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Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

ilparatzo Re:Established science CANNOT BE QUESTIONED! (627 comments)

But one of the problems inherent in starting to say "well, these people are deniers and should be ignored, not skeptics" is that then everyone who questions, be they a "skeptic" or a "denier" depending on your definition, will simply be called a denier so that they can be ignored.

Historically, scientists have fought those who challenge them with ... well ... science. If we start to say that "science" is protected, we defeat the entire basis for how we have gotten to where we are. Another commenter said it perfectly in my opinion ... we can't turn science into religion, where questioning or even "denying" turns into something you can and should be tarred and feathered for.

If science cannot stand on it's own to the arguments against it, however stupid they may be, and we begin to enshrine it such that it's rejection is tantamount to heresy we might as well start calling it a religion. Because 1000 years from now that's all it will probably be. Only then, the "scientists" will be putting to the guillotine the future equivalent of Einstein, or Copernicus for rejecting the truth of their science.

2 days ago
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MIT Removes Online Physics Lectures and Courses By Walter Lewin

ilparatzo Re:Creating more victims (416 comments)

Yet we continue to watch and revere films by Roman Polanski.

So maybe the message should be ... "If you're a scientist, this won't be tolerated and we will disavow your educational merits. If you're an artist, bad boy, but hell if we didn't love and will continue to love your films!"

about two weeks ago
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James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week

ilparatzo Re:Is it true... (355 comments)

"So how do you measure intelligence if not through IQ tests?"

Maybe the real question is why do we need to try and measure intelligence in a non-arbitrary fashion? Do I need to be able to say "Jane, regardless of her prior training and experience, is 10 smart, whereas John there is 8 smart." What real purpose do IQ tests have these days beyond allowing those who score really high to tell everyone about it?

Entrance exams for schools and for study programs do a better job anyway of determining who should enter a particular field by measuring one of the truly important factors: drive to learn and succeed. And intelligence also manages to play a role in that.

I suppose it would allow you to take someone who is really young, note that they are "intelligence" in whatever way it is you manage to measure them, and you can then focus your energy to make them successful. But how about this? Instead of seeking out the intelligent and helping them thrive, why don't we just identify what it takes for them to simply rise up on their own? Rather than trying to hunt down the next Einstein and make him/her the next Einstein by force, just let the next Einsten form on their own. If we provide environments that allow each to learn and thrive in their own way, they should do fine without ruining them by shoving an IQ score in their face and saying you could be just like "Scorpion". ;-)

about two weeks ago
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Australian Target Stores Ban GTA V For Depictions of Violence Against Women

ilparatzo Re:Meanwhile (310 comments)

It seems to me that the vast majority of people that are killed in GTA games (and I assume GTA V as well, though I haven't played) and for which you are rewarded are males. You kill some guy driving a car for some money and their car. And from what I've read, it's certainly more direct for the health game from the prostitutes being killed isn't from killing them which isn't necessary, but possible. The benefit is derived a different way.

Maybe what really bothers people is that it's a problem in the real world that is difficult to fight and bring an end to. The energy spent trying to get GTA V off the shelves of Target (which will do next to nothing to actually stop people from playing it who want to) would be better spent on actually saving people from the sex trade and domestic violence. Things committed by plenty of people who couldn't care less about GTA V.

about two weeks ago
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Australian Target Stores Ban GTA V For Depictions of Violence Against Women

ilparatzo Re:Removed after Initial sales spike (310 comments)

Our society has deemed it okay to shoot and kill endless waves of Nazi Soldiers. They aren't considered much different from zombies I would imagine.

The Modern series certainly has to tread a little more lightly on how it depicts the enemy I imagine. And I seem to recall some game that came out more recently with enemy "Russians" that carried some controversy.

about two weeks ago
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Hawking Warns Strong AI Could Threaten Humanity

ilparatzo AI Developer Revenge (574 comments)

I wonder what Hawking would think if a bunch of Artificial Intelligence scientists and developers came out and started warning us all that further development of particle colliders is a threat to humanity and the Earth. They likely know about as much regarding particle physics and the likelihood that a collider will cause the destruction of the planet as Hawking knows about Artificial Intelligence and it's similar capabilities.

about three weeks ago
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Harvard Students Move Fossil Fuel Stock Fight To Court

ilparatzo Re:Owning stock (203 comments)

I'm sure that part of the goal with this is harassment, although that might be too strong of a word. If you want to effect change, sometimes it's about going after the organization you want to change in all ways possible whether completely reasonable or not. We are all fully aware of all of the sites that are taken down by simple threats from copyright holders. In this case, on top of all the other ways that the students are trying to get things their way, a lawsuit adds even more costs to the school.

