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20,000,000 people are being held prisoner in North Korea. They are starving, resorting to cannibalism. Completely cut off from the world, they have no media and no sources of information except for occasional helium balloons carrying leaflets sent by sympathetic people in the South. It's as if they live 70 or 100 years in the past, but they exist under a governmental rule of law that would make Orwell piss himself. Concentration camps that would give Hitler a boner imprison "class enemies" (for example, people who leave picfures of Kim Jong-Il on the ground) and also their entire families (all of them) unto the third generation, and almost no one leaves these camps alive. It's as if a cult of twenty million helpless people is being kept there... And what are we doing about it?

Not a FUCKING THING. Too bad they don't have any oil.

Stem Cells

Apr. 9th, 2009 02:30 pm
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Apparently the only people who really have an issue with stem cell research are Catholics and Christian fundies. That's a pretty seriously small minority. Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism have no issues with using stem cells for research purposes, as the research occurs to cells before any of those belief systems consider them "alive". Only Catholics and fundamentalists/cultists believe in personhood at conception/fertilization.

Don't ever let them paint this issue as one where "religions" believe using stem cells is wrong! The vast majority of people in the world believe using stem cells to research healing is fine.
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I recently watched the NOVA special "Cracking the Maya Code" and was absolutely fascinated by it. I have a special place in my heart for Mesoamerican / pre-Colombian civilizations and Mayanists in general. It's incredible to me that the language of the Maya has finally been deciphered, and that we can rescue that tiny amount of their culture that remains.

I highly recommend watching the special (though mainly I find it's the perfect example of "leave your dogma behind" when it comes to research and analysis - people never seem to be able to let go of their preconceptions and notions, they can't stand not being right!). The most incredible realization hit me when they revealed what was actually going on with the problems in translation; when they determined that multiple symbols could represent the same syllable it hit me: the varied stylized renderings of the alphanumeric symbols were basically just "fonts"! The reason why it was so hard to figure out Mayan language was because they carved a bunch of stuff in their equivalent of MS Comic Sans and Wingdings!! A very important design consideration for Long Now type thought experiments...

Also, the value of working in isolation cannot be understated. None of this would ever have happened if not for the work of Yuri Knorosov, an epigrapher working behind the complete isolation of the Iron Curtain. This kind of result reinforces my belief that the Anathem model of isolating avout is not a bad one at all. Societal collapse happens way too frequently for my taste, it's a terrible waste of time starting over again and again.
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The Union of Concerned Scientists have published this "periodic table" of political / government interference in scientific study.

http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/interference/a-to-z-guide-to-political.html

This is what electing the Bush administration has done for us and the world...!! Can we please get rid of Republicans now? Or change their party name to "Corporate Lackey-ians?"
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Court Nazi says: "NO RIGHTS FOR YOU!!!"

http://news.wired.com/dynamic/stories/S/SCOTUS_DOMESTIC_SPYING?SITE=WIRE&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2008-02-19-13-53-23

(well, actually, they didn't say jack diddly shit, but that's what you get when you have a broken government...)
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I would like to have a vote on the THEORY that the sun revolves around the Earth...

http://blogs.usatoday.com/ondeadline/2008/02/fla-educators-t.html

FSM help us.
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If the U.S. drops into a Depression (note capital D) do you think that we could just finally get everyone to agree that FDR WAS FUCKING RIGHT and that maybe the Republican party shouldn't have done their very damndest over the last 30 years to deregulate and dismantle every fucking thing the man put in place to prevent another Depression?

Or, you know, we can just concede that government is owned by the ultra-rich and by corporations (banking and otherwise) whose runaway greed has driven the U.S. economy into a nosedive.
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There must be no intersection of religious law and state/federal law. I do not elect priests and imams. They do not make resource decisions for me. I do not pay them my taxes. They do not enforce my laws.

I reject and ignore sharia law, and any other religious laws. I do not recognize any religions as having any place in my life. The secular state is vital - and supporting and solidifying the secular state is THE ONLY MEANS by which any religion can hope to avoid future religious persecution! Only a non-partisan, non-religious organization can provide impartial arbitration and resource management amongst people of varying (or no) religion.

Religious people should pray long and hard for the survival and thriving of the secular state; or woe to them when the forces of persecution and prejudice come knocking on their door!
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http://www.capecodonline.com/cctimes/pxtowndebates15.htm

"Selectman Richard Olson said tolerance toward those who signed the petition is as necessary as toward those who support gay marriage. 'If somebody feels for religious or other reasons that same sex marriage is wrong, they're entitled to it,' he said."

WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG. Let's replace his regular coffee with Folger's crystals.

"Selectman Richard Olson said tolerance toward those who own slaves is as necessary as toward those who support the abolition of slavery. 'If somebody feels for religious or other reasons that the abolition of slavery is wrong, they're entitled to it,' he said."

NO. There is NO TOLERANCE FOR THIS. There is no tolerance for hate, there is no tolerance for discrimination, there is no tolerance for denying rights to human beings. The people who feel this way must be told that they are WRONG.

People are not entitled to be wrong!!
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I was listening to NPR yesterday, and was witness to yet another of the endless attempts by homophobic, power hungry, politicizing bigots to take civil rights away from people. This time it was a discussion of the upcoming political tempest in a teapot - since gay marriage worked so great for Republicans in 2004, they're going to take aim at gay adoption in 2006. Despite the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of children currently adopted by gay singles and couples, there are 16 or so states working towards legislation to ban gay adoption; legislation that will no doubt be ready to bring out the "religious whackjob" (as they are called by Tom DeLay's staff) voting contingent in November.

What I really hate most is that any time I hear one of these "debates" no one ever confronts the anti-gay/lesbian speaker for exercising a moral prejudice against people they've never met. They never start with questioning their base assumptions - why are you assuming a negative environment for children cared for by gay/lesbian parents? Why do you implicitly suggest that homosexual is equivalent to over-sexed? And I'm always pissed off when they discuss "gay lifestyle" and "sexual choice" as if sexual preference were something you could just suddenly decide on the spot and change.

How many gay/lesbian people do you actually know? If gays and lesbians aren't entitled to the same rights as everyone else, what is it about them that makes them so different? What's the difference between discriminating against someone based on skin color, religion, or sexual preference? At what point in your life did you "choose" to be straight? Can you choose not to be straight?

These are the questions that bigots need to be confronted with. I really don't think it's that hard to show someone they're being a bigot - it's just that people are rarely confronted with the truth of their bigotry, under the guise of "everyone's entitled to an opinion." I couldn't agree less! The long and short of it is: bigots aren't entitled to be bigots, and misinformed people are not entitled to being misinformed.
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Otherwise, anti-war protesting vegetarians go to jail for writing down license plate numbers.

Have you protested lately? Maybe you're under surveillance too.
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You have more balls than any of the Democrats who clapped for the dictator.
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"I don't think the GPL v3 conversation is going to happen for the kernel, since I personally don't want to convert any of my code." - Linus Torvalds

Why does this mean open source can't work? Because ultimately, it's all about egos. Open source relies on force of will and influence to get things done. Essentially, if the project is "popular" or the person driving it is a "rock star" of programming, the project will thrive. If nobody (meaning programmers) gives a shit, the project fails (like, say, a particular driver that is highly demanded by the masses, but the programming community doesn't like the manufacturer).

This doesn't mean that open development of commercial software can't work - obviously it does, and it succeeds because there is a market force driving the development. But when the impetus is no better than rock star-itude, shit don't get done. When the rock star says "I dun wanna" it dies. Essentially what it comes down to is this: programmers are no better than anybody else at figuring out what is "good" for people. They are just as prone to following the herd and following trends as everybody else, and they are equally as short sighted. Without some outside force driving a project to an ultimate end (like a market gap) we have to rely on people making the "right" choices, and people just never seem to make those right choices.
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Subject: Spy-In-Chief - No One Is Above The Law

What could possibly justify breaking the very laws that set us apart from our enemies? When our elected officials violate the laws they have sworn to protect, they have abandoned their duty to the people. Even in war time (and I mean a true war, one declared by the U.S. Congress) there are rules of engagement and treaties and conventions to follow.

We are no better than the terrorists we are fighting against if we do not follow the rule of law we set down for ourselves. What are we even fighting for if we can't preserve our freedoms at home?

Mike Caprio
P.O. Box 1032
Brewster, MA 02631
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Summer 2002 - Department of Justice offices

MS rep: "Look, this case is just bad news for everyone, and all I'm saying is I think we can work out a way to make everyone happy."

DOJ rep: "I don't see what you could possibly offer the U.S. government in exchange for a settlement."

MS rep: "I think that you're thinking what I'm thinking. I think that we have something that you want very badly."

DOJ rep: "And what might that be?"

MS rep: "You want a backdoor into every PC running Windows."

DOJ rep: "It would be a great boon to law enforcement to be able to protect national security in that manner."

MS rep: "We'll just keep that part of the settlement between us though, of course."

DOJ rep: "Of course."


I guess we'll never know the truth.
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Who will Bush nominate as VP when Cheney dies?

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