Here are some comments I found interesting while browsing Slashdot and possibly other news sources. I do not cut the entire comment just the parts I find interesting. No author information is included.

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should be treated EQUALLY, not one group elevated above another. I do not believe in political correctness, I do have faith, but I do not berate those that don't. I believe the government meddles too much into the lives of people. I believe it is good that government helps those that, for whatever reason, have fallen on hard times, but I believe those that are capable of working, should work. I think it is good that we allow people to immigrate to this country, to broaden our country, but, believe those that sneak across, should be sent back until such time that they come across legally. I believe that the "nation building" started during Korea, Iran, Vietnam, and through Iraq & Afghanistan, should STOP. I believe that that countries should defend themselves. I believe that unless one of our embassies is attacked, if an INTERNAL struggle in a country begins it is NONE of our business. As far as I'm concerned, WW2 should have been the last major war we were involved in, until Kuwait asked for our help in 1991. After it was over, ALL of our troops should have been brought back, as with the ones still stationed in Japan & Germany. I believe all of our elected representatives, including the president should adhere to the Constitution, period!

As with any 24/7 so called news operation, Fox, MSNBC has a dedicated news program, with the rest of the time being filled with OPINION shows. THAT is the difference. I might watch a video clip of a NEWS show, but do not watch those opinion shows. They are always biased, and, set up in such a way, to try to force someone into saying something that will make a juicy 30 second sound bite. Both conservative leaning and liberal leading news organizations flood the world with their versions of news. Carefully editing sound bites, carefully wording stories, to drive opinion. As was said many decades's what they DON'T put in the papers, that speaks volumes.

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Never been caught. So I am assuming you have the top secret SCI clearance needed to know about any and all operation that might have occurred a a result of any intelligence gathered. Seriously I am as conservative and against encroaching government control as much as the next guy. But why is it that all people want to do away with the NSA or at least prevent them from spying (what would be the point of having the NSA if it didn't spy). So I am guessing that the USA did a great job when they did not decode the Japanese naval communication that could have prevented Pearl Harbor.

In case you forgot we just bombed the fuck out of two nations who had nothing to do with the actual bombing of the WTC as some kind of revenge killing on part of the USA.. I am all for spying. Spying is just another word for transparency. During the cold war intelligence allowed the other side to know what it was doing, and prevented the massive nuclear conflagration that could have easily happened due to fear and paranoia. I think spying on communications is a good thing. IF they don't spy, and say some rouge element does sabatoge some part of the homeland (say an alaska pipline) what nation will we bomb the fuck out of next.

Spying saves lives. We all decry the intelligence community for allowing 9-11 to take place, but then want to hamstring them 10 years latter. If any of you reading this were in charge of keeping the USA safe, and from blowing the fuck out of another two countries for no reason, would you not want every availailable means to find out about possible sabatoge BEFORE it happens?

Spying on the part of the three letter agencies is a GOOD thing. However allowing LE to use these tools is absolutely the wrong thing. Spying on the part of LE is the exact opposite of what we want. LE and the criminal justice system need prosecutions to grow business. The prison system is a billion dollar industry. They will just use the tools to lock everyone up in the USA. The three letter agencies take out targets and don't bring them to court. Sure the three letter agencies make mistakes, and you will have no redress. But with the criminal justice system you will have no redress (unless u are very rich), and will the additional hurdle of facing a DA who will fabricate evidence to get the conviction and increase the prison population. I really don't believe the operators in control of the secret justice system want to destroy lives uneccesarily,. The DA however gets paid to get convictions regardless of guilt. The prison corporations all profit. Guatonomo Bay may be wrong but at least coorporations are not making billions of it. The same can not be said of our prisons. I would rather be in Guatanamo than in the state pen anyday.

Seriously if you were in charge what would you do. What would you say when another incident does happen and you use every tool possible to prevent it. What will you say about all the lives lost in the inevitable retaliation (perhaps against targets that had absolutely nothing to do with the incident). There is a vast difference between law enforcement overreach and NSA overreach. The NSA will tap all communications to make sure a flag is raised if people talk about doing something stupid and killing a bunch of people. Law enforcement overreach means installing red light cameras on every intersection in the country so that fines may be raised money for government office parties.

Ahh I am talking to deaf ears. When some shit does go down everyone will be wondering why the NSA didn't do anything.

Do you really think Russia, China, and every other coutry do not spy. It is just that the USA is not allowed to anymore. Seriously the NSA may be able to tap your cell phones, and they might be able to find out about your illicit affair, but they really don't care. LE does though, and they are likely to use that information against you in a messy divorce.

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Who the fuck cares? Terrorists are irrelevant. Statistically, they hardly even exist! You have to be not only a monumental coward, but a fucking stupid one to be scared of them.

To all the terrorists in the world: You are all worthless, pathetic, impotent losers. Whatever cause you're fighting for is equally worthless. I insult your god(s) and or prophet(s), where applicable. Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries! Come at me bro! I dare you!

Now, Mr. Fjord, watch a big fat load of nothing happen to me in response.

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You will never stop stupid people because stupid can't be fixed. Once that one realizes that correlation != causation, you have a chance. Until then, you can only introduce the facts and hope for the best. It's tough to stanch meme propagation when the propagators are teary-eyed mothers with dead children. But it has to be done.

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It's not that he claimed to bring people back from the dead... Jesus didn't claim anything of the sort. He performed his miracles in front of hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of people.

