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Richard Stallman Falls Ill At Conference

MikeURL Re:Putting his money where his mouth is (460 comments)

Little is more satisfying than responding with a "go fuck yourself" when some stranger tells you to smile.

more than 2 years ago

Twitter Comes Out Swinging Against Google's Personalized Search

MikeURL Re:I don't see the problem at all! Am I just dumb? (186 comments)

Twitter is trying to play its "look how we facilitate things like the Arab Spring" card. So they are not-so-subtly suggesting that fragmenting the world of short form text messages would destroy freedom. After all, how can the twitterverse stand as a bulwark against a totalitarian state when google+ is breaking news too?

I imagine their ultimate fear is that the next step is text message aggregators and the loss of their "brand".

All of it makes me want to send them an email suggesting they get off my lawn.

about 3 years ago

Do Online Educational Badges Threaten Conventional Education Models?

MikeURL Re:Not optimistic. (294 comments)

I think it would be helpful if courses with a research paper have that as their only requirement. The amount of time, effort and skill to do it properly can easily eat up 3 credits worth of effort. The problem, as I see it, is that professors will casually assign a research paper, a presentation, a midterm and a final all in the same course. Further, the research paper will often wind up as only a small fraction of the grade with the midterm and final as the primary determinant of the grade. So the research paper becomes a pro forma exercise where anything reasonably intelligible can pass.

I always thought that was ridiculous because reading and synthesizing a textbook is pretty easy next to the effort needed to write a decent paper on a real world topic and all the complexities attached thereto. If I had my magic wand I'd put one research paper course right at the front of every curriculum and then another required to capstone the curriculum. It would give both the student and the institution the opportunity to see the improvement of the student as someone who can truly use and synthesize information in a useful way.

about 3 years ago

Do Online Educational Badges Threaten Conventional Education Models?

MikeURL Re:Not optimistic. (294 comments)

Personally I think the problem is that trade policies have offshored US jobs faster than they could be created. So people flooded into Higher Ed out of desperation in the hopes that education would uniformly preserve the American middle class.

It helped. But the hole is just too deep. Too many jobs left America forever and not all of those displaced workers belonged in a college. Many belonged in a textile mill, or stamping plastic toys in an assembly line. Now they are kinda forced into college and the government is there with the money because it seems better to educate people than stem the offshoring phenomenon that has made the top 1% even 1 percentier.

So those same people who sent the jobs overseas now start to complain about the lack of bang for the educational buck. Why aren't these people all the next Steve Jobs. And then for-profit schools come along and rape the people who not even the most desperate traditional school would accept. And then I guess the end game is everyone throws up their hands and says "fuck it, there is nothing we can do, here is a URL, best of luck".

about 3 years ago

DARPA Chooses Leader For 100-Year Starship Project

MikeURL Re:The private sector won't wait for 100 years (180 comments)

Well, if we're doing manned space travel purely for the opportunity to feel good about our species then it makes a lot more sense to go to Mars or to the moons of Jupiter. We would not have to wait nearly as long and it would have a similar impact on the human psyche.

This notion of building a giant ship to go to another solar system is extraordinarily impractical. The time lag for communications alone would make it very easy to ignore or forget about or just get kinda jaded over the whole thing (oh, this really happened 4 years ago?)

I can't see the case for exploring outside the solar system we are in when so much of it is unexplored and when the next nearest solar system is extremely far away. It would have been like Columbus sailing for the New World when only 6% of Spain had been explored.

about 3 years ago

Windows 8 To Include Built-in Reset, Refresh

MikeURL Why would an SoC design even need this? (441 comments)

I'm sure I'm missing something but the whole beauty of an SoC design is its simplicity. It seems to me there should not ever be a need to "reinstall" when the operating system is baked into the hardware. The only thing that should need to be reset is the settings.

So if you just reset all settings it would be essentially the same as a clean install. I know it doesn't work that way. I don't know why it doesn't. It should.

about 3 years ago

The 'Cable Guy' Now a Network Specialist

MikeURL They only check the signals (235 comments)

I've had cable installers come and go for years and years. All they ever do is use their meter to check the signals coming through the line. If the signals are good that is all they are interested in.

