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Comments

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Drought Inspires a Boom In Pseudoscience, From Rain Machines To 'Water Witches'

mrchaotica Re:It's OK to attack mythology and superstition... (254 comments)

Life is so hard there's zero chance you're getting out alive.

There have been 107 billion humans who ever lived, and about 7 billion of them are still alive. Therefore, the odds of death are actually only about 94%.

; )

yesterday
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Microsoft Dumps 1,500 Apps From Its Windows Store

mrchaotica Re:They won't (122 comments)

Mine didn't do that when it was running Windows 7... but then again I never updated the graphics driver either (unless Windows Update did it by itself).

yesterday
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Microsoft Dumps 1,500 Apps From Its Windows Store

mrchaotica Re:They won't (122 comments)

Does Debian count as solid and robust? I installed it on my HTPC the other day, and (after installing the non-free Radeon firmware and then changing the sound output from speakers to HDMI in settings), the sound works for the non-root user I created during installation, but not for the other non-root user I created afterward.

I've used Linux (on and off) for a long time. I'm a sustaining member of both the EFF and FSF. I'm a really big fan of Free Software in general. But I still have to admit that my immediate thought was "WTF, Windows wouldn't screw up this kind of thing."

yesterday
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FBI Investigates 'Sophisticated' Cyber Attack On JP Morgan, 4 More US Banks

mrchaotica Re:Please stop calling it... (97 comments)

slimshady76 thought it was relevant to compare to Italy or France; I was merely refuting his argument. Complain about it to him.

yesterday
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FBI Investigates 'Sophisticated' Cyber Attack On JP Morgan, 4 More US Banks

mrchaotica Re:Please stop calling it... (97 comments)

"The Netherlands" is a country and it's correct to include the "The" (when naming it in English, at least).

yesterday
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$33 Firefox Phone Launched In India

mrchaotica Re:Meanwhile, Firefox is dying off. (83 comments)

Um, they are doing all they can: making their own mobile platform out of their product. What else can they do? Any bright ideas?

They could fix the bloat, bugs and crashes instead of trying to add new features that nobody wants (except maybe Chrome users, but they'd just use Chrome anyway).

As a Firefox user since way back when it was called Phoenix, all I really want is Phoenix 0.5 with complete and optimized support for modern HTML/CSS/etc.

2 days ago
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Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

mrchaotica Re: Impacts (487 comments)

All of those places require that supplies like food get shipped in from less extreme environments. If you're not self-sustaining, then you're "visiting" there, not "living" there.

2 days ago
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Old Doesn't Have To Mean Ugly: Squeezing Better Graphics From Classic Consoles

mrchaotica Re:No device necessary (163 comments)

the kind of emulation bugs still getting reported are literally "on the Super Game Boy player for the SNES..."

What kind of lunatic plays his Game Boy games on an emulated adapter for a different console entirely instead of just using a Game Boy emulator?!

For more recent systems, yeah, I haven't found any truly good low-level emulators, but those are also not the ones you'd be breaking out the CRT display for.

I don't know about that; I think anything up to and including the PS2, GameCube/Wii and (for all I know) Xbox probably looks better on a CRT.

2 days ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

mrchaotica Re:Accepted the challenge, nice. One more interest (517 comments)

Most of what you said is so full of weasel words "essentially, close enough" that I think you realize how weak that line of argument is.

I thought about that as I was writing them, and I apologize. Let me clarify:

First, on the use of "essentially:"

My claim that science is the opposite of religion depends on the context, which I explained in my previous posts (and which I go into further detail about below). In some other context, perhaps atheism would be the opposite of religion (but not in this context -- when comparing to science as I'm doing, atheism is every bit as religious as Christianity).

These things are complicated concepts, and if you're going to make a claim that complicated concepts are opposites of each other then you have to clarify what aspect of them, or in what sense, they are opposite. I'd like to think I've done a decent job of that, but I included the word "essentially" to try to prevent the rebuttal that science and religion weren't opposite in some context other than the one to which I was referring.

Second, on the use of "close enough:"

If a law prohibits teaching the Scientific Method, then it establishes religion. Absolutely. No weasel words about it.

However, this law doesn't quite do that. Instead it "merely" removes the "focus" on the Scientific Method -- it uses weasel words itself to attempt to effectively prohibit teaching the Scientific Method without explicitly doing so; i.e., it's "close enough."

You said "the Scientific Method (P) is (essentially) the opposite of religion (Q): P". From my perspective, such an idea indicates a rather bizarre understanding of either science or religion. Let's look at each. [Followed by a list of bible quotes]

You seem to think that just because an idea happens to be written in the Bible, that that makes it a "religious idea." That is a fallacy. If an idea is similar to that of the Scientific Method, then it is scientific, even if it as a quote by Jesus.

