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Human Markup Language

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the <human>-</human> dept.

The Internet 224

emc3 writes: "This article at InternetNews says that OASIS, the XML interoperability consortium, has announced the formation of a committee to develop Human Markup Language, 'to promote a specification for conveying human characteristics through XML.' The idea is to codify psychological, emotive, cultural, and physical characteristics in a standardized way. They say that the most obvious application would be for describing phsyical characteristics and actions in virtual reality environments. Other real-world uses could include describing a patient's psychological state for medical records. The OASIS press release is here. No more :-/ for me. From now on, it's <smirk>!"

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224 comments

Take it, Tux! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2205132)

/| |\
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|/^\ /^\ \_/
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/ /| / /
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`### ### #### ####'=<|
`#\-'##### #####\._./
,##',##' /_ _\ "-"
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Important stuff:

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Re:Take it, Tux! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206786)

This is good one !

IHBT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206800)

ROTFL!!!

Re:IHBT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206911)

OMG! IJHBTFHGYEKJVNFFFHGIEUHGFY@#!$@!

LOL!!!1!1!!

You're going to Federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison!@@!!1

Cum guzzling suckslut! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206847)

damn that penguin!

Just another tool for Big Brother (1)

O (90420) | more than 12 years ago | (#2205771)

Great, now we can all be cataloged with a unique ID and all of those wonderful spy cams can have an even easier time keeping track of us. Why does it suck so much to be alive?

Re:Just another tool for Big Brother (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206769)

Intelligence is the capacity of our rational mind to consolidate and evaluate external stimuli by integrating sensory input with our memory and our programming.

Both the quality and the quantity of our memory banks and our central processing unit, our cerebrum, depend on the genetic material passed on to us by our ancestors. These essential components are part of the hardware of our brain and express themselves in the number and connectivity of our neurons. Secondarily to our genetic inheritance, our intelligence is affected by our prenatal development as well as our postnatal growth process: Our environment.

Both genetic and environmental factors have a bearing on the quality of the hardware of our brain and thus on our ability to compute accurately and successfully. Severe nutritional deprivation and the resulting deficiencies in brain tissue are well established as a cause of mental sub normality. It is interesting to note that such environmental influences can only result in a degradation of mental processes below the norm but they have never been established to be the cause of intelligence above the norm. This negative predominance is the result of entropy, the second law of thermodynamics, which stipulates that the inherent nature of all physical and physiological processes insists on a degradation of order and an increase in randomness. The Law of Entropy inherently demands that any energy-driven process must increase the randomness of its energy sources and is therefore predestined to diminish its efficiency. The same natural law also decrees that an engine will not randomly eliminate defects and increase its efficiency. In short: Nature makes it easier to reduce complexity than to enhance complexity. It is inherently easier to degrade brain tissue than to create more complex brain tissue.

The other major factor determining the level of our intelligence, our software programming, is also traceable to our genetic heritage: Our temperament, the measure of our emotions, is clearly genetically imposed on human beings; so are other predispositions ranging from alcoholism to schizophrenia, from musical genius to color- blindness and just about anything and everything that establishes the essence of being human.

Our rational mind, which is analogous to computer software, is our basic operating system and is biologically hardwired into our brain. Our brain, including hardware and software, is analogous to a computer, because computers have been designed using the human brain as a model. The particular method used by our brain to process information has been optimized by evolutionary processes over eons of time and can thus serve as the basic paradigm of computer technology: No information-processing method superior to the basic architecture of the human brain has offered itself to computer designers.

The quality of the output of our biological computer system, our brain, depends approximately 80% on inherited factors, our genes, and 20% on environmental conditions, software adaptations, which are integrated into the bio-electronic structure of our brain. The assumption is often made that the quality of the output of our brain is dependent on the quality of the input into the system but this is only partially correct. Our brain, both hardware and software, determines even the quality of the input available to the processing unit. The quality and structure of our brain determines what input will be allowed to penetrate and what input will be rejected before subjecting it to further evaluation and processing. The same analogy applies to the importance attached to the quality of our education and other environmental factors: It is our bio-electronic brain, our processing ability -- and not our environment -- that determines not only the quality of information input, but also the quality of items retained in memory and the quality of subsequent processing.

Our ability to integrate and process information is genetically imposed on us and is by far the most influential determinant of our ability to cope with changes in our environment: Our intelligence. We express the processing capacity of our intelligence by a unit of measurement called Intelligence Quotient, which represents the ratio of the measured level of intelligence over the physiological age of the subject being measured (and multiplied by 100). If we compile a large number of individual intelligence measurements (IQs), it is statistically inevitable that the graphic display of such results appears in the shape of a bell curve. The bell-curve represents a cross-section of the intellectual capacity of a population group. Whites of predominantly European ancestry, were originally the subjects of standardized intelligence tests. The mean achievement level of these tests was set at 100 and this arbitrary level represents the norm against which the intelligence of individuals and groups is measured.

At times, there have been conflicts regarding the assigned proportional importance of hereditary factors versus environmental factors in determining the level of intelligence displayed by individuals or population groups. From the 1960s to the 1980s, a trend developed among sociologists in the United States to attribute 80% or even 100% of measured intelligence to environmental determinants, with negligible ascription to heredity. This anomaly appears to have been the result of the political correctness demanded by some members of the non-scientific academic community. They were influenced by the Jeffersonian view of the supposedly egalitarian nature of all men as evidenced by his pronouncement that "all men are equal". However, this unrealistic view has been rejected and was never seriously validated by scientists in any country, except in such purportedly egalitarian societies like the United States and the Soviet Union. Parallel to the attitude of American politicians, a similar political trend persisted in the Soviet Union and was promulgated by the state-approved teachings of the Russian biologist Lysenko. The reasoning for the adoption of these erroneous and unscientific statements can be found in the communist doctrine that, similar to the Jeffersonian doctrine, would invest all people with inherently equal human qualities, including their capacity to engage in rational thought processes. This opinion coincided with the enforced equality of Soviet society and the political hypocrisy and demagoguery of Jefferson who pronounced the equality of all men but who, simultaneously, maintained many of such "equal" human beings in a state of enforced slavery. In either case, these unscientific, political pronouncements have been abandoned in Russia and were being phased out in the United States towards the end of the 20th century.

The reality and validity of IQ measurements lies in the fact that different people have different IQs, and that different population groups, races, or ethnic groups exhibit different statistical levels of intelligence as measured by standard IQ tests. Blacks consistently score 15% lower than Whites on standard I.Q. tests, even after adjusting for environmental exposures. This deviation occurs without regard to the geographical area of the world or the society where such I.Q. tests are administered. This indisputable fact compels the conclusion that the I. Q. of Blacks is innately lower than the I.Q. of Whites.

It is interesting to note that the Japanese population has a mean IQ level of 110, Mexicans (Mestizos) score in the low 90's. Indeed, it would be truly astounding if all people of the world had the same level of intelligence, because it might indicate that they where produced in the same mold and had identical genes. The graphical display of normal population statistics invariably produces bell-curved graphs with regard to human characteristics and it is difficult to conceive of a reason why this well established quality should not apply to human intelligence.

Intelligence levels of groups of people follow the laws of evolution and do not change rapidly. Significant change might occur over time spans measured in thousand or tens of thousands of years. However, in extraordinary circumstances evolution is dramatically accelerated by violent societal upheavals, resulting in the survival and subsequent propagation of those members of a population group who are best equipped to survive. Societal variations of IQs are, like all other permanent changes in human nature and basic behavior, solely attributable to the process of evolution.

