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Comment Re: If it's like Politifake, expect far left bias. (Score 1) 367

Apparently yours is. Wall Street is owned and run by big bankers, not by egomaniacal real estate magnates. Bankers and real estate investors often clash. If you want to accurately associate Donald Trump with any Manhattan roadway, he would be Fifth Avenue.

You know I hate this expression in English, but you leave me no choice:

same fucking difference./

That's a difference without distinction, at least from the vantage point of the 99%

Frankly I couldn't care less about distinctions only relevant to the 1%.

I will gladly concede that HRC with the Clinton Foundation is *also* Wall Street, but to pretend that The Donald does not represent Wall Street is kind of like the ostrich sticking it's head in the sand and thinking that no one can see it.

Comment Re:OK but misses a larger problem (Score 1) 367

Oh come now, you act as if there were actual issues of real import to the American populace and people around the world. Be a good sport now, my only real question about the republican nominee, dating all the way back to the primaries, is how big his penis actually is, and I really, really, really want to know!

Comment Re:If it's like Politifake, expect far left bias. (Score 1) 367

Facts are verifiable data.

You know I actually almost like your how you define facts. If nothing else you capture one of the most salient moments of 'facts', that they refer to something that has already happened(past tense). But you had to use the word verifiable, which kind of muddies things up a bit, for in reference to that which already happened such can only be verified if such is reproducible, an action in the present, which unfortunately only really works with 'data' acquired from controlled experimentation and that which has been recorded, that which renders somethings from the past, present. That which is verifiable is that which is subject to potential current verification, being verified now.

But lets get real now. Of all the things both the Donald and Hillary are accused of how much could reasonably be called data? I would contend that only those recorded statements, whether oral or written, qualify as 'data' and are only reproducible to the extent such were recorded, ie. transcribed(emails, letters, etc.), captured audio and or video.

Still facts, defined as you define them, are superior to mere data. The only notion more vacuous than the assertion that "facts settles arguments", is that some policy decision can be "data-driven". Back here in the real world virtually no arguments are settled by facts, 'facts' are endlessly disputed and usually lead nowhere. Data, the epitome of meaninglessness, albeit potentially meaningful, is far, far weaker in terms of argumentative effectiveness, than facts, defined thusly. So if one can't win arguments with facts, one certainly won't win them with mere data.

That the Donald farted, is objectively data. That someone recorded such with a microphone and recorder and was replayed converts that data into a fact. But that does not settle the argument as to whether or not the Donald is full of shit.

If you happen to agree with any of this and decide for yourself the matter is settled, neither facts nor data played any in role in your conclusion. Simple reason, basic logic and rhetorical skill was all that was sufficient.

Comment Re:If it's like Politifake, expect far left bias. (Score 1) 367

The density of thought in that sentence is approaching that a of a black whole, from which no thought will ever escape.
The Donald *is* Wall Street.
Hillary just goes to Wall Street for money like nearly every one else.
Is the reality distortion field so great that this actually requires stating?

Comment talk about missing the point (Score 5, Informative) 370

I swear sometimes you folks just amaze me with how dense you are.
What Melinda Gates points out in the TFA is amazingly simple yet profoundly insightful and yet the slashjocks can't wrap their big heads around it.
BASIC blew any and or all other "beginners languages", developed since then, out of the water. The reasons are fairly simple to understand, but you have to grasp how they were interconnected.

If you weren't using computers and programming between 1976 and 1984, you probably can't intuitively grasp how things actually were, and what is stated below was true for millions of children around the world, in dozens of different real languages. One of more negative aspects of the "good ole days" is that personal computer were not available for everyone, they were reserved for privileged children from families with incomes sufficient to be able to afford such and these costs were not insignificant, costing families upwards of a $1,000.00.