Frankly it is not all that hard to train someone to hook a cable up to a meter and check to see if the numbers are in acceptable ranges. In rare cases where the signals are off they start to replace splitters working backward from the cable modem. If that doesn't work they give up and blame neighborhood saturation.

So i don't know why you'd want to pay these guys a lot of money. They aren't doing highly skilled work. Now, if you're talking about the network engineers who have to design and fix the grid that is an entirely different story. Those are obviously highly skilled people who have to know their stuff. The guys plugging in modems? Not so much.

about 3 years ago

World's Worst PR Guy Gives His Side

MikeURL Re:That's pretty much what they did (576 comments)

Maybe I'm a cynic but I see everything as a marketing plot. As soon as I read that this was an outsourced PR guy that set my marketing BS radar on high alert.

Could this just be some douche and all of this happen randomly? It is possible. In fact that is starting to look like it is the case. But you're right--if we see sales of the controller go through the roof you can bet there will be companies all over the world looking to repeat this model. Look for someone to cause an internet uproar but make sure it is someone you can cut loose and bad mouth as soon as the viral load hits.

I guess I always will be suspicious of people who seem to fall very neatly into a pre-defined stereotype (particularly a negative one) without even the slightest hint of cognitive dissonance. I don't like to think such people exist.

more than 2 years ago

Denver Must Prove Red-Light Cameras Improve Safety

MikeURL Re:Where is your attention? (433 comments)

Can you slice that post up a little bit more? Maybe respond to each word rather than sentences. Thanks.

more than 3 years ago

Denver Must Prove Red-Light Cameras Improve Safety

MikeURL Where is your attention? (433 comments)

Every time I'm looking for a red light camera I'm not looking for crossing pedestrians.

Every time I'm looking for a speedtrap I'm not watching the road.

Every time I'm watching for a cruiser sneaking up behind me (marked and unmarked) I'm not looking forward.

I'd love to see more hard research on whether these measures make us more safe or less safe overall. If I were less concerned about getting a goddamed ticket I'd probably be a safer driver overall (even if it means I speed more or run more red lights).

more than 3 years ago

Why Android Upgrades Take So Long

MikeURL soak tester (226 comments)

I'm in a soak test group for one of the big carriers.

A couple of times it has turned into a very large clusterfuck. Stuff breaks that seems like it should not break for any reason ever. But there you are with 50 people saying that 911 won't work. So these updates break stuff. They break important stuff and every piece of hardware (even within the same hardware line) reacts a little bit differently.

It is one of the glaring weaknesses of a diversified culture (as compared to the locked down monoculture of Apple).

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What's a Good Tablet/App Combination For Note-Taking?

MikeURL It depends (425 comments)

For heavy note taking nothing is going to beat a pen and paper.

For light note taking where you only need to have a few highlights, draw some things, add notations..Supernote is awesome. I'm able to take perfectly acceptable electronic notes on my eee pad slider. It can handle my finger writing words as fast as I can write them. It does NOT convert what I write with my finger into text, it just accepts the input as a "picture" and places it as a word on the line.

Anyway, you can watch a video here http://www.androidauthority.com/supernote-for-asus-tablets-is-a-good-reason-to-make-your-parents-buy-you-a-tablet-for-school-29001/

more than 3 years ago

Google Music Downloads To Go Ahead Without Sony Or Warner

MikeURL Re:Google has a major problem (220 comments)

Google has a search funnel. As long as everything they do leads people to google searches--they're good.

They don't have to release the very best and most polished stuff. They aren't Apple. It isn't like they will be shipping a physical product that people will either love or hate for months, or years (GoogleTV is an exception..a bad exception). So they throw a lot of stuff up into the cloud, make it free, let people futz around with it and then sometimes they cease support. When they do, it is because the product isn't driving traffic to search. Please always remember search and adwords are still 90+% of Google's revenue. From a company wide standpoint it is 'all that matters'.

