Article 43

 

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Religious Diversions Part 8

hypocrite.jpg

Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends, and I think Im liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s whats insane about it.
- John Lennon, before his murder by Mark David Chapman

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.
- Aristotle

To state the thing in brief, priests and politicians colleagued together, and invented the Devil and his domicile as scare-crows to frighten the ignorant superstitious masses into quiet, submissive allegiance to the ecclesiastical tribunals, namely, “the powers that be.”
- Kersey Graves

A religion true to its nature must also be concerned about man’s social conditions.
- Martin Luther King

Religious Upbringing, Atheist Adulthood

By T.Rex
2005

Every once in a while when I was growing up, my mother would get the crazy idea to actually take part in the religion she claimed to believe in. I remember one day when I was still in high school, mom decided that we were going to celebrate Ash Wednesday. She had been raised Catholic and I had been baptized Catholic, but that had been pretty much the extent of my Catholic experience up to that point. But there we were in church celebrating some kind of ceremony that ended up with us getting an ash cross marked on our foreheads. I didn’t really know what was going on and I didn’t really care, we were missing school to take part in this ceremony.

Afterward, I had to go to school, with this ash mark still on my forehead. For the rest of the day, I had to walk around with this strange mark on my head. Needless to say, people stared. This was a typical episode in the religion of the people I grew up with. Actually, this is a typical episode in religion of people in general.

Of course, there are your righteous, church-going, actually mean what they say kind of religious people, but they are few and far between. While 90% of Americans BELIEVE IN SOME SORT OF GOD, most people are only part-time religious. They believe when it is convenient or helpful to them and leave it behind when it isn’t. For example, only 43% of Americans regularly attend church. I guess those other 47% of Americans feel they don’t actually have to obey the laws of any particular religion in order to make it to that religion’s heaven. And that doesn’t even begin to discuss how many of the 43% are actually telling the truth or lying. A good barometer is that 33% of Americans say that GOD TALKS TO THEM. Morons.

Personally, I don’t believe in any of this religious shit. There might or might not be a God or god or gods, but there is no way to actually know for sure, regardless of what any fanatic says, there is no proof of God’s existence or non-existence, although the lack of most types of evidence points towards the lack of a supreme being.

I think the whole religion thing is about mind control. When religion started, the people in control needed some way to keep the common people UNDER CONTROL. Most of these people in control, kings or what have you, needed the common people to have fear in order to keep them under control. What greater fear is there than eternal damnation. This lead to ideas such as the Divine Right of Kings, the Holy Roman Emperor and the Crusades. Millions of people have died for no particular reason. Some man said that God told them to kill others (non-righteous blasphemous sinners).

In fact, the entire basis of religion is that someone told someone else that there was a God and that if they didn’t believe in God, they would go to hell. If no one ever told you you’d go to hell or you didn’t read it in a book, you would never believe you were going to hell. If no one ever told you that sex was sinful and you never read it in a book, you would never believe that sex was sinful. They whole idea is about controlling the common people.

Most religious people don’t even use their brains. They accept WHATEVER THEY HAVE BEEN TOLD or have read about religion without question, even though most of the shit they’ve been told is ridiculous. I mean, I can sorta, kinda, in a check-my-brain-at-the-front-desk-kinda way buy the whole idea of the resurrection and the immaculate conception if you’re saying that your religion is based on miracles and such. Actually, wait a minute. No I can’t. That stuff is ludicrous. If all these miracles happened back then, they’d still be happening now. The idea that they would just simply stop is pretty goofy if you think about it.

Then you got the factual errors in religion. According to the Christian bible, the world is only about 4,000 years old. Any scientist worth his or her salt would say that this is pretty stupid. The world is millions and millions of years old and there are no respected or intelligent scientists who say that the world is only 4,000 years old. It’s a dumb idea. If the world were that young, where do the dinosaur bones come from? They’re not in the bible. You know why, because dinosaurs hadn’t been discovered yet when the human beings who wrote the bible were alive. Is it any wonder why so many highly-educated people are atheists or agnostics?