I liked that quote about "false prophets," by the way -- I would expect it to surprise and upset creationists (or at least the less well-read ones, who haven't already incorporated it into their cognitive dissonance). If "Intelligent Design" were able to produce "fruits" (i.e., falsifiable hypotheses), then it would become legitimately scientific. But it doesn't, so it isn't.

The way I see and use religion is very, very similar to any science. Chemistry tries to figure out how atoms and molecules work, in order to build good molecules for important purposes. Biology tries to figure out how cells and organisms work, to do things like build replacement organs. Religion tries to figure how how relationships and lifestyles work, to build good relationships and fulfilling lives.

Those things aren't similar at all. The differences are the tools that are allowed to be used to evaluate and accomplish those goals, and indeed what kinds of goals are valid.

Science is concerned with understanding how and why things do work (using rigorous logical and mathematical models). In contrast, your statement about what religion tries to do is all about making rules to enforce how things should work. Science is strictly objective and descriptive; religion is inherently subjective and prescriptive.

If you're a chemist, for example, and you decide to disregard the results of your experiment because they aren't "good," then you are no longer practicing proper science.

Incidentally, it's possible for an idea to become more or less scientific over time. Who knows; maybe some Babylonian sociologist did a comprehensive, well-researched study of adultery and that passage you quoted ("Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman...") was the conclusion of his scholarly journal. That would be scientific! (Well, sort of, anyway -- sociology is kind of "iffy" as a science to begin with.)

But when you replace "a survey of N Babylonian men showed that the ones who committed adultery were X% less happy, on average, than the ones who didn't" with "thou shall not covet thy neighbor's wife, or else God will smite thee down!" -- that is, when you become proscriptive instead of descriptive and stop caring about having a rigorous answer to the question "why?" -- then the idea stops being scientific and becomes religious.

Conversely, a religious idea, like the Great Flood, can become scientific over time. Geologic evidence has been found that the Mediterranean flooded through the Bosporus into the Black Sea suddenly in about 5600 BC. It didn't literally flood the entire world, but it could have seemed that way to somebody living on the (previous) shore of the Black Sea at the time. (So far, the existence of the Ark -- and particularly, the idea that Noah was commanded by God to build it instead of some more mundane explanation -- would still be outside the scope of the scientific theory.)

2 days ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

mrchaotica Re:This is good! (517 comments)

The Atlanta metro area is certainly different. I never went to school in rural Georgia, but I would never expect that that anecdote represented the norm even there.

2 days ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

mrchaotica Re:This is good! (517 comments)

A friend of mine from Georgia (the US state) described his high school biology lecture on evolution as "OK, today I'm legally required to tech evolution. We all believe in Jesus, right? OK, next topic."

Thank goodness not all of Georgia is like that.

2 days ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

mrchaotica Re:just because the dept of ed.... (517 comments)

Which of course explains away why a steadily increasing number of incoming college freshman have to take remedial courses.

The fraction of people who choose to go to college has been steadily increasing, too. The real question is, which is increasing faster?

(In other words, it could be that the students needing remedial classes are the same kind who would previously not have gone to college in the first place. If that's the case, it might not be a real problem.)

2 days ago
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Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

mrchaotica Re:Delayed action (487 comments)

What a wonderfully free-market idea... utterly reviled by [people who claim to be] capitalists everywhere!

2 days ago
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Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

mrchaotica Re:Impacts (487 comments)

Humanity lives in every habitat on the planet.

No, it doesn't. There is no self-sustaining population of humans in the ocean, or in Antarctica, or underground.

2 days ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

mrchaotica Re:This is good! (517 comments)

I disagree. ID is a valid theory, in terms of a possible explanation. After all, Monsanto is doing ID (and some DD - Dumbass Design), so we know it can happen to some degree. Old-fashioned breeding is also ID.

What Monsanto does and what the "Intelligent Design Theory" proposes are not at all the same thing. The latter proposes that there is some intelligent force setting and/or manipulating the laws of the universe (which could pretty much only be a god (if not "The" God) by definition).

An interesting side discussion for students is if complexity alone is evidence for ID. In other words, if a natural explanation is not currently known, is that strong evidence for a creator, or merely evidence of humanity's knowledge gaps?

That's not a side discussion; that's the entire point. According to the Scientific Method, that kind of "evidence" (i.e., "we don't know, therefore X" or even "it is unknowable, therefore X") is categorically excluded from being valid. In other words, if you're even considering that idea then you've already failed to understand what science is.