You may look at google and think they want to be in the Music business. You'd be wrong. They want you to think of Google when you need to search for something. If having a music service bolted on makes you more likely to search using Google, then they win. Period. Full stop.

more than 3 years ago

One Tenth of China's Farmland Polluted With Heavy Metals

MikeURL Re:The United States of China (412 comments)

That is risky. It is more challenging than you might think to just turn trade off.

America, however, is completely within its right to ramp up inspections of imported items to look for unsafe levels of contaminants. If enough lots get rejected then China will have the appropriate incentive to make changes over time. But that would require hiring ZOMG more government job killing bureaucrats.

Let's try to focus the blame where it makes the most sense. We have a government in the US that is inspecting only a tiny fraction of imports and even what they do inspect is mostly subject to only a cursory glance.

more than 3 years ago

Apple Security Chief Steps Down After iPhone Gaffe

MikeURL Oops (93 comments)

As a casual observer this takes something that was in my periphery and moves it front and center. Prior to this I was dismissing it all as a publicity stunt. Now I'm assuming they really did lose it, they really wanted it back and they really thought the best way to do that was send hired goons to the dude's house.


more than 3 years ago

Grant To Allow Khan Academy To Expand, Build a Physical School

MikeURL Re:And all... (92 comments)

A traditional education has benefits that online for-profit schools (or Khan Academy) really have trouble matching. Among them:

Networking with fellow students to develop relationships that will help them find a job.

Learning how to work, in person, in a group on a project.

Learning how to conduct real experiments with your own hands.

Tenured faculty that can be a lifetime resource.

Places to gather in-person socially (chances to meet friends, lovers, husbands/wives, etc).

The list goes on but these are some of the highlights. The main point is that people are social animals. you can't just lop off the social aspect of education as if it doesn't matter. Yes, learning is extremely important so to the extent that online for-profit schools and KA can do that then they are useful. But we should not underestimate the socialization that occurs during the collage years. In fact, we should be stressing that even more. Particularly helpful would be integrating international mock business and social interactions that mirror the needs of globalizing nations.

more than 3 years ago

Google Tweaks Algorithm As Concern Over Bing Grows

MikeURL Bing is winning the porn war (397 comments)

Have you checked the bing video search lately? The porn engine is...frankly it is amazing.

I mean, maybe they are pandering...maybe. But, um, porn with live thumbnails with no filters in place and with 99% working links.

With google instant they won't even allow curse words. And if the search would bring up porn it won't work. Lastly I've had to set my google search to "do not filter" at least 50 times over the years. They must have a reset that happens now and then to put it back to "moderate" because every time i check it it is back to "moderate" and I have to turn it off, save, and then repeat in 2 months.

more than 3 years ago

Siri Gives Apple Two Year Advantage Over Android

MikeURL Re:Iris (800 comments)

I think it is still impressive even if they only coded it for certain use cases and then integrated that with existing services or searches.

Google hasn't done that. Why can't I say to google search "open an google doc" and have it ask me "what kind?" That seems pretty basic and google has a vast universe of services they could link together with an AI (I know it isn't true AI). This is a very natural step for Apple because integration across their products has always been a focus. The more things we expect to do while mobile the more the cloud services need to be able to figure out "oh you want to do X, here is X"

It doesn't even need to be tru AI to be really helpful. Just pattern recognition is nice. I'll get Google started:

"I want to check my email" (open up the gmail app)
"I want to navigate from home to the nearest kmart" (open up Maps and the navigation addon)
"I'm locked out, derp" (show local locksmiths)
"Block off 2 to 3 PM tomorrow" (Open up Calendar with the suggested items prefilled)

Etc. And so that it doesn't get in the way of 'normal' google searches they can have it prefaced by something like "Google Assistant, I want XYZ". Build in some logic paths to deal with variations of the order of the words and bam, you have Siri. The killer app is the integration aspect...which should be pretty easy given that the whole voice recognition thing has been solved (an amazing feat in itself). The linking of a voice string to a google application should be the easy part. I assume it is just laziness on their part because they own all the data and the services. They just need to link them in some semi-intelligent way.

more than 3 years ago

Ron Paul Wants To End the Federal Student Loan Program

MikeURL Re:Yes and no... (1797 comments)

Yeah, the system worked fine until for-profit colleges said "wow this cozy little system is ripe for exploit!"

