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Ask Slashdot: Distributed Online Storage For Families?

NotBornYesterday FreeNAS (168 comments)

First, throw a few large disks in a spare PC at each location, install FreeNAS on a USB stick, create a ZFS filesystem. Now you can replicate snapshots between units. Rsync is there if you want it. Owncloud has a plugin you can install.

about 10 months ago
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Seeking Fifth Amendment Defenders

NotBornYesterday Re:Not worth answering (768 comments)

The theory behind the Bill of Rights says that our rights exist whether or not the Bill of Rights says we do, or because it is convenient, or because it is logical to your mind. We have them because they are part of our nature as human beings, and the rights in the Bill of Rights confirm that there are certain aspects of our nature as people in which the government has no authority to intervene.

The ability to freely think, speak, associate with others, and move about, or the ability to worship as we please, or not worship at all, involve our sovereignty over our own minds and persons. The government cannot compel moon-landing doubters and conspiracy theorists to disavow their crackpot ideas. Not because the crackpots are necessarily right (sometimes paranoid bastards ARE right, after all), but because our government has no sovereign right to rule our minds. An earlier commenter related the 5th amendment protections as analogous to the 4th interms of search and seizure. I view the 5th amendment's right to not self-incriminate as more like an intersection of the 1st and 4th amendments, because it involves not just our things, but our thoughts. I see it as self-evident that our thoughts are more closely bound to our being, and more deserving of impenetrable legal protection than our effects.

At their root, "Rights" as the Constitution lays them out are an explicit restriction on governmental power. Not the other way around.

about a year and a half ago
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Hacker Exposes Evidence of Widespread Grade Tampering In India

NotBornYesterday Re:Well... (304 comments)

If you do well, or someone helps you do well, you end up going to a prestigious school, and then onward to great things.

If you don't do well, and no one bumps your grades, you end in a downward educational and intellectual spiral, and end up coding websites for the CISCE.

about a year and a half ago
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Reverse-Engineered Irises Fool Eye-Scanners

NotBornYesterday Where did the article's photos come from? (98 comments)

The image editor didn't even bother to use Photoshop to add the fake iris images ... looks like they used MS Paint or something.

more than 2 years ago
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Osama Bin Laden Reported Dead, Body In US Hands

NotBornYesterday Re:So much for a fair trial. (1855 comments)

I mean, a guy arrested at the scene of a mass shooting, covered in blood and holding an assault rifle, screaming about how the aliens in his head told him to murder all of mankind... still gets a trial. Timothy McVeigh (the second biggest terrorist to attack US soil) got a trial. People who systematically abduct and rape hundreds of little girls and hide their bodies in barrels get a trial.

I'm certain the US would have loved to put him on trial. If he had wanted one, all he had to do was surrender. The loonies you mention, both hypothetical and real, seem to have been willing to be taken alive. Whether he really believed in his 72 virgins or not, he obviously preferred death to arrest.

more than 3 years ago
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Osama Bin Laden Reported Dead, Body In US Hands

NotBornYesterday Re:yay (1855 comments)

kill -9 /bin/laden

more than 3 years ago
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Balancing Choice With Irreversible Consequences In Games

NotBornYesterday Re:If I wanted consequences (352 comments)

I'll second the Fallout bit. The hardcore mode in New Vegas forces you to eat, drink, and sleep every so often. Also, rest and medicine don't instantly and automagically heal you and regrow lost limbs. That said, the save/reload/undo option the author of TFA philosophizes about still exists, and the automagic recovery and regrowth still happens with ludicrous speed and ease compared to the real world, etc., but I then again, didn't get it so my kids could learn a life lesson from it.

more than 3 years ago
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IBM Makes a Super Memory Breakthrough

NotBornYesterday Re:here's an idea (164 comments)

Your facts do not in any way mitigate the tremendous WHOOOOSH.

more than 3 years ago
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Obama FCC Caves On Net Neutrality

NotBornYesterday Re:Backlash (853 comments)

According to that logic, wouldn't ABC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, et al also be against it?

more than 3 years ago
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Obama FCC Caves On Net Neutrality

