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Everything posted by tobarstep

  1. tobarstep added a post in a topic The Death Of The Left?   

    Which is just slightly left of right. The "center" of US politics is somewhere to the right of Reagan these days. I really don't see any authentic left in US politics. What passes for it, the Democratic Party, is fascism with a smile, while the Republicans are just fascism.
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  2. tobarstep added a post in a topic Pinker on Scientism   

    I see this in some of the critics of scientism as well. Massimo Pigliucci comes to mind here. Their concern with scientism seems to be merely centered on the misapplication of the term "science" rather than the implications of assigning some type of social/political authority to it, which is what concerns me the most. The more I look into these topics, the more I start to feel that the demarcation "problem" is a red herring.
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  3. tobarstep added a post in a topic Evaluating scientific consensus   

    This paragraph just about sums it up for me. So much of what is taken as "progress" or "civilization" is really just convenience. Yes, good things have come (and gone) and people live to longer ages now, mostly due to drastic reductions in childhood mortality, but that doesn't mean we have to take all "technology" as a package deal. Why can't we enjoy the benefits of the polio vaccine without having to suffer through social media smartphone apps?
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  4. tobarstep added a post in a topic "In place of thought"   

    These aren't mine, but from a little book called the Contradictionary. Sort of a Devil's Dictionary of the current age.

    ECONOMY - as an adjective, "cheap"; as a noun, that which compels us to render ourselves thus

    INVENTION - mother of necessity

    SACRED - possessing a quality characteristic of cows, venerated by the cowed
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  5. tobarstep added a post in a topic The Conjuring   

    I feel like this is a continuation of what is going on with television. Where the most popular shows on the History Channel and Discovery are about UFO's/aliens or "reality" programming that - in addition to being about the most banal subject matter available - is entirely scripted.
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  6. tobarstep added a post in a topic Conversation With My 4 Year Old   

    Just keep him away from horses...
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  7. tobarstep added a topic in Influence   

    "Scientific Method" spawns morality
    Is it just me, or does this article seem like Sam Harris is paying a PR firm to write a puff piece to take attention away from Steven Pinker?
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  8. tobarstep added a post in a topic Self Realization: 24 steps   

    Well, a statement like this

    runs counter to one of the cornerstone assumptions of Existentialism that "existence precedes essence". As this quote above seems itself a cornerstone assumption of your own philosophy, I think The Heretic is correct in saying it probably doesn't belong in this subforum.
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  9. tobarstep added a post in a topic What books are you reading now?   

    Obviously the initial draft of The Murder Room was written c.200 CE.
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  10. tobarstep added a post in a topic im gonna try a bootcamp thing   

    From personal experience, I can say the language programs are fairly rigorous. Those hour figures are a bit misleading. You can read 2000 hours and think it's a few hours here and there, spread out over several years, but it's more concentrated, like a full-time job. You're in a classroom for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week learning one subject (well, they actually cover culture as well). But that is just the instruction time. If you're having difficulty, you'll need to put in more time outside of class on your own. Further misleading is that those are not average figures applied to the population as a whole. Unless you score in the top percentiles of the language aptitude test, you won't even be admitted to a language like Arabic or Chinese. So that 2000 hours is the amount of instruction time estimated for someone who already has a high aptitude for learning languages.

    Some people yes, some no. This is a YMMV area. Truthfully, they are sending way more people through the language school than they have jobs for. I myself spent my days doing translation and transcription after the course, but a lot of my peers did not. It wasn't due to their lack of proficiency (although some people that were doing it should not have been) but a lack of demand. And it's a somewhat targeted proficiency, that "general professional proficiency". No, you're not likely going to be able to translate Pushkin in anything but the most literal sense.
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  11. tobarstep added a post in a topic Today, I Saw Tomorrow   

    I have a Macbook Pro from 2006 or '07 and the male end of the cord appears as you described it. I think that is how it is supposed to be. On a side note, the battery in that laptop wore out faster than it should have, in my opinion (certainly much faster than the battery in my cheapo ASUS laptop).
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  12. tobarstep added a post in a topic Today, I Saw Tomorrow   

    They say Sartre wrote at least 20 pages per day in his notebooks.
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  13. tobarstep added a post in a topic Today, I Saw Tomorrow   

    We had an IBM Selectric as well, though I was rarely allowed to use it. Which I suppose is why I used the manual - the Selectric was the adults' typewriter.

