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Everything posted by KipIngram

  1. Blanket statements like that might be accurate if everyone thought alike. At last check I found there were 7.5 billion of us, though. I guess there aren't 7.5 billion different coherent ways of thinking (we tend to "group" ourselves), but I feel quite sure that many people who've lived and are living found that religion brought them a great sense of meaning. Your mileage may vary - that's ok. I'm not really in that group, but I support their right to feel as they wish. For us to sit back and behave as though we can rationally decide which of those attitudes are meaningful and which are not is the height of arrogance.
  2. He lost me when he removed "voluntary" from the job profile.
  3. Yeah, that sounds pretty right. Please let me clarify that this was in response to "He's not going to stop being delusional." Absolutely NOT in response to "The presidency should not be a voluntary position." So we want a President who feels he's being forced to do the job??? Sheesh.
  4. I'd guess that the strength of legal threats would vary from nation to nation, depending on libel laws.
  5. Yeah, I don't think he's going to change.
  6. One thing I've noticed, from hanging out on IRC, is that I am more likely to make a "homonym mistake" on IRC than in, say, typing a word document. I think even though IRC is written, it somehow triggers verbal parts of our brain. When you're talking it doesn't matter whether you say "right" or "write." That's the only theory I've come up with for why it happens more on IRC - when I'm typing there I'm really "conversing" instead of "writing."
  7. Well, that's better than referring to The Great Gatsby as a work of John Steinbeck.
  8. Yes, you have a point - perhaps I'm trying to discriminate between "ultimately emotional," which as you've pointed out nearly everything is, vs. "heat of the moment" emotional. Your point's good, though - ultimately everything may come down to our individual core values. I just place an extremely high value on individual freedom, and I recognize that it would be irrational of me to expect for myself without granting it to others; it's a strong component of what drives my thinking. So yes, perhaps I can't presume to judge someone who replaces "freedom" with "security" in their own personal value system. Well, I can judge in my mind, but shouldn't necessarily act on that judgment. Ultimately everything comes down to individual values, because that's really what we are: individuals. Our social groupings are an "overlay" that we've added after the fact - not an inherent part of our existence.
  9. Totally agree with that last statement - it's all too clear. Regarding the first paragraph, it wouldn't surprise me if there's an extreme core of his supporters that feel that way, but surely not enough to elect him. I feel certain we're looking at a one-term President here, even if he doesn't get "taken down" by any of this.
  10. Yes, that's a good point. But I sure wish something could be done.
  11. Well, McCain is getting old. Probably represents yet another plug for term limits, but we'll never get those unless we cram them down their throats via a constitutional convention, so oh well. Sometimes I think if I could have a time machine conversation with the Founders that's the one thing I'd urge them to add to their work. We'd be enormously better off if things were structured so that it wasn't possible to make politics a career.
  12. Oh. Well, if I phrased something poorly I apologize. Wasn't exactly a prepared lecture.
  13. I don't really understand what point you're trying to make. I agree no system is perfect - we do the best we can. But are you disagreeing with my position? Are you saying that, in principle, it would be okay to outlaw religious faith because a small minority of people go too far with it and hurt others? Because if that's your position we may as well just stop debating it now - I'll always view you as wrong (not just on the issue or religion, but in general cases of the same nature as well). When a person has done nothing to warrant restricting their freedom their freedom should not be restricted. We in no way hold as true to that principle as we should. There are many ways in which we've forbidden things that some people can handle fine, just because some people can't. Doesn't make it the right thing to do. We're flawed as individuals and unfortunately we don't seem to be able to fully protect ourselves from having that lead to flawed group processes as well. Someone who blows up buildings in the name of their faith is hurting us and needs to be stopped. Someone who just goes into a building every Sunday morning and says some prayers, or says a grace before their meals is not hurting us and we should stay out of their business. How it's so hard to grasp such a simple concept is beyond me. Honestly the willingness to coerce because of beliefs is the same category of bad as the willingness to kill because of beliefs. It's not the same degree of course, but it's still basically saying "we are right and everyone else just needs to fall into line." Bad juju. There's just no defense for it - it's wrong.