The best evidence I can give you is logic. (Yeah, a Christian using logic... Who'd have thunk...) We know for a fact that the Apostles were real men. Thomas built churches in India which still exist. His name appears on official government documents in India (He sold himself into slavery to the ruler of India in order to preach there.) Peter's trip to Rome was extensively documented by the Romans who wrote documented everything. Wherever these men went, people talked about them, they wrote about them, they remembered them. These men were on freaking fire for something to have all gone out and spoken about this man who was murdered by the largest government in the world at the time.

If you followed a man every day for three years only to see him murdered by the Roman government, would you risk your neck telling the world about him if he wasn't who he said he was? If you heard him say that he would be killed then rise from the dead, would you go to the capital city of the people who killed him to tell them that he was the son of God if he didn't actually rise from the dead? No. You'd go the heck home and forget the last three years even happened.

How about James and Juda, Jesus's younger brothers. They each founded churches in his name after his death and resurrection. If he had been a fraud, his own family would have known about it. There's a reason Joseph Smith's brother wasn't a mormon. There's a reason Hubbard's children weren't scientologists. They knew their family members were full of shit... Jesus's family, who knew him best, attested to their death that he was who he said he was.

Historically, there's plenty of evidence that the bible is true (not scientifically accurate in all points, but true non-the less).

First, there's the scientific model of the Big Bang and how the world formed without God's help. If you read Genesis, the only step that is different is birds appearing sooner in Genesis. Two chapters later, in Genesis 3, there's the first mention of evolution when God punishes the serpent by taking his legs. (snakes have hips and "toes"-tiny claws where their legs used to be-, but no legs... hmm...) Later on you get to the flood. If the entire world was covered, or simply Noah's "world" really doesn't matter since Mt. Ariat contains a fossilized formation greatly resembling a giant crumbling wooden boat with random animal fossils (zebra poop, antelope hooves, lion's teets all halfway up a mountain, inside the "ship.") Later you'll get to two different stories about the sun either stopping in the sky or turning backwards before resuming normal activity. Those stories are repeated in Chinese, Africa, and Native American tales which originate around the same time. Just the same, most astronomists agree that there is evidence in old star maps to point to the earth losing the exact same amut of time that was spoken of in the bible. Later on, in Revilation there is a sentence about a sea of clear glass that stands out pretty sharply. Paul wrote that book shortly before his death, 200 years later someone invented clear glass.

Now, I'm not going to say that the bible is 100% accurate from a scientific point of view. It was written over thousands of years by and for people who had almost no education. There's no science in the bible. That doesn't mean that the stories aren't true. Jesus spoke in riddles and parables frequently. According to the bible, Jesus was the son of God, was one with God, and was part of God (The trinity is confusing no matter how little you think about it. But it's God, so it doesn't have to make perfect sense. God never asks my opinion.) so it's fairly logical that God, too, would speak in parables. Stop taking Genesis litterally unless you plan on taking the parables of vines, grapes, or doors the size of needles literally also.

There is far more evidence that the bible is fact than there is that it's not. The people were real, the places were real, many of the events can be sourced through multiple accounts (You think the Egyptions didn't write down all the shit that happened during the plagues?), and we have evidence that the people who actually wittnessed the events believed them enough to willingly accept horribly painfull deaths in order to tell others about what they saw. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls we find that in 2,000 years the only thing that hasn't changed, altered, or just badly screwed up by humans is the text of the bible. We can't agree on the meaning of the First Amendment half the time, yet we can keep a book nearly perfect through multiple translations over two thousand years even through the worst days of the church when the bible was more of a sword than a book. That's unprecidented in history. That's evidence enough for me to believe that there is a guiding hand behind it with the power to keep it the same over thousands of years.

The only evidence that I know of that God doesn't exist and that the bible isn't real is that God doesn't actually come knock on our door or email us from time to time. Not seeing something isn't the same as it not existing. And failure to admit truth when faced with overwhelming evidence simply because that truth makes us uncomfortable is not what science and enlightement is all about.

The truth is that no other religion works. All other religions say that in order to reach heaven, you must either become God yourself, or live a perfect, sinless life. All other religions place the burden to achieve that religion's goal on the individual. Man, individuals are pretty screwed up. I know I am. It's Christ though that saves. Through Christ, I don't have to achieve perfection; He already did. All I have to do is place my faith in Him, and accept his perfect sacrifice to attone for my sin.

What is sin? It's not 10 rules given to Moses on stone tablets. Those are commandments, but they aren't all of the commandments. There are many commandments in the bible. Any rule or edict from God or Jesus is a commandment and breaking any of those is sin. The more I study the bible, the more sins I push from my life, the more sins I realize there are. The closer to "good" I get, the more I realize that I am anything but good. And that is why I need Jesus. I can't do it on my own. Heck, I don't even get the easy stuff right half of the time... But that's ok, I got JESUS man... He lived a perfect life and died for me. Do I understand how that transaction works? Nope. But through faith, I accept that I am covered through that sacrifice.

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How about James and Juda, Jesus's younger brothers.
I assume you meant half-brothers there. Too bad there was no DNA testing back then to prove parentage.

Claiming the bible is true because many people mentioned in it actually existed is not valid reasoning. I could write a story about Abraham Lincoln being abducted by aliens (or fighting vampires) and that does not make it true just because he really lived. Claiming truth because family members or other followers continued to believe despite the risk of a government arresting or killing them is also bogus. History is full of people willing to be killed for their cause whether valid or not. History is also full of people blindly putting misguided faith in another person, related or not.

