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Posts by OBAFGKM

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  • Bush military file lacks required records

    09/06/2004 3:00:18 PM PDT · 44 of 77
    OBAFGKM to bitt

    This article appeared on the front page of my berg's Monday rag under the byline of Matt Kelley. Matt Kelley is Secretary of "UNITY, Journalists of Color, Inc." Wonder what his politics are?

  • Pro-Lifers Say Embryonic Stem Cell Researchers Not Motivated By Possible Cures

    08/12/2002 9:00:03 AM PDT · 2 of 7
    OBAFGKM to ZGuy
    Researchers could use them to test new chemicals and cosmetics for the lucrative drug and cosmetic industries, he argued in the Canberra Times in late June.

  • Instant fines for thugs

    08/12/2002 8:50:58 AM PDT · 5 of 10
    OBAFGKM to Fixit; Boonie Rat
    The article makes it clear that people will be cited for their actions, not their thoughts.

    Sounds to me like Saudi Arabia's morality police in a different wrapper. Maybe they should be called "Britawa"

  • What's the Bible's Position on the Death Penalty?

    08/09/2002 9:20:34 AM PDT · 27 of 28
    OBAFGKM to hopespringseternal
    You rejected the bible before you ever looked at it, so your opinion is pretty much worthless to someone who is seriously asking what to take literally.

    You, sir, presume much. You don't know me from Adam, but you put words to my mouth and thoughts to my mind, and then disparage me for them. You attribute me a "tiny" mind for failing to see with your clear vision. You slanderously accuse me of dismissing children's murders because I "obviously" reject your narrow-spirited views on faith.

    I apologize for mistaking your posts for an interest in thoughtful discourse -- I now understand that they were intended primarily to show off your piety and depth of "Christian" faith at the expense of your Satan-du-jour. Frankly, the cause of Christianity would be better served were you to lighten up, for you, sir, come across as a world-class pompous jerk.

  • New Method Said to Solve Key Problem in Math

    08/09/2002 7:56:23 AM PDT · 17 of 27
    OBAFGKM to I Hired Craig Livingstone; SkyRat
    PGP is still "PGP." The new algorithm provides only a sure-fire method of determining whether or not a large number is prime. Cracking PGP requires factoring a large number that's the product of 2 primes -- a much more difficult problem that nobody seems to have much of a handle on using conventional computers. (So-called "quantum computers" may eventually make PGP useless, but none have yet been built. Do a search on "Shor's algorithm" for more info.)
  • Cigarette tax hike pushes sales down, but drives revenue up

    08/09/2002 7:39:53 AM PDT · 3 of 11
    OBAFGKM to Tumbleweed_Connection
    Cigarette tax hike pushes sales down, but drives revenue up

    Well, Duh! -- Adam Smith

  • What's the Bible's Position on the Death Penalty?

    08/09/2002 7:27:40 AM PDT · 24 of 28
    OBAFGKM to hopespringseternal
    It is generally speaking not hard to tell what to take literaly and what not to.

    As I see it, it's not hard to tell that about 95% of the Torah shouldn't be taken literally. Why is that interpretation less valid than that of a "Fundamentalist" who believes in the Torah is 100% literal truth? The point is that if one acknowledges the subjectivity of one's own interpretation, one should respect that of others.

    Like I said, if you reject the construct of an afterlife, it is just a bunch of savages killing each other and hardly noteworthy.

    This is just not true. Most Buddhists, for example, utterly deny an afterlife, and yet most vehemently condemn "savages killing each other" and hold all life to be highly noteworthy. "Secular humanists" (Let me nip this in the bud -- I most assuredly am not of that persuasion. In groups of more than about two, they generally make my skin crawl.) who deny an afterlife state that we are ethically bound to doing good in this life because that's all there is.

    Killing is only allowed in defense or at the direction of the state (war, criminal prosecution.) Unlike Muslims, Christians are forbidden to do evil that good may result.

    You are mistaken -- Muslims are similarly enjoined, the actions of bad eggs and wackos notwithstanding.

  • Inconstant Speed of Light May Debunk Einstein

    08/09/2002 6:32:30 AM PDT · 162 of 241
    OBAFGKM to aristeides
    Speaking of stability, I just read that the Great Red Spot on Neptune, discovered by Voyager 2 in 1989, had disappeared by the time the Hubble Space Telescope looked at the planet in 1994. How could that be, if the reason the Great Red Spot on Jupiter has not disappeared for at least 300 years is that it would have to be disrupted by a larger storm, which does not exist (at least not yet) on Jupiter?