  • a) BASIC was everywhere, on every computer that one could get their hands on. And although there were significant difference between them there was enough in common that most basic programs ran with little or no modification in any and all BASIC interpreters.
  • b) BASIC language programming examples were widely disseminated in hundreds of magazines and many, many books. These magazines in particular played a pivotal role in the creation of local computer clubs, a social aspect completely lost in the modern programming world. The availability of material on the internet is in no way comparable.
  • c) Every computer came not only with BASIC, but also a BASIC programming book, which listed each and every usable function available in the language. Written by people who could spell the word pedagogic, these books were easy to read, fun, and genuinely educational.
  • d) The 7 year old could type in a BASIC program and do something fun, if not particularly useful, in 5 minutes with no help at all other than seeing a printed listing of a BASIC program.
  • e) That same BASIC was also useful for an incredibly large number of small businesses, so daddy or mommy, could use the same language to do productive things for their work world as their children were playing with at home.
  • f) BASIC was simple, but one could still do amazingly complex things with it. Anyone, with an IQ of 95 or more who can read and write, can learn 100 commands, memorize their syntax and glue them together. Less that 10% of the overall population will ever be able to do anything comparable with any of other languages developed since then.
  • g) BASIC made complex things simple and simple things complex, it was a wonderful trade-off. No other language has ever hit that particular trade off anywhere near as good. There was a lot of things you could not do in BASIC, but within the repertoire of doable things BASIC was incredibly simple to use, the feedback loop of trial and error was instantaneous, and once you learned it you never thought about the language itself because it vanished in the usage like any truly good tool does.
  • BASIC as a programming language is dead. It will never come back. But that does not mean that there is no absence. Our expectations have changed radically, what we demand from computers today was far beyond anything anyone could do with BASIC. Truly replacing BASIC is a herculean task, not something easy, and it is an open question whether there will ever be an equivalent again. The problem set solved by BASIC was many orders of magnitude smaller than what anyone could reasonably content themselves with nowadays. There were no videos(cameras capable of capturing pictures or videos), mp3s(computer generated audio was positively primitive compared to today), text and hi-res graphics were frequently completely separated, you could have one or the other, rarely both. The complexities of GUI programming rendered BASIC obsolete and still form the most fundamental hurdle to the development of something truly functionally equivalent. But if you still contend that Python or Javascript could in anyway inherit the mantle from BASIC you simply do not get it.

Comment Re:It's all Gnome's fault (Score 3, Insightful) 924

Despite all the hate I still appreciate what systemd is attempting to do. Now I am not perfectly happy with all the design decisions made in systemd, sometimes grokking new ways of doing things takes a while and I have yet to master all of it. But sometimes I feel like Poettering has been working away at my unpublished list of broken things regarding init.d. I use to be an LTSP server admin at a German university. 400 users via 30 ancient pc's(timeframe was 2004-2008, pc's were 1996-2000 era), running off of one dual-cpu AMD athlon server. Hunting down rogue processes that failed to exit properly was one of the ongoing thorns in my side as an admin. The init system, replete with the run level system, has beek broken in Linux land basically since forever. It was never a matter of which distro you used, they all had problems. There may have been better ways to solve some of these problems, but in contrast to all the fake screaming and cryin you read on slashdot, Poettering, along with several others, attempted to finally do something about it, and even worse damn near every linux distro switched to systemd when systemd was undoubtedly still in it's infancy(this thing, even though it's a baby, has already kicked every other competing init system to the curb, unfinished, with warts and all, it trounces what we had).

I fully suspect to feel the same way about systemd that I felt about pulseaudio: at first pulseaudio was a pain, it was not very reliable and rather pflagmatic at times, involving lots of arcane configuration incantations. However as time went it got better and better, now just about any damn thing I want out of a sound system in computer just works, works reliably and better than any system I have ever used under windows or mac osx. Any person who complains about pulseaudio nowadays, who isn't doing stuff that requires jack anyway(high end professional recording stuff), simply does not remember what a friggin nightmare sound configuration was even a handful of years ago. Every program that does audio had to support artsd, esd, jack, ossv3 and ossv4, alsa dmix etc. Hell has a special place reserved for those who came up with the alsa configuration system. Unless you had one of a half-dozen cards that supported hardware mixing it was not possible to play two sounds at the same time, then it eventually became possible via dmix, but configuring it and getting it to work was a friggin nightmare. Now I can have any number of audio programs running at the same time, can direct their inputs and outputs at will at any time, I can control the volume of each application separately, I can even normalize the sound or run a full-blown equalizer. If i walk out of range with my bluetooth headset on it simply switches over to speakers and returns once my headset syncs again. My 5.1 digital optic audio just works! no more hundreds of hours trying to find the right multichannel mapping for sound, wow, just wow, were almost civilized.

