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Comments

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Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

Pfhorrest Re:Sanity... (503 comments)

Law enforcement began as [any given region's] largest street gang, long before recorded history.

You mean that that was in the brief period where it was a relatively popular idea to make law enforcement something better than that

3 days ago
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I think next winter will be:

Pfhorrest Re:I'm on the west coast, and El Niño is buil (147 comments)

As a Californian, it sure would be nice for the drought to end, but the last time El Niño struck, a mountain fell on my house. It's still there, the house holding back the mountain. I'd like to not repeat that experience.

4 days ago
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I think next winter will be:

Pfhorrest Re:winter is coming (147 comments)

Here in California we have four seasons just like everywhere else:

Sunny
Hot
Flooding
On Fire ...what, you don't have On Fire where you come from?

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

Pfhorrest The true Liberal Arts are mostly math (391 comments)

The original Liberal Arts (a term which literally means, more idiomatically translated from ars liberalis, "skills [needed] of free men") were, funny enough, mostly things that we would consider branches of mathematics today, and thus STEM fields.

First there was the "trivium" (from whence our word "trivial", because these skills were considered so basic and elementary):
- Grammar
- Logic (now considered a branch of mathematics)
- Rhetoric

But then there was the "quadrivium" which followed that:
- Arithmetic (obviously a branch of mathematics)
- Geometry (obviously a branch of mathematics)
- "Music"
- "Astronomy"

The last two are the most interesting ones, because "music" was not about playing instruments or singing, it was essentially harmonics, the study of "number in time"; and likewise, "astronomy" was not about the actual particulars of celestial bodies, but was essentially dynamics, the study of "number in space and time". These complemented geometry as the study of "number in space" and arithmetic as "number in itself".

In short, the quadrivium, which was over half of the original Liberal Arts, was entirely things we'd now consider mathematics; and a third of the remaining portion in the trivium, logic, would also be considered mathematics today. Five sevenths or over 71% of the Liberal Arts were all math subjects.

These were all intended to prepare one for the study of philosophy, which at that time encompassed what would become the natural sciences of today. (In the middle ages philosophy was in turn considered to be essentially in a support role to theology, but of course you'd get that kind of attitude in the continent-wide theocracy that was old Christendom.)

The Liberal Arts were to teach people how to communicate their thoughts coherently, rigorously, and persuasively, and to be able to think quantitatively about things in themselves and also their relations in space and time, all of that for the purpose of conducting the kind of broad and deep critical thinking about of the world we live necessary to live life as a free individual and to preserve the freedom of one's society.

Dismissing all of that for "science lol stem envy much" is the start of the road to serfdom.

5 days ago
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To prepare for a coronal mass ejection, I ...

Pfhorrest Re:A cornal what? (151 comments)

Just want to say I love the idea in your sig.

about two weeks ago
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California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Pfhorrest Re: Mecial Cannabis companies (275 comments)

I would think, if the stuff kept flying off the shelf like that (even is only due to one customer), you would just stock more of it and then sell more of it. Stock enough to let her buy all she wants and still have enough left over for everyone else who wants to buy it to get theirs too.

about two weeks ago
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Ask David Saltzberg About Being The Big Bang Theory's Science Advisor

Pfhorrest Re:Some help, please... (226 comments)

Reference frame is irrelevant to this question. If you, in whatever reference frame, measure travel distance as 80 mile and speed as 80mph, you will measure travel time as 1 hour. Others in other reference frames may measure different travel times, but they will also measure correspondingly different distances and speeds; and whatever they measure as 80 miles will still take what they measure as 1 hour to traverse at what they measure as 80mph.

about two weeks ago
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Underground Experiment Confirms Fusion Powers the Sun

Pfhorrest Re:That's not how science works (141 comments)

Etymologically, to prove means to test. Hence phrases like "proving grounds" and, more tellingly, "the exception that proves the rule" -- an apparent exception, an anomaly, which puts the rule to the test.

So a well-tested theory is "proven" in an etymologically sound way, just a way that doesn't mean "demonstrated to be true with absolute certainty".

about three weeks ago
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Underground Experiment Confirms Fusion Powers the Sun

Pfhorrest Re:Argument by Assertion (141 comments)

To be completely accurate, the sun doesn't produce any energy, it converts energy from one form (rest mass) to another form (electromagnetic radiation), increasing entropy in the process in keeping with the second law. That conversion process itself requires an input of energy (though one less than the energy output by said process) to initialize and sustain, and that energy is in turn supplied, in the form of kinetic energy, by conversion from yet another form (gravitational potential energy) spontaneously, precisely because of the second law of thermodynamics.