NotBornYesterday Re:Backlash (853 comments)

Speaking of FOXNews, here's something from them on net neutrality. It might surprise folks here, should they care to read it.

more than 3 years ago
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Navy Tests Mach 8 Electromagnetic Railgun

NotBornYesterday Re:Yay! (440 comments)

The recent leak of diplomatic cables offers more evidence that the USA does not seem to respect it's allies. Like what? You really think France or Germany would attack the USA? Not in 1000 years. Most of Europe is not the military, war-waging type. I have a hard time imagining how the USA can justify spying on these countries and their officials. If even the closest allies of the USA are treated with so little trust and respect, then I'm not certain any country can fully trust the USA.

Do you really think that other countries are not doing the same to the US and everyone else? Of course they are. Their cables just haven't been leaked yet.

As far as Europe being all peaceful, present-day Europe has been mostly peaceful, except for some regional wars in the Balkans recently. But prior to the cold war, Europe was nothing but wars going back to the Roman empire and beyond. Even during the cold war, NATO was predicated on the assumption that Europe would again be a battleground, and would need defense. Current events make Europe look peaceful. History, not so much.

Technological superiority, be it military or otherwise, is a race held on a treadmill. Standing still isn't an option. Railguns might buy us 5, 10, 20, maybe 30 years until someone else invents their own (or steals ours), much like stealth fighters, which are now in various stages of making their way into the arsenals of potential opponents around the world.

about 4 years ago
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Stuxnet Still Out of Control At Iran Nuclear Sites

NotBornYesterday Re:Simple, same as (361 comments)

Some perspective is needed here. Note that I said "perspective", not "denial and defense". The Japanese internment camps did not feature Zyklon B and gas ovens. What happened wasn't right by a long shot, but it isn't even in the same league as the Nazi purges. "All men are created equal" didn't have the same meaning then as it does now, because at the time it was intended as a rejection of the presumption that nobility were inherently superior to commoners, not a declaration of universal suffrage. It's true that in order to have the right to vote one had to be a land-owning white man, but generally, Constitutional protections covered all non-slaves.

"Biggest cunt in a suit" comes dangerously close to invoking a mandatory Rule 34 google search.

about 4 years ago
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Stuxnet Still Out of Control At Iran Nuclear Sites

NotBornYesterday Re:OT -- your sig (361 comments)

The cake is a lie.

about 4 years ago
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WikiLeaks Took Advice From Media Outlets

NotBornYesterday Re:Go read your history kid (385 comments)

Julian Assange is protecting himself with secrecy. Is that evil? Or are you justifying it because someone you support is doing it, as opposed to someone you don't like?

Or is it okay because sometimes secrecy is necessary?

about 4 years ago
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WikiLeaks Took Advice From Media Outlets

NotBornYesterday Re:Please Give Wikileaks story A Rest (385 comments)

The difference is that most slashdotters wouldn't blame the farmer much for shooting the pig thief.

about 4 years ago
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Using Cinnamon In the Production of Nanoparticles

NotBornYesterday Re:21st century alchemy (126 comments)

when you use it for a number with three digits or less your perceived IQ drops by roughly 10-15 points per digit less than four

Metahumor?

about 4 years ago

Submissions

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College student creates gel to stop bleeding, star healing

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  about a year and a half ago

NotBornYesterday (1093817) writes "A 20-year-old New York University student has invented a gel which, according to him, can stop heavy bleeding instantly. With the introduction of the latest invention by Joe Landolina,routine bandages could soon become a thing of the past. According to Landolina the Veti-Gel produced by him, can not only stop bleeding but also instantly start the healing process even on major wounds and wounds on internal organs and key arteries.

The gel, according to the report, is an artificial version of extracellular matrix, which is a substance present in the connective tissue which holds up an animal body together.

In a video with the article, the experimenter can be seen cutting a deep slice into the pork flesh while real pigs blood is being injected into the flesh at the same time. Soon after the flesh is cut, the blood starts flowing freely. However, as soon as the gel is applied on the cut and second liquid sprayed over it, the bleeding suddenly stops."