Poettering is all about linux plumbing. You know that unsexy works that nobody likes but we each depend on. However when you change the infrastructure you end up having to adjust some number of other things to work properly. One thing that has always eluded me, is the whole class of applications which run under linux which are not normal "user processes". Things like the display server, ltsp, web servers, databases etc. These things do not fit into the category of user applications, because they require system reconfiguration, and because they are not session bound(anything that is not working my data, available under my account when I log in, is not in my book my "user process"). This class of applications needs to run at once with more(elevated) privileges than a normal user, but at the same time less-ie. they require a managed environment which enables them to run securely at a privileged level, yet still limited in regards to where and how they access data(sandboxing does some of this, running such processes under dedicated users, like dhcpd etc., does some of this too, but neither fully captures the semantics of such application "personalities" for lack of a better word. Cgroups and systemd's PID #1 is an approach to begin martialing such.

Comment Re: Nope (Score 4, Informative) 341

I love it when people defend our current health care system. The abomination that is our current system is utterly indefensible. If we had set out to create such a fucked up system we could not have achieved it. The levels of stupidity, inefficiency, and insanity which are present in every single facet of our health care system boggle the fucking mind. There is no one left in America who does not know someone personally who is going/has gone bankrupt due to medical bills. So defending this system when so many people are suffering under it is the absolute height of willful ignorance. But then again willful ignorance is the hallmark of our age. There are no people left in America who are "ignorant" about such things. Which is why arguing with people about whether global warming/climate change is real or man-made is so futile. Americans have become so cynical that hardly anyone gives a flying fuck about any so-called truth.

I guess what kills me the most is not that so many Americans are willfully ignorant about so damned much, for frankly the "truth" is about as relevant as my asshole, but that willful ignorance absolves one of any culpability for any basic level of personal honesty or integrity. Now of course willful ignorance is almost synonymous with "opinion", and everyones got one right? If I meet someone who face to face lies to me about shit they know is true they simply will never get to know me, their loss. I don't argue with them, not anymore, they don't respect themselves enough to be worth it. We may not agree with one another on suggested solutions(single-payer vs. x number of alternatives), but defending what we currently have ?really? I won't engage in that kind of intellectual dishonesty, and you can call it an opinion, but we know what it is. Maybe someday you'll join us, looking forward to getting to know you.

But having said all that, one of the greatest freedoms is the freedom to be full of shit. And I am mighty glad that we have that freedom, for if it were not for the right to be full of shit, there would be remarkably little humor in the world and we would be poorer for it. So instead of walking around with hatred towards my fellow Americans, most of the time, I succeed in realizing that there is just a very fashionable level of bullshit which has become normative, and I allow humor to overcome my anger and simply laugh at that for which it is-bullshit.

Comment PDF is about as open as my ass (Score 1) 256

I keep reading all this about how open the PDF standard is. Get this through your thick skull: if there are no *other* implementations that do everything that the reference implementation does (for PDF this is Adobe Acrobat Reader) then the "openness" of the format is an illusion. None of the alternative PDF readers, of which there are many, handle *all* of the things supported by the format, much as none of alternative flash encoders/decoders actually support everything done in Adobe flash. My question to you guys is this: Is there any real reason left for not implementing things like this as web applications which run in browsers? Has not our modern HTML5/javascript/css stuff progressed to the point that *everything* in Adobe Reader could actually be done in-browser? Not only should one not be forced to use a specific program for submitting forms to the government, but also one should not be required to use a PC, regardless of OS. Millions of people around the world now use smartphones/tablets as their primary computing devices. But again unless the supposed *openness* of the format actually translates into real existing independent implementations, we're stuck at square one. IF the government is going to require us to make use of Adobe PDF reader, then Adobe PDF reader should *be* a website that works in any current browser. Then the government agencies could host their own PDF reader server, subject to public accountability requirements, and the the browser client could perform all of its operations locally on the target platform(no cloud shit).

Comment Re:Um, it's pretty much over, dude (Score 1) 99

So you have this vague feeling I might be wrong somewhere.

Nope. Nothing vague. But I will admit having this little back and forth has made a couple of things clear to me:

1) I have a full fledged allergy to techno-determinism, and Slashdot being home for many many, many techno-determinists is causing my brain to sneaze, over and over again. Techno-determinism, which is a specific form of nonsense, truly challenges my brain, so much so that it may lead to involuntary brain farts.