  14. Yes, sometimes more so than others, and I think experiencing brutality would take you quite far up that scale. My point was just that we're not supposed to make our decisions as a society based on those emotions - we're supposed to at least try to be rational. It's why judges recuse themselves from cases that represent a conflict of interest and so on. We don't generally allow the victims to specify the punishment. Penalizing all people of faith because a small fraction of them brutalized others would be an example of the emotion-driven overreach I'm speaking of.
  15. The small mass (well, both masses really, but its effect on the large mass is negligible) "want" to follow a geodesic path through space time. But if the small mass is sitting on the surface of the large mass that surface is blocking that geodesic (i.e., it's applying an "upward" force on the small mass which prevents it from moving along its free-fall geodesic.) So the point is that it would follow a geodesic, if it were not being subjected to a contact force with the large mass's surface.
  16. Sorry, imatfaal - I edited the post above and inserted the photo.
  17. True, but the point is that I am all for people getting uptight about being brutalized. It just doesn't justify penalizing the people who had nothing to do with that brutalization. But if your point is that sometimes abuse leads people to behave irrationally, then yes, I agree that definitely happens. Doesn't mean it's right, but it's a reality. One of the points of having a methodical government process, trial by jury, and stuff like that is to make sure that our official actions are governed by order and rationality, not knee jerk emotional responses. I'm not sure we always achieve that goal very well, though.
  18. Here it is: So, I can't find the paper now, but the story behind this was that a guy wrote a paper on vixra where he claimed to show quantum "nonreality" using a cell phone video and a laser firing through a spinning fan blade, and a mirror and a half-silvered mirror. The crux of his claim was that there was a moment when you could see a laser dot on the wall, but at a time when the laser was clearly and visibly off. His whole tone was over-the-top arrogant and sure of himself. Anyway, I was first concerned about shutter speeds and so on and the fact that it would take some time for the beam to traverse the apparatus - some number of nanoseconds. But the "rolling shutter" behavior of typical cellphone cameras gave an even better explanation - the dot and the laser were at different vertical coordinates in the frame - he just caught a moment when the laser was on when the camera acquired the wall dot but off by the time the camera acquired the laser itself. I'm afraid I rained on his parade pretty badly.
  19. Maybe you could show it to a pretty girl in a bar and tell her you have a rare condition that's causing you to fade away, and see if she can make your final dream come true before you're completely gone. Yes, I'll try to find the picture, and when I post it I'll tell the story behind it that led me to learn that fact about phones. It fits into the general nature of this forum very well.
  20. A number of fancy things get done in cell phone camera hardware and software. For one thing, extensive processing is done to the raw data, to make it have appropriate color balance, to compress it, etc. etc. etc. A .jpg file is usually stored at "less than 100% quality." In this case I think that would have to be the explanation. Another fun thing I've seen is a picture of a bus driving by - because of the way the image acquisition is done "row by row" the bus winds up looking slanted, while the trees above the top of the bus look fine. It looks like it only happens in the black areas. It's a really interesting picture just the same, and a good conversation starter.
  21. Reactionless drive is a violation of basic physical law - that will never happen. No matter how we do it there will be a reaction against something.
  22. That's all spot on. The politics can be maddening, especially in larger companies. In those small companies I mentioned in my last post (especially the first one) I had full authority to make things happen, so it was ok with me that the boss looked only at me re: the results. It was a lot of responsibility, but I had the means to deliver. Lines of authority in various parts of the company were very clear - you knew exactly who was in charge of every department. Not so in my current job at IBM. I sometimes feel like no one is really in charge of anything - everything is done "collaboratively," and you have to massage people's egos and know your way around the "pseudo organization" to get anything done. It's taken me years to become even somewhat competent at it. When they bought the small company they brought in their own management. I was bummed at first that I was no longer in management, but after some time watching how management "works" at IBM I began to realize that I really wanted no part of it. Which is all just a way of saying that exactly what white collar work is like varies enormously from company to company.
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