Whether or not they stand a chance of winning, I have to imagine it's largely an attempt to break the school through attrition and costs. They are actually learning to be good little lawyers. :-)

about a month ago
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Education Chief Should Know About PLATO and the History of Online CS Education

ilparatzo Re:Not news (134 comments)

"The problem with political appointees that they are often campaign contributors who want a government job to enhance their resume. Most get appointed as ambassadors to faraway countries that no one in America can find on a map."

As they say, "you hit the nail on the head". Political appointments are as much, if not more, about what you've done for me than what you could do for the country or the position. If the best candidate for the job had different political leanings, there is no way they would ever get the job. It doesn't matter if the position is a "non-political" one. Politicians will make it political when possible and want "one of their people" in the position. And then scream and yell about how crazy it is to reject an appointment for those reasons.

We're to the put in our political system where they continue to try and create NEW appointments through law or particular situations, making it all the more convoluted and sickening. If only we had the opportunity to listen in on all the conversations prior to an election where appointments are doled out ...

about a month ago
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Internet Sales Tax Bill Dead In Congress

ilparatzo Bill Naming (257 comments)

I love how government goes about naming bills to make them sound a certain way so that voting against them appears evil. I suppose the makers of the bill would argue that they are coming up with a short name that defines the "essence" of the bill. But when you get into the details, it just makes them seem like they are trying to hide something from you ... aka: being politicians.

"Main Street Fairness Act" - It's simply a bill to apply fairness. You don't like fairness?
"Affordable Care Act" - It's just making care affordable. You don't want care to be affordable?

You could have a lot of fun with this actually. Increased NSA surveillance? "Terrorist Identification Act". Or even better "Protecting our Children from Terror Act". Free cars for all politicians? "Political Accessibility Act".

about a month ago
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President Obama Backs Regulation of Broadband As a Utility

ilparatzo Re:Obama (706 comments)

I guarantee

How much you willing to wager on this "guaruntee" regarding politics and from an anonymous coward no less?

To quote a great mind of the past ... "Because they know all they sold ya was a guaranteed piece of s**t. That's all it is, isn't it? Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I've got spare time."

about a month ago
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Steve Ballmer Gets Billion-Dollar Tax Write-Off For Being Basketball Baron

ilparatzo Re:Wrong headline (255 comments)

Goodwill is not a "loophole", it a tax law it it relates to money spent on a purchase of a business over and above it's market value. It's only a loophole in the sense that you don't like it and it needs to have a bad name to try and demonize it. A loophole is: "an ambiguity or inadequacy in the law or a set of rules". Not a specific rule for how certain value can be deducted from profits.

Goodwill as a tax advantage works whenever anyone buys a business. So if your parents go and buy a mom and pop store down the street, and pay more than what it's value appears to be, they get a tax advantage in the future profits of that business. If you buy a business of any kind, whether it's value is in the thousands, millions or billions, you get to use goodwill. It's not a "loophole for the rich" apart from the argument that only the rich can afford to buy businesses.

If you don't like the rules around goodwill, I would urge you to understand what it is and what it's there for rather than lashing out at it without any knowledge beyond "Ballmer is saving a bunch of money on taxes, damn that cheater!". It will help your argument against it immensely.

about 2 months ago
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Ebola Does Not Require an "Ebola Czar," Nor Calling Up the National Guard

ilparatzo Re:Politics (384 comments)

Sounds a lot like our education system and the teachers and administrative employees that work them, apart from the paycheck bit.

Appears to be a pattern ...

about 2 months ago
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An Air Traffic Control System For Drones

ilparatzo Drone Backdoors Required? (77 comments)

I like the unwritten but implied bit about all drones having code which allows them to be controlled by this central system, at a minimum to be forced to land.

Regulations will come out stating that all drones have to have Airware software running on them allowing the central control system to be able to land them or modify their flight plans in case of a need. Any drone found flying without it will be free game to bring down via other methods and/or subject to a fine and loss of the drone to the government.

Eventually, it will be a thoroughly regulated and controlled system, with an every day Joe Shmoe unable to afford the drone anyway with all the registration fees and insurance requirements.

about 2 months ago
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Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

ilparatzo Re:Awesome quote (232 comments)

I did a little research ... using figures from Wikipedia though, so I may have lost a little accuracy, but probably not enough to kill the point given that I chose to use lower of the estimates for Russia...

