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Russia Says Drivers Must Not Have "Sex Disorders" To Get License

Chrisje Re:They (well some of them) are mental disorders (412 comments)

You manage to misrepresent transgenderism in one fell and foul swoop there.

Gender, in terms of how the brain is wired, is actually wired into the system before the testes drop or not. To cut a very long and technical story short, you are mentally wired to be male or female regardless of how your body turns out. For a small percentage of society, this means that their brains don't match their physical attributes, and the consequence of this is indeed a life long quest to become "right".

Stigmas and taboos are quite counterproductive for these individuals, and what Russia is doing is a gross violation of human rights. Then again, I don't expect much sympathy from US citizens, because the LGBT community is still under siege in the US as well. Laws are discriminatory, and public discourse is not very accepting of these folks. All you need to do is watch some Fox News and you'll get the gist.

Characterising the transgendered plight as "dress up in women's lingerie" only serves to exacerbate this situation, even if the intentions are quite OK.

about two weeks ago

Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

Chrisje Re: islam (1350 comments)

"Capitalism" is really quite a useless term. It frames the discussion in terms of a dichotomy that does not exist in reality. The Americans have now even started equating Socialism with Communism and by proxy of that full fledged Marxism, and then turn around to oppose this with "Freedom" or a "Free Market".

Now I have said this in another post, but there is no such thing as a free market. A free market has an unlimited amount of sellers, an unlimited amount of buyers and no regulations whatsoever. As soon as there's a discrepancy between the supply and demand side, like monopolies, cartels, monopsonies the market isn't truly "free".

Then as soon as you regulate the market in any way, shape or form it isn't truly free. Now for those libertarians out there, or those "no-government is good government" folks on this forum: "Capitalism" as translated into free market doctrine really sucks at morality. Do you agree that child labour ought to be illegal? Are you against slavery? Do you think some oversight should exist as to the circumstances under which labour is performed? If you answer yes to any of those questions, you yourself do not believe in a "free" market.

This means we can quit demonizing "Socialists" because of their alleged "anti-freedom" stance, and we can get on with having some constructive discussions on how we want to redistribute assets so as to maximize the welfare of the world population as a whole. Preferably based on fact rather than faintly religious notions.

Now the notions of a "free market", the "trickle-down effect" and most importantly the "rational actor model" that have been put forth by the Chicago school of economics and their ilk have been proven to be wrong and ineffective countless times. It should become clear if you look at the state of the US today, actually. For reference I would point towards the collected works of Joseph Stiglitz and Ha-Joon Chang.

Yet the public at large seems to want to keep paying lip service to these faulty theories and continues politicians, bankers and businessmen to act in accordance to that which is known to fuck up.

If you are saying people act according to "mutual benefit" you are a proponent of the "rational actor model" I talked about earlier, and that notion is bunk. This is not only made clear by Kahneman et al, but if you delve into George Lakoff's work you'll see that even our definition of rational thought is somewhat fictionalized. Dan Gardner will allow you to see how there is nothing rational about our calculation of risk and Barry Schwartz and Dan Azriely have written volumes on how we are impacted by choices.

To cut a long story short: Cognitive science has long proven that we wouldn't know what "mutual benefit" really is if it kicked us in the ass, which is illustrated by the ever narrowing of the definition of "rationality" in the rational actor model. So yes, the invisible hand as you define it is fictitious at best and completely religious at its worst.

We need government and we need to make some moral decisions as to the kind of society we wish to live in, and enforce that notion through the rule of law, also where economic policy and redistribution of wealth are concerned.

about two weeks ago

Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

Chrisje Re:islam (1350 comments)

But then religion has already lost all meaning. It just doesn't realize it yet.

I understand the need for some notion of spirituality because people can be freaked out by the prospect of a finite and largely meaningless life, so in order not to go insane I guess some of us need imaginary friends and a promise of an afterlife.

However, in daily life neither my religious neighbors nor I do not ask god to charge our mobile phones. We use a charger that was built and engineered by mankind. Similarly, I don't need a god for morality either. Simple empathy will enable us to do the right thing. We can recognize suffering and decide to try and end or minimize it all by ourselves.

I'd even go as far as to say that a morality that hinges on an external factor dictating it is weaker than a fully internalized and autonomous morality.

