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Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

silentcoder Re:This doesn't sound... sound (327 comments)

>When you have no cash, and nobody is willing to give you credit ... this new government seems to be living in a fantasy if they think they can just make that all go away.

You mean like Iceland did ? The worst thing that could happen to Greece is they may lose their EU membership if they do. That may not be so bad if they are hellbent on NOT doing what the rest of the EU wants them to do.

2 days ago
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Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

silentcoder Re: Honestly... (327 comments)

>Bankers would run off with a lot of money... that would become incredibly devalued.

Do you really think the kind of bankers who run of with such a lot of value can't convert it into other currencies BEFORE it gets devalued ? Indeed, actually accelerating the devaluation for everybody else when they buy all those dollars and pounds and yens in bulk ?

2 days ago
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Fark's Drew Curtis Running For Governor of Kentucky

silentcoder Re:Where Does He Stand On the Issues? (120 comments)

Erm... yes it does.
Anarchism does not equal chaos, it is not the absence of a system at all. It is merely doing away with one aspect of the system: the concept of wielding power over another.

That doesn't mean giving the ability to use power to everybody, it means giving it to NOBODY, and having systems and mechanisms to ensure that nobody CAN exercise power over anybody.

Anarchism isn't an absence of laws and rights, or even of law and rights enforcement, it's merely a system for passing laws, establishing rights and enforcing those without any individual wielding power over another.
You still have courts, you still have appeals. You still have punishment for crimes.

It's not by any means the absence of social order, it is merely the absence of government and authority.
In an anarchist state, for example, you could still have a police service but instead of answering to politicians - they would report directly to the electorate that appointed them.

In such a system the kind of thing that just happened in Fergusson would, theoretically, be impossible since the people who are now protesting in the street would be capable of - themselves, arranging to have the entire local police force fired and replaced.

Many anarchist systems DO have elected officials who speak on behalf of small communities in larger regional forums (which can in turn send delegates to larger national forums etc. etc.) but unlike in a republic they hold no power, and have no decision making position on those forums - they are there solely to represent the views ALREADY VOTED ON in the communities they represent and can be instantaneously recalled at any time if their community felt they even slightly misrepresented them.
These ideas, however, predate modern communications technology -such representatives really wouldn't serve any purpose at all today.

Most people don't realize this but history is full of successful anarchist societies that did not turn out as you predict. The biggest was the Roman republic. Yes Rome was not a republic as YOU know the concept, the Republic of Rome was, in fact, an anarchist society. Why ? Because they practised direct democracy - which is literally the sole requirement to be an anarchism.

That is also why there are as many visions of anarchist societies as there are and have ever been anarchists - because so little is set in stone, everything else is up for debate, up for adjustment - meant ot be scientifically investigated and changed whenever a better idea comes along.

2 days ago
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Fark's Drew Curtis Running For Governor of Kentucky

silentcoder Re:Where Does He Stand On the Issues? (120 comments)

Firstly - I never declared myself in favor of anything at all - I merely mentioned the existence of these ideas. Acknowledging that a concept exists is not, in and of itself, an endorsement of that concept.

Secondly - this particular version comes from anarchist philosophy. So there is no fear of what the government may or may not know as there IS no government at all.
Or alternatively - since all people get to vote on all laws and nobody ever has to live under any law they didn't get a direct say in... I suppose you could say it's the biggest government of them all - the entire population is in it.

Either way - in the absence of authority, there is no reason to fear the abuse of authority.

And, yet again, merely knowing that these systems of thought exists and even recognizing their potential does not constitute an endorsement of them.

4 days ago
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Fark's Drew Curtis Running For Governor of Kentucky

silentcoder Re:US politics are tainted with money (120 comments)

>Turning water into wine? Bootlegging; producing alcohol without a license or paying taxes on it.

And not charging for it. Clearly anti-capitalist.

>Healing the sick? Practicing medicine without a license, and violating FDA rules.
Also didn't charge or demand medical insurance - clearly an Obamacare socialist !

>Feeding a crowd with just two fish? McDonald's and Burger King would sue him, and demand an FDA inquiry into his kitchen methods.

Feeding the hungry sounds an awful lot like foodstamps to me.

Basically, as Bill Maher pointed out, Jesus couldn't get elected in the Jesus party !

