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User Journal

Journal Journal: The best post on politics I've seen on /.

The story is the interview with the Libertarian candidate, and the topic this guy is responding to is the American Presidential election, and who should be elected.

"... that the only people fit for office are those smart enough to know they don't want the job in the first place."

This is true of virtually all candidates - those career politicians are not to be trusted. It's the people who are fed up, and want to do something about the system, that make the best politicians. Remember, Washington didn't even want the job!

The problem is, nowadays they get treated like fringe nutjobs by other candidates, and the press just laps it up.

-- james

User Journal

Journal Journal: War over water

In what is being made look more and more insightful every day, my mum (of all people! :) has always said that in the future, there's going to be a big god damned fight over the world's water resources.

Wired are carrying an interesting article over the subject at the moment. Definitely worth a read; it's pretty terrifying that one of the things that I (and I imagine most people in the western world) take for granted as one of the most basic services is denied to (at the moment) around 20% of the world's population. They say that by 2050, it's going to effect between 2 and 7 billion people (talk about covering your bases though!).

Also of note, is that the Middle East is one of the worst affected areas. It may go from having plentiful supplies of one of the most precious natural resources in the world at the moment, to having not enough of the most precious resource in the future. I'm sure that would change the geopolitical dynamics of the region somewhat, to say the least.

User Journal

Journal Journal: MS quits OpenGL board

Here's the low down.

I'm not surprised, and not really disappointed because it's the kind of thing I'd expect.

I really hope somebody gets into a position where they could seriously bitch-slap MS, and soon. They damn well need it.

I'm just thankful Apple's still around, or the consumer marketplace would be dominated by technologies I shudder to even think about.

-- james

User Journal

Journal Journal: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed captured

Sounds like a real puritanical religious warrior by the sounds of him. One more intolerant zealot hiding behind a twisted, corrupt interpretation of his religion captured. Still a few more left to go, though.

And congratulations to the US Govt. for having the guts to stand up and tell Israel that killing innocent people is not acceptable. Take a long look into this mans eyes - he lost his pregnant wife in a "house demolition" raid.

Finally, I watched a very interesting piece on Foreign Correspondent (for the non-Ozzies, it's basically a weekly program put on by the ABC looking at things happening overseas) and the conclusion that I reached from the interviews - if it weren't for Israel, the US wouldn't be in the mess with terrorism that it presently is. Not to lay the blame on any one side though - they're (Israel/Palestine) both as culpable as eachother.

-- james

User Journal

Journal Journal: Poor old Dolly 2

Let's start up the media circus. Poor old Dolly the sheep has died.

Something in particular is irking me about all this, though. All the religious/moralistic nuts have come out of the woodwork to use her as an excuse to ban cloning. "She died because we don't understand what we're doing" - spot on, guys. That's exactly why I'd argue we need to continue on down the reasearch path. Understand what it is and how it works, not try to sweep it under the rug. Bury it, and we run the risk of something much, much worse - an outbreak of those crazy loons who claimed they cloned a few babies a few months back. You think bans will stop people like that?

It is human nature to explore, to understand. It is, however, also desirable to have an element of control of scientific research, to ensure that those tasked with discovering that which we don't understand don't push the boundaries in the wrong kind of way. To say that something should be ignored simply because we don't like what we might find, or don't like what we might be able to do, simply leaves the door wide open for the wrong kind of people to walk straight on through. If we ban it, we lose all potential for control, because the only people doing it are doing it illegally anyway.

I do, however, fully support a ban on human cloning until the technology is better understood. But once that's acheived - why keep it banned? I'm yet to hear somebody explain to me why, with the donor of the DNA willing, cloning should be banned. If somebody wants thirty copies of themselves running around, why not? Why on earth not? Assuming the science can be refined to the point where it's as safe (or safer) than traditional childbirth, why should a person not be given the choice to have a clone made?

Of course, as with everything, I think there would have to be some common sense controls. For example, protecting unwitting donors - you wouldn't want your stalker managing to snag a hair strand and then rocking up at the donor clinic to get a mini-me made up. And like I said, the science would need to proved to be safe - no Dolly lung diseases thanks. But other than that, lift the restrictions.

On a related note, if I'm annoyed at the anti-cloners, I'm seriously pissed at the anti-stem cell crowd. I can appreciate to some extent that the anti-cloners don't see the point, but when it comes to stem cell research... man. Their attitude really, really pisses me off. There exists the potential to do so much good... but for the fact you're "killing an unborn child" - it's ludicrous. Hey guys, guess what? Condoms kill unborn children as well.

This debate shouldn't be about death - it should be about giving somebody who *is* alive, their life back. I would sincerely love to see somebody stare into Christopher Reeve's eyes and say that stem cell research is evil. Or better yet, wait until one of those ethicists are sitting in a wheelchair as a result of a car accident. I'd like to see what their heart tells them then.

-- james

User Journal

Journal Journal: US plans tariff-free world 2

BBC Link on "US plans tariff-free world".

I saw this, and I have to say that it's an admirable goal. Tariffs and artificial restrictions on movement on goods are so pointless (with perhaps the exception of quarantine). These restrictions are based on nothing more than arbitrary lines drawn on a map, left over from colonialism or religious conflicts so old their citizens have forgotten why they ever took place.

Technology is bringing the world closer together, and for the better IMO. Trade is just an extension of this. What logical reason should there be for taxing something just because it came from overseas? Products and services should compete on an equal footing - no propping up old and dying industries with tax dollars for short term votes.