At one time in the history of science, it was thought that all of the energy of the sun was converted more or less directly from gravitational potential energy: a cloud of hydrogen collapses under gravity, converting its potential energy into kinetic energy, rendered macroscopically as temperature, causing the ball of collapsing gas to glow incandescently. The problem was that that process can't last for very long, so the sun (and consequently the whole solar system) would have to be pretty young, relatively (still massively old on a human scale) if that's what's making the sun glow. When we discovered that the Earth itself, and space rocks, are much older than the sun would have to be according to that theory, it required that something else be powering the sun on a longer scale. The introduction of nuclear fusion to the model solved that problem, and nowadays almost nobody even remembers that we once thought the sun was just, in effect, gravity-powered.

about three weeks ago
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Students From States With Faster Internet Tend To Have Higher Test Scores

Pfhorrest Re:Correlation is not causation (175 comments)

Correlation does not imply causation, but causation does imply correlation.

If A causes B, then A will also correlate with B. It's only the reverse that's false. (A correlating with B doesn't mean A causes B).

about 1 month ago
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Solar Plant Sets Birds On Fire As They Fly Overhead

Pfhorrest Re:Icarus Beware (521 comments)

You mean like a gigantic array of mirrors in concentric circles around a couple of 40 story towers?

If I were parachuting or hang gliding I'd avoid something that looked like that without even knowing anything about it.

about a month ago
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Silicon Valley Doesn't Have an Attitude Problem, OK?

Pfhorrest Re:It's not arrogance if... (262 comments)

Except that another place, even another comparable place, would now cost a lot more than $249,999 more than what he paid for his current place.

So if he wants to move to a different but comparable house in a different but comparably priced location, he has to lose a whole lot of money in the process. Meanwhile, people moving frequently to slightly more valuable places continuously over the time he's lived in this one place don't lose anything.

about a month ago
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Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

Pfhorrest Re:Nerd Blackface (442 comments)

As the kids these days say, "This."

Early Sheldon was a character I really liked, for all the reasons E-Rock pointed out. Other characters had friction with him mostly just because he was an insufferable genius who was always technically correct and looked down on everyone else for not living up to his standards of perfection, and ordinary fallible people find that kind of person hard to get along with because it such a person uncompromisingly highlights their own foibles.

But over the years Sheldon has morphed into a socially retarded asshole -- not just someone who awkwardly doesn't understand how best to interact with other people, but someone who thinks he does and yet is constantly wrong and will never hear anyone who tries to tell him so. He is no longer an insufferable genius who is always technically correct. He is an insufferable idiot who arrogantly insists that he is correct even when he is clearly, blatantly not.

And when a person starts to run roughshod over other people because of their own wrongly self-assessed "superiority", it goes from harmless "shamelessly ability to like himself" to dangerous borderline sociopathy as the AC I'm replying to said.

about a month and a half ago
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CIA Director Brennan Admits He Was Lying: CIA Really Did Spy On Congress

Pfhorrest Re:When will we... (266 comments)

Unless we want to coin the verb "to police-police", meaning second-order policing, rather than ordinary first order-policing. In which case police-police-police-police(n) police-police(v) police-police-police(n), as you said.

about 1 month ago
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CIA Director Brennan Admits He Was Lying: CIA Really Did Spy On Congress

Pfhorrest Re:When will we... (266 comments)

Oh, why did this take me so long to get.

Police-police-police(n) police(v) police-police(n) as police-police(n) police(v) police(n) and police(n) police(v) people.

about 1 month ago
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CIA Director Brennan Admits He Was Lying: CIA Really Did Spy On Congress

Pfhorrest Re:When will we... (266 comments)

Unless you've found a way to make "police" an adjective, I think you have one too many iterations of it there. Police(n) [whom] police(n) police(v) [in turn] police(v) [other] police(n).

The buffalo sentence in turn has eight, not five (or your six), iterations. Buffalo(NY) buffalo(bison) [whom] Buffalo(NY) buffalo(bison) buffalo(bully) [in turn] buffalo(bully) [other] Buffalo(NY) buffalo(bison).

about 2 months ago
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CIA Director Brennan Admits He Was Lying: CIA Really Did Spy On Congress

Pfhorrest Re:When will we... (266 comments)

How exactly is a massive government agency massively overstepping its already questionable legal bounds a result of "you wanted smaller government"? That sounds exactly like a prime example of bigger government and why someone might want a smaller one.

about 2 months ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Pfhorrest Interest is what breaks the free market (570 comments)

Interest, and the broader phenomenon of rent (interest is just rent on money), is the thing that breaks a free market and turns it into capitalism.

There would be no cause for forcible redistribution of wealth if only this mechanism by which wealth becomes concentrated was removed.

