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SkinWalker

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  1. http://www.reuters.com/video/2012/09/11/reuters-tv-marines-take-big-dog-for-walkies-in-the?videoId=237657751&videoChannel=118065 "...and if it frightens the enemy into submission, that's a plus." A robotic "pack mule" for ground troops is about to be field-tested by embedding with Marines on deployment. The video is interesting but the thing is just too noisy...
  2. Cool. Wish LA would take a cue from Valve and make a move to Linux though.
  3. I hear you.. even with one class my writing is likely to be many pages. Fun stuff though! My wife actually seems to prefer Ubuntu over Windows ... I have both loaded and she's restarted to get to her Ubuntu desktop several times after I've left it in Vista!
  4. Yeah, I've got a graduate class starting Tuesday. I'm only taking one this semester, but I'm told its the hardest, most-involved, so that's probably a good thing. I'm not sure if I'll get on tonight, but I'll try to find some time one evening this week. I'm actually working both Saturday and Sunday this week -new software testing/validation at work. I'm still surprised at the ease with which I was able to play in Linux. The Frame Rate was probably not as good as it would on a decent XP machine, but I've been on servers with a good machine where it was far choppier. I need to upgrade my graphics card for Vista/XP use. I have an older nVidia and as soon as I enter a game like BF or JA, it freezes with the screen looking like a kaleidescope and I have to reboot. At first I thought it was my power supply, so I replaced it. Then I thought it was a poor install of XP, so I upgraded to Vista. I even formated the Win drive and installed there. Then I thought it could be a problem associated with not having the SATA driver loaded (Linux doesn't need all that garbage). The only thing left is a bad mobo or bad video card. I'm telling you, you know Ubuntu Linux has come a long way when it's easier to install and manage than Windows.
  5. I just played a few rounds tonight... believe it or not I have the darn thing running in Linux but it keeps crashing in Vista! You have a lot of bots! I was creamed.. it was as if all the bots had it in for me and the game was "smear the human." Still a bit of fun, though.
  6. Wow.... Blue milk and australopithecines! You gotta love birthdays! It's funny because some random t-shirt company just stumbled on my blog and offered to send me a free shirt. It has "I Love Lucy" on the front with a headshot of Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy). Thanks guys!
  7. It isn't a matter of belief. It's a matter of logic. Superstition is a necessary and sufficient quality of being a Conservative Christian who believes that there is not only a god we should trust but his/her particular notion of a god which is exclusive of the other hundreds of thousands of gods humanity has embraced in perhaps the last 100,000 - 160,000 years. This is a form of ad hominem argument called poisoning the well. I don't usually encounter it unless the person with an opposing point of view is lacking in substantive or reasoned argument. Is this the case? I don't care about politics. I find politics revolting. In fact, I find liberals and moderates to be problematic as well -too much tolerance for Islamic cults for example. I mention religious conservatives not so much in the political sense as in the degree of religiosity sense. They fund the legal costs they're responsible for.
  8. Of course they're capable. They're human. It's just not as likely or prevalent. :-) That is one of the primary concerns, as well as the re-writing of American history. Modern religious conservatives seek to dominate government and, ultimately, insert their superstitions into law and policy. This isn't just a rant or an opinion on my behalf, but an admission and a statement of fact by these religious conservatives themselves. Its necessary to counter this from a rational and realistic perspective in order to preserve American ideals and history not to mention protect the religious freedoms of future generations. Very true. And the funds Lungren wants to spend are general taxpayer money. The funds the FFRF is spending is donated to their cause specifically for just such legal action. Many of FFRF's donors also donate to worthy causes and all of their American donors pay taxes. We (FFRF supporters, of which I'm proud to say I am) are fully prepared to feed and help the needy and we do.
  9. "In God We Trust" clearly has no place on government buildings or coin. That it is the national motto, replacing the more relevant and unifying e pluribus unum, is itself a violation of Church-State separation and gives favor to a single, monotheistic superstition. There are other superstitions held by American citizens that are marginalized which is unfair. Americans have the right to pursue religious beliefs without government favor, regardless of what their superstitions are (or aren't). What if someone believes in multiple gods? Or a god that isn't to be named? Or a blue elephant? These propositions are equally valid and just as likely as that of any Judeo-Christian cult. Moreover, the Republican from California pushing for this should be ashamed and embarrassed given the cost. $100,000 could do a lot of charity. Feed a lot of kids. Pay for a lot of immunizations and health care in community. But he'd rather purchase four words. The suit filled by the FFRF is patriotic and righteous. Let's hope the case is once again review by the Supreme Court and the motto itself found unconstitutional.
