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Dwarf Fortress Gets Biggest Update In Years

Alorelith Re:Ultima Ratio Regum (138 comments)

Wow, never heard of this. Looks pretty incredible. Thanks for the links as well.

about 2 months ago
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'Vampire' Squirrel Has World's Fluffiest Tail

Alorelith Re:Vampire Squirrel Overlords (54 comments)

Aha...Joss Whedon is not a genius. It turns out he just plagiarized his ideas from Fluffy the Vampire Slayer :(

about 3 months ago
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China Builds Artificial Islands In South China Sea

Alorelith Re:All wars ... (192 comments)

No problem, as I realized upon re-reading that I had misunderstood the point of your post. I find it somewhat ironic in this era that many of us have no qualms about loosening the term "war" to mean any kind of struggle against something intangible, whereas those same people sometimes have no issue at all NOT applying the term "war" to mean actual large scale combat. Every time I see these kinds of shenanigans, I'm reminded of the opening part of Dorothy Sayer's essay _The Lost Tools of Learning_ where she describes the lack of definition in many of the debates people have. That is the problem here.

about 3 months ago
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China Builds Artificial Islands In South China Sea

Alorelith Re:All wars ... (192 comments)

I can only surmise that only people with limited understandings of history, politics, self-justification, etc... would consider major conflicts such as the Korean Police Action to not be a war. Obviously a country not officially declaring a war raises some issues with _itself_ regarding legality, funding, image, and so on, but the 1000 year view of the situation is the same -- lotsa people from conflicting sides fighting and killing each other in an armed struggle. That's a war. Perhaps some of these people should go visit a "police" zone and get all intimate with the differences that they are obviously going to notice between a police action and a war/battle.

Is it still considered war if a country declares war on someone else, yet neither side ever come to battle?

about 3 months ago
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Eric Schmidt On Why College Is Still Worth It

Alorelith Re:Don't think CS grads are having issues (281 comments)

Nope, if one is willing to relocate, engineering jobs are pretty plentiful and well-paying. If you go the route that I did (tech school -> four-year degree), it's in many ways even easier to get a job and much cheaper.

And frankly that's all this topic seems to be about. Cost of college vs return in lifetime wages. If that's the argument, then one should strive to lower the former while still gaining the skills and know-how, and then try to raise the latter. Of course many will argue that that is not the point of higher education, and I would agree to some extent but the reality in many peoples' minds is that school pays off in wealth.

about 6 months ago
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Eric Schmidt On Why College Is Still Worth It

Alorelith Re:He didn't make a mistake? (281 comments)

True, and don't forget, there are still a fair number of affordable schools across the country if one is willing to relocate for it. Not every university in the USA costs $20,000 a year. And I'd imagine that in other countries where higher education is much cheaper or "free" that this whole argument of return on investment is silly.

about 6 months ago
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Eric Schmidt On Why College Is Still Worth It

Alorelith Re:He didn't make a mistake? (281 comments)

Wait a minute, are you implying that because the article gave us an anecdote of a single person who got wealthy after dropping out of university, that that wouldn't necessarily be the case for the vast majority of people? You're implying that for a large portion of the population that a university degree still creates a lot of opportunity? Strange... I think I'll believe the summary over your logic!

I'd say that even for the bottom in the talent category (mind you I'm not talking the REALLY bottom, as those are hopeless cases), a college or university degree from an affordable school is ultimately worthwhile. If it's a degree that can get you somewhere, that is.

about 6 months ago
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Diamond Rain In Saturn

Alorelith Re:Old news (177 comments)

And in other news, Israel has recently decided to develop a fully operational space program, with its first destinations to be Saturn and Jupiter.

about a year ago
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The Evolution of the Computer Keyboard

Alorelith Re:qwerty (201 comments)

I always assumed something like this was the case, but, never really looked into it.

The whole "dvorak superiority" thing always seemed to be based on little to nothing. I mean... I learned the same ABC song as most everyone else.... but the order of letters hardly matters really, its just a memorization tool, and, of course, it helps make sure the list is correct when every student writes the letters in the same order.

Sure letters are used with different frequencies, so in a given language different letters have different frequencies of use... so it makes sense that some orderings for typing may be better than others for that reason.... but... letter frequencies and position within the alphabet are totally unrelated (or else we would start with E)

I mean yes, it may help in slightly decreasing the amount of time it takes to learn to touch type, but, thats a pretty minor benefit. How much of a difference would learning to tie your shoes with a few minutes less effort be, over the course of your life? You do a lot more typing than learning to type and in the end...any layout is just something you will memorize.

