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Everything posted by STP

  1. GOP to waterboard Cheney

    A strong argument can be put forth when you can quantify the moral weight of each action by the number of civilian deaths resultant and/or by the finality of the reaction to the perceived/real nature of the potential or consequent threat. However, an argument could be put forth that torture is in some ways a fate worse than death and that the social effects of torture could be more far reaching as a corrupting influence. It’s bad enough when there’s collateral damage but what war hasn’t seen civilian deaths? And in conventional warfare, the civilian population is targeted when they serve to contribute to the war effort. At some point of warfare, the distinction that acted as a saving grace eventually dissolves. It seems when you are dealing with the nature of this conflict using terms such as fourth generation warfare and unlawful enemy combatant, it’s a different animal altogether. Sometimes the effect of both surgical strikes and enhanced interrogation is to serve as an object lesson not to the subject but to others, the lesson being that punishment can be swift (at least with assassinations) and sure.
  2. Politics in a nutshell.

    English or Serbian better? [video:youtube]vF3tT3MZ4l4 [video:youtube]3RYQhLp4DjY
  3. GOP to waterboard Cheney

    In reference to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics , one shouldn’t expect the same degree of certainty in moral matters as one would expect in mathematics. So, the task of determining moral equivalency in all cases of comparing the two groups of action (surgical strikes versus enhanced interrogation) would be difficult although in the general case they appear approximately equal when taking the intent into consideration. By intent, I’m referring to that broad notion of a struggle of good against evil which also brings into question the definitions of good and evil. When we shroud the issue in the language of war, isn’t conventional morality circumvented, for instance, regarding the social prohibition against killing? Wars are collectivist struggles. In that sense, [the declaration of] war is a green light for unconventional means though in democratic societies these actions are largely covert. If I understand you correctly, your viewpoint transcends the entanglement of partisan politics, which is itself a ruse to occupy time while the real unseen action goes on before our eyes.
  4. GOP to waterboard Cheney

    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” --Philip K. Dick
  5. Drug Decriminalization in Portugal

    Decriminalization reduces the priority of drug enforcement to free up resources for other areas of policing. That seems relatively palatable to folks who might otherwise be opposed to legalization. However, with legalization, the State can seek to harness drug use as a source of tax revenue through regulation. But then, if the State profits from addiction does that make the State immoral? In the overall scheme of things, decriminalization and/or legalization merely displaces the social problems of drug abuse from the criminal justice system over to the medical system. Will the socioeconomic cost actually be less when the displacement occurs? Maybe the actual social cost will not be reduced. However, the assumption is that in an open society individuals can make a free choice. I’d rather that other issues be addressed such as asset forfeiture laws, no-knock warrants, the justification for the militarization of domestic law enforcement, etc. Here, in the War on Drugs (as also in the GWOT) expediency takes precedence over due process, so extrajudicial processes are executed to pursue and subdue what are perceived to be the bad guys. I suspect the general public would err in the favor of law enforcement to have unfettered use of necessary tools to do their job though in the equation of liberty versus security you cannot rightly expect both. But I question our perception of the beneficent role of the State since it may be complicit in helping to create the situation as it presently stands, for example, our high incarceration rate. I’d rather that we examine the State than blame our essential liberties, our freedom itself. Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with the bricks of Religion. --William Blake, Proverbs of Hell
  6. French Bread

  7. US responsibility for mexico's hell...

    I suppose it's the error of simplicity when the search for meaning becomes the essential human quest. Some of us are just horny bastards and gratification of bodily desire is the pinnacle. But, according to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the quest leads to the culmination of a certain level of human fulfillment or self-actualization. Someone asked once about drug usage among climbers so I thought of a basic outline. I would broadly categorize usage into two groups: performance enhancing and recreational (non-performing enhancing). Performance enhancing: physiological effects leading to efficient body performance including concentration and alertness, normalization of sleeping patterns, etc. Recreational: relaxation or enjoyment after climb or during interlude; concurrent with climbing, (you fill in the blanks) There may be some crossover between the two groups. There's also the categories of self-medicated versus prescribed. Again, the line between the two can become blurred. Typically, regulated medications are prescribed to treat a specific condition however a medication can have a secondary effect that becomes beneficial in a particular environment, for example, Diamox.
  8. Pig Flu

