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Comment Re:Hey... (Score 2, Insightful) 392

Those examples are from 40 and 25 years ago, and I'd argue that spending this much on security theatre hardly makes anyone that much safer. There's still plenty of unprotected infrastructure and crowded public places out there waiting to be 'terrorized'. Maybe the spending could be considered justified since it'll likely ensure that important world leaders survive, but the reality of terrorism is that you don't have to deal the assassination-blow to the highest value targets to be effective.

Imagine how bad it would look if, despite spending this much, the leaders, safe in their well-secured citadel, looked out to see a bomb go off on the other side of the city. Tragic deaths aside, it'd be a public relations (and likely diplomatic) disaster for the hosts. The very nature of terrorism allows the terrorist to get attention and grief their enemies regardless of the level of security measures applied. It's not possible to lock down the entire universe. If one place is well defended, attack somewhere else. Guerilla warfare 101.

Comment Re:Total self-discreditation, Larry (Score 1) 267

I read those comments too and am very disappointed at my compatriots for some of them. You're right about the witchhunt. In my other comment here I felt the need to include a token anti-child-porn remark precisely to redirect the witchhunt elsewhere. I shouldn't have had to. I wasn't playing devil's advocate for child porn, but by defending anything that's even remotely juxtaposed with that topic is a dangerous game because far too many people jump to conclusions. "Why do you want molesters and paedophiles to roam free? Are you one of them? You're either with us or against us!" A false dichotomy.

Comment Re:Total self-discreditation, Larry (Score 1) 267

I am astonished and outraged at the story you linked about words on a page. I had heard about the drawing one before on /.. I am extremely disappointed with people who can't see that these cases are tantamount to convictions for thoughtcrime. There weren't any real victims. Granted, I don't condone the behaviour of these guys, but that does not give us the right to punish them for an idea. You cannot equate an idea that is not acted upon to a crime. It does not matter what the idea is. I am ashamed that this happened in my country.

From the linked article: "He must also provide a DNA sample for inclusion in a national criminal database and register as a sex offender for 20 years." For reading a book. Or technically just for possessing the book. I realize that this guy had a previous charge for possessing real (presumably) child porn, but that is irrelevant in assessing the criminality of the more recent conviction for possessing the stories. If a writer creates a story in which someone commits murder, is the writer (and their readership) just as good as a murderer? Of course not, and for some reason we have no problem accepting this kind of literature. In fact, it's commonplace. As soon as the topic of the fiction shifts to something uncomfortable and verging on taboo to even mention, it's as if our brains turn off and we can no longer see the situation for what it is.

That takes care of comparing fiction to fiction with different topics. To further illustrate the point, let's now consider fiction to nonfiction with a similar topic. If the author this time describes a historical event that involved the rape of children, for example (a best seller nonetheless), are they just as good as child rapists? Once again the answer is obviously no. The works of fiction may have different intents than the factual account, but it is irrelevant. What matters is that they are all words on a page and that should not constitute a crime.

Comment Re:Democracy needs smart people (Score 1) 1138

I'm a civil engineer you insensitive clod! I have no idea why you singled out that profession as an example, but I laughed. Fortunately, I too see myself as a renaissance man, with a wide variety of interests and a passion for learning in general. Unfortunately, this can be a hindrance because it delays my progress in developing technical skills in this field. While I "waste" countless hours delving into philosophy and history, for example, I watch as my peers advance their careers and net worth, leaving me "behind". I like to envision a future in which my hard work at becoming a generalist pays off. As others have pointed out in this thread, it can be downright difficult to get a job when employers place such emphasis on your academic credentials and years of experience doing x, where x is the specific task they want you, a specialist, for. I sacrifice the opportunity to specialize and thus make myself more attractive to these employers by being a generalist.

With only a resume/CV or even an interview it's difficult to convey that you're really worth it with your broader knowledge base. For a lot of jobs I'm probably not worth it for the employer if all they want is a specialist-drone who won't rock the status quo with any radical ideas. Right now I'm hoping some cronyism works out for me to get started and gain some relevant experience, because all that philosophy and history sure isn't helping me get a job right now.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that the indeterminate skill set of the renaissance man, or the more politically correct renaissance person, makes them suited for work as administrators, managers, politicians, and military commanders. Maybe if I rack up 40 years of experience I can be an admiral, but it sure feels difficult starting as a graduate with nearly zero. Culture of entitlement taught me that Cadet Kirk gets to be Captain after saving Earth in Star Trek XI; I can't help but be a little disappointed! Sarcasm aside, I agree that being a specialist is boring for an entire career.

Comment Re:if 'twere permanent... (Score 1) 599

I wasn't thinking of this when I posted earlier, but I can relate to that. I had to prove ancestry to get Metis status. It turns out I'm the last generation eligible for status (unless I had kids with someone who has more recent native ancestry); I am detached from my full-blood native ancestors by six generations.

In practice I hardly identify with this group at all, except in principle to defend the native position whenever I catch someone making unfair and disparaging comments about them. It's interesting that a slight against a group I am only technically a part of evokes such a response, even though the group would probably view me as an outsider. I suppose there really is an intrinsic drive for humans to protect and propagate their own kin. It may be multigenerational racism, but it's natural, so we can hardly allow ourselves to get caught up on that fact.

Comment Re:if 'twere permanent... (Score 1) 599

After further thought on the matter, I will concede a counterexample. If an adopted child's genetics cause them to be sufficiently physically different to be deemed a visible minority in the culture they are raised in, then there will be separation between the child and the ethnicity. The two won't fully identify with each other. It may not seem like a noble trait of humanity, but we associate more closely with things that are as much alike us as possible, even when the differences are superficial. It's sort of an innate racism.

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