4 days ago
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Fark's Drew Curtis Running For Governor of Kentucky

silentcoder Re:Where Does He Stand On the Issues? (120 comments)

But that's not the only form democracy could take. There are several versions where the number of votes a person has on a given law gets increased the more he or she will be personally affected BY that law.

So even if you get 90% of the people to vote that all gays should be put to death on a funeral pyre the law STILL wouldn't pass because the 10% voting against it would include the gay people and because they are only ones affected, and the way they are affected is so extreme - they would easily still get 60% of the total vote.

Democracy doesn't have to mean tyranny of the majority - there are many ways to avoid that. Many types of checks and balances one could imagine and many of those have been tried. The Republic is just one possibility out of quite a large list, and it probably isn't the best (or even a particularly good) example from it.

4 days ago
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Fish Found Living Half a Mile Under Antarctic Ice

silentcoder Re:Question (78 comments)

Looking at the history of the planet, what we have is basically lots and lots of mass extinctions - every major branch of life reaching it's peak and then being almost entirely eradicated and life basically starting over (and by the way - this happening to the human race is not just likely but an absolute certainty - the only actual defence is off-planet colonies which we don't yet have).

There are different ways you can interpret this data however. One interpretation is that life is extremely rare, that we came so close to it ending forever so many times that we must assume the odds of us being here were billions to one and that it may well never have happened anywhere else - that even if life had gotten started elsewhere, it probably didn't survive into present day.

The other, equally valid, interpretation of the same data is that life is extremely resilient - that it has survived absolutely everything the universe has (quite literally) thrown at it. Species and even entire families aren't resilient but life is - even if something kills absolutely everything except a few extremophile bacteria at the bottom of some volcano somewhere -that's enough, life will re-arise and some day, something as intelligent as us will walk the earth again. By this view it's quite likely we are NOT the first, though we're probably the first to make it space. Biologists like Jack Cohen will tell you that the odds of there being a single shred of evidence we ever existed in a billion years time is as close to zero as makes no difference. Even our roads and buildings aren't as long-lasting as we imagine, they only look that way on human time-scales, not on planetary ones. The satelites will all eventually crash with nothing to replenish lost velocity. That little plaque on the moon may survive- but who knows if it will be found by whatever is next able to ask "why are we here".

There is no real way to choose between these views, they are both equally well supported by the available data and until our capacity to look is significantly improved we can't get data from enough other places to see which prediction they match. For the moment we have two predictions from the same data but until we can confirm either one we can't know.
That is why looking is important. It's also why things like THESE are important, they add data which can let us refine our predictions.

That is a critical part of the scientific process, it's helps us figure out what to be looking for in the first place. The more extreme conditions we find life in - the wider the potential search space becomes (and theoretically - the more likely we are to find *something*). It also means that searching it all takes longer.

There is no scientific answer to the question of whether life is such an unlikely event it only ever happened here, or common and happened many, many times. The data we have can equally well defend either conclusion.
So we need more data. Every bit of new data helps.

5 days ago
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FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

silentcoder Re:Ethics? (556 comments)

> and about a secret Google group where the supposedly "independent journalists" were given marching orders and told what to push, what to ignore, and whom to attack. When the news came out? THIRTEEN gaming sites issued THE EXACT SAME STORY about how they didn't need gamers and that gamers were "dead".

A discussion group for journalists in a particular field... shocking, oh wait, all journalists in all fields have had those for decades, long before the internet they had forums like that via other means.
Journalists have been building relationships across publications and collaborating in this manner for-ever, it actually makes journalism STRONGER.
The only plausible explanation for you thinking this one is a scandal is:
1) You're an idiot who didn't know that this has been standard practise since Ben Franklin published a newspaper
or
2) You know that but are hoping WE don't, and want to deceive us.

about a month and a half ago
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FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

silentcoder Re:cowardice (556 comments)

Aaww you actually think calling somebody an SJW is an insult.

Being an SJW is pretty much the plot of every good action movie or series ever made. The A-Team were SJW's, MacGuyver was an SJW... dude, being an SJW is the ultimate real-man thing to do !

about a month and a half ago
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FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

silentcoder Re:Most Unbiased Slashdot Gamergate Article (556 comments)

>. I can indeed think of things with more toxic branding, but not all that many mind you.