It is illuminating to consider the two opposites of American societal IQ levels: African American Negroes as opposed to American Jewish society. Aside from environmentally unbiased IQ measurements, it is obvious that both groups have sorted themselves out into different occupational structures: Black Americans are predominantly found in occupations which require little intellectual acuity but a high level of physical prowess, such as manual labor or sports activities. The opposite holds true of the Jews who predominate in intellectual and artistic pursuits, which require a considerably higher level of intelligence than physical activities. It therefore does not come as a surprise that IQ levels for both groups as a whole are drastically divergent: The IQ level of American urban Blacks is in the 80-85 range whereas Jews consistently score in the 115-120 range. Since I.Q.s. do not exist in a vacuum but are broad predictors of financial success in life, the income levels of Blacks and Jews are similarly representative of their different intellectual capacity. Earnings of Jews are almost twice as high as the earnings of Blacks and are slightly ahead of the Japanese. It is not the dumb people who run this world; it is the smart people who run this world. Is not the dumb people who have the highest standard of living, it is the smart people, the people with the higher I.Q., who are affluent. Who can argue with this self-evident fact?

The explanation for this discrepancy in IQ levels becomes obvious when we refer to the source of all innate human faculties: The evolution of man over a million years, resulting in a variety of inborn traits reflecting survival characteristics demanded by different environments. Negroes developed in a benign tropical environment where sustenance was readily provided by nature and without substantial competitive pressures for natural resources. The lack of a need for higher intellectual accomplishments did not encourage the elimination of the intellectually disadvantaged from their society. After Negroes had been transferred as slaves to North America, slave owners further discouraged intellectual activities by slaves and placed higher value on the physical prowess of slaves. Black slaves bred and were bred for brawns rather than for brains because manual field labor provided no requirement or evolutional necessity for high levels of intelligence.

The reverse situation prevailed with regard to Jews. Their religious beliefs and shrewdness set them apart from most other population groups with whom they interacted. This separateness frequently placed them into the position of scapegoats and consequentially subjected them to pogroms. They were forced to live by their wits, not by their brawns. The harsh atmosphere of such persecutions favored and honed their intellectual ability to survive these constant onslaughts of malevolence and violence. After thousands of years of pogroms, the weaker and less adroit elements of Jewish societies gradually diminished in numbers. The remaining Jewish population groups attained a higher standard of living due to the constant rise in IQ levels required by their need to survive by their wits. This evolutionary process was the result of the survival of the more intelligent Jews, and was greatly accelerated by the extermination of Jews during World War II: Jews of innately higher intelligence, like Einstein and many of his professional colleagues, had a better chance of survival than intellectually less endowed Jews. This view must be statistical in nature. It does not imply that only bright Jews survived and that only dumb Jews perished: When faced with disaster which is largely beyond one's personal control or anticipation, even the best and the brightest can perish where a less intellectually capable person may survive. In any analysis of evolutionary characteristics, the emphasis must be placed on statistical and average results, rather than on individual abilities. In this statistical arena, results speak for themselves: The Jews have become a super-race.

Evolution has no moral connotations. It does not concern itself with the sufferings of individuals or even vast numbers of people. Evolution is the prerequisite of all life and follows only one path: The survival and the perpetuation of the fittest.

Another question pertaining to societal IQ levels deals with the fact that whole civilizations, which have bloomed into supreme artistic or scientific or intellectual supremacy, have subsequently subsided and have returned to the previous level of accomplishments common to the particular population group. The Greeks and the Romans serve admirably as an example in this category of societal intellectual turbulence. In all of these instances of temporary greatness, the supreme rise in accomplishments in a society was not commensurate with a genetically perpetuated intelligence structure. Instead, such excellence was the result of the accretion of artistic or scientific elements within a society due to the temporary confluence of environmental factors.

An analogy to this rare societal development can be found in nuclear explosions. As long as individual particles within a radioactive substance are distinct and fairly widely separated, they merely participate in ordinary chemical processes. However, if the same particles coalesce and interact intimately with each other, they first generate heat and then proceed to avalanche into a chain reaction that generates a disproportionate amount of energy and upheaval. At the apex of the Greek and Roman civilizations, an enormous confluence of artistic elements occurred which resulted in the explosive birth of architecture and art during the Age of Pericles and which culminated in the birth of Western Civilization. However, this unique societal event did not perpetuate itself because it did not involve a permanent, genetic change of the Greek population. This explosive intellectual development was merely the temporary manifestation of an artistic chain reaction resulting from the unique confluence of artistic and scientific minds within the city of Athens during this specific period. After Greek civilization had thus bloomed, after the conglomeration of great minds had faded and had lost critical mass, the history of Greece shows no repetition or continuation of this extraordinary period in the history of the Greek people.

The occurrence of such spontaneous creative pinnacles illustrates another formative aspect of human existence, which correlates to many similar physical and physiological processes: A new structure or organism can increase its complexity and will then exhibit drastically different qualities than the sum of its component parts. The same societal and intellectual chain reaction, which triggered the artistic explosion of Greek and Roman civilizations two thousand years ago, can be observed today in the technological supremacy of the American Society of the twentieth century. If society at large prospers, if it is not involved in self-destructive adventures such as wars or other dissipations of societal wealth, it may allow for the coagulation of large numbers of persons with artistic, intellectual or technological inclinations. The result can be a disproportionate blooming of the pertinent arenas of a society. Such compound factors represent the triggers for the astonishing growth of art and philosophy during the Golden Age of Greece, the vast cultural accomplishments of Rome during the era of the Pax Romana, the artistic dominance of Florence in the seventeenth century, and the supreme technological accomplishments that can be observed in the United Stated of America during the twentieth century. Such a temporary technological or artistic chain reaction can take place even during a period when the general intelligence level of a society is declining due to population shifts, such as the influx of large numbers of less intelligent persons, or due to the percentage increase of a less intelligent sector of a society due to the disproportional replication of members of such groups.

There exists an inevitable correlation between I.Q. and personal income. The measured I.Q. of a student is a statistically accurate predictor of his academic success. I.Q. is also a rather precise predictor for financial success. There is a direct and inevitable correlation between IQ and income: The higher the average IQ level of a group, the higher the statistical income level of the group. This relationship is self-evident because it requires only an IQ of 90 to be a truck driver but it requires an IQ of 120 to hold a college degree. It is beyond dispute that persons with a college degree have substantially higher lifetime earnings than truck drivers: The higher the IQ, the higher the earnings. This statement coincides with the saying: "Bright parents, bright child". It is not the dumb people of this world who run the world or earn high incomes, it is the high IQ people of this world who run the world and earn high incomes. The higher the IQ, the higher the exhibited rationality: i.e. the ability to see Objective Reality clearly and without blinders. This characteristic of a high IQ is the causative factor of the increased earning capacity of persons with a high IQ.

Since IQ determines the degree of rationality accessible to a person, and since any form of religion is inherently steeped in irrationality, it is not surprising that IQ also correlates to religious beliefs. Members of the general public with an IQ between 90 and 110 represent 90% of the population. The percentage of persons in American Society who believe in a god or gods is also 90%. Among scientist, who must be college graduates and must therefore be presumed to have an IQ above 120, 40% believe in gods and 60% are atheists. Only 10% of eminent scientists believe in supernatural beings, including pantheistic beings. In other words, more than 90% of eminent scientists are atheists. Atheism is directly proportional to a person's intelligence because all religions are an insult to rationality. The lower the IQ of a person, the more pervasive and primitive are the religious or mythical beliefs held by that person.

What are the lessons we can derive from this review of human intelligence? It is evident that evolution always favors higher degrees of specialization in order to deal more efficiently with a change in human environments. Evolution achieves specialization by encouraging higher degrees of complexity. Increased complexity, such as the increased complexity of the human cerebral complex from Homo Erectus to Homo Sapiens, enabled man to achieve higher levels of intelligence and thus to deal more successfully and predictably with the ultimate objective of all living organisms: To enhance pleasure (happiness) by the rational manipulation and elimination of adverse advents perceived as pain.