I've never understood how people accept this obvious mythology. History shows that religions around the world have evolved from primitive worship of spirits that lived in animals, trees, lakes, mountains, etc, to polytheistic groups of squabbling gods, to an single omnipotent god who created everything, knows everything, yet hides his existance from us and wants us to really believe in him. All those previous religions are now false and this current one is really true (no really, this time we got it right!). This God created the world in 6 days some 6-8 thousand years ago with all life in its current form, but rigged the physical laws and fossil record to look like the world originated 4.5 billion years ago with life originating some 3+ billion years ago and slowly evolving into all current forms.

God, having set up the universe to look like everything runs off the laws of physics without the need for any supernatural forces, then wants you to believe in him/her/it and will consign you to an awful place if you don't. This God lets multiple competing, sometimes contradictory, religions exist and yet makes no appearances to give anyone a clue which of those religions is correct (Hi, I'm God and I endorse this religion!), but you're screwed if you pick wrong. From my observation, 95%+ of people wind up in the same religion as their parents and relatively few actually compare and choose. Whatever religion people are brought up in, they're taught it is the only true one, everybody else is wrong and damned, and most of all, don't question the story! I scratch my head over the logic this God supposedly employed. He got tired of judging everyone on their individual merits, so he knocked up a married woman, created a son, and let the primitive folks of that day kill that son, which then somehow changed the rules on how sins were processed and going forward everyone just has a single checkbox for believes/doesn't believe. Huh?

There is supposedly a book that is blessed/guaranteed/certified/whatever to contain the word of this God and that is supposedly 100% true, but it contains some tales that are obviously false. For example, these is no evidence of a great flood covering the entire earth and wiping out all animals except a handful of each species that were on a humongous boat constructed by a primitive society. If this were true, the DNA record would show little genetic diversity in every species living today, every animal today having descended from a handful of ancestors a few thousand years ago, but that is not the case. The people who wrote the tale obviously were unaware of the sheer number of species that exist. This boat would have been overrun with the minimal breeding population of the millions of species of insects alone.

So, it sounds to me like your choices are

I get it why people want to believe. It's a big scary universe and it's

unsettling to think that we absolutely don't matter and could walk out the door tomorrow, be hit by a car, and then gone forever. It's easy to just believe that some all-powerful being really cares about us and will take care of us for eternity after we die. It also strikes us as just plain wrong that someone who is good can be struck down at a young age while someone who is truly evil can live undetected to a ripe old age and then die peacefully in his sleep. We want there to be a reckoning at the end.

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Ask me to go mountain climbing for no purpose other than to get to the top? I'd just laugh at you. Tell me you went mountain climbing? I'd either wander directly on to some other subject, or perhaps investigate (recreationally) why you feel it necessary to risk your family and friends losing you over an "accomplishment" that has no actual value to anyone. The world is not improved by your climb, no one is saved, and worst case, you may inspire some other fool to risk their life in a useless fashion similar or identical to yours.

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"why is legitimacy necessary?"

Because money laundering operations, like drugs and other black market trade, is one of the ways terrorists fund their activities. That's the short answer. The longer answer is more complicated. The problem with draconian enforcement options like this is it drives things underground. Organized crime got its start in this country due to the Prohibition; By making a popular activity illegal and driving it underground, they forced people to turn to the underground. Cigarettes and other "sin products" are showing similar trends; Where I live, trucks are now arriving from Canada carrying nothing but cartons of cigarettes because the tax rates have become so high that some people have started turning to the black market to purchase them. The historical 'Boston tea party' incident was another such reaction to this -- while the mantra at the time was 'no taxation without representation,' what it was really about was an overly burdensome tax, and people started seeking out alternatives, as well as publicly venting their frustration. File sharing is another example -- the product has become so grossly-overpriced that it has fueled all kinds of technologies dedicated to getting around what could be termed the 'RIAA/MPAA tax'.

I forget the name, but in Macroeconomics, there's a theory that suggests that whenever you raise the tax rate, you get diminishing returns because more people look for ways to avoid the tax. Beyond a certain point, a higher tax rate actually results in less tax collected. To paraphrase a US Supreme Court Justice, "The power to tax is the power to destroy."

But what does all this have to do with Bitcoin and making it legitimate? When you have currencies not controlled by the government like Bitcoin, taxes aren't being collected. Yes, there may also be criminal activity associated with the currency, but that's only because criminal activity is like water -- it seeks the lowest point, the most efficient path. Government creates resistance in market forces for both legal and illegal, legitimate and illegitimate goods and services alike. In the 60s, numerous grass-roots efforts were made to create alternative currencies, and all of them were aggressively attacked by the FBI and Secret Service, for the same reasons Bitcoin is being hit today. There is an old saying; Don't believe what they tell you, follow the money.

Now, all that said, these government actions have the effect of driving things underground where they can't be tracked. The problem is though that the guy who wants to buy a dime sack of weed is not really a threat to anyone; but the guy who wants to buy shoulder-mounted missiles and bomb components is. But when you drive the hundreds of thousands of people who just want a dime sack underground, it gives the terrorists a place to hide. That's the problem with the black market: When it targets something that's popular, socially acceptable, or whatever, for political reasons rather than as a reflection of the people's will, you create an area for undesireable elements to flourish.

Take file sharing; All of this encryption and peer to peer networking would never have arisen if the government hadn't started punishing grandmas and college kids for doing it. The response was so disproportionate to the harm to society, and it was against commonly-held values by the general public, that it resulted in an immediate creation of a digital underground. And within a few years, the technologies developed to fend off the government found their way into the hands of "cyber" criminals; witness the rise of advanced persistent threats, botnets, and nation-funded espionage and sabotage, much of which uses the same technology created for a much less nefarious purpose: People just wanted to listen to music. Now our power grid, hospitals, dams, and other industrial infrastructure is at risk.

