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Everything posted by Wanderer

  1. The 3 Word Story

    Here's how this goes: I begin by typing three words. Someone else adds another three words, and the next person adds another three words; the same person cannot post twice in a row. In this way, we gradually generate a story that is made up from all of us! Let's start: I was walking...
  2. A friend of mine showed me a video of this new computer interface that allows you to use the space in front of your computer screen to manipulate virtual objects. It can recognize all ten of your fingers and other objects such as pens and pencils. You can view the demonstration video yourself at the link. http://www.technologyreview.com/view/428350/the-most-important-new-technology-since-the-smart/ Couple this with augmented reality and vocal control, and you have quite the dynamic, fluid user interface.
  3. United States Breaking Apart?

    I'm pretty sure the Roman Empire ended in the 5th century, roughly 200 years before the birth of Muhammad. The Roman Empire did put down Jewish revolts, however. Sure, the Byzantine Empire flourished for another 1000 years, but it split with the western empire before Rome fell. Hurricanes also happen due to a complex interaction of solar activity, air molecules, and warm ocean currents. A tyrant is also an individual, not a collective entity. I'm telling you that talks of secession of various states and portions of states within the United States have been going on since the founding of the republic. The only way you'd have actual moves toward secession would be to get a significant minority of the population in a state to clamor for it. Due to the large amount of bread and circuses extant in the country, I really don't see that happening in the near future, if at all.
  4. Looks like he doesn't pull any punches in this speech. Pretty good content, I think. http://youtu.be/q03cWio-zjk
  5. United States Breaking Apart?

    Every year garners talk of secession all around the U.S. Every year, secessionist movements never gain enough support to actually go forward. There are petitions for secession every year, just like there are calls for an Article V Constitutional Convention that never seem to gain any traction. You can even look up north in Canada where Quebec always has people clamoring for secession. The UK sees Scotland wanting to be more autonomous. Separatists in India are a thorn in their government's side. The fact is, secession is a very risky move that can easily eat up precious resources in a Civil War, as what happened to the United States in the 1860s. The threat of another civil war usually squashes talk of secession anywhere in the U.S.
  6. Secession talk goes through the rounds every election, just as many always claim they'll "leave the country," but very few actually do. Texas, Hawaii, and Vermont are three places where secession has been a minority opinion for decades. The thing is, secessionist movements never gain enough support to go anywhere. Even the U.S. Civil War ended up with no states remaining fully autonomous from the federal government strengthened by Abraham Lincoln. I wouldn't read too much into this.
  7. Well, in order to understand why that is, you'd need to understand what sort of governmental system we have set up, which is a federal republic subdivided into 50 semi-autonomous republics. This is a fundamentally different system from a unitary state such as France, which isn't subdivided into autonomous or semi-autonomous pieces with separate legislatures. When the United States was first founded, it was a confederation of 13 independent states. You could think of them as 13 countries that decided to come together and share certain responsibilities, such as common defense or free trade between states. A "state" in the political sense is an organizational apparatus with a "legitimate" monopoly on the use of force over a defined territory and population. Virtually every country you see today are organized as "states," such as France, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Australia, etc. Due to some difficulties the United States encountered under the Articles of Confederation, the U.S. Constitution was drafted to form a federation of states (as opposed to a more loosely-associated confederation), which introduced a more powerful national government comprised of representatives from the individual state governments. The individual states conferred some powers to the national (or federal) government such as the ability to coin money and levy tariffs on goods, while the states retained the remainder of power over their territories and populations. So the United States of America is actually a federation of 50 individual states that, if they were not bound together by the U.S. Constitution, would be 50 independent republics. Several countries around the world are federations similar to the United States, such as Mexico, Brazil, Russia, and Australia. What makes the United States of America "united" is the common federal government comprised of representatives of each state. Whatever powers were not explicitly given to the federal government via the U.S. Constitution was retained by each state. This accounts for the variety in different laws governing each state, because the federal government is forbidden from making such laws, while each state has a monopoly over lawmaking in their respective territories over matters reserved to them by the Constitution. So to sum up, the United States of America is a federation of 50 semi-autonomous republics bound, or united, together by the U.S. Constitution, which explicitly states the powers the national government has, while reserving the remainder of powers to the individual state governments.
  8. Muslims 4 Liberty

    If you want, you can check out the site "Minaret of Freedom." It's probably related to what you're talking about. http://www.minaret.org
  9. God Or Science: Do I Have To Choose One?