We can also benefit from the recognition that large segments of the population have different IQ levels and thus present diverging performance criteria. This knowledge allows us to be more efficient in allocating our resources to the task at hand, whatever it may be. It saves a great deal of time and effort if we know on a statistical basis, that a Jewish practitioner of medicine or law can be expected to have a higher level of performance than a Black practitioner who may have gone to the same school but may (or may not) have been advanced on the basis of "affirmative action" rather than on the merits of his intelligence and knowledge. This view may appear to some people as racial prejudice, which it is. If we stick our heads in the sand, adopt a politically correct stance and insult our intelligence by pretending that all men are equal, we fail to recognize the true attributes of objective reality and we will be unable to achieve success in whatever arena we are engaged in. If we desire to be efficient in our search for happiness we must "prejudge" a large number of events in our life. The term "racial prejudice" and "discrimination" has been assigned a negative moral connotation. Such moralistic attempt by demagogic politicians to manipulate people should not deter us from engaging in discrimination. Efficient people, successful people, people of discriminating taste will uniformly and expediently apply panoptic filtering criteria during any initial screening process. This discriminatory selection process is the reason why we prefer to buy products with established brand names: We know from experience that a particular brand can be presumed to be superior to an unknown brands or brands which have a reputation for substandard performance. It is inefficient to waste time by exploring the merits of all products that are available in a store. If we indiscriminately consider any and all potential choices that present themselves to our decision-making process, in the mistaken believe that all people (or all products) are equal in quality or performance, we impose on ourselves a high degree of inefficiency in the allocation of our limited resources, including our limited resources of time. It is imperative that we utilize discrimination in any preliminary selection process or we will inevitably reduce the likeliness of being successful in our endeavors, including our effort to achieve happiness.

The ability to discriminate is the ability to choose. The ability to choose is the essence of freedom. This posture coincides with Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" of the Free Market System. This economic non-structure has evolved as the supreme economic system because it is in compliance with the evolutionary nature of man and his emotional drives. All other economic systems have ended up in the dustbin of history.

Conclusion

If we desire to enhance our ability to achieve happiness, it behooves us to rely on our intelligence, our rational mind, to help us understand how happiness can be achieved. It is inefficient and unworthy of our intellect to hope that, somehow, we may bump into happiness just by aimlessly running around in circles. If we clearly understand the nature of happiness, we are making it possible for us to purposefully achieve happiness -- just as we have to use our intelligence and our acquired knowledge to find ore deposits and to mine them successfully. A clear understanding of the role of intelligence in our lives is an extremely important aspect of our knowledge how life really works and thus, in our search for success and happiness.

Re:Just another tool for Big Brother (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206774)

Commit suicide then jerk! How do you say asshole in HML?

Re:Just another tool for Big Brother (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206828)

asshole:

Re:Just another tool for Big Brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206925)

Great, now we can all be cataloged with a unique ID and all of those wonderful spy cams can have an even easier time keeping track of us. Why does it suck so much to be alive?

The reason it sucks so much for you to be alive may be that you are capable of (perhaps even inclined to) seeing faults in things. A "glass is half empty" type of person, if you will. Many if not most technical people are, for the ability to discover faults (mistakes, shortcomings, etc) is the key to engineering good fixes and new/better solutions.

I am such a person, and I would certainly agree, it does frequently suck to be alive. For so very many things are screwed up... there are so very many injustices in the world... and when you tend to quickly recognize and focus in on the faults you end up being overwhelmed by the surplus of negative things in life. Ignorance is bliss, as they say.

Even though HumanML could be put to many, many good uses and applied in ways which benefit us all, I too immediately thought of the ways in which it would be abused. In particular, how corporations would use it to describe profiled consumers and use it to more easily share consumer profiles with other companies. If you can't tell, I consider corporations to pose the greatest threat (practically speaking) to privacy on and off the net. Big brother may still be the most powerfull of the two, but little brother seems to be out there doing harm on a far more regular basis.

PENIS IN YOUR ASS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2205864)

All your Slashcode are belong to me.


Go ahead and censor me, michael. I'll post more!

I think you meant (4, Informative)

hey! (33014) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206725)

<smirk/>

Re:I think you meant (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206783)

The Supernatural: The arena of images and idols that do not exist in objective reality.

(08.40) A. RELIGION

(08.41) Gods and the Origins of Religion

All living organisms constantly compete for limited resources. Organisms that are even slightly better qualified then others in coping with their environment, have a better chance of surviving and thus replicating themselves and their genes. This is the essence of evolution. Evolution, in turn, is one of the three essential ingredients of life itself. Life on earth began with the process of evolution. Without evolution, there can be no life. (For the NASA definition of "Life", see Chapter 5)

The evolution of man conveyed to him superior traits that positioned him above other animals on the ladder of evolution. His primary battle for survival, comfort and prosperity involved the constant competition and conflict with his untamed environment, with nature. His existence was constantly threatened, not only by competing human beings, but also by adverse natural events such as floods, hurricanes, freezing, lack of water, cold climates, lightning and many other perils.

Man was able to adjust to some of the physical adversities, but he felt powerless to oppose many other events in nature that filled him with fear and awe. Thunder and lightning often turned out to be the precursor of more serious events such as rains, floods or hail, which he had no means of evading or avoiding. Thunder and lightning in the sky made him wonder if the cataclysmic events invoked by nature might actually be caused by unseen forces or beings that inhabited an invisible world in the sky.

It would be natural for primitive man to try to talk to and appeal to such superior beings in the sky in order to persuade them to help him. It seemed reasonable to assume that these powerful, superior beings, these "gods", were punishing human conduct for unknown reasons or merely for their pleasure or displeasure. From this viewpoint, it was only one short step further to try to appease these gods by appealing to them through verbal submission, by means of prayers, or by requests for their goodwill by offering sacrifices of men or beasts.

Sometimes these prayers and sacrifices seemed to bear fruit and sometimes they did not show any results whatsoever. Whenever these rituals seemed to be effective, they were continued. Due to his lack of knowledge it was difficult for primitive man to distinguish between cause and effect relationships, as opposed to miracles: He merely assumed that prayers were effective in appealing to the gods. Man attributed more influence to the power of prayer as the reason for the easing of a flood or thunderstorm, than the fact that a cold front had just passed through and was replaced with warm, dry air. Man had no insight in the processes of nature. He lacked knowledge, science and rationality.

Since prayers and sacrifices seemed to be effective at times, their lack of effectiveness at other times was ascribed to improper or insufficient prayers or sacrifices.

Such appeals to superior beings who could not be seen but who seemingly could be appeased by direct appeals, represent the birth of the "supernatural" and were the beginning of religious emotions in man: The feeling of fear and of awe, of submission to the gods and prayer.

These beginnings of religion can be traced to the prehistoric development of man between 500,000 and 100,000 years B.C.. It was during this long period of human evolution that religious emotions and motivations became hard-wired into the human brain and genes.

Right up to the modern age, there are three ingredients, which are essential to the survival and prosperity of all religions. No religion can survive for long without these elements although some religions are somewhat oblique in addressing them or disguising them:

1. There must be a belief in and fear of an omnipotent god who interacts with the believer: A personal god. The existence of such god or gods has never been established by objective evidence. On the contrary, all objective evidence contradicts the existence of any god. This is the stick that keeps believers in line with the wishes of the priesthood: God or the gods had created man. The gods can reward or punish man as they see fit.

2. Every religion must provide for a life after death. There has never been any objective evidence that there is any life after the physical death of man. All scientific and rational evidence points in the opposite direction and makes it ludicrous to presume the continuation of life after death. This is the carrot that is dangled in front of the believers, to assure their ongoing contributions to the religious institution and its priests. Of course, life after death is available only to those faithful believers who have lived (their first life) in compliance with the demands of their "faith": The demands of their gods as communicated by the priesthood.

3. All religions involve rituals and dogmas and always provide a rigid moral code of conduct in accordance with the wishes of the priesthood or the hierarchy of the church. This is the glue that binds religious people to their particular religion.

