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Comment Re:Marriage (Score 4, Insightful) 268

Right, because treating same sex couples equally under the law--that is to say, not kicking them out of the ambulance; not having their homophobic relatives contest their wills and leave their widows and widowers nothing--somehow instantaneously nullifies and "fucks up" your heterosexual marriage, your rights, your recognized status under the law.

Are those rights now DENIED to you simply because they are recognized for same sex couples? You still don't understand. Your so-called "right" to be a pompous, bigoted asshole; your right to treat a group of people as inferior under the law, is not a right. The only thing that gets fucked up here is that you don't get to take out your prejudices against gays and lesbians and call that your "religious freedom."

This idea of needing to "protect heterosexual marriage" because it is somehow "threatened" by men marrying men, and women marrying women, is really a statement to the effect that straights regard their own marital bonds to be so fragile, so tenuous, that they need the security of denying other people their rights, to say to other people how THEY should be recognized when that has no bearing on their own status in society. How pathetic for you that you feel that way.

Comment Re:And this is how fascism starts (Score 2) 406

Separately, I would like to also address the theological claims you imply about Islam. Given my previous responses, you might be surprised to read that to a large extent, I concur with your assessment that Islam is not a peaceful religion. The proof is in the Koran and the Hadith. As a number of prominent scholars (Sam Harris comes to mind) have pointed out, and what we can actually witness in reality if one chooses to do so, is that, in Islam, the penalty for apostasy is death. In short, any Muslim who renounces his or her faith must be killed for that betrayal, according to Islam. And this is obviously completely morally unacceptable.

I have little patience for anyone, Muslim or otherwise, who professes that this is not "real Islam," or that it is "taken out of context," or that Muslims "don't actually kill apostates." Such statements are willful deceptions and an attempt to hide or ignore the true state of affairs.

It is ironic, then, that it is so often those who profess to be "liberal" that rush so eagerly to defend Islam as the right of its believers to follow, when Islam as it is practiced in the vast majority of the world regularly brutalizes women and sexual minorities, not to mention the vicious sectarianism that has driven the entire Syrian civil war. Apologists of the faith conveniently ignore the fundamental reality that Islamic doctrine is, at its fundamental core, corrupted by a violent ideology for the reason I have provided above, and that if Muslims worldwide really wish to have their faith respected and accepted for being peace-loving as they claim, then they will need to do work to reform their religion. Not to make any claims about Christianity being more mature, but they had their Reformation. Islam has yet to figure out that a faith that threatens its adherents with death if they dare to question it, is a very juvenile and insecure way to believe in a God, if you're going to believe in one at all.

Comment Re:And this is how fascism starts (Score 1) 406

You conflate behavior with mindset. They are not the same. Thinking about committing a crime is not, in itself, a crime. If, however, one takes concrete actions with the purpose of committing a crime...that's is when ideation becomes action. If a state decides to criminalize thoughts--no matter how odious or offensive they may be--how would they propose to enact such policies?

Again, this comes down to the point I made earlier. If the goal is to stop terrorism, then the solution is to make their cause unappealing, not to try to catch them in the act, because the latter is impossible unless you turn the nation into a totalitarian police state. To the vast majority of people, the ideology espoused by ISIS is reprehensible. But what do you think will happen once you start criminalizing Muslims left and right? History has shown time and time again, that ostracizing the ideologically vulnerable only produces more resentment and hatred, and this is exactly what pushes them to join the ranks of the terrorists.

Gingrich's proposal, like that of many Republicans, stems from a paternalistic and simplistic ideology: that there is always a "right way" and "wrong way," that morality is quantifiable and absolute, that there is a single simple solution that could be enacted that would solve everyone else's problems. That's a big reason why Donald Trump is so appealing to many Americans: he makes some bold, sweeping, simple claim--irrespective of whether it is true or realistic--and says that this is THE solution to everyone's woes. And that is exactly what ignorant and scared people want to hear--they want to hear that someone is going to come along with all the answers and fix everything. That's why so many voted for Brexit, too: politicians promised it was the fix. Now, many who voted to leave the EU are waking up to the reality that life is not so simple.

Comment And this is how fascism starts (Score 5, Insightful) 406

How easily the lessons of history are lost upon the ignorant. When you threaten to imprison people for:

1. Having certain thoughts
2. Belonging to a specific ethnic, religious, or social group
3. Viewing, possessing, or accessing information

This is exactly the sort of thing that leads to totalitarianism and genocide. That is not to say that the dissemination of certain ideas are not dangerous (e.g. incitement to mass murder), or that certain forms of information/content should not be illegal to possess or distribute (e.g., child pornography). Yes, ISIS materials and websites that promote terrorism are awful, but merely *accessing* these, in of themselves, should not and cannot be regarded as criminal, since you would not only criminalize their supporters and sympathizers, but you'd criminalize anyone attempting to investigate them for the purposes of covert surveillance or academic research.