And now we have a real big problem. The government is correct: Bitcoin does attract the criminal element. In large numbers. What they're saying is absolutely true, but it's only half the story; They created the organized crime they now seek to fight, because they criminalized things most people don't have a problem with. In departing from the doctrine of public safety and the will of the people as the guiding mission behind our judiciary process, we have created our own quagmire of terrorism, organized crime, and all the other evil that comes with it.

The solution is an easy one, but it will never be politically popular: The answer is to do nothing. Sometimes you have to allow alittle bit of "evil" to slip by so that you don't create holes in your net so big that the big evils can slip through. Legalize marijuana. Decriminalize file sharing. Get rid of 'sin taxes' and balance your budget without targetting political minorities. This is how you tighten up the net. Public opinion will swing back in support of law enforcement, instead of being antagonistic towards it, people will be more willing to share information, and the costs of finding and prosecuting the real threats to our way of life will go way down.

And as far as Bitcoin goes... rather than take punitive measures with lots of collateral damage, offer incentives for businesses to be legitimate. Support international trade instead of condemning it, and set your taxes reasonably and fairly. If you play to the people's self-interests instead of off their fears, you're going to find that the socioeconomic paradigm will get turned on its head... and it'll be cheaper too.

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Both the Plato and the Old Testament discuss atheists. I'm willing to bet that there has never been a time in recorded human history when every person believed in a god or gods. That means in no point in recorded human history has god shown himself to all humanity, beyond any reasonable doubt. So if you believe in gods, especially a particular god, it's because somebody told you about him.

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Yes, but it is more rational to disbelieve in that which, by definition, can never be proven, than to believe in the same. That is, at least, if you believe in rational thought.

As an Atheist, I'm more than willing to accept there is a god (or gods) if any rational proof can be exhibited (I've yet to see it). And no, a book such as the Christian bible, does not suffice. It is known to have been written by man, and the portions chosen to be included by committee/monarch so Charlemagne could subvert and control the ever growing Christian populace. The "books" we now know as the "New Testament" were voted up by man circa 400AD. It is not the word of god. It is a carefully selected sets of works that allowed a king to more effectively control his subjects.

I, too, can write about walking on water, turning water into wine, etc. But it doesn't make it true. In our time, we call it a novel or a work of fiction.

I cannot read Arabic, but the select translations of the Koran I've read lead me to believe it would be far less attractive.

I'm not personally familiar with any other religion, but there is not one I've been exposed to that makes any sense. Every single one is designed as a means to control the minds of a mass of people. They demand sacrifice in this life for promise of an afterlife (that has never been proven).

Finally, if there was a god or many gods, all of the worlds' religions cannot be correct. And seeming as so much of the mythology around these religions seem to indicate rage and jealousy when they are disrespected, why is it that all of these religions that so fundamentally disagree are allowed to exist? Is it because they're all correct (in which case, there is no one god), or do we cite Occam's Razor and that the reason all of the religions exist is because there are no gods?

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Getting rid of religion is one of the most rational things a society can do, religion is the single most damaging force ever invented and at the same time one of the most irrational.

Basically you can sum up catholic / Islam based religions in this fashion;

Now what possible level headed human could support this insane ideal? What I just outlined is EXACTLY what the bible explains. You can argue or you can say I didn't read it correctly but strip off the extra BS and what I stated is exactly what the bible states. I didn't do a good job capturing the parts where God tells man to openly rape little girls and commit mass killings.

Lets just review some of the other wondering lessons we can learn from religion:

Lets not even start with Mormonism, where you take Christianity, which is crazy and add two dashes of total bat shit to it. Islam takes Christianity and adds on society segmentation and insane gender segmentation, combined with the fact most Muslims have the maturity of three year olds and they claim the Quran tells them to kill ( which it doesn't ).

Religion is what most people consider morally superior, but if you can't explain how the extreme negatives fit in, then why should you be allowed to use the extreme or neutral positives? Religion is not a good force in the world, it's not rational, it's not moral and it's not a system of belief we should be passing on. If the internet is helping to end this insane system of sick, disturbing, mentally and emotionally twisted beliefs then so be it, and I'm glad!

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For what it's worth, some of us both think the US (and my government at the time, the UK) were completely wrong and that soldiers don't deserve the saint hood they're granted.

My grandfather and his generation deserved the privileged view veterans of his generation were given because he was forced into a war fighting for his life and the very survival of his country as a Royal Marine Commando fighting against Nazi Germany, but the guys who sign up today? No, they're almost all doing it because they're fuck ups and failed at school, and it's the easy way out of bucking up, growing up and doing something useful like everyone else.

I'd have respect for soldiers fighting in a war of survival, or conscripts who were forced into a war against their will, but volunteers for the military of a nation not under direct threat? Nope. I don't respect them anymore than I respect people going into any other profession.

I understand in America brainwashing is more prevalent and some people genuinely do believe that patriotic duty bullshit, but certainly here it's nonsense, no one believes that, they always claim it to demand they be afforded otherwise undeserved respect, but they don't believe it. They do it because they left themselves no other career path through their own stupidity, or because they just want to dick around with tanks, guns, and planes. That's fine to be like that, or to want that, but don't pretend it's something you deserve respect for. Military populism as peddled by the likes of The Sun and Murdoch and co's other offerings are populist poison in society creating saints of people who are otherwise failures by their own hand.