During subsequent periods of human evolution, from hominoids to Neanderthal man to Cro-Magnon man, these primitive forms of religion became increasingly firmly imbedded into human beings and their genes and remain one of the most pervasive and powerful motivators of man to this day. Religion provides the illusion of security and comfort in this life, the promise of a life after death, and the illusion of control over adverse natural events. What more can man ask for?

(08.42) Life after Death:

The survival instinct is deeply imbedded in the genes of all living organisms. It attempts to assure the physical survival of the individual under all circumstances and at all costs. The survival drive is so strong and so powerful that it will even try to provide for man's survival after his death. This feat, however, is not easily accomplished because it flies in the face of everything that is known about death: Death is the cessation of life -- by definition. When a person dies, the human body decomposes and reverts to its inanimate, molecular constituents.

This difficulty was overcome by the invention of a nebulous concept, called the "soul": An ethereal substance that is supposedly a part of our body, but has no substance and continues on to a higher plane of existence after our death. Nobody has the slightest idea what the soul is, where it is located, where all these souls go and what they do -- nobody has ever come back from the land of the dead or the repository of the souls.

After the illusion had been established by witch-doctors and shamans, that gods had control over life and death, it required only a brief leap of the imagination to extend their power to the ability to grant a life beyond physical death: An "afterlife" seemed plausible and appeared highly desirable. After all, nobody wants to face death; nobody likes to face a state of nonexistence after his physical death. It is much more palatable to think of death as the beginning of a new life in which the essential part of our organism will continue on to a new and improved phase of existence.

Since nobody has ever returned from an existence after death, it was easy and natural to construct the belief of a more pleasant life after the short and miserable existence that humans had to endure. It is understandable that the concept of a wondrous life after death, a heaven, became very popular and hard-wired itself into our human emotional behavior patterns because it actually entailed hidden benefits for physical survival. (See: 08.43 "General Observations on Religion", below) Religion became synonymous with a sense of awe as well as fear of the gods, who had become omnipotent not only with regard to normal human existence but also with regard to a continued existence after death.

08.43 General Observations regarding Religion

It is clear that a survival benefit must have accrued to prehistoric man with regard to the deification of those aspects of nature that he considered beyond his control: The Supernatural. Without such survival benefits, the inherently irrational belief in gods and a life after death could not have become permanently imbedded in the human brain and genes.

As man found it advantageous to organize himself into small groups or tribes, the emotionally imbedded religious belief system provided the glue for the advantages of communal living.

In primitive societies, definite survival benefits can be linked to the belief in the supernatural: Humans who had a god, or a group of gods, whom they mutually believed in and respected or feared -- and were thus willing to obey - could be made to act with a high degree of cooperation. Fear of punishment from this god -- or his priests -- would be a powerful force for socialized behavior. Under these conditions, the urges and passions of the individual would be subordinated to the commands of the gods, resulting in cooperation, civilized behavior and a distinct benefit for his survival.

Such commands by the gods or their priests would work in the best interest of the civilization, as well as the individuals. Groups of people, organized in this manner, would thrive -- enjoying the increased efficiency and production that resulted from increased cooperation.

This belief in the supernatural would also lower crime as a result of a moral code of conduct, which was established by the priests and was enforced by the alleged supernatural power of the gods. A fear of all-powerful beings deterred or inhibited people from engaging in hostile or destructive acts against other members of their society. The resulting low-crime environment represents another very distinct benefit for survival in a primitive, god-fearing society.

This consolidation of a society around mutually accepted beliefs served also to reinforce their resistance to external threats, such as attacks from other tribes. By merging his resources under the promised umbrella of a Superior Being, early man enhanced his chances of surviving an attack by other societies.

The concept of security is an extremely important motivator for human beings and takes a backseat only to the survival instinct and the sex drive. In effect, the need for security is merely a projection of the survival instinct into the future. It is a well-established psychological fact that people who think alike, meet alike: Baptists congregate with Baptists and Jews congregate with Jews. By coordinating their individual activities with other persons whose sharing of religious beliefs represented common glue, social activities within the religious group were enhanced and thus contributed to the survival of the group.

Atheists struck a deal with God: We won't bother you, if you won't bother us. They mocked him and nothing happened to them -- for the simple reason that God does not exist.

Of course, without a god or gods, religion becomes meaningless and prayer becomes an empty delusion. What is prayer, but the appeal to nonexistent supernatural beings, to upset the laws of the universe on the behalf of an admittedly unworthy sinner? Of course, in order to rely on prayer, a believer must have faith. The word "faith" means to accept something as true and accurate that has already been proven false and inaccurate -- otherwise no reliance on "faith" would be required: The mere acceptance of facts would be sufficient, without any requirement for "faith". The concept of faith is not an extension of facts, but is diametrically opposed to the truth -- otherwise there would be no need for "faith". People need not have faith in facts; people need to have "faith" only when they are faced with an otherwise unacceptable falsehood. Faith is the unconditional acceptance of the impossible.

As man evolved, the survival benefits of a belief in the supernatural have decreased. In the twentieth century, in this age of science and enlightenment, more and more survival weight is being placed on increased rationality. This century has seen a tremendous increase in scientific and technological knowledge. The ability of the individual to deal with his environment rationally, instead of emotionally, has shifted survival benefits from the irrational and emotional to the rational and scientific.

In prior millennia, men like Socrates and Aristotle lacked the basic tools of knowledge and science to develop a clear view of objective reality. They were groping in the dark for small kernels of truth. Since then, man's scientific knowledge has increased by a factor of millions, not only in regard to quantity but also with reference to the quality of information. A rational, scientific person is able to align himself with objective reality, with truth, much more appropriately than a religious person who is relying on prayers to nonexistent gods. Therefore, a rational person is more likely to achieve his desired objectives, especially profound and lasting happiness, than a person relying on prayer. His quality of life, his happiness and, ultimately, his survival advantage, will be enhanced.

Adherents to religion often refer to the emotional benefits of a reliance on life after death, or on other illusory benefits offered by organized religion. However, this stance defies all common sense since it presumes that irrationality can be superior to rationality in any aspect of life and under any circumstances whatsoever. No matter what Henry James says in his "Varieties of Religious Experience", or what Otto calls the "numinous" --- the fact remains: Quackery of any kind, whether medical or mental, remains quackery and can never be as efficacious as hard science. Marx had many faults but he was correct when he said: "Religion is the opium of the people". This pronouncement extends to all forms of superstition, magic and the supernatural.

08.44 Cost/Benefit Analysis of Religion

The apparent dichotomy of rationality and irrationality within the same mind becomes somewhat more transparent by means of a cost/benefit analysis.

A. COSTS AND BENEFITS OF BELIEVING IN RELIGION

1. COSTS of BELIEVING in Religion:

The inability to clearly see the universe and the nature of human existence prevents our alignment with Objective Reality and thus increases the difficulty of achieving desired results, including the purposeful achievement of happiness.

Walking through life with blinders in order to avoid having to face the reality of contradictions and inconsistencies presented by organized religious teachings, such as the bible. This attempt to escape from reality can lead to mental confusion and distress.

Since reality is not seen clearly, it becomes difficult to achieve many objectives that depend on an undistorted view of the way the world really is.

Strict adherence to religion forecloses opportunities to take advantage of science, such as modern medicine. Witchcraft and faith healing are always destructive and are poor substitutes for science.

Reliance on prayers is counterproductive because it may reduce dependence on solving problems with reliance on one's own resources.

Religion eliminates the kind of personal morality that can be more beneficial than a rigid morality in adjusting our code of conduct to individual needs, such as temperament or risk aversion. The inconsistencies and contradictions inherent in morality imposed by religious dogma can be confusing and mentally disorienting.

Valuable, productive time is wasted on unproductive prayer and religion-oriented activities.

Valuable physical and/or financial resources are diverted to the benefit of the religious hierarchy and the construction of grandiose churches or temples.