2) The price one pays to master a statistical grasp of the world, necessarily involves a break down in categorical thinking.I always thought that statisticians had to firmly grasp logic in order to do their work, but I now understand that it's only possible by suspending categorical thought, so a certain amount of illogicity seems to be built in. That's ok. There is a world unto statistics, a world revealed primarily to the statisticians eyes, but those eyes remain blind to that which is unique, precious, or novel, which again makes sense, but really makes me sad. Most specializations of knowledge are characterized by this two-edged sword: the enabling of the sight, delimits the range of what is seen. BTW my Achilles heal is nonsense.

3) When I look for evidence of something I first look at language. This understanding of empirics, unfortunately puts me at odds with most of science, which understands empirics as experimentation. Experimentation enables reproduction(the objectivity of scientific experimentation lies in it's reproducibility ), but I don't need to reproduce that which has already been produced, language is pure evidence, and it's objectivity blows scientific objectivity out of the water. I have no problem imagining an infinite number of computer industries, as distinct things, unfortunately the need for such has occurred so rarely that no one ever bothered to give such a name, which might just indicate that there is no such thing. The only place one will encounter such are in silly nonsensical sentences uttered/written by modern logicians as a way of trivializing differences by comparing things which aren't comparable(the suspension of categorical thought, hence illogicity)[Poets do it to, but alas that difference is way beyond the scope of this writing]. Which is just downright disingenuous, and intellectually dishonest. It's the grown up version of kids fighting: "Your difference isn't a difference which makes a difference, but mine is, so there !" (tongue sticking out). Modern logicians, the illbegotten offspring of American analytical philosophy have performed a mind-fuck of 20th century thinkers, rendering them more functionally retarded than your average Athenian thinker 2,500 years ago. Progress my ass, that's regression. Just because one can, does not mean that one does. Just because one cannot, does not mean that one doesn't. Lot's of things that can happen, don't, ever. Lots of things that cannot happen, do, sometimes(what we call improbability, which really only means hard to prove! haha). You just can't name them, individually. The only 1-to-1 relationship between possibility and that which is, is that of nothingness.

A few final notes:

But you can't always kill more butterflies and try again. One butterfly made the difference. Which butterfly that was is irrelevant, but one cannot discern which butterfly was the one to make a difference. That's why you don't kill butterflies.

Meanwhile we have massive evidence that technological advancement happened before, during, and after Apollo which was unrelated to Apollo.

I never questioned that even once.

But you would have a kid either way. And if we look at 300 million people rather than one person, we're still going to see people with the same distributions of personality and other features. They'll still have the same problems. They'll still come up with the sorts of fixes.

I hear the rustling of leaves, where the salience of what was said just rushed past your ears, unheard. Not a difference which makes a difference, hence same difference, ie. indifference on your part. That's ok. It just makes me sad.

Comment Re:Um, it's pretty much over, dude (Score 1) 99

I like what you said, and I am actually with you in your sentiment, except for your first sentence. This. There is nothing deterministically inevitable about technological advancement. You(I, him, her, them, ie. it doesn't matter who) can't say (I am not trying to forbid the speech just pointing out that saying such is wrong):

While many of the technologies that are being attributed to the Apollo missions (electronics, materials, etc) they would have eventually been made.

6 months ago I would have been fine with "While many of the technologies that are being attributed to the Apollo missions (electronics, materials, etc) they probably would have eventually been made anyway", but now I can't even stomach that sentence. I guess the techno-determinism rampant on slashdot has finally driven me over the edge. "if we didn't do it, someone else would have", or "if we don't, then they will" as the ultimate cowardice in taking moral responsibility for the choices we make. I am fairly sure you don't mean any of that, but I fear I am developing an allergy to techno-determinism and I sneezed when I read your first sentence. Sorry for bothering you, you can safely ignore my little rant;)

Comment Re: ...and I predict (Score 1) 242

"That's because we are watching a show that it is them that have paid for."PLEASE STOP KILLING THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, PRETTY PLEASE

I finally figured out what you were trying to say, and I hate being pedantic but damn you left that sentence bloody on the side of the road, all twisted and contorted

You appear to be a native English speaker, I would never knowingly say such to someone for whom English was a foreign language. If I am wrong forgive me

Comment Re:Um, it's pretty much over, dude (Score 1) 99

So what? My point is that we would have a vast amount of job creation anyway. In fact, it might have been worse due to NASA misdirection of so much of US productivity during that time.