  10. Don't fret the haters. I'm very much the skeptic and rely on an evidence-based, rational world-view, but I didn't always. Some of us overlook the fact that its very easy to find significance and wonder in mystery to the point of choosing to imagine a "truth" behind the magical, the supernatural, and the paranormal. When I was in my teens and early twenties, I fancied myself an investigator of UFOs. Those who've seen me debate UFO nutters in the last few years would probably be surprised to hear that and those with whom I've debated UFOs, ESP, ghosts, and religion with in those same years would be forgiven to disbelieve me when I say I once held belief in each or at least held a position that there was significant truth in them. It was through books like the one that I recommended (along with a few others) that I was able to arrive at my own worldviews, however. I read books by proponents of pseudoscience and the paranormal as well as those by skeptics and rationalists beginning in my twenties and finally arrived at a point where I can truly say I've made up my own mind regarding pseudoscience, the paranormal, religion, etc. I recommend strongly that you don't take your pastor's word (assuming you have one), your parents' word, your friends' word, or the word of any one author or television show (certainly not a show on channel that includes the word "fiction" in it such as the "SciFi" -science fiction channel) for it all. And I certainly do not recommend that you take my word for it -or anyone else. Read Carl Sagan's book above. Read books by believers in the paranormal. Read books by people like Neil deGrasse Tyson (Death by Black hole). Learn how to think for yourself and arrive at your own decisions regarding the supernatural and the paranormal. I'm confident that, with an education, you'll come down on my side of the issue. But if you don't, at least you'll be far smarter about it all then you ever thought you would.
  11. I'll try to go on tonight just before and after Midnight CST if anyone wants to play. I haven't played in ages, so I'm easy to be schooled!
  12. I just realized that over the last year or two, I've accumulated a few good books in my library. Not the seemingly endless shelves (or so my wife claims) at my home, or the 7 pages of books on my Kindle. Not even the vast collection of ebooks on my hard drive. I'm referring to my Google Library. I know Kurgan hates it, but Google is great (I just signed up for Google Voice, btw). I've used Google books on many, many occasions while writing papers, essays, and such for school or even my own blog. The great thing about it is that you can get accurate page numbers and citation information and often review indexes and contents to see if the book even has the information you need before you buy or borrow it. I've even used Google Books as a method of searching books I had in my hand in a way that the author's index couldn't give you. Many books are available on many titles in "Full view." Many more are available in "Limited Preview," which basically means that some pages are there, others aren't. But you'd be surprised how useful this still is. You can search a book and find out what page something is on even if the page is missing on Google. If you have it in your hand, you can then flip to the page. It beats skimming chapters and relying on the author's index. Anyway, this is all related to education. And, for me, education is a very serious topic. While the Senate Chambers is a place for serious discussion and debate, there is nothing that precludes serious discussion without debate, so I thought I'd post a link to my Google Library (I already know my Google Username is listed there... I'm not all that anonymous on the interwebs). If you see a book you've read, one you like, one you're curious about, or if you have a recommendation based on what you see, start a discussion on it here.
  13. Before you start your team, you might want to read this book: A Demon-Haunted World. The author gives the most valuable insight I've ever read on just how to approach this sort of investigation.
  14. Given that the source for this "all powerful deity" is flawed and unreliable (the Noachian flood myth is clearly plagiarized from much earlier Sumerian myths), we can discount the inclusion of such a mythical being. Thus, according to Totenkopf, we can discount the entire thing, yes?
  15. Unless "Noah" was a myth, borrowed from an earlier civilization and greatly embellished for the Canaan/Israelite cults of the Bronze/Iron Age, for which there is far more evidence than such speculations. Even if we were to entertain a speculation such as yours as a thought experiment, we would necessarily have to factor the growth rates of juvenile animals, the actual spaces they require (which are still not trivial), their feed, waste, and special needs (depending on their ages, some need special treatments to food that are provided by parents). Such a speculation quickly becomes illogical, unreasoned, and irrational. At this point, Occam's Razor takes over and the more parsimonious explanation of noachian myth takes over and we can dismiss literal interpretation of biblical stories as the poetry, stories, and propaganda of one culture emerging from another.
  16. I think I have all the map packs. I might get some time tomorrow after work (I get off around the same time you do), but my wife volunteered me to look at her friend's computer. I have no idea what level of help it needs. I might be able to get on this weekend. I work to 4pm Saturday and off on Sunday.
  17. I was there... played a few games with the bots then one or two humans came on and it got so choppy I couldn't aim. The bots were fun, though!
  18. Which is consistent with a culture that was in the process of moving from a set of polytheistic cults to a monotheistic one, which borrowed heavily from, and embellished just as heavily, existing Mesopotamian mythology (i.e. Gilgamesh, the earliest known written story).
  19. I disagree. I think it was an opportunistic slap at poor critical thought. And I think it *is* necessary to point out that an a priori acceptance of religious superstition over empiricism and scientific observation is just plain silly. If someone wants to publicly post his/her superstitions in a debate forum, he/she should be prepared to defend those superstitions rationally and have the silliness objectified. That the statement is a "slap at theists" is wrong. Completely and utterly. There are plenty of theists who are also "right thinking" when it comes to science and reality. There is simply no good reason to accept believe the planet was "created" according to the biblical myth or according to any other ancient myth.
