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Thursday, January 31, 2013

OTP - Feb 2013: Baseball team flunks history with Taft mascot pick

The Washington Nationals might have bitten off more than they can chew by naming William Howard Taft as their next racing mascot. If you aren’t familiar with the controversy, the baseball team features four mascots dressed as U.S. presidents that race around the Nationals’ stadium during home games to entertain fans.

“Teddy has handpicked the next president for the Presidents’ Race,” Nationals COO Andy Feffer told the newspaper on Friday, a day before the Taft mascot was rolled out. “There was a great amount of banter and discussion back and forth, but Teddy won out with his recommendation.”

On Saturday, the sanitized Taft mascot made its debut at a fan event, looking at least 100 pounds lighter than its real-life counterpart.

The reaction in the media, so far, is that even sportswriters who aren’t historians know the two men hated each other.

The Post’s Dan Steinberg asked a local historian how bad the blood was between TR and Taft.

Allan Lichtman, distinguished professor of history at American University, told Steinberg that each man considered the other a backstabber, and they had no qualms taking down each other in a presidential election.

“The rivalry was as bitter as it gets in politics,” said Lichtman. “There’s nothing like the feeling of betrayal, and both men felt betrayed by the other.”

Tripon Posted: January 31, 2013 at 07:41 PM | 582 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals, ot, politics, washington, washington nationals

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   401. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 27, 2013 at 04:18 PM (#4377198)
FLIP
   402. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 27, 2013 at 04:18 PM (#4377200)
In Iowa, Rep. Tom Latham says he won't be running for Senate, clearing the field for Steve King to be the GOP nominee.
   403. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 27, 2013 at 04:18 PM (#4377201)
I will never build a PC. I barely trusted myself to install the hard drives in the NAS I got.
   404. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 27, 2013 at 04:19 PM (#4377203)
In Iowa, Rep. Tom Latham says he won't be running for Senate, clearing the field for Steve King to be the GOP nominee.


King would have won the primary anyway, so it is just smart politics on Latham's part.
   405. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 27, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4377205)
I considered build-myself.... but from what I've read, motherboard compatibility is a real bear to deal with.


Newegg.com is your friend. I've built 2 desktop systems in the last 6 months (1 for me, 1 a my friend) and 2 more in the past based almost entirely off of item feedback and just using 4 or 5 star rated components (that had a decent number of reviews). I can't think of one component compatability issue that came up. Plus newer motherboards are becoming increasingly easy to troubleshoot and tweak, with actual BIOS UIs and LED displays that allow you to read the error code if there's a problem (instead of having to decipher a series of beeps).

In addition, Youtube is frankly a godsend for building your own PC, especially since a lot of slightly more exotic components, like this CPU Heatsink/Fan that I installed recently have god-awful instructions provided. You can find a slew of How-To Videos on pretty much any subject and specific component.
   406. cardsfanboy Posted: February 27, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4377209)
An i7 is usually overkill....


My recommendations in computer sales, was ALWAYS buy the fastest processor you can afford. You aren't ever buying for today, any computer can do what you want it to do today(barring high end gaming) It's all about how long is this processor going to be able to run whatever is coming down the tubes.

If you aren't going to build it yourself, which is by far the best option, then your best bet is to find the cheapest one you can with a decent processor. Then just immediately replace the RAM and video card.


I agree, provided you make sure that you can disable the built in video card. (Not sure what they are doing nowadays, but 2+ years ago, the cheaper proprietary(Hp/Compaq, Gateway/Emachines, Sony, Lenova/IBM etc) motherboards, didn't allow you to disable the video card through the hardware(some not at all) so you would want to make sure that it's possible to disable the video card, preferably with a jumper on the motherboard, instead of the bios.


I considered build-myself.... but from what I've read, motherboard compatibility is a real bear to deal with. Plus, I'm not sure I'm proficient enough to actually do it right... I.e., I've done plenty of card and memory swap-outs myself, replaced fans, etc... but once you get into issues of proper voltage and such across the broader array of hardware, I'm a bit over my head (at least, beyond the standard "bigger and beastlier must be better"... which means I probably wouldn't be doing it in a cost effective manner anyway).


To be honest, it isn't that hard, provided you do the research first(and of course make sure you have a running computer available as you are building it, just in case you need to research more) It only becomes difficult if you are trying to do something weird or extreme(and even that most of the time isn't that much more complicated) and of course take your time. (too many times I've had friends who are "computer experts" who have called me to troubleshoot their builds, because they ran into problems when they tried to do too many things at once. If you are a true expert that is fine, but things work much better if you install pieces one at a time, reboot, install next piece)
   407. Steve Treder Posted: February 27, 2013 at 04:26 PM (#4377213)
The spectacular Steve King, in March of 2008:

I don't want to disparage anyone because of their race, their ethnicity, their name - whatever their religion their father might have been, I'll just say this: When you think about the optics of a Barack Obama potentially getting elected President of the United States -- I mean, what does this look like to the rest of the world? What does it look like to the world of Islam? I will tell you that, if he is elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al-Qaida, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they will declare victory in this War on Terror. Additionally, his middle name (Hussein) does matter. It matters because they read a meaning into that in the rest of the world. ... They will be dancing in the streets if he's elected president. That has a chilling aspect on how difficult it will be to ever win this Global War on Terror.


Such a deep thinker.
   408. bunyon Posted: February 27, 2013 at 04:29 PM (#4377217)
Steve, if only they thought they'd won and it was over. If simply saying its over would get them to go away, I'd be happy to tell them they won.

Mouse, I've built two PCs in my life and I have trouble tying my shoes. It really is pretty trivial. I'm currently thinking of the next one.
   409. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 27, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4377219)
Oh and Tomshardware.com is another great site.

Tons of review and articles (including a variety of complete system builds at varying price points), lots of forums if you need advice pre-build or assistance during and every month or so they put together hand summarys of the current state of various components.

Best Graphics cards for the money - Feb 2013

Best Gaming CPUs for the Money - Feb 2013
   410. GregD Posted: February 27, 2013 at 04:34 PM (#4377221)
I still find it hard to believe Vilsack is going to sit out the Senate race in Iowa, public statements notwithstanding. On top of everything else, there's his family rivalry with King.
   411. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: February 27, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4377225)
Build a computer is essentially just an advanced version of one of those playskool workbench things. You put the right things in the right holes.

TomsHardware forums are always useful. If you give people your budget, needs, and parameters, you'll usually get a few people putting together some pcpartpicker.com builds for you (that's a fun site and will only show you compatible parts).
   412. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: February 27, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4377226)
Mouse, I've built two PCs in my life and I have trouble tying my shoes. It really is pretty trivial. I'm currently thinking of the next one.

Me too. Just waiting for Haswell.
   413. Randy Jones Posted: February 27, 2013 at 04:37 PM (#4377228)
Newegg reviews are a good place to start, especially if you are looking for compatibility issues.