Undoubtedly. After all the population of US almost doubled during this period. Many new jobs would have been created. Small grammatical (Not! syntax) point: facts and "might have been"s don't mix well, given that facts occurred (factum est Not! data, which derives from datum, that which is given) and "might have been"s didn't. When parsing your sentence my bio-computer, stated simply "does not compute". I know it's just an expression, people say "in fact, it might have been X" all the time, but really such is rather illogical, there simply is nothing subjunctive about facts. Alas we will never know the answer to this.

This is why I quoted the problem section in question. The computer industry and fiberglass insulation don't need "a myriad of factors happening to fall into place at the right time in the right way". There are a variety of ways to get a computer industry and fiberglass insulation. There's plenty of room for error.

Could you name me a computer industry? I only know of one, it happens to span the world and several of the prominent corporations in the computer industry were founded in the wake of the Apollo Space program. I guess you might be referring to something like the japanese computer industry vs. the american computer industry, or do you mean that something like the Dell computer industry vs. the Hewlett-Packard computer industry? or microcomputer industry vs. mainframe computer industry? really not sure what you are referring to. Comparing the computer industry with fiberglass insulation is well kind of strange, they are both things, in a very broad sense, but such a comparison is worse than apples vs oranges, at least you can eat both of those. Is there anything that computer industries ((pl.) and "fiberglass insulation"';s (note: there is no plural form of insulation, nor fiberglass) have particularly in common which lends one to make such a comparison? My guess is that fiberglass refers to a specific thing with a specific composition, but I could be wrong, can you really make fiberglass out of totally different materials? I always thought of fiberglass insulation as a thing, in fact I think that thing has a name, "fiberglass insulation". I could be wrong, but if I'm not, would you care to elaborate on the different ways to a get a generic computer industry, or some alternative way to make insulation out of fiberglass, or make fiberglass differently? You may think I am being pedantic but I really have no idea what you mean when you say,"There are a variety of ways to get a computer industry and fiberglass insulation".

So again there is one concrete thing in the world named "fiberglass insulation", and there is another concrete thing in the world which we call "the computer industry", both of which were developed according to the same contingency I have described previously. If you could give me one example of multiple computer industries, or one example of fiberglass insulation, which somehow is and is not fiberglass insulation, I might cede your point. But I have a sneaky suspicion that you can't, based primarily on the fact that there is no plural usage of computer industries( which are not simply names for specific countries and their computer industry history, or specific names of corporations or names identifying different types of computers) or fiberglass insulations/fiberglasses insulation in the english language, nor any other indo-european languages. Try it yourself: come up with a sentence where you say "computer industries", or "fiberglass insulations/fiberglasses insulation", I leave it as an exercise for you. Perhaps you really do believe a million monkeys banging on keyboards would eventually create Shakespeare, if so the ontological status of existence is reduced to mere statistical probability in your mind, anything and everything will eventually happen given enough time and iteration. That makes me sad for you. Btw this is the argument Feynman was making about quantum phenomena: what is "really going on" is irrelevant, how can I construct a circuit such that quantum entanglements(which do happen, but which cannot be adequately explained) don't prevent my circuit from functioning. He translated a philosophical question "what is really going on" into an engineering question, given that with a high enough frequency, and enough current, quantum phenomena will render my circuit useless, so how can I design around it.

So what? Your assertion is a variation of the tiger repellent rock. It's very hard to prove something would have happened anyway. That requires a control group. We don't have that luxury.

Nope, wrong again. What I am saying has nothing to do with me confusing correlation with causation, one might argue that language causes such confusion and I might cede such, but I am not really interested in causation, rather that such happened. You my friend are the one who has argued over and over again that "something would have happened anyway", not me. My point is actually rather simple: the technological advances that did occur in the wake of Apollo program, would not have happened without the Apollo project. Now before you scream at the screen: "but that's confusing correlation with causation, that's my point!", hold on and take a deep breath. I am not saying the Apollo program caused all of those technological advances, or any single one of them in particular(although I imagine the Apollo program did directly "cause", I would rather say occasioned, some specific technological advances.) What I have been saying all along is that without the incredible sums of money invested in R&D by US taxpayers in the name of the Apollo program these(which? the ones which you believe I have falsely attributed to the Apollo program) technological advances would not have occurred.