Out of interest though, how do you determine that the Iraq war was worth it? I personally can't see how anything positive came out of it, the region lost an important counter balance to Iran, and Iran gained an ally. More people died, the country is less stable, and it cost the US economy trillions of dollars of debt. What possible benefits arose from it? I just can't see a metric that made it worthwhile. At least with Afghanistan I can see there is some argument for increased stabilisation, and less brutal militancy, at least with Afghanistan I can respect that there is certainly some progress.

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As someone who walks around with earphones in most of the time, believe it or not, it makes me more empathetic to the homeless.Nothing says "disposable income" more than having headphones, and as such, i'm very self-conscious about that fact. Instead of aimlessly walking on by when a homeless guy tries to chat or ask for money, i'll often stop, have a chat, and give them my spare change. Sure, they might spend it on Special Brew or hard cider, but at least they'll spend all of my change on getting through their day.

Only 30% of the money you put in collection boxes actually goes to doing charitable work, the rest is spent on administrative costs, advertising, and other costs. When I give change to a homeless guy, i know that 100% of my money is going to do that homeless guy some good, and there's nothing like the feeling of making someone's day. Put that money into a collection box, and only 30% is going to go to good causes, and you'll probably never meet the guy who's day you made.

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Those big holes are what science tries to close. It's just as much a mistake to justify religion by saying "but science hasn't solved X" as it is dismissing religious types because they're stupid and calling it a day. The fact that those holes exist merely means we need to test and observe more, not that magical sky daddies exist. Also, I do hope your friends that are proponents of science respond to your question of what they believe with "Nothing". Because that's the only correct answer. Belief is for religion, empirical evidence is for science. Faith is poison, rerunnable tests are solutions.

That's the biggest problem with these people. They always try to defend their faith with "but you believe in science". Nope, science requires no belief in anything. That's the point of it. It's also the biggest problem with the "science is a religion" idiots. It's also why there is such a gigantic split between the two sides. One side just can't grasp the fact that belief is unnecessary and harmful, the other one can't grasp that there are people who think belief is acceptable.

I know this because I used to be a bible thumper before escaping the brainwashing. Religion is literally a cancer and is causing real harm as proven by these anti-vaccination types. So let's stay on topic with that.

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I don't know, my personal experience is so:

Bought first duplex about a year before the housing bubble burst, so this one was rather expensive (all things considered) Wife and I lived in one side, while renting the other. This allowed us to save money to buy the next place. We purchased this duplex using a FHA ARM loan which has worked out *incredibly* well for us. It started at 4.25% and has gone down every year since, our current rate is 2.213%. It is linked to Prime and can only go up or down a max of 1 point/year and maxes at 9%. We pay extra on this property every month to try to get us in a better position when the interest rates start going up, at this point it's paid down enough that even if it goes up to 9% we would still be cash-flowing (extremely slightly). The horror stories you hear about ARM loans are due to the fact that many were non-FHA and were predatory in the *extreme*. (When we were in the process of looking I can't tell you how many people we met that claimed they brokered loans on the side and offered to close the loan from the back of their cars)

Our next property we purchased was another duplex in a much better part of town. All things considered it is a infintatly better property (4x lot size, 3 car garage, 9 car driveway, beautiful location). We aquired it on a short sale for less than 30K difference from the first duplex and 80K less than what it appraised for. Again, we lived on one side and rented the other, which allowed us to save money, plus we were cash flowing slightly from the first duplex.

We started a family and realized that we were outgrowing the second duplex due to lack of available bedrooms. We started looking for a single family house, bought it for 40K less than the asking price in an even better area (basically surrounded by lakes and shopping area less than 5 minute walk away)

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that it matters more whether someone is in it for the long term or short term and whether you can make money from the property. My wife and I are long-term thinkers and we are going to hold on for as long as we can and hopefully pass them onto our children (mortgage-free). Another reason we bought them was to hedge against the next recession by having fiscal alternatives to our 401K's. Another benefit is that we have a place to live. I don't really care if the eventual price I'm paying is double for the property because I'm still cash-flowing on the duplex's. Plus all of our loans are under 5% my parents and older family members have all said that their interest rates on their first houses were in the 18% range, so 5% is a screaming deal. Yes, the property market is heating up, prices are rising, but interest rates are still at historic lows which make purchasing property (esp rental) now a wise investment. Personally, we're done buying properties for a while and will probably wait until the next recession to start purchasing again.

The only people that care about the short term interest rates and markets are the flippers and I personally would never never never buy a property from one of them. They do the absolute shittiest work for the least amount of money and then try to sell it to unsuspecting buyers for the max amount. If you buy a house from a flipper I will pretty much guarantee that there are corners cut, shitty workmanship. It may hold up (long enough to make the sale) and look good for a few months/years but sooner rather than later you will be fixing/replacing pretty much everything they touched. Newly built houses are IMHO a close second in terms of being poor purchases due to the fact that most builders don't care about the long-term. If there ever is a problem, you'll likely find they went under and started up another business under a different name and your left holding the bag. I wouldn't buy a house that is post-mid-70's. Brick was real brick, not brick veneer, builders cared and they just last for ever

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See the thing is, all you filesharing retards are well, retarded. You want all your pirate shit right fucking NOW. If you would learn some fucking self discipline you would know that you can actually, gasp, WAIT a day or so for your download to finish. That opens up whole new worlds to you. Specifically, using anonymous networks.