  20. Of course its mentioned in the studies that I cited. But have you actually analyzed the data or are you just comparing pretty pictures? Hint, go to the OP and look at the first graph and note where it says "solar." Compare with the rest. No one is disputing that solar activity has nothing to do with global temperatures or that it isn't a factor. It just doesn't appear to be a factor as significant as increasing greenhouse emissions. What I'm critical of is your irrational and uninformed accusation that researchers are considering or discussing causes outside of CO2, which is either an intellectually dishonest or ignorant accusation and I see no middle points to disrupt that dichotomy.
  21. This is an uninformed statement and not factual. Please cite the study/studies that say this. You can begin by reviewing the ones I've cited already and noting that they do variously discuss sunspot activity and other causes beyond human activity. In fact, the point of several is to determine to what degree human activity plays a part. Question: are you actually wanting to participate in intellectual and academic discourse on the topic or more interested in tossing out straw man arguments and political soundbites from the undereducated that are somehow threatened by academic inquiry and science? If your answer is yes, please consider an analysis of the extent to which sunspot activity is a part of recent trend in global temperature increases, taking into account why these trends aren't reflected in past sunspot activity. Then consider ending by taking a moment to comment on the data presented in my last post where you appear to resort to uninformed soundbites that aren't backed by actual science. Clearly the trend is for warming temperatures which is likely to have detrimental effects on the environment and economy as sea levels rise and agricultural regions experience extended drought. I'm still not sure to what extent human activity plays a part of it, but I still haven't come across data that are suggestive that global warming isn't anthropogenic.
  22. Thank you for the very pointed and specific counter-points to anthropogenic global warming. This is, at least, something that can be examined, if not empirically, then rationally. CO2 is the 2nd most abundant greenhouse gas after water vapor. Water vapor has always been with us, however, and is largely a fixed system (the quantity of water on the planet doesn't increase/decrease in quantities that are noticeable; vapor is relative and, at times, ablative as well as insulating, meaning that cloud-cover can reflect light from the sun as well as insulate radiative heat from the earth (Lindzen 1991; Ramanathan and Coakley 1978). Water vapor is a feedback rather than a forcing agent when it comes to greenhouse gases, this is primarily due to its residence in the atmosphere (about 10 days) when compared with CO2 (about a decade). Not apparently so due to its albedo effect as well as its trapping effect. Further, since our planet's greenhouse effect is an important and depended upon system where water vapor plays a relatively static and important role in a feedback system, the introduction of the second most abundant greenhouse gas is actually forcing the system, resulting in increased insulation and, thus, increased surface temperatures (Lindzen 2007; Ramanathan and Coakley 1978). True. However, during this period, the Earth's orbit was slightly different, thus the cause of this natural global warming was astronomical and is not occurring today. Moreover, this "growth period" was just following the Pleistocene and the sudden rise in water levels due to meltwater following the last glacial maximum and a return to warmth from sub-freezing temperatures in the northern hemisphere where these "historically higher" temperatures occurred. In addition, this effect was only in the summer (NOAA 2008). Correlations do not imply causations, but strong correlations cannot be (and should not be) ignored. The correlation of CO2 increase to temperature increase is not casual based on the long-term trend associated with it. In addition, its demonstrated through empirical data that CO2, the second most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, results in radiative forcing (Lindzen 2007) where water vapor, the most abundant, does not. It adjusts relative humidity constantly. What are the data for this? Or is it simply a confidence statement? Every study I've read so far includes this in the models from which data is derived. Indeed, the effects of volcanic activity include other aerosols than CO2 and it's been demonstrated that volcanic activity actually has a cooling effect (Soden et al 2002). Also, volcanic contributions to the atmosphere is on a decline (Meehl et al 2004). Shown how and where? The sun always shines. We have an existing system to which new contributors are forcing increases. Why would mentioning solar activity be of consequence? This is rhetoric and not a reasoned or logical argument. It commits the fallacies of assuming that science has no other research potential beyond climate research; that climate researchers wouldn't be motivated to be the first to demonstrate a new the alternative hypothesis; etc. I see no reason to bother with entertaining such politically motivated and undereducated poppycock. References: Lindzen, Richard S. (2007) Taking Greenhouse Warming Seriously. Energy & Environment, 18(7/8), 937-950 Lindzen, Richard S. (1991). Review of: Climate change, the IPCC Scientific Assessment. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 117, 651-652. Meehl, G.A., et al (2004). "Combinations of Natural and Anthropogenic Forcings in Twentieth-Century Climate". Journal of Climate 17: 3721-3727. NOAA (2008). The Mid-Holocene "Warm Period." National Climate Data Center, Found online at: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/globalwarming/holocene.html Ramanathan, V. and J. A. Coakley, Jr. (1978). Climate Modeling through Radiative-Convective Models. Reviews of Geophysics and Space Physics, 16: 465-490. Soden, Brian J., et al (2002) Global cooling after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo: A test of climate feedback by water vapor. Science, 296(5568), 727-730.
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