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  • politics: Paul doesn't believe in evolution either. So why isn't he 'certifiably insane' like Huckabee? (downmod if this is inconvenient for you) on 2008-01-03
    • Well, any political issue would probably make his list of "issues of the day" before evolution would. Not believing in evolution most certainly does not make you certifiably insane, since "insanity" is only an official term in legal courts, not medicine. Also, the only political issue involving it is whether or not it should be taught in public schools (disregard for a moment the fact that Paul doesn't think we should have national public schools). There IS debate over whether macroevolution is true, but there ISN'T debate over whether it's the current scientific consensus. Since it is the scientific consensus, it should be taught in science courses, if for no other reason than that to do otherwise would not equip students with the knowledge they'll need in that field. Paul's response definitely isn't a cop-out. It IS a cop-out on your part for saying basic scientific concepts should be universally accepted and should be a major part of the qualifications for political office, since consensuses have been wrong before AND there's no constitutional or sensical reason to have that as a qualification for political office.
    • He doesn't tell me how to feel, I have made up my own mind on abortion. I am merely pointing out the fact that he has a lot of experience with born/unborn children and his opinion on the matter should be respected... not agreed with by everyone. The guy is an expert when it comes to bringing babies into this world and the whole build up to it. Pro-life or pro-choice, I think it's unfair to say his opinion is invalid because it doesn't match your own.
    • ignorant fool? I am an anthropology major and we studied in depth for six weeks the facts supporting we evolved from primates and evidence suggesting we didn't. Perhaps you should shut the fuck up and read your own comment. Science has proven 100% that if your head is cut from your shoulders you will not survive. But let's take your dipshit comment and run with it for shits and giggles. If science can't prove 100% we came from primates then that leaves room for counter agruements. Because of this I can see why some people may not be completely convinced in evolution. My information is not from political pundits its from one of the best anthropology professors in the country, Professor Kerr. Now I am going to reiterate that I do believe in evolution, while there are a few parts I have problems with. Holes that need to be filled with continued research. I don't understand why you feel the need to attack me on my beliefs in evolution, I never once said I didn't accept it. I simply stated that I am not going to run around calling people ignoramus' for not completely buying into evolution at it's current state.

    52 more annotations...

  • politics: You people that keep calling Ron Paul a nut....which "un-nutty" Republican candidate do you support in his place? Why? Upmod to start a meaningful debate. on 2008-01-02
    • IRS - After centuries of paying regressive taxes, the vast majority of America realized that progresive taxes were more fair.

       
        

      From wikipedia:

        

      In 1862, during the Civil War, President Lincoln and Congress created the office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacted an income tax to pay war expenses (see Revenue Act of 1862). The position of Commissioner exists today as the head of the Internal Revenue Service.

        

      The organization created to enforce these taxes was named for the internal revenue to be collected (and was formerly called the "Bureau of Internal Revenue"), in contrast to U.S. government institutions that collected external revenue through duties and tariffs.

        

      First one does not check out. IRS was created to help pay for the war, and then like anything else, it just gets greedier.

        
       

      Energy - This started as way to regulate nuclear energy. I don't think anyone back then or today is stupid enough to think that nuclear technology should just be in the hands of the highest bidder. (Except RP, I take it.)

       
        

      Formed in response to the 1973 oil crisis (basically OPEC + egypt/syrica cutting off the West for supporting Israeli wars against arabs). How did it help? It didn't. It didn't go into operation until 1977, 3 years AFTER the embargo lifted. It didn't solve any issue, and is now used mostly to facilitate new design and implementation of nuclear weapons, and suck down taxpayer money. Weeeeeeee!

        

      Labor: This one may have done some good in the past. As for right now... How many folks living on minimum wage are doing alright? Labor sucks for the lowest-paid. Anyone paid above that, is paid above the minimum in proportion to their skills. DOL mainly helps the lowest-skilled, and they're doing horrible with it. I'm not against this 100%, but I don't see it doing much good anymore. I'll concede it was useful in the past, though.

        
       

      Education - Most countries have centralized education systems which work a lot better than our decentralized system. Hard to imagine a historical argument that says having national standards and a slight amount of planning at the top is better than nothing at all.

