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Star Wars TV Show Tainted By Memories of Jar Jar

ex_ottoyuhr Re:Much like the Holocaust (474 comments)

It's easy to see why they abandoned that series, though -- it was jinxed. I heard it was supposed to be a trilogy, plus either six or nine subsequent movies, but apparently no one dared attempt a third film after George Lucas was run over by a speeding cheeseburger-mobile in 1979, and Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan were both killed in a freak Tauntaun accident...

more than 4 years ago
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Armed Robot Drones To Join UK Police Force

ex_ottoyuhr Re:Obligatory 1984 Reference (311 comments)

As someone who's read Theodore Dalrymple, PC "David Copperfield," and so on, I'd say that even when they complete it, it won't help. The English government (and the Scottish one, from what I understand) is desperate to restore some form of order, but doesn't have the will to shred some of its bureaucracy and increase police patrols in the orthodox Giuliani fashion. Stuffing the country to the gills with thoughtscreens hasn't been an adequate substitute for that, so I doubt that stuffing it with war droids will be either -- although in both of these cases, countries both more cruel and more competent than Great Britain will probably take to the new technologies with abandon. (I'm looking at China, of course...)

more than 4 years ago
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Students Failing Because of Poor Grammar

ex_ottoyuhr Re:Universities can't keep up (1343 comments)

By "the modifier," I meant "the phrase. 'who just happens to be a devout Christian.'"

more than 4 years ago
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Students Failing Because of Poor Grammar

ex_ottoyuhr Re:priorities (1343 comments)

Defining religion as believing in things and science as examining things is a misleading approach. By your logic, Behaviorism, Communism, and Fascism are religions, and Catholicism is a science. (Catholic theology includes a number of conditions which, if true, refute the Catholic religion -- two contradictory infallible statements being the most obvious case.) I would agree with all of these propositions, as it happens, but I don't think that's what you intended people to come away from your post with. I agree that thinking doesn't have much of a lobby; but those who are not part of the rational-thought lobby include the people who most energetically assert that they are.

Also remember that "religion" is a very big word, with very blurry borders. Is Nietzche a religion? Is atheism? Is Buddhism? (Some of the greatest Indian Buddhists would say that it is not.) If being a religion requires being mutually exclusive with other religions, Greek paganism was not a religion (most of the time), China and Japan have never had religions (not even Mahayana Buddhism or State Shinto would qualify), and even Christianity's status as a religion is somewhat dubious -- look up the beliefs of the Taiping sometime.

more than 4 years ago
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Students Failing Because of Poor Grammar

ex_ottoyuhr Re:Universities can't keep up (1343 comments)

This is the kind of thing that gives the formal study of English grammar a bad name. I don't know (or particularly care) what Strunk and White say on the subject, but I had no problem understanding that the modifier attached to the most recent noun; indeed, I can't imagine why anyone would ever have thought otherwise. From what I remember of Latin (two years in high school, one in college, plus amateur familiarity with medieval and early-modern Latin materials), modifying clauses of this sort generally attach to the nearest noun there, too. I think it's sometimes different in the stylized Latin of the late Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, but surely no one imagines that a somewhat creolized Germanic language obeys the grammatical rules of a highly stylized version of an Italic language with recognizable non-Indo-European influences?

(Yes, I sometimes like to pretend that the 18th Century never happened.)

more than 4 years ago
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Students Failing Because of Poor Grammar

ex_ottoyuhr Re:Why is ":)" less valid than "!"? (1343 comments)

And for a particularly good illustration of that problem: just try to understand the more complex arguments on this page. (The kitty-pidgin Nicene Creed is too painful to link to.) No, no one's writing term papers in Kitty Pidgin; but what Kitty Pidgin is to IRC-speak (SMS?), IRC-speak is to formal English.

To continue the theme of sounding Orwellian: All languages are expressive, but some are more expressive than others.

more than 4 years ago
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Students Failing Because of Poor Grammar

ex_ottoyuhr Re:Language evolves with how people use it... (1343 comments)

Additionally, consider that languages and dialects differ in their expressiveness, and IRC-speak (or whatever they're calling it these days) is not among the most expressive. You have to leave that idiom to express ideas like this post's or its parent's; so someone who can't leave the idiom can't vocalize certain kinds of thoughts short of the Greenspun's Tenth Rule case.

