Alexander The Great

December 19, 2008

The World’s Hardest Question?

Filed under: Ethics — alexanderthegreatest @ 5:12 pm

December 13, 2008

Astounding Republican Paranoia

Filed under: Ethics,Modern Life — alexanderthegreatest @ 11:07 pm
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Here’s a disturbing comment left on TED

A Hall – October 22 2008

Please do more than passively read, watch and consume what the government funded ‘scientists’ and ‘climate specialists’ ideas, such as David Keith are espousing here, just look a little further if you really want to know the truth, because this, i beleive is certainly not it.
This message, or mistruth about climate change is part of a massively and intentional orchestrated fear campaign to make us believe that global warming is really happening. Yes we are harming our environment, yes this is a terrible thing that needs to change.
BUT the ‘facts’ presented here and in so many other talks, films, doumentaries and books is not proven to be so, if we look back a little further – say further back than the last few hundred years for example.

Look at the works of Loehle and McCulloch if you like. There is proven and solid scientific evidence that while we are indeed in the midst of a rise in temperatures, this is a cycle, which the earth has undergone many times before.

It is much more convenient however, to ignore this truth (which is there to be found if you just research a little), and lap up the spin doctoring lies that climate change is going to be the end of the world. As another post said, weren’t we being told in the 70’s that we were going into an iceage?!

This so called issue, along with many other falicies such as terrorism,world war III, financial collapse fo the western economies are all part of a giant cover to make us all so fearful that we beg the governements and the corporations that control them to do something – anything – to make it better.

Lets not be sheep – do some reading, research and thinking for yourself, check where the information is coming from, who is writing it and what their other possible interests may be. We need to look further abroad and see what the reality of our world is.Only with truth and knowledge can we have power and the opportunity to do something about what we do not agree with!

November 17, 2008

Is Scraping Data Wrong?

Filed under: Ethics,Modern Life — alexanderthegreatest @ 9:23 pm
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In 1492, the Old and New Worlds clashed in a very dramatic way. Volumes have been written about what followed, so I won’t cover this here. A similar, if less vital, clash is happening today. You’ve heard about California’s “water wars,” but you may not have heard of the scraper wars.

For better or worse (and I’d say it’s for the better), the world wide web is an open technology. This is partly true in the sense that Apache’s code can be downloaded and modified, but the real sense this is true, is the one in which a client makes a request to the server, and the server sends down a response. It’s true that login prompts, captcha forms, and payment walls abound, but this is far from the default. It’s difficult (or at least cumbersome) to program a web server to refuse to serve a client. Prejudice is not the nature of the web.

People with something to say, get on their soap box and say it. This becomes available to the world by default. It’s assumed that this will be consumed by a target market (some restricted demographic of humans using web browsers), but all computers have the ability to make HTTP calls, and do as they will with the replies they find. And therein lies the problem.

You may have found this site through Google’s web search – if not, surely you’ve found another this way. Google uses a “robot”, a wanderer, a spider that crawls the web, copying down what it finds, indexing it for search. Many people object that this violates copyright law, although both the searcher and the found benefit from the arrangement, so nobody complains (apart from book authors) about Google. When others do the same thing, though, people assume nefarious trickery. At best, it might be spam, but, this typically seems to mean plagiarism where a person steal’s someone else’s informational work to profit from cheap advertisements.

Mashups, though, are the definition of “web 2.0”. Ouseful discovered how to use Google Spreadsheets to translate “foreign” HTML to RSS, and then Yahoo for geocoding. Arachnode is an open source (for SQL Server and C#!) home scraping platform. Whether people like it or not, the ability to make use of this great federated data store we call the web is being brought down to the lowly masses. Democracy over data is the future, and it’s in everybody’s best interest to learn to deal with it. (Like the Census.)

October 23, 2008

Sarah Palin’s $150,000 Wardrobe

Filed under: Ethics — alexanderthegreatest @ 9:32 pm

That regular hockey mom spends more money on clothes than many Americans on their house. John McCain has more houses than he can count, and Sarah Palin’s wardrobe cost more than the GDP of Tuvalu. Palin actually called herself “an average, working class American” who only happens to be running for office. How many Americans do you know who spend $75,000 a month buying clothes?

In fairness, Palin spent $150,000 of other people’s money. Just like the $20,000 the State of Alaska spent flying her children around, or the $17,000 per day Mrs Palin was paid to live in her own home.

September 10, 2008

Journalistic Fraud at Fox News

Filed under: Ethics,Modern Life — alexanderthegreatest @ 10:00 pm
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Fox, who’s joke line is “Fair and Balanced”, has been caught with their pants down. People have been making deceptive (to put it mildly) edits to Wikipedia, to remove facts, and to add non facts, from IP addresses owned and managed exclusively by the Fox division of News Corp.

