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Atlanta Man Shatters Coast-to-Coast Driving Record, Averaging 98MPH

The Iso Re:When will he be arrested? (666 comments)

The fact that lower speeds are safer doesn't mean that lower speed limits are safer, because speed limits have very little effect on the speed people actually drive. In the famous federal study "Effects of Raising and Lowering Speed Limits on Selected Roadway Sections" (Publication No. FHWA-RD-92-084), speed limits were raised and lowered by up to 20 mi/h, and the change in average speed was never larger than 1.5 mi/h.

about 6 months ago
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Could Snowden Have Been Stopped In 2009?

The Iso Re:world before Snowden and after, - B.S. & A. (247 comments)

There has been much debate over what sort of man (and/or divine being) the historical Jesus was, but this idea that he was a purely fictional creation has no credence among scholars of the period. For a treatment of the subject at length, read Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth by Bart Ehrman (a very distinguished, religiously agnostic professor of religious studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the author of the leading introductory textbook on the New Testament).

about 6 months ago
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Galileo: Right On the Solar System, Wrong On Ice

The Iso Re:The Big Issue with Galileo (206 comments)

The 1615 proceedings are not those that led to Galileo's house arrest and the ban on publication of all of his works. The reasons for that can be read in Galileo's sentence, which can be found on pages 287–291 of Finocchiaro's The Galileo Affair: A Documentary History. The Inquisition, noting that Galileo was previously denounced in 1615 for "holding as true the false doctrine taught by some that the sun is the center of the world and motionless and the earth moves even with diurnal motion", goes on to conclude that "That the sun is the center of the world and motionless is a proposition which is philosophically absurd and false, and formally heretical, for being explicitly contrary to Holy Scripture". Furthermore, a general prohibition of heliocentric works was added to the Index of Forbidden Books, and was not removed until 1758; the works of Copernicus and Galileo specifically were removed in 1835.

I've tried to see the Church's side of things, but it turned out their side was that Galileo was a heretic, and his heresy was saying that the Sun doesn't move like it says in the Bible. Whatever Galileo may have done to rub people the wrong way, that is the root of the issue in the cardinals' own words, and Pope John Paul II was quite right when he called the matter a "tragica reciproca incomprensione" caused by theologians "traspo[nente] indebitamente nel campo della dottrina della fede una questione di fatto appartenente alla ricerca scientifica."

about 8 months ago
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Yahoo Deletes Journalist's Pre-Paid Legacy Site After Suicide

The Iso Re:Why illegal? (403 comments)

Historically, suicide victims forfeited their property to the king (often ruining their family) and were dishonourably buried.

about 8 months ago
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How Climate Scientists Parallel Early Atomic Scientists

The Iso Re:let me unpack this for you (440 comments)

Read that article carefully. It doesn't say "the models" have failed—it contrasts novel near-term models with "conventional climate projections", which are made on scales of decades rather than years and are of proven reliability. The radiation balance of the Earth is still positive, and even if not as much of the energy is going into the surface and atmosphere as some scientists have predicted, ocean temperatures show that the world is indeed getting much warmer. Both forcings and feedbacks are up, up, up, and we are in record-breaking territory right now, with every decade that goes by becoming the hottest decade on record. Anyone who thinks we don't have a problem is deluding themselves.

about 9 months ago
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Researchers Now Pulling Out of DEF CON In Response To Anti-Fed Position

The Iso Re: Fuck 'em (204 comments)

Spontaneous building collapses were a serious problem prior to the development of classical mechanics. In ancient literature, it's how Job's children die, and Simonides of Ceos discovers the method of loci after miraculously escaping a collapsing banquet hall.

about 9 months ago
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Medical Firm Sues IRS For 4th Amendment Violation In Records Seizure

The Iso Re:They're just getting a head start on Obamacare. (365 comments)

Actually, ignorance of the law is a valid defence for U.S. federal tax crimes, a rare exception to this principle. In Cheek v. United States, a tax protester had his conviction overturned because the jury had been instructed that a belief that one is not breaking the law only negates willfulness if that belief is reasonable. Of course, he owed his taxes with penalties whether he was convicted or not, and he was convicted anyway upon retrial.

about a year ago
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Sunstone Unearthed From Sixteenth Century Shipwreck

The Iso Re:Aah That's Clever! (114 comments)

There's some interesting history behind the Board of Longitude. It was formed in 1714 to judge prizes of up to £20,000 for a reliable method of determining longitude at sea (this was the scientific problem of the day, comparable to the modern search for a cure for cancer or theory of everything). In the early days, the board was flooded with crank proposals, and the commissioners' duties consisted of individually writing letters of rejection. When John 'Longitude' Harrison arrived in London in 1730 with plans for a clock that could keep accurate time at sea, the Board of Longitude, though it had been in existence for more than fifteen years, kept no headquarters and had never held a meeting. He sought out one of the board's most famous members, Edmond Halley, at the Royal Observatory.