Terrorism, by its nature, is not the incitement of terror in a society for its own sake; no. Terrorism is a strategy by which individuals seek to overthrow a state by attacking its civilians; who, in their fear, appeal to the state to protect them through ever-increasingly draconian policies, such as those proposed by Mr. Gingrich. The state, whose interests are not to protect the people but to consolidate power and wealth into its own hands, makes the deliberate choice to restrict freedoms, until the people become so oppressed that they overthrow the government. This is how terrorism wins.

If the world wants to defeat ISIS and the like, the solution is to prevent their ideas from having any appeal. By threatening the same people that ISIS is trying to attract, all in the name of "national security," those who run the government are sending a very clear signal to anyone with a brain that in fact, they are not interested in stopping terrorism, but are all too happy to leverage fear as a way to gain power.

Comment WTF Apple (Score 4, Insightful) 249

I've got a Mac and an iPhone, and although I would say I tend to favor Apple products, I would not call myself a fan.

I just heard about this "rich links" feature in Messages where links to images or video will display in a preview attached to the link. My immediate reaction was one of revulsion and disbelief. That kind of "feature" is a security nightmare and there better be a way to disable it or else I am NOT going to upgrade. Whoever thought this was a good idea is a fucking idiot. Your phone should NEVER pre-emptively download the content of a hyperlink that someone else sends you. I don't care if it's a trusted site or not.

Comment Re:23/24 improved. Number 24 died. (Score 1) 74

Stopping disease progression in MS does not automatically mean that a patient regains some amount of functioning that was lost to the disease. It simply means that the disease does not get worse, not that the patient is healed of the damage. Some cases of MS do not have acute phases with subsequent remission at all; and of those that do exhibit remission, sometimes it is not complete.

Therefore, one should not expect those percentages to add, since some patients would be counted in multiple categories.

Comment This is just so much crap. (Score 5, Insightful) 168

Sorry, but "elevating the debate?" NOTHING has changed. The NSA is still illegally conducting mass surveillance on innocent American citizens. There has been ZERO accountability for the NSA and CIA's blatant and PROVEN lies to Congress under oath. There has been no systemic reform nor even the slightest attempt to adhere to Constitutional principles.

And all this while the US government is still seeking to blame Snowden for endangering national security, haul him back to the US and put him on trial? Should we feel comforted by the statements of a FORMER US Attorney General who has no actual power, just because he says that a judge would consider the ends of Snowden's actions when punishing him for the means by which those ends were achieved--mind you, never once actually admitting that such disclosures would NEVER have come to light by any other way? So we are now to believe Eric Holder's facetious claims of leniency, when NOT ONCE has he said anything to the effect of needing to investigate the NSA for breaking the law and for lying to Congress?

Fuck you and the high horse you rode in on. This is why we can't trust the government. This is why nobody with a brain believes you for a second, because we KNOW what happened in the past and we are not so stupid as to forget actual concrete outcomes. The harassment of past NSA whistleblowers, ruining their ability to work in anything but the most menial jobs for having dared to expose the corruption of those higher up; the incarceration and inhumane treatment of Chelsea Manning for her involvement in Wikileaks' exposing the indiscriminate behavior of the American military; and the complete arrogance of the FBI in attempting to force Apple to write source code to circumvent iOS encryption that would allow them to access all data on any iPhone--these are just a FEW of the demonstrably true actions on the part of the government that show that they cannot be trusted and are hopelessly corrupt in their thirst for power.

Snowden was correct to expose the NSA. However, he was wrong to believe that his actions could have possibly shamed the US government and it citizens into holding it accountable.

Comment People seem to have forgotten (Score 3, Interesting) 91

Originally, when Apple planned to renovate the Union Square retail location, they intended to remove the fountain that was on the property. Regardless of the aesthetic/cultural value of that fountain (personally, I think it's kind of an eyesore but I absolutely respect that others might not feel the same way), the public protested, and as a result, Apple changed their plan, and the fountain remains.

I think that says something about a corporation--even one as large and influential as Apple is--that they are willing to listen to the community. That they designed the store with the intent--whether or not it is realized--to integrate with the community, is something that I doubt many other major tech companies really care about. But in typical pessimist Slashdot "nothing is ever good enough and every action has some sinister and ulterior motive" fashion, people seem to always find some reason to complain.

Yes, it's a retail store. Yes, it's for Apple to make money. Yes, there was an environmental impact. No, Apple doesn't sell your beloved Android system. No, Apple isn't God, and they don't let their iPhones run anything you want. No, Apple doesn't do everything you want them to do exactly how you want them to do it and for free. No, the building is not some miracle of architecture designed to be perfect in every way, even if Apple hopes you might think so. Yes, Apple has their cult following.

Given all that, just take a deep breath, relax, and admit that it's a decent renovation, that there will be people who will enjoy the new store, and that Apple, unlike a lot of other companies and for whatever reason, at least tries to care about doing the right thing in this case. That is neither a case for sainthood nor demonization.