I would be shocked if any benefit from the letter order thats not based on (or happens to satisfy) placing frequently used letters in places advantageous to their quick use (as was mentioned... putting frequently used keys farther apapart may increase speed due to encouraging hand alternation)

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the pages of Michael Capewell, Peter Klausler, etc.. These guys (and others) have for years been trying to find ultimate keyboard layouts, and all of them say that Dvorak really isn't all it's claimed to be.

The page is here: http://www.michaelcapewell.com/projects/keyboard/layout_capewell.htm

about 2 years ago
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OLPC Fork Sugar On a Stick Goes 1.0

Alorelith Re:Does he really think schools are going to do it (146 comments)

First of all, I think for a meaningful discussion on this issue we need to be clear what we are talking about. "Teaching kids how to learn" is pretty vague, especially with that darned difficult to understand word "how." Anyway, I agree with you partly and with ShieldW0lf partly, as he is correct in letting children explore and play (until a certain age) and that the current "educational system" is anything but, and you are correct in your latter part, although it is somewhat obvious or at least should be. I disagree with you when you seem to imply (sorry if that's not the intent) that rote memorization is somehow bad, as memorization for young children is particularly powerful. The method by which it is done is really the issue -- children under say age 7 or 8 should not be held to a curriculum and should not be pushed in the same way one could push an older person. They memorize simply by mimicry and we take for granted all the diverse actions that children memorize and thus perform -- our jobs as parents would be unbearably difficult if this were not so.

Anyway, I will provide a link to Dorothy Sayer's excellent essay "The Lost Tools of Learning," in which she addresses these issues in much more depth and more eloquently. As a muslim, the essay is particularly relevant as it is a reaffirmation our traditional method of upbringing (although we generally would replace Latin with Arabic, but nonetheless). This piece is more important now than when it was first issued in 1947!

http://www.gbt.org/text/sayers.html

more than 4 years ago
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Censored Video Game Content Stifles Artistry

Alorelith Re:artistic maturity ? (289 comments)

Background -- see other "color" revolutions

Some information I linked from other places. Courtesy of Lew Rockwell, Paul C. Roberts and others. It is just a taste of the evidence. Some skill in reading between the lines is necessary.

At this stage of the game, to not realize what is going on is a mark of foolishness or outright malevolence. People of this ilk always claim to want evidence, but what they really desire is to delay and to destroy the intellectual capacity of those who notice the fraud (as if that word were sufficient to explain this usurious system we live in).

-------------
1) First some reality:
Story lead (Jun 15, 2009): The election results in Iran may reflect the will of the Iranian people. Many experts are claiming that the margin of victory of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the result of fraud or manipulation, but our nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin -- greater than his actual apparent margin of victory in Friday's election.

Telling points: The breadth of Ahmadinejad's support was apparent in our preelection survey. During the campaign, for instance, Mousavi emphasized his identity as an Azeri, the second-largest ethnic group in Iran after Persians, to woo Azeri voters. Our survey indicated, though, that Azeris favored Ahmadinejad by 2 to 1 over Mousavi.

Much commentary has portrayed Iranian youth and the Internet as harbingers of change in this election. But our poll found that only a third of Iranians even have access to the Internet, while 18-to-24-year-olds comprised the strongest voting bloc for Ahmadinejad of all age groups.

The only demographic groups in which our survey found Mousavi leading or competitive with Ahmadinejad were university students and graduates, and the highest-income Iranians. When our poll was taken, almost a third of Iranians were also still undecided. Yet the baseline distributions we found then mirror the results reported by the Iranian authorities, indicating the possibility that the vote is not the product of widespread fraud.

Some might argue that the professed support for Ahmadinejad we found simply reflected fearful respondents' reluctance to provide honest answers to pollsters. Yet the integrity of our results is confirmed by the politically risky responses Iranians were willing to give to a host of questions. For instance, nearly four in five Iranians -- including most Ahmadinejad supporters -- said they wanted to change the political system to give them the right to elect Iran's supreme leader, who is not currently subject to popular vote. Similarly, Iranians chose free elections and a free press as their most important priorities for their government, virtually tied with improving the national economy. These were hardly "politically correct" responses to voice publicly in a largely authoritarian society.
--- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/14/AR2009061401757.html

2) Story lead (Jun 29, 2008): The Bush administration told Congress last year of a secret plan to dramatically expand covert operations inside Iran as part of a long-running effort to destabilize the country's ruling regime, according to a report published yesterday.