2. BENEFITS of BELIEVING in Religion

Improved socialization: More like-minded persons to meet. Saves time and effort in socializing with other people

There is no need to expend the effort of developing a personal morality because religious dogma provides a predetermined system of morality

A comforting belief in life after death, although there is no evidence of an afterlife

A comforting belief in prayer, although there is no evidence that prayer is effective

The potential for succor during times of hardship

B. COSTS AND BENEFITS OF NOT BELIEVING IN RELIGION

1. COSTS of NOT believing in religion

Reduced socialization: There are fewer nonbelievers than believers. Non-believers have no incentive to organize social activities because they do not share common interests or beliefs.

More time and mental effort are required in developing a personal morality

Cannot depend on prayer but must go to the trouble of utilizing one's own resources

2. BENEFITS of NOT believing in religion

Clear worldview and alignment with Objective Reality enhances chances for achievement for desired objectives, including the purposeful achievement of happiness

Personal morality is uniquely adapted to individual needs, allowing for more choices and flexibility

Improved mental health due to a clear view of objective reality and lack of conflicting dogma

Non-dependence on prayer provides more choice of options and is more productive of results

More time is available to pursue desirable activities rather than to pray or spend time in church

No demand on limited financial and physical resources by religious institutions

Of course, a rational examination of the origins and sources of religion, as well as the benefits and disadvantages of religion, is unlikely to change the mind of anybody who is afraid to examine such concepts objectively. People who approach the subject of religion with trepidation or who cannot distinguish between reality and superstition, obviously lack the mental ability or fortitude to apply logic to their thought processes. It is much easier and it requires much less intelligence to belief in miracles and pseudo-science than to acquire hard facts and engage in clear, rational thought.

There here are many members of society who appear to be very intelligent and rational in the pursuit of their daily life. But, on Sundays they go to their church or temple and participate in incomprehensible and irrational rituals involving magic, prayer and other activities demeaning to their rational minds. Their rational mind must tell them there is no such thing as a god, and yet there they sit and pray to him. How is this contradiction possible?

It has been said that religious people compartmentalize their thought processes in order to avoid otherwise inevitable and destructive conflicts: Rational and irrational thought processes are carefully maintained in separate, locked compartments of the brain without connection; and yet one wonders if there is not some leakage from the irrational to the rational compartment that surreptitiously contaminates rationality.

Of course, even some bright people may feel too frightened to face life without the consolations of a religion, cult or sect. Their upbringing has imbued in them the belief that it is "safer" not to subject the religious teachings of one's church or temple or mosque to close scrutiny. Furthermore, becoming an agnostic or atheist can cut one off from the comfort and companionship of co-believers in a religion. This potentially damaging consequence of doubting one's belief system is a strong deterrent to questioning any religious belief.

Religion also seems to satisfy an irrational human need for cosmic significance -- to be more than the grain of sand in the vastness of the universe that man really is. As long as men and women feel week and insignificant in the face of awe-inspiring natural forces, logic will not be as important as religion and man will prefer the sanctuary of imaginary, all-powerful beings. Thus, people tend to associate in communities of like-minded people. Believers restrict their circle of friend and family to other believers. They surround themselves with themselves.

If this is done successfully, then the young and naïve among them hear nothing but the desired belief. No reputable person in his or her sphere of life ever disagrees or objects. As time goes on, it is just considered "normal" that all good and intelligent people believe as the community believes.

When a believer encounters a non-believer, the shock may be great. The believer asks, "How can they not believe? Doesn't everyone?" The believing community usually provides an answer to that question: The non-believers are "evil" or they are "possessed" by an evil power, and if you hang around them long enough it might be contagious.

As a result, the believer becomes paranoid and afraid of non-believers, because he fails to understand that their non-belief is based on reason, logic and factual evidence of the real world. Instead, the non-believer is seen as "abnormal" and undesirable. Thus, religious belief is maintained through self-affirmation, insulation and demonization.

It is interesting to note that the degree of involvement with the Supernatural, including religion, is directly proportional to the degree of factual knowledge available to a person: To the extent of his involvement with the uncompromising, hard facts of science. The bell curve, depicting the graphic display of variances in intelligence within a population, places 80% of the U. S. population in the I.Q. range from 85 to 115 -- the median range of intelligence.

Is it really a coincidence that about 90 % of the U. S. population is also involved in religious or irrational belief systems? The September 1999 issue of the prestigious "Scientific American" magazine published a repeat-survey, confirming previous surveys: Whereas 90% of the general population has a distinct belief in a personal god and a life after death, only 40% of scientists on the B.S. level favor this belief in religion and merely 10 % of those who are considered "eminent" scientists believe in a personal god or in an afterlife. Contrary to the notion fostered by so-called "creation-scientists", Albert Einstein did not believe in a personal god.

(08.46) The Benefits and Horrors of Religion: A historical perspective

Ever since man started praying to gods, religion has become increasingly institutionalized. It has organized itself into the dominant power governing the mundane affairs of man. Until fairly recent times, all affairs of society were under the powerful domination of religious hierarchies.

In the process of wielding its enormous power, religious institutions have held the human race in a vice-grip of irrationality and have made every conceivable effort to suppress rationality and science. Thus it happened only in 1998 that the Roman Catholic Church admitted its error when it condemned Galileo in 1543 for pronouncing that the earth revolved around the sun, instead of having the sun revolve around the earth. Only the complete absurdity of its position forced the Pope to grudgingly admit that there might be some validity to the "theory" of evolution. (We refer to a "Theory of Evolution" merely for historical reasons. Evolution is a fact. It is not a theory any more than the Theory of Relativity is a theory.) This oppression of rationality and science by institutional religion has held mankind in its devastating grip for thousands of years.

Nothing can be gained by describing the horrors that religion has inflicted on mankind in the name of their gods: From the Crusades to the Inquisition, to its devastating cooperation with the aristocracy in fettering and enslaving man's body and man's mind.

However, the horrors of religious institutions are obsolete and part of the past. As we enter the third millennium, the powers of the Church are waning, albeit far from dead. The influence of organized religion on the affairs of man is declining steadily as a result of such events as the French Revolution, the United States Constitution and the inevitable spread of democracy as the only political system compatible with freedom and the innate nature of man.

Man still interacts with religious institutions on the individual level but the political power of the church over the affairs of man has been almost eliminated (with the temporary exception of a few Islamic nations). This change came about as a result of the Age of Enlightenment. This step up the ladder of evolution was made possible by the rational intellect of a new breed of philosophers like Voltaire, Rousseau and Locke, and their visions of a Social Contract -- instead of feudalistic and religious slavery.

However, it is easy to deceive ourselves: The advances in the enlightenment of man over the last five hundred years have been pioneered by a few intellectual giants and by a minority of rational, intelligent philosophers, scientists and visionary firebrands. The vast majority of mankind still goes to church on Sunday and prays to God. The masses of men remain emotion-driven animals that have neither the intelligence nor the fortitude to throw off the shackles of religious irrationality. The man who prays to god and goes to church on Sunday is still carrying the demon of religion on his back. The next step in the evolution of man must wait until the mass of men has evolved to a higher plane, which will allow his rational mind to exert its full powers and will enable man to assert a higher degree of control over his primitive emotional system (See 08.45, "The Future of Religion", below).

(08.45) The Future of Religion

The primitive belief systems of religion and the supernatural are the dominion of primitive, prehistoric man. Modern man is engaged in the accelerated process of replacing religion and superstition with science and rationality. Superstition and religion will eventually be swept away in the dustbin of human history by the relentless process of evolution. However, evolution is an excruciatingly slow process, and the institutions of witchcraft, religion and the supernatural are in no eminent danger of demise. Evolution is unappeasable and relentless, but it deals in centuries and millennia, not in years or decades.