So they "arbitraged" the retail price of education vs. the real discounted price of education. This made it appear that they were competitive, price-wise, with the traditional schools. They they proceeded to sell education as a widget item to anyone that could fill out a FAFSA. The compliant congress went along with this because the lobbying dollars were flowing fast and free (blowing away the 50% rule which really helped maintain some sanity, and also allowing VA funds not to count toward the 90% cap).

It is sad. The for-profits moved VERY fast to basically fleece as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time because they knew the gravy train would not run forever. Now the Dept of Ed is finally cracking down on them but it is about...I dunno, 5 years too late..maybe more. Probably more but 2006 is when the floodgates really opened wide.

more than 3 years ago

Ron Paul Wants To End the Federal Student Loan Program

MikeURL derp (1797 comments)

I just want to add that most people can already opt for a really low cost education in the US.

2 years of a community college and 2 years at a state school (many of them have nice tidy articulation agreements). With that combo you walk away with very little debt and, in most cases, a pretty good education and in some cases a great education.

I think what one could maybe argue is that government subsidies cause people to look a little bit less at price. however, many community colleges are already enrolled to capacity so I'm not sure that argument would hold much water. There is probably this small sliver of people who go to Cornell to study history and then wonder why they can't make $250K a year. They are the minority but they are very very very vocal.

more than 3 years ago



The PC - Build vs. Buy

MikeURL MikeURL writes  |  more than 6 years ago

MikeURL (890801) writes "I searched the archives and it has been a while since there has been a "build vs. buy" discussion. The last time I was in the PC market it was not even up for debate because buying was clearly the way to go. Now that I'm back in the market I find that the situation is less clear. I can spec out a PC that would make me really happy at sites like mwave and then I look at the total+tax+shipping and compare it to what I can go pick up at BestBuy.

To my surprise the gap has narrowed quite a bit. The big box retailers still seem to give a little more system for the price (especially for "bundles") but the build option is remarkably close AND I get the exact parts that I want. What say you slashdot? Build or buy?"



On voting

MikeURL MikeURL writes  |  more than 8 years ago One of the measures of intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing viewpoints in your head at the same time. By this measure I'd have to estimate that most people are not very bright. The argument that "my scumbags are far superior to your scumbags" is only possibly where a switch has been turned off. The ability to critically analyze the behavior of ANY political group will yield inescapable conclusions. However, you do have to be able to divorce yourself from an emotional attachment to a "side" while still acknowledging that attachment.

Call it American Pragmatism, I do.

Right now the only thing that is obvious is that one party control of government is a Bad Thing. As a strategic voter I'd vote Democrat in the midterm election purely to address this issue. If the democrats held the same position I'd vote republican. Vote without affliliation, it is the only way to save America.


On social networking

MikeURL MikeURL writes  |  more than 8 years ago heh heh. I happen to think that if you step up a few thousand feet and look down what you see is an online landscape that is forming itself around the (needs/rules/requirements/pressures/right word?) of social community.

Before long I think it will be quite common to be as recognizable as a real person online as it is in meatspace. This won't happen overnight because many services and accounts (and etc) must be linked together first. The privacy nuts will scream and yell the entire way and generally make what is obvious become a painful ordeal.

One site I saw recently that takes a tiny babystep in this direction is http://grou.ps. They are still trying to focus this at the level of discreet groups rather than letting individuals form an identity via account linking FIRST and then use matching algorithms to form the groups. See where I'm going here? Scary, yeah I won't deny that but it is the future of human interaction.


