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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

TranquilVoid Re: illogical captain (857 comments)

Actually it is quite natural because, for religious people, moral meaning relies on the eternity of their metaphysical beings. Philosophically meaning is about affect. If object A has precisely no affect on object B, then for object B, A is meaningless. If all we are is a chance, temporal assembly of atoms and, no matter what our actions, the end result of the universe is extinction, then morals are indeed meaningless.

Certainly ethical behaviour has non-religious sources, mostly from a (short term) species survival point of view, but this is different from the absolute sense with which most people consider morality.


Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

TranquilVoid Re:Consider owner !=user (471 comments)

or swinging an axe

I've lost count of the number of times I've been in mid-swing, got a call, and had to waste a valuable split second while the head fell before answering.

But interesting post.

5 days ago

Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

TranquilVoid Re:Send in the drones! (848 comments)

The proper response to this is to strengthen military forces in new NATO member states surrounding Russia, including US boots on the ground. This will make a clear line that Russia knows it cannot cross without provoking all-out war. Unfortunately Ukraine is not part of NATO.

I don't think this is unfortunate as the expansion of NATO is partially responsible for Russian aggression - they have a motivation to maintain a strong buffer. What you otherwise suggest has merit but is still risky. The U.S. is unlikely to engage Russia in war over an invasion of Latvia, for example, regardless of what the NATO agreement says. Placing U.S. troops there might change that, but the risk is that Russia considers it a bluff.

about three weeks ago

Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

TranquilVoid Flamebait (221 comments)

I also wonder if the vaunted Canadian healthcare system plays a role. When advances in medical science are something you automatically expect to benefit from personally if you need them, they look a lot better than when you have to scramble just to cover your bills for what we have now."

Or conversely, maybe when the government looks after your health you don't need to worry about researching it yourself, and you take it for granted and don't value it as much. But let's stir up a big argument about capitalism versus socialism.

about three weeks ago

Among Gamers, Adult Women Vastly Outnumber Teenage Boys

TranquilVoid Re:Amazing (276 comments)

Possible, like the saying that musicians have the worst sound systems. Still I'd say this is backwards. The more you value any activity, the more likely you are to seek out the community and other indirect aspects of what you enjoy.

For example, technology. Surely discussing IT on Slashdot indicates you are more an enthusiast than someone who clocks more 'technology' hours than you simply web browsing on their consumer device.

about three weeks ago

News Corp Australia Doesn't Want You To Look Closely At Their Financials

TranquilVoid Not Unexpected (132 comments)

It's hardly surprising for a company to hold its financial results close to its chest, but this is made more delicious given how much time they spend pointing out the downsizing of rival Fairfax Media.

Fairfax papers, especially, have suffered from the internet while News Corp has soldiered on, but it was only a matter of time. Being more left-wing, Fairfax's demographic is younger and more inclined to embrace new technology. As they age, and likely become more conservative, they will still consume news online rather than return to dead tree papers.

about three weeks ago

Australia Repeals Carbon Tax

TranquilVoid Re:Dissappointed (291 comments)

I think you misunderstand the concept of a mandate. It is used when a party wins an overwhelming majority in the lower house to suggest that the upper house, where the party has a minority, should capitulate on a particular issue. I.e. suggesting the checks and balances should step aside. It has nothing to do with complaining about losing in a democracy.

Personally I think a mandate almost never exists. In a representative system you might say that all elected members have a mandate to vote as they campaigned.

about 2 months ago

Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

TranquilVoid Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (461 comments)

Very informative. The density of the German population makes sense, but can you explain why Germany, a nation with a lot of manufacturing, would have less troubles than the US with balancing?

P.S. I'm hoping the answer is their lack of strong sunlight, for delicious irony.

about 3 months ago

Robert McMillen: What Everyone Gets Wrong In the Debate Over Net Neutrality

TranquilVoid Re:Everybody is wrong... (270 comments)

All caches have a non-zero miss change, it doesn't mean the concept is useless. In this case it could still work. If it predicts your Sunday night show 80% of the time, then for the 20% miss you'll have to stream from the original server. However if the 80% applies to all customers then network congestion has been significantly reduced and your streaming can work at HD.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Where's the Most Unusual Place You've Written a Program From?

TranquilVoid Re:Forum admin disput (310 comments)

It's not stated but my assumption is that the admin was removing his/her sig.

about 3 months ago

Sifting Mt. Gox's Logs Reveals Suspicious Trading Patterns

TranquilVoid Re:Gox used margin trading & fractional reserv (143 comments)

How does fractional reserve work with Bitcoin? If they loan out some deposited coins, fair enough, but if the original owner draws on it they cryptographically need that exact coin, not some other random one.

