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Moot Retires From 4chan

Pfhorrest Re:It is hard not to associate this with 8chan (182 comments)

Thats why the best communities are those where comments are rated not by whether people agree with them, but by whether they are of discursive merit regardless of content: well-reasoned, polite, respectful, etc. That is why slashdot here has moderations like 'insightful' and 'flamebait' but not 'agree' or 'disagree'. So we can still preserve a quality of discourse with a variety of opinions, instead of either an echochamber or an unruly mob.

Of course that is really dependent on the people, not the software. The software can at best encourage behavior, but if people want to they can still abuse 'informative' as 'I agree' or 'overrated' as 'disagree'. Like all communities, everything depends on the quality of the people.

yesterday
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Moot Retires From 4chan

Pfhorrest Re:The least welcome news (182 comments)

If "websites remain the private property of a privileged few", it's a good thing they're so stupidly cheap to buy. Costs more to do laundry than to host your own site and do whatever the fuck you want with it, moderation-free.

2 days ago
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Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

Pfhorrest Re:Yeah! (502 comments)

Just wanted to say hi to a fellow take-in-new-information-and-change-opinions person. There need to be more of us, or if there are more of us already, we need to be more vocal, so the world knows both that it's OK to be reasonable (lots of people are doing it!) and more especially that reason will can actually get you somewhere with people.

My personal history: I started out, when I was very young, assuming that someone was obviously in charge of the whole world and all that was needed to make things better was to get whoever was in charge to do it, or put someone new in charge who would do it; to make things more fair, thoughts like "if society is going to be designed such that you need a car to function in it, then cars should be given to everyone when they're old enough to need them, otherwise it's just not fair". I was basically (and called myself) a straight up communist.

In my teens my perspective shifted as I realized that there really isn't and actually can't be anybody in charge setting up "the system" as a whole, there are just a bunch if interacting individuals and any system that there might be emerges organically from their interactions, so the best we can do is just keep people from trampling over each other, protect individuals' rights, and leave them to their self-determination. I considered myself a libertarian then.

Then as I became an adult and had to actually get by in the real world on my own, I realized like you that even given ideal libertarian freedom, success and failure are frequently, I'd say even predominantly, highly uncorrelated with hard work and skill. There is random chance to factor in, like you point out, and I've been hit with more than my fair share of bad luck to prove that point to me, but there are also systematic factors allowed by traditional American right-libertarianism that perpetuate inequalities, giving a hand up to those who need it least, and holding down those in greatest need.

In the years since then I've looked for other alternatives, finding some sympathy for left-libertarianism a.k.a. libertarian socialism, which is a term I now apply to myself in lieu of any other, although I am still strongly propertarian in contrast to them. I am also very sympathetic to distributivism and it's motto that "the problem with capitalism is not that there are too many capitalists, but that there are too few", i.e. purely free markets would work great if there were a society where everyone owned e.g. their own homes and businesses, and not a class division between the non-working owners and the non-owning workers. I mostly focus on contracts of rent (including the special case of rent on money, interest), and possibly contracts in general (besides transfers of ownership), as the root of the problems with traditional American right-libertarianism, and have extensive original arguments on how they perpetuate that owner/worker class division that would otherwise naturally dissolve in a truly free market, and thus how broadly libertarian ideals could be realized while still achieving socialist (egalitarian) ends, if only that feature (rent and interest) was omitted.

But I've also had to learn to separate idealism from pragmatism. I don't have any party I can get behind when it comes to representing my ideals, because they require refactoring large social structures in ways that most Americans simple cannot conceive ("libertarian socialist" being a blatant contradiction in their minds, never mind things like "stateless governance"). But that's all long-term, and the only work that can really be done there is to spread the ideas. In the short term, practical considerations outweigh ideals, especially since one way or another the ideals simply are not going to be realized in my lifetime. So in the short term, I've backed away from my libertarianism and accepted some more mainstream state-socialist concepts as the best thing that we can do right now with the political climate what it is, though that "best" is still informed by libertarian ideals. Things like: given that taxation is bad and ideally should not happen at all, but that it is going to happen anyway, if it happens, it should be done in the least-harmful way; namely, by taking from those who can best bear that burden, the rich, and spending on those who most benefit from it, the poor. In other words, taxes are bad but necessary, therefore progressive taxation is the best option.

So for the most part I end up disappointedly voting for Democrats, or Greens when they're available, and wishing there were better options. I really really wish the Libertarian party would just destroy the Republicans already and the mainstream debate could be between Libertarians and Democrats, because then maybe we'd see some movement in the right direction. (Basically everything those two parties agree on, I agree with; while basically everything the Democrats and Republicans agree on, I disagree with).