On the politics of economics

MikeURL MikeURL writes  |  about 9 years ago For a moment there I thought you were talking about the United States (but you kept saying China). Nation-states have learned, over time, that some element of capitalism must exist in an economy for mega-societies to survive/thrive. However, the lesson so far has been that oppressive governments can use capitalism as effectively as non-oppressive ones.

Some may argue that the inevitable result of this is that most nation-states will tend toward a blended model with more repressive governments that rely more on a "free" market for distribution. Where the oligarchs feel like skimming they will skim and where they feel the "invisible hand" needed they will let that operate. The lesson of failed communism was learned well not only by the Chinese but by other nations as well. Slowly, quietly, insidiously I think you'll see personal and political freedoms erode even as economic freedoms expand. I also think it will happen slowly enough that most won't even notice it happening.

One open question is whether the nation-states in the Middle East have learned this lesson as a way to develop advanced economies WITH religious fundamentalists in charge of the government. With that as an open question it makes one wonder exactly what the US is trying to spread to Iraq. Also, under this particular lens, the recent victory of Hamas makes more sense. Will they enable a free market while still oppressing political freedom and human rights? China has shown the way to doing exactly that AND how to get the support of the West in the process.

Interesting times.


On Google Blocking search results in China

MikeURL MikeURL writes  |  about 9 years ago I went into this at length when the same thing came up WRT MS and China. I'm going to defend Google the same way I defended Microsoft. Corporations are not here to be champions of human rights. Google has an obligation to its shareholders to make money.

The chain of responsibility here remains The Chinese people>Chinese Government>Pacific Rim nations>The Western world

For the Western world the majority of the obligation falls to elected leaders to use government policy to attempt to implement change around the world. Corporations have an obligation to follow the law as set by governments and the people have the obligation to select the right government. Corporations WILL do buisness in whatever enviroment they are placed in. That is, in fact, one of the strengths of the corporation and why they can be so heartless and ruthless. If you want change in China here is what you do:

A) search for the political party or politicians who support taking actions to promote human rights in China.
B) Dig out your wallet and donate money to said party or individual.
C) Get ass to polls to vote.
D) If that person wins make sure you stay in contact with them on the issue.

There you have a real, and workable plan to implement change in the world. Now, you had better bear in mind that any intrusive actions or offensive actions on the part of our government may piss off the Chinese. This can cause them to sell our bonds, pop the real estate bubble, and make you wish you were never born. But hey, at least the Chinese people would have...well I'm not sure what they'd have--a pissed off government for sure. What does NOT work is bitching about corporations that you think should unilaterally either cut off the Chinese people or flagrantly offend the Chinese government. Yes it feels good because there don't seem to be consequences but the harsh reality is that real change that is faster than the people in a country want comes with very real consequences (koff Iraq koff koff).


USDA Organic

MikeURL MikeURL writes  |  about 9 years ago I don't have a problem with GM foods. I DO like to be able to avoid eating them if I so choose and I usually do so choose. I'm a lot like your "other half" in that I'll pay the premium for the USDA organic label on the front of a package. However, there have been efforts to weaken the USDA Organic standard in recent times. Part of the problem is that the organic foods business is now a multi-billion dollar a year industry and those industry leaders want to maintain their 20% growth rate. To do so I think they have calculated that USDA Organic and "all-natural" have to get a lot closer...meaning that organic move a lot closer to "all-natural". With "all-natural" being a throw away label that means almost nothing you can imagine a lot of people are pissed off.

In fact, Arthur Harvey took the Secretary of Ag to court over this very topic and won! Of course Congress rushed to pass laws to mitigate the impact of the loss on the big "organic" producers who said that actually complying with the original 1990 act would put them out of business. HELLO! USDA Organic was never intended to be some catch-all label. It was meant to be a high standard with some pretty strict guidelines that must be followed and is why we pay such a high premium for it.

To see how one big producer reacted to this go to Organic Valley's website. They basically complain about being required to comply with the law and I think that sucks. I think the "democratic process" they refer to is the one they pay their lobbists to structure in Washington and how dare this guy win in the courts on the ACTUAL LAW. I was stunned by this and I've written Horizon for their opinion on whether they also think it sucks to obey the law.


