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Comments

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BBC and FACT Shut Down Doctor Who Fansite

pbhj Re:Choice (186 comments)

Well FWIW you do in part pay for the BBC - they receive a sizeable stipend from general taxation in addition to the monies raised through the license fee.

about three weeks ago
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How Open Government Data Saved New Yorkers Thousands On Parking Tickets

pbhj Re:If people would fight their tickets... (286 comments)

Only an injust system would charge a successful defendant costs rather than make an award of [reasonable] costs against the plaintiff. Ridiculous.

about 3 months ago
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Student Records Kids Who Bully Him, Then Gets Threatened With Wiretapping Charge

pbhj Re:WTF?? (798 comments)

So criminals can now just use some sign language in front of any video camera - a conversation will have been recorded and the police will instead of charging the criminals order a destruction of the evidence and charge the camera owner with a felony.

about 5 months ago
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Student Records Kids Who Bully Him, Then Gets Threatened With Wiretapping Charge

pbhj Re:WTF?? (798 comments)

That doesn't sound like something you'd need a good lawyer for, that sounds like something a law school student that had only been to half their classes should be able to bring up ...

about 5 months ago
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Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

pbhj Re:Why is that a problem? (673 comments)

I don't understand why we need to force more men in to nursing - certainly when I've needed a nurse then I've not cared which sex they were, just as when I've needed a doctor. What improvement does the healthcare system get from male nurses that female nurses can't provide?

about 5 months ago
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Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

pbhj Re:Sex discrimination. (673 comments)

>*But in this thread, looking around, some guys are claiming that women aren't good at math.* //

Isn't the problem that the spread of achievement, ability, etc., is far greater in men. There are more male geniuses but also far more male fools. Women don't clamour to be recognised as fools though. In schools in my country girls have far out-performed boys in maths for a long time but they still don't choose the "hard" sciences or engineering courses at the same rates as boys; most likely because university level study creams off the top and so exaggerates the difference, leading to sex imbalance in workplace roles that garner people from those university courses.

Certainly in my chosen field whilst there were lots of women who were more intelligent, more studious and with greater achievement than many men (me for example) the couple of people in a thousand that stood out as future leaders in the field were men.

If you can't handle there being a sex-based difference then what are you going to do about autism rates, suicide rates, homelessness rates, ... where - as with these "top" academic positions - men are over-represented. Are we going to start diagnosing women with mental health problems so as not to present a perceived sex bias? Of course not, that would be stupid. We should provide the same opportunities to get mental health care, measure people using the same metrics and help those who under those metrics need help.

about 5 months ago
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Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

pbhj Re:Sex discrimination. (673 comments)

Well if 100 women applied for each position but only 10 men and the candidates were on average equally qualified whether female or male, ie their sex didn't on average make any difference as to their ability to perform, then the number of women would be greater than the number of men. If the numbers are the same then there has been unfair sexual discrimination.

So in this situation did the proportion of school children wishing to follow a particular career path match with the proportions who were accepted in to those roles in companies when ability is accounted for? If not then there was sexual discrimination.

I'd imagine that giving one group preferential treatment, more scholarships to men say, would mean a greater proportion of the suitably skilled were able to achieve a target role and thus discrimination would have occurred.

about 5 months ago
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Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

pbhj Re:Sex discrimination. (673 comments)

>"scholarship aimed at single mothers" //

Why shouldn't fathers looking after kids on their own have that same opportunity?

>"There is a lack of women in STEM fields." //

The corollary of this is that women can uniquely provide skills in STEM fields that men are unable to provide. Yet it's been hotly denied that men can bring anything to any field that women can't (even as a generality by some). So, in what way is there a lack of women? Are we suddenly allowed to say that a person brings skills to the table simply because of their chromosomes? Personally I don't doubt it but it contradicts exactly the express position of many feminists and undermines entirely the basis for equalising the proportion of each sex employed in a particular field.

>"If we were offering incentives to women to become nurses, I would have a problem with this." //

Why? Don't we need people to become nurses just as we need people to work in other specialisms?

Suppose practically no women want to be sysadmins, lots of men do and that a certain cadre of nerds (who're perceived as being borderline-autistic) are most able to perform the role; such characters are usually men, these men want to do that job, few women want to do that job ... tell me why we need to incentivise women to do the job? Aren't men capable of doing it? Why does it matter what sex they are?

Provided the choice of job candidates is performed fairly why should we rail against the progress in removing discrimination and add in new types of discrimination?

Ladies Nights are discriminatory. I have no problem with them for private businesses, the minute the government starts running them and claiming that they aren't discriminatory or that they somehow are working against discrimination, that's when the government has gone of the rails.

about 5 months ago
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$30K Worth of Multimeters Must Be Destroyed Because They're Yellow

pbhj Re:Did Fluke request this? (653 comments)

>*one cannot allow anyone else to "dilute" it* //

You can't allow it to be genericised, sure. But you can grant a license to anyone to use your trademark and so your argument is moot, the RTM holder can issue a license which avoids any sense of dilution, you'd simply need a sticker "yellow colour used under license from Cocks Inc." so unwary buyers aren't fooled.

You lose trademarks by not paying the renewal fees, it's _almost_ impossible to lose them otherwise.

about 6 months ago
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Scottish Independence Campaign Battles Over BBC Weather Forecast

pbhj Re:I will never happen (286 comments)

Why? Under what treaty or agreement would the EU not be able to claim those oilfields? They are British oil fields, hence part of the EU at the moment. What law means that Scotland receives them if it chooses independence? What bargaining power do Scotland have against the united might of the EU if the EU say "lolz, nice try, still ours"?