Or do depositors hand over the coins to the exchange for a virtual account, destroying the signed-ownership benefit of Bitcoin and replacing it with trust in an institution?

about 4 months ago

Places Where the Silicon Valley Bubble Could Pop

TranquilVoid Re:I Read TFA... (107 comments)

It's worse than that, half the posters don't even read the post they're replying to, they just want to say their bit.

about 4 months ago

What It's Like To Be the Scientific Consultant For The Big Bang Theory

TranquilVoid Re:Not for Nerds (253 comments)

Spot on, it's basically a modern version of Friends with a few popular science references. It's not about science, it's character and relationship-based and easily digestible.

about 4 months ago

How Concrete Contributed To the Downfall of the Roman Empire

TranquilVoid Re:Roman empire killed by geometry and resources (384 comments)

Without military force, [they] developed the art of religious coercion and control, and the Roman empire eventually became the Holy Roman empire.

Perceptions are interesting, my understanding was completely the reverse, that as the empire declined the church had to pick up the slack of looking after the population, and so developed the attributes of a state rather than being a pacifist religion.

And the money continued to flow to Rome, for centuries....

A good point, it helps explains how the empire survived for centuries after its territory had ceased expanding. I think we see the same effects today within former colonial powers like Britain and France. The trade connections don't disappear just because they no longer officially own the country.

about 5 months ago

How Concrete Contributed To the Downfall of the Roman Empire

TranquilVoid Re:Economic reasons (384 comments)

the myth tells people what they want to hear: A good morality tale, supporting their own particular morality.

To be fair we're all subject to this. Everyone has a particular understanding of how the world, and people, work, borne of years of experience. Any story that goes against our understanding is naturally suspect, and rightly so in most cases. Imagine if you adjusted your view of the world to accommodate every Facebook story on the miracles of coconut oil or what have you.

about 5 months ago

Is Crimea In Russia? Internet Companies Have Different Answers

TranquilVoid Re:Ukraine's borders were changed by use of force (304 comments)

The people of Crimea however should get to decide where Crimea goes. The only thing Russia can do is either offer to annex or refuse to offer to annex if the Crimean people wish to be part of Russia.

How far should this be taken? Should the majority-Ukrainian sub-districts within Crimea get to decide if their sub-district is part of Ukraine or Russia? How about individual Ukrainian households within Russian-dominated sub-districts?

Managing populations is messy and there is no clear moral principle around geography, but Crimea was a Ukrainian state, under a constitution that required a nation-wide referendum. The question is, at what point are things so bad that you should violate another country's sovereignty?

Russia clearly did more than offering to annex. They actually ran the referendum after sending their military in semi-covertly, ensuring history books will forever question the legitimacy of the vote.

about 5 months ago

Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

TranquilVoid Re:Sorry about the loss of the magic (469 comments)

It is actually about 'playing in' the wood. This is more noticeable with acoustic guitars (and violins) - they will sound radically better after even a few months of playing due to the vibrations changing the wood. I suspect it softens the wood allowing the instrument to vibrate better across its entire mass but don't know the details.

There are diminishing returns, and I do agree that thinking a 70 year old guitar is intrinsically better than a 5 year old guitar is mostly psychological.

about 5 months ago

Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

TranquilVoid Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (469 comments)

since even passing the sound over an HDMI link will cause the signal to be degraded

Can you explain this? I would have thought the signal would remain digital and at its original sampling rate.

about 5 months ago

Was Eich a Threat To Mozilla's $1B Google "Trust Fund"?

TranquilVoid Re:And yet they supported Obama (564 comments)

If you actually believe in people's rights to have private views that are not acceptable to some, then you have to accept that they will take action based on those views. That's the whole point of having views and protecting people's non-mainstream opinions right?

This would be insightful if you clarified that you meant political action. Clearly, you are not allowed to physically disrupt a legal gay wedding any more than you can lynch a black person simply because your views call for it.

But I do agree, there's no point in saying "this is a democracy, so you are free to believe A so long as you never tell any one nor act on it". Future mind-reading tech would soon reveal what that 'liberty' was really worth.

about 5 months ago

Was Eich a Threat To Mozilla's $1B Google "Trust Fund"?

TranquilVoid Re:And yet they supported Obama (564 comments)

Sort of, the problem is that the people don't want their leaders to represent all of society. They want them to hold the same personal beliefs they do and really believe in their agenda. So we get

"The only clear solution is X, because of A, B and C. Opposing arguments D, E and F are completely stupid and my political opponents are crazy." instead of

"I have come up with a solution I believe is the best compromise for all parties. It is a slightly better compromise than my opponent's."

You will note that in the ideal situation, personal beliefs are irrelevant. Eich was not in an ideal workplace.

about 5 months ago


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