Link to Original Source
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US college blocks Facebook and Twitter

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  more than 4 years ago

NotBornYesterday (1093817) writes "A social experiment is underway at a college in Pennsylvania. Eric Darr, the university's provost, was inspired to try the experiment when he observed his 16-year-old daughter at home with Facebook open on her laptop, listening to music on iTunes, and had apps open on her iPhone and three different conversations going on instant messaging – all simultaneously. "It struck me how overpowering all this was, not in a negative way, and it made me wonder what would happen if all that wasn't there."

So, for the past week the private Harrisburg University has cut off access through its networks to Twitter and Facebook, instant messaging services and video chat through Skype. The reaction of the 800 or so students ranged from curious to puzzled to outraged. And the results?

Alexis Rivera, an 18-year-old student of internet security, said she had been surprised by the effect of being deprived of her beloved instant messaging and Facebook. "It's a lot better," she said. "I can pay attention much better now." As it is a laptop university, students have computers open at most lectures. In an average class, Rivera would have AOL, Yahoo, MSN and Skype instant messaging running, with up to seven chats going at the same time. "Normally I'd be chatting to other people in the class about how boring it was," she said. This week, without the distractions, she has found herself taking more notes and following the tutor with greater understanding. She has been doing more homework, as in the past she often missed assignments because she was so busy messaging she didn't hear them. And she's also become more outgoing. "I'm a lot more social," she said. "I talk to a lot more people, face to face, rather than sitting there typing away.""

Link to Original Source
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Microsoft licenses ARM technology

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  more than 4 years ago

NotBornYesterday (1093817) writes "Microsoft signed a new agreement to license technology for the Arm microprocessor architecture, opening the potential for the software giant to follow in Apple's footsteps and design its own Arm-based chips. "We have licensed our architecture and our instruction set to Microsoft," said Ian Drew, executive vice president of marketing at Arm. "This type of license allows you to design your own microarchitecture." Only a select group of companies hold similar licenses to design their own Arm-based microarchitectures. Apple, for example, said it custom-designed its A4 chip for the iPad and iPhone 4 to be more powerful for multitasking and yet extremely battery-efficient. Does this indicate a shift towards mobile phone hardware for the software giant? Perhaps not, given its existing partnerships with handset manufacturers. Maybe they are taking aim at the iPad, or perhaps they are looking to produce a next-generation Xbox without the 360's heat problems"
Link to Original Source
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India's $35 tablet computer

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  more than 4 years ago

NotBornYesterday (1093817) writes "India has unveiled the prototype of a $35 basic touchscreen tablet aimed at students, which it hopes to bring into production by 2011, and eventually, they hope the cost will fall to $10 per unit. India's Human resource development minister Kapil Sibal saying that "The motherboard, its chip, the processing, connectivity, all of them cumulatively cost around $35, including memory, display, everything." Using a memory card instead of a hard drive, and running a Linux OS, the designers have managed to keep the price low, and are now looking for manufacturing partners. The tablet can be used for functions like word processing, web browsing and video-conferencing. It has a solar power option too, which is important in India's less developed areas, though that add-on costs extra."
Link to Original Source
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Man marries video game girlfriend

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  about 5 years ago

NotBornYesterday (1093817) writes "Last week, a Japanese man, who goes by the name SAL9000, tied the knot with Nene Anegasaki, a character from the digital dating simulator Love Plus. Blazing a new trail for lovelorn basement-dwelling gamers everywhere, the pair got hitched in a public ceremony in Tokyo on Sunday and streamed the whole thing over the Internet. The happy couple then honeymooned in Guam. They only needed one plane ticket, since SAL simply brought the Nintendo hand-held system with him. We’re guessing he also carried her over the threshold – good thing she weighs only 0.6 pounds."
Link to Original Source
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AT&T calls Google a hypocrite on Net neutralit

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  more than 5 years ago

NotBornYesterday writes "AT&T is accusing Google of being a hypocrite when it comes to Net neutrality because it blocks certain phone calls on its Google Voice service. "By openly flaunting the call-blocking prohibition that applies to its competitors, Google is acting in a manner inconsistent with the spirit, if not the letter, of the FCC's fourth principle contained in its Internet Policy Statement," Robert Quinn, AT&T's senior vice president focusing on federal regulation, said in a statement.

