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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

egarland Theism breeds entitlement and apathy (896 comments)

Immorality is much easier to excuse when you believe there is a divine order to things. When someone is poor, or suffering or has had a bad run of luck, belief in a divine plan makes it easy to see that as deserved, instead of unfortunate. When someone is rich, powerful and/or fortunate, you're more likely to see them as superior and deserving of their good fortune if you are religious.

Every time you hear someone thank god that for answering their prayers and blessing them with something, keep in mind that intrinsically behind that statement is the idea that god has made a judgement call and found them deserving of having their prayers answered. It's a round about way of saying "God chose this for me, because he thinks I deserve it." It always rubs me as subtly arrogant to imply that whatever good fortune you are enjoying isn't simply good fortune, but it's a reward you earned because god found you deserving of it, and thusly found everyone else who doesn't receive that same thing, undeserving.

5 days ago

Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

egarland Re:Progenitors? (686 comments)

I thought that evidence was pointing to us being the product of about 9.5 billion years of evolution. Given that we live on a 4.5 billion year old world, life would have had to survive some sort of space-gap before getting to earth.

If sentient life takes 9.5 billion years to evolve, and the universe is only 13.5 billion years old, life would have had to start evolving relatively fast for it to get this far. The earlier you go in the universe's history, the more rare planets become. Even more rare would be a planet orbiting a star hot enough to fuel life, but also in continuous operation for that long. If it really does take 9.5 billion years for life to reach this level of complexity, and in our case it survived the destruction of a planet to spread to a new one, then the Fermi paradox all-but disappears and likelihood that sentient life is currently extremely rare, or even unique to our planet increases dramatically.

about 3 months ago

Let's Call It 'Climate Disruption,' White House Science Adviser Suggests (Again)

egarland Thats a good name (568 comments)

Global warming was always a terrible name because the imagery was all wrong.

Global climate change is more accurate, but still nebulous.

Climate disruption evokes a more accurate picture of what seems to be happening. I personally liked the name "Santa's revenge" from this winter's breakdown of the polar vortex. Melt the north pole, and you'll all get a taste of the cold!

about 4 months ago

The Ways Programming Is Hard

egarland Re:"there's not much to indicate difficulty" (278 comments)

> I despair of ever managing to lay a good caulk bead.

It definitely looks like something any idiot can do, but I fail every time.

about 5 months ago

Are Habitable Exoplanets Bad News For Humanity?

egarland We made it through the great filter. (608 comments)

The universe is 14 billion years old. Earth is 4.5 billion years old. Extrapolation shows that life has likely been evolving for about 9 billion years. We also know that very shortly (in geologic terms) after water arrived on our planet, green slime started spreading. I thought the current dominant theory was that life's origins are extraterrestrial and that somehow it jumped from wherever it started through space to a newly formed earth. If life traveled here aboard the shattered remains of the planet it evolved on, this would seem to indicate that we are the descendants of an extremely unlikely chain of events, which might make us the only life to have survived this long.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

egarland Re:Egarland's law (702 comments)

I think you're confused.

egarland's law states that only pompous windbags have their names associated with obvious phenomenon that everyone has always known.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

egarland Re:Anything built before 2001 (702 comments)

We always get a false impression of the reliability and quality of old stuff, because the stuff that sucked and broke got thrown out years ago, and the only things that we still encounter are the ones that were well made. It's true with old houses, old cars, old furniture, pretty much everything. I'm sure there's a law for this phenomenon with some pompous dude's name on it but it's a well established and discussed phenomenon.

about 5 months ago

Bug Bounties Don't Help If Bugs Never Run Out

egarland There aren't infinite bugs (235 comments)

If you start with the assumption that you can't make secure software, then you shouldn't make any software at all.

about 5 months ago

SSD-HDD Price Gap Won't Go Away Anytime Soon

egarland Re:not really (256 comments)

This is why the current generation of MLC SSD's is so disruptive. A single, cheap, consumer grade drive has IOPS and longevity that used to cost 100x as much. There are big changes coming in the storage industry.

about 5 months ago

Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

egarland Re:Technology does not destroy jobs.. (581 comments)

Natural resources provide squishy, easy to overcome limits. In reality, most of what limits our economy are flaws in how we implement capitalism.

about 5 months ago

Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

egarland Re:Technology does not destroy jobs.. (581 comments)

> Jobs are determined by us wanting to do things.