2 days ago
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Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration

Pfhorrest Re:You see that too? (502 comments)

I think you already answered your own question as to why Republicans would be behind a measure like this. They are generally anti-immigration. Normally I would find that a problem but in this case it seems to be right on the money.

(My general opinion on immigration is that anyone should be allowed into the country but then subject to exactly the same rights and responsibilities as citizens, so the immigrants don't get a free ride on the backs of citizen taxpayers, and employers don't get an exploitable underclass to undermine those very same citizens. It's fine to have open borders so long as everyone is treated equally; the problem is when the immigrants lack either the rights or the responsibilities of citizens, allowing them to exploit or to be exploited, in either way at a loss to the general citizenry).

2 days ago
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US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

Pfhorrest Re:They already have (661 comments)

By "reasonable person" here I mean a person responsive to the evidence. Someone who would give some criteria for evidence that would change their mind, and merely thinks that those criteria are not yet met. As opposed to someone who simply cannot conceive of anything ever changing their mind.

For a personal example, I am an atheist, and I can easily conceive of something that would convince me that something people would probably call God existed. I would still quibble about whether that appellation is correct, and what the proper response to the existence of such a being would be, and there are some senses of the term that by their definition could not be put to the test either way and so those such concepts are inherently religious (and I'd argue practically meaningless), but if you just meant something like an extremely powerful, extremely knowledgeable, and extremely benevolent being (proving "all" in any of those cases is logically impossible), then yeah, I can easily imagine seeing evidence that would convince me of it. That evidence just isn't available.

On the other hand, I've met plenty of religious people who, when presented with something like the Problem of Evil (the existence of evil is evidence that any God that might exist either can't, won't, or doesn't know he needs to do anything about it, and in any of those cases shouldn't count as God anymore), have no counterargument but just brush it off and continue believing what they want, unresponsive to reason. (There are other people who try to offer reasoned rebuttals, and though I've found all such reasoning wanting, I have respect that they're at least trying to be reasonable, even if they're failing at it; usually, their failure is offering a rebuttal which then makes the question undeterminable and thus requires the abandonment of reason for believer or skeptic alike). The unreasonableness comes when their beliefs are not compelled one way or another by the evidence, but selected because they or their consequences are more desirable than the alternative.

In the case of climate change, I've not dug into the question much because the popular debate surrounding it seems polarized between people who are both attached to their answers because of the desirability of their consequences, rather than being compelled by the evidence. But I trust the scientific community as a whole at least to be compelled by the evidence, even if not their politically-charged fans. It looks to me, from a distance, like one side is firmly (I'll even say religiously) attached to the premise that if climate change is happening —as they agree it is — then certain forms of government intervention are warranted; the other side in turn thinks such government intervention is never warranted and concludes via modus tollens that climate change must not be happening. Not that I think they're being explicit, even to themselves, about that line of reasoning. But they seem to be choosing what facts to accept based on the desirability of their supposed consequences, and thus being unreasonable. (The implication of those consequences from the facts is itself another form of unreasonability, in that it's inferring an "ought" from an "is", but that's shared by both sides).

3 days ago
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US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

Pfhorrest Re:More proof (661 comments)

If it is given that something is happening, there are always many different things that could be done in response to it.

In the case of global warming, there are the political responses you can't imagine other than; there are technological advances to be investigated that you mention nevertheless; there's always the option of individual people adapting individually to the problem as it begins to affect them (people on low-lying beaches relocating inland as sea levels rise, farmers relocating toward the poles as arable areas change, etc).

Whether the problem exists and what the proper response to it would be if it did should always be kept separate questions, otherwise you get nonsense like we're seeing where agreement on factual matters is determined by agreement on normative ones. But one never directly implies the other. This is basic philosophy at least as old as Hume.

3 days ago
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US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

Pfhorrest Re:They already have (661 comments)

It may be that the question is not religious, but the person in question holds a religious conviction in their chosen answer.

If there is no way to gather evidence to conclusive determine the answer for any reasonable person, then the question is religious, because nobody can do anything but assume an answer on faith.

If there is a way to gather evidence that would conclusively determine the answer for some reasonable people, but then other unreasonable people simply will not change their minds no matter what evidence you show them, then the latter people are religious, but not the question itself.

3 days ago
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Doxing Victim Zoe Quinn Launches Online "Anti-harassment Task Force"

Pfhorrest Re:The police are terrified (679 comments)

Yes, but the key words there are "knocking" and "asking". Those are the important steps people want police to have to do. (And getting proper permission to do that first, and showing proof that they got that permission when they do it). I'm sure the people you're thinking of who aren't grievously offended by that behavior would still be offended if the cops could just walk into their house without knocking or asking, even if that walking-in didn't have to involve kicking the door down; say for example the cops had some kind of universal door key. That's what the radar is like. Except, it's like the cops walking in the door with the universal door key are also invisible, so you don't even know they're there. People want to know that the cops are there and that they have gone through due process first, rather than just suddenly having them in their homes.