    "Science" is derived from the Latin word "scientia" which means "knowledge." Specifically, it deals with using reason to observe and study the universe around us with testable hypotheses. A hypothesis presents a possible, testable explanation for observed phenomena in nature, and can be very simple or very complex. If the procedures created to test the hypothesis repeatedly confirms the hypothesis' prediction, then one could logically assume that the hypothesis is a reasonable explanation for the phenomena being studied. If the experiments the hypothesis undergoes to test its validity result in effects that contradict the predictions of the hypothesis, then the hypothesis can reasonably be discarded as an explanation for the observed phenomenon, and another hypothesis needs to be put forth. That's really the essence of it.
  10. Innocence Of Muslims

    I think this movie is an excellent example of the "Streisand Effect."
  11. Good Websites For Knowledge And Ideas

    Here are some interesting sites with general knowledge and various minority opinions: http://www.khanacademy.org - Learn anything for free with Salman Khan's educational videos on math, physics, chemistry, biology, and more. http://www.minaret.org - Minaret of Freedom: various articles and videos that proclaim that Islam and freedom can be harmonious. http://www.mises.org - This is a site with numerous free literature and videos espousing the Austrian school of economics, which is in opposition to the current Keynesian school that dominates public policy-making. http://www.thevenusproject.com - This site touts an entirely different economic model advocating the abolition of money and rethinking in terms of available natural and human resources. http://www.technocracy.org - This site touts a similar model to The Venus Project's resource-based economy, but focusing on energy inputs and outputs instead. http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm - Part 1 of a short story entitled "Manna" and how robotics can be used to either enslave humanity or empower humanity. There are probably a lot of other sites I've come across over the years, but those were the first ones that came to my head.
  12. U.s. Ambassador Killed

  13. U.s. Ambassador Killed

    I'm not in favor of using violence or coercion to acquire resources. We do buy most of our foreign oil from Canada and Mexico. Regardless, oil resources are dwindling and the price will only rise as time goes on. It would be wise to wean ourselves off of the stuff for long-term survival. I'm still holding out for solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, battery storage, supercapacitors, superconductors, and fuel cells to become more efficient more attractive as the price of oil increases. If commercial fusion power became available within my lifetime, that would be a huge leap forward.
  14. U.s. Ambassador Killed

    All the more reason for the U.S. to withdraw from the Middle East and elsewhere, as well as ending all foreign aid to every other country. In addition, we need to focus more than ever on finding alternatives to oil to fuel our society. There's probably some political undertones to all this violence, wrapped in religious language to justify it. Those responsible for the murder of our ambassador and two other Americans need to be found and brought to justice. It's morally reprehensible to attack an innocent person who had nothing to do with whatever "upset" these people. Virtually no Americans knew of this film until we learned about the attacks on our soil (yes, embassies are considered sovereign territory of the nation stationed there). The last thing we need is yet another war. I'd venture a guess that these attackers were politically motivated to strike on 9/11, and this film (which almost nobody in America knew about) is just being used as an excuse to commit violent acts. The individuals who committed the actual crime of murder should be captured and brought to trial. The population at-large, however, should not be at fault for the acts of the few.
  15. Us Elections 2012

    Well now we can get back to the topic at hand. The presidential election isn't the only one going on, as every House seat is up for reelection and about 1/3 of the Senate as well. In addition, there are local races. Anybody in the U.S. have any good words about congressional, senatorial, city council, mayoral, etc. candidates in their state?
  16. Us Elections 2012