Given that opening statement, there is no practical and discernible difference between a religion, dogma and ideology.

about two weeks ago

Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

Chrisje Re:islam (1350 comments)

So much nuance needed here.

It is easy to look at Islam and consider it to be the root of all evil. Quite frankly this strikes me as a clean cut case of confusing correlation with causality.

Let me start by saying I do not condone violence of any kind, whether it's sectarian for any religion we know of or just plain assholery. So I don't condone the invasion of Iraq, the bombing of Gaza or the invasion of Charlie Hebdo's premise in any way, shape or form. Too many innocent and civilian lives are squandered tragically by all of these actions. Whether it's Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, the IRA, ETA, IDF or Rote Armee Fraktion, US Army or Halliburton that's engaging in violence, I don't care. It's all the same barbarism to me when civilians die.

However, I do find myself at odds with the notion of freedom of speech. I'll illustrate by means of a small segway:

Ha-Joon Chang, the Korean economist has once stated that there is no such thing as a free market. A free market has an unlimited amount of sellers, an unlimited amount of buyers and no regulations whatsoever. As soon as there's a discrepancy between the supply and demand side, like monopolies, cartels, monopsonies the market isn't truly "free".

Then as soon as you regulate the market it isn't truly free. Now for those libertarians out there, or those "no-government is good government" folks on this forum: "Capitalism" as translated into free market doctrine really sucks at morality. Do you agree that child labour ought to be illegal? Are you against slavery? Do you think some oversight should exist as to the circumstances under which labour is performed? If you answer yes to any of those questions, you yourself do not believe in a "free" market.

Similarly, my Constitution's Article 7 is colloquially called the Free Speech article, but really what it states is that Censorship is illegal as long as what you are saying, writing or broadcasting DOES NOT BREAK THE LAW. So the law says that hate-speech, slander and lastly "mis-representation of facts for commercial purposes" are all illegal.

As such, you are totally free to think what you like, but you can't say what you like. By that token: Nobody batted an eye when the Dutch courts forbade an organisation that openly advocated pedophilia. In this case, the consensus is that "free speech" should not be so free, think of the children, etc. But as soon as we are looking at insulting religion, speech should be "free".

Now if we look at the colonialist forces that shaped much of the Muslim world, all the way from Afghanistan to Syria, from Baghdad to Algiers, we should also get a notion of the socio-economic circumstances that arose after our collective (French, English, American and to a degree Belgian) intervention in those areas. And we can then safely conclude that those circumstances are highly conducive for violent crime: There is poverty, no rule of law, borders are haphazardly drawn across cultural and religious boundaries, and 19-35 year old males regularly have no prospect of procreating.

Then quite a few people fled these colonial FUBARs, and settled in Europe. This is about 4.5% of Europe's population, and they have been marginalized, discriminated and even treated with violence. If you look at the amount of violent attacks on mosques in the last 12 years, the list is staggeringly large as compared to attacks on synagogues or papers such as Charlie Hebdo.

So we are dealing with an impoverished population that has residual colonial trauma and is constantly being attacked from all angles, and then we wonder why violent excess enters the picture.

This is a very long winded way of saying that as far as taking the piss at Muslims is concerned, White Privilege becomes part of the equation. We can mock the RC Church more freely, because we are the elite and it is an institute of our own making. However, when we mock Islam we need to be mindful of the socio-economic and power structure we created in which these people survive.

It's akin to the difference between a black US citizen dropping the N-word vis a vis a white middle class male dropping the N-word. We need to be more cautious about viewing the whole picture if we are to solve radicalism in our societies.

about two weeks ago

Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology

Chrisje Re:Two things. (330 comments)

And boy let me tell you, the items that are controversial in the USofA are not the same ones that are controversial over here in Europe. Of course we get a smattering of IS and Ebola related news this time of year, but in general political discourse tends to not involve discussions on what one should be doing with one's penis, vagina, uterus or the contents thereof, but much more about the re-distribution of wealth and the state of law.

I see that both in Israel and the US, to be honest: A focus on the irrelevant. Case in point being that the security craze and hype surrounding 9/11 has caused a spike in ground traffic that killed more people than the 9/11 incident itself. It seems to me that both the US and Israel have a greater tendency than normal to hype relatively small risk factors and completely and blatantly ignore evidence for large looming risk factors, even in the face of mounting evidence.