Google blocks certain calls to avoid high costs due to a practice known as traffic pumping. Rural carriers can charge connection fees that are about 100 times higher than the rates that large local phone companies can charge. In traffic pumping, they share this revenue with adult chat services, conference-calling centers, party lines, and others that are able to attract lots of incoming phone calls to their networks.

Google responded by saying that the rules AT&T refers to don't apply to Google Voice for several reasons. Google Voice is a software application that offers a service on top of the existing telco infrastructure, it is a free service, and it is not intended to be a replacement for traditional telephone service. In fact, the service requires that users have a landline phone or a wireless phone."

Link to Original Source
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Russia sees Skype as economic & security thre

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  more than 5 years ago

NotBornYesterday (1093817) writes "It appears that Skype's growing popularity in Russia is causing concern among big business and government types alike.

"Infringing the interests" was clarified by Vitaly Kotov, Vice President of TTK, a telecoms unit of state-owned Russian Railways, who called on regulators to stop VoIP services from causing "a likely and uncontrolled fall in profits for the core telecom operators."

In addition to corporate interests, Skype is alleged to be a security risk for Russia, because it is not controlled by the state. VoIP applications like Skype are not connected to the SORM telephone conversation wiretapping system, and according to Vedomosti business daily on Friday, "Delegates at the meeting also warned that it has been impossible for police to spy on VoIP conversations".

Interestingly, authorities in Italy (according to a Russian News site) are voicing a similar concern, but with what sounds like an Open Source twist: "The encryption system used in this computer program is not being uncovered by a developer which strongly complicates the work of law-enforcement agencies." Are they just looking for the source code? Or are they looking for developer cooperation in making the crypto crackable? The likely Italian-to-Russian-to-English translation makes it hard for me to guess the answer.

One wonders how available Skype services are in Iran."

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RIAA suffers another legal setback

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  more than 6 years ago

NotBornYesterday (1093817) writes "It is official. The RIAA has received another setback in its attempts to sue people whom they accuse of sharing music online. As was widely expected, the $222k verdict against Jammy Thomas was dismissed. In the decision by Judge Michael Davis, the RIAA is skewered a couple different ways. He refuted the RIAA's assertion that making available constitutes infringement:

If simply making a copyrighted work available to the public constituted a distribution, even if no member of the public ever accessed that work, copyright owners would be able to make an end run around the standards for assessing contributor copyright infringement.

He also indicated that the damage award itself was "wholly disproportionate to the damages suffered by Plaintiffs." In light of the recent setbacks, it seems likely that the RIAA and their investigators will have to at least change tactics as they continue to pursue those who share digital content. According to the court:

... distribution to an investigator, such as MediaSentry, can constitute unauthorized distribution.

Reading between the lines, the net effect seems to be that from now on, MediaSentry will be required to actually download a song that has been "made available", in order to generate a copyright offense on the part of the person who offers the song. Despite this seemingly easy work-around, the RIAA's lawyers are not sounding happy:

"Requiring proof of actual transfers would cripple efforts to enforce copyright owners' rights online--and would solely benefit those who seek to freeload off plaintiff's investment,".

Although it remains to be seen how this verdict might affect other cases and investigations already in progress, one can imagine that the RIAA is already working on a plan B."

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New OLPC Design Unveiled

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  more than 6 years ago

NotBornYesterday (1093817) writes "The OLPC hardware appears to be in for a serious overhaul. The original green-and-beige model with distinctive flip-up antenna will be replaced by a device that looks and feels more like a book. In addition to being smaller, lighter, and more efficient than the first OLPC device, the XO2 will feature two touch screens on the inside, allowing it to function as an e-book, or as a laptop with one touch screen acting as a keyboard. What remains to be seen is if the devices can be produced at the aggressive $75 price point they are targeting. Although the original XO device targeted a price of $100, the real-world figure is close to double that today. Its supporters say that expected decreases in the price of the screens will allow them to hit their target price by the time it is expected to debut in 2010. Nicholas Negroponte said he envisions the new device to be first distributed as an e-book reader, with its laptop functionality as a secondary bonus.