3 days ago
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Doxing Victim Zoe Quinn Launches Online "Anti-harassment Task Force"

Pfhorrest Re:The police are terrified (679 comments)

Because the radar just gives them the results of kicking the door down without them having to lift a boot. It's not the kicking that people want to stop, it's what the kicking is done for: invading the privacy of their homes, without due process or even the decency to show proof that due process has in fact been done before invading. Cops being able to see into your house from the outside whenever they want is just as bad as cops being able to bust into your house whenever they want. Both breech the expected and due privacy of the home.

4 days ago
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Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression

Pfhorrest Re: Pope Francis - fuck your mother (872 comments)

The only person I've known very well in person who held that "love the sinner, hate the sin" attitude had a relationship with me that sounds similar to yours and your wife's (though not romantic). She was also Catholic, and I am also atheist, and as mentioned before queer myself, and when the topic came up she would politely, almost bashfully mention that "well, I don't really approve of that, but it's your life", and if the topic didn't come up (which it rarely ever did), I could completely forget that she even politely disapproved of anything about me. Her disapproval of my sexuality seemed exactly the same as my disapproval of her religion: "you're free to be wrong if you like, not my business unless you make it my business".

about a week ago
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Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression

Pfhorrest Re:Pope Francis - fuck your mother (872 comments)

"I'm not saying you deserved to be raped, the rapist was definitely the one in the wrong there, but seriously what did you expect going out alone at night dressed like that?"

about two weeks ago
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Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression

Pfhorrest Re:Pope Francis - fuck your mother (872 comments)

I think more analogous, and true of myself, would be: I am completely 100% anti-religious and am firmly of the belief that nobody should follow any religion. That doesn't mean I'm an asshole to, or even dislike, all religious people. Some religious people can be really nice, morally good, generally intelligent people. They're still doing something wrong, being religious, but if that's one flaw in an otherwise good person that doesn't somehow cause them to become terrible people in every way, then it's a flaw I can overlook. I still hate religion, but I can like, or even love, religious people.

Now substitute "homosexuality" for "religion" in there, and that seems to be the attitude behind the "love the sinner, hate the sin" thing.

FWIW, I am pansexual and pangendered and so definitely on the "there's no sin there to hate" side of things, but the form of the attitude is sound. If there were any "sin" in it, it would still be possible and desirable to love the people committing that "sin" while still condemning the "sin" itself.

about two weeks ago
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Anonymous Declares War Over Charlie Hebdo Attack

Pfhorrest Re: So they are doing what? (509 comments)

And we can safely disregard anything you ever have to say again, you flippant sack of shit.

about two weeks ago
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Anonymous Declares War Over Charlie Hebdo Attack

Pfhorrest Re: So they are doing what? (509 comments)

Yes. The people hypothetically trampling others in a panic are responsible for that act, not the person claiming there is a fire, whether or not there really is a fire.

about two weeks ago
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Anonymous Declares War Over Charlie Hebdo Attack

Pfhorrest Re:So they are doing what? (509 comments)

Every act says something, and every instance of speech is an action. What's important is to distinguish the "speech" aspect of a given speech-act from the "action" aspect. The distinction is very easy to make in rigorous physical terms. Every "act" of one thing upon another (really always and interaction between them), including actions by humans upon other humans and other things, transfers both information and energy. We should not regulate those actions based on their information content. We should only regulate them based on their energy content, relative to already-present ambient energies.

For a simple example: every image displayed is light emitted or reflected at people who might possibly claim victimization by that. We can regulate shining light at people based on how bright that light is, or based on the general shape of its spectrum compared to ambient lighting (x-rays are not ok), but we cannot regulate shining light at people based on the information conveyed by that light, i.e. based on the image. Likewise sounds: we can regulate sending air vibrations at people based on the amplitude and general frequency pattern of those vibrations relative to ambient noise, but not based on the information conveyed by them. Likewise smells: we can regulate emitting chemicals into the atmosphere based on their quantities relative to quantities already present in the ambient atmosphere, but otherwise not (so exhaling your carbon dioxide into the air is OK, but spraying noxious chemicals in the same quantities into the air is not). Likewise touch, which since there is not generally an ambient level of people touching each other (except maybe to some degree in crowds where shoulders bump etc), means touching can almost always be regulated.

about two weeks ago
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The Search For Starivores, Intelligent Life That Could Eat the Sun

Pfhorrest Re:Look for what you can see. (300 comments)

Black holes eat stars and frequently eject giant gas plumes too...

about two weeks ago
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Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

Pfhorrest Re:Any actual examples? (598 comments)

Apparently it's an updated version of an ancient troll, as when I first saw that back on CSMA, Macs weren't called "G"-anything yet.