The more progressive a society gets, the more balanced people's view is on risk. Whether the one causes the other or vice versa, I do not know. The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland are decidedly more earthy in their political discourse, even if obviously we do have some fear mongering rotten apples. Case in point in the Netherlands being the fascist reactionaries that crawled from under all the rocks in the country in the wake of the discussion on whether blackface is a good idea, but I digress.

So while the findings are interesting, firstly 83 subjects is a piss in the pond and secondly the original poster is right: Is this finding universal for all the cultures we find on the globe?

Lastly, by US standards I would be a flaming liberal. There's nothing wrong with smoking a doozie, I am atheist, I think abortion isn't even worth a discussion since babies only really become sentient some 2 months after birth, obviously I am in favour of gay marriage and last but not least I think the proliferation of weapons amongst civilians (and even the army, but I digress again) is a really really silly idea.

However, I self identify as a Left Winger in terms of economic re-distribution politics, as a Constitutional Conservative when it comes to safeguarding the state of law in my country, a Conservationist in terms of the environment and indeed finally as a Liberal in terms of sexual practice and tolerance and the tolerance for people of other color. But when it comes to my atheism I am quite extremist. I think people who are god-believers are simply lesser beings and I do strive to stamp out god-belief and related silliness wherever I encounter it.

Now I wonder, given all my views and thoughts on things, whether I would be deemed a "Conservative" or "Liberal", and what selection criteria would be used for classifying me such. Because none of those were mentioned in the article.

about 3 months ago

How Argonne National Lab Will Make Electric Cars Cheaper

Chrisje Re: Interesting news tibits (143 comments)

Why post this anonymous? Now it won't be +5Funny.

about 5 months ago

Favorite "Go!" Phrase?

Chrisje Allons-y! (701 comments)

I wanted to ask why Star Wars and Galactica, but no Culture novels, but then I realised that neither GCU Fate Amenable to Change or dROU Frank Exchange of Views had any sort of catch phrase.

about 6 months ago

Teachers Union: Computers Can Negatively Impact Children's Ability To Learn

Chrisje Re:Really? (310 comments)

You, as an individual, are not statistically relevant, even if what you describe is the actual truth. I say that last bit because infants, as soon as they are born, start sucking up language from their parents / caretakers, and I cannot really imagine you growing up in a total vacuum.

I do tend to agree most people learn best from people, because of the simple reason that there is so much evidence all around us that supports that claim. It is wired into us to mimic and learn from the people in our environment.

about 8 months ago

How much time do you spend gaming compared to 10 years ago?

Chrisje Re:Now and then.. (270 comments)

Konami Magical Tree, Yie Ar Kung Fu II and Namco's Bosconian, is all I have to say.

Maybe King's Valley II and Boulderdash too.

If you infer that this post has a get-off-my-lawn type of feel to it, you're right. Point is that the games I grew up with were all at least 10-15 years before 20 years ago. ;)

Since then, from my perspective, the largest two "Good Ideas" were packed in Leisure Suit Larry / Space Quest I and potentially Wolfenstein 3D.

I must admit I think Masters of Orion is one seriously underrated game. I'd love an update on that where the original gameplay is kept as is and ported to MacOS. ;)

about a year ago

I think wearable computing will take off...

Chrisje Re:Pockets (254 comments)

Obviously you have never heard of Fjallraven G2000 cloth. Then the US Marine Core uses cloth in their uniforms that is designed by a company residing in Almelo, the Netherlands. So in terms of cloth that can withstand fire, wear and tear, wind and rain, we have some of the most techy gear on the planet in Europe.

Then when it comes to regular clothing, I find that the US and Canada have an absolute horrid industry. Clothes are baggy, ill fitting and generally just look like bags rather than shirts or trousers. For nice, form fitting jeans, suits, shirts and such I rely on G-Star (Dutch), Diesel (Italian), Boss (German), Van Gils (Dutch again), Eton Shirts (Swedish), Ledub (Dutch) or Sand (Danish).

When it comes to hand made shoes for business or evening wear, I would point to Van Bommel (Dutch), Van Liers (Dutch), while for casual wear and golf I enjoy Ecco sneaks and golf sneaks (Danish).

All of these clothes are not particularly cheap, but they fit the body, they look really damn good and the quality is generally excellent.