    Then what exactly were you talking about when you stated in the very first sentence in post #197, Go back a page and reread your own words. That's the question on which I needed some clarification. You said that you didn't claim that the term had elitist connotations, yet in a post devoted to talking about two elitist ideologies, you have this one sentence prefacing the descriptions. On face-value, it looks to me that you're attaching elitist connotations to the word because you placed it in a paragraph describing elitist ideologies, linking it to the word "ideology" you used in that sentence. You refuse to admit that that is what you did, and now you're claiming that you never said "southrons" were descended from anyone, yet there are your own words from yesterday. Sounds like you're the one who has a case of cognitive dissonance. Since you claim that I have reading comprehension problems, tell me, oh wise one, what you meant by that first sentence in post #197? I read the post, and I didn't find much to disagree with regarding the elites. My previous post was merely a call for clarification regarding what you meant in the very first sentence you wrote in post #197, which I quoted above. A little bit of clarification, and all will be well on this issue. If you had bothered to read my previous posts, then you would have known that I hadn't heard of the word "southron" either until abdullahfath used it in this thread. So I googled it (which is something you were too lazy to do, even though you've admonished others on this forum for not googling things they don't know about) to find out if it was an actual word, and it if was, what the meaning of that word was. I don't use it in everyday speech, but your preconceived notions seem to have gotten in the way of your own reading comprehension as you lumped me together with abdullahfath and others who use the word regularly. Go ahead and read through all my previous posts, and you won't find a single mention of the word "southron" outside of this thread. Also, as far as I can tell, you've been nothing but argumentative in every single one of your posts.
  17. Us Elections 2012

    Perhaps a reread of my post in order. Perhaps the reason you haven't heard the term used is because it's not used as commonly as it used to be, which I stated in my post that you apparently "miscomprehended." I'd never even heard of the word until it popped up in this thread, and I initially thought that it was perhaps a misspelling of another word. So I "used my index fingers" and googled the word and came upon the definition that I wrote in my previous post. You've given as much advice to others on this forum; I'm not sure why you didn't bother following your own advice regarding googling things you don't know about. In regard to the "elitist" portion of the comment, here's what you said: You said the southrons are "descendent [sic] from an ideology that goes back to plantation times." You then talked about the two types of elitism (ideologies) in the United States, starting with "Southern Elitism." Now if the "ideology" of which you spoke (from which the southrons descended from) isn't "southern elitism," then what is it? You made no references in your post to any other ideology besides "southern elitism," "Yankee elitism," communism, and capitalism. So what exactly were you referring to in that first sentence? Is this perhaps the ideology you were referring to that I must have missed? Now here you go again, speaking of the ideologies you've talked about at length in your posts. You stated that the "Southrons" descended from an ideology, yet unless you were referring to either of these elitist ideologies, you didn't elaborate. Now if you think that the "Southrons" descended from the "Southern elitism" that has existed for a few hundred years, and you give the appearance that you have a negative viewpoint of said elitism, then the term "Southron" connotes something negative due to its relationship as a descendant of "Southern elitism." If you do not think that "Southrons" descended from "Southern elitism," then what ideology did they descend from?
  18. Us Elections 2012

    "Southron" is a generic term meaning "a person from the south." It's not used as commonly as it used to be, but it has been used to mean a person from the southern United States in general. There aren't any "elitist" connotations to the word that I'm aware of. I would like to say that one can't really claim that the United States has a "capitalist" economy as there has been government interference in the marketplace for the past 100 years or so. Most describe it as a "mixed economy" with elements of capitalism and elements of a command economy. As long as there are bailouts, subsidies, government-backed loans, etc., we cannot really be described as a free market, capitalistic economy. You could, however, call it a "corporatist" economy in which corporations and government work closely together and officials are heavily influenced by corporations. That's getting a bit too close to fascism, the marriage of corporations and the state, for my tastes... The issue I have with socialism is the idea that you're not really entitled to the fruits of your labor if you're even moderately successful. If you become successful, then suddenly your property can get confiscated by the state and transformed into a "public good" depending on what you own. I see competition as a healthy thing for an economy as competing firms battle it out to provide the best products for the lowest price to the consumers, who ultimately benefit.
  19. Us Elections 2012