Comment Re:Stupid people punishing smart people (Score 4, Informative) 512

The essence of the problem is that when a government and media incite fear and paranoia in an undereducated society, and when the true prevalence of threats is already very low, all this does is magnify (in dramatic fashion) the incidence of false positives. And the government knows this, and exploits this, because they are able to leverage that fear to accumulate ever more draconian powers, until the government becomes a police state. The most efficient means of amassing power is to ensure the denial of knowledge to those who have less power than you.

You can't expect the average citizen to have an understanding of differential equations, but we should expect the average citizen to be able to reason logically rather than emotionally. But people don't because they have been manipulated into becoming fearful sheep, whose unthinking compliance is all but assured by stoking their xenophobia.

Sadly, this is not going to get better. Punishing the stupid for being stupid may be viscerally satisfying, but ultimately it will be ineffective, because the real reason for their stupidity has far more to do with the overwhelming control exerted by those entities that encourage such stupidity. Expecting the general public to police itself and shame each other ignores the fact that it is the government and the media, all controlled by wealthy elites (who, as you might note, don't need to fly in commercial aircraft), who are orchestrating this sort of behavior in order to ensure their grip on power.

Comment Re:Talk is cheap (Score 1) 113

I didn't mention Ivanpah because my point was to provide examples of mismanagement and corruption in San Diego politics. Has nothing to do with nuclear vs. solar. I'm open to considering any energy production method that isn't based on fossil fuels. Of course, these may have other environmental impacts, but the whole idea is to weigh those impacts against each other and the benefits.

Comment Re:Talk is cheap (Score 1) 113

You incorrectly presume that when someone is voted in to replace the incumbents, that they are immune to the corrupting influences of the political system. Do you really think that the mere threat of voting someone out of office, even if executed, is enough to deter politicians from being corrupt? You must have an incredibly idealistic and naive view of the way American government works.

Comment Re:Talk is cheap (Score 2) 113

Oh, and how could I have forgotten the San Onofre nuclear power plant? Edison/SDGE mismanages the plant, ignores documentation of design flaws, causes the plant to become unusable, and then the cost of decommissioning is passed on ratepayers, when this plant was supposed to continue providing energy for decades. Who fucked up the plant? The utilities. Why did they fuck it up? Greed. They didn't want to pay for the fix, and thought that the design flaws posed an acceptable risk. And who is paying for their negligence/fraud? We are. They gambled, we lost. And who is it that is allowing the ratepayers to be shafted...? The San Diego and California State politicians and regulators who "negotiated" this "deal" and is obstructing law enforcement and taxpayers from investigating the collusion that took place.

Comment Talk is cheap (Score 5, Insightful) 113

I live in San Diego and these plans are just the usual political bullshit. All talk and no substance. The city couldn't even pull together an actual centennial celebration of Balboa Park--millions of taxpayer dollars were spent and it all just disappeared into the hands of various marketing companies and consultant firms, and nothing ever materialized. Meanwhile, the park's buildings and infrastructure are crumbling. And this is just one example of gross political mismanagement. The whole SD Chargers debacle is another. Why are taxpayers asked to foot the bill to help build a new football stadium just to prevent a mediocre team from leaving?

Having previously lived in LA, San Diego politics makes Los Angeles look like a well-oiled machine. "Climate Action Plan" is just another euphemism for "taxpayers will somehow get shafted by the time this is all said and done." 2035 will roll around and people will have paid for smoke and mirrors, like they have done time and time again. People are willing to fund projects, but only if the costs come under the budget, and what is promised is what is delivered. But there's not mechanism in place to hold officials accountable should they fail to make good on their promises, just as is the case with the rest of the US government.

Comment Re:Questions (Score 5, Insightful) 56

To answer your last question, the primary reason why there are not more open access journals, and why the outrageous pricing of journals exists, is because of the issue of reputability.

The system of knowledge dissemination in academia, historically, has largely relied on peer review, but as the corpus of that knowledge has grown explosively, it has become increasingly challenging for individual researchers to quickly identify influential and important discoveries. Consequently, academics relied on journal editors to elevate the status of certain papers through the reputation of their journals. Getting published in Nature or Cell carries far more prestige than some "second-" or "third-tier" journal, and through this mechanism, companies like Elsevier realized they could use this as leverage.

In short, the pressure to publish in reputable and highly visible journals is what created the market opportunity for monopolists to extort huge sums of money from the academics who created this flawed and dysfunctional system. The publishers exploited this flaw, but it is the researchers and the institutions which employ them that largely created the flaw in the first place.

The move to an open-access model is not one that can be done in a short period of time, because it takes time for journals to develop the reputation that is the basis for their value. Elsevier knows this, and in response, they know they can't tighten the screws too much. But they are greedy bastards too. Sci-Hub threatens to topple their house of cards rather than letting them milk the system as long as they can until academics collectively wake up and decide that enough is enough.

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"It says he made us all to be just like him. So if we're dumb, then god is dumb, and maybe even a little ugly on the side." -- Frank Zappa