Hey GGP, do the one about not being able to find a mouse at Target at 3AM next!

about three weeks ago
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New Year's Resolution for 2015

Pfhorrest Keep on keepin' on (214 comments)

Keep exercising and hopefully losing weight.

Keep making and hopefully saving money.

Keep up my wonderful romantic relationship.

Keep having adventures, be they little local ones, big annual ones, or just the inevitable crazy one called life.

Hopefully somewhere in the midst of all that, if it all keeps working out, achieve some semblance of mental balance and tranquility along the way.

Saying I'm going to do any of those things for 2015 specifically implies they're not life-long ongoing projects that I've been doing and will (hopefully) continue doing long afterward.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Teacher laid off for telling the truth about Santa

Pfhorrest Pfhorrest writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Pfhorrest writes "The Times Online reports:

A supply teacher has been told not to return to one primary school after she told a class of seven-year-olds that Santa Claus did not exist.

Children at Blackshaw Lane Primary School in Oldham were talking about Christmas when the teacher came out with the news.

Father Christmas was not responsible for delivering their presents on Christmas Eve, the pupils were taught. The teacher, who had been drafted in for just the day, has now been told not to come back.

Parents complained to the school after their children returned home to recount what they had learnt in lessons that day.

With all the contention about teaching religion (or the lack thereof) in schools these days, what do you all think about similar issues regarding more frivolous popular folklore like Santa Claus here? Should a school be able to fire a teacher for telling the truth about something all adults accepts as mere myth?"
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Eternal - Beyond Infinity Lies Destiny

Pfhorrest Pfhorrest writes  |  more than 6 years ago The Xeventh Project is proud to present a Marathon scenario nearly twelve years in the making: Eternal X.

The longest-running Marathon scenario project in history, Eternal began production in 1996 upon the release of Marathon Infinity. Eventually run into the ground and then dormant for many years, it was resurrected in 2004 just in time for a "penultimate" release on Marathon's 10th anniversary, which received over ten thousand downloads. For the past several years since then, a crack team of some of the Marathon community's most skilled artists, musicians, and cartographers has been busy putting the final polish on this ancient project; and now, at long last, Eternal X is complete.

Featuring 52 huge levels, hundreds of new high-resolution textures, over a dozen tracks of original music, a wholly revamed user interface, all new weapons, and several new creatures and characters, alongside the complete cast from the original trilogy and numerous familiar locations, Eternal is one of the largest and most ambitious Marathon scenario projects ever undertaken.

The story of Eternal begins nearly one hundred years after Marathon Infinity, on the S'pht moon K'lia, hanging in orbit over a desolate and ruined Earth. Clearly all is not well with this future, and once again you are the last hope for mankind. The people of this time say that nobody really won in the war with the Pfhor; but now, thanks to recovered Jjaro technology, a plan has been devised to make things right. Paired with another sort of hybrid creature, the former Battleroid known as Hathor, you have been selected to venture back across time, one hundred and eleven years in the past to the U.E.S.C. Marathon. There, you and Hathor are to set in motion a plan that will alter the course of history and bring true victory to mankind. But things don't always go according to plan, and what begins as a mission to right history turns into an epic pursuit which spans not only the stars but also the centuries.

The scenario is available in both a Full Edition, complete with high-resolution graphics and an original soundtrack, and a Lite Edition, which is more amenable to older computers and slower connections. Both the Full Edition and Lite Edition are compatible with all currently supported platforms of Aleph One, including Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.

To download Eternal X, please visit <http://eternal.bungie.org/>.

-Forrest Cameranesi
Director of the Xeventh Project


ABOUT MARATHON:
Marathon was a landmark first-person shooter created by Bungie Studios, creators of the acclaimed Halo franchise. Originally released on the Macintosh in 1994, Marathon introduced many new features and concepts to the genre including dual-weilded and dual-function weapons; versatile multiplayer modes such as King of the Hill, Kill the Man with the Ball, and cooperative play; friendly NPCs; and a deep and intricate storyline. The sequel, Marathon 2: Durandal, was released in 1995, improving on the engine technologies and greatly expanding the scope of the story. In 1996, Marathon 2 was ported to Windows 95, and the Marathon Infinity package was released for Macintosh, including a new scenario using a modified Marathon 2 engine, and most importantly, the tools used to build it, Forge and Anvil. In the year 2000, Bungie released the source code to the Marathon 2 engine, and the Marathon Open Source project began, resulting in the new Marathon engine called Aleph One. Finally, in 2005, Bungie authorized free redistribution of the entire Marathon trilogy and all related files. This means that the entire trilogy can now be legally obtained for free and played on nearly any computer. To download the original Marathon trilogy, please visit <http://source.bungie.org/get/>.

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