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Stephen Hawking Warns Against Confining Ourselves To Earth

Son of Byrne Re:Short-sighted thinking (414 comments)

Assuming that we could ever transcend biology, what would be the point? I've read Kurzweil's thoughts on this as well and thought the exact same thing: who or what would be around to appreciate or hate these self-aware digital entities (us)?

If a civilization retreated into a virtual reality beneath a planet's surface, then what interaction would that virtual reality have with the planet at all? Further, why would the death of the sun have anything to do with said virtual reality (which is now apparently decoupled from biology)?

I'm not saying that a technological singularity *couldn't* occur, I just don't have any idea *why* it would occur.

about a year and a half ago
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Empty Times Square Building Generates $23 Million a Year From Digital Ads

Son of Byrne Re:Profit (227 comments)

Don't know why you've been modded a troll, but I think that your comment cuts to the quick of the aforementioned hollow argument.

In real estate, there is a concept known as highest and best use of property. That concept works exactly the way that it sounds and is one of the tools that an appraiser uses when trying to determine the value of a property. In this case, the building may serve its highest and best use as a billboard and not as office space/hotel/whatever. Who cares that the building sits empty? It most likely is not heated, not plumbed, and may not even have any interior walls/flooring/etc.

Further, I don't think that asking someone to justify their ridiculous statements (without even using the term "ridiculous statements") qualifies as trolling. If it did, then count Socrates as one of the first trolls.

about 2 years ago
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New Call For Turing Pardon

Son of Byrne Re:Pardon? (231 comments)

I had a moment of sadness after reading your comment. I know that you'll vehemently defend your beliefs and I'm certainly not interested in persuading you otherwise, but it still saddens me to see thought processes like these. Stuff like this is what I believed for years and years and wasted a lot of time arguing about till I decided to believe in what is believable.

It always seemed absurd to me to imagine trying to convince someone to *un*believe what they're already 100% convinced of. If you get curious though, then trust me when I say, there's plenty of literature that will help you understand.

about 2 years ago
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Solar Panel Breaks "Third of a Sun" Efficiency Barrier

Son of Byrne Re:AHWESOME (237 comments)

umm, what?

Your comment being modded as insightful made me re-read it about 3 times. I'd say more but I'm too busy scratching my head and looking incredulous at the same time.

about 2 years ago
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Dr. Richard Dawkins On Education, 'Innocence of Muslims,' and Rep. Paul Broun

Son of Byrne Re:Theocracies (862 comments)

It's like reading the Iliad as a history book, and complaining about the inaccuracies. That's completely missing the point.

Fair point, however, there are apologists for the Christian faith (like Josh McDowell) that argue vehemently that the Iliad and the Bible are in different categories and claims that the Bible cannot be considered to be on the same plane as something like the Iliad. I would argue that you are correct: the Bible *should* be read like the Iliad but, sadly, the reality is that it is not read that way.

I find it disheartening that we as a species have grown so knowledgeable about our world and the rules that seem to govern it and yet we cling desperately to these legends as a way to convince ourselves of our importance.

about 2 years ago
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Dr. Richard Dawkins On Education, 'Innocence of Muslims,' and Rep. Paul Broun

Son of Byrne Re:Dawkin's is a piss poor social scientist (862 comments)

Gimme a T...Gimme an R...Gimme an O...Gimme an L...Gimme an L...What's that spell!?!

about 2 years ago
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Dr. Richard Dawkins On Education, 'Innocence of Muslims,' and Rep. Paul Broun

Son of Byrne Re:Dawkin's is a piss poor social scientist (862 comments)

The question remains open as to in what respect Darwinian Naturalism is incompatible with mass-killing if that's the optimal DNA-propagation strategy for a given context.

How about: because the idea of mass-killing is exactly opposite to the ideas that were presented by Darwin? Darwin's ideas were that evolution works by the selection of the best traits in species with consideration of their natural surroundings. It would be a bit of a stretch to claim that the psychological traits associated with mass murderers would be naturally selected for as that runs counter to the ultimate goal of most species (to survive).

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Rectifying Nerd Arrogance?

Son of Byrne More? (823 comments)

If you're still reading (down here), then you're just here for the laughs and I'm afraid I'm not that funny.

Regardless, this is an important question to ask and asking it is the first step toward your answer. YMMV, but the answer that I found for myself was to stop finding the bad in people and focus on the good; better to stop worrying about what other folks think, say, and do and just get on with life. My biggest issue was that I projected my faults onto others and blamed them for their dislike of me. As soon as I took responsibility for my own faults and foibles, it was easier to get along with others because they were just as flawed as I was.

about 2 years ago
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Libertarian Candidate Excluded From Debate For Refusing Corporate Donations

Son of Byrne Let us not forget (627 comments)

...That a libertarian is *never* allowed to complain about how they are treated

Let us also deride this person gratuitously for his lack of campaign funds and perpetuate the problem with politics in the US

Let us all not forget this when we get we deserve in government.

about 2 years ago
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Torvalds Uses Profanity To Lambaste Romney Remarks

Son of Byrne Re:Figureheads (1223 comments)

Should keep their religious beliefs and their politics to themselves.