It's going to be interesting if the vote goes through as "yes". No established currency, no rights under international treaties (but then no obligations, like copyright), no protection from established accords, no monarchy, no armed forces and such. Will be interesting to see, for example, if the Queen allows Scots to resign their posts in UK armed forces and such.

about 6 months ago
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Scottish Independence Campaign Battles Over BBC Weather Forecast

pbhj Re:Map projections (286 comments)

Flat-Earther with incredible eyesight?

about 6 months ago
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Scottish Independence Campaign Battles Over BBC Weather Forecast

pbhj Re:Firrrst post the noo (286 comments)

>*The United Kingdom is a union of equals* //

What utter nonsense. The UK is the union of 3 kingdoms - England, Scotland and Ulster - with a single monarch; it's not a republic of equals or a federation of states who've agreed equal voting rights. If you want that then you need to get rid of the monarchy first.

about 6 months ago
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Atlanta Man Shatters Coast-to-Coast Driving Record, Averaging 98MPH

pbhj Re:Is this really something we want to celebrate? (666 comments)

>*There's no relationship to how fast you go vs. safety.* //

So as many people die in porsches travelling 5mph as do at 105mph?

about 10 months ago
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Atlanta Man Shatters Coast-to-Coast Driving Record, Averaging 98MPH

pbhj Re:When will he be arrested? (666 comments)

Why not? Doesn't the spirit of the law exist in USA?

about 10 months ago
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Atlanta Man Shatters Coast-to-Coast Driving Record, Averaging 98MPH

pbhj Re:When will he be arrested? (666 comments)

In most states law enforcement only need to have a just cause to arrest people on suspicion of crime - someone making a confession and claiming to have clear evidence that they committed a crime seems like just cause to arrest the suspect here.

It seems they must either deny it, and get out losing their record, or confess?

about 10 months ago
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File-Sharing Site Was Actually an Anti-Piracy Honeypot

pbhj Re:Good. Piracy is wrong. (225 comments)

>"Kids in grocery stores crying, yelling, in tantrums on the floor, trying to get their mothers to get them some candy is not a basis for how we should be acting as adults on the internet." //

You were doing alright with your argument until this.

1. Sweets are generally bad for you, they contain additives and such that give you no benefit and may be harmful. Excessive processed sugar consumption certainly doesn't seem to help a child. Consuming culturally relevant works may be bad for you, but not in the same way.

2. If you steal sweets from a shop then more have to be made to replace them. If you infringe copyright then there is no noticeable effect on the producer, as on the whole the extra "work" is all done by third parties.

3. Theft of sweets doesn't lead to extra sales, copyright infringement can. It doesn't always but there is an effect in play. Some of the greatest media buyers are also technically copyright infringers.

4. There are some limited ethical reasons for file sharing - one can rip media you own and encode it, but that's a waste of time and energy when compared with torrenting a file that is already prepared and being downloaded by others. Yes, there are ethical reasons to steal sweets - to give someone suffering a diabetic episode - but that's not the situation you offered for comparison so it's a moot point.

5. The socio-political situation is that there is often no more money available for a person to spend on media consumption than is being spent already. You've released a new movie that's made 5 times it's expenditure in the first week, why are you begrudging a poor person consuming it who wouldn't otherwise benefit from the work. With the sweets, you lose sales for sure as the theft prevents those same sweets being sold but that's not at all true with copyright infringement you still have your copy to reproduce as you will. With the media you lose nothing by allowing others to give away copies in a limited manner. [To the extreme it matters of course].

In short you made a cogent argument and then obliterated it with a silly analogy.

Let's look at your universal statement in that argument though:

>*You... are NOT ENTITLED to products or services in which you have not paid money for.* //

I disagree that people are not entitled to basic health care (a service) or clean water (a product) because they can't pay for it. You're going to have to come up with a more nuanced argument than that if you want to convince people you're speaking from a position of higher morality.

>*If you are pirating data, you should be admitting to yourself that you are stealing.* //

If you're pirating data then you're doing it wrong. You should copy data and - if and only if it's for the greater good - pirate tangible goods instead. If you're a pirate then admit that, if you're [merely] committing the tort of copyright infringement then admit that. Admitting the truth to yourself is better than labelling yourself as a criminal when what you are is a tortfeasant.

>*If you want something so badly, pay for it, or ignore it.* //

If you want to take part in the culture of our times and are poor what then? Copyright is such that even when vast, vast, returns have been made far and above the invested amounts, far beyond the expected returns of even the greatest of wages those works that have attained a cultural relevance are still locked up and only those who pay can gain lawful access. This is wrong. Culture is more important than that. Yes it's more important than letting those who're creators of creative works to go without any reward too but the balance has been forced far to one side by crooked dealings leaving an entirely unbalanced system.

Your statement works as well for media conglomerates as for those you try to apply it to - if you want everyone to be able to afford to pay to take part in the creative culture of our times instead of falling to tortuous malfeasance then pay for it. Pay more taxes, pay people on benefits an amount that enables this, pay your workers a high enough minimum that they can take part as consumers in that culture you're peddling. Or, y'know, ignore it and get back to swimming in your vast piles of money.

But what about the poor creators, who're working hard to make ends meet. What about them? Indeed, but nothing you've said helps them either. Little in the system stops them from being exploited to line the pockets of the rich media owners or the copycat corporate machines.

tldr; apart from your analogy, your premises and your conclusion everything pans out. Well done.

about a year ago
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Are Shuttered Gov't Sites Actually Saving Money?

pbhj Re:"Financial Sense" (668 comments)

>*we can't have a situation where there is no government* //

So remind me, if there's still an active, functioning government why is everything being shutdown? Surely if there's a government they can tell all the parks not to be jerks and just open as normal etc.?

about a year ago
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Steve Jobs Video Kills Apple Patent In Germany

pbhj Re:Europe (100 comments)

These would be rejected in the UK for not having industrial applicability.

about a year ago
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Nintendo Announces 2DS Handheld — Plays 3DS Games In 2-D

pbhj Re:Less travel-durable (156 comments)

The main failing of the DS appears to be, from looking at "needs repair" posts on ebay, the hinge breaking. Based on that this seems like a positive step.

Getting the ribbon cable on a replacement screen to pass through the hinge requires persistence and dexterity to the point of nearly ending me a few Christmases back.

1 year,19 days

Submissions

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Asprox virus active on UK government websites

pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 6 years ago

pbhj writes "The Times [of London] are reporting, 23 July 2008. that a new trojan is now making waves in the UK having already hit US sites:

Eastern European hackers are suspected of placing the Asprox virus on more than a thousand British websites, including those run by the NHS and a local council, in the past two weeks. [...] Last week, Asprox infected the Norfolk NHS website, used by thousands of people a day. Hackney Council's website was one of 12 local council websites also compromised, meaning that anyone logging on to pay a parking ticket or council tax was at risk over a three day period. [...] In the US, the virus has successfully penetrated mainstream sites belonging to Sony's Playstation, the city of San Francisco and Snapple.

