Uriel-238’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Sep 3rd, 2015 @ 2:57pm

    I'm really peeved at the "Unlawful Combatants" bit.

    Anonymous Coward: I think you have a distorted view of the degree of control that was even possible in those days.

    Whole populations, from the lowest serf to the king were tithing faithfully. All were terrified of the threat of hellfire and under that divine sword went to confession diligently and confessed their innermost secrets. It was a medieval surveillance state. Excommunication was regarded as a very real threat. This was the pre-Newtonian age, before we had much in the way of understanding nature, and the supernatural was not a niche notion.

    On what do you base your opinion otherwise?

    Anonymous Coward: In any case the church was often the defender of the ordinary people against the civil power which was trying to exercise control.

    [citation needed.] Also, not consistently, as demonstrated by the crusades and Holy Inquisition (now the CDF, incidentally), not to mention the corruption and indulgences of the clergy. you don't get to point to one virtuous nun, or even ten thousand, and expect the crimes of the church to be forgotten.

    In fact, the recent cover-up by the Vatican of the child sexual abuse scandal indicates that, like most established institutions, the Vatican would gladly hide their scandals for protection of the reputation of the cloth, rather than owning their crimes and answering to the laws of the land.

    Why would I expect the church would behave differently at any other time? Why would I expect any church or ideological institution to be have differently?

    (Similarly I wouldn't point to US humanitarian aid programs or and expect our Extrajudicial Detention and Interrogation program to be dismissed as inconsequential.)

    Uriel-238: Those of us outside the faith regard the old god by His actions

    Anonymous Coward: You don't believe he exists - so that sentence makes no sense.

    Not sure the point of your attempt at pedantry, except to waste my time. Is this, to you, a competitive exercise in debate? Is this an apologetic strategem?

    Some of us are interested in actually delineating the limits of knowledge. Some of us have minds to change.

    To clarify your assertion, some of us are skeptical that Yahweh exists and expect a literal interpretation of the bibles is highly improbable. Among ourselves, that would make discussing Yahweh's character a Socratic exercise, but still one on which we can opine.

    However, in this case, the dialogue includes others who might regard biblical interpretations as literal truth, or at least based on factual accountings. That makes it more than supposition, considering it raises the possibility that a) some actually believe that Yahweh's crimes against humanity took place, b) condone them and c) would condone or even encourage similar crimes done in His name. Weapons of Mass Destruction, much?

    During WWII, Hitler's interest in keeping his strategies auspicious according to horoscopes and other occult portents elevated the discussion of astrology by Allied intelligence to more than a mere thought experiment. The bible and religious doctrine are still used to justify discriminaton against races, gays and women, and denial of scientific knowledge such as Climate Change and Evolution. Scripture is, thus, a relevant topic despite how I might doubt its factual basis.

    Anonymous Coward: I never said that everything in the OT was consistent with human rights. I merely said that the idea exists in the text and thus predates the 20th century by a long time.

    Saw the Exodus 22: 21-23 passage. I stand corrected. Now if only we had anyone, Abrahamic or not that would actually recognize that.

    And we still have the issue of God drowning people or firebombing people or sending the Hebrews to mistreat and oppress foreigners until they're good and dead.

    Sentiments of do as i say, not as I do do not fly, and even the OT warns against those who don't walk their own talk.

    It was only in the twentieth century that human rights have been committed to charter, and all races across the Earth are regarded as actual human beings. Even this is dubious given that large swaths of the American people like to pretend black Americans are closer Chimpanzees than Homo-Sapiens (regardless of scientific evidence to the contrary) but we generally won't hear an elected representative say so while on video.

    Even the ethic of reciprocity doesn't mean squat if it's possible to discount someone as inhuman such as an untermenschen or an unlawful combatant.

  • Sep 3rd, 2015 @ 11:42am

    Imperial vs. Metric in NASA

    I had assumed that the NASA inches vs. centimeters thing was a problem caused by a conversion error (which happens sometimes, and is why you want to standardize units of measurement)

    By free of bugs, I didn't mean perfectly bug free, rather that updates would be a rare thing, rather than the almost-every-tuesday update schedule that Windows has had since XP. So, fewer bugs by orders of magnitude than the present situation.