Google this shit and learn it... I2P, CJDNS, Hyperboria, Phantom, Tor, RetroShare, Tahoe-LAFS, Gnunet, etc, etc, etc ... If you would all move your torrenting and whatever else onto them you'd be virtually bulletproof. Bonus is that with no risk, you can seed FOREVER, safely, instead of acting like a little bitch and leechquitting that shit. Your retarded insistence on using clearnet for serving and downloading material is an outdated model and RISKY AS FUCK to everyone.

Learn the cryptos people, it's your only way out of this constant RAID mess, and the only way to keep the protest going for the long haul.

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As a youngster growing up in the 1980's, countless dozens of hours were spent both in my own basement and the basement of my childhood (well, still) best friend's parents house listening to vinyl, cassettes, and analog FM radio. I later became a smalltime audiophile, I don't buy Monster Cable or equipment that costs more than 4 figures, but I still enjoy a good audio listening experience.

About 5 years ago, my friend's parents finally retired and I was around to help them move out west. While the old Pioneer receiver we used to jam out on had long since died or been retired to the local landfill, the off-name floor speakers were still there. I believe one had the same old lamp sitting on it that it always did, and the other one was just sitting there in the corner. They told me to put them out to the street.

Of course, they went in the trunk of my car, where I promptly took them home and stored them in my garage. This summer, as the garage had now collected enough surplus computer and electronic equipment to need it's twice a decade cleaning, I found the old "Utah" speakers and decided to hook them up to my receiver and see if they were dead or alive. I flicked on the local "oldies" station (meaning 70's and 80's music now) and I was immediately transported back in time. Radio still sounded today like it sounded back in 1986. The speakers provided all the "warmth" and "fullness" that people are always chasing after.

This may sound like a no-brainer, but speakers determine what you hear. Those speakers are now a permanent fixture out in my garage/man-cave. No, they don't sound like any of the big-name equipment I run in the home theater. But they are immersive with only 2 channels in a way a 9.2 surround system can never match. And when I sit outside on the weekend, enjoying a few beers and some (sometimes herb-fueled) tinkering with Linux boxes and electronics, to me at least, it's like going backwards to a time when things were still exciting, the guy on the radio was someone everyone knew, and you had the whole world in the palm of your hand.

I do apologize for waxing nostalgic on a public forum, and I do love my new technology, but damnit sometimes it's nice to just sit back and enjoy something simple that you love. I can understand the value to youngsters of sitting around listening to a piece of tangible vinyl that you can hold in your hand, look at the album art, read the lyrics (all without a LAN connection or Wi-Fi AP being involved) rather than some logical arrangement of bits on a chip or spinning platter. So yes, of course, put your money into speakers (or vinyl, or whatever makes you happy)! I recommend garage sales, swap meets, and flea markets!

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He's trying to tell us that he's really racist, and should be marginalized, but unfortunately he was too cowardly to post his name.

So, what 85% (or greater) majority black area do you currently live in, or plan to relocate to? Since you are of course a principled not-racist individual you should, obviously, practice what you preach. To do otherwise would be the highest hypocrisy. To be consistent with what you say here, your neighborhood better not be majority-white. Otherwise you would be the very sort of racist you accuse me of being.

Truth is, I'm not racist. It isn't my fault that black culture has adopted such violence and savagery. They didn't ask me for my opinion before they decided that being a street thug gangsta was the highest virtue in life that they should all celebrate and romanticise en masse. I really have no control over that decision. What I do have control over is that I do not wish to be in areas full of wannabe thug gangstas because I do not want to be victimized by them, nor do I want my family to be menaced by them. They choose to be the way they are and I respond accordingly (incidentally there are plenty of poor white people, I've never seen them riot and loot like the blacks did in L.A. and Ferguson and New Orleans). I really have no problem with nonviolent people who happen to have darker skin. The problem is that a very high percentage of dark-skinned people have decied to adopt this street-thug life, so I avoid them because I would be foolish not to. I want to work hard and earn a living and feed my family and invest in our future, not get into street fights over stupid shit.

If the goal truly is to eliminate perceived "racism", the black people themselves have the most control over that situation. I don't fear for my safety when I go into an Amish area, because the Amish are not known to be a violent aggressive thuggish people. In fact they have built up a reputation for hospitality and kindness. And I'm not particularly pro-Amish nor do I subscribe to their beliefs, yet I can observe that this is so. But if our prisons were overwhelmingly filled with Amish criminals, far beyond the proportion of the population that is Amish, then I would soon take steps to avoid interactions with the Amish, and there is nothing bigoted about that. See how that works? It's truly amazing how nerdy types who can figure out the most complex mathematical, computational, and engineering problems fail to grasp and identify the very most basic social observations.

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I don't know about the OP, but I'm an engineer, and women interested in dating engineers don't seem to exist.

What you do isn't likely to be a draw unless it is exotic, either by virtue of rarity, or by virtue of publicly visible achievement (CEO of a major company, etc.)

Who you are, on the other hand, is something you demonstrate with everything you do. Worthwhile women (as opposed to self-destructive barflies and NASCAR fans) are most often looking for several things, usually in the following order.

First, looks and character. You don't have to be a beautiful man, but you will do best if you carry yourself with confidence, and no matter what you should be clean and smell good or at least not smell bad, you need to groom your hair, keep your fingernails and sweaty parts extremely clean without telegraphing obsession, and you should dress like someone who can afford to dress well, because...

Second, security. You should project the sense that being with you is a better state than being without you. A nice car, a nice ring or watch, clean clothes in excellent shape, these send two messages: that you will spend for comfort and that you can spend. Most women of breeding age (even if you're not interested in having kids, I assume you're still interested in going through the motions) are looking for a fellow who is able and willing to make that nest. That's true even if they say, and if they really mean, they don't want kids themselves. Security is a very good thing, and they've been seriously tuned up by evolution to seek it out. Also, as a life goal, a great nest is an excellent thing to aim for, to achieve, and to share.