What does the future hold for the conflict between rationality and religion? We merely need to examine the underlying trend of evolution. Evolution will continue to exhibit the same trend that is has exhibited for the last four billion years: Increased specialization by means of increased complexity. Human beings who utilize an irrational approach to living will gradually become more and more disadvantaged. Eventually, even their survival and the perpetuation of their genes will be diminished. An illustration of this trend is becoming obvious in Africa: Due to their intellectual disadvantage, the natives are unable to maintain civilized governments and health care facilities. Aids is ravaging the population in Africa. The inhabitants of this continent are weak and at risk because they lack the complex mental resources to compete with other members of the human race. They are thus unable to provide for even minimal healthcare, and even less for the educational facilities to bring about an improvement in the future. The process of evolution will inevitably reduce their numbers and allow only those to survive who are sufficiently intelligent to compete with the rest of the world for limited resources. The same principle of evolution applies to the irrationality of religions and the world of the supernatural.

A believe in a god or gods, mythology or astrology represents negative survival factors and is most commonly found in persons of relatively limited intelligence and initiative. These underprivileged members of society will be at great risk in the centuries to come. The future survival of the individual, and thus the human race, will be enhanced by high intelligence and a rational worldview. In the millennia to come, it will no longer be physical prowess and irrationality that will enhance survival; it will be intelligence and rationality that will enhance survival and prosperity. Ditch-diggers need not apply.

(08.46) Conclusion:

Achieving happiness in life depends on our ability to align our emotions, enhanced by our rational thought processes, with Objective Reality -- with the way the world really is and the way the world really works.

Religion provided important survival benefits during the early evolution of primitive societies, at a time when man lacked even the most rudimentary knowledge of the reality of his world.

With the exponential growth of knowledge and science, as applied to rationality, logic and scientific inquiry, religion hinders man in achieving desired results, including the achievement of lasting happiness. If we wish to free ourselves from ignorance and superstition, it is incumbent on us to:

1. Accept the irrefutable fact that there are no Gods who have any effect on human existence. Gods do not exist.

2. Since there are no gods: Prayers, rituals, sacrifices, incantations and other resorts to magic are a waste of time and valuable resources.

Irrational reliance on prayer and the unwarranted belief in a life after death is less efficacious then rational thought processes. There are no free lunches in life: If we want to embrace life and live our brief life to its fullest extent, if we desire lasting and profound happiness, we must abandon superstition and irrationality.

The American journalist-philosopher Henry Louis Mencken is famous for his common sense perception of the true and the bogus in this world:

"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration -- courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth".

"A man full of faith is simply one who has lost (or never had) the capacity for clear and realistic thought. He is not merely an ass: He is actually ill"

Re:I think you meant (2, Funny)

Streiff (34269) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206832)

<comment>That is the comment I was going to use. <sigh>Oh well</sigh>, I suppose I'll have the come up with another funny comment. hmmm....

<idea>I know I'll just say this:<inspired>I've always liked <smirk /> better myself.</inspired></idea>
</comment>

Re:I think you meant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206858)

ok i give up, why is this funny?

If you this error seems to be incorrect, please provide the following in your report to Source Forge:

Re:I think you meant (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206908)

xml tags must be closed. so old html tags like <br>, which aren't normally closed (ever see a </br>?) must be written in self-closing fashion (in xhtml, anyway -- an xml application), with a trailing slash: so <smirk> becomes <smirk />.

Re:I think you meant (1)

groomed (202061) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206944)

Yeah, I think the original poster knew that. So why is this funny?

Re:I think you meant (2)

geomcbay (263540) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206965)

Its really not all that funny, but I'm guessing the guy who asked why it was funny actually didn't realize the XML tag had to be specifically closed if it wasn't a tag that encloses something else. Otherwise he wouldn't have asked "Why is this funny?" he would have just said "That's a dumb geek joke that was moderated way too high. Get lives people." or something similiar.

Fluff (2, Interesting)

Swaffs (470184) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206729)

This seems like a whole lot of fluff, a romantic idea that will just end up being emotes in tags, and pretty lame.

Uhh... (2)

Bryce (1842) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206730)

Shouldn't that be ?

Re:Uhh... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206735)

stupid. fucking. bastard.

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It's been 10 seconds since you hit 'reply'!

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Re:Uhh... (2)

Bryce (1842) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206739)

Shouldn't that be <smirk/>

Damn slashdot's tag filtering...

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206740)

fp

Does this mean (2)

Tachys (445363) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206743)

We will have a tag for :)

What about tag for ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206860)

slashdot favorite animal

funny text (1)

Aapje (237149) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206986)

funny text

Funny text (correct one) (1)

Aapje (237149) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206997)

< :) > funny text </ :) >

date error (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206746)

My calendar doesn't say April...

Now I don't mean to go off on a... (3, Funny)

DeltaStorm (118517) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206750)

Maybe now we'll finally get that long sought after <rant> tag...

Obviously (1)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206751)

The idea is to codify psychological, emotive, cultural, and physical characteristics in a standardized way. They say that the most obvious application would be for describing phsyical characteristics and actions in virtual reality environments.



So, since describing physical characteristics is the most obvious application (not to mention probably the easiest), we say "physical" last and throw in "psychological, emotive, cultural" in front of it, just so everybody wonders what this is all about.

Nothing new (1)

locutus074 (137331) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206752)

Are there so few old-time BBSers out that that remember <grin>? :)

Although perhaps that should now be <grin />...

Re:Nothing new (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206917)

No, no, no! now you're making a rookie mistake. You don't have to harken back to BBSs to remember <grin>. I mean hell, I still use it in email, doesn't everyone else, too?

Anyway, the point is that html/xml stole the computer science standard characters which denote an encoding. So saying <grin> is a textual representation of some greater description of a grin. That is, the <> characters MEAN "an encoding of what lies within". <grin> was never a TAG, it was a contextual clue suggesting a real grin on the face of the author.

One so often missed...

Re:Nothing new (1)

randombit (87792) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206934)

Are there so few old-time BBSers out that that remember <grin>? :)

I think it's mostly been replaced by <g>

Easier to type, I guess. Or maybe I'm just lazy.

Of course this whole thing is pure silliness. They seem to be expecting that everyone is just going to switch over this weird system over current net-speak. I mean XML is nice and all, but... I kind of doubt a small group of people can come up with a better method of actually communicating emotion/intention than has evolved over the last 15-20 years by literally millions of people. For medical stuff, VR, etc, it could end up having some decent applications, however.

To put it simply, I read the article, and... LOL. :P

How to crash an HML enabled VR environment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206753)

<hml>
<name = "Anonymous Coward">
<weight = 1e30>
<height = 1e30>
</hml>

tear drop (1)

jonMC (31085) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206755)

why do I feel the urge, more than anything at this moment, to cry just the tiniest bit for each of us, and for the rest of the populace not yet hip to this development.


The codification of laws was a great advance for humankind.


The codification of of humankind offers no such benefit.

Re:tear drop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206886)

Um. The codification of humankind is a great advance for law.

*BSD is dying (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206756)

*BSD is dying

Yet another crippling bombshell hit the beleaguered *BSD community when last month IDC confirmed that *BSD accounts for less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of the latest Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as further exemplified by failing dead last [sysadminmag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amdest.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood. FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick nd its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS hobbyist dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For ll practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

*BSD is dying

As if emoticons were not bad enough.... (1)

DESADE (104626) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206757)

I can see it now. They will come out with a few feel good gestures and then the offensive gestures will contaminate the net. Can you imagine chat programs with these things?

it's all becoming clearer why HXML.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206760)

human markup language will be used in the implanted biochip , mark my words

Bot programming... (1)

Agent Green (231202) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206761)

Quake/UT/HL bots work fine all by themselves without markups...and some of them are reasonably intelligent (for game bots that is). How is some kind of markup language going to describe the complex interactions or persona that actually makes up an individual??