Anyone who's tried to do philosophy in formal Modern English appreciates how terrible of a language it is for the purpose compared with Greek or German; and IRC-speak is a language that makes Modern English look expressive...

more than 4 years ago
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Which Math For Programmers?

ex_ottoyuhr Discrete structures. (466 comments)

In my experience, math is almost completely irrelevant to computers; logic is what you need to know. Speaking personally, my one year of undergraduate-level Catholic theology and Aristotelian logic has been more useful to me in computer programming than anything in my four years of undergraduate-level mathematics, with the sole exception of set theory.

more than 4 years ago
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Scientists Postulate Extinct Hominid With 150 IQ

ex_ottoyuhr Are we sure they went away? (568 comments)

The Boskop skull shown in the Discover article is strongly dolichocephalic with a high forehead and no significant jaw protrusion, similar to the East African (Ethiopian, Somali) / Iberian (pre-Roman Iberian; Basque; Georgian (Caucasus, not United States); Classical Greek; Welsh) type of skull. I'd be interested to see whether any DNA analysis of Boskop remains revealed Y-haplogroup R1b and mtDNA haplogroup H...

more than 4 years ago
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Scientists Postulate Extinct Hominid With 150 IQ

ex_ottoyuhr Re:We know how things go in our Idiocracy (568 comments)

Also don't forget the saying that "there are some ideas so stupid, only an intellectual can believe them." Perhaps the Boskops invented birth control, or decided that the real cause of crime was society? :)

more than 4 years ago
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5th Underhanded C Contest Now Open

ex_ottoyuhr Re:NEW YEARS WARNING (162 comments)

A kioll once bit my sister...

more than 4 years ago
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Charities Upset Over Chase Facebook Contest

ex_ottoyuhr Re:Charities? (464 comments)

I didn't know adoption was illegal in the United States.

about 5 years ago
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Zombie Pigs First, Hibernating Soldiers Next

ex_ottoyuhr Re:are we weakening ours ability to fight? (193 comments)

It's true that war is not about preserving the lives of your own soldiers; there is a word for the context in which an army's first concern is preserving the lives of its own soldiers, and that word is "peacetime." In addition to this, though, the Pentagon needs to concentrate on sparing civilians; the US military has made no attempts to minimize "collateral damage" -- civilians killed in the process of fighting off attackers -- over the course of the Iraq War.

Of course, it would also help if they also ensured that the US doesn't begin future wars without plans to win them in the worst case -- as opposed to just hoping for the best.

about 5 years ago
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Police Consult Warlock Over Braided Manes

ex_ottoyuhr Re:I nominate this post for a new slashdot categor (8 comments)

I know. "We have some very good information from a warlock"?

If Sherlock Holmes and Jack Chick had graves, they'd both be turning over in them.

about 5 years ago
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Virgin Galactic Unveils SpaceShipTwo

ex_ottoyuhr Might be taken more seriously if... (260 comments)

This might be taken more seriously, or at least might seem less silly to non-fanatics, if they weren't naming their spaceships for popular SF vehicles. What's next, the VSS Falcon? VSS Serenity? (Oh, wait, NASA did that one.) VSS Galactica? (Although I would object a bit less to a VSS Ebon Hawk or a VSS Marvelous Dragonfly, as at that point they'd obviously not be trying to hide it.)

And, heck, might this mothership's name have originally had an "Online" at the end of it? (We'll know that's a yes if they build a Galaxies or Homeworld...)

about 5 years ago
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EFF Wants To Know If the Feds Are Cyberstalking

ex_ottoyuhr Re:Why wouldn't they? (135 comments)

That you don't have a problem with marijuana use -- and I'm sure you're familiar with the kinds of people who are supplying the stuff to the US at present -- does not make your argument very convincing. Facebook is public space (one of the reasons I don't have an account on it); I see no reason to object to fishing expeditions there.

And I'd like to know why Cheech and Chong were never arrested after they confessed in a public forum to use of marijuana. Lack of will to enforce (and, as necessary, to reform and revise) laws is never a good sign for a civilization; how familiar are you with the history of China? It's a short and very slippery slope from not punishing those who confess small crimes like drug use, to not punishing those who confess large crimes like torture; and by that point the Mandate of Heaven is in very serious trouble. And where the Mandate goes, the people go. Stories of civilizational collapse and so on are fun, but the reality is death and cruelty and suffering.

Have you ever heard of Alboin of the Lombards and his skull cup? This is my personal favorite example of why anarchy is not a healthy thing, and a strong government with the public good at heart is a good idea. Ours no longer has the public good at heart -- but the answer is to reform it, not to overthrow it.

about 5 years ago

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