    I seem to remember that's also what we used in my high school typing class. Even though personal computers were in the early stages of ubiquity then, we still used typewriters to learn typing. I suppose computers were deemed too expensive for such mundane uses.
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  14. tobarstep added a post in a topic Today, I Saw Tomorrow   

    I wouldn't mind finding an old manual typewriter in serviceable condition. I used to type on one all the time as a kid; writing stories and just random junk. Looking back, it seems as if I was destined to be a writer, and it's something I'd still like to do now. I wonder where the hell I went wrong...
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  15. tobarstep added a topic in Learn   

    Upcoming Coursera "MOOC" on Kierkegaard
    Most of the "Massive Online Open Courses" seem to be about more technical and mundane subjects like Startup Engineering and Software Defined Networking, but every now and then one happens across a humanities diamond in the rough. This course doesn't begin until October, but it looks promising.


    If you've not done one of these courses, there isn't much to it beyond enrolling. Nothing is absolutely required of you (unless you want the largely useless certificate of completion), and I typically "audit" them by just watching the lecture videos and doing nothing else.
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  16. tobarstep added a post in a topic Portable Chickens   

    If the planet ever were threatened with such an extinction event, and our illustrious leaders did consider economics to be physical barrier to saving the human race, then yes, we're all doomed. Which then renders economics irrelevant.
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  17. tobarstep added a post in a topic Game of Thrones season 3   

    I'm going to disagree on that point. A great storyteller would have finished the story by now and not let it get away from him in the first place. In the end, the story is going to be no more epic than Lord of the Rings, despite having 10x the page and word count. Is the story compelling? Yes. Could it be told better? I certainly think so.
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  18. tobarstep added a post in a topic Game of Thrones season 3   

    I find myself in agreement with The Heretic. I think Martin is a great worldbuilder, he's just not quite as good of a storyteller. Not that he's bad at it, it's just not where his strength lies.
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  19. tobarstep added a post in a topic Time Reborn   

    I may pick this book up at a later date; my reading list is quite extensive as it is. I find it amusing though that many of the negative reviews on Amazon are negative for the specific reason(s) that I wanted to read the book in the first place: that it is a more philosophical than empirical treatment of the subject.
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  20. tobarstep added a topic in Read   

    Time Reborn
    Just came across mention of this book, and it sounds fascinating. It's only been in print for a month or so, but I figured if anyone had read it yet, they probably hang out around these parts.

    Any thoughts? Reviews?
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  21. tobarstep added a post in a topic Fundamentalist atheism   

    Someone linked this on Twitter earlier. I'm not familiar with this blogger (for all I know, it could be someone posting here), but it was an enjoyable read, as a refutation of Harris' refutation. I enjoyed his invocation of both Chomsky and Orwell.
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  22. tobarstep added a post in a topic Fundamentalist atheism   

    3/4 of the teachers I had when I learned Arabic were Muslim. At no point did any one of them advocate anything violent against anyone. Trying to equate Islam with violence is like trying to equate the WBC with Christianity.
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  23. tobarstep added a post in a topic Can a human be turned into a functioning Robot?   

    I believe they do. Even when you tell them you've already restarted the modem 50 times (and cleared your browser cache, rebooted the PC, etc.), they still have you do it all again because their programming requires it to continue. When they find out you run something other than Windows or Mac (which is outside their programming), they experience a kernel panic (cognitive dissonance) and then shut down.
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  24. tobarstep added a post in a topic Can a human be turned into a functioning Robot?   

    I had Verizon DSL for 6 years and had to leave them recently. My only other choice in my area was Comcast, and despite their reputation as a company, I get 8x the bandwidth I had for roughly the same price. And I don't lose DNS connectivity every time it rains or the wind blows.

    The final insult that pushed me over the edge (and believe me, I had been more than patient with them) was when I called to report that I was only getting 1 Mb service when I was supposed to have 3 Mb. This was the speed that the router/modem's own admin page was showing, and I verified it on several devices. Plus, I waited 4 days before calling to report it. The technician's reply to me was that since my computer was running Linux (which he'd never heard of) he was unable to assist me and suggested I contact the Linux manufacturer. I had been meaning to drop them since last September when they charged me $92 for a technician to come out and take 30 seconds to diagnose that the problem was a burned-out modem - something which tech support was unable to diagnose after 5 calls to them.
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  25. tobarstep added a post in a topic What's In A Name?   

    I do like Bertrand and Victor. Barrett has always appealed to me. It's actually my middle name, but it seems more a first name choice. For girls, I've always been partial to Erika (always with a 'k'). I also like Miranda, despite it being my ex-wife's name.
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