    My first complaint about the Patriot Act is a general one I have about Congress. To me, it is a great disservice to the American people that when these 1000+ page bills come to a floor vote, virtually no representative and no senator actually reads through the entirety of the bill, yet they vote for it without knowing what is in it until days, weeks, or months after the bill is passed. Like when people skim through the headlines of newspapers without digging deeper into the article, elected officials might only read the title of the bills they vote on and just assume the whole bill relates to that topic. Personally, I find it offensive if my elected official doesn't even read what he votes on. To me, the default vote should be "nay," unless the representative or senator has good reason to vote "aye," after reading it. The Patriot Act (hundreds of pages) left committee and was rushed to the House floor on October 24th, passing by an overwhelming majority of representatives, most of whom didn't even have a copy of the bill available to them to read. Yet they voted "aye" probably because the title had the word "Patriot" in it. There was no other information to go on. The second complaint I have is that I'm extremely wary of expanding police power. While it may or may not get abused today, the longer such powers remain, the higher chance some future president will abuse those powers in the name of "security." The United States is not immune from becoming a future dictatorship, and expanding police powers in the hands of the executive branch is one of the ingredients that can lead to the potential rise of a despot. I'd rather err on the side of caution than to risk creating a monster more dangerous than cave dwellers. I'm concerned about the militarization of police forces around the country. Time and time again there are news stories about SWAT teams receiving an "anonymous tip" about a drug dealer at address X. The SWAT team busts down the front door in the middle of the night, and guns down the startled homeowner who thinks his home is being burglarized. Then it turns out the police had the wrong house, and an innocent person has been killed with no apology. If there is a dog in the house, you can be sure the police will shoot it down, no matter how small or how restrained it may be. Now I remember something about the "right to face your accuser," who in these cases are these "anonymous tipsters" who remain anonymous. The homeowner (or his/her relative, friend, etc.) had committed no crime, but received no "due process" and had their life extinguished all because an "anonymous tipster" told police that's where a crime was committed. Such events could happen to anyone. How any of that is even "legal" is beyond me. Now I'm not saying every police officer is complicit in these acts; I'm certain many of them are good, upstanding men and women. But the fact that these events happen around the country with some regularity is startling to me. Individual Americans are quite free with their money when it comes to aiding others in different countries, especially after natural disasters. We're so generous that parasitic elements feed off of that generosity and rake in millions off of suffering (which is unfortunate, but most of the money and supplies still get to where they need to go). Now what the government does is a different matter. Whatever our intelligence agencies and military do in foreign lands is beyond the individual control (or even knowledge) of the average American. When those actions result in the deaths of innocent people or the destruction of property or infrastructure, it's reasonable to assume that those affected by those actions and must live with the consequences of said actions will be a bit more than upset at the United States. For me, more interaction between individual Americans and individuals of other nations needs to increase. If individuals talk to each other and then realize how similar we really are when it comes to life, family, friends, art, etc., perhaps that would be a good first step in figuring out how we can alter our social environments to reduce aberrant human behaviors. Personally, I think most of how people act and think is shaped by their environments. If the environments change (for the "better," whatever that will eventually entail), then you could expect behaviors to change (for the better). Part of what we may be experiencing right now is that because of the Internet, every idea conceived by humanity in virtually all corners of the globe are mixing together, and we're trying to reconcile all of them. It may be a bit of a "culture clash" these next few years (or even decades), but as it becomes more "normal" to interact with people around the world on a daily basis, things may get better. But maybe I'm just a cautious optimist.
  20. Make Words!

    frame story
  21. The 3 Word Story

    with spiders and
  22. Us Elections 2012

    Aligarr, You're merely assuming I'm trying to be "clever." Where did I ever say I thought I was clever? A little bit of sarcasm helps me relax. I want to genuinely know what you personally think is right with this country, and what you personally think still needs a bit of work. I prefer to first figure out what our common ground is, and from there discuss our differences. Otherwise, we'll just keep going back and forth without making any real progress in the discussion. I'll be honest and civil about all this and do my best to understand you and where you're coming from, and also do my best to showcase to you my personal concerns about our current situation. I'll do my best to be as objective as humanly possible (since 100% objectivity isn't going to happen). If you wish to do the same, then I'll gladly discuss with you every issue, one at a time.
  23. Us Elections 2012

    Do you deny that everything is fine? If so, what is wrong?
  24. Us Elections 2012

    As I said, it's all good and wonderful. Anyone who thinks otherwise is crazy.