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  • Dec 1st, 2015 @ 12:08pm

    (untitled comment)

    Wait, machetes instead of guns? I thought Australians use machetes and sniper rifles...

  • Dec 1st, 2015 @ 12:01pm


    He's right, though depending on how he made the comparison, possibly not in the way he thinks.

    Terrorism (well, terrorism of the Islamist variety, the one that everyone's been so concerned about for the last decade-and-a-half or so,) is funded in large part by oil money. If we were to get serious about stopping either global warming or terrorism, the single most significant part of the solution--do away with petroleum-based fuels--would go a long way toward solving both problems.

  • Dec 1st, 2015 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ...and why were the Crusaders there in the first place? Because the Byzantine Emperor begged for aid from the West to retake territory that had been conquered by Muslim invaders, without which there would have been no Crusades at all.

    And then, in the culmination of centuries of the sort of scheming and infighting that have since made the word "Byzantine" synonymous with "deadly, treacherous politics", they proved unable to deal with the consequences of what they had unleashed. It may not be strictly true that "no country has ever been conquered from without unless it had already rotted from within," but it was certainly true in this case! As I said above, it's not really a religious problem, but a cultural one endemic to the Middle East. Islam is just a symptom; the real problem is that the people who live there have been at each other's throats literally for thousands of years, regardless of which religious or political entity held sway at any given time.

  • Dec 1st, 2015 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Throw around ugly words all you want. My "views" are simply the recognition of millennia of historical fact, and those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

  • Dec 1st, 2015 @ 8:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I didn't say they're unworthy of belonging to humanity; I said they're too uncivilized to safely mix with people who have learned better ways of resolving problems than "violence and/or the threat thereof as the first resort." I used the word "quarantine" in my earlier post for a reason.

    Most places in the world, as wealth and improved technology flow in, it improves the standard of living generally and tends to reduce crime and violence. "A rising tide lifts all ships," as they say. But in the deserts of the Middle East, where water is in scarce supply, this nautical metaphor for sociological conditions just doesn't seem to hold true, largely due to overriding cultural problems.

    And for all your high-minded attempts to throw around large numbers, that figure actually is exactly what you would expect. Given a bell-curve distribution of a population of approximately 7 billion, you're statistically likely to have a little over 1 billion located 1 SD or more to the left.

  • Dec 1st, 2015 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Immediately before the advent of Mohammed, Mecca was multi-faith and relatively tolerant. Certainly it was not significantly worse than any other place at that time.

    I'm not talking about "immediately before Mohammed;" I'm talking about thousands of years of history in the region. The cultural problems in the area have been pretty consistent since the days of Ishmael and Esau, if not longer.

  • Dec 1st, 2015 @ 7:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Travel is a right and not a privilege. The act of operating heavy machinery at speeds at which even minor contact with anything can result in severe injury, death, and/or massive amounts of property damage, on the other hand, is very much a privilege that needs to be tightly regulated for legitimate public safety reasons.

  • Dec 1st, 2015 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Whom?

    Again, that didn't happen in Seattle. (I know; I was living in the area at the time.) As Socrates said, the discrepancies between what happened and what got reported are massive.

  • Nov 30th, 2015 @ 3:48pm

    Re: Re:

    The problem is, they're right. This isn't a Muslim issue, not really. If you look at the history of the region, the exact same problems that run rampant today have been around for thousands of years, long predating Islam. All Mohamed really did was codify a toxic culture, and it's those underlying, endemic cultural issues that need to be worked out before they can be safely admitted to the community of the rest of the civilized world.

  • Nov 30th, 2015 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    And of course that would totally work, because the presence of a proper civilized market drives out black markets all the time, in all sorts of goods and services...

  • Nov 30th, 2015 @ 1:26pm

    (untitled comment)

    It's not such a bad comparison. I don't remember off the top of my head where I saw this, but just recently they did a poll and the people of Saudi Arabia overwhelmingly support what ISIS is doing. Something like 75-80% approval, according to this poll at least.

    The whole country is a mess from beginning to end, starting with the name. Imagine if a group of rabid fundamentalists led by a guy named Jones got together an army and took over Texas, and decided to rename it "Jones's Texas", and because they held all the oil fields everyone decided to just play along and not provoke them, and you'd have a situation exactly analogous to what a vicious barbarian warlord by the name of Saud did in a land that used to be known simply as "Arabia."

    The Bin Laden family are Saudi oil billionaires. Saudi Arabia funded the 9/11 bombers, and the people rejoiced in the streets when the attacks went off. When are we going to finally admit the simple truth that they are not our friends?

    It's not just the one country, either. ISTM the best thing to do, which would be a lot simpler if it wasn't for oil, would be to build a big wall around the entire Middle East. Turn the entire place into one big quarantine zone and check in once every hundred years or so to see if they've either 1) all killed each other off yet or 2) somehow managed to work out their differences and develop to a point at which they're ready to join the civilized world. But frankly, my bet would be on outcome #3: neither 1 nor 2 ever happens.