How can I know that? Well partly because the word "advances" already implies causation by seeing one thing as something which follows on the heals of something else, that is literally what the word "advance" means, so an advancement in a given technology, means a logical progression from that which came earlier to that which came later. But also partly because technological advances are not random, they are directed and this direction is usually, but not always, one in which that which is good for one specific thing is rendered better by becoming more generic, hence good for more specific things. Let me give you an example. I can make a circuit out of vacuum tubes, I can also make one out of transistors, I can even make one out integrated circuits. Yet know one in the world ever developed transistors prior to vacuum tubes, or integrated circuits prior to transistors. One represents and advancement over the previous one. This is not happenstance. Now does this mean that vacuum tubes caused transistors to be developed? nope. However every single technological advancement ever made implies causation, otherwise we would simply call such technological change. I don't have to confuse correlation with causation, causation already implies correlation, even though we obscure "something being related with something else" by sticking an extra "r" in correlation, which is btw syntactically absurd, as if the ordering of things was utterly external(ie. un-related) to the things being ordered. Lots of things that can happen, simply don't, ever, however one would be challenged to name one(according to Parmenides, one shouldn't speak of that which isn't, otherwise one can't distinguish between that which is true and that which is false, ie. we tend not to name things that didn't happen, ever, which is not quite the same thing as never happened).

So to recap: too many butterflies, as Hiro Nakamura would say, and did say in http://www.nbc.com/heroes-rebo..., and one really shouldn't kill any butterflies.

The Apollo program did not cause much in and of itself, beyond you know rather insignificant things like man setting foot on the moon. But the inspiration and mass mobilization of millions of people, and the tremendous sums of money which flooded R&D in countless technologies occasioned a metric shitload of technological advancement which you and I are using right now to communicate with one another. Like monitors, mice, ram, integrated circuits, satellite communications (internet), microcomputers, hard-drives, etc(each of which were created in the time frame around the Apollo project, give or take a couple of years, most of which were created by corporations which had government funding, I know, I know just random stuff). A more nuanced understanding of causation understands that had I not slept with her(Mary), Tommy (you know the 6 year old red head) wouldn't be, I might have had a kid with Jill, but it could not have been Tommy. Without the Apollo program a lot technological advances that could have happened, simply would not have, ever, and any that did would have been different if for no other reason than due to a different chronological ordering. But yeah, you might just come back with "So what? same difference", and our little tete-a-tete would come to and end, neither of us the wiser.

Comment Re:Um, it's pretty much over, dude (Score 1) 99

Not at all. The peak spending was a few years later (1966, if I recall), and it was around 2% of GDP. And that $150-200 billion is in current 2015 dollars rather than 1961 dollars (somewhere around $19-24 billion by CPI inflation which is near the GDP deflator-based inflation rate).

And you got this little factoid from where? My guess is that such a figure is a calculated by taking the sum of appropriations earmarked by congress for NASA during the 1960's. My problem with this kind of economics 101 is that it totally misses what happened. And what happened is this: millions of high paying skilled jobs were created, millions got free(government funded) higher education, thousands of companies were created. This mass mobilization led to an incredible pace of technological advancement. Now was all of this specifically dedicated to the Apollo program, of course not, the "need" to murder millions of Vietnamese(thanks cold war, thanks capitalism vs. communism) also propelled military technologies, just as the need to crack WWII german encryption, and the need for calculations related to the making the first atomic bomb propelled the development of the first computers. Most of the high tech companies which came into existence during this time developed technologies which ended up being used by NASA and the military, and only much later general commercial markets(ie. consumer oriented technologies). Boeing engineers when building their rockets, were not divided between two groups one for NASA and one for the defense department, advances in one led to advances in the other.