    There was a similar situation with console games, as they changed from the play-from-CD format a la PS1 to the install-from-CD / play-from-HD format a la PS3. The old format required a longer playtesting run before a game went gold because bugs were forever, and bugs that could be exploited in-game would become part of that game's culture.

    Now, they can release and patch later, and they do. Or as the case is sometimes, if the the game flops on the shelves, they just stop patching bugs, and the fans just suffer the buggy bits. Aliens: Colonial Marines comes to mind.

    We've seen similar things with early smart-phones that didn't have easy update vectors (e.g. required a firmware update) in that a buggy interface would tank the reviews. Less so, now, given that bugs are fixed after release.

  • Sep 3rd, 2015 @ 10:38am

    Food Navigator USA's sucky sucky copypasta-blocking...

    ...is disabled by Noscript and is probably blocked by most other script-blockers.

    I hate when websites do that, and think an emergency copy-paste plug-in that bypasses scripts would be a grand thing.

  • Sep 3rd, 2015 @ 10:30am

    Is Nestlè a respected name brand now?

    Throughout my childhood, Nestlė was a Golden Poo company if there ever was one, who engaged in tons of unethical practices to drive out local competitors or sell false products, in some cases directly causing famine in regions. (famine = mass starvation = lots of people including babies and little children dying because fuck 'em, they're brown)

    Has Nestlè been able to get past their 20th century crimes?

    Because if I were Pervine, I'd want to associate myself with Nestlę as little as feasibly possible, paint the package orange, call it Munch and put a Totally not a Nestlě product disclaimer.

    Nestlȅ is the Comcast of food. You buy from them because there's no other company that makes the thing you need. Hard to do because most of the the food companies out there are Nestlȇ subsidiaries.

    Amusingly enough, Nestlӛ itself isn't American, it's Swiss, and demonstrates that sociopathic companies can spawn from anywhere, not just the hypercapitalism of the US.

  • Sep 3rd, 2015 @ 10:13am

    Oh I see.

    You're doing the trolling thing again.

    You're not here to actually make a point. You're here to make enemies.

    Are you the sort that quotes clobber scripture in gay forums? For the lulz?

  • Sep 3rd, 2015 @ 10:07am

    I don't get it. Why would someone want to deliberately blow a fuse?

    Doesn't that render the fuse useless for its function?

  • Sep 3rd, 2015 @ 10:03am

    Re: Re: The middle ages were a pretty grim time, and no-one had the moral high ground.

    Uriel-238: It's hypocritical to expect better from other civilizations.

    Anonymous Coward: How patronising - and how insulting to all the other faith groups in the middle east who don't behave like the Islamists.

    Do elaborate, please.

    Are you saying that we should hold Muslims to a higher standard than we hold ourselves?

  • Sep 3rd, 2015 @ 9:59am

    The Roman Catholic Church - is not and never has been "Christianity"

    Um...for most of the last two Millennia it has. It's only schismed in the last five hundred years giving it at least a good thousand years of iron-fisted control of Western civilization. You may be referring to the Greek and Russian orthodoxies, but even those were tolerated only because they were out of the reach of Rome's crusaders, and they ruled their own dominions with the same degree of absolutism.

    Christianity has only in recent times become the diverse range of beliefs that it is, and even then, when it comes to us non-Christians, preachers and ministers like to talk about all of Christendom as if it were still a united front against those of us outside the faith.

    And no, the old testament has Yahweh ordering the Hebrews to wipe out other tribes to the last child and cattle. Genocide is contrary to the extension of human rights to all of Humanity. If this were a Mosaic value, then Sodom and Gomorrah would have been spared and the flood would have never taken place.

    Those of us outside the faith regard the old god by His actions, not His footnotes, and certainly not modern interpretations of His footnotes.

    Regarding the Serbs attacking the west (or not) that would be determined not by singular matters of whether or not the US bombed them. They may never had the means and opportunity, and they may have had cause to forgive us, and they may have other issues that took priority (e.g. annihilating the Bosnians).

  • Sep 3rd, 2015 @ 9:37am

    A peaceful past to return to.

    I don't believe Christianity has such a thing either.