Halley knew that longitude could be determined from the time if a sufficiently reliable clock could be built, but that was a big 'if'. Not exactly qualified to judge Harrison's ideas, he sent him to the country's leading clockmaker, George Graham. Harrison went to see Graham in the morning; Graham invited him to stay to dinner and finally sent him off with a generous loan with no interest and no hurry to pay it back. Harrison took five years to build the sea clock, which performed beautifully on a test run to Lisbon, and he had every right to demand the test run to the West Indies required to claim the prize, but one person was unhappy with the clock: Harrison. He could build one even more accurate, he thought. And he could make it smaller. All he asked was £500 for further R&D.

Harrison finally became satisfied with his clocks in the 1760s, around the same time that the lunar distance method became practical; the methods were widely used in conjunction until the price of marine chronometers came down. The Board of Longitude stuck around as publisher of the The Nautical Almanac—of which you've found the first edition—and was finally dissolved in 1828.

Incidentally, Harrison's clocks were the subject of a memorable simile by Lord Byron, in Don Juan:

Oh! She was perfect, past all parallel—
    Of any modern female saint's comparison;
So far above the cunning powers of hell,
    Her guardian angel had given up his garrison;
Even her minutest motions went as well
    As those of the best time-piece made by Harrison.

about a year ago
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Soot Is Warming the World — a Lot

The Iso Re:Reminds me of a cartoon (251 comments)

The idea is that the value of gold is very stable, with its price only climbing because of the ever-falling value of fiat currency, so pricing goods in a quantity of gold will give an idea of the real value. You often hear such things from people who want to return to the gold standard. For example, "the stock market might have gone up 200% in nominal terms, but if you price it in gold, it's still just one-eighth of an ounce."

about a year ago
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How the Internet Makes the Improbable Into the New Normal

The Iso Re:The internet, where religion comes to die (191 comments)

Wishful thinking. Plenty of people see sceptical arguments on the Internet and are not convinced, and some people even still convert to religion rather than away from it. Predictions that atheism or deism will soon conquer superstition throughout the civilised world have been a "year of Linux on the desktop" thing for centuries—think of Nietzsche's famous pronouncement that "God is dead!" But this seems about as likely as conquering the presumption that atheism is "obvious" and nobody who gives the question thought will come to a different conclusion. Loudmouth "philosophers" like Richard Dawkins have made a lot of noise in the last ten years, but there's no reason to see any more significance in this than in 19th Century crowds flocking to hear Robert Ingersoll, or H. L. Mencken's ridicule of belief in the pages of the American Mercury.

about a year ago
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Report Says Climate Change Already Evident, Emissions Gap Growing

The Iso Re:Is there enough data (623 comments)

What, anywhere? Of course.

about a year and a half ago
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You Can't Say That On the Internet

The Iso Re:more like a bad article (432 comments)

Chick Fil-gay can and absolutely did say what they said. ... They simply deserved what they got in response as the market correctly responded.

You believe they deserved massive free publicity and record-setting sales?

about a year and a half ago
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In America, 46% of People Hold a Creationist View of Human Origins

The Iso Re:Really? (1359 comments)

Both are correct.

about 2 years ago
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Global Christianity and the Rise of the Cellphone

The Iso Re:3/4 million words. tl;dr (559 comments)

Under the influence of Christian theology, you have totally misread Genesis 3. The Book of Genesis was written hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus by men you do not think were divinely inspired, so why do you blithely accept that its purpose is to set up the Jesus story by establishing the need for redemption?

In "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil," "knowledge" is meant in the sexual sense in which it is used elsewhere in the Bible, and "good and evil" is a figure of speech called a merism, two opposites joined by the word "and" to mean "everything," like when we say in English that someone searched "high and low" to mean that they searched everywhere. After the couple eats from the tree of knowledge, they immediately become aware for the first time that they are naked (Genesis 3:7), and then Adam "knows" his wife (Genesis 4:1) and conceives Cain. Nowhere in the text is this knowledge depicted as intellectual or ethical. The part about labour pains is not a curse like the curses on the man and the serpent; she will have pain bearing children simply because she has chosen to have procreative sex rather than to live forever. It has to be one or the other, because it was recognised in ancient times that reproducing immortal beings would overwhelm the world. Genesis does not judge Eve for what she did; maybe it's a good thing that she brought sex into the world. Anyway, since this immediately follows a contradictory creation myth (Genesis 1:1 through the first half of Genesis 2:4), it's clear that neither was meant to be taken as literal historical truth anyway.

more than 2 years ago
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Pope Says Technology Causes Confusion Between Reality and Fiction

The Iso Re:Guess he never saw the Creation museum... (779 comments)

I mean, just look at your post! You don't do anything to show that the words Aquinas wrote were anything other than a work of fiction; instead, you hammer on his authority, try to show off your historical knowledge, and seem to be arguing that because I compared Aquinas to Rowling I'm wrong. You say nothing to bolster what should be your point, namely that Aquinas is right; instead, you harp about how I'm disrespecting him.

