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Comment NPD (Score 1) 1

He has NPD. Look it up. Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It's in the DSM-V. Several mental health professionals have publicly said this and one has even talked about keeping videos of him because he's such a textbook case.

Doesn't take much research or following the newsfeeds to have seen this.

Comment Re:Tripping the Light Fantastic (Score 1) 102


Interesting. Having been ballroom dancing for years, I have not found the culture to be at all as described. Sometimes people have perceptions of one group or another that comes nowhere near close to the reality of the situation because they rely on stereotypes rather than getting to know those in that group.

Submission + - Guy Invents Safe Ocean Travel and is Snubbed for the Effort ( 5

szczys writes: Here's an interesting fact: when at sea you can't establish your longitude without a reliable clock. You can figure out latitude with a sextant, but not longitude. Early clocks used pendulums that don't work on a rocking boat. So in the 1700's the British government offered up £20,000 for a reliable clock that would work at sea. John Harrison designed a really accurate ocean-worthy clock after 31 years of effort and was snubbed for the prize which would be £2.8 Million at today's value. After fighting for the payout for another 36 years he did finally get it at the ripe old age of 80. The methods he used to build this maritime chronometer were core to every wrist and pocket watch through the first third of the 20th Century.

Comment Re:really... (Score 1) 622

I come from an LDS family, so I grew up with a set of traditions surrounding Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. There are numerous Mormon sects, each with their own traditions, and not all of them in agreement with the others. In the mainstream LDS group, people generally thought that Joseph had something called the "urim and thummim," which was a kind of loupe or spectacles that the prophet would gaze through in order to divine the writing on the gold plates. He would read along in this manner, dictating to his scribe. The urim and thummim is based in old Testament lore, and Joseph claimed to have found one of these divining objects along with the gold plates, an armor breastplate, and a sword, all buried together in the Cumorah hill.

Smith got through 116 pages of manuscript and then loaned these out to a friend so that the friend could show the work to some interested parties. These 116 pages were subsequently lost, at which time Joseph Smith said that a divine messenger came to retrieve the gold plates along with the urim and thummim. The story goes that, after some time passed, Joseph again found favor with God and was reinstated as translator, only this time without the aid of the urim and thummin. Instead, Smith used his seer stone.

Whether or not this is a reasonable explanation for a religious text, it is not inconsistent with the American frontier folk magic of the early nineteenth century. Growing up with these traditions, most Latter-Day Saints have no problem with them. Because many of them didn't know about the seer stone until very recently (the church published some photos, which you can probably find online), it is a challenge for them to believe that translation via seer-stone is a "reasonable explanation," as you say. It doesn't exactly square with the urim and thummim version of the story that they had originally. I'm sure this is all absurd nonsense to most outsiders, although the LDS church is maintaining its congregation and perhaps even growing it slightly, in spite of whatever perceived absurdity exists within its history. Mormons are by no means particularly stupid or credulous, and generally the church doesn't bank on its history when looking for converts.

Reasonable or not, I find Mormon history quite fascinating. Well, that is, up until these recent times in which we now find the largest sect of Mormonism little more than a gigantic corporate franchise. Speaking of America, Eric Hoffer once said that "what starts out here as a mass movement ends up as a racket, a cult, or a corporation." Indeed. Nevertheless, you'll find the Mormons to be an excellent lot in spite of their sappy, corporate church.

Comment Re:really... (Score 2) 622

The LDS claim is that their scripture was translated from an ancient record, written by men, found buried in a hill in rural New York by Joseph smith. Although not a part of the official history taught in Sunday school, Mormons now also affirm that Joseph Smith did not even look at the plates while translating them. Like the later "Abrahamic" papyrus, the plates seemed to be little more than a prop to provide, perhaps, some form of inspiration. In fact, Joseph Smith received his "translation" through a seer stone which he placed in his hat. He used that same stone to search for buried treasure, something it did not find very well.

Comment Re:really... (Score 1) 622

You're probably thinking about a book entitled "The Late War between the United States and Great Britain," by Gilbert J. Hunt. It's a little history of the war of 1812 written in the style of the King James bible. In terms of content, it isn't that similar to the Book of Mormon, but it contains many of the same features of style, including alleged "Hebraisms" that LDS apologists claim are proof of the Book of Mormon's ancient sourcing. When some authors in the early 19th century wished to summon a certain kind of authority, they would invoke a "biblical" style. This style helped them to muster the sense of holiness or truth that they wished to convey to the audience.

Comment Re: 23 down, 77 to go (Score 1) 866

Religion causes wars and suffering because it engenders certainty in people about what constitutes "good" and "bad" (laws, morals, whatever). Of course, there is no objective measure for good and bad, but deluded people think they have good reasons for their prejudices and begin to see others as idiots that should be treated like second class citizens.

Your comment is therefore deeply ironic. You've written yourself right into the class of people you hate and demonstrated Eric Hoffer's aphorism-- that although ours is a godless world, it is anything but irreligious.

Comment Re:First amendment? (Score 1) 250

Yes, that's true. I didn't want to go into all the detail, but what is ironic is that one of the major points of the article (that it was radiation pressure from the A-Bomb that triggered the H-Bomb) was wrong and if the DoE had let it go, that would have been released as misinformation and nobody would have known. But since the DoE did get involved, that eventually led to the correct information being revealed.

I'm still astounded the editors actually sent the article to the DoE to get approval or verification.

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