"The XO2 will be a bit of a Trojan horse," said Prof Negroponte. Initially it will be promoted as an e-book reader with the capacity to store more than 500 e-books.
Hmm. Interesting description, Professor."
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Swiss man flies with jet powered wing

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  more than 6 years ago

NotBornYesterday (1093817) writes "After spending $190,000 and "countless hours" building a set of jet-powered wings, a Swiss man has successfully demoed this ultimate mother-of-all-toys. After jumping from a plane like a skydiver, he then lit the four jet engines and proceeded to fly around a valley in the Alps at up to 186 miles per hour. His site is here, if you want to see shots of him in action. "I still haven't used the full potential," he said."
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Microsoft launches 3D virtual space travel site

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  more than 6 years ago

NotBornYesterday (1093817) writes "Microsoft is launching www.WorldWideTelescope.org, a site that will allow detailed browsing and exploration of space from a computer. Mircosoft is not the first to launch a site that facilitates virtual space exploration, but those who have seen it say that Microsoft has set themselves apart by creating a "vivid" and "rich" experience, based on vast amounts of data from space telescopes and an easy-to-use interface. The viewer renders the data so as to avoid distortion, and allows the user to roll forward and back through time. Different view datasets are available, such as Hydrogen Alpha, IR Dust Map, RASS X-Ray, and others. From here:

"Exploring the virtual universe is incredibly smooth and seamless like a top-of-the-line computer game, but also the science is correct," said Alexander Szalay, a professor of astronomy and physics at Johns Hopkins. "No sacrifices have been made. It just feels as if you are in it."
Mac and Linux enthusiasts will note however, that the free viewer software download required for viewing said 3D universe only runs on Windows, and the minimum hardware includes an Intel Core 2 Duo."
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Apple's Green Efforts Criticized

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  more than 6 years ago

NotBornYesterday (1093817) writes "A environmental group has criticised Apple on its enviromental record and policies. In responding to past criticism, Apple has taken some steps to become more environmentally friendly, and has made an effort to communicate that to the public. Still, their critics claim not enough is being done, giving Apple a woeful 11 out of 100 points in their evaluation. However, it seems that much of the score hinges on the public availability of information, and less on actual environmental impact. How relevant and/or fair do you think the complaints are?

For what it's worth, here's how a few other companies ranked: According to the report, IBM leads the electronics sector with 77 points. Among internet and software companies, Google and Microsoft lead the pack with 55 and 38 points, respectively, and Amazon and eBay are tied for most evil with 5 points each."
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Inside look at Iran's nuclear program

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  more than 6 years ago

NotBornYesterday (1093817) writes "On April 8, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited his country's secretive nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz for a photo op. What came out of this visit is a series of photos which have caused a fair amount of interest among western scientists. Shown in the photos are not only some of the inner workings of the plant and current generation of enrichment centrifuges, but also key components to newer generations of more effective centrifuges. Analysts are "intrigued" not only by the technical revelations in the pictures, but also because Iran's Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar accompanied Ahmadinejad through the facility. In the words of one analyst, "This is intel to die for.""
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Geoengineering the atmosphere

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  more than 6 years ago

NotBornYesterday (1093817) writes "Scientists looking for options in the fight against global warming have come up with some interesting ideas, including algae blooms and space mirrors. Recently, some have suggested mimicking a volcano by pumping sulfate particles into the atmosphere in an attempt to create a cooling effect. From the article: "The cooling effects of suflate particles has been observed from past volcanic eruptions. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, for example, had a measurable downward effect on temperatures." However, this latest idea has come under fire as a possible threat to the ozone layer. Bad idea? Or is it worth the risk to give us a little extra time to reduce greenhouse gasses?"

Journals

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Fuck your opinion on healthcare.