Asprox is an automated SQL injection attack that uses Google to find vulnerable sites and then injects an IFRAME which links to the malware file payload ("aspimgr.exe"). Of course, as The Times failed to report, the malware only infects Microsoft Windows computers — and what details could be found indicate injected attack code is targeted at pages created as ASP.

The Register gives some information, apparently from the same source. The security consultant mentioned claims that only half of current AV applications can catch Asprox; though VirusTotal report slightly better detection rates of 21/32 (giving details of variants and their names). As Avast seems very popular on Slashdot, you might like to see details from an Avast forum post concerning users who've acquired the trojan since June 2008."

Link to Original Source

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  about 8 years ago

pbhj (607776) writes "Index: src/extension/internal/libwpg/libwpg.h
========== ================================================== =======
--- src/extension/internal/libwpg/libwpg.h      (revision 12993)
+++ src/extension/internal/libwpg/libwpg.h      (working copy)
@@ -27,6 +27,11 @@
#ifndef __LIBWPG_H__
#define __LIBWPG_H__

+#define LIBWPG_VERSION_MAJOR     0
+#define LIBWPG_VERSION_MINOR     1
+#define LIBWPG_VERSION_REVISION  0
+#define LIBWPG_VERSION_STRING    "0.1.0"
+
#include "WPGraphics.h"
#include "WPGPaintInterface.h"
#include "WPGStream.h"
Index: po/Makefile.mingw
=============================== ====================================
--- po/Makefile.mingw   (revision 12993)
+++ po/Makefile.mingw   (working copy)
@@ -1,8 +1,6 @@
include ../Makefile.mingw.common

-INKLANG = am az be bg ca cs da de dz el en_GB en_CA en_US@piglatin es es_MX et \
-fi fr ga gl hr hu it ja ko lt mk mn nb ne nl nn pa pl pt pt_BR ru rw sk sl sq \
-sr sr@Latn sv tr uk vi zh_CN zh_TW
+INKLANG = en_GB

LOBJ := $(foreach a, $(INKLANG),$(a).mo )
"
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pbhj pbhj writes  |  about 8 years ago

pbhj writes "Inspired by an entry by Brian Suda at http://microformats.org/wiki/hcard I tried creating a hCard with an SVG entry as a data URL at the contacts page of my paint your own pottery studio Barefoot Ceramics (http://barefoot-ceramics.com.nyud.net:8090/find).

The original entry was:

"Brian Suda has managed to embed a photo in his hCard through the data uri scheme (http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2397.txt) by converting the image to BASE64 code. View the Source to see how this is accomplished. The X2V link {REMOVED} will extract the image and encode it for a vCard which will be displayed in some address book applications."

My hCard now has this element:

<img class="photo" style="display:none;" src="data:image/svg+xml;text,<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8' standalone='no'?><svg xmlns:svg='http://www.w3.org/2000/svg' xmlns='http://www.w3.org/2000/svg' version='1.0' width='50' height='80' id='svg3957'><defs id='defs3959' /><path d='M 28.91433,{...CODE CUT...}32.192802 z' style='fill:#cc4d00;fill-opacity:1;fill-rule:eveno dd;stroke:none;stroke-width:0.625;stroke-linecap:b utt;stroke-linejoin:miter;stroke-miterlimit:4;stro ke-opacity:1' id='path9551' /></svg>" alt="Barefoot">

Does it work?? Well it parses OK. Some automated tools replace the < with %3C (etc., eg Brian Suda's vcard form). Unfortunately Kontact (KDE contacts tool) doesn't handle SVG as a vCard photo or logo format (indeed it crashes if you try to import the card a second time once it's already installed) - I don't know if this is a standard. It seems it could work and maybe even does somewhere.

What was quite cool was the use of the SVG or base64-SVG directly in the URL. If you check the coral cache you can look at the page source and try pasting this in to your browsers address bar. It works at least in FF1.5, Konq3.4 and Seamonkey1 on Linux but hasn't been tested on other platforms.

Opera8 fails to handle the first self-closing tag and so can't parse the XML properly. Opera9 hangs indefinitely but works (as do those above) with the data:url content as base64 encoded text. I suspect MSIE won't do this.

There was very little about data urls with SVG (Google:0, Yahoo:25, A9:20), but http://groups.google.com/groups?q=%22data%3Aimage% 2Fsvg%2Bxml%22 turned up 3 pages that sum up the rest of it really."

Journals

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 5 years ago

amazing stats on search engine use from a blackhat's stats from Overture
http://seoblackhat.com/2006/08/11/tool-clicks-by-rank-in-google-yahoo-msn/

http://www.silktide.com/sitescore-overview
http://www.silktide.com/sitescore/reseller

http://tools.davidnaylor.co.uk/

advertising / seo qualifications (as seen at davidnaylor.co.uk, http://www.davidnaylor.co.uk/pages/pay-per-click-management.html)
https://adwords.google.com/support/select/professionals/bin/answer.py?answer=12252&topic=182
http://advertising.microsoft.com/adExcellence/my-adExcellence

McAfee site analysis (dodgy links, malware, bad reports, etc.)
http://www.siteadvisor.com/analysis/

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 5 years ago

http://support.acer-euro.com/drivers/utilities.html#BIOS
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Components/Video_Cards/Q_23781259.html
http://www.nvidia.com/object/ntune_5.05.54.00.html

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 6 years ago

http://www.globalpolitician.com/24301-europe-islam
http://answering-islam.org.uk/Hahn/Mawdudi/

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 6 years ago

[http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2008/02/18/is-science-faith-based/]

"If tomorrow we started observing light travelling at 314,159,265 m/s then scientists would incorporate that bizzare and unexpected change into their worldview."

If it were possible to flick that switch I suspect we wouldn't be observing it any longer. Indeed there probably wouldn't be a universe to observe.

Anyhow:

"The scientific method makes one assumption, and one assumption only: the Universe obeys a set of rules."

It's amazing that this current scientific method was established by the belief that in nature there must be order because God created it. It's a response to pure intelligent design. The idea that if it's designed we can categorise it and abstract the principles of the design and in doing so learn about the creator.

How do you do science without [mathematical, logical] axioms? Which set of axioms forms the true algebra (read on Gödel's incompleteness theorems? Is the speed of light fixed (ensuring relativity is consistent) or not?