The plan allowed up to $400 million in covert spending for activities ranging from spying on Iran's nuclear program to supporting rebel groups opposed to the country's ruling clerics, veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported in the New Yorker magazine.
--- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/29/AR2008062901881_pf.html

3) Neocon Kenneth Timmerman day before elections (Jun 11, 2009):
Quote: And then, there's the talk of a "green revolution" in Tehran, named for the omnipresent green scarves and banners that fill the air at Mousavi campaign events.
Second quote (Read carefully): ___The National Endowment for Democracy has spent millions of dollars during the past decade promoting "color" revolutions in places such as Ukraine and Serbia, training political workers in modern communications and organizational techniques.

Some of that money appears to have made it into the hands of pro-Mousavi groups, who have ties to non-governmental organizations outside Iran that the National Endowment for Democracy funds. ____
--- http://www.newsmax.com/timmerman/Iran_election_Reformists/2009/06/11/224025.html

4) Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI), notably Kenneth Timmerman. Read what they say.
--- http://www.iran.org/about.htm

5) Story subtitle: Diplomacy is doing nothing to stop the Iranian nuclear threat; a show of force is the only answer.
Article by Joshua Muravchik, also FDI co-founder (Nov 19, 2006)
--- http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-op-muravchik19nov19,0,5419188.story?coll=la-home-commentary

6) More background (May 22, 2007):
Story lead: The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.
--- http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/05/bush_authorizes.html

7) Story lead: (May 27, 2007) President George W Bush has given the CIA approval to launch covert "black" operations to achieve regime change in Iran, intelligence sources have revealed.
--- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1552784/Bush-sanctions-black-ops-against-Iran.html

8) Notice the chronology in this quote from John Bolton (May 16, 2007): "Economic sanctions "with pain" had to be the next step, followed by attempting to overthrow the theocratic regime and, ultimately, military action to destroy nuclear sites."
--- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1551726/We-must-attack-Iran-before-it-gets-the-bomb.html

9) Story lead (Jul 7, 2008): Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country's religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations.
--- http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/07/07/080707fa_fact_hersh

10) I will link directly to the page, does a better job of summing than I would:
--- http://www.infowars.com/iran-some-dots-you-may-want-to-connect/

more than 5 years ago
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Newspaper Crowdsources 700,000-Page Investigation of MP Expenses

Alorelith Re:I know this isn't the point.... (188 comments)

A statement of this sort (your first sentence) is pretty meaningless. The fact that you even say that is evidence that you lack taqwa, whether you infer that to mean the intended Islamic meaning or a mishmash of ideals you pen for yourself. Many people are genuinely not the way you state they are and its unfortunate that you do not understand that, for if you did you would be careful with your words. Live a life amongst these people for some time and you will not come back the same.

As for your last statement about being holier than thou -- first, a truly pious or knowledgeable person would not strike someone in that fashion. Their legacy is generally that they are invisible to those who cannot recognize them for what they are. Second, if someone of this stature actually recommended an action to you, you would not feel threatened with a 'holier than thou' mentality -- you would either entirely miss the point or you would take the advice seriously. Most people in this position aren't lecturing anyway -- they are busy purifying their own hearts. And finally, a wise person would only consider someone else being 'holier than thou' if he saw some sort of contradiction in what was being said. Alas, that is the issue with the politician, by and large.

Food for thought.

more than 5 years ago
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Law of Armed Conflict To Apply To Cyberwar

Alorelith Re:Awesome (242 comments)

If you haven't already, I think you should take a look at the writings of Shaykh AbdalQadir As-Sufi. Even if you are not a Muslim, I think your history of posting shows you to be quite understanding to the position of serious Muslims, the likes of which the world hardly knows unfortunately. Here's a sample but feel free to investigate the website. Peace.

http://www.shaykhabdalqadir.com/content/articles/Art050_08122005.html

more than 5 years ago
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Pirate Party Banned From Social Networking Site

Alorelith Re:Zeitgeist (354 comments)

Amen. The many myths that surround the Nazis and the 'you know what' are pretty impressive if one even remotely tries to understand why they are so viciously defended.

more than 5 years ago
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Canadian Bureaucrats Don't "Think Different"

Alorelith Re:I don't quite get it.. (427 comments)

Umm...don't forget, it's Quebec, so it'd probably say défense de stationner.

about 7 years ago

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