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Comment Re:Online uptake? (Score 1) 218

Pure logic also excludes physical observation without postulates. Morality can be taken as a postulate to any sound logical process, thus making the reasoner a moral being.

Not necessarily - you can quite easily observe morality and its effect on people and their reactions, and indeed take those into account in your analysis, all without actually subscribing to any particular moral set.
Certainly the illusion may be there - for example, a mentat to a highly moral (as considered by us) family sees a course of action that should be taken for the good of the family. Of course the mentat will make a plan than will involve a set of moral actions, simply because logic dictates that the family is more likely to take said course of action than if they found it objectionable!

This comes into the (as yet unresolved) difference of opinion between the Rationalists and Empiricists...


Comment Re:Online uptake? (Score 1) 218

"Nice" is different from "good", especially in heroic stories.

You're right, and generally speaking the label "nice" is applied to people whom we see as in agreement with our moral compass.
So in the spectrum of human experience, there is plenty of room for psychopaths (who are as a rule not "nice") to do "good".

Wah? I specifically remember Lady Jessica noting Piter as a "twisted Mentat" precisely because he'd been left with no moral conscience.

Mentats were trained to be "outsiders" and to deal entirely within the realm of pure logic. This excludes moral conscience, except as one of the many factors that affect human reactions.

I therefore assert that the "twisted" was more a description of his methods... certainly he was broken by mentat standards in that he had an emotional involvement (specifically taking joy in the suffering of others)

And I would counter that your range of moral understanding is unfortunately narrow.

As is your disappointing extrapolation of me and my moral understanding based on nothing more than a brief, light-hearted discussion on a public forum.


Comment Re:Online uptake? (Score 1) 218

I don't see why you call the Dune characters "nasty psychopaths". Sure, Baron Harkonnen is a nasty psychopath, and so are most of his family. But they're the villains. Who else in the book is a nasty psychopath?

Lets start with the "heroes" Paul, Alia, and Leto II who, let's be honest, weren't exactly nice neighbours...

This is a convenient definition from wiktionary: "A person who has no moral conscience"

By that definition every single mentat is a psychopath!

The Space Guild and the Bene Gesserit are borderline - they are more "differently conscienced".

Whilst I wouldn't say every character was a psychopath - the nature of the situation that these people find themselves in certainly pushes them in that direction.

Mike(y) - who IS a fan of the books

The Courts

Jack Thompson Walks Out On Hearing 522

Erik J writes "Apparently Jack had heard enough. The Florida Bar asked for an 'enhanced disbarment' in the disciplinary hearing of Jack Thompson, held earlier this afternoon. The recommendation means Thompson would be disbarred and prohibited from applying to practice law again for ten years, according to 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida spokesperson Eunice Sigler. Thompson's disciplinary hearing apparently ended in the attorney walking out of the courtroom after saying the judge did not have the authority to hear his case."

Object Defies Categorization As Planet or Star 119

Kligat writes "The COROT project of the French Space Agency has detected an object described as defying categorization as a planet, star, or brown dwarf. Although only 0.8 times the radius of Jupiter, it is over 20 times as massive, giving it a density twice that of the metal platinum. If it is a star, it would be the smallest of those ever discovered."

Submission + - What Bosses should know: software requirements

Esther Schindler writes: " asked developers to name the ONE thing that they wished the CIO understood about software requirements. The summary is several pages long, but it pulls no punches: from the role of requirements, to defining who creates the requirements (and in how much detail), to the need to shake the boss to get him to understand that requirements change, to paying attention to the process. It's all here, in Five Things CIOs Should Know About Software Requirements, with a few dozen developer's voices loud and clear. For instance, one developer comments, "The CIO has to realize that if there is no bad news, there is something very wrong. Smiling people nodding 'Yes' in meetings is not a sign of great intelligence at work.""

Submission + - UK: Blair Dismisses Online Anti ID-Card Petition

Anonymous Coward writes: "Elected Dictator / Prime Minister Tony Blair has responded personally via e-mail to 28,000 online petitioners opposing the UK's planned identity card scheme, and has closed the online petition. The e-mail reads: "We live in a world in which people, money and information are more mobile than ever before. Terrorists and international criminal gangs increasingly exploit this to move undetected across borders and to disappear within countries. Terrorists routinely use multiple identities — up to 50 at a time." ..."ID cards which contain biometric recognition details and which are linked to a National Identity Register will make this much more difficult.""

Submission + - Pre-Installed Linux tops Dell customer requests

dhart writes: "Within only a few days of opening a new customer feedback website, Dell has discovered the feature most requested (by a wide margin!) as an option on all new Dell PCs: Pre-installed Linux. I believe they'll have a harder time now with the tired old mantra "there's no customer demand for Linux"."
The Courts

Couple Who Catch Cop Speeding Could Face Charges 876

a_nonamiss writes "A Georgia couple, apparently tired of people speeding past their house, installed a camera and radar gun on their property. After it was installed, they caught a police office going 17MPH over the posted limit. They brought this to the attention of the local police department, and are now being forced to appear in front of a judge to answer to charges of stalking."

Submission + - BBC launches Space Shuttle based on car

David Off writes: "Last summer BBC Television decided to launch a space shuttle shaped motorcar, the Reliant Robin, into very very low earth orbit! Now this may not be the X-prize but it is a very very cool hack that harks back to era of MIT's Tech Model Railroad Club. Now a shuttle launch costs hundreds of millions of dollars. The Beeb built a very convincing shuttle from the Robin, a main fuel tank and two SRBs in an industrial unit in Manchester. There was very little money but all the tea the team could manage to dring. The rockets develop 8.5 tonnes of thrust and this was the most powerful private launch in Europe to date. The Robin had to be stripped from 750kg to 250kg and avionics fitted for the flight back to earth. All doesn't quite go to plan as you can see in the 20 minute film which was broadcast yesterday. It would be nice to know more about the tech behind the launch, the film is thin on details."

Submission + - Outsourced call centre jobs returning to UK

fiannaFailMan writes: The BBC is reporting that more UK companies are reversing the call-centre outsourcing trend.

"Hello, it's my car." ''Your cat, sir?." "No, my hatchback." "Your bad back, sir?" "No my car, it's a hatchback." "Your cat has a bad back, sir?" "Arghhhhhh!" ...Just 4% of people have had a good experience when dealing with a call centre, according to a recent survey by YouGov. Over half of those asked said their biggest gripe was having to contact call centres outside the UK and more than a third admitted to shouting and swearing at agents because they got so frustrated.

Submission + - Anti-DRM Petition Response From Downing Street

An anonymous reader writes: Downing Street have released a statement in response to a petition on their website.
It states that all products with DRM should be labelled on how the product can be used or not used.

It is clear though that the needs and rights of consumers must also be carefully safeguarded. It is reasonable for consumers to be informed what is actually being offered for sale, for example, and how and where the purchaser will be able to use the product, and any restrictions applied.

It also references the Gowers Report [PDF warning] published December 2006 and the recommendations proposed in the report.

Recommendations include introducing a limited private copying exception by 2008 for format shifting for works published after the date that the law comes into effect. There should be no accompanying levies for consumers. Also making it easier for users to file notice of complaints procedures relating to Digital Rights Management tools by providing an accessible web interface on the Patent Office website by 2008 and that DTI should investigate the possibility of providing consumer guidance on DRM systems through a labelling convention without imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens

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