    Current wisdom is that Neptune's "Dark Spot" and Jupiter's "Red Spot" are different phenomena. I wouldn't place too much credence on "explanations" of either, though, because neither is yet well understood!

    Neptune's Great Dark Spot of 1989

    Unlike Jupiter's Great Red Spot, the Great Dark Spot of Neptune is thought to be a hole, similar to the hole in the ozone layer on Earth, in the methane cloud deck of Neptune. The white clouds shown in the picture are above the "hole". In many images of Neptune, the Great Dark Spot can be seen to change size and shape.

    The Great Red Spot of Jupiter is thought to be a hurricane which has been raging on Jupiter for at least 400 years. The Great Dark Spot, seen here by Voyager in 1989, disappeared (either dissipating or being masked) in 1994, and was replaced very soon by a similar "Spot" in a similar place, but in the north instead of in the south.

    This is an image of Neptune's Great Dark Spot of 1989.
    Click on image for full size version (80K JPG)
  • What's the Bible's Position on the Death Penalty?

    08/09/2002 6:23:10 AM PDT · 19 of 28
    OBAFGKM to Blood of Tyrants
    Sounds good to me.

    I might have known. Sort of puts a new slant on "Dash away, dash away, dash away, all!" doesn't it?

  • What's the Bible's Position on the Death Penalty?

    08/09/2002 6:21:27 AM PDT · 18 of 28
    OBAFGKM to hopespringseternal
    1) It is poetry and employs hyperbole.

    In other words, the Bible is not literally true and you have to "interpret" what it means.

    2) Notice it is the parents and not the children who are being punished with the childrens' deaths. (This seems rediculous on its face, but there are a couple of things to remember. First, God is able to fully compensate for the evils of this life so that murdered infants could presumably look back on their demise without horror. Secondly and furthermore, even the beloved saints of God are said to be blessed even in the face of horrific persecution, and scripture implies saintliness is in some way modeled on childhood.)

    You'll have to pardon me, but it would be a middling horrible God who tortures children to make the parents feel bad. Are you sure you should be worshipping such an entity? As for loving such a god, well maybe, given that Winston Smith learned to love Big Brother.

    3) The infants are actually being saved from a pagan life that would condemn them.

    Ick. This recommends that Christians go about murdering babies of non-believers whereever they can be found. Pardon me if I politely decline allowing you to babysit my kids!

  • Inconstant Speed of Light May Debunk Einstein

    08/09/2002 6:04:37 AM PDT · 159 of 241
    OBAFGKM to far sider
    It's easy to measure the dissolved salt content of rivers. It's easy to calculate the total flow of rivers into the ocean. It's easy to calculate the amount of salt in salt deposits. The math proves that the earth can't be 4.5 billion years old. The oceans should be worse than the Dead Sea by now.

    This recalls a Mark Twain essay, which I excerpt here:

    "In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. Therefore ... in the Old Silurian Period the Mississippi River was upward of one million three hundred thousand miles long ... seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long. ... There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesome returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact."
    My goodness! If the earth really were 4.5 billion years old, the Mississippi had to start out over 6 billion miles long! It would have wrapped around the earth nearly a quarter million times!!!! Nobody but a fool could believe such nonsense.
  • Inconstant Speed of Light May Debunk Einstein

    08/08/2002 2:01:18 PM PDT · 100 of 241
    OBAFGKM to far sider
    No way (are ring systems stable). NASA was shocked to find rings around Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune, because they were not thought to be stable.

    Not necessarily true. "Shepherd satellites" can maintain rings for many 100s of millions of years. NASA was more delighted than "shocked" because the rings hadn't been observed and nobody anticipated them. In fact, their presence cleared up the long standing puzzle over why only Saturn had rings.

    It (the Kuiper Belt) doesn't exist. Neither does the Oort Cloud. They were both theorized to try to explain where comets come from, but there's no evidence they exist.

    There's plenty of evidence for the Kuiper Belt -- Kuiper hypothesized it on the basis of patterns in hundreds of comet orbits. Over the past 10 years or so dozens if not hundreds of Kuiper objects have been observed and catalogued. The Oort Cloud is another matter, but it's a good hypothesis in that it explains several observations without contradicting physical law.

  • Inconstant Speed of Light May Debunk Einstein

    08/08/2002 2:00:46 PM PDT · 99 of 241
    OBAFGKM to far sider
    No way (are ring systems stable). NASA was shocked to find rings around Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune, because they were not thought to be stable.