You may not have the answer to that last one, but I'll bet you have a default that you acknowledge a priori as the truth.

One last quicky: have you already proven that the world existed before you were achieved consciousness / were born? If yes, please share. If no, do you believe it did? If you don't (perhaps only because you haven't sat down to do a rigorous proof, well done scientist), if you do ... that's faith.

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Welsh Language Board figures on welsh speakers

pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 6 years ago

==Percentage of Welsh Speakers==
Those figures in the first para seem pretty dubious to me. I've looked at [http://www.bwrdd-yr-iaith.org.uk|Welsh Language Board] website for details from the 2001 census but they don't provide any textual results of overall percentages. They hide the figures in JPEG images and only provide a complete summary as either a MS Word or MS Excel file ... helpful - you can see they're all about diversification and access and not at all [http://www.bwrdd-yr-iaith.org.uk/cynnwys.php?pID=182&langID=2|sold out to Microsoft]!! Anyhow, the figures from [http://www.bwrdd-yr-iaith.org.uk/cynnwys.php?pID=more&langID=2&mID=2&type=Pubs&cpID=90|24 Sep 2003:
2001 Census - Main Statistics about Welsh] on the Welsh Language Board website are as follows:

CENSUS 2001: MAIN STATISTICS ABOUT WELSH
Speakers
Of all aged 3 and over:
        582,400 (20.8%) said they were able to speak Welsh.
        This compares with 508,100 (18.7%) who in 1991 said they spoke Welsh, and 503,500 (19.0%) in 1981 .

So there you go ... how do more than 60% of welsh people use welsh daily when only 20% can speak the language ...that there's called a whitewash. But of course we can't change the figures because that's "criticism". Incidentally if you look at the age distribution then that figure would be more like 5% without the huge financial support given to this anachronistic language.

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Well I moved in January from Slack 12 to Ubuntu when I was installing on my new computer (Athlon 64 X2 4000+; 3G RAM; Nvidia 7200 GX).

I'd not tried Gnome in a long time (since Slack 9 I think) so thought it was worth a shot.

Loved the default look and feel, added compiz-fusion and loved the eye candy some more. Then I needed to get my work done! Lasted 10 days (or so) with Gnome. Then installed KDE ... click, click, click, wait ... installed.

Also installed KDE4 (which is so not ready for users).

Quote:
try installing something that is not in the repos
Someone mentioned non-repos installs ... very easy. Download the deb and click on it.

I like the way sudo is arranged so that admin tasks request the user password.

At least one other mentioned lack of compiler and trouble kernel compiling ... haven't tried later (though all my Slack kernels were custom), new box is fast enough I don't need to bother.

Things that I used to self-compile were either cutting edge or just rare enough not to have packages or slackbuilds readily available. Now I find that most of what I need is available as a deb or is already in the repos (testing! or in repos of distros like medibunti or Mint). Indeed I've yet to find anything I need to compile (including SVN builds of Inkscape which are in the testing repos) and several things I used to self-compile that now I don't. Critical mass is the term here I guess.

This machine came with Vista Home Premium pre-installed ... which bizarrely took more setup (didn't see all memory, video was wrong) than the entire Ubuntu install. I thought the boot manager setup would be complicated but it didn't require any intervention it just added Vista to the boot list.

Ubuntu installed the nvidia drivers and fixed xorg.conf for me which was nice. Synaptic is just awesome ... it was my reason for trialling Ubuntu (having used it on Fedora some time back). Only problem is that I now test install a lot more stuff. Ubuntu also have ensured that some FF plugins install direct from the repos rather than their normal locations - then they get updated by apt tools, etc..

Can't now see anything to draw me back to Slackware to be honest though it has been something of a culture shock. I'm just at the stage when I've finished learning about Linux and started using it. Only downside is that the LQ forum isn't as good as this one!

FWIW I used Slackware for about 9 years, have an undergraduate diploma in computing (UK) and work part-time as a web designer/technician.

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wales

pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 6 years ago

"Wales" as a cohesive land didn't exist until Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Gwynedd and the ruler of Deheubarth, claimed himself Prince of Wales in the 13th century. The lands of Llywelyn being conquered by Edward I of England and becoming part of England. Wales was then properly established as a single principality about 20 years later when the Kings son was given the title Prince of Wales. So the "Welsh" dragon, unless it's older than Wales can't really be Homeric in origin. Now that Welsh dragon might have been used previously by the Princes of Gwynedd, Powys Deheubarth, etc.. but that's another story.

-- by me on 2008-01-04, pbhj

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Flat earth flame ... but I'm hooked! (Score:3, Interesting)
by pbhj (607776) on Mon 31 Oct 01:36AM (#13911938) Homepage Journal
>>> "Sure. Explore it all you want. It has been explored for thousands of years. You can explore the idea that the earth is flat too if you want. Just because some people are exploring it doesn't mean we need to start teaching that to children in science class. Teach that myth the same place we teach the other myths - in religion or humanities classes or the like."

[Here's a Christian idea ...]

The big bang? Sure. Explore it all you want. It has been explored for tens of years. You can explore the idea that the Earth is flat too if you want ....

The big-bang, incidentally is an untestable event as by definition the established principles of physical science break down at the singularity (and how would we observe, a temporal action, before time existed). So, it becomes a matter of faith as to whether there were a big bang or a re-expansion or some other creative event [or none! like Newton, Maxwell, Einstein et al. thought] ... which I find hilarious. What's doubly funny is that a lot of people arguing against a creator argue for a big bang whilst cosmologist are moving towards alternate theories. And to cap it all the big-bang was proposed by a Belgian priest (LeMaitre) - I'd like to think that his faith inspired him at least in part.

I guess the big-bang is probably still the standard model. But every standard model I ever studied was proven to be inconsistent with observations ...

Oh well.

LeMaitre - http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/science/ sc0022.htm [catholiceducation.org]

=======

Re:Flat earth flame ... but I'm hooked! (Score:4, Insightful)
by jdclucidly (520630) Alter Relationship on Mon 31 Oct 02:35AM (#13912160) Homepage
I'm not an astrophysicist but that's just flat-out wrong. The big-bang theory IS a verifiable theory. That's why why have astronomers staring at the cosmic background radiation and analyzing the motion of stars (which shows that the universe is expanding). As far as I know, most all cosmic observations have given credibility to the big-bang theory. And it will continue to be tested. If there's ever some falsifying data, then the theory is destroyed. Plain and simple.

