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Collins has, of course, again overstepped his boundaries as NIH director. To see this, imagine if he was an atheist instead of a Christian, and “struck out at angry religious people” for trying to blur the boundaries between science and superstition. Imagine if he said that religious people were using Jesus as a club to hit the scientifically-minded over the head. Collins would be fired in a millisecond, and religious people would come down on him like a ton of bricks. His ability to get away with this as America’s most famous government scientist shows the profound asymmetry between theists and atheists in America.

Do we protect native plants because they’re better for the earth, or because we hate strangers? A cherished principle of environmentalism comes under attack


 

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I posted this comment regarding the Harris/Hedges kerfluffle:

You know, 95% of the time I’m a huge fan of Sam Harris and I think he has well described Hedges as sanctimonious. It therefore pains me to say that I don’t think Hedges has distorted the meaning of Harris’s words nearly so much as Harris leaves us to conclude. Now, perhaps Sam didn’t intend for his words to come across the way they do (that would be a rare for Sam), but there is one sentence that comes right after the passage Hedges quoted that really turns my stomach. “How would such an unconscionable act of self-defense be perceived by the rest of the Muslim world?” (He refers to a first strike by “us” on the (so far) hypothetical Islamist state armed with long-range nuclear weapons.) First strikes are self-defense in the world of the Bush doctrine, but that doesn’t make it so, unless perhaps one has strong, direct evidence of an immediately impending attack.

I don't want to leave the wrong impression here. For Chris Hedges to use mass murder by a Norwegian christian fanatic to tee off on Sam Harris is nothing short of outrageous.

Jerry Coyne perfectly obliterated Francis Collins in this passage:

Collins has, of course, again overstepped his boundaries as NIH director. To see this, imagine if he was an atheist instead of a Christian, and “struck out at angry religious people” for trying to blur the boundaries between science and superstition. Imagine if he said that religious people were using Jesus as a club to hit the scientifically-minded over the head. Collins would be fired in a millisecond, ...

I'm not sure what to make about some people's utter hate for 3D. I say it's simple; if enough people like it, it will succeed. I think it's succeeding right now. Most HDTV sets this and last year were 3D capable. Pretty much all mid/high-end HDMI A/V receivers from last year touted 3D compatibility as one of their features.

It doesn't matter that some get headaches or what an engineer thinks millions of years of evolution haven't prepared us for, but how many people are liking it and willing to pay for it. I'm somehow in the middle, probably more on the 3D side. I prefer IMAX or would be more interested to see high-frame-rate movies, but just as with 3D, I won't go to the theater to see crap, and that's the bottom line for me.

A Question about 3D in our homes. Would you rather shoot newborn baby videos in 2D or 3D?

I've seen handheld 3D video cameras plug into 3D TVs and the results seem more 'real' than 2D. It was striking and a better reason to have 3D than 'to watch TV/movies'.

Thoughts?

I like the idea of making home videos in 3D. I don't know much about current standards, but any decent one should allow to display your video in 2D if desired, just like the movies.

Some years ago I tested a bit some 3D photo technique but since my camera was a "normal" 2D one you can't really take pictures of moving subjects. 3D photography and devices with screens like the Nintendo 3DS are also great, from my point of view. With digital, and all these new display technologies, it's much easier than it was with film.

I do wish we moved past the crappy polarized 3D though. You can't tilt your head even a bit. Polarized shutter glasses are a big improvement.

I love Ebert's hatred of 3d.

Ebert is fun. He is famous for saying that Video Games are not and will never be "art". Yeahh... The Supreme Court disagrees, mate.

If a hundred artists create art for five years, how can the result not be art? -- Penny Arcade

It's too bad Ebert is too old to appreciate something like Shadow of the Colossus.

Heck, back in the 90's I was blown away by the artistic achievement of Super Metroid on my cousin's SNES console. It's probably dated now, but back then I was transported while exploring its beautiful environments.

I think Shadow of the Colossus is the last videogame I really got into.

That is pretty amazing, considering some of the crappy movies he has to review. If I watched the star wars prequels and had to think of them as art, I think I might have a pretty broad definition after that point.

In the article on Dutch attitudes towards the bicycle the author nails America’s problem on the head.

"the conviction that urban planning can bring about beneficial cultural changes. But that points up another mental difference: the willingness of Europeans to follow top-down social planning. America’s famed individualism breeds an often healthy distrust of the elite.”

This seems to be at the very heart of the conservative mentality: that anything and everything the government does runs contrary to individual freedom—as if freedom is defined by sitting in your car two hours every damn day, as if there is a sane alternative to urban planning.

LA or Copenhagen? No choice there as far as most rational people are concerned.

In an intermediate-sized town like the one I live in, the "elites" still make plans, they still produce population growth projections, they still draw up plans for infrastructure. There are semidemocratic hearings about these things, but the options are all the same: build more roads now or build more roads later. There is nothing more "individualistic" about it – tax money is used to serve one kind of citizen and not another. It's LA or Houston - as if there was a difference.

Sometimes europe looks like paradise to me, in terms of govt and yet the very next moment it can look like one enormous gated community.

You would think we could find a nice middle ground.

What americans constantly seem ignorant of is that private industry steps in and makes decisions for us when govt doesn't. For instacnce when automotive interestes bought up and dismantled our street car system.

Here is an amusing interview with a blind movie critic that sees movies in "no D".

Are there advantages? I would imagine there would be in a way. Besides like if there is someone tall sitting in front of you, you wouldn't have to worry about it.

regarding the bikes, i don't think the author has spent much time evaluating NYC's bike lanes. he seems to describe only the experience of cycling in central and prospect parks where the lycra-clad racing douche bags are prominent as they train or whatever. those guys don't have much interest in riding as a means of transportation and they are seldom in the actual street bike lanes.

i would say that either of the two women featured in the short videos below (and the other people you see in the b-roll) are much more representative of who you share the lanes with when you ride around NYC using the increasingly awesome bike infrastructure we have here: http://www.streetfilms.org/my-nyc-biking-story-lucette-gilbert/ and http://www.streetfilms.org/my-nyc-biking-story-kimberly-white/

so, perhaps NYC is just slightly more like the Netherlands than the author gives it credit for. also, perhaps related, you can get pretty good bread here.

Andyo said:

I think Shadow of the Colossus is the last videogame I really got into.

This demonstrates to me how old that I am. The last videogames I really got into were Pacman and Centipede

The game was designed by Ed Logg along with Dona Bailey, one of the few female game programmers in the industry at this time.[1] It was also the first arcade coin-operated game to have a significant female player base

Woah! What was it about this game that appealed to me as a female and to so many other females? I had no idea that one of the designers of the game was a woman, so it couldn't be for that reason.

regarding the bikes

Well, as concerns transportation, some people prefer bicycles, some people don't wanna pickle, they just wanna ride on their motorcycle, some people prefer to walk, some people prefer the use of beasts of burden, some people prefer undergrounds or buses, some people prefer to get around in fuel-efficient Priuses, some people prefer to get from here to there in four-wheel-drive pickup trucks. To summarize in a rather crude manner: Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one.

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