I'm sorry, but the right to an opinion isn't bound by your position in society whether it is greater or less than anyone else.

about 2 years ago
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Tesla Reveals Charging Station Sites In 3 US States

Son of Byrne Re:Had to be said (332 comments)

So, with most new cars priced at over 20,000 dollars, I'm going to assume that most of the people in your neck of the woods drive used vehicles?

I only buy used cars myself and most of the time I can't buy a decent vehicle for less than about 15k (in Colorado).

I have to say that I find the disparity in price expectation surprising. I wouldn't describe Colorado (the part where I live anyway) as extraordinarily affluent, so I'm surprised at the difference. Also, I'm then led to wonder if the same used car sold here would cost more than in Pennsylvania. As far as I know, vehicle sales have trended toward less regional differences...

more than 2 years ago
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Tesla Reveals Charging Station Sites In 3 US States

Son of Byrne Re:Had to be said (332 comments)

sorry...13K is pretty expensive for a car? Not according to any of my measurements (before you say it, no I don't have loans on most of the vehicles that I own).

more than 2 years ago
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Neil Young Pushes Pono, Says Piracy Is the New Radio

Son of Byrne Re:Easy for Neil Young to say (361 comments)

So tell me, where can I download quality music that you produced for free?

Well...depends on your definition of "quality."

more than 2 years ago
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Would You Pay an Internet Broadband Tax?

Son of Byrne Re:Universal service. (601 comments)

Here's the problem: the vast majority of the "Americans" doing the talking are the ones that make us look bad. Those of us who are reasonable and "European" in our viewpoints and politics aren't the ones that are getting heard.

You know, if I had jumped into this conversation midstream and saw only this comment (without the obvious "Americans" term that was used, I could have easily thought that you were defending Iran.

At the end of the day, I guess we're all a little more like each other than we think.

Now everyone back to your spirited yelling matches.

more than 2 years ago
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12 Dead, 50 Injured at The Dark Knight Rises Showing In Colorado

Son of Byrne Re:Maybe same old 'leave your guns at entrance' ru (1706 comments)

12 with 50 injured would be a national catastrophe and on the front page of every major newspaper.

I could be wrong, but I'm fairly certain that this is news all across the country. Major news.

Regarding the gun laws, I find it fascinating that we in the US are so eager to hold on with a death grip to our guns while other countries have been steadily eliminating guns from the general population with, what seems to be, minimal complaint. It makes me wonder whether there would be that much complaining once it was done.

more than 2 years ago
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Thomas Drake: You're Automatically Suspicious Until Proven Otherwise

Son of Byrne Re:And meanwhile, in TN... (502 comments)

The most-straightforward conclusion one might draw from this is the scope of "science" and the scope of "reality" are not the same set--even if the scope of "science" and "scientific reality" are

So what constitutes scientific reality and what constitutes reality?

To me, this argument is struggling even to begin. Your very argument that propositions are not falsifiable seems flawed. I am but a simple jackass on slashdot, but to me, I can falsify: "The world was actually at great risk during the Cuban Missile Crisis" by stating: "The world was never actually at great risk during the Cuban Missile Crisis." I'm uncertain how that could support your position that science (for lack of any better term) is unable to explain reality.

Oh, and, hmmm... what's the most convoluted and demeaning way for me to disagree...

more than 2 years ago
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Thomas Drake: You're Automatically Suspicious Until Proven Otherwise

Son of Byrne Re:And meanwhile, in TN... (502 comments)

And this is precisely why I selected it--that in fact we have no ongoing "new evidence" available. We have only inferential techniques based on a fixed set of knowns and assumptions. Much like broad swaths of anything having to do with historical events, of which previous infidelity would be one.

What you've described (fixed set of knowns in particular) sounds like a sufficient set of data that could be validated and applied to the question to try to arrive at an informed conclusion. I might be wrong, but that sounds very much like Bayesian reasoning.

Lastly, I want to humbly apologize (on behalf of the OP) for muddying the pristine waters of philosophy with his dirty ideas. May he(she) rub some ashes on his(her) head and rend his(her) clothes to try and repent of this wickedness?

more than 2 years ago
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Thomas Drake: You're Automatically Suspicious Until Proven Otherwise

Son of Byrne Re:And meanwhile, in TN... (502 comments)

...(and there is no such thing as a "pre-scientific epistemology", there are domains which science can address and those it cannot--irrespective of any "religion"--this has historically been the case, and will permanently remain the case...

citation?

more than 2 years ago
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Thomas Drake: You're Automatically Suspicious Until Proven Otherwise

Son of Byrne Re:And meanwhile, in TN... (502 comments)

Spoken like someone who can't stand for any position that opposes their own.