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Okay, not everyone's opinion. Just the ones that are poisoning every fucking slashdot article with their political drivel, particularly about the recent healthcare law. I'm used to people around here inserting a certain amount of their political bias when they have nothing more useful to say, and I even do some of it myself, but holy self-conrtol, batman, try to show a little fucking restraint, will you? Sometimes the article is technical and political, so crossover is expected. But it's gotten so far out of hand that you can't open an article around here without having a couple hundred healthcare-related posts staring you in the face. Seriously. As an example, that particular article gets hijacked offtopic immediately after the first post. I had to scroll down past more or less a hundred useless posts to get to any relevant ones.

Maybe you're for the healthcare bill. Maybe you're against it. Maybe you're against it, and mad as hell that it passed. Maybe you're for it and mad as hell that other people are mad as hell about it passing. It doesn't matter. Shut the fuck up unless you have something useful to add to the particular technical article you are perusing. Better yet, go somewhere else more appropriate to either a) flame your opponents, b) shout down people that hold unpopular views, c) celebrate/commiserate with like-minded individuals in an effort to bolster your inadequate ego, or self-esteem, or whatever. Slashdot even gave you a place to go to get it all out of your system. And it seemed to work at first, because there's over 2300 replies so far. That makes it roughly an order of magnitude more popular than the regular articles around here. But some people still can't or won't leave well enough alone. Well, I've got a message for them: It's over folks! Done! Fait accompli! For better or worse, the healthcare bill passed, so isn't it time to stop beating this particular dead horse?

So please don't fuck up the rest of the articles. I'm begging you. You're ruining this place. I have nothing against others' views, or their right to bellow them as loudly and ignorantly as they want. But please, just don't do it here. Or do less of it, at least. Hey ... I've got an idea ... maybe you could write a journal article about your thoughts! That'd be a great fucking idea.

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The brain treats fact and belief the same

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  more than 5 years ago Author and researcher Sam Harris and some of his colleagues have published a study that explores how the brain handles matters of belief vs matters of fact. His findings indicate not only that the brain stores and processes them the same way, but also reveals other interesting details about how our minds handle what we consider to be truth.

This Newsweek article does a decent job of summing up the paper, and highlights a reaction that loyal Slashdot readers will probably find familiar:

... the "blasphemy reaction": that when atheists disagreed with a Christian belief, or when Christians affirmed one, their pleasure centers lit up - proof that the combatants in the faith-versus-reason wars really do enjoy the fight, equally.

As a bonus, all religious discussions, assertion of opinion as fact, and other common Slashdot misbehavior is hereby on-topic for this discussion.

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Small minds

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  more than 5 years ago

The world is full of people who have never, since childhood, met an open doorway with an open mind.
- E. B. White

Okay, so I'm feeling bitter today. And I think I know why. It's you.

It's not you the reader, personally, exactly. (Perhaps it is, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.) It's slashdot in general, of which you are part. I'm irritated by the vast majority of the people on here, who are generally an angry swarm of backbiting, close-minded, disrespectful, vacuous individuals who come here to meld with the hive-mind, or grind some socio-poitical ax rather than challenge themselves to think differently (no Apple reference intended). I don't mind the meme-posters, or the purveyors of tired jokes or esoteric humor, even if they drift off-topic. I'm glad they're here. I need the smiles.

I'm sick of every discussion spiraling off into a political knife fight. Right vs. left. EU vs. US. Everyone vs. US. Atheists vs. religion. Certainly some of the topics here are related to geopolitics, but damn near every topic descends into a political rant that has nothing to do with the real question at hand. You know what? Go shuffle off into the blogosphere and haunt or whatever sharp-toothed dim-witted political attack dog site agrees with your preconceived notions.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
- Aristotle

Even when the discussion stays briefly centered around the topic, this place is filled with allegedly intelligent people who refuse to consider another point of view, who rarely apologize for a mistake or misunderstanding. Is your sense of self-worth really driven by how angry you can make a stranger, or how savagely you can defend whatever dogmatic beliefs you cling to?