Uhoh... (1)

gatesh8r (182908) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206762)

You mean that I may get the tag <psychotic>? And if so, what's the emoticon for it? ;-)

Re:Uhoh... (1)

reddeno (155457) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206855)

}:->

Manson style... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206972)

x:-|

Wayne's VR world. (2)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206763)

Check out that hot babe

Re:Wayne's VR world. (3, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206792)

whoops. I meant to say

SCHWING Check out that hot babe /SCHWING

trading pics (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206772)

looking to trade pics of nude and semi-nude boys ages 14 and under. i will trade 2 for 1 for boys with short brown hair or extremely muscular boys. please respond if you are interested in trading i have over ten thousand pictures.

Re:trading pics (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206796)

can somebody tell me what is on port 7755? I got scanned by like 20 different ip addy's on that port today, and I can't find nothing on it.

Re:trading pics (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206835)

Hi. Could someone tell me some good sites to do a port 69 scan of? I'd like to do a good 69 port scan, if you catch my drift.

Re:trading pics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206975)

Please use this thread only to respond to my origonal message. I am worried that there may be people attempting to contact me through this bulliten board system that may be getting blocked by some sort of a busy signal.

Thank you.

Great! (1)

enigmabomb (459926) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206773)

Fabulous, now all those internet pedophiles can lie about themselves easier! "Sure baby, gigantic....

-enigmabomb-

Oasis (3, Informative)

smallpaul (65919) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206775)

It is important to understand that OASIS is more of a standards body framework than an ordinary standards body. In other words, any OASIS member can decide to start an OASIS group on any idea, no matter how strange it may seem and no other OASIS member may prevent that. Few OASIS resources are used per group so the only real cost is in keeping tabs on all of the groups that are created.

NML - Nigger Markup Language (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206776)


Check out this funny NIGGER [206.244.69.51]

The new slashcode will recognize NML and send the coons to the colored side of Slashdot.

Re:NML - Nigger Markup Language (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206819)

send the coons to the colored side of Slashdot.

"... Welcome to the Darkside of the Coon..."

Sorry, that was bad, but I couldn't help myself.

real world uses (1)

Pilferer (311795) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206784)

Other real-world uses could include describing a patient's psychological state for medical records.

uhmmm..

<phobias>cats; 2010 a.d.</phobias>

Re:real world uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206798)



errrr... 2101.

duh.

I have this wonderful thing for describing myself. (1)

Jin Wicked (317953) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206788)

It's called a .jpg. Maybe you've heard of them?

Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206973)

*giggle*

SlashCode... (0, Offtopic)

Dutchie (450420) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206790)

It would be interesting to do this 'moderation' thing some time. I had hoped that the new SlashCode would accidentally give me moderation points every now and then, but gee, even though my 'karma' now is at 35, I've yet to see any moderation points. I'd email CmdrTaco... oh wait, I *have* emailed CmdrTaco, but he never replied, silly me.

Re:SlashCode... (2)

Dutchie (450420) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206838)

You know, modding down the above raises an interesting question. If you don't get any
replies on emails asking why you never get
moderation points, even when you have indicated
to be willing to moderate, and questions about
it on this board get modded down... How
ARE you supposed to find out what's wrong?

RTFM! (1)

vulg4r_m0nk (304652) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206910)

You might consider reading the moderator guidelines [slashdot.org] , which explain in detail how moderators are selected.

Re:SlashCode... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206854)

you sound like an eternal virgin. "It would be interesting to do this 'sex' thing some time ... I ask girls if they want to touch my weiner, but they just laugh...'

Get a fucking life, bitch.

electronic medical records face similar issues (1)

SlideGuitar (445691) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206797)

In a sense this is like the problem of medical informatics and the electronic patient record... how do you organize data about a person so that is private and accessible, and captures all of the important facts about a person.... I can see where this project would have a lot to learn from the effort to create an electronic medical record, and vice versa.

for stuff about that....

http://www.healthcare-informatics.com/index.htm

Awe inspiring implications for posterity (1)

The_Messenger (110966) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206801)

I can think of no better use for such a technology than immortalizing the honorable visage of Mr. Gary Oatse in a universal data format. I weep when I think that even after I am long departed, my people will be able to gaze upon Gary's tribute to eternal horror, squeal "Ewww!" and close their HML browsers before their coworkers notice.

I never expected (1)

Jin Wicked (317953) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206806)

a link from /. to submit me to a big ugly Microsoft XP ad. For shame...

Ummm... (4, Funny)

bendude (135729) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206813)

<TIRED>
<EMOTIONAL>
<A LITTLE DRUNK>
<PRETTY STONED>
<DANGEROUSLYCRANKY>
<SARCASM>
<SNEER>
This isajoke,isn'tit?
</SNEER>
</SARCASM>
</DANGEROUSLYCRANKY>
<SUDDENLYCURIOUS>
Whydon'tLiam & Noel Gallagherlookaftertheirown emotionsbeforeworryingabout anyoneelse?
</SUDDENLYCURIOUS>
</PRETTYSTONED>
</A LITTLEDRUNK>
</EMOTIONAL>
<TIRED>

Re:Ummm... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206818)

this is not well formed.

Re:Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206845)

indeed, to be well formed, it should probably look like:

<tired/>
<emotional/>
<alittledrunk/>
<prettystoned/>
<dangerouslycranky/>
<sarcasm>
<sneer>This is a joke, isn't it?</sneer>
</sarcasm>
<suddenlycurious/>
<question>Why don't Liam & Noel Gallagher look after their own emotions before worrying about anyone else?</question >

Re:Ummm... (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206940)

Hmm, being drunk and stoned, I would assume would almost mandate messing up the nesting of the tags, like half the websites out there do.
You got them all right though. HMM

Dumb question... (1)

wrinkledshirt (228541) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206815)

Maybe I'm not understanding the whole concept of a Human Markup Language, but what's the difference between developing HML, and just coming up with a DTD for human characteristics tags and make it XML?

My point is, aren't projects like these the sort of thing XML was made for?

NEVER MIND -- I GOT IT (1)

wrinkledshirt (228541) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206822)

Sorry, have to read more closely next time.

Geekcode (1)

Lionfire (103856) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206823)

This sounds just a little bit like the geekcode, although more buzzword compliant.

And yes, I really wanted to post a link, but it seems that the geekcode site [geekcode.com] is missing.

Re:Geekcode (1)

catsidhe (454589) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206953)

Try Here [mit.edu] for Geekcode. I don't know how many more recent versions there are, however.

Re:Geekcode (1)

Lionfire (103856) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206979)

There have actually been a number of revisions since then. The most recent (official) version was 3.12.

I guess no one wants to be a geek anymore :(

neat! (2)

OnyxRaven (9906) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206830)

me and my friend were actually just having a conversation over icq in psuedo-xml. we need to make sure that the tags are quite flexible (ie or )

Oh well. now people will be able to display their emotion icons how ever they want, no more of this silly :-] vers :-) crap hehe.

Re:neat! (1)

OnyxRaven (9906) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206834)

stupid not hitting submit. i swear. screw it i'm goin to bed.

Bleh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206833)

They can start by putting everything under [gay]

HumanML abuse (2, Funny)

Morbid Curiosity (156888) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206843)

Great, I can just imagine the guys now:

"Cor, 'ave a look at the HumanML on that one! I bet she validates as well-formed, eh? Eh? *nudgenudge* I wouldn't mind parsing 'er markup, nah wot I mean?"

A thousand times NO! (2)

BierGuzzl (92635) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206846)

This sort of thing only comes about as a result of our ever deteriorating ability to use written words to effectively communicate. Instead of adding to the language we currently use, we should learn to use what we have more effectively.

Think of Shakespeare! He had way less words to work with than we do now, yet no amount of human markup language can hold a candle to the richness of content presented in his tragedies.

I shudder to think of how the graduating class of every subsequent year is more illiterate than the one before it.