Another quick thing. If Jesus was born and lived in the Middle East, then why do all the pictures of him show a white guy. Since there were no white guys in the Middle East at the time, it seems odd that he is portrayed as white. It doesn’t say in the Bible that Jesus is white, it’s just another instance of the white people who are in control making God in their own image. Offer that to any white Christian and see how soon it is he calls you stupid.

So many religious people IGNORE THE LAWS AND RULES AND COMMANDMENTS of their religion anyway, what’s the point in even having them.  Wasn’t Christ’s WHOLE THING about HELPING PEOPLE and NOT JUDGING others? You’d never know that by paying any attention to his followers, many of whom tend to be quite JUDGEMENTAL and very REPUBLICAN, an organization that HASN’T BEEN ACCUSED OF HELPING TOO MANY PEOPLE in a very long time.

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Posted by Elvis on 05/16/09 •
Section Spiritual Diversions
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Can Obama’s Plan Sway Alcatel-Lucent To Stop Laying Off Americans?

The new ALCATEL-LUCENT has not only been aggressively CUTTING JOBS, but also it’s AMERICAN FOOTPRINT.

Could the US Broadband Stimulus Initiative sway the telecom manufacturing giant to slow down it’s US DOWNSIZING ?

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Alcatel-Lucent: Stimulus Funds Hinge on Creating Jobs
Winning Federal Broadband Projects Takes More Than Technology

By Tara Seals
Xchange Magazine
May 13, 2009

WITH 7.2 BILLION SET ASIDE by the Obama administration to increase broadband penetration in the United States ($6.4 billion of that is for deployments), the industry has a fair bit of soul searching to do to find the best pockets of opportunity while completing the federal mandate of creating jobs. Infrastructure giant ALCATEL-LUCENT has launched a comprehensive program for its carrier CUSTOMERS to help them do just that. Guiding principle? Community.

This is about showing that jobs will be created and sustained, and you need to show that the project you’re seeking funding for is a sustainable venture, Rich Wonders, vice president of strategic marketing at ALU, told xchange. “Jobs fall into two buckets the ones that are created from the building of the network, which are near-term jobs, and then the jobs created by having the broadband, which are long-term and the more interesting bucket.”

ALU estimates that for every 1 percent increase in broadband penetration, just a shade under 300,000 jobs are created. Industries are able to come to where they weren’t able to before, and theres more opportunity in things like education services and healthcare.

Focus on Community Benefits

Wonders said that the winners of the funding will be those that inherently understand what the government is trying to do.

“Given the competitive nature of this - so many companies seeking this limited number of funds you have to differentiate for the reviewers, who are not experts in broadband, with a strong stakeholder plan,” Wonders explained. “The process is such that all the applications for funding look the same you’re applying for money to build out broadband. But if you say, I’ve got four community applications to do this, this, this and this, and here’s an idea of the projects this will enable, that will create the most jobs and provide the most community benefit.”

Therefore, the solutions carriers should offer should include not just wireless or wireline access and a full suite of backhaul and transport, but also community applications packages.

“There are applications for distance learning, health care, public safety and more that turn a broadband network into something that drives community value rather than simply gives consumers fast downloads of YouTube,” Wonders said. “We can show them the applications that they’d see elsewhere gaming, video, Facebook. But those aren֒t what they care about. They care about things like telemedicine, the ability to do remote diagnostic and surgery. This is why we want to drive broadband further out.”

Have a Sustainable Business Model

Carriers might need to show a municipal element to the applications for funding, but theyll also have to demonstrate that the project is a sustainable one.

“There are just too many stories where cities wanted local fiber rings and muni wireless and that failed because there was no sustainable business model,” said Wonders. “So you’re going to have to talk about take rates and what you will charge, because the government doesnt want to end up funding a bridge that goes halfway across the river. If all you do is show that you want to connect all the schools, that’s only half the equation.”