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
- William James

Hey, I've got nothing against spirited debate. I have several friends here whom I completely disagree with on most things, but a lot of what they write makes me think a little. The problem is that it appears that too many here has way more half-baked opinions and regurgitated biases than actual knowledge or new perspective.

We have met the enemy, and he is us.
- Walt Kelly

But I suppose I could handle all that with a shrug, but for one annoying fact: I have begun to think and post like you. Yes, the worst part of all this is realizing that I allow myself to get caught up in these sniping contests that pass for technical discussion. I usually try to keep to the high road, but sometimes it is way too tempting to score some vitriolic points against a poster who is out there just lobbing word-grenades all over the place. It feels good at first, but really, what did I get out of it? Am I any more informed than before? Is anyone else?

So, I tell you what; let's make a deal. I'll try to do the following, and hopefully a few others will too:
a) - I'll try to keep above the bickering, and post sanely.
b) - I'll try to stay on topic, or at least not drift off topic by more than a couple of degrees of separation.
c) - I'll try to include some bit of relevant fact or logic rather than simply opinion, unless opinion is what is needed, and I feel mine is particularly apropos.

Of course, maybe I've got it all wrong, and the real problem here is just me. Not you, not you and me, just me. Maybe I've been taking all this too seriously. Maybe my ass is wound so tight it has become a metaphorical coal-to-diamond conversion mechanism. Maybe I'm having the world's nerdiest midlife crisis. Maybe I need to shrug all this shit off and laugh a little. Like I said in the beginning, I could use all the smiles I can get.

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The Iranian leadership has jumped the shark.

NotBornYesterday NotBornYesterday writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Iran's mullahs had a pretty good thing going for a few decades. They rode to power on a revolution against a tyrant, and they've been riding a tide of religious fervor and nationalist sentiment ever since. Every year, they trot out a parade of Iranians to chant "Death to America", they burn some flags every now and then, and they fight a proxy war through Hezbollah against Israel and by extension, against us. It's the kind of thing that sells well at home, and serves to keep most Iranians united through fear and hatred of a common enemy.

Until now.

Iran's theocratic leadership is so accustomed to beating the drum of nationalism to rally support and unite the country against the Great White Satan, that they must not have realized that such tactics only work well when the enemy is external. They have found that in order to control their own people force, propaganda, and censorship are required. Force is something Iran's leaders know well, and are not afraid to use in thuggish abundance. Propaganda and censorship are skills they have used to greater or lesser degree since the 1979 revolution, but seldom if ever against a foe that is large, vocal, and internal. Low-tech (beating people on the streets and taking their cell phones and cameras) and high-tech methods (filtering internet access, tracking down digital dissidents, posting demonstrators' photographs for public aid in identification, etc) methods of censorship have been on display, and I have to begrudgingly give them credit for being more savvy in this area than I initially gave them credit for. What can I say. I'm naive sometimes.

Although they seem to have leveraged technology to their advantage for censorship, their propaganda skills are a little rusty. They are still insisting that the enemy is us; that western powers are fomenting the unrest that has spilled out onto the streets of Tehran. The mildest of criticism ("we deplore the violence") from outsiders has been met with shrill rhetoric from Mr. Ahmadinejad, who has been all too eager to stretch and morph mild and civil remarks from world leaders into vitriolic propaganda to support his - and the Mullahs' - insistence that the protests are due to outside interference.

Lies only work when those being lied to don't know the truth, or are willing to deny it. In other words, the lies have to be plausible. The fact that the grandiose distortions the Iranian leadership is accustomed to projecting (the Holocaust didn't happen, we don't have the problem of gays in Iran) don't sound plausible to most reasonable folks has been largely irrelevant while the foe has been external. But the religious leaders of Iran (dictatorship by committee, if you will) didn't even bother to cheat the vote in a believable fashion, and that has made all the difference in the aftermath. The Iranian people didn't buy it when the election results came in. They aren't buying the outside agitation myth. The emperors new clothes are being seen for what they are.

The people in the streets know the truth, and don't seem willing to let it go easily. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei also know the truth. Now it seems there will be a staring contest, and despite the protesters having the more vulnerable position, neither side appears willing to blink yet.

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