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Postby DHodges » Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:49 am

This relates to a discussion several months back, about the possible eventual "Stepford Wives" scenario of replacing women with robots.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4714135.stm
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Postby MKFaizi » Tue Aug 02, 2005 9:01 am

Her hands look rather large and weird in the one photograph. Other than that, looks pretty good.

I wonder when they will become cost effective enough to take the place of office receptionists. I doubt that it is that far down the road.

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Postby Dave Toast » Wed Aug 03, 2005 7:42 am

I thought that, big bloke's hands.

It's probably a tranny.
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Robot Receptionist

Postby DHodges » Wed Aug 03, 2005 10:27 pm

MKFaizi wrote:I wonder when they will become cost effective enough to take the place of office receptionists. I doubt that it is that far down the road.
Faizi


How much does a receptionist make? I'm thinking it would be cost effective if it costs, say, less than three years salary.

Assuming they break down less often than a copier.
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Postby MKFaizi » Thu Aug 04, 2005 11:31 am

Around here, in cheap Christianity, a medical receptionist may start off at eight dollars an hour if she has no experience.

Oddly enough, a receptionist in a medical office is important in terms of personality.

I am certain that people can learn to love an android with big hands.

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Postby MKFaizi » Thu Aug 04, 2005 11:34 am

At my office, the computers go down about two or three times a day. When I call other offices, I hear the same complaints or that the systems are extremely slow.

I reckon it is time to rehab the Internet. Something is clearly rotten in Denmark.

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Terrorism

Postby DHodges » Fri Aug 05, 2005 3:26 am

Apparently al Qaeda does take responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, and is promising more to come :

http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/08/ ... index.html
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Postby MKFaizi » Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:14 am

I have never doubted that Al Qaeda sponsored the 9/11 and other attacks. What I doubt is the tightness of the organization. It is portrayed as a Mafia like organization. My guess -- that is all -- is that it is much looser than that -- that there are many groups inspired by and aiming to please bin Laden. My guess is that such factions raise their own money for their "causes." I don't think they need a godfather.

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Postby DHodges » Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:10 pm

MKFaizi wrote:My guess -- that is all -- is that it is much looser than that -- that there are many groups inspired by and aiming to please bin Laden. My guess is that such factions raise their own money for their "causes." I don't think they need a godfather.


I've been reading the official 9/11 Commission report, and they describe it pretty much as you say. Bin Laden, according to that report, is big mostly because of his role in financing the operations - he has connections to some wealthy people who support his cause.
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Postby MKFaizi » Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:19 pm

Yet, politically, Al Qaeda is portrayed as this very tight organization with bin Laden at the head.

In the matter of the World Trade Centers attacks, Mohammad Attar was the leader of the few kids. Attar organized things completely on his own.

bin Laden was glad to take credit for the attacks but I reckon even he was surprised at the results. There is one video tape that attests to his happy surprise and pleasure.

My guess is that bin Laden is no more privy to the design of the attacks than George Bush is privy to decisions made at the state level that, though they may favor his agenda, are not directed by him.

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Is Venezuela next?

Postby DHodges » Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:47 pm

Have we got enough wars going on yet? What about Venezuela?

http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/americas/ ... index.html


Chavez called the United States the "most savage, cruel and murderous empire that has existed in the history of the world."

The Venezuelan leader said "socialism is the only path," and told the students the collective goal is to "save a world threatened by the voracity of U.S. imperialism."
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Postby MKFaizi » Fri Aug 12, 2005 1:31 pm

I know about that.

Venzuela also has cheap oil. Since the US is an oil guzzler, they have reason to hate the US.

Twenty years ago, I wondered if there would be a war in the Middle East or a war in South America.

I don't think that there will be both. South America is largely Catholic.

Twenty years ago, I figured the Middle East was the worst scenario. I figured a South American war would go up in a cloud of cocaine or something.

Too bad.

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Wars, and rumors of wars

Postby DHodges » Fri Aug 12, 2005 10:44 pm

MKFaizi wrote:I don't think that there will be both. South America is largely Catholic.


You think that, because they are Catholic, that's closer to the USA Christian mainstream? Less alien than the Muslim Middle East?
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Don't look!

Postby DHodges » Sat Aug 13, 2005 1:55 am

Back in the old days of kings, commoners were supposed to avert their eyes when the king passed.