Similarly, he notes that getting money to fortify backbone capacity to support service providers is an unlikely grant recipient. “A lot of companies want to build out big pipes to make it easier for service providers to come in and serve underserved pockets within a city a sort of build it and they will come tactic,: said Wonders. “But that’s not going to happen. For that pitch to work, you need to find multiple local providers that can commit to doing that. Otherwise youre building a highway with no off-ramps.”

One big area of opportunity in ALU’s view is smart grid - a rollout that will be funded by a separate bucket of money from the Department of Energy. As you deploy this network and think about the apps you layer on top - smart METERING and utilities it gets pretty exciting,” said Wonders. Especially since there’s a separate pile of money from the DoE to fund this.

He said it’s likely that carriers will find traditional utility providers going after the DoE money, and municipalities going after all these funds. “A lot of times there might be a muni that can do smart grid,” said Wonders. “But if they’re not a provider of electric services already, theres strong direction from the government to go seek partners on this, so there’s an opportunity there.”

Offer the Right Technologies for the Project

From a technology perspective, the guiding principle is, faster is better.

“Things look a little different from when the initiative was first announced,” explained Wonders. “Unlike what we originally thought, theres no set-aside for specific technologies or interests wireless, public safety, not in there. And there’s a fair amount of work in defining underserved and fairly served, and broadband in general.”

“That said, the government has said that while its taking a technology-neutral approach, it’s looking to get the fastest technology to the greatest number of people. There are interests pulling in opposite directions,” said Wonders. Faster is better, and fiber is the only future-proof technology we have in the industry. On the other hand, there’s a limited amount of funding, so the tension is around connecting as many people as possible with the fastest broadband available.

“Wireless is in a unique position. If you have EV-DO Rev. a or HSPA+ and are looking to expand that into an area that already has a broadband operator, that’s not going to garner a great amount of funding, of course,” Wonders noted. “But in the right place, wireless makes all the sense in the world. But it has more to do with the broadband ecosystem, availability of spectrum and who your partners are. Also it needs to be licensed spectrum. We strongly advise against unlicensed too any pitfalls there.”

To try and quantify and clarify how its carrier customers can pursue the opportunity, the vendor has a program that falls into four categories: public policy in the form of submitting comments, giving regular updates for customers and providing advocacy; hosting a series of industry events and having conversations with media in an effort to bolster communications on the subject; creating stimulus-specific solution bundles with community applications; and creating a series of learning programs for carriers that include a Web site presence, Webinars, collateral and live workshops.

We look at this money as an opportunity to build the network for the next 50 years,” Wonders said. “Spend the money on the right customers with the right technology, and this can be an opportunity that none of us have seen before, and likely won’t see for a long time again.”

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Posted by Elvis on 05/16/09 •
Section General Reading
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Move Over Google

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New search engines aspire to supplement Google
We may be coming upon a new era for the Internet search.

By John D. Sutter
CNN
May 16, 2009

And, DESPITE WHAT YOU MAY THNK, Google is not the only player.

New search engines that are popping up across the Web strive to make searches faster, smarter, more personal and more visually interesting.

Some sites, like TWINE and HAKIA, will try to personalize searches, separating out results you would find interesting, based on your Web use. Others, like SEARCHME, offer iTunes-like interfaces that let users shuffle through photos and images instead of the standard list of hyperlinks. KOSMIX bundles information by type—from Twitter, from Facebook, from blogs, from the government—to make it easier to consume.

WOLFRAM ALPHA, set to launch Monday, is more of an enormous calculator than a search: It crunches data to come up with query answers that may not exist online until you search for them. And sites like TWITTER are trying to capitalize on the warp-speed pace of online news today by offering real-time searches of online chatter—something Google’s computers have yet to replicate.

Google, of course, remains the search king. Recent efforts to revolutionize Web searching have failed to unseat the dominant California company, which captures nearly 64 percent of U.S. online searches, according to comScore. Tech start-ups like Cuil, which billed itself as more powerful than Google, and Wikia, which relied on a community to rank search results rather than a math formula, have largely faded away after some initial buzz.