On the subject of security, kill any debt you have if humanly possible. You'll have more money in the end. A debt-free person is a lot more attractive than one who brings such things to a relationship. This isn't always achievable, but if you can get out of debt and/or avoid it entirely, you definitely should. Financial rule #1: You don't want to pay interest. You want to charge interest.

Once you are interacting, STFU and listen. You can initiate conversations, and steer them, and you should, but you need to be a good listener more than anything else. Let her speak and encourage her to speak more, and visibly enjoy the experience (don't fake it -- build a mindset where you are interested. It's entirely a good thing.) The time for you to speak at any length is when you are asked a question. Which you answer carefully and in the most interesting way you can. Otherwise, short and sweet is the rule. This aids in making you intriguing and in projecting interest in her.

I speak from a lifetime of experience, and a great deal of success in courting the women I went after, ultimately, finding and keeping someone of such profound worth and compatibility that to this day, after decades, I am still deeply in love with her, and she with me. I'm almost 60, BTW. And yes, I am an engineer and a geek, and I am not a beautiful man. However I am confident and I am extroverted but can listen well without having to interrupt with my own take or story (one of the most obnoxious conversational failures ever, IMHO, is to interrupt, or answer, a story of someone else's with a recitation of something similar or related that happened to you. Instead, ask questions about the story and as it is told, respond to it within its own context. You can take that one right to the relationship bank. No matter how strong the urge, don't tell stories about yourself except when explicitly asked to do so. Mystery trumps bragging every time.)

When the day comes when you're trying to seriously figure out if a particular lady is "the one", watch out for serious areas of conflict that the rush of romance has (temporarily, I assure you) pushed aside: religion, politics, impingement of extended family fuckarosis, drinking or drugging habits and seriously divergent philosophical outlooks, desire for kids. Any one of those can put a relationship right on the rocks, and yes, again I speak from experience. Only the lawyers win in the end if you manage to convince yourself those things can be overlooked. It is highly unlikely that will turn out to be true.

Now of course I am speaking generally, there are exceptional women out there who will be a little or a lot different, but on the whole, my experience and that of the people I know tell me that this is the way to place your bets. None of this is likely to put off an exceptional woman, either.

Where to meet people? I don't know about online dating, and have no POV to share there. It might be great. However, IRL, there are a number of places that can bear fruit. For example, the grocery store. Single women have to go there almost without fail. Tune yourself up to look for rings, and prepare and throw some conversation starters: meat counter... "Have you tried that from this store?" You see what that does? It's not about you, it's not quite about her, but it solicits her opinion, doesn't portray you as an ignoramus, and gets her talking to you. "hmm... sounds good (or in case of a negative, 'oh... hmmm. What would you suggest instead?'), what do you think of a caesar salad, what about a good [wine, side, etc] to go with?" It will help considerably if you can cook and know a bit about food and wine. In other ways, too -- highly recommended. You can turn this around on a dime, by simply getting her to ask who this is for. At that point, "Oh, just me. Although... you know, I'd be delighted to cook for you... (nice smile.)" All she can do is demur, which should not put you off in the least. It'll happen. But so will successes. No try... no success.

Don't stick to a single grocery store. Go to as many as you can so what you're doing isn't clear to all who see you at it the second or third time.

There are other forms of common ground. Shopping in general; laundromats; clubs, swimming pools, luncheon places, the beach. They're all potential meeting venues as long as you treat them that way, and prepare some contextually appropriate conversation starters. Move around. Test the waters everywhere.

In conversation, don't over-share, and avoid complaining -- about anything -- no matter what. That just projects "I am a victim." You want to project "I am a (humble, funny, intelligent, strong, quiet) force of fucking nature." On receipt of complaints, your answers are either potential solutions (only if practical and realistic) or restrained sympathy combined with a good ear.

Lastly, and I am quite serious, consider becoming a martial arts student. Say nothing about it unless there is a scheduling conflict, and then say no more than "oh, I'm sorry, I have a workout that evening/day/whatever. Let her ask. She almost certainly will, eventually, if nothing else. Then tell her. You seriously undertake and stick to martial arts, and eventually -- just a matter of a couple years -- you won't have to project strength and confidence. You will be strong and confident and the ladies who are looking will know it sure as a cat can smell tuna. Yes, I'm a martial artist.

Good luck.

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Depression is a symptom of the fundamental fact that life sucks.

Life is pain and suffering, and to create it is to condemn that life and it's progeny on average to hell. Not creating it means that niche will be filled with other life which will suffer on average.

From a utilitarian point of view, while your life might not be bad, life on average is expected to suck, and the most humane thing to do would be to destroy or sterilize life and remove it's very niche so other life can not evolve to fill it.

Piloting the Earth into the Sun would be a saintly action by utilitarian standards.

And unfortunately the utilitarians are right. Those smart enough to see it will tend toward depression if they think too much about it.

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That's in a diversified portfolio of long-term investments

Dogma, most often repeated to dazzle small fish into thinking the stock market is a place where money is generated, instead of stolen. It's roughly equivalent to a poker table, and it's a zero-sum game. There's a great illusion where you put in a million dollars and a $5 stock with 200,000 shares issued becomes a $50 stock and woo there's ten million dollars!! ...except the other guy at the table only has the million dollars that was put into the market in the first place; you're not getting more than a million dollars by selling all your stock (the price will collapse or you won't sell it all) unless he brings another nine million dollars from outside *into* the stock market, netting $10 million in and $10 million out.