The tobacco industry, big pharma... okay, I'm out.

about a month and a half ago
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FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

silentcoder Re:Media blackout (556 comments)

That is because the "corruption" never happened, there is no evidence that it ever happened - on the other hand, the death threats and harassment was very, very real.

about a month and a half ago
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Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

silentcoder Re:Home of the brave? (589 comments)

>Nobody on the right
Mit Romney, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul and Ron Paul aren't "on the right" ?

They've all said it out loud.

about a month and a half ago
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Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

silentcoder Re:Home of the brave? (589 comments)

Actually - not really, that statistic is simply based on crime numbers. More people are killed by spouse/partner than any other source. This is pretty much a global reality, the only significant exceptions are the middle of warzones.
The vast majority didn't make random choices, they just made WRONG choices.

about a month and a half ago
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Gilbert, AZ Censors Biology Books the Old-Fashioned Way

silentcoder Re: Slashdot, once again... (289 comments)

Actually you answered your own question without realizing it. Morality is not in the sphere of science so by implication must not influence what is put in textbooks. Science is by nature progressive since there is no forbidden knowledge. He is right because the issue of the morality of birth control has absolutely no relevance to the question of whether a biology textbook ought to discuss birth control. Conservative thinking wants to restrict what people know. To control their behavior by controlling information. This is fundamentally at odds with the foundational principals of science which makes science progressive or at least anti-conservative. Scientist hold morality as applying to how you use knowledge never to the knowledge itself. The same physics that gave us nuclear power (arguably a moral good) gave us the deadliest weapons ever created (undeniably a moral evil). The application of knowledge has moral questions but science is liberal because it never allows anything (including morality) to dictate the knowledge itself. Whatever the scientific method produces is published without limit or exception. Indeed caring about what people may do with it is a fallacy - the appeal to consequences.

about 2 months ago
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How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

silentcoder Re:Gay Sex! Agenda 21. (186 comments)

And Paul Krugman's PHD in economics qualifies him to say he knows better than you - and he is the one whom I was just citing.

And no, there isn't 51% conservatives in America, in fact you're a minority - which is why you struggle to win presidential elections.
You need to factor voter-turnout in. Several studies concluded that voter turnout among conservatives is over 80%, among liberals it is around 50% and thats in presidential elections where turnout is highest. In things like mid-terms, it's much lower.
More-over liberal voter turnout goes down MORE in things like midterms because very few liberals are retirees, indeed a large number of them are the very people who are affected by voter-suppression laws or simply such low-income earners that they literally CAN'T go vote because taking the time off work means starving that day.

If the USA made elections public holidays like every other civilized country on earth - the republicans would never win another election.

about 2 months ago
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How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

silentcoder Re:Gay Sex! Agenda 21. (186 comments)

Now go ask an actual economist about the Weimar republic and they will tell you that not in Weimar nor anywhere else in HISTORY has spending in a recession EVER caused hyperinflation.
What DOES cause hyperinflation is severe social upheaval. Weimar republic had just come out of a massive civil war. Zimbabwe - just came out of massive unrest. Rome in Nero's time: just concluded a massive war while dealing with a famine caused by bad weather.

Spending in a recession does not, by itself, cause hyperinflation - I'm not saying it CAN'T but we have mathematical methods to work out how much you OUGHT to spend to get the results without causing problems.

Now consider that the MOST common cause of hyperinflation has nothing to do with monetary policy at all ! It's social inequality ! Yes, some of the worst cases of hyperinflation were caused by severe social inequality. A prime example would be the destruction of the Spanish economy right at the height of Spanish power.
The conquistadors were using slave labor and getting very, very rich in the New World- coming back and spending their fortunes the way sailors do - in giant short-bursts far apart.
So traders raised their prices to meet this high demand, which benefitted traders, and so OTHER traders raised prices since THOSE traders could afford it.
Very soon - traders and conquistadors were making fortunes, while everybody else were poor, but the prices were being set by the rich minority - pricing everything out of reach of almost the entire population.
A loaf of bread came to be about a week's average wages !
That's when the Spanish economy entirely collapsed because do you know what happens when people who work hard all week can't afford enough food for a week ? They stop working. What's the point of working hard if you aren't EVEN able to meet your basic needs ?It makes no economic sense. The opportunity cost of going to work is higher than the value of your wages.

about 2 months ago
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How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

silentcoder Re:Gay Sex! Agenda 21. (186 comments)

The thing is - you can't act as if all costs are equal. At least you recognize that NEITHER side have actually done a balanced budget so you're not one of those who thinks Obama is a big spender (when in actual fact his deficit run-up is the lowest since Nixon) with a completely one-sided view.