=======

Re:Flat earth flame ... but I'm hooked! (Score:2)
            by pbhj (607776) on Mon 31 Oct 05:24AM (#13912874) Homepage Journal
            Except we don't know whether the CBR is from a re-expansion or a big bang (or some other form, eg a crazy steady state) and so ultimately we can't verify. But, yes, it is scientific from the perspective of falsifiability.

            Incidentally, current expansion proves nothing. And at the point of ex-nihilo (sp?) creation there was nothing to radiate nor time to pass for a fluctuation to occur in. So no radiation eminates from a big bang event, only after an event, and there are multiple possible explanations for the post-event radiation ... hence no way of knowing for sure. Hence, you either use faith, or random chance, or populism, ... but not science to determine the root cause of the universes current existence.

            Oh and big bang theory AFAIK has no explnation for baryonic assymmetry (for want of the proper term) ...?

            If I concede the verity of an inflationary model will you explain where the inflating universe came from?

            If it's branes colliding then I'm quite excited by the possibility of God being personally manifest within those extra dimensions. in which the branes move. But, at the end of the day it's all just a systematic self consistent construct that aids in our conception of reality.

=======

Re:Flat earth flame ... but I'm hooked! (Score:2)
                        by jdclucidly (520630) Alter Relationship on Mon 31 Oct 05:49AM (#13912964) Homepage
                        On CBR, I think you have it backwards; the big bang theory suggests certain kinds of CBR which have been observed now that the technology exists. We didn't observe the different kinds of CBR first and then come up with the big bang as a possible explanation. This lends credence to the theory but of course doesn't prove it.

                        And on 'proving nothing' you are not getting it... we're not out to /prove/ anything. We seek only to /disprove/ people's wild ideas. If we can test them and can't disprove them then they are considered not-so-wild. And with time, perhaps accepted as a theory. Science has nothing to say, currently, about what might have happened "before" the big bang (if indeed time itself even existed). So, yes, you must turn to theology or philosophy to answer such questions. But that's not the domain of science. The point is that no faith is required to say that 'the big bang is currently the strongest theory on what the "first" event in our universe was'. I don't think anyone is saying that they are 100% certain.

                        And on baryonic asymmetry, we're at the very fringes of my knowledge but I don't think it really matters. All I remember on it is that the theory not being able to account for this doesn't disprove it; it's just means the the theory will need some enhancing once we understand baryonic asymmetry more fully. If I recall correctly, the super-collider being built in France is designed to help in this area.

                        I don't really have anything to say about the rest of the stuff. It would be a complicated philosophical discussion about the nature of reality and whether or not you are a supernaturalist at all if you believe in intelligent lifeforms living on other branes manipulating our reality...

                        If they were listening/reading right now, I would want them to know that they are some arrogant fucks and they certainly don't deserve any worship, I'd take freedom instead...

=======

Re:Flat earth flame ... but I'm hooked! (Score:4, Insightful)
by nathanh (1214) Alter Relationship on Mon 31 Oct 08:09AM (#13913349) Homepage

        The big-bang, incidentally is an untestable event as by definition the established principles of physical science break down at the singularity (and how would we observe, a temporal action, before time existed).

The big-bang is entirely testable. The background microwave radiation is one test. The velocity vs distance of galaxies is another test. The COBE satellite was launched to test the big-bang theory (and the theory passed that test).

The singularity is an untestable event. The big-bang itself, entirely testable. In your own words you admit it's testable:

        I guess the big-bang is probably still the standard model. But every standard model I ever studied was proven to be inconsistent with observations ...

If there are observations that could disprove the big-bang theory then the theory is testable. That's what testable means. But be careful: the theory is not the same thing as a model.

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Re:intelegant design != God (Score:2)
by pbhj (607776) on Mon 02 May 02:00PM (#12406705) Homepage Journal
>>> "If Inteligent Design was something other then the belief in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God, then those proponents would be spouting out endless theories as to who that Inteligent Designer was/is. There would be groups solidly believing that Aliens did it. There would be groups solidly believing that Zeus did it. There would be groups solidly believing that the planet Earth is actually the Inteligent Designer. There would be groups that would be believing that a machine inteligence from another dimension broke into ours, or created our dimension and inteligently designed all of us."

These seem like possible first hypotheses. Not my belief but I don't see how you can _prove_ that the universe wasn't designed by transdimensional alien beings (a là Men In Black (the movie) at the end). Current physic-al theories breakdown at a temporally distant singularity after all.

=======

Re:intelegant design != God (Score:1)
by cnelzie (451984) Alter Relationship on Mon 02 May 02:38PM (#12407145) Homepage
So shouldn't we at least mention such shortcomings of science?

What exactly do you mean by this? Science acknowledges its shortcomings every single day. That's why there are the clear definitions behind what a hypothesis is, what a theory is, what a scientific law is and what a fact is and where facts are used in the supporting structure of science.

Things that cannot be tested within the confines of our existing technology can never be anything other then a hypothesis. It has been that way as long as science as existed with the clear seperation between hypothesis, theory and scientific law.

It has also been true that the use of 'Facts' are simply pieces of information that are discovered through the process of testing a hypothesis and are used to take that hypothesis and formulate a theory.

After becoming a theory, those facts are tested, retested to confirm or deny the validity of that theory. If the theory is deemed entirely invalid and false, it is tossed aside. If that theory is deemed valid but weakly defined/worded, then it is restructured to support the existing facts, which only strengthens the theory.

This is something that I learned when I was in elementary school in early science classes. This was further reinforced as I took additional mandatory science classes in Middle School.

I have no idea how anyone, who claims to have a High School Diploma, could also claim to have no idea what the difference between a Hypothesis, Theory and Scientific Law is. I am not a scientist, I do not deal with hypothesis, theories or scientific laws in my regular daily activities and still I know this.

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 6 years ago

On immutability and perfection .. (Score:2)
by pbhj (607776) on Thu 05 Jul 01:41PM (#19753353) Homepage Journal
>>> "Any change in the state of a perfect thing would render it imperfect, or imply that the original state was not perfect to begin with. Thus, God cannot love anything, or want anything for his creations."