The trick is the idiot does come back with $10 million, because he sees the price going up and up, and wants in on that; you sell it back to him because you see the climb slowing and showing distress, and then it collapses and he cries and sells it back to you for $1 million, and you sell it to the next moron with $10 million in his pocket when it climbs back, and now you have $19 million in your pocket and two poor single-millionaires across the table from you.

The biggest argument against diversification isn't the most obvious. The most obvious is that investing 100% into SPY (the S&P500 tracker) is an instant diversified portfolio; as corollary, any selection of multiple securities--stocks, bonds, options (though they expire), commodities (they get delivered, so you have to keep trading contracts in practice; exchange funds that handle this for you are a close substitute)--behaves like a single security, fluctuating up and down as the market does and as their representative sectors in total do.

A diversified portfolio doesn't magically make money; it simply lowers risk. You must make good buying and selling decisions to make money. In the extreme, a single-stock strategy has the potential to gain *much* more than a diversified portfolio; it can also *lose* much more. In a diversification strategy, you try to select a bunch of securities--stocks or funds which represent a strategy (sector investment, profile investment)--based on what you think would make a good single-security investment, scaling their proportion to their relative risks versus return and your risk tolerance.

That all sounds complex, but it's easily illustrated. Let's say you think BGWNR is likely to climb sharply, making you a 7% profit in the next 6 weeks, but that it's of course more risky than SFBT which you believe is near-guaranteed to make you a 2% profit in the next 6 weeks. You have a pile of money with which to purchase these investments to fill a gap in your portfolio. If your strategy is an aggressive, higher-risk affair, you might put 75% of your money into BGWNR, and 25% into SFBT; if the market betrays you, BGWNR losses should be partially or wholly mitigated by SFBT losses, and the loss in total should be less even if both lose (because BGWNR would lose more of its value than SFBT). If your strategy is a conservative, lower-risk affair, you might put 10% into BGWNR, and 90% into SFBT, because a loss in both would be almost as small as a loss in SFBT, and a win in both would be significantly (but not greatly) larger than a 100% investment in SFBT, and a loss in BGWNR is way more likely than a loss in SFBT and so would probably leave you with *most* of the gain from SFBT if SFBT went up and BGWNR went down.

Does diversification magically mean profit? No. It means less profit, and less loss; it means you don't wake up one day finding out you got wiped out at the race track, and so can keep playing. If you're not a good trader in the first place, you might consistently lose money until you bleed to death slowly. For that matter, the market as a whole has a strong influence on individual securities: MSFT or AAPL can experience a 1.2% drop for the day for absolutely no other reason than the S&P having a shitty -3.2% day (an example of a strategy of all eggs in one basket managing better than a diversified strategy, which, again, isn't a magical rule and shouldn't be taken as an argument that one-bet-on-the-table is a good strategy, either). Your diversified portfolio should move around pretty much like everything else, just less extremely.

Long-term investments are also shit. To be more specific: buy-and-hold is shit; it's used along with diversification so that rich people can buy into small movements, hope for a modicum of stability over a much longer period than you really want to hold any security for, and then sell off and not have to pay income tax (if you hold for less than 1 year, you pay income tax--which can be 39.6% for rich people--versus 15% capital gains). Buy-and-hold is a great and powerful marketing tool used by investment funds who don't care if you make or lose money, as long as you keep it in their fund and let them suck 1% or 0.1% per year out of it.

This is why I no longer play the stock market. I made 1% per day for about a month, then decided to run as far the fuck away as I possibly could. I was waking up at 4am, checking foreign markets, checking foreign exchanges(!), checking commodities, reading news (MarketWatch, Seeking Alpha, anything eTrade brought through, anything UpDown brought through, etc.), reading charts, performing projections, manually calculating metrics (not all the metrics I use are standard-issue technical analysis), etc etc. My mind was in the stock market for 18 hours per day. Fuck that. If I'm not playing that hard, I'm just giving charity to Warren Buffet and Donald Trump; and there's no way I'm playing that hard ever again. There's nothing magic about it; it's stab-out-your-eyes obsession, and you still don't win 100% of your bets.

Maybe I'll take up day trading one day. That's much more casual, believe it or not: the exact same rules as swing trading and trend trading apply, but only over a period of hours. You don't need to make big projections, and you get much faster feedback and instant gratification; the problem is you have to invest more time (you have a few minutes of turn-around before you have to pull your investments, make shorts, buy out your shorts, make new long positions...), which, as I said, is kind of a farce when I'm spending almost zero time trading and 18 hours every fucking day researching. At least when the god damn market closes you're done day trading.

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I used to be the "crack" man for a couple of home burglars. IE, I used to unknowingly crack windows passwords, reinstall OS's, etc for some guys who would break into houses and steal shit. They told me that they'd buy the laptops for cheap at flea markets, and flip them. I of course didn't believe it, so I started recording serial numbers around the 3rd laptop. Funny enough, eventually I buddied up with them and one of them came clean with what they do and how they do it. (Wanting me to do more laptops at a bulk discount.) I agreed, did a few more for them, and then submitted all the serial numbers, text messages, and license plates to the police...

In all I cracked/reinstalled around 20 computers, only a couple came back as hits as stolen by the police.

After that, I had to get serious about defense. If those fuckers ever put two and two together, they'll know who busted them. On top of this, I have tens of thousands of easily steal-able computer stuff too.

So here is what I learned working with professional thieves:

Here is how you prevent your PC from being stolen: