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Hawking Says Humans Have Entered a New Stage of Evolution

AhtirTano Re:Only honest discussions are useful. (398 comments)

So you're saying that the Scientific Method is bunk?

No, that's not what he said at all.

more than 4 years ago

200-Year-Old Cipher Finally Cracked

AhtirTano Re:Contents of message (141 comments)

Except that many people came to the conclusion that he was the father before the DNA evidence, based on where he was and how he behaved around the time of the birth, the way he treated that slave family relative to others, and so forth. The DNA evidence was just the icing on the cake.

more than 4 years ago

200-Year-Old Cipher Finally Cracked

AhtirTano Re:Wake me when the Voynich is cracked (141 comments)

Actually, natural native languages were not used as unbreakable cyphers. That's a myth. The code-talkers were trained to do this, and devised a code based on their language. (And actually, the program started in WWI and was so successful they revived it for WWII.) The Japanese figured out that Navajo was being used, and searched out Navajo speakers among POWs to translate. But because the code-talkers actually encoded their message during the translation into Navajo, even these POWs were unable to figure out what was going on.

more than 4 years ago

A Mathematician's Lament — an Indictment of US Math Education

AhtirTano Re:It starts with the textbooks. . . (677 comments)

And the teacher gets fired for using non-approved curricular materials.

more than 4 years ago

Man Attacked In Ohio For Providing Iran Proxies

AhtirTano Re:Right, that's the only reason (467 comments)

So Democracy in Iraq, neighbors to Iran, had no influence at all on Iranians *also* wanting real elections?

No. I had Iranian friends and roommates in grad school starting in the early 2000's. According to them, this is the most blatant the vote rigging has ever been. The guys fresh out of Iran before the last election (not the current one) told me point blank that Ahmadinajan was going to win for domestic economy reasons.

The problem with U.S. support is NOT that the Iranian regime will crack down harder. The problem is that the US government is so unpopular there, that if we support them openly, many influential people will abandon the movement. It happened back in the early 90s with Bush Sr., and it could happen again.

more than 4 years ago

How Do You Greet an Extraterrestrial?

AhtirTano Re:Math. (803 comments)

Greg Bear's book "Anvil of Stars" has an alien species where non-sentient Cords come together to form aggregate, intelligent beings called Braids. Because sentience isn't available until multiple Cords have come together, and there does not appear to be a limit on the number of Cords that can aggregate, the Braids never developed a concept of "integers". One Braid (a collection of multiple Cords) can merge with another Braid to form a single Braid: 1 + 1 = 1. All math, therefore, is based on fractions, not whole numbers.

more than 4 years ago

How Do You Greet an Extraterrestrial?

AhtirTano Re:It really all depends on resources (803 comments)

Well, we ARE the only source of humans in the universe, and we have yet to figure out what we are good for. That might count as sufficiently scarce to make the trip worthwhile.

more than 4 years ago

How Do You Greet an Extraterrestrial?

AhtirTano Re:Offer them a subscription? (803 comments)

Half of all marriages end in divorce. On that model, half of all first contacts should result in intergalactic war.

more than 4 years ago

Palm Pre "iTunes Hack" Detailed By DVD Jon

AhtirTano Re:Poor Open Source (338 comments)

And we all know Apple's competitors, such as Microsoft, would never inject more capital into a company involved in an intellectual property fight, even one guaranteed to lose.

more than 4 years ago

Circuit City Returns Under Systemax

AhtirTano Re:really (134 comments)

Depends on what you are buying. Sometimes the design of a product feels more comfortable to you than anther. And preferences like this can vary from person to person. For example, I hate the button layout and display on Nikon DSLRs. I have a good friend who loves them. No review in the world can possibly sort this out-you have to hold the object in your hand to come to a decision.

more than 4 years ago

Scientists Discover Common Ancestor of Monkeys, Apes, and Humans

AhtirTano Re:Oh this is gonna be fun :) (391 comments)