/. alternative

MikeURL MikeURL writes  |  more than 9 years ago OK, I took the time to go through both of them. Interesting implementation on kuro5hin and less so on hulver. However, these are both robust blogs and not news filters. What I'm envisioning is really a heck of a lot like /. but without some of the more egregious drawbacks.

1) The sandbox I mentioned in this thread would be for news articles (not user written blog-esque articles). There would be some basic filtering at the level of the editor so that people can keep up (my main complaint with digg is there are just too damn many articles put in the sandbox). Aside from those two differences the decision on what to put on the mainpage would be a lot like kuro5hin.
2) "genetic mutations" in mod selection. Every so often a person would be given mod access at random. This would be used to prevent inbred points of view and to provide seed capital for new points of view. Perhaps as a steady state or in a punctuated equilibrium fashion.
3) No hidden slashvertisements. One unobtrusive text ad to the side of every article. If google can do it then so can I

Once per month there would be a user freeforall in the sandbox where what is submitted are not articles but suggestions for improvement. The mods would then vote on the improvements and the top one would be implemented as funds and availability of resources allow.


On Politics

MikeURL MikeURL writes  |  more than 9 years ago I vote that we all agree not to actually buy into the notion that there is anything but a very superficial difference between Republicans and Democrats. Further, I vote that we all agree they are primarily interested in keeping/expanding their power, raising money for campaigns, themselves and their friends.

Further, I put to a vote the resolution that We the Sheeple not engage in petty partisan squables that only serve the ensure the power of the TwoPartyMonolith. Be it resolved that we are too damed smart for this and moreover we find it damned insulting that a corporate media plays so nicely with this Republicrat domination that we were, even temporarily, fooled.

Finally, I move for a non-partisan drive to vote for ANYONE who does not have an R or D next to their name.


The EFF needs your support

MikeURL MikeURL writes  |  more than 9 years ago I received an email today from Shari Steele, Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and apparently it is fundraising time. If you, like me, have watched the EFF lawsuits over the years and done a happy dance at your desk it is time to dig deep. In case you have forgotten how much EFF rocks please go to the EFF: Legal Victories to remind yourself. Then hie thee to the "Join EFF" tab and make it so.


The shuttle may never land

MikeURL MikeURL writes  |  more than 9 years ago Via CNN:
"The shuttle touchdown has been further delayed until 8/12, due to a decision by NASA that a pebble on the runway presented a danger to the landing gear. After the first two attempts to clear the runway of all debris, on 8/6 and 8/7, failed, NASA called off today's landing when it was discovered that there were a couple of 1,000 pollen spores littering the tarmac. Commenting at a NASA briefing, Bea Xavier, Safety and Security Chief, noted that the pollen posed a "metaphysical risk" to an already ill-fated mission. "After the discovery of loose pieces on the underside of Discovery, it makes sense to be as careful as possible and while you may need a microscope to see this pollen make no mistake--it still poses a danger. I've been advised that 1 in 1,345,956,285,993,933,012,490 landings could be adversely impacted by this level of pollen covering the landing strip." Still unclear is whether the shuttle can safely land at all due to photon contamination of the landing site that occurs as a result of an uncontrolled fusion reaction in the center of the Sun. "Some people call it sunlight but I call it a dangerous particle shower with an unpredictable wave component", said Xavier."


Data DOES want to be free

MikeURL MikeURL writes  |  more than 9 years ago Of course one can easily run into trouble when anthropomorphizing stuff. Data, as a creation of man's efforts, is free in the sense that it exists independent of its creator the moment it is created. After that moment all data is a function of the electric grid, electromagnetic forces, etc. In fact, data is as free as we are, which is to say not at all.

"Information wants to be free", as a catchy phrase , is just a bubble-gum crack away from being followed up with "wanna go to the mall?" If we are talking about what it truly means to be free then we all have to wait until we die and see if our degrees of freedom for consciousness expand or not. While on earth it is really silly to discuss anything as being free. Nothing at all is free in the truest and most strict sense of the word--there are only degrees of enslavement.