       
        

      I've never heard of anyone choosing a school based solely on the DOE's blessing (accreditation). People choose (secondary) schools because of the reputation they have. It would be the same with public schools. Since you seem to agree that our education system already sucks, why would you be in favor of the department that helps keep it that way? Also, the argument was supposed to be past issue that the department rectified... I don't see any of that with the DOE.

      Add Sticky Note
    • Income tax - Ok, here's my wiki link. "The Pollock ruling made imposition of an income tax politically unfeasible from 1895 until the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment." Yeah. Americans had an income tax, lost it, and demanded it back with such fury they changed the Constitution.

       
        

      Huh? The 16th Amendment came into being in 1913, the IRS in 1862, 51 years earlier. We're discussing the departments that came into being because there was some issue that needed to be fixed, couldn't be fixed without them, and was fixed properly with them. Why are you citing changes that came around 50 years later? Am I missing something?

        
       

      Energy Dept. - technically named such in 1973, but its true beginings were earlier. Didn't hear any arguments that we shouldn't regulate nuclear power, so I take it you agree that this Dept. should still exist in some form.

       
        

      While actually no, I'm not super concerned that the government be the only keeper of nuclear power, that's a bit off topic. The topic was about whether or not the Dept came on the scene to fix an issue properly. Is there an issue for justification of the DOE's creation?

        
       

      Labor - your point is that since this department should be doing more, get rid of it.

       
        

      No, that it's not doing the job, perhaps get rid of it.

        
       

      Education - You don't see Walmart saying each store should just do what it likes. No, centralized planning is a better business model. No clue what the argument is that a school in BF Egypt wouldn't be better off with increased resources going toward planning.

       
        

      Again, I'll have to request that you figure out what the original issue that the DOE solved and is solving today...

  • politics: You people that keep calling Ron Paul a nut....which "un-nutty" Republican candidate do you support in his place? Why? Upmod to start a meaningful debate. on 2008-01-02
    • Or just because he's against separation of Church and State?"

        

      To a degree. He doesn't want to force church on to state, but he doesn't want church OUT of the state, either. We should be free to bring our church into whatever state we're in. It's when we start forcing our church on others where it gets bad. BTW, I am an athiest (actually a polyentheogenpantheist, but you won't find many of those), but I still agree with his position. It's freedom of religion -- and religion isn't something that's kept inside a church building, it's the way people act in their every day life.

        

      "Or just because he thinks Don't Ask, Don't Tell is a good policy?"

        

      How many other candidates have offered a different policy, and what are they? (serious question, I don't know.) To the best of my knowledge, just about any other policy would end up with gays getting the shit beat out of them behind closed doors. Hell, with the abuse that goes on in the army already, we don't need any policy that picks out the gays.

        

      "Or just because, as a self-identified "Constitutionalist", he mistakenly believes that the Constitution is replete with references to (the Christian) God, and thus the US is fundamentally a Christian nation?"

        

      Although many of the founding fathers were not christian, many were. But he's smart enough to not impose those christian morals on us, unlike so many others who would base all of their descisions on their faith.

        

      "Or just because he's a radical idealist with untested ideas and little regard for opposing ideas?"

        

      All ideas are untested at first. The tested ones don't seem to be doing so well.

        

      "Or just because he doesn't have a clue what effects his foreign policies will have?"

        

      Hardly matters, but for the sake of argument... From his longer interviews (not the 5 minute clips they like to keep him to), he shows a much stronger historic understanding of many different policies and their effects. I think he has shown to be the best candidate in terms of actual knowledge on this subject in particular.

        

      "Or just because, relatedly, he doesn't give a shit about our diplomatic relations with other countries?"

        

      Isn't he always talking about how we should talk with and trade with other countries peacefully? So... Sounds like good diplomatic relations to me! :)

        

      "Or just because he's so ignorant of science as to reject the just-a-theory of evolution?"

        

      This one is hard to counter -- except that since he wants to get rid of the department of education anyway, it doesn't matter what he thinks, it'll become the choice of private schools, and the parents. Those schools that lead to kids getting shitty jobs due to their horrid curriculum won't last more than couple generations.

        

      "Look, he has a few good policies, but his ignorance and radical religiousness and idealism break him as a candidate."