The word "belief" is a very useful word and "belief in evolution" is a true statement. Failing to use it just because disingenuous people will twist what you are saying is a losing strategy in the long run. Such people will always be able to find something you said to twist to their purpose. As soon as you stop using that phrase, they'll attack another one. Eventually everything you say is too technical or guarded, and you sound like a sound-bite robot or a weasely politician. Don't let them set the terms of the discourse. Publicly call them on their bullshit when it comes up. If appropriate at the time, present the surrounding context of the statement. That won't convince everyone, but you never can.

more than 3 years ago

Seven Arrested After Protesting Army Video Game Recruiting Center

AhtirTano Re:Shutup you commie (433 comments)

That depends on what era the poster served in. My grandfather, a WWII navy pilot, had to marry in secret because he wasn't allowed to.

more than 4 years ago

Utah Senate, House Pass Jack Thompson's Game Sales Bill

AhtirTano Re:Friggin' Utah. (200 comments)

Are you joking? The ridiculous nature of Utah Mormons has been known for decades. My parents, both born and raised Mormon from parents who were also born and raised Mormon, left Utah, precisely because they did not want their children raised around Utah Mormons. That was over 30 years ago, and nothing has changed on that front. While I have met some great people in Utah, nowhere have I met more hypocrites and Holier-Than-Thou @&#%$%@s.

more than 5 years ago

Living Free With Linux, Round 2

AhtirTano Re:What is wrong with the Linux GUIs? (936 comments)

Then things must have changed a whole lot in the past 2.5 years, since I gave up on Linux. I had that problem many times, and I wasn't going after obscure stuff only the Linux literate would want. I had that problem with several games, for example.

I started using Linux in 1998, I gave up in 2006, because I was sick and tired of dealing with the amount of work it took to install software and hardware. Not that I couldn't do it, I just didn't want to spend all that time doing it once I got a full time job. Especially since a Mac gives me all the Unix command-line stuff I love, without the driver problems or dependency hell.

more than 5 years ago

Why TV Lost

AhtirTano Re:I'm not dead yet (576 comments)

What you describe as necessary is already 90% here. I'm typing this on a 24" (could have bought a 27") iMac. There is a remote control on the bedstand, with navigation buttons simpler than my cable remote. Every night I lay back in bed, hit the "menu" button, select a show to watch (usually a TV show I've downloaded), and relax for 22 minutes before going to sleep. The only thing I'm lacking is quick access to new content with that same remote. You're association with work claim I find to be just hot air. I know the difference between work time and relaxation time, and the fact that the same machine is in use does not make any difference.

more than 5 years ago

Obama To Reverse Bush Limits On Stem Cell Work

AhtirTano Re:AP failing again (508 comments)

Of course, Bush's ban wasn't controversial at all. Nobody thought it was a bad idea from a purely scientific point of view. That's why Obama's motives must be tied to abortion politics, rather than legitimate scientific and medical concerns. And rich billionaires won't have any money left after his tax raise. They'll all be poor!</sarcasm>

Talk about ignoring reality. Pot, meet kettle.

more than 5 years ago

Calif. Politican Thinks Blurred Online Maps Would Deter Terrorists

AhtirTano Re:Blurring only targets makes them easy to pick o (597 comments)

Is anyone anyone really afraid of terrorists? Crackheads probably kill more people in America than terrorists do.

I recently heard someone say that terrorists take advantage of the same faulty logic that makes people play the lottery. That knowledge that it can happen leads people to think that it will happen to them, eventually.

more than 5 years ago

Amazon Caves On Kindle 2 Text-To-Speech

AhtirTano Re:So Amazon wins anyway (370 comments)

Ah, big difference. They cannot edit the slashdot comment, so the embarrasment stays with them forever. If it was their blog post, that would be different. If you laugh, wave the sign around and yell for people to notice, that is bad social behavior. Yanking it off discretely, is the socially correct way to behave. Non-deletable public comments are the former, not the latter.

more than 5 years ago


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