“The general trend has been relatively clear and consistent for the past five years: Google is growing its market share at the expense of every other engine,” said Graham Mudd, vice president for search and social media at comScore, a company that tracks industry trends.

The new class of search engines and data calculators enters the fray with those failures in mind, though. Instead of trying to be Google killers, these sites have more humble aspirations: to be alternatives to the industry giants.

Real-time searches offer the most promise, Mudd said.

If you search Google news, the results will be recent, but not live. That’s where TWITTER’S SEARCH comes in. It searches the site’s micro-blog posts by the second, allowing users to see what’s buzzing on the Web at any instant.

FACEBOOK and FRIEND FEED also are experimenting with real-time searches, according to news reports. But each of these searches operates only within its own social network. SCOOPLER is another real-time site that’s trying to aggregate info from all of these sites.

And all of these are seeing more competition, as two new sites—TWEET ME ME and ONE RIOT—launched new or updated real-time searches on Tuesday.

Nova Spivack, a technology developer who writes about search engines, said sites that forecast trendy topics will become more prominent. Knowing what will be trendy tomorrow is becoming valuable to more people, he said. Search trend predictions will be valuable to people interested in news in much the same way as stock forecasts are valuable to financial industry workers.

“The topography of the Web is shifting much faster. Instead of happening kind of glacially, you’re on the beach right where the water is coming in and it’s constantly changing the way the sand is laid out,” he said.

Other search sites are just trying to get smarter, with some acting as giant data crunchers.

The much-talked about Wolfram Alpha, or Alpha for short, harnesses massive computing power to answer users’ questions, even if they’re never been answered on the Web before.

“It’s not a new Google. It’s not supposed to be. It’s a new thing. It’s very complementary, in a way, to what search engines do,” said Theodore Gray, co-founder of Wolfram Research, which created Alpha.

People need to get away from the idea that every 3-inch-long search bar online acts just like Google and Yahoo!, he said.

If you ask Google a question, the search engine’s computers scan the Web for matching search terms and come up with answers that make the most sense statistically. Alpha, by contrast, pulls information from existing data sets that have been approved by the site’s math-minded staff. The site then computes an answer to your question.

An example will help this make sense.

Say you wanted to find out nutritional information for your favorite recipe. On Google, you would have to search each ingredient individually and then add the calories and fat grams together yourself. WITH ALPHA, you can type in the full recipe and the site produces a completed graphic that looks like it came right off the side of a cereal box.

Some search sites are trying to get better at understanding what their users want.

Twine, a social site created by Spivack, soon will start incorporating information about its users into a search function, he said. Some of the information comes through a user’s search history. The site also will ask users to rank search results by their relevance to your interests.

“Right now, one of the problems with search is that it’s really one-size-fits-all. It’s not very personalized,” Spivack said. “The fact is when I’m searching for certain kinds of things, the way that the results should be ranked might quite be different than if someone with a very different background or interests was searching for those same things.”

So if you’re someone who is into heavy science, a search about evolution might yield more academic papers. If you’re a person whose Web interests lean more toward pop culture, an evolution search might turn up photos and more basic information.

Helping computers understand the information that’s online is the next step in making searches more personal, Spivack said.

It’s unclear which companies, if any, will be able to accomplish this, but Google appears to be working on that problem as well as others.

At an event on Tuesday, Google announced a new “show options” feature as part of its search. Users can use the function to see new ways search results are linked, such as through timelines or a “Wonder Wheel,” which displays visual relationships between search terms.

And in a staff letter published last week on GOOGLE’S BLOG, company co-founder Sergey Brin wrote about making searches more intelligent.

“Perfect search requires human-level artificial intelligence, which many of us believe is still quite distant,” he wrote. “However, I think it will soon be possible to have a search engine that ‘understands’ more of the queries and documents than we do today.

“Others claim to have accomplished this, and GOOGLE’S SYSTEMS have more smarts BEHIND THE CURTAINS than may be apparent from the outside, but the field as a whole is still shy of where I would have expected it to be.”

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Posted by Elvis on 05/16/09 •
Section General Reading
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