Anyways, this just seems pretty weird.

from http://www.dailytexanonline.com/media/p ... 5863.shtml
GRAPEVINE - Roads were shut down Wednesday and residents living in nearby apartments between Dooley and Ruth Wall Roads were warned not to look out of their windows Wednesday. School busses from Grapevine-Colleyville ISD formed a perimeter around the site where President George W. Bush was scheduled to land. No one was going to get a glance of the president on his way to the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center.
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Postby Jamesh » Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:11 pm

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Postby Jamesh » Sun Oct 30, 2005 3:21 pm

The Sunday Times October 23, 2005
God save the heretic
CHRISTOPHER HART

Jonathan Swift observed that the problem with religion was that there wasn’t enough of it around: “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” Three centuries on there is even less of it around and we still hate each other.

The difficulty, at least for the scientifically educated but spiritually malnourished, is not the idea of religion itself, meaning some system of ritualised worship that helps us to make sense, if only symbolically, of the human, natural and supernatural worlds. The difficulty is rather that all the religions on offer are so patently preposterous, if not downright unpleasant.

Judaism tells us in its most sacred text, the Torah, that a donkey once turned round and started an argument with its master (Numbers, chapter 22); and that the supreme creator took time out to instruct his chosen people not to carry dead badgers, pelicans, hoopoes or bats (Leviticus, chapter 11).

Christianity, while accepting these texts as sacred, further believes that God manifested himself on earth in the form of an excitable and frequently ill-tempered 1st-century Jewish rabbi called Joshua (“Jesus” in Greek) who disowned his family and believed that the world was soon going to end. How do we know Jesus was Jewish? Because he lived at home until he was 30 and his mother thought he was God.

Then there is Islam. Its followers believe that its sacred text, the Koran, is the word of Allah as dictated to his prophet Muhammad. Non-Muslims might regard Muhammad as a deluded and bellicose man who had far too many wives than was good for him. His private life as recorded in the Koran itself, for instance sura 66, is also rather surprising.

Buddhism is an increasingly popular choice for westerners these days with its distinctive mix of cowardice, escapism and self-absorption. Hinduism has always been the colourful and vibrant national religion of India, although under the guidance of that wicked imperialist power, the British raj, it did at last begin to accept that burning women alive on their husbands’ funeral pyres might not be such a good idea.

Shintoism, the national religion of Japan, venerated the emperor as a living god, at least until 1946 when Hirohito, under gentle pressure from the US army, admitted on the radio that he wasn’t really.

The emperor Vespasian’s last sardonic words, as he lay awaiting death and the posthumous deification bestowed on the Caesars, best put this religious belief into perspective: “I think I’m turning into a god.”

Some like to believe that primitive tribal religions were much nicer. Unfortunately many of them practised human sacrifice. When the British (wicked imperialist power, etc) captured the Ashanti capital of Kumasi in present-day Ghana, they found a grove of death where the ground was saturated with the blood of thousands of human victims.

This confirms one’s sense that whatever the truth about God, all religions without exception are fallible human creations, in parts beautiful and profound and in parts ridiculous and repellent. To protect them from criticism is bad for our society and, even more importantly, bad for our souls.

Enter new Labour with shining morning face, like some eager perfectibilian schoolboy, believing that with a few waves of its legislative wand it can banish cultural frictions and religious disagreements from the earth. Under the proposed Racial and Religious Hatred Bill, before the Lords this week, anyone found guilty of being “insulting or abusive” about any religion could face a prison sentence of up to seven years.

If the bill is passed then the kind of things I have written at the start of this article — to my mind, perfectly reasonable, evidentiary and legitimately discomforting things — could well land me in Wormwood Scrubs. It is astonishing that any modern democratic government should be even considering such a law. But then this comes from the people who brought us the similarly botched, ill-conceived and unenforceable Hunting Act only last year.

This is a blundering bluebottle of a bill, inanely buzzing around our heads, a colossal nuisance with no sign of intelligence behind it whatsoever. It should be squashed forthwith. To paraphrase Swift, there is already quite enough bossy and witless legislation around to make us hate each other and there will never be enough to make us love each other. For that we will need some new, humane, as yet unimaginable form of religion.

However, with our dominant ideology of “secular materialism” (for which read “shopping”), our fringe religious ideologies either vapid or dangerously fundamentalist, both hostile to outside criticism and incapable of self-criticism, and now new Labour’s outrageous attempts to frighten us from even discussing such essential matters openly, our chances of shaping some better religion for our modern selves, and consequently learning to love each other a little more than we have hitherto managed, seem remoter than ever.



The bold bit is pretty scary for the future of rationality. If the bill doesn't get shot down other countries may follow.
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Law

Postby Kevin Solway » Mon Oct 31, 2005 11:11 am

. . . banish cultural frictions and religious disagreements from the earth


Part of this new law would have to involve the banishing of religion itself, since every religion belittles non-believers

Edit: but by doing this you would of course be falling foul of your own law, and would have to banish yourself!

