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Scientists Advocate Replacing Cattle With Insects

Micah Or Ostrich (760 comments)

I've also heard it suggested that ostrich would be a pretty sustainable replacement.

more than 3 years ago
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TSA To Make Pat-Downs More Embarrassing To Encourage Scanner Use

Micah Re:Pat down, or molest? (642 comments)

I just booked SAT ATL leaving Thursday before Christmas and coming back Sunday (Christmas is the Saturday) for $315. I had been concerned that it would be $500 or more, maybe I just got lucky.

Of course there's stupid checked bag fees which I may be able to avoid. Fares are often pretty low but the bag fees can help bring them back up to more historic levels.

more than 4 years ago
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The Advent of Religious Search Engines

Micah Thoughts on Seekfind from a Christian perspective (583 comments)

(Based on its static pages. Haven't been able to search yet.)

A while ago I saw another Christian general search engine (I forget the URL). I tried a few searches on it, and it was absolutely pathetic. The results could not have been less relevant if they tried! That is deeply disturbing to me, as I believe that we as Christians should should aim for excellence in all that we do.

It looks like this Seekfind will be different in that it doesn't aim to be a general search engine. I could see some value in that, if you're looking for thoughts on specific Bible passages or whatnot from a Christian perspective. I suspect that users who use Seekfind for that would have no trouble using Google for everything else, so there is no need to claim that they are "sheltered".

However, what disturbs me about Seekfind is its apparent narrowness in what they deem as "Christian-enough." Apparently they will not index sites that describe end-times from an amillennial perspective -- which is the most widely held view in all of Christendom (not American fundamentalism), and they won't consider infant baptism (as we in the Presbyterian Church do) or even believers' baptism by sprinkling. What the? It would be much more valuable if I could find commentaries from various Christian perspectives.

I'm looking forward to searching them for creation apologist material. From a comment above it looks like they only cover the young earth think tanks. I bet there won't be any results from reasons.org, which IMHO has a much saner interpretation of Creation (they argue that the Big Bang is fully compatible with a literal reading of the Bible).

more than 4 years ago
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Superheroes vs. the Westboro Baptist Church

Micah Re:Still doing that? (631 comments)

Yeah, good point. To our atheist colleagues here, who pride themselves in their thinking prowess, preaching Christ is indeed foolishness. It goes against everything they assume and believe to be true, and against common sense. How *could* it possibly be true?

Yet if it *is* true, then evidence, logic, and reason will ultimately reveal that if you dig deep enough. And I think that is precisely the case with Christ. There is plenty of historical evidence for His existence and crucifixion (virtually every serious scholar will admit that). And there are a number of facts, also nearly universally agreed upon, that strongly argue for the historicity of Christ's resurrection. (These are well documented in Gary Habermas' "The Historical Jesus".)

So that is the mystery of salvation. It is so clear that it is true to me, so how could virtually everyone else here miss it? I think the Bible has answers for that, but I won't go into it here.

more than 4 years ago
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Superheroes vs. the Westboro Baptist Church

Micah Re:Still doing that? (631 comments)

> Buying into any religion does away with trust in your own mind and does away with uncorrupted critical thinking.

I would challenge that. It may be true if you buy into the religion blindly which, of course, many do. But a number of intellectuals, by applying critical thinking, have come to the conclusion that the God of the Bible really does exist. CS Lewis is an obvious example.

I believe that is the case for me. I like to think, and my thinking has led me to the conclusion that there must be something behind the universe, and that of all the religions vying the explain that Something, historic Christianity wins by a mile.

When you're convinced that Christianity is true, there is still a lot of room for critical thought. I like to think about theology and debate various theological positions.

Also, I can trust in my mind because I believe I am made in the image of God. It is God's nature to be rational and He has created us with rational minds. On the other hand, if matter is all there is and we are here only because of chance, how can we trust our minds?

more than 4 years ago
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Best Smartphone Plan Covering US and Canada?