    Not necessarily true. "Shepherd satellites" can maintain rings for many 100s of millions of years. NASA was more delighted than "shocked" because the rings hadn't been observed and nobody anticipated them. In fact, their presence cleared up the long standing puzzle over why only Saturn had rings.

    It (the Kuiper Belt) doesn't exist. Neither does the Oort Cloud. They were both theorized to try to explain where comets come from, but there's no evidence they exist.

    There's plenty of evidence for the Kuiper Belt -- Kuiper hypothesized it on the basis of patterns in hundreds of comet orbits. Over the past 10 years or so dozens if not hundreds of Kuiper objects have been observed and catalogued. The Oort Cloud is another matter, but it's a good hypothesis in that it explains several observations without contradicting physical law.

  • What's the Bible's Position on the Death Penalty?

    08/08/2002 1:32:36 PM PDT · 5 of 28
    OBAFGKM to Blood of Tyrants
    Hey Blood, what's your take on this death penalty?
    Psalm 137:
    8 O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, joyous is he who takes vengeance on you -
    9 he who dashes your babies against the rocks.
  • Inconstant Speed of Light May Debunk Einstein

    08/08/2002 12:23:16 PM PDT · 75 of 241
    OBAFGKM to sheltonmac
    It is easy to demonstrate that the speed of light is not constant. Just take a stopwatch and measure the length of time it takes for the bathroom light to come on after you flip the switch. You will come up with a different reading each time.

    I tried it and I was about to correct you, but then I realized the batteries in my watch were dead.

  • Inconstant Speed of Light May Debunk Einstein

    08/08/2002 12:20:46 PM PDT · 73 of 241
    OBAFGKM to Jimer
    What does the age of a planet have to do with light coming from an older distant object? If a new planet is formed tomorrow, it too will receive the same old light.

    Far Sider's objection is that in a young universe the light would have to be created already on its way to earth at all points between earth and the distant source. No problem with that so far, but, it means that some observers in the universe will have sharp disagreements about the order of events in various places. I.e., cause and effect get to be ambiguous, and, I suppose, free will goes out the window.

  • Inconstant Speed of Light May Debunk Einstein

    08/08/2002 12:10:47 PM PDT · 65 of 241
    OBAFGKM to Alamo-Girl
    Way Cool!! Thanks!
  • Inconstant Speed of Light May Debunk Einstein

    08/08/2002 12:09:40 PM PDT · 64 of 241
    OBAFGKM to RightWhale
    Then it comes down to what is meant by "vacuum." It might be necessary to add a term to the equations and that will disrupt their apparent canonical simplicity. That's the way it goes.

    I think it goes even deeper than that. The speed of light is assumed to be constant on the basis that any observer anywhere who measures electrical and magnetic properties of a vacuum will get the same numbers. E.g., the electric field due to a unit of electrical charge is the same here as it is halfway across the universe.

    If those properties can change from place to place, then the speed of light can likewise change, and an observer can detect his motion through a vacuum by monitoring its value. Who's to say they don't change?

  • Inconstant Speed of Light May Debunk Einstein

    08/08/2002 11:57:24 AM PDT · 57 of 241
    OBAFGKM to aristeides
    Which raises another question -- again as I remember relativity, one space-time point is unambiguously earlier than another if the distance between the two cannot be covered in time at the speed of light. Otherwise, different observers can decide that two different space-time points are both earlier and later. So, if the speed of light varies, how do we decide?

    You remember right. The hitch comes when we assume that different observers must agree upon which space-time point is earlier and which later. Having different light-speeds in different parts of the universe guarantees that there can be observers who disagree.

    Looked at in different ways, it guarantees that somewhere and somewhen a traveler could set out on a journey and return to the same place and time he started, or that he could travel backwards in time. The bottom line is that cause and effect need not be absolute, but may just depend on who's doing the looking. Lots of people object to such a universe on religious grounds and reject its possibility out of hand.

  • Debit card victim wins against odds

    08/08/2002 7:18:55 AM PDT · 14 of 14
    OBAFGKM to Lorenb420
    Was this translated through babblefish?

    No that's why it's unintelligible. To remedy the problem, I ran the phrase through Babelfish. Unfortunately, there is no selection for English-to-English, so I had to use the route English-to-German-to-French-to-English. The result was not quite satisfactory, so I ran it through an English-to-Korean filter. This makes use of Korean's highly logical syntax to resolve inconsistencies in the grammar. The resulting translation should now be much more clear to speakers of American English:

    Cameron was on a hiding to nothing,
    =
    The Cameron to anything was not to the dissimulating,