So whether it's hi-tech (polar, wetlands, desert) gear or actual clothing for regular use, I tend to favor (Northern) European brands any day of the week.

1 year,16 days

Building an IT Infrastructure Today vs. 10 Years Ago

Chrisje Re:Virtualization (93 comments)

Information security and adhering to all manner of certification, both in terms of physical security and compliance to information management regulation, is usually a lot more stringent in a decent (professional) cloud environment than in people's own data center.

I'd be inclined to disagree with your assessment of hosted infrastructure, although quite honestly I am apprehensive about going to the cloud myself.

Maybe it's a psychological thing.

about a year ago

Building an IT Infrastructure Today vs. 10 Years Ago

Chrisje Re:Well.... Quite a bit has happened. (93 comments)

Sorry to burst your bubble there.

I'm afraid to say I've been bleeding blue (HP Blue, not Dell, IBM, eh... never mind) since the dawn of time.

about a year ago

Building an IT Infrastructure Today vs. 10 Years Ago

Chrisje Re:Well.... Quite a bit has happened. (93 comments)

Yes they are. I work in the Information Management software division as a pre-sales, and I'm pretty much paid to tell subsets of the above to customers.

- We are our own reference customer for Connected backup for end-points.
- We are our own reference customer for TRIM, now known as HP Records Manager 8.0
- We are our own reference customer for Database Archiving, now known as HP Application Information Optimiser

So all of that is publicly available in white-papers and case-studies.

The fact that we're building a public cloud infrastructure per country in Europe is also very much not a secret. If we want to get or retain EU based cloud customers, we need to be able to guarantee that their data remains their data and that it won't fall prey to third parties, chiefly amongst which the US government.

In terms of data center consolidation and cost savings associated with that, the strategy internal IT is following is largely in line with the Data Center concept we sell as Converged Infrastructure, Cloud System Matrix and Cloud System One.

Moreover our external web presence is run on the newly launched project Moonshot, in which you can currently cram some 45 servers in 5U rack space, which will soon get uplifted to 180 servers in 5U rack space.

All of this is a clean cut case of eating your own cooking, and then using that fact to market the underlying technologies.

So yes, I am very much convinced HP is comfortable with me sharing this publicly.

about a year ago

Building an IT Infrastructure Today vs. 10 Years Ago

Chrisje Well.... Quite a bit has happened. (93 comments)

We've consolidate all office application servers to 5 data centers, one per continent. Then we've rolled out end-point backup for some 80.000 laptops in the field and some 150.000 more PC's around offices across the world which includes legal hold capabilities. Each country in which we're active has a number of mobile device options for telephony, most of them being Android and Win8 based nowadays since WebOS got killed.

Then we're in the process of building a European infrastructure where we have data centers for managed customer environments in every major market in Europe. I am currently not aware of what's going on in APJ or South America. This is important in Europe however, because managed European customers don't want to see their data end up in the States, and the same goes for those that use our cloud offerings.

physical local IT staff presence in all countries has been minimized to a skeleton crew, not only because of data center consolidation but also because of the formation of a global IT helpdesk in low cost countries, and the rise of self-service portals.

The plethora of databases we had internally has been Archived using Application Information Optimizer for structured data archiving. We are our own biggest reference customer in this regard. On top of that we've beefed up our VPN access portals across the world so as to accommodate road warriors logging in from diverse locations.

Lastly, we use our own Records Management software suite to generate 8.000.000. unique records per day. These are archived for a particular retention period (7 years I believe) for auditing purposes.

about a year ago

I'd rather be spied on by ...

Chrisje Re:I'd have to say... (324 comments)

Why not Luxemburg? Liechtenstein? Andorra? Monaco? Tonga?

Personally I wouldn't mind being spied on intensively by Ancilla Tilia, but that just makes me sound sexist and / or desperate. Plus she's not into that kind of thing.

about a year ago

I'd rather be spied on by ...

Chrisje Re:What no Google, Yahoo, Procter and Gamble ? (324 comments)

Well, I hate to say this, but while corporations are just greedy entities that seem only care about expansion and profit, not in that order, governments actually should be somewhat ideological in nature.

As such I'd rather have particular governments spy on me. At the moment, I could deal with the Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Swiss, Dutch, possibly maybe the German, Belgian, French and Finnish governments spying on me. As for the rest, I am not so sure.