Micah Re:Why a smartphone? Google voice + prepaid is bes (199 comments)

Well it beats roaming with AT&T, who charges about $16 per MB. I was in Canada recently and had to make dang sure data roaming was turned off every second.

more than 4 years ago
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Geocities Shutting Down Today

Micah Thank Goodness! (396 comments)

I've been wanting to take my Geocities page down for almost a decade, but haven't been able to access it since they merged with Yahoo. (Yes I know there was some scheme to do so; tried it, didn't work.)

Just reviewed it again, and it is a blast from the past. What the heck, I'll link to the links page: My "best places of the web" in the late 90's

Appreciate that Slashdot gave me the reminder. I just wget -r 'd my site for memory sake. :) wget even managed to not get the ads. Even better!

more than 5 years ago
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Linux Games For Non-Gamers?

Micah Conquer Club (460 comments)

If you like Risk, this is kind of similar but way better. Play online with others, on a wide variety of maps and variety of rules.

Shameless referral link

You can play free, but only 4 games at a time. Subscribe for unlimited. :)

Works great in Firefox on Linux. I have been utterly addicted to it for about 2 years now. I am yodermk on there, if anyone cares.

more than 5 years ago
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Amazon Confirms EC2/S3 Not PCI Level 1 Compliant

Micah As someone who works in web server support (157 comments)

PCI compliance is an absolute crock of crap. The scans produce an endless list of nitpicks, most of which don't matter a bit in terms of actual security. (If they did, Red Hat would ship it like that by default.) And they usually miss gaping-wide holes like old Joomla installations that cry out to be cracked. Oh and Apache should NEVER have write access to the filesystem, except maybe /tmp, something not picked up in scans.

Actually I would probably argue that any server that runs PHP should not be used to process credit cards. That thing has *so* many vulnerabilities. Not trying to troll, it's just true. Of all the web site exploits I've seen, I can't remember a single one that didn't somehow involve PHP or a misbehaving PHP application.

Website security is possible, it just takes some brains. For example, PCI argues that credit card information should never be stored on a server. I think it can be done securely. For example, have a database user for the web application. That user is allowed ONLY to insert CC information, not read it. Have a separate admin user that can read back the information, and that user should only be able to connect from a known-secure network, such as the office. NOT even the server itself (unless maybe you are already root, but certainly not the web server). This for example could be implemented with security definer functions in PostgreSQL. Obviously you want to lock down SSH, and turn off FTP and most other crap.

more than 5 years ago
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Science, Technology, Natural History Museums?

Micah Re:OMSI (435 comments)

And while you're in Oregon, be sure to hit the Hatfield Marine Science Center just outside of Newport.

more than 5 years ago
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Oracle Buys Sun

Micah Re:Bad news for MySQL (906 comments)

So what's to stop those users from using PostgreSQL instead?

more than 5 years ago
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Oracle Buys Sun

Micah InnoDB and MySQL together (906 comments)

At last, InnoDB and MySQL owned by the same company. I guess that's a good thing.

more than 5 years ago
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Texas Vote May Challenge Teaching of Evolution

Micah Re:People don't really believe in Noah's Flood (1306 comments)

> This is, by the way, one reason why most scientists reject Creationism (both young-Earth and old-Earth; the only difference between them is philosphical hair-splitting, anyway).

As an old earth creationist, I suggest you look a bit harder at the differences. YEC and OEC, while agreeing that God is ultimately the source of the matter and design of the universe, are worlds apart in many ways. OEC prides itself on following the evidence wherever it leads. Most of us do even accept evolution to an extent, though do not believe it has all the answers as to why and how humans exist.

Also as an OEC I believe that the Bible teaches explicitly that the record of nature is reliable, and we can learn from it to understand what God has actually done (Psalm 19:1-3, Romans 1:18-20).

more than 5 years ago
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Want a Science Degree In Creationism?

Micah Re:Working vs. Teaching (848 comments)

> I don't see how millions of years is compatible with creationism, while hundreds of millions of years isn't. God is omnipotent and immortal, so He could have decided to wait hundreds of millions of years before zapping life into existence.