    This is one of the problems I've seen with the whole dialog. Much of the anti-Muslim rhetoric that I see comes from people who have demonstrated, time and again, that they would gladly oppress the rest of us if they had the power of force to do so, and in large swaths of the world, they do just that.

    Here in the US, we have hold as undeniable a freedom of religion, that is to believe and practice as you will so long as it doesn't transgress on the rights of others. (As per the ninth amendment.) So it is not our place to prosecute practicing Muslims. It's our place to prosecute those who attack others. The ideology that might drive them to do so is irrelevant.

  • Sep 3rd, 2015 @ 9:21am

    "You don't own it"

    But we did pay for a product to work according to certain terms, and if they change those terms after the fact (or even, as is common practice, let people buy the product without informing them in advance of critical details) that crosses the line into unethical.

    (It could even be argued that the long-winded and xenolexiconic contracts -- which are willfully written to discourage actually reading them -- are such that they cannot adequately be digested by a typical end user and therefore cannot be reasonably enforced.)

    Also, if they were to charge for updates, then there would be an implied expectation that the initial product was perfect and free of bugs, and the bar before security exploits, non-functionality and interface problems were litigable would be much lower. As it is, the free updates and Microsoft's diligence with security updates elevates that bar.

    Odious contracts without parity may be the norm right now in the tech industries (and extending to other appliances), but they're tolerated only due to (legal) necessity, not because this is, or has ever been acknowledged as an acceptable way of doing business, and it leads to Microsoft's customer base being driven to act out of necessity, or even desperation to counter Microsoft's encroachments on rights.

    This is why countermeasures to the DRM of Microsoft Windows (e.g. Windows Loader) has been written by engineers, and not by black-hats. Businesses whose inconveniences by conforming to MS DRM policies are enumerated in profits lost are driven monetarily to circumvent them. Doing so may be illegal in the US, but it's not in Europe, and once the European patch comes to the US it's a common practice much like driving above the speed limit.

    If the US had a functional justice system (which it does not, with countless examples to that effect) the situation of necessity would mean that any hacks to circumvent intrinsic malware and privacy breaches would be defensible and justified, much the way that the French resistance sought to disrupt German logistics during WWII, or hostages in a bank heist are justified to take action against their captors if they can succeed in doing so.

  • Sep 3rd, 2015 @ 12:28am

    "Law is a specialist subject"

    ...law is a specialist subject. Just because you can read English does not necessarily mean that you can predict how a court will rule... For that, you really do need help from a competent, licensed professional.

    It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood. -- James Madison

    It shouldn't be that way. That the laity cannot understand the law of the land is becoming one of the many forces towards the downfall of the society. Especially so, when a given district attorney has the power to charge, convict and imprison anyone who displeases him.

    legislators that you elect... actually expend much of their time chasing dollars so they can show off their hairdos on the boob-tube.

    Actually campaigning to the lowest common denominator, and yes, they consequently are beholden to their contributors more than their constituency. Those of us on the ground are in a state that is familiar to those who know US history: Taxation without representation.

    As we approach the 2016 election, I hope that enough people realize they are disenfranchised, that none of the candidates represent themselves before the election as they will administrate once in office. And none of them have the best interests of the people at heart.

    Notably, the situation is not unique to the US. It's very possible that the next world war will be a civil war.

  • Sep 3rd, 2015 @ 12:10am

    The middle ages were a pretty grim time, and no-one had the moral high ground.

    Um... I'm pretty sure that the militant Islamic groups of the 20th century have little to do with the Ottoman empire or the previous iterations of Islamic Araby.

    If you want to claim that they do, then it would be equally valid to claim that the Catholic Church carries with it the crimes against humanity while it ran roughshod over Western civilization for a millennium and a half, in which case Christianity has proven to have no love for the people except as a resource it can exploit for the benefit of the high clergy.

    Only in the 20th century have western civilizations had a sense that human rights should be extended to all of humanity, so it's hypocritical to expect better from other civilizations.

    As for the bombing of Serbia and Bosnia yes we did, but we never claimed to limit our wars to Islam, just that we've been hostile and making enemies in the middle east throughout the latter 20th century, so there's plenty of reason to hate on and attack the US by 2001-09-11.