Edit2: and even that would be illegal.
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Postby Jamesh » Mon Oct 31, 2005 2:11 pm

Good points Kevin.

"Buddhism is an increasingly popular choice for westerners these days with its distinctive mix of cowardice, escapism and self-absorption."

What do folks think of this point?

It resonates with me, but at least it is still the least worst of the religions, and the Dali Lama is at least reasonably rational in his approach to science and freedom, unlike the others.

I think Buddhism is a kind of escapism stemming from cowardness - as all religions are, but with buddhism it is kind of more a cowardness of the present, rather than for other religions an attempt to escape from one's death (and modern buddhism has this to, with reincarnation).
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Postby Tomas » Mon Oct 31, 2005 6:42 pm

Broad shoulders

Narrow hips

Freaky hand - the other is partly hidden (possibly used for masturbating the inventor (Dr. Iggyucho) Gettin' jiggy wit it...the inventor has maybe been using i-robot for less than virtuous purposes

All things considered...woman came from man's rib

Perhaps a glorified style of japanese love doll.

Those japanese men like their obedient women, you know.

They have invented the vibrating condom, too.

Any-whoooo

Better quit while i'm gettin' head...er...ahead, that is......

Tomas (the tank)
VietNam veteran - 1971
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Postby Blair » Mon Oct 31, 2005 7:07 pm

Jamesh wrote:I think Buddhism is a kind of escapism stemming from cowardness - as all religions are, but with buddhism it is kind of more a cowardness of the present, rather than for other religions an attempt to escape from one's death (and modern buddhism has this to, with reincarnation).


I wouldnt make a distinction. They are all forms of cowardice. Are they not all afraid of death, of being snuffed out before they can actualize their next silly dream?

The only constant is death. Humans are in love with the dream of life, dreaming life away. When it comes down to it, people only have regret and pain at deaths door, never contentment.
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In the News

Postby DHodges » Mon Oct 31, 2005 11:47 pm

Pastor electrocuted while performing baptism

What can you say but, "Where is your faggot God now?" (quote from the South Park movie.)
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Postby Jamesh » Tue Dec 20, 2005 3:36 pm

Does this article tell us anything about the philosophical mindset of females as oppsoed to males? To be honest I haven't thought of anything in particular, other than the learning the skills of bitchy competition between females to place themsleves in the best position to secure the best male mate, making Barbie an imaginary competitor that needs to be brought down - but I'm sure there is more to it than the article states.

Why little girls like to torture Barbie
By Nick Foley in London

IF you've caught your daughter mutilating her Barbie doll, microwaving her, or decapitating her, don't be disturbed - your girl is perfectly normal.

Research published yesterday reveals that as girls grow up, they come to hate Barbie so much that many admit torturing and maiming the doll. The toy has become a "hate figure" among seven to 11-year-old girls, who regard Barbie as a "babyish" symbol of their earlier childhood.

Researchers from the University of Bath questioned 100 youngsters about their attitudes to a range of branded products and found the iconic doll provoked the strongest reaction.

"When we asked the groups of junior school children about Barbie, the doll provoked rejection, hatred and violence," said Agnes Nairn, who led the study. "The meaning of Barbie went beyond an expressed antipathy; actual physical violence and torture towards the doll was repeatedly reported, quite gleefully, across age, school and gender."

Dr Nairn said: "It's as though disavowing Barbie is a rite of passage and a rejection of their past.

"The types of mutilation .. range from removing the hair to decapitation, burning, breaking and even microwaving."

The study also found that while boys expressed feelings of nostalgia towards Action Man, girls' attitude to Barbie was hostile.

"The girls almost always talked about having a box full of Barbies," Dr Nairn said. "So, to them, Barbie has come to symbolise excess. Barbies are not special, they are disposable, and are thrown away and rejected."
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Postby Jamesh » Wed Jan 18, 2006 3:54 pm

Ironic discovery: the downside of being uplifted

There is little evidence that concepts such as self-esteem provide better results, writes Steve Salerno.

EVER since the United States began weaning itself off the sociological junk food of victimisation and its culture of blame, the pop psychology menu increasingly has been flavoured by an antithetical concept - empowerment that can be summarised: believe it, achieve it.

Nowadays, Fortune 500 conglomerates draft business plans with bullet points drawn from the Zen optimism of the basketball coach-cum-inspirational guru Phil Jackson. Couples write partnership covenants based on the utopian blather of John Gray. Millions of Americans owe their feelings of "personal power" to Anthony Robbins, perhaps the father of mass-market empowerment. Then there is Oprah Winfrey, who is seldom categorised as a guru in her own right but whose status as the movement's eminence grise is beyond dispute: the road to self-help's promised land, and a bite of its $13.3 billion fruit, runs straight through Harpo Productions.