But as I said, all costs aren't equal. Progressives are hugely in favour of cutting military spending - a LOT.
And that could solve the problem easily - without actually putting America at any risk. America right now has a military spending 13 times bigger than the next biggest, and 6 times bigger than the entire rest of the world COMBINED.
Nobody needs that.
Just the part of the military budget that goes to contractors - that's not barracks or feeding soldiers or even bullets and guns, just the part that's spent on contractors is 700 billion a year.
The total budget for social security is 70 billion.
One welfare-ish program, is about one TENTH of one part of the military budget.
Cut the military budget in half, you can have the same number of soldiers and the same level of military prowes (do you really think it makes a difference whether you buy 11 new aircraft carriers a year or 5 - when almost nobody else has even one ?) while at the same time paying for every welfare and safety net program you need without running up a deficit.
You may EVEN be able to do it without actually making the rich pay taxes (though you SHOULD anyway because nobody should get the benefits of living in a country without contributing to it's upkeep).

But show me one conservative who would even consider that ...

Now here's the real problem - America doesn't have a liberal party in government. The greens are liberal but they aren't on the hill, the democrats sure aren't progressive or liberal, they are center-right, the reps are just batshit insane.
The real problem America faces is that the 60% progressives in the population have no party actually representing them, Liberals don't vote democrat because democrats are liberal, they vote democrat because center-right is better than batshit insane.

And just how center right ? Compare actual policy and the following presidents were ALL more leftwing than Barack Obama:
Millard Filmore (refused to grant Utah statehood until governor Brigham Young created a welfare system).
Richard Nixon - created the EPA, supported welfare reform.
Ronald Reagan - argued for matching the capital gains tax to the income tax (basically he was trying to pass the Buffet rule 3 decades before Buffet was). Ran up a massive deficit.
Truman - tried to pass universal healthcare (and single-payer at that - which is a hell of a lot more liberal than Obama's version which made everybody a customer of an insurance company).
Gerald Ford - tried to pass Nixon's healthcare reforms but wasn't in power long enough to succeed.
Rooseveldt - the one who sent in the army to protect UNIONS from corporate thuggery and called for a second bill of rights that could have come right out of a democratic socialist country like Denmark.
Eisenhower - by a huge margin.

And ultimately - this is the wrong time for your suggestion. Despite what Austrian economists say - there's a reason they are a tiny fringe group in economics who get laughed at a lot. A recession, by definition, is CAUSED by a LACK of spending. Nobody spends, means nobody else has INCOME - so THEY don't spend either.
The only way OUT of a recession is for SOMEBODY to start spending - a LOT. And the only actor who can do that is the government.
Every government that tried austerity made their recessions worse, MUCH worse. The biggest economic problem in the USA today is that your government is underspending, massively. The stimulus package was no more than 40% of what economists were recommending.

about 2 months ago
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How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

silentcoder Re:Gay Sex! Agenda 21. (186 comments)

Actually the typo was "aren't" instead of "are".
The goods at Wallmart are NOT cheaper than anywhere else, they cost the same or perhaps even MORE than elsewhere.
You just don't realise you're paying the difference because what Wallmart has done is to outsource most of their wagebil onto the wellfare system. By allowing Walmart to pay slave wages you aren't saving money on goods - you're just paying that money to the same people walmart would have paid it to - only you're doing it through the government instead of through walmart.
In the end - you're still the one paying it though and the only people who gain from this are the executives of walmart because on THEIR balance sheet a major cost has been removed.
The cost still exists - they've just externalized it onto to their customers through the tax system.
Externalities are ALWAYS market failures, they are one of the defining types of market failure. The market cannot accurately price things when part of the costs have been externalized which leads to inefficient economic outcomes.

about 2 months ago
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How the World's Agricultural Boom Has Changed CO2 Cycles

silentcoder Re:Corn Subsidies (186 comments)

Okay... I didn't think I would need to spell this out - but a core part of the theory of evolution is the process of natural selection and the drivers of natural selection - which is scarcity and competition for resources.
Without scarcity, there's no competition and the species stagnates. Species at the top of the food chain can go millions of years without branching or any visible alteration.
According to fossils the Ceolacanths and great whites are identical to the ones that shared the oceans with ichthyosaurs - but both were in states of abundance.
If they evolved at all it was only things like their immune system - their physical structure untouched.