    You can put lipstick on a pig... More mongering: A global pandemic is all but inevitable, because U.S. health officials are not willing to implement the types of social distancing that would likley block the spread of the flu virus in the U.S. Beside the non-life-threatening symptoms exhibited by most of the afflicted, officials reason that even if, for example, all U.S. schools were closed and its borders sealed, other countries would have to follow suit to prevent a global pandemic. Thus the swine flu will likely go pandemic sometime next week. -- "ALGORITHMS/CHIPS: Lab models swine flu's spread; diagnostic chips being readied"
  9. US responsibility for mexico's hell...

    RE: drug policy Will changing the nature of crime and punishment fully address the root cause of the societal effects of drug abuse? For instance, if you apply Marx's Theory of Alienation, it is the economic system itself which is at fault and it follows that endemic drug abuse is a consequence of that loss of meaningfulness. Alternatively, our economic system may not be our oppressor as much as our liberator. And, it is just this liberation (represented as leisure time) that is the culprit. Government will not solve the societal problem by either limiting or enhancing liberty until individuals take initiative. For some people, drug use becomes the end in itself and they cease to create or seek meaning in their lives.
  10. Global Cleansing???

    correlation (but not necessarily causuality) between flu pandemics and solar cycle activity Goggle "virus" "solar cycle".
  11. Global Cleansing???

    Periodical Invasions Of Aliens See also the section titled: Indications of correlations in human ecology. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunspot
  12. Global Cleansing???

    Doh! I'm channelling Chris Farley as Bennett Brauer. http://www.hulu.com/watch/2331/saturday-night-live-update---bennett-brauer But it passed the STupidfilter: Stupidfilter
  13. Global Cleansing???

    Yeah but the problem is that the sun has been uncharacteristically quiet. The 11 year periodicity of the solar cycle appears to have a blip. Solar Cycle 24 has officially started or has it? Examining SORCE data shows the Sun continues its slide toward somnolence Maybe the end of Al Gore?
  14. Global Cleansing???

    Yeah, those viruses are strange entities. This strain of "swine" flu actually has material from human, pig, and bird species. Considering that evolution is not goal-oriented in the sense of end design prior to change, it's amazing to the see the effects of natural selection and lateral gene transfer together in forming a new entity that persists. With viruses it is essential however that a host survives so that it can hijack its cells to manufacture more viruses. Propagation without detection is enhanced by long incubation time and the existence of asymptomatic carriers. These characteristics could actually assist in that strain of virus to persist in time. For instance, if there were a virus that affected racial types more readily than others (there has been some anecdotal evidence that there is some limited immunity to the HIV virus in whites. And although a different disease vector, if you look at the case of malaria, the sickle cell deficiency yields some protection from that malady.). So, the virus could assist in allowing preferential selection of a particular phenotypic expression of a genotype. In other words, the virus can have the effect of producing a Nazi wet dream. With the mutation speed of microbes, it's a wonder that they haven't outpaced their hosts, thus causing their extinction. Makes you wonder if possibly there is some "intelligence" operating at some level. Their "protean" nature actually appears, not as their demise, but as a survival mechanism as long as organic life, itself, persists. That signals that maybe these "simplistic" entities aren't necessarily primitive but rather highly efficient propagators and as such are a type of "higher" entity. Perhaps we will produce the vectors (space vehicles) that will serve to spread our viruses so that they can infect organic cellular life on other worlds. Maybe it's a matter of coevolution involving the emergence of intelligent life among eukaryotes, the eventual evolution of technology, and the recombinant genetic mechanism provided by the virus.
  15. US responsibility for mexico's hell...