Except if god exists outside of time and thus is immutable in 4-dimensions (and possibly changing in other dimensions). Thus god could still be "perfect" (by your definition of perfection being immutable). Your argument is like a flat-earther saying you can't sail west and get to the east - God doesn't need to change to accomodate the arrow of time because he already has perceived/permitted/manufactured the change and changed accordingly ahead of time. Your (and so I guess Spinoza's) argument is temporally bound and assumes that the god in question is also; ridiculous.

Anyway, that aside: If the weather today is perfect (for me, say I'm going skiing and want unblown snow) that doesn't mean that the same weather tomorrow is perfect (for me, when I'm going sailing and want wind and sun). The original state of the weather was perfect, the changed state of the weather is perfect (for me!), the state of "perfect weather" need not have altered if considered as a single form in a four dimensional space.

Oh and where in the Bible does it say God is separate? God, by the Holy Spirit is certainly _not_ defined as separate but instead is permeating (as an ether). Nor is God entirely singular, being triune. You open up the possibility by saying something must contain God (though outside of space-time what is containment?) to the notion of God containing both Himself and the universe.

PS: When you say God is singular, do you mean he has no "god-friends" or is this a reiteration of his immutablilty?

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Firefox bugs:
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=345717
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=359575
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=325942

See also
http://positioniseverything.net/articles/onetruelayout/appendix/equalheightproblems
which gives some suggestions and discusses the intending working of the w3c spec

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 7 years ago

http://trans.sourceforge.net/en/features.php - naff, terrible interface, doesn't even do stream speed altering, does have some good features including notation of people speaking.

http://www.seventhstring.com/xscribe/download.html - for music transcription

Audacity?

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 7 years ago

For any [[reference point]] on the Earth, the [[Qibla]] is the direction to the Kaaba. Muslims are ordered to face this direction during prayer ([[Qur'an]] 2:143-144). While it may appear to some non-Muslims that Muslims [[worship]] the Kaaba, the Kaaba is the focal point for prayer. The Jewish religion established the concept of geographically focussed prayer - Jews traditionally may face the [[Holy of Holies]] and by extension Jerusalem though this is commuted for some to be an edict to face East. This contrasts with [[prayer in Christianity]] where there is no geographical or physical focus for prayer this is a reflection of the Christian belief concerning the direct communion with God via the indwelling of God's [[Holy Spirit]] as part of the new covenant( and perhaps due to the doctrine of [[omnipotence]]). Hence Christians pray at any time of day and facing any direction

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 7 years ago

"iera monh esfigmenou - agion oros" is a transliteration of the greek for the monastery.

It seems there is a current issue of persecution and division: http://www.esphigmenou.com/ claims that the monastery is under attack from other "brothers" in the locality.

A link to a story on Reuters (dated Wed Dec 20, 2006 12:12 PM GMT) lists this region (Mt.Athos) as being semi-autonomous and closed to females. The dispute apparently is on the rest of the community establishing closer ties with Rome. The Reuters article (id=2006-12-20T121202Z_01_L20534404_RTRIDST_0_OUKOE-UK-GREECE-RELIGION.XML) uses Esfigmenou as the transliteration of the name of the monastery; from the article:

"Esfigmenou monks say the 1,000-year-old monastery is theirs. They have also clashed before with police sent to evict them.

The monks have sharply criticised attempts to improve ties with the Catholic Church and the Pope.

The Mount Athos peninsula is considered as Orthodox Christianity's spiritual home from which all females are banned."

----------------

[copy of http://www.esphigmenou.com/What%20the%20dispute%20is%20about%20and%20why%20the%20monks%20are%20right/History%20of%20Esphigmenou%20Monastery.htm]
Brief History of Esphigemou Monastery

The famous and impressive monastery of Esphigmenou. Some say, its name originates from its position, as it is squeezed in, as it seems by two mountains. (Sphigmeno in Greek means to squeeze.) Some others say that its name originates from its founder who had a tight rope around their waist (Sphigmenos.) According to tradition, the monastery, (which celebrates the Ascension of Christ) was built by Theodosius the Micros and his sister, Empress Pulcheria (408-450) who was Marciano's wife. The monastery was later destroyed by a huge rock which fell from the mountain. The ruins of the old monastery are situated half a kilometer away. The new monastery was built at the end of the 10th century or at the beginning of the 11th century by the monks of the old monastery.

The first written document for the monastery is a letter from Paul the Xeropotamite written in 1001. For a short period in the 14th century, the abbot of the monastery was the eminent hermit and theologian Gregory Palamas, who later became Archbishop of Thessaloniki. Two times in the 16th century, pirates destroyed and plundered the monastery but it was rebuilt. In the 17th century the monastery fell into a decline, but during the years of the Russian king Alexander Michaelovits, it received many contributions from Russia as well as from other Orthodox Christians which helped the monastery's renovation.

In 1705, Gregory Melenikiou became a monk in this monastery, giving life to the place. Half a century later Daniel from Thessaloniki was appointed commissioner of the monastery after he had won the approval by Patriarch Gerassimos and the 'Sacred Gathering.' After his appointment he transformed the monastery into a cenobitic one.

During the Greek revolution of 1821 , the Turks did great damage to the monastery. In the period 1850-1858, new rows of cells were built. Including the main church, the catholikon, there are 9 chapels. The famous monk Anthony Petserski, founder of the famous Lavras monastery in Kiev, lived at the Esphigmenou monastery in 11th century. Moreover, he applied the monastic customs of Greece in his country and he became founder of the Russian monastic movement. Today, he is honored as a saint.

The library which is situated over head contains 320 handwritten codices, 75 of which are of parchment. Among them, one is erased and rewritten. Several of the codices have excellent miniatures (like the code number 33 which has miniatures from the 11th century). The library also has 2500 prints. The monastery's treasure collection consists of the cross of Pulcheria, an excellent mosaic icon which dates back to the 13th century, sacerdotal vestments, portable icons, liturgical objects, sceptres, crosses, relics of saints, several valuable documents and others.

It is considered as one of the most strict cenobitic monasteries of Athos.

The monastery is known for its stand against Ecumenism.

The Monastery never changed, and since 1924, has not commemorated any of the innovator and ecumenists Patriarchs.

Its last three abbots, have been recognized as holy saints by all on Mount Athos. The present abbot Archimandrite Methodios, was hand picked by the last abbot, to lead this monastic stronghold of ascetical Orthodoxy.

