his view that the opinion in question is grotesquely wrong, even silly. If you disagree, you ought to express why a thoughtful person would hold a different position - as you did, quite well, eloquently even. Meanwhile, calling someone irrational just because he thinks a position is silly is flat-out wrong. Particularly since your argument to that effect is so bad - smart people emphatically do believe wrong - and yes, ludicrous - things.

Comment Re:Not "final" (Score 1) 233

"Unless Chu has another breakthrough he's going to unleash before... Tuesday I would say it's a pretty accurate title. I doubt he'll make another breakthrough in 24 hours."

Yeah right.

(The following takes place between 8 AM and 9 AM)
Steven Chu: tell me where the blueprints for the fusion drive are!
Arab type: No.
SC: But I must have the design to announce at the inauguration!
Arab type: your problem
SC: Then I'll torture your children in front of your eyes by satellite
Lackey1: but the uplink is encrypted!
Lackey2: I will hack the password by zooming into this security camera footage conveniently to hand
Lackey3: Look! The Ayrab escaped in the confusion!
Steven Chu: Damn. Set up a perimeter!

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