To be slightly more practical about it I would say that while data cannot ever be made truly free it is possible to vary the degree with which it is shielded from the perception of other conscioussystems. Shielding data from the view of other conscioussystems hardly qualifies as enslaving the data, or information, but may qualify as helping the System enslave fellow conscioussystems.



MikeURL MikeURL writes  |  more than 9 years ago Science Daily reports "For about 40 years, the semiconductor industry has been able to continually shrink the electronic components on silicon chips, packing ever more performance into computers. Now, fundamental physical limits to current technology have the industry scouring the research world for an alternative. In a paper published in the Aug. 1 online edition of Physical Review Letters (PRL), Stanford University physicists present ''orbitronics,'' an alternative to conventional electronics that could someday allow engineers to skirt a daunting limit while still using cheap, familiar silicon.


Intelligent Design

MikeURL MikeURL writes  |  more than 9 years ago I was reading the thread on slashdot and there are many good comments. Most of them are critical of ID as a scientific theory.

I think people who push ID know exactly who their audience is. They know that these are not people who have been trained in science. If you think about even your average undergraduate who has finished a natural science degree that person will have spent 100s and 100s of hours studying science. Once you get to the Ph.D. level the amount of time spent is so great that the chasm of understanding between a layperson and a scientist can't be bridged. ID folks know this and they use that difference as cover for their arguments, but why?

I think the main reason ID proponents have tried so hard to stamp their ideas with the imprimatur of science is because science has been so successful. As a human endeavor in this material world few things have been as successful as science has at helping humans get the things they want. Prayer, while useful to many, has not had nearly the same track record of proven successes. In this context, the desire of religious people to make inroads between science and their faith is pretty clear. "look, we are as good as scientists, pay attention to us".

The problem is that they aren't. Science works because it relys on what works. I really think that is what it boils down to. Over time the inexorable move in science is toward things that work and away from things that don't. The progression goes something like this:

"Gravity bends space? Are you insane?"
"No, I think it really does"
"BS, I don't believe you"
"Seriously, I'm pretty sure it does and if I'm right X will happen."
"Yeah yeah, when I see it I'll believe it"

Of course we all know how that one ended and Einstein was proven to be correct. I'm sure some people would have liked to argue but there was the proof. If they wanted to make a case they'd have to come up with better proof. And so it goes in science. The way things go in a debate in ID is something like this:

"Hey, I've got this nifty idea about our origins"
"Really? Neeto, pass the salt"
"Yeah, and guess what, it is based in science!"
"Holy crap! It is provable and makes predictions people can test???"
"Um, well, no but I have some cool thought experiments..."
"yeah yeah, in my thoughts I can fly like superman, I'll believe it when I see it"

Of course no proof or predictions are forthcoming from the ID crowd. I'd love to see something like ID that is provable and can make useful predictions. I think it would be a huge breakthrough in the world of science. However, until that day this is simply an attempt to call religion science.


So Sorry Souter

MikeURL MikeURL writes  |  more than 9 years ago The Supremes ruled on June 23, 2005 that it is indeed legal for local governments may seize people's homes and businesses -- even against their will -- for private economic development.

Reaction to this has been widespread and I think it is likely congress will step in to limit the impact of this ruling. Some people are alleging that this decision would make it possible for the government to take the property of any private party for pretty much any reason. Who is alleging this you ask? Some crazed nutcase sitting in his basement wearing a tinfoil hat? Hardly, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote in her dissent of Kelo v. New London:

"The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory. ...Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more. The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result. "That alone is a just government," wrote James Madison, "which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.""

Almost on cue a news report surfaced after the ruling about a developer attempting to force Justice David Souter (one of the majority that voted for Kelo v. New London) to sell his home so that a hotel could be built in its place. The reasoning behind the attempted expropriation would seem to comport to the law that Souter signed on to with his vote.

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