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Kyrillos Loukaris or Cyril Lucaris or Cyril Lucar (1572-June 1637) was a Greek prelate and theologian and a native of Crete. He later became the Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria as Cyril III and Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople as Cyril I. He was the first great name in the Orthodox Eastern Church since the fall of Constantinople in 1453, and dominated its history in the 17th century.

In his youth he travelled through Europe, studying at Venice and Padua, and at Geneva where he came under the influence of the reformed faith as represented by John Calvin. In 1602 he was elected Patriarch of Alexandria, and in 1621 Patriarch of Constantinople.

Due to Turkish oppression combined with the proselytization of the Orthodox faithful by Jesuit missionaries, there was a shortage of schools which taught the Orthodox faith and Greek language. Catholic schools were set up and Catholic churches were built next to Orthodox ones and since Orthodox priests were in short supply something had to be done.

In 1653 Patriarch Cyril opened a school called Athoniada at Mount Athos, but the Orthodox and Catholics insisted to the Turkish authorities that this should be closed. In 1659 the Athos School was closed. The next option was to send students abroad to study, as long as it was not Catholic thought. The Calvinists were appealing because their beliefs were thought to be very similar to Orthodox ones.

It is alleged that the great aim of his life was to reform the Church on Calvinistic lines, and to this end he sent many young Greek theologians to the universities of Switzerland, the northern Netherlands and England. In 1629 he published his famous Confessio (Calvinistic in doctrine), but as far as possible accommodated to the language and creeds of the Orthodox Church. It appeared the same year in two Latin editions, four French, one German and one English, and in the Eastern Church started a controversy which culminated in 1691 in the convocation by Dositheos, patriarch of Jerusalem, of the Synod of Jerusalem by which the Calvinistic doctrines were condemned.

Cyril was also particularly well disposed towards the Anglican Church, and his correspondence with the Archbishops of Canterbury is extremely interesting. It was in his time that Mitrophanis Kritopoulos - later to become Patriarch of Alexandria (1636-1639) was sent to England to study. Both Lucaris and Kritopoulos were lovers of books and manuscripts, and many of the items in the collections of books and these two Patriarchs acquired manuscripts that today 'adorn' the Patriarchal Library.

Lucaris was several times temporarily deposed and banished at the instigation of his orthodox opponents and of the Jesuits, who were his bitterest enemies. Finally, when the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV was about to set out for the Persian War, the patriarch was accused of a design to stir up the Cossacks, and to avoid trouble during his absence the sultan had him killed by the Janissaries in June 1637. His body was thrown into the sea, recovered and buried at a distance from the capital by his friends, and only brought back to Constantinople after many years.

The orthodoxy of Lucaris himself continued to be a matter of debate in the Eastern Church, even Dositheos, in view of the reputation of the great patriarch, thinking it expedient to gloss over his heterodoxy in the interests of the Church.

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 7 years ago

http://www.friesian.com/popes.htm#constantinople is a list of Popes (aka Patriarchs) of Constantinople ... it lists our guy (1634) as being preceded (and followed!) by "Cyril II Kontares" and with "Neophytus III" following Cyril's second brief sitting on the papal throne of Constantinople. In this text he's called "Patelaros" (his family name?) and there are quite a few different Athanasius too.

http://www.ec-patr.org/list/index.php?lang=en gives him as "Athanasius III" and gives him a second sitting in 1653, Friesian (above) does have a gap for "Paisius I" in 1653 but also lists "Joannicius II" as having a seat on the throne starting in 1653 ... musical chairs! They have a page for "Athanasius III" which has no info on it (http://www.ec-patr.org/list/index.php?lang=en&id=210).

http://wiki.phantis.com/index.php/List_of_Constantinople_patriarchs - list only, no page made there
http://www.eastern-orthodoxy.com/advanced.htm - list only

Note that the "history" I have copied mentions that Cyril I (Lukaris) was a sponsor of Athanasius, there's a bit about him at http://www.answers.com/topic/cyril-lucaris which I've added as a post .. it sources the Enc.Britannica Ed.11

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 7 years ago

This is not him

"Bishop of Alexandria; Confessor and Doctor of the Church; born c. 296; died 2 May, 373."

from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02033b.htm; the above is the guy associated with the athanasian crede (probably not wrtitten by him!), see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02033b.htm

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 7 years ago

[http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=101272]

Commemorated on May 2

Saint Athanasius III Patelarios, Patriarch of Constantinople, Wonderworker of Lubensk, in the world Alexis, was born in 1560 on the island of Crete, into the pious Greek family Patelarios. Despite his education and position in society, Alexis was attracted by the life of Christian ascetics. After his father's death, he became a novice in one of the monasteries of Thessalonica with the name Ananias. From there, he he later went to the monastery of Esphimenou on Mt. Athos, where he fulfilled his obedience in the trapeza (dining area).

From Athos he journeyed to the Palestinian monasteries, and he was tonsured with the name Athanasius. Upon his return to Thessalonica he was ordained presbyter and spread the Gospel of Christ among the Vlachs and the Moldovians, for whom he translated the PSALTER from the Greek. Sometimes, the saint went to Mt. Athos for solitude, and to ask God's blessing on his pastoral work. The holiness of his life attracted many Christians who wished to see a true preacher of the Orthodox Faith.

By his remarkable abilities and spiritual gifts he attracted the attention of the Patriarch of Constantinople, Cyril I (Lukaris) (1621-1623). Summoning the ascetic, Patriarch Cyril appointed him a preacher of the Patriarchal throne. Soon St Athanasius was consecrated bishop and became Metropolitan of Thessalonica.

At this time Patriarch Cyril was slandered before the sultan and imprisoned on the island of Tenedos. St Athanasius assumed the Patriarchal throne on March 25, 1634, on the day of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos.

Patriarch Athanasius led an incessant struggle against heretics, Jesuits, and Moslems. After only forty days on the Patriarchal throne, he was deposed through the intrigues of the enemies of Orthodoxy, and Cyril I was returned.

The saint went to Athos, where for a certain time he pursued asceticism in solitude. Then he became Patriarch again, but was deposed after a year. After this, he returned to Thessalonica and renewed his connections with the Holy Mountain. In view of the intolerable persecution of Christians by the Moslems, St Athanasius was repeatedly (from 1633 to 1643) obliged to send petitions to the Russian tsar Michael (1613-1645) seeking alms for the hapless Church of Constantinople.