There are, however, sensible arguments against free trade on the basis of humanitarian and environmental grounds. The environmental grounds are probably the most important, as I see it. Forests and animals and waterways don't vote, but they're all vital to the planet and our existence on it.

On the other hand, whilst in the short term free trade may lead to the (very regrettable) exploitation of people in less developed countries, by what other means are their standards of living going to increase? "Hand outs" may work in the short term, but start to do that long term and you build not only a corrupt state, but a social welfare state. You turn the country into a basket case (Africa, anyone?). Free trade enables countries to start at the bottom of the industrial tree, exploiting the only resource they have - cheap labour - and by gaining the benefits of , work their way up.

This is what I think the WTO protestors (the ones that are out there for moral reasons as opposed to the antiquated unions that are just trying to prop up dying industries) fail to realise. Whilst it may not appear to be so, free trade is in the interest of these countries. How else are they going to get on their feet?

That being said, there is one caveat, and an important one. From the article:

Poorer countries are also pressing for access to rich country markets for their agricultural products, but these are not included in the proposals.

The US, however, has already proposed the elimination of agricultural subsidies - a proposal certain to be opposed by the European Union and Japan.

This really pisses me off. Not only are efficient (and often, poorer) countries losing in trade because of the political clout of these agricultural industries being subsidised (I think it's fair to say that almost all of the ag industries in the US, EU and Japan receive more in subsidies than they actually make themselves), but the citizens within these countries pay more for food.

The way the EU in particular has dealt with this matter just goes to show what happens to their politically "angelic self-righteousness" when their own interests are threatened. Least the US is up front about such things - the EU's behaviour is, to me, sickeningly hypocritical.

This post has been a bit stream-of-consciousness, but I feel pretty strongly about the subject and wanted to put something down on it.

-- james

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ellen Feiss gets interviewed! 3

haha! I tried to submit a story on this to the editors, but they obviously believe that a standard framework for storing and managing digital image content on CDs/DVDs is more important. (Ha! What a joke... this is supposed to be "news for nerds... stuff that matters"! :)

Anyway, check it out! Ellen Feiss interviewed at the Brown University's paper. I find the girl a crackup - she speaks like she's on drugs (and I'm talking more powerful than heyfever medication...!)

some of the best bits:

What was the paper about?
It was about Chinatown, and the formation of Chinatowns in America. I lost like three pages of it; it was terrible. It was a really, really good paper. (emphasis mine)

Are you OK with all the Web sites, and people walking around wearing your face on their T-shirts?
Oh, whatever, I think it's kind of funny. These people don't have lives. I don't know, it was kind of bizarre at first. I went to my Web site but I decided not to read any of the comments because I thought it would be too weird. I heard about some of them, though, so I was like, "Weeell, I'm not going to read those." (emphasis mine)

haha! she talks like she's still doing the ad! and finally...

Do you feel any connection to the Dell dude?
No, none whatsoever. That guy's a doofus. I get a lot of "What if you guys had kids?" And I'm like, "What if we had kids?" Why would you ask that? What a weird question. They'd probably be blond. (emphasis mine)

the girl should try out as a stand-up comic... she takes herself seriously and yet is completely hilarious all at the same time :)

-- james

User Journal

Journal Journal: humour post

haha! I saw this and it cracked me up!


-- james

User Journal

Journal Journal: Perspective

Wow. First entry.

I have just started to discover some of the new features of /. - the friends/foes concept I have found particularly catching. Anyway, as I've been browsing, I've kept an eye out for comments that I found particularly funny, or insightful, with a a view to adding those people as friends and hence modding any future posts by the people up.

Pretty simple, really... find a funny/insightful comment, click on the user, and take a look at the last 20 odd posts they've made. If I like them (yeah, very subjective, I know), I add them as a friend.

Well, I found a comment by a guy called MAXOMENOS that gave me a good chuckle! So I took a look at his past comments, and came across this. It has to be the most brutally honest, and insightful thing I've read anywhere on /., anytime.

I'll copy it out in full. The comment pertains to an article called "Generation Wrecked".


Yes it's true: my career is getting chainsawed by the dot-com bust. I went from AI programming to mainframe programming (and took a $10,000 pay cut) and was told a little while ago that, barring a miaracle, my position is going to be eliminated in February. The good news is I have four months to find a new job before I start collecting unemployment; the bad news is that computer jobs are scarce and I may end up just packing groceries or something.

Are the best years of my life behind me? No.

For the first time in my life, I have more friends than I can count on both hands, a girlfriend who loves pizza and beer and horror movies, a positive reputation in the circles that matter to me, and all the comforts I've ever wanted. My biggest concern if I end up packing groceries is health insurance.

As for computers: I can still do computers for fun. Well-documented, professionally-designed free software builds resumes. I can still take courses toward a Masters' degree in CS. If the field ever recovers, I can get a job. If it doesn't, I have a fun hobby.

What about the future? I admit I didn't plan on being a security guard for the rest of my life. Ultimately, however, a career is two things: an opportunity to do what you love, and a tool for getting the things you want and need. I can do the one and I have the other. Let the career get chainsawed.

The best years of my life are here, and are still to come.

I was stunned by this - here's this guy, sharing something pretty deep with a group of total strangers.

Occasionally, you read stuff that really changes your way about thinking about the world, about life. And this comment did it for me. I'm not too sure about the cheesy hollywood-style one liner at the end, but the rest was so honest, so... I don't know, uplifting, I guess, that I felt compelled to make some note about it.

It really does just go to show how important your sense of perspective is in life.

-- james

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