Conceptually speaking I do endorse governments before corporations.

about a year ago

I'd rather be spied on by ...

Chrisje Re:USA (324 comments)

I am assuming that whole post should have been modded up +5 Funny, but for those that don't get the sarcasm it represents I would like to add my two cents to the mix.

Let alone the fact that the good old US of A violates the Bill of Rights, the Geneva Convention and a whole slew of international and sensible treaties on Human rights and rights in general faster than you'd be able to say porridge, I must also point out the sheer arrogance of many US citizens when they indeed trumpet their nation as the birthplace of anything that's democratic (a Greek word) and free (an old Saxon/Frisian/Germanic/Scandinavian word).

Firstly, the United States are not the only country on the planet that has a Constitution. it might behoove people to remember that (amongst others) the Dutch Unie van Utrecht out of 1579 and the Dutch Revolt against the Spanish served as inspiration for Jefferson et al when they were looking to write their constitution and declaration of independence. So no, the US did not invent humanism, the enlightenment, the notion of an inalienable freedom to believe what you wish and other core things. Those have been around far longer than the US across many cultures on this globe.

Hell, I use a shaving soap from a factory that was started in 1565. My shaving soap is actually older than the US itself.

Secondly, given the levels of poverty, incarceration, the amount of annual executions, the lack of healthcare or even access to education many of your citizens suffer do point in the direction that the USA is actually becoming an impoverished, brutish, oppressive and uncivilized nation. As we all know paranoia, poverty and an unlimited supply of guns for the largest army on the planet are hardly a mix I would call "a jolly good idea".

Having said all that, for those that still don't get the sarcasm of the poster I'm replying to: I do indeed suggest you let the Canadians spy on you. They do seem more civilized than the other options in the poll.

about a year ago

I typically visit a doctor (for medical reasons) ...

Chrisje Re:I only go... (415 comments)

Why thank you. I really try, so it's a nice compliment.

about a year ago

I typically visit a doctor (for medical reasons) ...

Chrisje Re:I only go... (415 comments)

The poster you just replied to took the words right out of my mouth.

While I agree with you, and not a lot of people seem to disagree here, that vaccinations against dangerous diseases are a good thing, I think over-medication is the bane of our health care systems.

In the Netherlands, doctors have a reputation for not easily medicating people. We're cautious about antibiotics, we're cautious about many types of drugs. The usual response of a Dutch doctor to fever is that as long as it's not over 40 degrees C and doesn't last for longer than three days, it's nothing to worry about. Of course this can be nuanced based on symptoms seen, but you get the gist of it.

This means that the amount of people that develop an immunity to antibiotics and whatnot is much lower than in countries such as Israel and Bulgaria, where people tend to be over-medicated in my view.

To get back to vaccination, I do think it's our collective responsibility to weed out things like polio, diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus as much as we can, not getting flu shots is hardly morally offensive for the reasons already stipulated by the poster above.

In the Netherlands there's a huge debate over religious freedom vis a vis the vaccination of children from families that are religious to the point where they don't vaccinate. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that it's a collective responsibility to make sure these children don't fall victim to their parents' backwards views.

What you believe should be your prerogative, but as soon as you let it endanger unsuspecting minors your belief should be a secondary concern relative to the safety of those unsuspecting minors.

Either which way, a degree of nuance is called for in any such debate, so I don't think you should make messaging as simple as a blanket statement of "please get vaccinated" any more than you should advise people not to get vaccinated at all.

about a year ago

How Ubiquitous Autonomous Cars Could Affect Society (Video)

Chrisje Re:Obviously (369 comments)

You are so right. "Ruminations" can be interesting, but for video presentations I vastly prefer TED talks. They have it nailed down 9 out of 10 times. This video presentation is boring beyond belief, which is a shame because the topic in and of itself is interesting.

Then what this guy is saying is directly opposed to what Tesla is saying on combustion engines. Also he doesn't seem to have a good grasp of what a cab company does. I don't know about the US, but taxi's here are used to transport the elderly to hospitals and doctors for check-ups and whatnot, and also to allow for mobility of elderly. This includes longer trips on the municipality's dime. As such "only one station" to fuel up taxi's is absolute poppycock.

Cut a long story short, I don't think Peter Wayner sounds like he can predict shit from shinola.

about a year and a half ago


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