If you want to have that kind of discussion, you need to do it in a philosophy class, not a science class. I suppose maybe you could mention it in a science class in order to point out what I wrote in the previous paragraph, but that's about it.

2 days ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

mrchaotica Re:This is good! (517 comments)

I see the part about focusing on knowledge rather than scientific processes, but in no way can one read 'forbidding the scientific method to be taught' in there.

That's strange; if there's no way that someone could interpret "scientific processes" as referring to the Scientific Method, then how did Ars and I (and so many others here) manage it? I think you're the one who's mistaken on this point.

Not only that, but I could see a good reason for it: they have around 160 hours, total, to teach a year of science. Maybe they want to cram as many facts in as possible, and save the science for it's own sake stuff for those in advanced classes considering a scientific career. If they had a history of wasting precious school time teaching bunsen burner techniques to second graders, then we would all be asking for language like that to be added.

First, I have a hard time believing anybody could honestly interpret the law's usage of "scientific processes" to refer to things like how to use Bunsen burners.

Second, without the Scientific Method, "cram[ming] as many facts in as possible" is an entirely worthless endeavour -- less useful than Bunsen burner techniques, even! (At least learning how to use a Bunsen burner might make the students less likely to injure themselves the next time they use a gas cooking stove...)

2 days ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

mrchaotica Re:prohibit == require is a dot you need to connec (517 comments)

(Sigh) Fine, I'll prove it for you.

  1. As I asserted in my previous post (and you didn't object, so I assume you agree with the axiom), the Scientific Method (P) is (essentially) the opposite of religion (Q): P -> (not)Q, and Q -> (not)P.
  2. This law requires that schools de-emphasize the Scientific Method, which is "close enough" to prohibiting it: (not)P
  3. Since Q -> (not)P and (not)P, therefore Q. QED.

In other words, if science is prohibited -- and this law does do that, despite claiming not to -- then religion is required (since those are the only two relevant possibilities). Rejecting the scientific method is itself an inherently religious choice.

2 days ago
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GOG Introduces DRM-Free Movie Store

mrchaotica Re:Why not MP4? (126 comments)

Because there's a good chance that anyone who cares about it being DRM-free also cares about it being patent-free. I certainly do, although this is still "a good start."

2 days ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

mrchaotica Re:Chemistry is religion now? (517 comments)

So are you saying that chemistry is religion, or that mathematics is?

Without the Scientific Method, chemistry is nothing more than alchemy. In that case, yes, it is religion!

2 days ago
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Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

mrchaotica Re:And this is how we get to the more concrete har (517 comments)

So that's the real end goal - to get religion - or more correctly, Christianity, back into schools so everyone becomes a "good little Christian boy".

Indeed. However, the Discovery Institute's chance of success depends entirely on obfuscating that goal. There's a lot more people who would support "intelligent design" as some sort of oppressed underdog "scientific theory" than who would support it as the blatant theocratic idea it really is.

It's just that creationism is the wedge issue that can get them in the door the easiest since a lot more Americans believe in it (than say, a great flood happened, or that everything we see was made in a week a few thousand years ago).

It's too bad that more Americans believe in creationism than the great flood, since the latter is a lot more scientifically plausible than the other two ideas you mentioned. I mean, it's pretty clear that the "entire earth" didn't flood, but it may sure have seemed that way to somebody living in what is now the Black Sea about 7600 years ago.

2 days ago

Submissions

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Linux-friendly and Internet-enabled HDTVs?

mrchaotica mrchaotica writes  |  about 5 years ago

mrchaotica (681592) writes "I'm in the market for a new HDTV (in the $1200-or-slightly-more range, as I won the extended-service-plan lottery and have a Sears store credit). Several of the TVs I've looked at have various "Internet TV" features (here are Samsung's and Panasonic's). Some manufacturers appear to be rolling their own, while others are partnering with Yahoo (maybe in an attempt to create a "standard?"). Moreover, these TVs also tend to run Linux under the hood (although their GPL compliance, such as in Panasonic's case, may leave something to be desired). Finally, it's easy to imagine these TVs being able to support video streaming services (YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, etc.) without a set-top box, but I don't know the extent to which that support actually exists.

Anyway, here are my questions:
  1. Is this "Internet TV" thing going to be a big deal going forward, or just a gimmick?
  2. Which manufacturers are most [open standard|Linux|hacker]-friendly?
  3. Which TV models have the best support (or best potential and community backing) for this sort of thing?

Thanks for your insight!"

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