Without rent and interest, wealth would naturally redistribute from those with more to those with less, as those with more traded their excess capital for the labor of those with less; for what use is that excess if you're just sitting on it, not getting anything for it?

But when you can lend it out, and not only get it all back but more on top of that, and keep repeating that process, then you can spend that extra you get back to buy the labor of those with less than you, without ever losing any capital in the process. Capital becomes a free money machine, if you can charge usury on it (that is, charge for the mere use of it, without actually selling it).

And conversely, those who have to borrow from you, the same working poor whose labor you're buying, get to keep less of the product of their labor because they have to pay you that same little extra that you turn turn around and pay them with. The "free money" you get out of your free money machine is actually money out of their pockets; money that they would otherwise use to buy, rather than merely borrow, the things that they need.

In short, with rent and interest in existence, those with more wealth can perpetually extract labor from those with less wealth without ever losing anything in the process, perpetuating and even exacerbating the wealth gap between them.

While without rent and interest, that wealth gap would naturally close without any forceful intervention just by natural market forces.

about 2 months ago
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Pfhorrest Medical services need total billing clarity (570 comments)

Even worse, there are sometimes even deceptive statements made about how much you will have to pay, and business arrangements you enter into without even knowing that the other party exists, much less that you're getting their services.

I didn't see a doctor for ten years because I couldn't afford insurance, and when I finally got covered through a decent job and went to get my first general checkup in my adult life, there was a big sign up front saying "ALL CO-PAYS DUE AT TIME OF VISIT". I figured that meant what it said: anything I owed, that was not getting billed to my insurance, was going to be billed to me before I left. When they let me walk out without paying anything, I figured that meant I must not have had a co-pay, which made sense to me as it was just a general physical exam, and a blood draw for some basic general-health lab tests (cholesterol, blood sugar, STDs, etc).

Then I got a bill in the mail a month later. Called and complained, why am I getting billed, didn't my insurance cover this, and THEN they tell me that that bill is for the remainder that's left after what my insurance paid (IOW my copay). I argued about the sign saying all co-pays were due at time of visit and they said... I don't even remember what now, exactly, but something to the extent that that's no excuse and I have to pay the bill. Not knowing what else to do, I did.

A month later I got a different bill for the blood tests, from a different company. I called and complained that I already got a bill for that visit and paid it and even that was unexpected and what the hell is with two different companies trying to collect for the same fucking service. They explained that they are the lab that my doctor sent the blood off to for the tests, and they they bill separately, and that paying my doctor for their service doesn't get me off the hook for the lab service. I had no knowledge that I was even buying services from this lab company: the only entity I interfaced with was my doctor, they hired the fucking lab, let them pay the lab and roll the cost into their bill, I figured. But no, and lab insisted I owed them money, and not knowing what to do, I paid up.

A year later, my second doctor's visit in my adult life, different doctor in a different town as I had since moved. They at least had the decency to say up front how their billing works (without me even asking), and that they will send me a bill for the copay after they process it through my insurance. And they don't do in-house blood draws and send out to a lab, they send you to the lab of your choice with orders for what tests to run. So that's better, much more clear. But the lab itself also has a "ALL CO-PAYS DUE AT TIME OF SERVICES" sign... and this time, they actually billed me at time of services! Awesome. So far, I was liking the medical establishments in this new town a lot better.

Until a month or two later I got a bill from the lab. When I called to complain that I already paid them at the time of services as their sign said, they told me then that that was only an estimated copay, and that after they put the bill through insurance, there was still a balance remaining on my copay, which is what that bill was for. Again, no idea on what grounds to dispute it, so I paid up... but ugh, what the hell

For emergency services where the patient may not have the time or awareness to evaluate the costs and benefits, I can understand you just do the service and bill later. But for a motherfucking general checkup and routine bloodwork? Jesus fucking christ, how can you not just say what it will cost up front and bill before I accept your services?

It's only one step removed from the homeless guy who washes your windows without your consent and then demands you owe him money. "Hey man you need some medical services?" "Yeah uh I guess how much?" "Can't tell you yet now turn your head and cough." "Uh... [cough]" "Aight you cool man, that'll be $100." "WTF no you didn't say it would be that much" "Too late you got the work now you pay the bill man... don't make me go get my collections posse to shake down yo ass, pay up sucka."

about 2 months ago
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Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

Pfhorrest Re:All I want to know is (214 comments)

When you get your pilot's license. Moller International builds car-sized wingless VTOL craft already, and has for decades. It's even called the Skycar. It's just technically an aircraft, so, pilot's license and all...

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Teacher laid off for telling the truth about Santa

Pfhorrest Pfhorrest writes  |  more than 5 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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