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Comment author: betterthanwell 05 April 2015 08:49:13PM 8 points [-]

I discovered the idea of Bitcoin early, made a life-changing amount of money.

Comment author: betterthanwell 14 May 2014 11:39:39PM *  1 point [-]
Comment author: fubarobfusco 26 March 2014 04:26:17PM *  -1 points [-]

I stipulate that the U.S. government has put unreasonable and unjust burdens on travelers.

But whether the attacks were a success or a failure at advancing the attackers' political agenda has nothing to do with that.

The stated goal of the 9/11 attacks was not to put burdens on American travelers, but to change U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia — notably to end U.S. support for Israel and force the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Muslim-majority nations. Another motive some scholars have inferred was to provoke a global war between the West and the Islamic world, leading to a global caliphate.


Since the attacks, the U.S. has continued to increase foreign aid (including military aid) to Israel; has prosecuted two aggressive wars in Muslim nations; and maintains significant military presence in a number of Muslim-majority nations including Kuwait, Bahrain, and Afghanistan.

The U.S. also killed the leaders of the groups responsible for the attacks.

The only stated goal of the attacks that can be charitably interpreted as having come to pass is the removal of U.S. soldiers from Saudi Arabia specifically. Those soldiers had been there as a force against the former Iraqi regime, no longer a concern.

Thus, I maintain the attacks were a huge failure at accomplishing the attackers' political agenda.

Your and your mother's ill-treatment at the hands of U.S. officials is indeed an offense to good sense, common decency, and good government. But that injustice and inconvenience does not appear on the political goals of al-Qaeda. It is a consequence of domestic maladministration, sloppiness, and corruption.

tl;dr: If Clippy fails at turning the world into paperclips and is shut down, but some asshole uses Clippy's existence as an excuse to punch you in the gut, we would not say that Clippy had accomplished its goals. We would say it sucks that some asshole punched you, but Clippy still failed.

Comment author: betterthanwell 30 March 2014 05:48:48PM 1 point [-]

Thus, I maintain the attacks were a huge failure at accomplishing the attackers' political agenda.

Osama Bin Laden (2004):

...All that we have mentioned has made it easy for us to provoke and bait this administration. All that we have to do is to send two Mujahedin to the farthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qa'ida in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human economic and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits to their private companies. This is in addition to our having experience in using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers as we alongside the Mujahedin bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat. All Praise is due to Allah.

So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah is willing and nothing is too great for Allah. That being said, those who say that al-Qa'ida has won against the administration in the White House or that the administration has lost in this war have not been precise because when one scrutinizes the results, one cannot say that Al-Qa'ida is the sole factor in achieving these spectacular gains. Rather, the policy of the White House that demands the opening of war fronts to keep busy their various corporations -- whether they be working in the field of arms or oil or reconstruction -- has helped al-Qa'ida to achieve those enormous results. And so it has appeared to some analysts and diplomats that the White House and us are playing as one team towards the economic goals of the United States even if the intentions differ. And it was to these sorts of notions and their like that the British diplomat and others were referring in their lectures at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (when they pointed out that) for example, al-Qa'ida spent $500,000 on the event, while America in the incident and its aftermath lost -- according to the lowest estimates -- more than 500 billion dollars, meaning that every dollar of al-Qa'ida defeated a million dollars by the permission of Allah besides the loss of a huge number of jobs. As for the size of the economic deficit, it has reached record, astronomical numbers estimated to total more than a trillion dollars. And even more dangerous and bitter for America is that the Mujahedin recently forced Bush to resort to emergency funds to continue the fight in Afghanistan and Iraq which is evidence of the success of the bleed-until-bankruptcy plan with Allah's permission.


Comment author: ArisKatsaris 02 December 2013 06:25:11PM 1 point [-]

Other Media Thread

Comment author: betterthanwell 02 December 2013 10:28:23PM 9 points [-]

Gwern Branwen plays a notable part in this recent story about the demise of one ill-fated black market:


Comment author: betterthanwell 17 June 2013 06:10:17PM *  4 points [-]

Aaron Winborn: Monday was my 46th birthday and likely my last. Anything awesome I should try after I die?