    F'em if they can't handle their own internal security south of the border. The next thing they'll complain about is they don't like classic American culture like this gem: [video:youtube]Wd4mywgY35k

    Rasputin? [video:youtube]Y150Lm4kZ_M
  17. Greatest metal songs?????

    Yeah, uh huh, Night Ranger.
  18. Event horizons and global responsibility

    Uh, I think you're thinking about Rob again.
  19. Event horizons and global responsibility

    I can't really speak to the issue of "new" states of consciousness. I am familiar with the different brainwave patterns--alpha, beta, delta, and theta--and that some different states of brainwave pattern can be induced through meditation (mediated by chemical changes in the brain?). If I understand correctly, the thrust of achieving different states of self consciousness refers to the social manifestation of bringing "realizations" to the general consciousness, similar to the Mahayana teachings of the Bodhisattvas (of compassion for all beings). But history has shown that large scale transformations are fleeting rather than lasting, that it works better at the communal level than a global scale. I speak of metamorphosis where technology is used to transcend the biological. Is it necessarily a saner or a more compassionate world that results? Does it seek to preserve the status quo of the world ecosystem? What should be the prime directive that governs the possibilities of the future other than nature's motto of "propagation over time and space"? Take a look at viruses...in their simplicity they were once considered to be the evolutionary dregs of the organic world. Contemporary findings elevate the significance of these beings. In our hubris, maybe they will prove to be more vital than us in many ways. There are limitations in our understanding of complexity, constrains built into the human brain. But that doesn't preclude the possibility of the formation of a system that unites human cognition with machine intelligence. [img:right]http://www.frc.ri.cmu.edu/~hpm/talks/revo.slides/power.aug.curve/power.aug.gif[/img]
  20. Event horizons and global responsibility

    You bought a Brief History of Time and thought you were a quantum physicist, didn't you? No. I just didn't close my mind after 8th grade science. Being a Bug, I wonder if you'd take an example from the invertebrate world as a possibility for Martin Rees' conjecture regarding human evolution. Metamorphosis is common in the insect world. So the consideration is whether the human essense is consciousness apart from the body. The other question is whether on a larger scale (such as the phylogenic) that the transition is a natural development given the "run time" of the "program".
  21. Captain escaped- Navy Seals shot pirates

  22. Event horizons and global responsibility

    I've seen several of these TED videos of scientists who always begin with mention of Darwin who is representative of biological evolution. The theme of technology is then developed with its transcendance of natural biological evolution towards directed evolution (engineering) of the organic and inorganic realms. Martin Rees' talk was particularly unusual in that there were some identifications with occult or alchemical symbols, one being the ouroboros. Also, in his diagram of same, he mentions the interconnection between the micro and macro worlds, thus echoing the saying from The Emerald Tablet: "As above, so below." Rees also points out the significance of Man, ideally positioned between the micro and the macro worlds, which recalls Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, a figure of a man prone with arms outstretched inscribing a circle but also bounded by a square. [video:youtube]t-4s8rfSxQg
  23. caption?

  24. Vermont legalizes gay marriage

    I don’t harbor any ill feelings towards anyone here. My life’s bigger than that. Truth be told, I am taking a hiatus from climbing (I hope…I haven’t sold my gear yet). It’s more of a mindset for me regardless of how good a climber is or what kind of climber you are. That mindset includes having fun, staying active, engaging with friends….and this site is a great venue for that. FWIW, I do respect that Tvash does go climbing frequently and appears to be a generally ‘good’ person. I also respect that people are willing to stand by their beliefs and to protect their friends. Me….maybe I’m trying to do the impossible by seeking to reconcile opposing viewpoints or to see things from someone else’s perspective to find the faults in mine. Just seems that there’s a potential higher unity or another way through all these messes.