  • Sep 2nd, 2015 @ 7:10pm

    Thanks guys.

    Yeah, I figured the bootable USB external might be the way to go.

    I know of a local LUG to get questions answered, and yeah, if I can get my productivity on in Linux then I'll just made that a dedicated system and worry about getting games going later. The winehq link helps.

  • Sep 2nd, 2015 @ 6:47pm

    Side questions...

    ~ Has anyone figured out the format of these privacy-compromising data packages that are going back to Mother Microsoft?

    ~ Has anyone yet developed (or is working on) an engine that sends Big MS a bunch of false data properly formatted to help keep their big eyes entertained?

    ~ Would running such a program be illegal, unethical or a litigable offense?

    Because I'm really rather annoyed with Microsoft and that they've become mean-spirited and disregard the rights of their end-users.

  • Sep 2nd, 2015 @ 6:24pm

    when laws are written so that YMMV

    It usually means innocent Americans get convicted incarcerated.

    It usually means innocent lives are ruined.

    I think that is what is pissing people off here.

  • Sep 2nd, 2015 @ 3:42pm

    Maybe its time for the right to NOT be forgotten

    Backups that cannot be deleted, much like the Wiki structure

    Oppression more often involves being forgotten against one's will than being remembered.

  • Sep 2nd, 2015 @ 2:49pm

    burglary tools and theft devices

    Is there anything in the world that is sold as a burglary tool or a theft device?

    Is there any part of the law that defines these terms?

    Is there any part of the law that defines who decides what is a burglary tool or a theft device?

    How can such a law be taken seriously? Or is this one of those laws like the CFAA or Espionage Act that when matched with prosecutorial discretion allows the DA to put in prison anyone that displeases him, such as the husband of the woman he fancies?

  • Sep 2nd, 2015 @ 2:33pm

    To be fair...

    The prevalence of conservative, uncharitable, wealth-worshipping right-wing Christianity in the US has given me enough perspective to figure that not all Islam is necessarily militant segregationist as the media in the west likes to portray them.

    Yes, some of their scripture does point that out to that effect, but if so many Christians can pick and choose which of their scripture they can ignore, then it would make sense that Islam is that way as well.

  • Sep 2nd, 2015 @ 2:26pm

    It's time for me to make a Linux partition.

    I have a lot of Windows games and I don't know how well they will run on Wine, especially since I have an AMD / ATI PC and there are rumors that the support for those is minimal on Linux.

    Maybe with this alignment of the Microsoft stars so that the elder gods can awake will change this, and motivate device devs to make proper AMD / ATI drivers.

    I've already weaned myself pretty much from MS office, though I rely on some sweet plaintext editors for much of my work, and the Android selection for those is wanting.

    But yeah, in the next couple of years, I may need to decide to cease using Windows altogether now that Microsoft has become hostile to end-users. And I've been wanting to get more Linux savvy anyway.

    So, Linux Mint, huh?

  • Sep 2nd, 2015 @ 2:15pm

    Deontological ethics are a good fallback when you don't know your end consequences.

    But I wouldn't count on them universally. The lying to hide Jews from Nazis example comes to mind. On a greater scale, if isolationism or pacifism in the US prevailed, the Jewish holocaust would probably have continued for longer, and the German war machine may not have been stopped after all.

    And the Dalai Lama has already proven his own susceptibility to human biases when he accused disaster victims of bad karma from prior lives. More than one Buddhist master has said you don't take their words as gospel because they are Buddha rather you regard them critically and accept them when they pass muster.

    In this case, I get his point. US justification for extrajudicial torture and mass surveillance runs contrary to the respect for human rights that was once fundamental to the people of the United States. Now, even if the US thrives, we thrive as a country that no longer has those values, and it will take years, maybe centuries of contrition and abstention before we can regain that moral identity.

    I think the end can justify the means if the benefits of the end result are more than the tragedy of the means. (Again, the lying to Nazis scenario comes to mind) But we are bad at foreseeing the outcome of our choices, especially in the long game, and will stampede into disaster when trying to act ethically as easily as when we choose to take unethical action.

    But if you put me in front of the streetcar paradox for sake of the five victims the poor fat man is so toast.

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