No, my point is that most critics of the church are ignorant of its teachings and traditions. I am not a Catholic.

more than 3 years ago
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Pope Says Technology Causes Confusion Between Reality and Fiction

The Iso Re:Guess he never saw the Creation museum... (779 comments)

Do you have a bachelor's degree in philosophy and have concluded that Harry Potter contains no meaningful ideas?

So you haven't read (or, I suspect, heard of) the Summa, then? You see no problem with criticising the church when you are ignorant of its teachings and traditions? You are willing to vocally criticise the church when you have not given even cursory study to the logic behind its point of view?

Not only that, but you, who are unfamiliar with the work of St. Thomas, feel that all the respect for him by people who are familiar with his work must be undeserved just because he believed in the existence of God? If you knew who he was and had a specific problem with his reasoning, I would respect that. Instead, you are just dismissing one of the most important figures in Western philosophy by comparing him to J. K. Rowling because you are unwilling to consider the possibility that somebody came up with an answer to your devastating "prove it" argument in the 13th Century.

You're the one who brought it up; are you saying that you were only making a general statement without having any specific examples in mind?

Yes, I was just making an observation about why people believe in God. If you want an example, though, consider Acts 9:3-9.

more than 3 years ago
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Pope Says Technology Causes Confusion Between Reality and Fiction

The Iso Re:Guess he never saw the Creation museum... (779 comments)

The Harry Potter novels fill seven volumes and should address all of your epistemological concerns.

Wow, you've got some balls to equate a thinker like St. Thomas Aquinas to J. K. Rowling. I guess you have a bachelor's degree in philosophy and concluded that the Summa contains no meaningful ideas after studying it in the original Latin?

If they personally experienced the presence of their Lord, did He provide any means of verifying this fact? Perhaps by telling them something they otherwise wouldn't know? Maybe by doing some healing (since He seems to be fond of claiming that particular miracle)?

Because, you know, without that little bit of external confirmation - well, there's all sorts of drugs that will make you feel like you're in the presence of God (and another class entirely that'll make you feel like you are God). If such effects can be achieved pharmaceutically, why is the actual presence of God more likely than a spontaneous hallucination of God?

What are you asking me for?

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Senate Candidate Sued by Copyright Troll

The Iso The Iso writes  |  more than 3 years ago

The Iso (1088207) writes "Las Vegas based company Righthaven found two articles from the Las Vegas Review-Journal about Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle reprinted on her web site without permission, so it did what it always does: bought the rights to the articles from the Review-Journal and sued the alleged infringer, seeking unspecified damages."
Link to Original Source
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NJ cops say rape investigation violates privacy

The Iso The Iso writes  |  more than 5 years ago

The Iso (1088207) writes "Six New Jersey state troopers accused of raping a college student are asking a judge to block an internal investigation on the grounds that being forced to answer questions about their sex lives would violate their right to privacy. Criminal charges against the troopers have already been dropped, but they have been suspended with pay pending the results of the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Dermot O'Grady argues, "Public confidence in law enforcement would be eradicated if the public believed that law enforcement was helpless to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by its members." Attorney Charles Sciarra seems to imply that the accuser took part in the alleged orgy because she was drunk, arguing, "Three-quarters of us walking this Earth are probably here as the result of a little imbibing nine months earlier.""
Link to Original Source
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Man marries young daughter; Lynching unsuccessful

The Iso The Iso writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Cal writes "The BBC reports that a West Bengali man has married his 15 year old daughter in the name of Allah, his heathen god. The constabulary obstructed angry neighbours from bringing him to justice for this sin, and he and his confused wife are currently in hiding at the Holiday Inn in nearby Jaipalguri. Map and driving directions from Calcutta at link."
Link to Original Source
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Spore available for pre-order

The Iso The Iso writes  |  more than 6 years ago

The Iso (1088207) writes "Will Wright's long awaited game Spore can now be pre-ordered from Amazon.com. The release date is 2008-03-03, so all you "next Duke Nukem Forever" jokers can help yourselves to an ample serving of humble pie."
Link to Original Source
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Papua considers tracking chips in HIV patients

The Iso The Iso writes  |  more than 6 years ago

The Iso (1088207) writes "Papua is a province of Indonesia comprising the western half of the island of New Guinea, and Papua New Guinea is an independent country comprising the eastern half. This story concerns the province. In an effort to control the spread of HIV, the Papua Legislative Council is considering tracking the movements and activities of HIV patients. Is this acceptable to combat the disease?"
Link to Original Source
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The Iso The Iso writes  |  more than 6 years ago

The Iso (1088207) writes "Regal Cinemas in New York is using science to enable patrons to report ringing cell phones, crying babies, spies from the Internet, and technical difficulties so a staff member can deal with those problems.

A hand-held pager is given to a random member of the Regal Crown Club Loyalty Program who's attending each movie. "If any situation does arise they can just press a button which goes directly to the pager which the manager will have and they'll signal it and they'll go right into the theater and handle the situation," theater manager Heather Dematteis said.
I know there's a Soviet Russia joke in this."

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