When living at Thessalonica became impossible for the saint, he was forced to journey to Moldavia under the protection of its sovereign, Basil Lukulos, and he settled there in the monastery of St Nicholas near Galats, but he longed for Mount Athos. He visited it often and hoped to finish his life there, but God ordained something else for him.

In 1652 after the death of Patriarch Cyril I, St Athanasius was returned to the patriarchal throne. He remained only fifteen days, since he was not acceptable to the Moslems and Catholics. During his final Patriarchal service he preached a sermon in which he denounced papal pretensions to universal jurisdiction over the whole Church.

Persecuted by the Moslems and Jesuits, physically weakened, he transferred the administration of the Church of Constantinople to Metropolitan Paisius of Laureia, and he withdrew to Moldavia, where he was appointed administrator of the monastery of St Nicholas at Galats.

Knowing the deep faith and responsiveness of the Russian nation, St Athanasius undertook a journey to Russia. In April 1653 he was met with great honor in Moscow by Patriarch Nikon (1652-1658) and Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich. Having received generous alms for the needs of the monastery, Patriarch Athanasius left for Galats in December 1653. On the way he fell ill and stayed at the Transfiguration Mgarsk monastery in the city of Lubno in February 1654.

Sensing his impending death, the saint wrote his last will, and he fell asleep in the Lord on April 5. Igumen Petronios and the brethren of the monastery buried the Patriarch. By Greek custom the saint was buried in a sitting position. On February 1, 1662 St Athanasius was glorified as a saint and his Feastday was designated as May 2, the Feast of St Athanasius the Great.

The relics of holy Patriarch Athansios, glorified by numerous miracles and signs, rest in the city of Kharkov, in the Annunciation cathedral church.

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pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 7 years ago

I once woke from sleep with a very distinct recollection of the name "Saint Athanasius of Lubensk".

I'd never heard the name before (to my knowledge).

It's puzzled me for some time as to where it could come from as it turns out that there was such a person. Is it a prophetic word from God?

I found information about Athanasius being a patriarch of Alexandria in the 2C-3C sort of period, but the distinctiveness of the name being "... of Lubensk" was clear, despite it sounding made up to me. To me it's like the name "Jamoladine Abdoujaparov" (a Tour De France cyclist who's name I heard about 16 years ago once on telly), once heard never forgotten: 'cause it sounds so silly.

Now it turns out that there was an Athanasius (the second or third I think) of Constantinople in the 1250 sort of era who travelled to Russia to a place called Lubensk!

So what's it mean.

Whilst I had this dream about 4 years ago now (when I was still at the UKPO) it still troubles me now as the name was so clear and seemed to have a particular meaning for me. I've yet to find out what this guy did - but I do have a desire to travel to "Lubensk" if I can find where it is/was to see if it clarifies things.

I'm probably just nuts, but I've experienced active movement of the Holy Spirit - most notably on the day I became a Christian - and this something intangible about this whole thing that makes me believe it's "of God".

So if you come across this had have some incite please let me know.

---

Feast day, 2 May

http://www.oca.org/FSLives.asp?SID=4&M=5&D=2 - has an icon for AofL and has him born in 1560 on Crete
http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=101272 - a history
http://roca.org/OA/125/125h.htm , entire entry: "St. Athanasius of Lubensk (16th c.). Patriarch of Constantinople, he came to Russia seeking support for the Patriarchate. Here he died and was venerated as a saint. Feast: 2 May."

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vehicle taxation petition response

pbhj pbhj writes  |  more than 7 years ago

On Wednesday 17 January 2007 19:10, *******@aol.com wrote:
> Hi Everyone
>
> This came to me from my sister in Bedfordshire Police and sadly is
> genuine. Register on the website stated and pass on to anyone you know
> urgently.

This may come from a reliable source, but it smacks of an email scam to me - one of my "hobbies" is scam busting, but take a pinch of salt with anything you read in an email.

Firstly there is no corroborating evidence enclosed.

Secondly, and more importantly, the trial petitions site (http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/) allows anyone to register a petition about anything. So the use of the term "THIS IS REAL AND IT IS A PROPER GOVERNMENT SITE!!!" rings huge alarm bells. The petition may be on a government site but it is not from the government nor does it's presence on the site mean anything. If you want you can create a petition that the PM had beans for his breakfast - but that won't mean that the government is planning an entry on the statute books to enforce it.

Some information before you sign:

The BBC report referred to appears to be the one mentioned in the following link. It is a report on an imagined future with imaginary road charges as an attempt to see how things might change. http://www.bbc.co.uk/herefordandworcester/content/articles/2006/11/18/congestion_charging_feature.shtml

The report was spawned to contemplate the use of tracking devices in future in which cars have such devices as standard - their would likely be very little additional cost to motorists for equipment.

In that report it mentions that the figures come from an experiment by Professor Stephen Glaister of Imperial College - you can download a report [I think it's the report in question] by Professor Glaister from the Institute of Economic Affairs website @ http://www.iea.org.uk/record.jsp?ID=70&type=release. Further news stories associated with the report include:

1) a story in The Times [London] suggesting that road tax would be used to reduce council tax payments by up to 50% - people who use the roads would pay for the repairs, sounds fair to me. It also notes a trial wouldn't start until 2010 : http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2149456,00.html

2) in another Times story Friends of the Earth cautioned that the studies proposed charges might replace fuel duty entirely and that this could be a bad thing : http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1641476,00.html

3) an alternate view comes from the Telegraph : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/11/05/nroad05.xml

4) this BBC article seems to be a balanced summary : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4610755.stm. It quotes the RAC Foundation spokesman Sue Nicholson, thus: "Providing this tax was substitutional to fuel tax and road tax and provided we had some other guarantees then I think, for a lot of people, this would be a tempting option, ...".

These stories all broke quite a while ago; so you've got ask why all of a sudden we're getting an email about it.

So my view is that to sign a petition against this new method of taxation would be a knee-jerk reaction.

I personally think fuel based taxation makes more sense and that the direct Vehicle Tax should be dispensed with and instead we should have a number plated based insignia to show payment of insurance and passing of an MOT. That aside if we had the proposed system of mileage based Vehicle Taxation I think it would be better than the current lump sum "road fund license".

In summary I say don't sign!

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