        

      Sadly, the only smart famous people I know who aren't ignorant and full of radical religiousness are dead. :(

    • @Digeratus I love when people become indignant about a subject that they are ignorant about. I love it because then I get to fairly assume you operate w/ a fair amount of hubris, and can therefore safely further assume that you aren't that bright because you'd be too proud to correct your thinking.

        

      a recent example:

        

      Or just because, relatedly, he doesn't give a shit about our diplomatic relations with other countries?

        

      -IMHO he has the best policy for diplomacy og ANY candidate - he wants to bring all of our troops home. ALL OF THEM. Do you think that might make countries alittle happier with us ? Why are their international pro-Paul videos on you-tube ? Are there any for Barak or whomever you support. I bet not.

        

      Or just because he's a radical idealist with untested ideas and little regard for opposing ideas?

        

      That's somewhat the definition of being liberal ( being open to new ideas ) ; I assume you consider yourself one ?

        

      Also calling him a radical idealist is immature; I think you'd agree that relative to the current administration that we NEED a radical, and what is wrong with an idealist again ? Finally, I think he has MUCH regard for opposing ideas, this is his platform. Certainly more regard than any of the front runners. He will allow states to make much more decisions themselves; likely creating a country where many people are allowed to do what others disagree with- something we used to believe in.

        

      Look, he has a few good policies, but his ignorance and radical religiousness and idealism break him as a candidate

        

      His ignorance? Example ? please look at what he has authored on wikipedia , also he is an MD. Also he was a flight surgeon and obstetrician, can you or your candidate deliver a baby or save a life ? ... ridiculous statement. Also watch him debate Bernanke on C-span.org; your candidate DOES NOT know nearly as much about economics as Paul does. If you think he/she does, please, please debate me on this point, I'm drooling.

        

      "radical religiousness" ... well here we go again, another exaggerated attack ? Who sounds like the radical or the fascist, you or paul ? . Please allow me to remind you the primary tenant of his platform is constitutionalism via de-federalization. period.

        

      Or just because he's against separation of Church and State

        

      See above. this is boring. Evidence he would abuse this seperation at a federal level please ? I haven't found one.

        

      Or just because, as a self-identified "Constitutionalist", he mistakenly believes that the Constitution is replete with references to (the Christian) God, and thus the US is fundamentally a Christian nation?

        

      Um, look i'm a betrand russel atheist buddhist if anything. Seriously. But, I hate to tell you that all those white guys from England probably weren't talking about Mohammed or Vishnu. I still have yet to see any evidence that he will impose even religious favoritism on ANYONE. Nearly everything I have read tells me the opposite. He will de-federalize. This is how this works:  If your state or city government decides to make a crazy religious law then get involved in your local government ( as you should as a citizen of a republic ) or simply move and hurt them economically. Don't you think states will be constantly competing for industry and under Paul would have to compete much more giving the working person much more power over the laws THAT AFFECT HIM/HER.

        

      Paul is simply about the people having more power than government period. You completely miss the point.

    • IRS - After centuries of paying regressive taxes, the vast majority of America realized that progresive taxes were more fair.

       
        

      From wikipedia:

        

      In 1862, during the Civil War, President Lincoln and Congress created the office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacted an income tax to pay war expenses (see Revenue Act of 1862). The position of Commissioner exists today as the head of the Internal Revenue Service.

        

      The organization created to enforce these taxes was named for the internal revenue to be collected (and was formerly called the "Bureau of Internal Revenue"), in contrast to U.S. government institutions that collected external revenue through duties and tariffs.

        

      First one does not check out. IRS was created to help pay for the war, and then like anything else, it just gets greedier.

        
       

      Energy - This started as way to regulate nuclear energy. I don't think anyone back then or today is stupid enough to think that nuclear technology should just be in the hands of the highest bidder. (Except RP, I take it.)

       
        

      Formed in response to the 1973 oil crisis (basically OPEC + egypt/syrica cutting off the West for supporting Israeli wars against arabs). How did it help? It didn't. It didn't go into operation until 1977, 3 years AFTER the embargo lifted. It didn't solve any issue, and is now used mostly to facilitate new design and implementation of nuclear weapons, and suck down taxpayer money. Weeeeeeee!