Spam filtering is a use for Bayesian reasoning. Bayesian reasoning is good for all sorts of other neat stuff, like making rational determinations.

So, your assertion is that it is not evil for you to form an opinion of claimed and denied adultery using the Bible? If that is your assertion, then sure, you are correct. Forming opinions is not inherently evil.

Rather than state that this is hyperbole and leave it at that, why not provide reasoned evidence to support your claim.

more than 2 years ago
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Thomas Drake: You're Automatically Suspicious Until Proven Otherwise

Son of Byrne Re:And meanwhile, in TN... (502 comments)

Correct. This is why I couldn't possibly bring myself to expose my children to religion on an ongoing basis (a little of it is good to remind them of how crazy those folks are) as I was when I was a child.

All that I need to do is remember the 20 years that I wasted as a child and early adult in the church to know just how bad the church is for humanity. It is not the time that I miss so desperately, it is the opportunities that I passed up. I disregarded anything that contradicted my misguided beliefs and did not think that my youth mattered that much since I was taught that the rapture would likely happen soon and that my earthly existence was not all that important.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

Son of Byrne hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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The Real Issue

Son of Byrne Son of Byrne writes  |  more than 3 years ago

I've made some comments before on this site that have gone largely unnoticed because, well, I'm not very important. Regardless, I feel compelled to share my thoughts with the greater slashdot community because I think that there is a big problem that I don't see a solution for. That problem is, of course, digital rights.

I see digital rights as a bundle of rights that surround a digital good (product). I'm not an ignoramus, but this whole business of protecting digital goods has me completely baffled. So, here's the setup: we have digital content creators, musicians, movie producers, software companies, etc. and we have consumers of that digital content (you and me). Now digital content creators have a notion of what they'd like me to pay for something that they created and that usually winds up being way more than what I'm willing to pay.

Enter the government. Uncle Sam steps in and jabs me with his index finger and says, "You pay those poor suffering content creators the price that they asked or we'll happily let those content creators drag you through court." I may grudgingly pay what they ask a few times, but once I see the content available for free (or very little) I will gravitate toward the cheaper solution.

Enter the content creators. The content creation companies begin to complain to the government that I am cheating them out of their livelihood and demand satisfaction. Uncle Sam then goes after the providers that were providing access to these digital goods at low or no price and attempts to persuade, cajole, and out and out threaten the countries that host these providers in attempts to protect the content creation companies.

Ok. Stop right here for a minute. Answer me this: why is the United States government being so protective of these companies and their products? Do any other companies get this kind of treatment?

So this dance continues round and round all the while the content creators are claiming that they are going bankrupt because of the thievery of their products that is rampant.

Leaving aside for a moment the misguided notion of thievery when it relates to this, what can we learn? While talking with my wife about this, I said, "Sorry, but anything that reduces to 1s and 0s cannot, by definition, be naturally scarce." She rejoins with, "Well, what happens when the content creators decide to stop producing digital content? What happens when we don't have music recordings or movies or software?" Feeling saucy, I said, "Nothing."

The world will continue on with or without these digital products (our current mode of entertainment). My wife, not being happy with that remark, inquired about the future of the people that work for these digital content creators. Surely, this will devastate the world right? Well, there's no way to sugar coat this bad news: when you don't have a naturally scarce product, you're at the mercy of the whims of consumers and legislators alike. One important point to make though is that talented people remain talented people no matter what it is that they produce.

All of that said, I still wanted to try to come up with some alternative way for the digital content creators to stay in business (I like TV, Movies, and Music just like you). I stewed on it for a while and arrived at nothing. Probably because I'm just not smart enough (plenty of smart folks working for these digital content creators though right?), but I honestly cannot think of a single way to make digital goods naturally scarce.

The way I see it, to produce natural scarcity in the digital world, you must first set out to accomplish the impossible: find a way to deliver a digital product to me such that the original copy is preferred over subsequent copies. In other words, somehow magically force all computers in the world to degrade digital (bit for bit) copies of these digital products so that the originals are more desirable. I concluded that logically it just is not possible. But like I said, I'm not that smart, so maybe someone else out there can enlighten me and the rest of the world.

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Why we suck

Son of Byrne Son of Byrne writes  |  more than 5 years ago We suck because we can't do anything about our evil government other than write diatribes on this stupid web page.

We suck because we sang the praises of Obama only 8 months ago (sure, I'll put myself in that category even though I voted for Barr. Why? Because it's partly my fault also because I failed to convince enough people that he was a bad candidate).

We suck because we complain about the RIAA, Wal-Mart, Disney, AIG, and others, but are usually permitted no other options when it comes time to do business with someone.

We suck because we sold our inalienable rights to big business.

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