If you are a bit attentive you will probably notice that I am ascribing the same radical contingency to the Apollo program that I ascribe to technological advancement in general. Why? Because they are both human endeavors. And if you had ever spent anytime trying to inspire and mobilize people towards common goals you would understand why I insist on radical contingency. When you grasp how much failure is inherent in any mutual aspiration, you begin to appreciate, god forbid even discover wonder, when confronted with success. To pretend that such is inevitable is to take for granted that which is never simply given. And i haven't even begun to delve into how radical this contingency is, we are skimming along the surface, the ride is ever more fascinating the deeper you dig. This contingency, of which I now speak, is that of things in and of themselves,with which we struggled to yield the technological advances which actually occurred. Technological advancement is not merely a question of money or man power, but rather will the right material yield the right results, having been experimented with in the right way, with measuring tools that happen to measure the right characteristics which ultimately matter. A million monkeys will never produce Shakespeare by randomly hitting keyboards. How many times did the precursor to penicillin get washed away due to it being a mess and smelling before someone figured out that there was a whole world of antibiotics and the medical possibilities which that opened? The right person, with the right knowledge, in the right place at the right time. Now contemplate this applying to everything that exists. The world does indeed yield when we work together, rendering the impossible possible and the consequences of the world yielding has everything to do with the spirit in which we endeavor.

On what planet do you live? In the real world technological advances are not deterministically inevitable, they are by their nature contingent, dependent on a myriad of factors happening to fall into place at the right time in the right way

This is based on the fallacy of improbability. There is not one particular set of "myriad factors" that results in a computer industry or fiberglass insulation any more than there is one particular set of "myriad factors" that results in a car with a license plate in a parking space.

Wrong. First off their is no "fallacy of improbability" at work in what I stated. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/I... has nothing to do with what I stated.

In the real world technological advances are not deterministically inevitable, they are by their nature contingent, dependent on a myriad of factors happening to fall into place at the right time in the right way

From the web page you cited:

That a particular specified event or coincidence will occur is very unlikely. That some astonishing unspecified events will occur is certain. That is why remarkable coincidences are noted in hindsight, not predicted with foresight.

I guess this is how rationalists deal with teleological illusions, or more succinctly the ideation of identity. That one sentence is so rich it probably deserves a book or two, but I will suffice with a couple points.

a) nothing is noted in foresight

b) coincidences only exist in hindsight

c) remarkable/astonishing are past/present tense reactions and are irrelevant in regards to that which is not yet.

Now having removed the nonsense, to rephrase this:

That something will occur is very unlikely. That something will occur is certain.

So on the basis of this wannabe paradox, any appreciation of the difference between that which might, ought, could, should, may happen or not happen and that which incontrovertibly did occur is wiped out, and foresight is the same as hindsight. Wow. Thats cool. Did you catch point where I said :

Counter arguing that someone, somewhere else would have done it eventually is simply sophomoric.

Why did I use the word sophmoric? Because you cannot make such an argument convincingly. When dealing with that which is the case the onus is upon he/she who would argue otherwise to prove their point. That which must, might, ought, could, should, may happen or not happen(think modal verbs) always loses against that which did occur. I know it's not fair, I feel your pain, but speculation is no substitute for knowledge. Ask yourself this: If I had fucked that one woman, as opposed to the other one who I did fuck, would my son, whose name is Robert, still be? I hate to be so crass but it is that simple. That anything ever occurs is significant. Speculation always pales when compared to existence.

The other error with your assertions to this point is your complete ignorance of opportunity cost. Even if all we ever wanted to do was put people on the Moon, we could have put a lot more people on the Moon for $150-200 billion than we actually did. We could also still be using that infrastructure now (rather than just a few mirrors on the Moon!), if someone had bothered to plan something more sustainable and useful than the Saturn V or the follow on Space Shuttle (which over its lifespan has sunk a similar amount of money to the Apollo program). You see the paltry benefits, but you don't see the costs. $150-200 billion is a lot of cost.

I certainly won't argue that point. Just to put the record straight, the only value any space program has to me, personally, is measured in terms of that program's ability to inspire and mobilize large numbers of people working towards a common goal. Which is why in my estimation Elon Musk etc. are interesting but ineffectual. And frankly without such large scale inspiration and mobilization I am not sure what a space program is supposed to mean to me, other than the pretty pictures. I do not work in the aerospace industry, hence the only benefit I gain from such is tertiary technological advances, most of which I probably won't be aware of. However inspiring and mobilizing masses towards common goals, when not directed at annihilation of others, or self-annihilation, does indeed fascinate me. I guess I am not a space nutter, nor a science nutter, traveling through space(planets, stars, etc.), and the knowledge thereof, have no inherent value in my eyes. And frankly I am no longer convinced that any expenditure on NASA or such is warranted. If we would allow ourselves to dream, to launch gigantic programs, for no reason other than that we can, I would be the first in line, but name me one concrete specific thing like a moonbase or such and I quickly find myself asking what is the point.

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