        

      Labor: This one may have done some good in the past. As for right now... How many folks living on minimum wage are doing alright? Labor sucks for the lowest-paid. Anyone paid above that, is paid above the minimum in proportion to their skills. DOL mainly helps the lowest-skilled, and they're doing horrible with it. I'm not against this 100%, but I don't see it doing much good anymore. I'll concede it was useful in the past, though.

        
       

      Education - Most countries have centralized education systems which work a lot better than our decentralized system. Hard to imagine a historical argument that says having national standards and a slight amount of planning at the top is better than nothing at all.

       
        

      I've never heard of anyone choosing a school based solely on the DOE's blessing (accreditation). People choose (secondary) schools because of the reputation they have. It would be the same with public schools. Since you seem to agree that our education system already sucks, why would you be in favor of the department that helps keep it that way? Also, the argument was supposed to be past issue that the department rectified... I don't see any of that with the DOE.

    16 more annotations...

  • House's ghost more scared of psycho new tenant than vice versa « News Parody « Recoil Magazine on 2008-01-01
  • BS' Blog: Filesystem Fundamentals and Practices on 2007-11-10
    • - Microsoft (MS) DOS 1.0

      MS-DOS 1.0 was a direct (and illegal) port of Digital Research's CP/M from the 8080 to 8088. There is a long history on that (MS bought it from Seattle Computer Products, the original piraters, for $50,000, which IBM later settled out-of-court with DR for $800,000). But the limitations of CP/M were clear, no directories, only 1,024 files in the filesystem, and filesystem reference was by drive letter (e.g., A:, B:, C:).

      The File Allocation Table (FAT) approach was simple, but effective. The filesystem was a simple set of sectors, with two (2) file allocation tables, one original, one backup. The allocation tables were to track allocation of sectors. If a file was allocated space, if it only took up one sector, then the relative FAT entry for that sector would be noted as the end of the file. If the file took up more than one sector, then the initial FAT entry would note the next sector of the file. Each file is a chain of entries in the FAT referencing the next sector.

      The FAT references were 12-bit, allowing up to 4,096 sectors to be addressed. With sector sizes of 512, 1,024 or 2,048 bytes, FAT12 could handle up to a 8MiB device. With up to 1,024 filenames, the FAT of a FAT12 only took up 1.5KiB (12,144 bits) of space.
    • NTFS is, in essence, a modified version of FAT. It still uses a FAT design, but has far fewer limitations (e.g., no more 8.3 limitations), uses a more intelligent approach. One is that the FATs are located closer to the middle of the filesystem, to reduce seek times (FAT filesystems allocate them at the start). And there are now formal approaches to discover which copies of the FAT are correct when they differ. Lastly, like HPFS, NTFS marks and forces filesystem integrity checks when the system is not properly shutdown and the filesystem taken off-line (and uses the same CHKDSK.EXE program, although radically different than the legacy DOS program of the same name). NTFS one-ups HPFS by adding journaling, which reduces the recovery time requires for brining the filesystem on-line as consistent.
    • Windows Millenium Edition (ME) was a Microsoft experiment to remove a lot of the legacy DOS 20-3Fh services and various interface options to force its own software application developers and indepenent software vendors (ISVs) to stop using the legacy DOS interfaces and start using the native NT/Win32 filesystem interfaces (among others). It was an utter-failure as it did little to force change, all while destroying compatibility.

    16 more annotations...

  • The Linux Information Project (LINFO) Home Page on 2007-11-10
  • Kinnison's review of The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche on 2007-11-09
    • In his own lifetime Nietzsche observed that in most cases "whoever thought he had understood something of me had made up something out of me after his own image (Ecce Homo III I)," and such is the case of Mencken.
    • one might find this book worthwhile for a number of reasons; as an example of how Nietzsche was often understood when his influence was first making itself felt; as one of the earliest works of an exceptional man in his own right; and there are even parts which do serve their intended purpose quite well (I think Nietzsche would have entirely approved of the chapter on Education). Finally I myself found Mencken useful here as a sort of intellectual sparring partner; having read a good deal of Nietzsche, I wanted to sort out my own thoughts by putting them up against those of another intelligent but non-specialist reader. So the book does have its uses, just not the one it claims to.
    • Say what you want of Mencken; he never levelled the guns of his criticism at anyone who could not fire back. By contrast; in our gallant Christian country, when some helpless nonconformist is set upon by a mob, it is usually with odds of ten against one, or more--something Mencken never ceased to scorn.