True He could have, but the point of early life was to 1) transform the environment and 2) provide biodeposits as abundantly as possible. The Bible (Genesis 1:2) seems to imply that God was busy doing something valuable in the early oceans, and creating first life quickly is an obvious interpretation of that. Therefore, an old earth creationism model would reasonably predict life as soon as the earth could possibly sustain it.

I agree that hundreds of millions of years of nothing would not necessarily falsify creationism completely, but it would add more complex 'why' questions. Why would God wait so long?

> I don't see how this would be out of character for a deity who spent 1/7 of his creation time resting. (From an old earth perspective, that's hundreds of millions of years, right?)

For one thing the days are not necessarily the same length, for another thing, most OECs see the seventh day as being in progress now (Hebrews 4 implies that we are still in God's rest). This seems to be corroborated by the record. Throughout the last tens of millions of years, quite a few new unique species came into existence. But ever since modern humans arrived (which I would say began God's "rest"), there has been relatively little formation of new species, and those that have formed could probably be explained through evolutionary theory (which I do not entirely reject). In other words, while God was creating, new species that would have a hard time evolving were introduced; now that God is at rest, evolution is all we have to go on for new species.

And that is also something that can be studied and falsified. Will future studies show that during the last 100k years, the speciation rate was about the same as for the previous 10 million? If so, that poses a serious problem to a creation model. If future discoveries continue to back up what I said, the Biblical creation model gets stronger.

> In other words, hominids shouldn't share any of our DNA.

Actually, common DNA and other biology are about the same between humans and nonspiritual animals simply because this is the design that works. God doesn't have to do too many crazy things like that to prove His existence (I think He has already done more than should be necessary for that.

more than 5 years ago
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Want a Science Degree In Creationism?

Micah Re:Creationism... (848 comments)

> Your crucifixion example: you think it's true because people believe in it...

That's not at all what I said. I said it has been referenced by numerous sources of the day. There is at least as much historical evidence for it as there is for many other ancient events which no one doubts.

> If the part about god creating the world in 7 days in false, one wonders what else is.

It's not false, it's just that the "days" *can* mean eras of time. That is absolutely a literal definition of the word translated to 'day' in Genesis 1.

I believe absolutely that Genesis is literal history, but we have to dig into what is actually said. Most people stop after a cursory glance and figure they know the full meaning.

more than 5 years ago
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Want a Science Degree In Creationism?

Micah Re:what about morality? (848 comments)

As a Christian, I would respond that morality is not arbitrarily handed down by God, nor does it transcend Him. Morality is defined by the very nature of God. The Bible says that God cannot lie or be tempted by evil. In some peoples' minds that might make Him not fully omnipotent, and maybe that is true. God cannot violate his moral character. So when we humans do something that violates His moral character, that is sin.

more than 5 years ago
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Want a Science Degree In Creationism?

Micah Re:Creationism... (848 comments)

> One could imagine a religion that could accomodate facts alongside religious tenets.

I suppose you're writing that with implied understanding that Christianity could not possibly be such a religion.

If that's the case, you may want to take a look. Forget clowns like Kent Hovind and go to apologists like CS Lewis.

I strongly hold to a historic Christian worldview precisely because I see it as matching reality better than do other religious or philosophical worldviews.

And this is essential. Believing a religion if it didn't jive with known truth would be silly.

We see the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Chris as the central truth of all of history. Bullcrap you say? Well the crucifixion is recorded in quite a few historical sources. While the resurrection is not directly cited by secular sources, those sources do describe the behavior of the early Christians that indicated that they believed with all their heart that the resurrection was real. They paid the price for this belief, being thrown to lions, etc. And many of these people are the very ones who would have seen the risen Christ.