1937 census in Russia, which pissed off Stalin because it was lower than he wanted so was likely accurate ... 162 million people, 2.6 million in the gulag system and alive. That is 1.6% of the population in the gulag alone, so we'd need those in the prison system too (they were separate).

2011 census in US ... 310 million people, 2.2 million in prison (federal, state or county). That is 0.7% of the population, half of Russia's gulag vs pop calculation.

So I'll assume you truly meant "sent to" rather than "in", and that rate is greater in the US now then in Russia. So either the US has a lot of recidivism, shorter stays, or both. But I imagine that the people who died in the gulag, not included here, would be a higher rate than the United States prison system based on books read on the subject. Not to mention there are plenty of other gulag/prison estimates for Russia that are significantly higher in earlier and later years. So overall, I'd say that the gulag/prison situation, as a percentage of population, seems considerably worse in Russia than today's US. Regardless of the annual rate at which people were sent there.

about 2 months ago
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Journalists Route Around White House Press Office

ilparatzo Re:Overblown Story About Nothing (111 comments)

Benign details or not, why is my government in the business of reviewing benign news stories for distribution anyway? If these details are so "benign", what a helluva waste to have me paying some schmuck with my tax dollars to find spelling mistakes and a mini army to decide if a girl who fainted needs to be included in an article?

If there is nothing "shady" about the government's role, I'm still happy to see it out of their hands. For one, they don't need to be in that business. Second, why put the honeypot in the room with them with the lid off? No need to tempt our government to abuse power ... they have plenty of history that they aren't to be trusted in those situations.

about 2 months ago
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How Spurious Wikipedia Edits Can Attach a Name To a Scandal, 35 Years On

ilparatzo Re:Research (165 comments)

fire the executive, hire 50-70 reporters. voilà: professional journalism in every story.

Lets not idealize the generic "journalist" as a perfect 3rd party observer of everything that surrounds him/her. We don't presently have legions of journalists who would magically lose the bias in their articles and simply "report the news" if the executive was fired.

The quick way to fame and fortune as a journalist is sensationalism and bias, in the footsteps of whatever extreme example of journalism fits your mold best (Limbaugh, Olbermann, Beck, etc). So those seeking to further their career follow it. The high minded "journalists" you speak of, professional and neutral, spend years trying to advance and in a consumer culture, I suspect give up more often than not.

about 2 months ago
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PETA Is Not Happy That Google Used a Camel To Get a Desert "StreetView"

ilparatzo Re:PETA won't be happy until all animals are extin (367 comments)

I would imagine that many groups that started out fighting for what they felt was a good cause, eventually reach this point as they grow in numbers, strength and financial backing. I suppose they reach a point where they need to get into the limelight in any way that they can to keep the money coming in to fund the bloat. Not to mention to keep the fanatics within the ranks satiated.

I would imagine that deep in the tombs of PETA headquarters is a document that shows the worst outcome that could arise due to the organization .... they get everything they ask for and they no longer have a place in society.

about 2 months ago
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Lennart Poettering: Open Source Community "Quite a Sick Place To Be In"

ilparatzo Re:Systemd (993 comments)

"His software is pure excrement"

Are you aware that you're helping to reinforce one of the points two comments up? And somehow, writing software that a group of people deem as bad means that you should be met with horrible physical tortures?

Shall we give a copy of Windows and a copy of Linux to every American, and let them over the course of a week determine which is "good" and which is "bad", and imprison for their rest of their lives those who helped to develop the software which loses?

about 2 months ago
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Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

ilparatzo Re:Communism Inspired Tyranny (652 comments)

Read any book on Eastern Europe during the "Iron Curtain" days or the Soviet Union. You quickly find that what the masses "need" and what the leadership/famous/popular "need" are two different things. Or even what you can turn into a "need" with a little palm greasing.

about 2 months ago
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Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

ilparatzo Re:Not my problem (652 comments)

All pigs is equal, but some pigs is more equal than others.

Ain't that the rub though, isn't it? The people telling me that I need to change my ways, sacrifice, are the same people that seem to get the privilege to act differently.

How about this? Lets take 80% of all money spent on political campaigns in the United States and divert it instead to investment in renewable energy. In the latest presidential election year, that number would be 80% of 7 billion dollars (politico), meaning we'd be able to pump 5.6 billion into the fight to end global warming every major election year at least. Would that be a better cause, no matter what you think of renewables, then all the TV spots we're forced to watch over and over again?

about 2 months ago

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