Re:A thousand times NO! (2)

Compuser (14899) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206907)

Actually, AFAIK, Shakespeare had a tremendous
vocabulary, far greater than an average speaker
at any time. We have more words today because of
techno-speak but that has no relation to describing
states of human existence. For that, most nobody
can even come close to Shakespeare in richness of
expression.

Your last line (sig?) is so true. It also happens
to reinforce my point.

Re:A thousand times NO! (1)

tester13 (186772) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206952)

why does a changing lexicon equal illiteracy? If the usage of the English language (or any other) evolves, what is wrong with that? I can not understand why when anyone alters the language a little people get so uptight. Almost all of us /. posters use abreviations to more quickly express ideas. I think this is a good thing,

In my humble opinion

oh no, that's going to be HARD (2)

cygnus (17101) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206857)

They say that the most obvious application would be for describing phsyical characteristics and actions in virtual reality environments.

this sounds like it's going to run into some problems. as far as politically correct langauage is concerned, it's going to be hard to come up with a DTD that doesn't offend a particular minority... are we going to have short or fat tags? do we skirt the issue by leaving those out (and making the standard less descriptive)?

Re:oh no, that's going to be HARD (1)

DaRkJaGuaR (161464) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206900)



etcetc....

i just want my tag

Re:oh no, that's going to be HARD (1)

errxn (108621) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206946)

<censored>
<edited/>
<cleansed/>
<prohibited>
<johnRocker/>
</prohibited>
</censored>

people with too much time on their hands (1)

S. Allen (5756) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206865)

where's the research into really necessary new XML markup languages:

SBML (standards body markup language)
FDBML (front door bell markup language)
MSML (markup submission markup language)
PML (penis markup language)? (oh, wait, that's slashdot)
WOTPDML (waste of tax-payers dollars markup language)

I was hoping the one upside to a crappy economy would be the death of all this useless academic research into (ab)uses of XML.

Re:people with too much time on their hands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206930)

after all, we don't even need XML when we have LISP - it is essentially the same structurally IIRC. I wouldn't know, I haven't had a legitimate use for XML that I couldn't solve with cLISP.

oh well, back to the freshly erased drawing board.

Will the simpletons please stand up (1)

jgp (72888) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206890)

What an utterly naïve proposal. These people must surely have spent a little too much time between tags.

The act of expression is *designed* to be primed with meaning and inference. If you want to distinctly express a feeling, emotion or cultural concern, how you go about it is just as important as the idea itself as far as communication is concerned.

If you choose to mark up your meaning using this non-sensical and fundamentally worthless tag system, you are declaring nothing save that you have a mark-up hammer and your ignorance of the world is your nail.

'He speaks four languages and has nothing of value to say in any of them.'

Nothing to say... (1)

KupekKupoppo (266229) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206904)

'He speaks four languages and has nothing of value to say in any of them.'

YOU WANT TO BE FAMOUS AND RICH AND HAPPY
BUT YOU'RE TERRIFIED YOU HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER THIS WORLD
NOTHING TO SAY AND NO WAY TO SAY IT
BUT YOU CAN SAY IT IN THREE LANGUAGES

--kmfdm, Dogma (Nicole Blackman)

The only kind of humans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206892)

a Human Markup Language would be able to describe are the retards that think XML is an amazing technology.

HML? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206893)

IN A.D. 1928

HISTORY WAS MAKING


Captain: WHAT HANNAH ?

Blue Collar Man: SOMEBODY LIGHT UP US THE THEATRE.

Operator: WE GET THE MESSAGE.

Captain: WHAT !

Operator: CRYSTAL BALL TURN ON.

Captain: AKU !!

Roboto: HOW ARE YOU ANGRY YOUNG MEN !!

Roboto: ALL YOUR BABE ARE BELONG TO US.

Roboto: YOU SHOW ME THE WAY TO PARADISE.

Captain: WHAT FOR YOU SING !!

Roboto: GIVE ME A CHANCE TO SURVIVE ALL ALONE AND TRAPPED IN TIME.

Roboto: HA HA HA HA YOU LOSE ...

Captain: SAIL AWAY EVERY 'SPARKY' !!

People: WE NOW HAVE EVERYTHING.

Captain: MOVE IN 'LORELEI'.

Captain: FOR GREAT MUSIC.

got to be well-formed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206894)

From now on, it's <smirk>!

You mean <smirk/>??

Of course...

Re:got to be well-formed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2206916)

What do you expect? Slashdot "editors" don't know anything, but they claim to know everything. Remember timothy's commentary on the XP book review? What an incompetent idiot..

example geek (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206899)

<human>
<physical>
<head>
<face>
<eyes color="hazel" />
<nose nostrels="huge" />
<skin freckles="few" type="greasy" />
<chin type="protruding" />
</face>
<hair color="brown" />
<hairline position="receding" />
</head>
<torso length="175cm">
<clothes cost="minimal>
<pants type="jeans" />
<shirt type="button-down" color="white" sleeves="short" />
<belt color="brown" />
</clothes>
<bellybutton type="innie" />
</torso>
</physical>
<emotional>
<intelligence>152</intelligence>
<religion>emacs</religion>
</emotional>
</human>

Re:example geek (1)

kwallace01 (513969) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206928)

You forgot the closing " on the clothes tag... tsk tsk... :)

There's been a notation for this for years. (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206955)

There's always RPG character notation:
  • Level: 57
  • Race: Erudite
  • Reputation: Great. No enemies, and he has not been played in over 4 months.
  • Guild: Disbanded so you can build your own alliances.
  • Gear: Manna Robe (Same effect as mana stone 60 hp for 20 mana 3 sec cast time) Great for a wizard, Venril Sathir Staff, Eye of Innurrok, Solist Icy Wand, J-boots, Staff of Temperate Flux, Sorcerer's Head, sleeves, pants, and bracer -- and all the extras including resist gear, fishbone earring, and a 10 slot 0% eight bag -- 200 int + 300+ mana gear.
  • Skills: Defense is maxed, Swimming is high, Spell skills are all very high except divination which is almost 200
Hurry, only one at this price. [castersrealm.com]

HML error (1)

kwallace01 (513969) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206958)

When I load up my HML prog, all i get is "ERROR: TAGS ON LINES 2 AND 3 DO NOT MATCH"
Here is my code:
<HML>
<GEEK/>
<GOODLOOKING/>
<SMART/>
</HML>

Can anyone help me???

ohoh.. (1)

jlemmerer (242376) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206960)

i think the idea of generalizing human speech sucks. why should we make a standard how people have to speak and so on?

Nice idea!!! (1)

anonymous cupboard (446159) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206961)

This would make it a lot easier for the vocalisation of text, or the use of a synthesised figure Max Headroom? to present it.

Think of it as stage directions. I can image a number of quite legitimate uses for such a tool.

They need 2 languages (or refinements) (1)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206964)

human-male.dtd

and

human-female.dtd

while the range of emotions is close, the causes of different emotions are - ehm - quite different. i assume they'll be marking up emotions stemming from a previous state of mind..

speech markup language (1)

martyn s (444964) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206978)

I think what is more relevant right now than a "human markup language" is a "speech markup language." Just recently we read about at&t's supposed breakthrough (hype) that will lead to artificially generated speech.

Think about that though. How are we going to effectively communicate to the program exactly how we want the voice to sound? What needs to be developed is a speech markup language which takes any and every aspect of speech into account, like tone, volume, inflection. Even if a computer voice sounds perfectly pleasant, it won't sound natural if it doesn't stress the proper words. And sometimes stressing another word isn't necessarily wrong, it just means something else.

It has no future (1)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 12 years ago | (#2206992)

The initiative has, IMHO, no future, because:

XML is, but some will disagree, a static representation format unfit to represent dynamic human motions.

psychological traits vary so much that psychologists can't agree on which is what. a standard representation won't solve this at a blink and be widely accepted.

the actual specs has too much covered under them. characterizing every human trait under one specs is ambitious, but also unrealistic. physical, psychological, motion are very different traits, each should be taken on individually.

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