Fortunately, Wikipedia keeps a history of every edit to every page, so fox’s white washing is a matter of public record. Have a look for yourself, at the before and after comparisons.

An entire section (titled Allegations of Journalistic Fraud) was removed from the Carl Cameron article. The section lists out instances where Cameron invented quotes and attributed them to people who did not say such things, and even describes events that never happened. (Jayson Blair, anyone?) The IP in question is, which has made about 500 edits, all of them painting Fox News in a unrealistically better light, or smearing Fox’s obsession targets.

The article on Al Franken adds and attributes a made up quote to Mr Franken, and adds non factual descriptions in violation of WP’s “encyclopedic” and neutrality criteria. Same IP.

In an article on Keith Olbermann, Fox staff removed references to Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment legal problems. This is one of many propaganda edits to prevent (lazy) Wikipedia users from knowing the truth.

In the Shepard Smith (host of “FOX Report With Shepard Smith”), a Fox agent removed a link to Shepard Smith’s mug shot. Our reporter was arrested for aggrevated battery in Florida.

The list goes on and on. The entire “Controversy” section was blanked out by Fox, under the story “Brian Wilson (Fox News Correspondant)”. This identical change was made by several IP addresses.

Fox News has always practiced censorship on its own TV channel, but it’s moved on to censor information from a public encyclopedia as well.

July 19, 2008

George Bush, 20 Years On?

Filed under: Ethics,Terrorism — alexanderthegreatest @ 9:41 pm
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From the Guardian

Still, the most likely scenario for a torture prosecution is something like what happened to ex-Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. His own country wouldn’t touch him, but an industrious Spanish prosecutor – aided by the work of human rights activists and backed by international opinion – indicted him for torture and war crimes and nearly snared him. If Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld faced a similar indictment from abroad, Americans would be outraged – but not really. The US government would try to head it off, but wouldn’t be able to do much. No one would actually go on trial, but the indictees would see their travel options humiliatingly curtailed and go to their graves knowing the phrase “charged with war crimes” will be next to their names in the history books.

April 24, 2008

Help me out with an Answer?

Filed under: Ethics — alexanderthegreatest @ 10:23 pm

Newsweek’s On Faith column asks its panel of contributors to comment on ‘new-atheist’ Christopher Hitchens. “Best-selling atheist Christopher Hitchens wrote: “Religion is violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children.” Why is he right or wrong?”

Stealing For God

Filed under: Ethics,Modern Life — alexanderthegreatest @ 6:35 pm
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This was brought to my attention through a blog called Chillin’ At The Cabstand, who wrote a response to Scott Hong’s frankly insulting question, “Why Do Atheists Oppose Incest?” Of course, this implies that Christians don’t stand against incest, perhaps even condone the practice. I’m sure my readers are intelligent enough to realize that, apart from freakish exceptions (can anyone say Warren Jeffs?), this isn’t the case.

Another post on Scott’s blog drew the harsh reaction of a photographer, who saw that Mr Hong had stolen a photo to advance his agenda. The comment was seemingly left by a new blog, and a new entrant into the realm of metaphysics, a person called Theism.

I’ve got a couple of online friends who are good photographers. They’ve complained about this phenomenon over digital coffee, likening it to socialism. Ironically, Mr Hong’s actions imply a support for universalized health care. If a photographer (or anyone else) is forced to work for free, for the public good, it seems this should apply to everyone, right?

If Scott can take something as unimportant as a picture without paying for it, why should he have to pay for food, shelter, medical care? I’m sure things should only be free when they support Mr Hong’s agenda, though, which has been common since the dawn of time, but known as stealing.

This is the type of hypocrisy that makes me feel more than a little sheepish when I “admit” that I’m also a Christian.

April 12, 2008

The Good in the Bible

Filed under: Ethics — alexanderthegreatest @ 10:20 pm
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This post is to two groups of people. There are the Atheists who point to all the wrong in the world and say “this is God’s doing” and to the barbarism of the Old Testament. And there are Christians, or perhaps people who call themselves Christians, who seem to have never read a Bible – certainly many of these types don’t condone the positivity that’s found there.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4:8-9).”

“It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)”

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24 & Mark 10:25 & Luke 18:25)”

April 3, 2008

Do You Agree With Jesus?

Filed under: Ethics — alexanderthegreatest @ 9:44 am
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Sadly I’m not joking when I say that I fully expect many conservatives to reply to this post with comments explaining why Jesus was quite wrong.

“If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor.”

“Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

“Give to him that asketh of thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”

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