The desire, *and* the resources. I may want an indoor pool, but if I can't afford it, and neither can anyone else, there's no indoor pool market.

That's why an economy that's constantly drained of its money, withers. Once we fix the forces draining ours, employment won't be the issue it is today. That's why I love Ratigan's classic rant: He outlines the problem well. Not perfectly, but well.

about 5 months ago

Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

egarland You can, but you shouldn't (581 comments)

There isn't that much coding work in the world. High demand is not infinite demand.

about 5 months ago

Do Free-To-Play Games Get a Fair Shake?

egarland The play store needs categories (181 comments)

* Ad supported
* Pay to win
* Microtransactions
* Completely free

They should change the "Free" button where the cost usually would be to one of these.

This information is important to to know up front and I should be able to filter out "pay to win" because screw that.

about 5 months ago

Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

egarland Good idea. (273 comments)

This idea is basically a super-simple hashing algorithm, which are commonly used to turn big hard problems into smaller easier ones.

I see no arguments against this guy's ideas, just ad-hominem attacks and people being insulted that someone try and come up with new solutions to old problems. Don't be that guy. If it won't work, explain why.

about 5 months ago

Linus Torvalds Suspends Key Linux Developer

egarland Misleading title... (641 comments)

"I'm not accepting any patches until you fix your bugs" is hardly suspending someone, it's re-focusing them. This is an important part in any software project, and Linus is doing it well here. There's no ambiguity or hyperbole, just straightforward communication identifying issues and prompting action to correct them.

"Start fixing your shit" isn't even remotely the same thing as "stop doing things".

about 5 months ago

Amazon Launches Android-Powered 'Fire TV' For Streaming and Gaming

egarland Re:Videos unavailable on devices; Hulu for free (180 comments)

I have a full Windows 7 PC hooked up to my TV and the embarrassing thing is that the PC is quite bad at playing video. Almost no media players adjust the output's timing to match the video being played which leads to tearing and stuttering when playing video where the frame rate doesn't match the default refresh rate on your monitor. You find yourself either constantly manually tuning refresh rates, or living with broken inferior video output. The only player I've found that handles this issue properly is the one in Plex Home Theater.

Another thing which is rather silly is that it can't act as a Chromecast server, even though it has chrome, a network connection, and a massive cpu and ram. This seems like something that it would be relatively trivial for Google to create, and would make chromecasting much more convenient because I would reduce the number of times I have to switch inputs to get chromecasting to work.

I've gotten x-box 360 controllers and setup emulators. I've done quite a bit of messing around, and in the end I've found the PC to be quite bad at being a TV media device.

I like the idea of Android rebuilt to be controlled from a remote and running my TV, but I don't like the idea of another Amazon based walled garden. Also, I see this as unfortunate competition for SteamOS, which seems like a much more robust and open platform for solving this problem, and I'd like to see it win instead, but the low price of this offering and Amazon's muscle will make that a lot harder now.

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Experiences With Free To Air Satellite TV?

egarland Re:Dish/Direct TV should offer free basic channels (219 comments)

I've long thought the government should buy out/launch their own free-to-use satellite tv service and treat broadcasting on it like OTA broadcasts. Disallow any two channels to be owned by the same company and poof: the era of crappy tv funded by annoying commercials returns.

about 6 months ago

Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

egarland It's about time (455 comments)

This is, and has long been, a huge ripoff. I'm rather sure that Walmart doesn't pay the full 3% that Visa/MasterCard like to charge for transactions, but when you look at the overhead of transactions in the cryptocurrency markets, you can see how ridiculously overpriced the credit card transactions are. The costs here are near 0, and so should the charges be, but the system is carefully crafted to avoid competition, and that's illegal.

about 6 months ago

Hackers Allege Mt. Gox Still Controls "Stolen" Bitcoins

egarland Re:This is why we can't have nice tihngs... (228 comments)

Nothing qualifies for your definition.

> some central bankers could agree to create ex nihilo enough money to give a billion USD to every bank account in the world.

This shows that you don't understand how our banking or money system works. This is possible with fiat currency, but not ours.

about 6 months ago


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