Just over two years ago, I was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. In short, that means that my mind will increasingly become trapped in my body as the motor neurons continue to die, and the muscles atrophy and waste away, until my diaphragm dies, bringing me with it.


But yes, there is a silver lining to this all, such as it is. Kim Suozzi made a similar plea to the Internet a year ago today, and came up with the brilliant idea of freezing her body in the hopes of a distant advanced technology being able to revive her someday. Her body now rests at liquid nitrogen temperatures.


Comment author: shminux 09 May 2013 06:51:10AM *  6 points [-]

Here is another famous example:Chandrasekhar's limit. Eddington rejected the idea of black holes ("I think there should be a law of Nature to prevent a star from behaving in this absurd way!"). Says wikipedia:

Chandra's discovery might well have transformed and accelerated developments in both physics and astrophysics in the 1930s. Instead, Eddington's heavy-handed intervention lent weighty support to the conservative community astrophysicists, who steadfastly refused even to consider the idea that stars might collapse to nothing.

I guess this is not quite what you are asking for, since the math was on Chandrasekhar's side, and Eddington was pinning his hopes on "new physics". To be fair, recent discussions about horizon firewalls could be such new physics.

Comment author: betterthanwell 10 May 2013 04:33:27AM 2 points [-]

"I think there should be a law of Nature to prevent a star from behaving in this absurd way!" (Eddington, 1935)

Eddington erroneously dismissed M(white dwarf) > Mlimit ⇒ "a black hole" , but didn't he correctly anticipate new physics?
Do event horizons (Finkelstein, 1958) not prevent nature from behaving in "that absurd way", so far as we can ever observe?

Comment author: betterthanwell 18 March 2013 06:04:58PM *  6 points [-]

With some awe and much respect, I would say that you are an inspiration, but that has already been said. I'll upvote that and say something else instead. For whatever reason, some part of my brain tells me; "Yeah, this is pretty much what I would expect the research interests of of a "supervillain"-in-training to look like". I don't pretend to know exactly what awesomeness is, but you have grown a lot of it.

Comment author: [deleted] 12 January 2013 06:14:32PM *  5 points [-]

That's the first think that came to my mind, but I dismissed it as paranoia. But if I'm not the only one...

EDIT: OTOH, there's this... What person makes a will at 26?

In response to comment by [deleted] on Farewell Aaron Swartz (1986-2013)
Comment author: betterthanwell 12 January 2013 07:29:01PM 7 points [-]

EDIT: OTOH, there's this... What person makes a will at 26?

It seems he published "If i get hit by a truck" in 2002, at age 16. Sad. Also, perhaps, awe-inspiring. Eliminating the problem of one's bus-factor would ordinarily be admirable... if you do it for the contingency where you simply get hit by a bus. I want, but can't, quite make myself believe that he didn't write this, at that time, in anticipation of an end like this. In that case; not awe-inspiring, only sad.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 December 2012 09:00:48PM 2 points [-]

I may have been overoptimistic. What are the odds that an anti-psychopath program will start by being run by a psychopath?

Comment author: betterthanwell 21 December 2012 02:11:07PM *  1 point [-]

Almost no chance at all. Keep in mind, the most important thing, when it comes to dealing with this, this... insidious threat, is to be intensely careful in avoiding any false negatives. There must be none what so ever. And besides, who cares, really — about a few — or a few million false positives. Oh, and this condition, it's really quite heritable, and, as head of the program, you would need to... well, deal with the children, in a like manner as that of the parents. Not that this would be a problem, of course.

Joe Stalin, the NKVD, the Moscow Trials, and the Great Purge sort of came to mind.

Comment author: alanog 21 December 2012 12:52:36PM 3 points [-]

done now, forgot you could edit these things.

Comment author: betterthanwell 21 December 2012 01:42:44PM 2 points [-]

Neat. Upvote delivered, as promised.

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