Where Malthusian dynamics aren't present - natural selection doesn't happen since there's nothing to select.
This doesn't mean (or say anything about) other forms of selection such a human-controlled breeding programs, but those didn't even come into existence until the last few thousand years. They aren't responsible for more than a tiny fraction of the earth's diversity - the force that did nearly all of it was competition due to scarcity as a result of Malthus.

Now that doesn't mean Malthus was perfect, I don't think anybody today thinks he was entirely right actually. At the time the ONLY mathematical series KNOWN was linear and exponential so he used those to explain the clear pattern he saw, that species always outbreed their foodsources (which of course ultimately restores the balance when food becomes scarce enough that most of the eaters die - and now the food can recover again).
Today's versions use much more complicated mathematical series which were unknown in the 19th century, but the basic principle remains entirely intact among biologists.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Lucasfilm threatens company for making lasers.

silentcoder silentcoder writes  |  more than 4 years ago

silentcoder (1241496) writes "Lucasfilm has sent a cease and desist letter to the poducers of a powerful hand-held laser device meant primarily for industrial work claiming it resembles the lightsabers from the copyrighted Star Wars films too much. The manufactuers, Hong-Kong based Wicked Lasers, deny any correlation between their product and the lightsabers in the films. An interesting side question arises however: can a company owning the idea for a fictional technology later prevent somebody from creating a real product even if is directly inspired ? Would Steven Spielberg be able to stop anybody from making a time-machine in an automobile? Will Lucasfilm be going after the Martin Aircraft Company next because Boba Fett had a jetpack ?"
Link to Original Source
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New dinosaur species discovered in South Africa

silentcoder silentcoder writes  |  more than 5 years ago

silentcoder (1241496) writes "Scientists at Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa today announced the discover of a previously unknown species of dinosaur. The new species was named Aardonyx Celestae from the Afrikaans word for "earth" and the Greek for claw,. Earthclaw which is particularly interesting as it provides a crucial link between the early dinosaurs and the later giant Sauropods was discovered during a routine dig on a farm the northern FreeState (South-Africa's most central province). Two other species were discovered on the same site, but their announcement will only happen later after further laboratory testing has been done."
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The first Kongoni Screenshots ever

silentcoder silentcoder writes  |  more than 5 years ago

silentcoder writes "With their first public release just days away, the kongoni project a GNU/Linux distribution originated in Africa and designed to be a fully-free desktop-friendly system on a BSD-like architecture lead developer A.J. Venter has released a full set of screenshots showing the "baseline" release in action. The baseline is intended to provide common platform for the further development of the system and as such represents a new approach to the development of a community distribution. It allows all potential contributors to work on a common installable platform without huge investments in server and bandwidth infrastructure.

The official release anouncement is expected within days."

Link to Original Source
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KDE releases version 4.1.1

silentcoder silentcoder writes  |  more than 6 years ago

silentcoder writes "The KDE project announced the first major update to KDE4.1 today. Version 4.1.1's changelog is largely focussed on performance improvements and bugfixes. The desktop shell, plasma, had numerous improvements in this regard which should be the most immediately user-visible.

With each KDE4 release the project seems to be edging closer to true next-generation desktop that was promised and despite the initial 4.0 controversy is becoming ever more widely adoptable. The particular focus on performance improvements are especially telling of a renewed commitment to giving users what they want."

Link to Original Source
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Office2007 fails ISO 29500 compliancy tests.

silentcoder silentcoder writes  |  more than 6 years ago

silentcoder writes "Groklaw picked up the story that OOXML documents created with Office 2007 do not actually conform to the OOXML standard as it was approved for ISO 29500. After a much criticized voting process, extensively discussed on /. and elsewhere one major point seems to have been overlooked by the ISO members: the fast track process is only for standards that are already implemented. Since Office 2007 is not in fact capable of creating OOXML documents that conform to the published standard where is this implementation ?
Much more details on the nature of the failures, who did the tests and it's further meaning for the industry (right back to square one: playing catch-up forever) in the article."

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