    1 more annotation...

  • Stephen King´s Top 7 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer on 2007-11-07
    • Wanted to share Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 rules for fiction.
       Eight rules for writing fiction:
       1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
       2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
       3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
       4. Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
       5. Start as close to the end as possible.
       6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
       7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
       8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
  • George Orwell: Politics and the English Language on 2007-11-07
    • It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.
    • A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.
    • 5. If a new spirit is to be infused into this old country, there is one thorny and contentious reform which must be tackled, and that is the humanization and galvanization of the B.B.C. Timidity here will bespeak canker and atrophy of the soul. The heart of Britain may be sound and of strong beat, for instance, but the British lion's roar at present is like that of Bottom in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream — as gentle as any sucking dove. A virile new Britain cannot continue indefinitely to be traduced in the eyes or rather ears, of the world by the effete languors of Langham Place, brazenly masquerading as ‘standard English’. When the Voice of Britain is heard at nine o'clock, better far and infinitely less ludicrous to hear aitches honestly dropped than the present priggish, inflated, inhibited, school-ma'amish arch braying of blameless bashful mewing maidens!

       

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  • Effective Writing - George Orwell on 2007-11-07
    • By following Orwell’s 5 rules for effective writing, you’ll distinguish yourself from competitors and clearly communicate your ideas.

       

      1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

       

      This sounds easy, but in practice is incredibly difficult. Phrases such as toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, an axe to grind, Achilles’ heel, swan song, and hotbed come to mind quickly and feel comforting and melodic.

       

      For this exact reason they must be avoided. Common phrases have become so comfortable that they create no emotional response. Take the time to invent fresh, powerful images.

       

      2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

       

      Long words don’t make you sound intelligent unless used skillfully. In the wrong situation they’ll have the opposite effect, making you sound pretentious and arrogant. They’re also less likely to be understood and more awkward to read.

       

      When Hemingway was criticized by Faulkner for his limited word choice he replied:

       

      Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.

       

      3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

       

      Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree (Ezra Pound). Accordingly, any words that don’t contribute meaning to a passage dilute its power. Less is always better. Always.

       

      4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

       

      This one is frequently broken, probably because many people don’t know the difference between active and passive verbs. I didn’t myself until a few months ago. Here is an example that makes it easy to understand:

       

      The man was bitten by the dog. (passive)The dog bit the man. (active).The active is better because it’s shorter and more forceful.

       

      5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

       

      This is tricky because much of the writing published on the internet is highly technical. If possible, remain accessible to the average reader. If your audience is highly specialized this is a judgment call. You don’t want to drag on with unnecessary explanation, but try to help people understand what you’re writing about. You want your ideas to spread right?

       

      6. Break any of these rules sooner than saying anything outright barbarous.

       

      This bonus rule is a catch all. Above all, be sure to use common sense.These rules are easy to memorize but difficult to apply. Although I’ve edited this piece a dozen times I’m sure it contains imperfections. But trust me, it’s much better now than it was initially. The key is effort. Good writing matters, probably more than you think.

       

      I hope you find these rules helpful, and through their application we’re able to understand each other a little bit better. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to read Orwell’s original essay. It contains many helpful examples and is, of course, a pleasure to read.

    • I read this essay over 10 years ago. It changed the way I viewed the writing process. Lazy (’foolish’ according to Orwell) thinking if allowed to become lazy writing encourages even lazier thinking.

       

      I think it was C.S. Lewis who said (echoing Einstein), and I paraphrase: If you can’t explain it to a 12 year old then you have not understood the concept. And how better to know you understand, than to put fingers to keyboard!

    • Strunk & White is more accepting of passive voice. It recommends the passive voice when the object of a sentence is, more broadly speaking, the subject. For instance if you are writing an essay about acorns, you could rightly say, “Acorns are buried by industrious squirrels.”

    6 more annotations...

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