Regarding scientific facts, although I agree that young earth creationism is bullcrap, belief in it is absolutely NOT required to be a Christian. No less than 11 verses in the Prophets talk about God being responsible for stretching out the heavens. This is exactly what is occurring -- fine tuning so extreme that it absolutely *has* to have an intelligent Being behind it. For example, from the Astrophysical Journal (Krause, I think, back in 1999), the fine-tuning of the dark energy density has to be to one part in 10^120 for any life to exist at any time or place in the universe.

Much more I could say but that's enough for now.

more than 5 years ago
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Want a Science Degree In Creationism?

Micah Re:Working vs. Teaching (848 comments)

That's true about most young earth creationists and the wider ID community.

There is an organization called Reasons to Believe whose mission is to produce a scientifically testable/falsifiable model for Biblical creationism, from an old earth perspective.

They believe that God designed the universe for the maximum benefit of human civilization and to fulfill God's purposes for the universe as quickly and efficiently as possible, and build a model on that. For example, to sustain civilization, humans need 4 billion years of biodeposits. RTB predicts that life appears on earth as quickly as could possibly be allowed under the conditions, and that is what we see. There is evidence of life existing 3.8 billion years ago, just millions of years after the Late Heavy Bombardment. A way to falsify this would be to show that life emerged over hundreds of millions of years, as most evolutionists have tended to assume.

They also predict that future observations in astronomy will show more and more evidence of the fine-tuning of the universe.

Another prediction is that since humans are created specially in God's image, there should be no clear genetic links with hominids. It also explains the sudden burst of such things as advanced tool use, jewelry, and religious artifacts on the scene about 50,000 years ago.

They have a lot more predictions, many of which are articulated in their book "Creation as Science" by Hugh Ross.

more than 5 years ago
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High Tech Misery In China

Micah Re:10% of a dim bulb (876 comments)

> Big Macs cost the same everywhere

Yes but they are not really indicative of the cost of food for "normal" people of the area.

In the US, McDonald's is on one of the cheapest places to eat.

In Ecuador, where I lived for a while, McDonald's is one of the more expensive places to eat. The cost of most McWhatevers in US$ (which Ecuador uses as currency) is a good bit higher than in the States.

But you can walk down the street there and get a nutritious almerzo (local lunch with rice, meat, juice, and maybe even desert) for $1.50 or less.

more than 5 years ago
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Senator Diane Feinstein Trying to Kill Net Neutrality

Micah Re:I didn't know Feinstein was a Republican.... (873 comments)

Yeah but Oregon is a marginally blue state, so it's not in the same category as Feinstein in California. Smith was lucky to hold on as long as he did.

more than 5 years ago

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Slashdot-style CMS ... as an Apache module in C

Micah Micah writes  |  about 11 years ago

Here's a brainfart idea I've had: a project to create an Apache module directly in C for a Slashdot-style CMS system. Rationale:

  • Slashcode consumes a hideous amount of memory and is rather complex.
  • PHP solutions are dog slow due to having to parse boatloads of PHP objects for every HTTP request, and these objects cannot be persistant.

Also, I want to design it to work solely with PostgreSQL. This project would be designed for users who have control of their system software, not your typical PHP/MySQL hosting plan. Standardizing on PostgreSQL would allow for simpler code, use of transactions, use of triggers and stored procedures to make the C code less complex, and undoubtably other advantages.

Another interesting goal is that it would be designed to return XML pages parsed by client side XSLT. This would make templates in the server unnecessary as each user would create his own XSLT to process standard XML data. No, it won't work on every browser right now, but let's design for the future. This design would also allow for minimal data transfer for each request. Since the XSLT would be cached, the header and footer info would only need to be loaded once, not to mention all the HTML formatting. Only the bare data in XML format would be transferred each request.

As much as possible, it should be made such that it could be easily extended by other modules written in C.

This idea is currently just in the "brainfart" stage, but I'm throwing it out for comment.

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Micah Micah writes  |  more than 11 years ago

This will probably drive most of you nuts, but I'm preparing to be a Geek Missionary! Yep, God gave me these skills, so I'm going to use them for Him! :D

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