    Alas, there's oil there and we still care about that, so that's not likely to ever actually happen.

  • Nov 30th, 2015 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The point I was making, which everyone seems to have missed or ignored, is that in the vast majority of cases the prostitute is the victim of vicious, predatory people and is "working" against her will, and that this has nothing to do with the state of the law regarding prostitution. (ie. it's not the law victimizing them.)

  • Nov 30th, 2015 @ 12:06pm

    (untitled comment)

    This seems like a rather important point: the people who put together the Snooper's Charter for spying on the internet don't seem to understand the first thing about how the internet actually works. And yet we're supposed to give them sweeping powers to spy on it? How does that make any sense?

    I'm reminded of one of the more thought-provoking passages from Brandon Sanderson's epic, The Way of Kings:
    I walked from Abamabar to Urithiru. In this, the metaphor and experience are one, inseparable to me like my mind and memory. One contains the other, and though I can explain one to you, the other is only for me.

    I strode this insightful distance on my own, and forbade attendants. I had no steed beyond my well-worn sandals, no companion beside a stout staff to offer conversation with its beats against the stone. My mouth was to be my purse; I stuffed it not with gems, but with song. When singing for sustenance failed me, my arms worked well for cleaning a floor or hog pen, and often earned me a satisfactory reward.

    Those dear to me took fright for my safety and, perhaps, my sanity. Kings, they explained, do not walk like beggars for hundreds of miles. My response was that if a beggar could manage the feat, then why not a king? Did they think me less capable than a beggar?

    Sometimes I think that I am. The beggar knows much that the king can only guess. And yet who draws up the codes for begging ordinances? Often I wonder what my experience in life—my easy life following the Desolation, and my current level of comfort—has given me of any true experience to use in making laws. If we had to rely on what we knew, kings would only be of use in creating laws regarding the proper heating of tea and cushioning of thrones.

  • Nov 30th, 2015 @ 11:34am


    It's the law that makes the *prostitute* the victim.

    Yup, it's the law. It has nothing to do with kidnapping, human trafficking, blackmail, paying down "debts" related to illegal immigration, or needing a way--any way--to support a drug habit; all of those women are just ordinary citizens trying to make an honest living degrading themselves of their own free will and choice. And they would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for those pesky legislators and their laws!

  • Nov 30th, 2015 @ 11:03am


    However, these major summits generally turn into a clusterf--k, with the more militant "protesters" egged on by the anarchist types and the anti-business yahoos coming together to turn it rapidly into throwing rocks, attacking police, trying to access the secure zone of the summit, and so on.

    People have been talking about that for years, but there's precious little evidence that it's ever actually happened. Even the infamous 1999 WTO protest "riots" in Seattle were about the most peaceful riots you ever saw, with no deaths or serious injuries caused by the protesters. (Compare contemporary, local media coverage with stories told about the protests later on and in other parts of the country; it's an eye-opening experience.)

    Stories about "anti-business yahoos throwing rocks and attacking police" (and throwing Molotov cocktails and using water balloons or squirt guns loaded with acid or bleach) tend to get passed around a lot to create a climate of fear and de-legitimize the protesters, (and to provide an excuse for police to disrupt and suppress them,) but for all that there's no evidence of it actually happening... because it doesn't.

  • Nov 25th, 2015 @ 7:28am

    Re: Re: Causes of Daesh recruitment

    In the late 50's/early 60's young people were in short supply (birthrate was low during the war). This increased their power within society and enabled the era of student protest to begin.

    Say what now?

  • Nov 25th, 2015 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I thought that was the British government. Am I mis-remembering?

  • Nov 25th, 2015 @ 7:08am

    Re: Well said

    Yup. It couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of guys.

    Live by the suit, die by the suit!

  • Nov 23rd, 2015 @ 12:06pm

    Re: A streaming service named "Stream"!

    Maybe they're planning a mega-merger with Microsoft, a company that's famous for creating a window-based graphical OS called Windows and a word processor called Word.

  • Nov 20th, 2015 @ 12:30pm

    (untitled comment)

    First, if Google can detect which links in an email may be hazardous, why not just unlink or censor those particular links?

    Come on, you already know the answer to this: because they have no way of magically detecting "this link is harmful" with perfect accuracy. But if they find a link that does match a known-harmful site, it's very reasonable to assume as a heuristic, even if said heuristic is not always correct, that other links in the email may well point to sites that are harmful even if Google does not know that they are harmful.

    Having said that,
    And, in this case, the "link" in question didn't even exist. Google should be able to detect that and realize that no, we're not sending our readers to their doom.

    ...yeah, that's kind of silly.

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