I am not a fan of tomshardware, for a variety of reasons.

The best info I have found is from the nerds that populate the overclockers.com forums. I am a nerd, and these guys put me to shame. Many of the people there build and overclock machines as a hobby. There is just a ridiculous amount of information available there in the various subforms and if you can't find what you are looking for, people are generally pretty good about answering questions you post.
   414. The Good Face Posted: February 27, 2013 at 04:51 PM (#4377239)
An i7 is usually overkill for a home gaming/surfing/email PC. I have a 4+ year old desktop at home running on one of the first gen i7 processors and it's not remotely taxed by any of the new, graphic-intensive games. Anyway, you didn't tell me what MB is in there, although it doubt it matters. FWIW, my gut tells me you just have a jacked up gpx and probably need a new one.


This will change in the next year or two as developers play around with the PS4 and XBox 720 and stop developing PS3/Xbox360 games. You'll start to see a big ramp up in requirements that will leave a lot of old PCs behind.


Unfortunately, this will likely take at least 2-3 years before we see a real effect. And even then, a decent i5/i7 will still provide more than enough power such that the GPU will be the limiting factor.


Pretty much. I've had several of my Silicon Valley guys insist that a new i7 bought today will easily run any game that comes out in the next 4 years, at which point you'll probably be ready to upgrade anyway.

My recommendations in computer sales, was ALWAYS buy the fastest processor you can afford. You aren't ever buying for today, any computer can do what you want it to do today(barring high end gaming) It's all about how long is this processor going to be able to run whatever is coming down the tubes.


That was good advice at one time, but now it's mostly a waste of money for anybody except the most extreme power users or people who plan on keeping the same computer forever. Somebody who wants to play games and web surf on their computer derives zero value from an i7 3930k processor over a far cheaper i7 3770k, except perhaps in the form of dick waving.

Lots of good information here regarding home builds as well. I no longer do my own builds because I'm both lazy and have more money than time, but it ain't rocket science and it's satisfying to use a system that you built yourself.
   415. cardsfanboy Posted: February 27, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4377252)
That was good advice at one time, but now it's mostly a waste of money for anybody except the most extreme power users or people who plan on keeping the same computer forever. Somebody who wants to play games and web surf on their computer derives zero value from an i7 3930k processor over a far cheaper i7 3770k, except perhaps in the form of dick waving.


Another piece of advice I gave was usually "Don't buy the highest end product" when it comes to processor, it's not worth the minimum performance improvement relative to cost. But if you are debating between an i5 and an i7, and can afford the i7, buy the i7. I don't generally worry about incremental improvements, but type(i5 vs i7 and of course newest generation) improvements is important.
   416. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 27, 2013 at 06:22 PM (#4377295)
King would have won the primary anyway, so it is just smart politics on Latham's part.
Sure, but it would be smart politics on the GOP's part to keep King where he is and have Latham run for Senate. King will get smoked while dealing collateral damage upon his party.
   417. Steve Treder Posted: February 27, 2013 at 06:40 PM (#4377301)
it would be smart politics on the GOP's part to keep King where he is and have Latham run for Senate. King will get smoked while dealing collateral damage upon his party.

No doubt Karl Rove would agree, to say nothing of David Frum. Alas their side appears to be making zero progress.
   418. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: February 27, 2013 at 10:15 PM (#4377379)
I will shout to the mountains that the smartest people are not the wisest, nor the kindest, nor the most self-sacrificing. They are not the bravest, or the most creative, or the most empathetic. They are not the happiest, the best parents, or the most generous. Those qualities can be found among all people rich and poor, educated and uneducated, young and old. There's a lot more to being a good person, or a productive member of society, than being smart.


None of that has anything to do with what Jack said. What he said was that without the smartest 1%, very little technological advance would have been made in human history . That's basically undeniably true.

And by the way, creativity and empathy (which cover all the other adjectives you used) are part of any reasonable definition of "smart." I'm sure they're part of Jack's definition. What you're really talking about it just sheer neuron-firing speed or something, which has nothing to do with anything.


Thanks, Vaux.

I would have written your reply if you hadn't, only not quite as well, and nowhere near as concisely.

Between continued improvements in comutational power and 3d printing the future is a different place indeed.
Mouse, what do you see as the biggest differences and advances coming in the next 20-30 years?

So yeah I am a humanist as well (which is why Jack's post annoyed me more than it should have and I went too far - sorry Jack).

Np.

   419. Morty Causa Posted: February 27, 2013 at 10:35 PM (#4377389)
I will shout to the mountains that the smartest people are not the wisest, nor the kindest, nor the most self-sacrificing. They are not the bravest, or the most creative, or the most empathetic. They are not the happiest, the best parents, or the most generous. Those qualities can be found among all people rich and poor, educated and uneducated, young and old. There's a lot more to being a good person, or a productive member of society, than being smart.

None of that has anything to do with what Jack said. What he said was that without the smartest 1%, very little technological advance would have been made in human history . That's basically undeniably true.

And by the way, creativity and empathy (which cover all the other adjectives you used) are part of any reasonable definition of "smart." I'm sure they're part of Jack's definition. What you're really talking about it just sheer neuron-firing speed or something, which has nothing to do with anything.


But, they are the smartest, right? And we (individually, culturally, and socially) tangibly benefit from that. And I don't see how intelligence and smartness and the attributes you venerate are mutually exclusive. Indeed, smartiness just might push those along on the whole in the long run, I would think. Or maybe it's all about interests and self-interests, and smartness just helps with formulating and utilizing tactics and strategies to get your way. Think more Darwinianly and less pseudo-moralistically, quasi-religiously. For me, feeling discouraged about the way we, mankind and man are, is jerry-rigging the game. There is no alternate reality; we are what we are. There is no way everyone can get what they want. Thus, there will always be dissatisfaction. Pretending that my way is THE WAY is pure illusion. Childish illusion. It's a kid on the beach building that sand castle with the idea of actually being able to live in it.
   420. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: February 27, 2013 at 10:54 PM (#4377399)
He expects by 2017 it will be possible to create a complete genetic simulation of a cell, which would require an exaflop (10 to the 18th power floating-point operations) per second.

As resident computational biologist let me just say that I am not sure what level of "genetic" simulation this hardware dude is talking about, but he's likely wrong by orders of magnitude in _either_ direction.


How so? I'm not sure how to read your post.

#359 A friend of mine -- a mainframe sysadmin -- has claimed that in certain areas they're actually running into limitations based on the speed of light. Don't know enough about the specifics, but Bob normally knows what he's talking about.


I assume the problem has to do with operations or results being ready to move in one section of the computer, but to move they need other information to arrive (or more completely, they need to meet that other information elsewhere). That second piece of information is completed, but still needs to travel or is in the process of traveling. Once you put completed computations several feet apart, getting them together becomes a time consuming and therefore a limiting factor.

More technically, processors work on clock cycles, so a signal generated by an operation by a 1 Ghz processor can only travel about 30 cm per cycle. You put two processors more than 30 cm apart and you're 'wasting' a clock cycle. The closer together you put processors the faster your computer runs, but the more heat you generate in a smaller area. Processors melt quickly (really quickly) when heat isn't removed or transferred. It's a huge issue now.

Another problem with putting stuff really, really close together in order to overcome speed of light limitations is quantum tunneling. The simplest way to put that is that information bleeds or leaks from one part to the next, corrupting it.

My primary interests in this area (since in my home builds speed of light limitations won't be an issue for a couple of decades--and I strongly encourage anyone considering building their own computer to do so. These days the amount of information and help available is extraordinary. You might want in advance to register on a couple of forums that specialize in helping novices build their own rigs, more for reassurance than anything else) are in strong AI, brain emulation, brain downloading, and so on, speed is and isn't an issue. You can get around it in a number of ways, though accommodating speed issues does slow the design process... If what you're interested in is the result, in some sense it doesn't matter if the result takes four seconds to get, or four days.
   421. zenbitz Posted: February 27, 2013 at 11:09 PM (#4377404)
@420 i mean that as stated, the problem is ill specified. Assuming he didnt just flat out make up the statement -- ie that its based on some estimate or prototype. It also presumes (in a classical computer science or physicisct way) that the only thing holding back a "genetic simulation of a cell" is computer hardware. But in fact, the biochemical parameters for any sort of realistic simulation arent known, but rather are an active billion dollar (combined) nih research effort. Not even getting into whether or not the form of the model is theoretically correct.


For example i can write a "genetic simlation" of a eukaryotic cell (yeast have ca. 7000 genes) that runs on an iPAD. it probably would be a very useful model though.

I could also design a time dependent quantum mechanical simulation of the 10^20 atoms on a cell, but that aint running on any earth hardware, ever. It too many degrees of freedom.
   422. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: February 27, 2013 at 11:20 PM (#4377411)
@419: Morty, Darwin is obsolete:

The wiki has a very good summary in its well-written page on Accelerating [Evolutionary] Change.

According to Kurzweil, since the beginning of evolution, more complex life forms have been evolving exponentially faster, with shorter and shorter intervals between the emergence of radically new life forms, such as human beings, who have the capacity to engineer (intentionally to design with efficiency) a new trait which replaces relatively blind evolutionary mechanisms of selection for efficiency. By extension, the rate of technical progress amongst humans has also been exponentially increasing, as we discover more effective ways to do things, we also discover more effective ways to learn, i.e. language, numbers, written language, philosophy, scientific method, instruments of observation, tallying devices, mechanical calculators, computers, each of these major advances in our ability to account for information occur increasingly close together. Already within the past sixty years, life in the industrialized world has changed almost beyond recognition except for living memories from the first half of the 20th century. This pattern will culminate in unimaginable technological progress in the 21st century, leading to a singularity. Kurzweil elaborates on his views in his books The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity Is Near.

edit: @421--thanks for the clarification, especially if 'would' should read 'wouldn't' in your second graf. For the purposes of brain emulation, I wonder how much we need to know of the as yet undiscovered biochemical parameters you mention (fwiw I agree with your assessment). As for the 10carat20 figure, true, but again I keep coming back to what we need to include for the model to do what we want it to do. Did you have something in mind specifically, where we need to model that many atoms in order to achieve a desired result or investigate something in particular? In short, what would that model accomplish that simpler models wouldn't (realizing that we may not know until we created that model, even though we could not create that particular model [you know what I mean, I'm sure]).

   423. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 27, 2013 at 11:27 PM (#4377416)
Ray Kurzweil is a kook.
   424. zenbitz Posted: February 27, 2013 at 11:28 PM (#4377419)
Edit: more like 10^16 atoms but 10 x that in electrons.
   425. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: February 27, 2013 at 11:33 PM (#4377423)
@423: that's the typical stuff that gets thrown out by people who are dicomfitted by the likely supplanting of human consciousness by artificial consciousness or, likeliest in the near future, the continued merging of human and artifical capabilities. Many of us are already cyborgs, in some sense, and to some degree.

You may not like that, but it doesn't make Kurzweil a kook for his (and thousands of others) exploration of the near term consequences of the exponential increase in computational power.

Or, how so? How is Kurzweil a kook?

edit: the link I posted to "Accelerating Change" has some useful criticisms of that idea, but none of those criticisms involve charges of 'kookery'.
   426. CrosbyBird Posted: February 28, 2013 at 12:41 AM (#4377447)
As a dyed-in-the wool humanist, I would also like to come out and say wholeheartedly that people are wonderful. Humans settled the globe with nothing more than a Paleolithic level of technology and eventually went into space. Humans navigate a complex social and environmental landscape and do so with remarkable success. Ever restless, ever curious, we are capable of unbelievable acts of generosity as well as unbelievable acts of brutality. Give me the messy, complex, sweaty, angry, joyful, singing, hardworking, tinkering, bargaining, exploring mass of humanity any day.

It's also worth noting that we're still an infant species. We've only been around somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 years, depending on what you consider "human." If the Earth were one day old, we'd show up fairly close to the last 20 minutes of that day. We've only been able to write for a little more than 5,000 years. What we've been able to do in such a short time is nothing short of remarkable, by the standard of "compared to every other species we've encountered, ever."
   427. Morty Causa Posted: February 28, 2013 at 01:05 AM (#4377454)

According to Kurzweil, since the beginning of evolution, more complex life forms have been evolving exponentially faster, with shorter and shorter intervals between the emergence of radically new life forms, such as human beings, who have the capacity to engineer (intentionally to design with efficiency) a new trait which replaces relatively blind evolutionary mechanisms of selection for efficiency.


I thought you were talking about the character of humans. That derives from our biological nature. It is the predicate for behavior and for forms of organization, relationships, and interaction.

I don't see that changing. We will have to deal with scarcity and competing interests for those scarce resources.

If we become immortal, that would be a radical, cataclysmic change. We wouldn't then be driven by the drive for survival. That could result in a change in basic character, it can be mooted, but I doubt it would be instantaneous, or even fast. But if that is so, moralistic terms would become anachronistic also, wouldn't it?

Funny that you should speak of this speed of change outstripping of Darwin (whatever's happening it's still organisms responding to environmental pressure, though) on our way careening towards a Singularity. It's reminiscent to me of the way Dawkins writes of "replicators" and "vehicles" in The Selfish Gene (and how they, too, can be in conflict), and the way natural selection created and engineered "survival machines."

   428. Steve Treder Posted: February 28, 2013 at 01:05 AM (#4377455)
What we've been able to do in such a short time is nothing short of remarkable, by the standard of "compared to every other species we've encountered, ever."

Oh, stop.
   429. Morty Causa Posted: February 28, 2013 at 01:13 AM (#4377457)
426:

Yes, humans have been very successful. It's truly astounding what we have done and accomplished. And it seems to be very human to take that success and make it seem a bad thing. We should do better--like the other animals do.

We are Men like Gods (Greek gods with flaws, not the "perfect" Abrahamic god or the ultimate philosphical god, whatever the #### that is). But, what's the alternative--letting nature have its way as we recede back to being her pawn? I don't think so. Besides, we know what nature's freee hand is like, and it is a whole lot less prettier than having us interfere with that nature.
   430. zenbitz Posted: February 28, 2013 at 01:21 AM (#4377462)
@425 - yes, that's what I am saying when I say he could be wrong in EITHER direction. Maybe to make a useful "genetic model" of a cell we don't need another 5 or 6 orders of magnitude in computing power, but maybe he wrong the other way and it's no where near enough to make a good (read: useful) genetic model.

I actually would like to get all this boring web engineering off my plate and thing about doing a transcriptional model of an entire yeast cell.... but there's always more "real" work to do. Research pays dick.
   431. GregD Posted: February 28, 2013 at 01:38 AM (#4377466)
Fun review of Kurzweil in the new NYRB, not up online yet. Snark unleashed.
   432. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: February 28, 2013 at 02:45 AM (#4377475)
@430: I assume you're familiar with it, but in the middle of the last year the NYT covered Stanford and the Venter Institute's first, the e.genitalium simulation. They picked it because it has the smallest number of genes of an independent organism.

In First, Software Emulates Lifespan of Entire Organism

STANFORD, Calif. — Scientists at Stanford University and the J. Craig Venter Institute have developed the first software simulation of an entire organism, a humble single-cell bacterium that lives in the human genital and respiratory tracts.

The scientists and other experts said the work was a giant step toward developing computerized laboratories that could carry out many thousands of experiments much faster than is possible now, helping scientists penetrate the mysteries of diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s.

“You read in the paper just about every week, ‘Cancer gene discovered’ or ‘Alzheimer gene discovered,’ ” said the leader of the new research, Markus W. Covert, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford. “A lot of the public wonders, ‘Why haven’t we cured all these things?’ The answer, of course, is that cancer is not a one-gene problem; it’s a many-thousands-of-factors problem.”

For medical researchers and biochemists, simulation software will vastly speed the early stages of screening for new compounds. And for molecular biologists, models that are of sufficient accuracy will yield new understanding of basic cellular principles.

This kind of modeling is already in use to study individual cellular processes like metabolism. But Dr. Covert said: “Where I think our work is different is that we explicitly include all of the genes and every known gene function. There’s no one else out there who has been able to include more than a handful of functions or more than, say, one-third of the genes.”

The simulation of the complete life cycle of the pathogen, Mycoplasma genitalium, was presented on Friday in the journal Cell. The scientists called it a “first draft” but added that the effort was the first time an entire organism had been modeled in such detail — in this case, all of its 525 genes.


@427: agree with your first two grafs. Also, even if we attain practical immortality, most questions remain. There will be some forms of scarcity, still, and as always the superrich will have first claim on any dramatic leaps. One of the most interesting of the new issues will be multiple identities. Why couldn't there be a flesh and blood Morty, enjoying endless rejuvenation (but always at the risk of corporeal death) along with Zetaflop Morty, who will experience the universe differently, and in a potentially infinite number of ways? Zetaflop Morty Prime might send himself out as an interstellar probe, some sort of Bracewell Probe, whose primary sensory apparatus experiences the universe at the quantum level.

Zetaflop Morty Prime might instead have an additional dozen or thousand versions who report back to ZMPrime, whose primary task is to integrate those experiences. Even so, there will always the moral issue of how you treat other entities, and what you might owe them. Multiple identities or an immortal identity also probably only defers the question of an afterlife for many folks.

@431: For people who don't get the science, Kurzweil (and his ilk) are very threatening. The best crits of his theorizing have to do more with his optimistic timeline than they do with specific objections, or assert that x or y is unsolvable and since x or y are necessary to continued evolution, said evolution necessarily stalls. Do read carefully the people who are freaked out by his line of thinking. They rarely criticize the science. Instead the snark degenerates into some version of "What goofy stuff! That's not what my life is like. How could that ever really happen??"

   433. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2013 at 09:29 AM (#4377512)
Darwin is obsolete


In general this is a silly thing to say. Newton is obsolete also from one perspective. In fact every scientist becomes quickly "obsolete" unless their science is basically dead and solved.

Darwin had some fundemental breakthroughs in science and is one of the most influential scientists of all time, but to the surprise of no one (including Darwin were he alive) the science has moved on.

This pattern will culminate in unimaginable technological progress in the 21st century, leading to a singularity.


I am not willing to say he is a kook, but the past is littered with people who "knew" the future and all of them were wrong (though a lucky few were wrong less than 100%). If you take every prediction you read and assume it is completely wrong you will quickly compile a record that on Wall Street would make you very very rich (and you would miss some great speculation).

I am not saying it is worthless to speculate about the future, it is very useful, but speculating and swallowing it whole are very very different things.The truth is change is present and in some ways accelerating. It is also true that we still live with the legacy of the past and it is always with us.
   434. BDC Posted: February 28, 2013 at 09:30 AM (#4377514)
What we've been able to do in such a short time is nothing short of remarkable

And yet they still can't fix the price-selection slider on StubHub to let you to see the cheap tickets easily.
   435. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 28, 2013 at 09:42 AM (#4377517)

Or, how so? How is Kurzweil a kook?


For one, he really doesn't understand what he is talking about.
   436. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: February 28, 2013 at 09:47 AM (#4377521)
but the past is littered with people who "knew" the future and all of them were wrong

The History Network seems to want to disagree with you. It's amazing how many shows they devote to Nostradamus.
   437. BrianBrianson Posted: February 28, 2013 at 09:52 AM (#4377522)
Newton is obsolete also from one perspective.


Newtonian gravity, perhaps. Newtonian optics, perhaps. Newtonian mint running - well, nobody has the will for that many executions anymore.

Calculus is still totally good though. And probably a few other things I'm forgetting.
   438. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: February 28, 2013 at 10:25 AM (#4377531)
If you take every prediction you read and assume it is completely wrong you will quickly compile a record that on Wall Street would make you very very rich (and you would miss some great speculation).

I sure hope so. There's been a general trend in my spam to shift from male enhancement and knockoff electronics to diabetic testing supplies, mobility scooters, and tombstones.
   439. zonk Posted: February 28, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4377561)
King would have won the primary anyway, so it is just smart politics on Latham's part.

Sure, but it would be smart politics on the GOP's part to keep King where he is and have Latham run for Senate. King will get smoked while dealing collateral damage upon his party.


I wouldn't be so quick to write off King...

Don't get me wrong - I think he's definitely in the team photo of DC's biggest jackasses - but he's got a political skillset that's much better than most of the rest of that team. In other words - don't count on him Akin'ing himself into a loss.

We can debate the relative merits of Christine Vilsack as a candidate - but she was certainly a credible candidate, with the backing of the national party, in what was seen as a key pickup opportunity.

She attempted to use the proper template to beat him in the IA-4 race last cycle.... painting him as crazy and unhinged. However, he was able to rather deftly parry those attacks and stayed surprisingly disciplined.

Now... a Senate race - even in IA - is different from a CD race, and I'm quite sure that the DNC/DSCC/dem candidate will be going airwave shock and awe to make King's many, many crazy statements more prominent (and thus, harder to just to write off as 'out of context' or laugh away in a debate), but the Dems do need to be prepared for the idea that King might very well not Angle/Murdouch/Akin himself into lost causedom.

Don't get me wrong - the idea of Steve King replacing Tom Harkin makes me physically ill (hell, even replacing Grassley with him would make me only slightly less ill)... but he's a better politician and more disciplined than the most of the others of his ilk.
   440. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 28, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4377573)
In other words - don't count on him Akin'ing himself into a loss.


Iowa isn't Missouri.
   441. Ron J2 Posted: February 28, 2013 at 11:29 AM (#4377574)
#433 Clarke's first law: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

(He explained further a decade later. Perhaps the adjective "elderly" requires definition. In physics, mathematics, and astronautics it means over thirty; in the other disciplines, senile decay is sometimes postponed to the forties. There are, of course, glorious exceptions; but as every researcher just out of college knows, scientists of over fifty are good for nothing but board meetings, and should at all costs be kept out of the laboratory!)

His second law: The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
   442. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 28, 2013 at 11:29 AM (#4377575)
   443. GregD Posted: February 28, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4377576)
@431: For people who don't get the science, Kurzweil (and his ilk) are very threatening. The best crits of his theorizing have to do more with his optimistic timeline than they do with specific objections, or assert that x or y is unsolvable and since x or y are necessary to continued evolution, said evolution necessarily stalls. Do read carefully the people who are freaked out by his line of thinking. They rarely criticize the science. Instead the snark degenerates into some version of "What goofy stuff! That's not what my life is like. How could that ever really happen??"
You should read the review. It isn't about Kurzweil's work on pattern recognition but instead Kurzweil's claims that pattern recognition is the key to writing a new theory of the mind. The situation is there entirely reversed from your formation. Kurzweil is writing as an expert in the theory of the mind without having done any basic, sophomore-level thinking about it, and so substitutes his metaphors for analysis. That doesn't mean Kurzweil isn't doing interesting work in other areas, but it does suggest he's the one leaping into areas where he's totally and embarrassingly out of his depth. That's fine; people who are pathbreakers do that all the time...but it's best to respond to that thoughtfully instead of pronouncing the people who know their #### as haters.
   444. zonk Posted: February 28, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4377581)
In other words - don't count on him Akin'ing himself into a loss.



Iowa isn't Missouri.


True - but King's IA-4 was supposed to be tougher turf for him (Iowa uses a nonpartisan redistricting process) and one of the Dem's best pickup opportunities. It was still an R+4 district though. King lapped Vilsack by nearly 8 points.

Now... in the Dems favor -- that's roughly the same margin Obama lost IA-4, while he did win Iowa overall by close to 6 points.

Hey - don't get me wrong... King's the guy I want to run against in what is probably a "must hold" Senate seat in 2014... I'm just saying that it shouldn't be looked upon as a gimme in the same sense Reid was breathing a sigh of relief when Angle won her NV primary, the Dems started licking their chops when Murdouch won the IN primary, O'Donnell in DE, etc. He's a cut above the standard bomb thrower when it comes to discipline and chops in an actual campaign.


EDIT: - PPP has King down 11 points to Braley (PDF).

That's definitely encouraging...
   445. GregD Posted: February 28, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4377586)
Hey - don't get me wrong... King's the guy I want to run against in what is probably a "must hold" Senate seat in 2014... I'm just saying that it shouldn't be looked upon as a gimme in the same sense Reid was breathing a sigh of relief when Angle won her NV primary, the Dems started licking their chops when Murdouch won the IN primary, O'Donnell in DE, etc. He's a cut above the standard bomb thrower when it comes to discipline and chops in an actual campaign.
I haven't been in Iowa for quite a while, but this strikes me as right. King is going to turn some people off, but he's also going to seem like a plausible Senator. If he can make his opponent also look unlikable, he can have a chance in a toss-up race between two candidates with high negatives. O'Donnell and Angle, in particular, never got close to that threshold. They seemed unqualified even to people who could stomach their views. Akin's different since he was running against an incumbent; he would have an open-seat election despite his gaffes, I think. I don't really know enough to say anything about Mourdock's visibility in Indiana before his run.
   446. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: February 28, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4377614)
It's also worth noting that we're still an infant species. We've only been around somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 years, depending on what you consider "human." If the Earth were one day old, we'd show up fairly close to the last 20 minutes of that day. We've only been able to write for a little more than 5,000 years. What we've been able to do in such a short time is nothing short of remarkable, by the standard of "compared to every other species we've encountered, ever."


It's been guesstimated that mammal species have an average lifespan (as a species) of about a million years, if you just look at the background extinction rate. If that is true, we humans are right now probably something less than two standard deviations below the average species lifespan (assuming a fairly broad sigma). That would indicate that we're still young, but we're past the point at which 10% of our peer species have been winkled out by their environment.

In terms of lifespan, we're probably off to college, and definitely old enough to have our drivers license. Let's just hope we don't wrap the car around a tree.
   447. just plain joe Posted: February 28, 2013 at 12:39 PM (#4377619)
I don't really know enough to say anything about Mourdock's visibility in Indiana before his run.


Mourdock was well known in Indiana; he was elected and then re-elected as the state treasurer. While treasurer he got into the national news by filing a suit against the Chrysler bailout. This suit didn't sit very well with many people in Indiana because of the large Chrysler presence in the state. During his second term as treasurer it was discovered that over 500 million dollars in tax receipts had been placed into the wrong accounts. This money was discovered but not before many counties and cities had to borrow money to make up for the revenue "shortfall". I think it is fair to say that everyone in Indiana who cared knew about Mourdock and where he stood.
   448. Morty Causa Posted: February 28, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4377638)
Darwin is obsolete

In general this is a silly thing to say. Newton is obsolete also from one perspective. In fact every scientist becomes quickly "obsolete" unless their science is basically dead and solved.


I took Jack to mean that Darwinism is obsolete? Not only Darwin's pronouncements himself. But, yes, it is wrong either way. We're still grappling to come to terms with the implications of natural selection and its subsets and offshoots as he understood them. Sexual selection and psychology, sociology? One of his last great works was entitled The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. That's very much being played out evolutionary psychology and sociobiology. In a joint interview with James Watson, E. O. Wilson commented that everytime he thought he had come up with something new, it turned out Darwin had already thougt of. Watson concurred.
   449. Morty Causa Posted: February 28, 2013 at 01:07 PM (#4377640)
I am not willing to say he is a kook, but the past is littered with people who "knew" the future and all of them were wrong (though a lucky few were wrong less than 100%).


Probably so (and I pretty agree with the meat of that paragraph), but it is also hard to determine how much the predictions and warnings had to do with that. Case in point: Orwell and 1984 and Animal Farm. That that world in the west hasn't come to pass has very much to do with him. Of course, Kurzweil is laying out his theories as a cautionary tale to be avoided. Just would include this footnote to the general comment.
   450. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2013 at 01:38 PM (#4377665)
That would indicate that we're still young, but we're past the point at which 10% of our peer species have been winkled out by their environment.


To be fair to the "humanity sucks" crowd (though I am still not part of them), humanity pretty much seems to be an extinction level event for a huge number of species on Planet Earth.

No idea if the average lifespan of a maml is 1 million years or what, but it is interesting.
   451. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 28, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4377669)
No idea if the average lifespan of a maml is 1 million years or what,


I give you ... Julio Franco.
   452. Morty Causa Posted: February 28, 2013 at 02:15 PM (#4377710)
435:

Excellent links. Everyone interested in the topic and Kurzweil should read them. PZ Meyers can be a pain in the ass, but like his cohorts Dawkins, Coyne, Pinker, and Dennett, he always presents his views clearly and cogently. Harris, too. If you disagree with them, you'll know why. He, and they, don't play games of verbal smoke and mirrors for political or ideological reasons.
   453. spike Posted: February 28, 2013 at 04:58 PM (#4377866)
King was just kind enough to vote against VAWA.

Sen. Braley, come on down.
   454. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 28, 2013 at 05:03 PM (#4377874)
King was just kind enough to vote against VAWA.


He's just standing up for the low-status males who are tired of being bullied by manipulative harridans who have stacked the courts and rigged the laws in their favor. Why are you so opposed to a little balance on behalf of men?
   455. zenbitz Posted: February 28, 2013 at 05:04 PM (#4377875)
Ironically, I totally missed that paper. Like I said, too much time building stupid web apps.
But it does prove my original point. Why do we need orders of magnitude more computing power to do this, it was run on a 128 node cluster last year?
   456. zenbitz Posted: February 28, 2013 at 05:08 PM (#4377880)
@435 another point I was trying to make more succinctly. But the author is wrong about needed a sequence-structure algorithm (this was actualy WHY I went to grad school in the first place). You can clearly simulate a single neuron without knowing the atomic level details of every protein in it (or to tie into another post, it's time-dependent wavefunction). Science - especially computer-modeling of physical things is all about abstraction.
   457. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2013 at 05:10 PM (#4377883)
He's just standing up for the low-status males who are tired of being bullied by manipulative harridans who have stacked the courts and rigged the laws in their favor. Why are you so opposed to a little balance on behalf of men?


We need someone to speak up and represent the poor downtrodden white male. If only we had a thread where we could discuss such things ...
   458. zenbitz Posted: February 28, 2013 at 05:15 PM (#4377888)
Darwinism is obsoleted by tehnology the same way that airplanes make gravity obsolete.

Guys like Kurzweil - and other physicists, philosophers, and computer scientists postulating about biology generally make fools of themselves because they don't do any cursory background reading in the field, let alone strive to understand it's chalenges (e.g., parameter estimation)

There is an old ancedote about Feynman, whom, after sitting through a seminar from an evolutionary biologist - went home in a frenzy. Came back in a few days with a notebook of equations etc, and showed it to a colleague in the biology department:
"Look Bill - I've been thinking about this and here are some important equations above evolution I've been deriving".
"Yes, Richard - you can find those in any graduate textbook on evolutionary biology"

   459. Morty Causa Posted: February 28, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4377916)
You gotta admit that that's pretty damn impresive for a novice to do--even a Richard Feynman--attaining on his own a graduate level after one seminar and (presumably) some thinking about it.
   460. Publius Publicola Posted: February 28, 2013 at 05:42 PM (#4377925)
Say Darwinism is obsolete is loopy. The theory (and it's not really a theory anymore. It's a fact that is incompletely understood) of natural selection is the bedrock of modern biology. It is as important to the biological sciences as e=mc2 is to modern physics.

That it has been refined and elaborated on since the mid-1800's changes nothing.
   461. Morty Causa Posted: February 28, 2013 at 05:46 PM (#4377930)
Yes, we were only trying to discuss it in the way Jack meant that originally way back upthread.
   462. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2013 at 05:46 PM (#4377931)
King was just kind enough to vote against VAWA.


I have been told there is no GOP war against women, but sometimes is hard not to blame women for thinking there is ...
   463. Morty Causa Posted: February 28, 2013 at 05:57 PM (#4377941)
Our sensibilities tell us that we are right. We don't have to study or learn anything. We just know they are. The rest is just looking for confirmation of that bias.

But that applies to all of us. We all think we're right reflexively. We all seek justification. Yadda yadda yadda.

But, really, what it is, is we all have our interests.

However, resources (what is needed to meet our interests) are limited, more limited than all our desires.

We therefore come into conflict, as we strive for the same thing.

Our resolution is simple: to find that what's right (in all senses) is what favors us. Why can't others see that? They do. Only the placeholders change position.

We right because we want it to favor us; others are wrong because they want it to favor them.

We cast this in the intellectual winning combination of being "wrong" or "right" in a universal abstract sense. My way is best for everyone, individually and collectively. You don't like it but it's good for you. And it's good for us. But, by that, we really just mean "I want to" because I need to, because it makes me feel good.
   464. Morty Causa Posted: February 28, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4377946)
I have been told there is no GOP war against women, but sometimes is hard not to blame women for thinking there is ...


Why should they be exempt?
   465. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 28, 2013 at 06:01 PM (#4377951)
Our resolution is simple: to find that what's right (in all senses) is what favors us. Why can't others see that? They do. Only the placeholders change position.

We right because we want it to favor us; others are wrong because they want it to favor them.


This is very wrong on many levels. From an evolutionary standpoint (for the species) it is advantages to be altruistic. Altruism is part of humanity (as is selfishness I admit). Pretending it is not is just foolish. Unless you are allowing for a really flexible and abstract meaning of "us" in your statement, and if so your statement has zero impact.
   466. Morty Causa Posted: February 28, 2013 at 06:03 PM (#4377952)
Do you know what biological altruism means?
   467. Morty Causa Posted: February 28, 2013 at 06:06 PM (#4377955)
We need someone to speak up and represent the poor downtrodden white male. If only we had a thread where we could discuss such things ...


We've had this discussion exactly once for a few days, and you still haven't got the ####-stains out of your underwear?
   468. bunyon Posted: February 28, 2013 at 06:10 PM (#4377957)
To be fair to the "humanity sucks" crowd (though I am still not part of them), humanity pretty much seems to be an extinction level event for a huge number of species on Planet Earth.

To be fair to them, it is the fact that people can look at themselves and think, "We suck" that has led to much of the advances we've made.
   469. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 28, 2013 at 06:13 PM (#4377961)
Do you know what biological altruism means?


I'll let you borrow my notes from Dr. Keith's physiology class?
   470. spike Posted: February 28, 2013 at 06:20 PM (#4377966)
   471. zonk Posted: February 28, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4377973)
With the Feb OTP clock ticking down, I hope folks don't mind if I go off-topic again for a moment and once again call on the IT folks...

I have a rather annoying project that keeps getting stalled and was looking to job board it out -- it's basically a small little, nothing fancy UI to generate an XML file that relies on refrences from a different XML file (both using the same schema/dtd)... I'm pretty sure it's something a competent developer - .NET, even VB or something - could knock out in a few hours. Anyway... I used to have a bunch of links to job boards where you could post projects and get bids from freelancers, but I just discovered that I lost all my bookmarks in an upgrade and can't remember the places I used to browse for this sort of thing... It's honestly a simple enough file that I'm half-tempted to just have my team manually edit, but with even a minimalist UI and tool, I can get it out of my hair..

Anyone have any recommendations for online marketplaces you might use for relatively micro projects of this sort?
   472. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 28, 2013 at 06:59 PM (#4377980)
I have been told there is no GOP war against women, but sometimes is hard not to blame women for thinking there is ...

In related news:
“Some people could make the argument that a lot of people like being in abusive relationships. It’s a love-hate relationship. It’s very, very common for people to stick around with somebody they love who also abuses him or her,” said [New Hampshire State] Rep. Mark Warden, a Republican who represents Deering, Goffstown and Weare, during a meeting of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, according to a video provided by Granite State Progress, a liberal advocacy group.

According to the video, Warden added, “Is the solution to those kind of dysfunctional relationships going to be more government, another law? I’d say no. People are always free to leave.”
[...]
Warden spoke during the debate on a bill introduced by Derry Republican Rep. Frank Sapareto that would reduce simple assault from a misdemeanor crime to a violation-level offense in any case of “unprivileged physical contact” that “does not result in harm or injury.” -Ben Leubsdorf, The Concord Monitor
   473. zenbitz Posted: February 28, 2013 at 07:17 PM (#4377990)
the stuff in graduate science textbooks is very elementary. Consider that most undergraduate text books are for pre-meds and the like.
Most graduate school can't be taught from a text book, they haven't been written yet. You don't even take classes after the first year, except maybe for funsies.
   474. Publius Publicola Posted: February 28, 2013 at 07:27 PM (#4377997)
You don't even take classes after the first year, except maybe for funsies.


I took classes my first 2 years. But you are right. The most advanced classes don't even use textbooks, or have one but it's rarely referenced. Mostly, it's about reading and digesting recent seminal research papers.
   475. Publius Publicola Posted: February 28, 2013 at 07:30 PM (#4377998)
Mark Levin calls for Cantor to step down for allowing VAWA vote

Approaching maximum awesomeness


LOL. He called Cantor "a little weasel".

You have to admit that describes Cantor pretty well though, right?
   476. zonk Posted: February 28, 2013 at 07:36 PM (#4378001)
One caution against NH state reps... They've got like 10,000 of them... NH still loves its state government to be sort of 'unprofessional politicos' -- which most certainly does have its charm - but I'm just saying that I always tend to asterisk things that come from a NH state rep from either party. The way their state legislature works - state reps are basically not even one step above 'random guy calling into a radio talk show'. This tends to lead to some real pieces of work - from both parties - getting elected to terms in the legislature on occasion.
   477. cardsfanboy Posted: February 28, 2013 at 07:42 PM (#4378005)
You may not like that, but it doesn't make Kurzweil a kook for his (and thousands of others) exploration of the near term consequences of the exponential increase in computational power.


Kurzweil is a kook(anyone who takes that many vitamins has some serious issues) but he's also awesome. I want my futurists to be thinking positive, even after doing the math. Is he going to be right? More than likely not, but so what, he opens up discussions and imagination about how things can be.

Darwin is obsolete


Post 460 pretty much gave the proper response to this. Evolution is fundamental to pretty much all biological studies going on now, it's more or less a scientific fact, arguably one of the most evidence supported scientific theories out there. Just because what Darwin wrote isn't 100%, doesn't make it obsolete. Copernicus was mostly wrong, with the exception of the underlying theory, and that is what was important.

   478. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 28, 2013 at 07:58 PM (#4378012)
It's also worth noting that we're still an infant species. We've only been around somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 years, depending on what you consider "human."


We go back "only" 100 to 200k if your definition of "human" is someone you could shave/wash and have wonder around a cocktail party without anyone noticing
We go back 2 million if you count Home Erectus/ Homo Ergaster and the like (who were a hell of a lot more closely related to us than our extant more closely related relatives chimps and bonobos...

so when you say the average mammal "species" last 1 million years- how similar is that species from year 1 to year 1 million?

The last common ancestor between us and the chimps was about 5-7 million years ago...



   479. Tilden Katz Posted: February 28, 2013 at 08:14 PM (#4378020)
Mark Levin calls for Cantor to step down for allowing VAWA vote


Levin is my favorite right-wing loonybird. I especially love how he blatantly lies to his audience about U.S. v. Morrison, claiming that it struck down the entirety of the original VAWA rather than a small part of it.
   480. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 28, 2013 at 08:53 PM (#4378035)
King was just kind enough to vote against VAWA.
Hardcore right-wingers have no idea how to pick their battles.
   481. Steve Treder Posted: February 28, 2013 at 08:53 PM (#4378036)
someone you could shave/wash and have wonder around a cocktail party without anyone noticing

Question of the day: just what libation would said early human prefer? And how obnoxious would he/she be once three hides to the wind?
   482. Steve Treder Posted: February 28, 2013 at 08:55 PM (#4378037)
Hardcore right-wingers have no idea how to pick their battles.

Picking battles is a form of compromise, and compromise is verboten.
   483. Steve Treder Posted: February 28, 2013 at 09:04 PM (#4378041)
On the question of who comes out of this silliness looking the most ridiculous, bear in mind that Woodward's free publicity has probably sold many copies of books. There is that.

Conservative media figures are abandoning Washington Post writer Bob Woodward's over-hyped claim that he was threatened by a White House official.

... several conservatives are now turning on Woodward.

The Daily Caller, which hyped Woodward's initial claims last night, posted an article by Matt Lewis this morning explaining that conservatives had seized on Woodward's initial story because it "confirmed our suspicion about the Obama Administration's 'Chicago-style' of politics." After reading the full emails, Lewis concluded that conservatives had been "played," and that the exchange is "much more innocuous" than it was initially presented.

Echoing Lewis, Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson said during an appearance on Fox News that the full emails suggest Woodward "hyped" the claim that he had been threatened.
   484. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 28, 2013 at 09:07 PM (#4378043)
Picking battles is a form of compromise, and compromise is verboten.

Reminds me of a story a councilman in a neighboring town told me.

He was first elected in 2010, during the big Tea Party wave, and one of his first votes was a proposed hike to the city's property tax. The local TPers demanded a meeting with him, and at the sit-down said under no circumstances should he vote for the tax hike. But I'm outnumbered, he said, and if I do that the tax get raised. However, he offered, there may be a compromise in which we make cuts here and here and then raise the tax to a level that would be only half the hike on the table. Would you go for that? No, they said, because then you voted to raise taxes. But you'd rather have me fail to stop the rate from going up by X when I can get it raised only X*0.5? They were adamant: Yes.
   485. Steve Treder Posted: February 28, 2013 at 09:26 PM (#4378051)
But you'd rather have me fail to stop the rate from going up by X when I can get it raised only X*0.5? They were adamant: Yes.

They have such an endearing way of doubling down on the stupid.
   486. cardsfanboy Posted: February 28, 2013 at 09:28 PM (#4378055)
Picking battles is a form of compromise, and compromise is verboten.


For normal people, I would think that the ability to not compromise is a good thing, but in some respects the hard right people appear to be Roscharch going up against Ozymandias/Dr Manhattan. Compromise is unfortunately a central tenet of public office, the fact that they haven't realized that does tend to make them look ridiculous.
   487. Publius Publicola Posted: February 28, 2013 at 09:35 PM (#4378059)
It goes beyond stubbornness. Their economic prescription is unfit for the times. They are protecting a system of income disparity that is partly the root of the economic doldrums. So they're exacerbating a problem they are supposedly dedicated to solving.
   488. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 28, 2013 at 10:00 PM (#4378074)
But you'd rather have me fail to stop the rate from going up by X when I can get it raised only X*0.5? They were adamant: Yes.


P.O.E.

Purity of Essence ... Peace on Earth.
   489. Jay Z Posted: February 28, 2013 at 10:19 PM (#4378083)
agree with your first two grafs. Also, even if we attain practical immortality, most questions remain. There will be some forms of scarcity, still, and as always the superrich will have first claim on any dramatic leaps. One of the most interesting of the new issues will be multiple identities. Why couldn't there be a flesh and blood Morty, enjoying endless rejuvenation (but always at the risk of corporeal death) along with Zetaflop Morty, who will experience the universe differently, and in a potentially infinite number of ways? Zetaflop Morty Prime might send himself out as an interstellar probe, some sort of Bracewell Probe, whose primary sensory apparatus experiences the universe at the quantum level.

Zetaflop Morty Prime might instead have an additional dozen or thousand versions who report back to ZMPrime, whose primary task is to integrate those experiences. Even so, there will always the moral issue of how you treat other entities, and what you might owe them. Multiple identities or an immortal identity also probably only defers the question of an afterlife for many folks.


Where's Morty get the money to pay for all this? It's not like his consciousness is particularly valuable, I'm assuming, so with any scarcity he's going to have to pay for it. Until we get to a world where replicating everything is cheap and easy, this isn't really a viable goal.
   490. Steve Treder Posted: March 01, 2013 at 12:00 AM (#4378117)
For normal people, I would think that the ability to not compromise is a good thing

Say what? Inability to compromise is a terrible thing. Choosing when to and when not to obviously requires wisdom (what a concept), but to render oneself unable to compromise is to be a public menace.

Compromise is unfortunately a central tenet of public office

There's nothing in the least unfortunate about it. It is the defining brilliance of the democratic system.
   491. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 01, 2013 at 12:11 AM (#4378118)
There's nothing in the least unfortunate about it. It is the defining brilliance of the democratic system.


QFT.
   492. cardsfanboy Posted: March 01, 2013 at 12:12 AM (#4378120)
Say what? Inability to compromise is a terrible thing.


I'm talking about compromising your values, not compromising in order to work well with others.

There's nothing in the least unfortunate about it. It is the defining brilliance of the democratic system.


It's unfortunate if your values and beliefs are the correct ones and you have to compromise to an inferior system.
   493. Tripon Posted: March 01, 2013 at 12:12 AM (#4378121)

For normal people, I would think that the ability to not compromise is a good thing, but in some respects the hard right people appear to be Roscharch going up against Ozymandias/Dr Manhattan. Compromise is unfortunately a central tenet of public office, the fact that they haven't realized that does tend to make them look ridiculous.


Even in corporate business, you have to learn the skill of compromise, if only because if you're fighting every battle you're not getting anything done.
   494. Steve Treder Posted: March 01, 2013 at 12:20 AM (#4378123)
It's unfortunate if your values and beliefs are the correct ones and you have to compromise to an inferior system.

Please tell me you're not serious.
   495. cardsfanboy Posted: March 01, 2013 at 12:29 AM (#4378127)
Even in corporate business, you have to learn the skill of compromise, if only because if you're fighting every battle you're not getting anything done.


I know that compromise is integral to progress etc. But at the same time, I don't think you should automatically assume that compromise is for the best in every situation.

Please tell me you're not serious.


Yes I'm serious, in a defense against the barbarians type of way. Too often people are asked to compromise their values by peer pressure. You don't compromise certain principles no matter what, that is an admirable trait, although it can also be foolish and impractical. I don't see anything wrong with that thought process.
   496. Steve Treder Posted: March 01, 2013 at 12:33 AM (#4378129)
You don't compromise certain principles no matter what, that is an admirable trait, although it can also be foolish and impractical. I don't see anything wrong with that thought process.

Fine, but the inability to distinguish between "certain principles" and the means to the end of furthering them is just plain stupidity. Surely you agree.
   497. cardsfanboy Posted: March 01, 2013 at 12:39 AM (#4378130)
Fine, but the inability to distinguish between "certain principles" and the means to the end of furthering them is just plain stupidity. Surely you agree.


Agree. I was just pointing out that it does take strong character to stick to your guns provided you are "right". I find that admirable personally. But again, it can be impractical and foolish depending on what the situation is,(which is what is pointed out in the comment that started this tangent)
   498. Steve Treder Posted: March 01, 2013 at 12:40 AM (#4378131)
OK.
   499. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 01, 2013 at 01:40 AM (#4378146)
Mark Levin calls for Cantor to step down for allowing VAWA vote

Approaching maximum awesomeness
Wow; that's a dishonest description of the link. He's upset about the law, sure. But as per the link, he actually called for Cantor to step down because Cantor was threatening Republicans who wouldn't support it.
   500. CrosbyBird Posted: March 01, 2013 at 04:51 AM (#4378160)
We go back 2 million if you count Home Erectus/ Homo Ergaster and the like (who were a hell of a lot more closely related to us than our extant more closely related relatives chimps and bonobos...

I wouldn't. Those are different species, even if they share the same genus. I'd expect them to be a lot more similar to us than Pan troglodytes or Pan paniscus.

Even 200,000 years is a very generous estimate for humanity in the anatomical sense, let alone the behavioral.
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