Lost in the adulation is the downside of being uplifted. In truth, the hyping of hope may be the great unsung irony of modern life, destined to disappoint as surely as the pity party it was meant to replace.

The crusade to imbue children with that most slippery of notions, self-esteem, has been disastrous (and has recently been disavowed by a number of its loudest early voices). Self-esteem-based education assumed that a healthy ego would help students achieve greatness, even if the mechanisms necessary to instil self-esteem undercut scholarship. Over time, it became clear that such policies promote not academic greatness but a bizarre disconnection between perceived self-worth and provable skill.

Over 20 years, beginning in the early 1970s, the average scholastic assessment test score fell by 35 points. But in that period the contingent of college-bound seniors with an A or B average jumped from 28 per cent to 83 per cent, as teachers felt increasing pressure to adopt more "supportive" grading policies. Tellingly, in a 1989 study of maths skills among students in eight nations, Americans ranked lowest in overall competence and Koreans highest, but when researchers asked the students how good they thought they were, the results were exactly opposite: Americans highest, Koreans lowest. The Third International Mathematics and Science Study in 1999, ranking year 12 students from 23 nations, put US students in 20th place, besting only South Africa, Lithuania and Cyprus.

Still, we keep dressing our young in their emperors' new egos, passing them on to the next set of empowering curricula. If you teach at college level, as I do, at some point you will be confronted by a student seeking redress over the grade you gave him because "I'm pre-med". Not until such students reach medical school do they encounter truly inelastic standards: a comeuppance for them but a reprieve for those who otherwise might find themselves anaesthetised beneath their second-rate scalpel.

Society has embraced concepts such as self-esteem and confidence despite scant evidence that they provide positive outcomes. The psychologists Roy Baumeister and Martin Seligman suggest that, often, high self-worth is a marker for negative behaviour, as found in sociopaths and drug kingpins. Even in its less extreme manifestations, confidence may be expressed in the kind of braggadocio - "I'm fine just the way I am, thank you" - that stunts growth, yielding chronic failure.

Then again, one never really fails in this brave new (euphemistic) world. "There is no such thing as failure," posits a maxim of neuro-linguistic programming. Among empowered thinkers, reality becomes an arbitrary affair, with each individual deciding his or her personal truth.

Consider health care, where vague notions of personal empowerment are a key factor in the American exodus from traditional medicine. A study in the medical journal JAMA put the number of patient visits to alternative medicine practitioners at 629 million a year, eclipsing the 386 million visits to doctors. In theory, these defections represent a desire for "self-empowered healing" that will "put people in charge of their health-care destiny", to quote one holistic health website. In practice, the trend puts hordes of Americans at the mercy of quacks who position themselves at the nexus of mind and body. Feeling better about a health problem is not the same as doing better.

Nonetheless, a generation has come of age on the belief that a positive mental attitude will carry the day. Far from helping his disciples, the empowerment guru does them a disservice by making them "think positive" about a situation in which the odds of success are exceedingly low. As the management consultant Jay Kurtz says: "The most dangerous person in corporate America is the highly enthusiastic incompetent. He's running faster in the wrong direction, doing horribly counterproductive things with winning enthusiasm."

You cannot have a life plan predicated on the belief that everything is equally achievable to you, especially if that same message has been sold indiscriminately to all-comers. In the grand scheme of things, knowing one's limitations may be even more important than knowing one's talents.

Los Angeles Times
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Fizzy drinks 'memory boost'

Postby Kevin Solway » Wed Jan 18, 2006 6:34 pm

Fizzy drinks, the scourge of healthy diet campaigners, can improve your memory, according to experts today.

Consuming the equivalent of two cans of soft drink can boost memory retention by a fifth and combat dementia in older people, found neuroscientists from Glasgow Caledonian University.


Fizzy drinks 'memory boost'
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Postby Kevin Solway » Wed Jan 18, 2006 7:33 pm

Over 20 years, beginning in the early 1970s, the average scholastic assessment test score fell by 35 points. But in that period the contingent of college-bound seniors with an A or B average jumped from 28 per cent to 83 per cent, as teachers felt increasing pressure to adopt more "supportive" grading policies.


When I was at high school, our term reports were based on a comparison with the other people in our class. But I was in one of the top classes in the entire state, for all subjects, and I was only average to below average when compared to others within my class. This meant my report card was full of C's and D's (except for biology), even though I was well above average for people of my age.

When I got to University, I was studying alongside "straight A's" students who were thick as a plank, and coming to me for help.
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