Showing posts from October, 2006

There is AIDS

In my previous post , I linked to sites that question the assumption that HIV causes AIDS. I have since looked at what the mainstream proponents of the HIV->AIDS theory have to say about the arguments of those who are against it, and I have so far found the following good resources:'s Evidence that HIV causes AIDS ; these articles by Jon Cohen from 1994 made available by Science. If you're aware of more factual responses to the claims made by Alive & Well and others that dismantles their claims based on solid research data, feel welcome to comment.

There is no AIDS?

We all assume that the HIV-causes-AIDS theory has been proven beyond reasonable doubt, since otherwise, why would we be seeing so much material that takes it for granted, right? Well... It turns out the HIV/AIDS theory might not have been proven , ever. At all. It might be, in fact, that it is only the result of mass hysteria and a long game of "telephone". Or, as it says on the website of one Peter Duesberg : On the basis of his experience with retroviruses, Duesberg has challenged the virus-AIDS hypothesis in the pages of such journals as Cancer Research, Lancet, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science, Nature, Journal of AIDS, AIDS Forschung, Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapeutics, New England Journal of Medicine and Research in Immunology. He has instead proposed the hypothesis that the various American/European AIDS diseases are brought on by the long-term consumption of recreational drugs and/or AZT itself, which is prescribed to prevent or treat AIDS.

Dawkins and the drive against religion

In this post , James Robertson discusses Richard Dawkins's drive against religion, which drive I generally agree with, but I think it misses the point in some ways. It is not necessary to teach people not to believe in God, but it is necessary to convince them that reason comes first. Faith is not a problem if the believer is willing to adapt when confronted with facts that conflict with his faith. But faith is a problem if one isn't so flexible - when one puts faith ahead of reason in one's value system. This leads to fanaticism, terrorism, abortion clinic bombing, dressing up women in burqas, female circumcision, and so on. It is very necessary that the school system develops the students' rational analysis skills, to give youngsters trust in their reasoning abilities. Beyond that, teaching them not to believe in unicorns or witches is pointless, because what else is more interesting than what you aren't supposed to do, think, or believe.

Religious fundamentalism is around us

Most "normal" people are so insufficiently aware that things like these are taking place in the world every day, and it is "normal". I grew up in a light version of this - my growing up was full of conflict with a Catholic fundamentalist parent. I've also been upclose and personal with Network 21 (the strongest group of Amway distributors) who run an indoctrination system that's in many ways similar to this. This is really evil, and people usually fail to understand that when I say that I'm against organized religion, this means that I'm against cults and indoctrination systems like this. They are a real disease that perpetuates itself in society, and even large and generally less fundamentalist organized religions have lots of nooks and crannies which are fundamentalist in this way. I've seen those nooks and crannies and people who perpetuate this on the Catholic side, and I can confirm that indeed these patterns are evil, and furthermore th

What's the right amount of social friction?

James Robertson argues in response to my recent thoughts about dress code : In social settings, politeness exists to reduce friction. People who don't get that are - whether they realize it or not - increasing the social friction between people. There is of course truth in this, but there are two sides to this medal, and as far as dress code is concerned, I responded in a comment under James' post. As far as social friction in general is concerned though, I find it worthwhile to express these thoughts: It could be argued that, in a situation where you're a lemming in a group of lemmings heading over a cliff, it will "reduce social friction" if you just go along and don't resist the flow of your peers. Likewise, it could be argued that if you were living in Nazi Germany, it would "reduce social friction" if you just didn't complain about the treatment of the Jews. (*) In fact, you are quite correct that "reducing social friction" is j

Iraq death toll between 400,000 and 950,000

New Scientist reports : Critics commenting on the study say the number of deaths in the families interviewed – 82 reported before the invasion, 547 afterwards – was too few to extrapolate to the whole country. But the researchers insist they have made statistical compensations for their sample size to pre-empt these criticisms. They estimate that there were at least 392,976 excess deaths – those that would not have occurred, has there been no war – in Iraq since 2003, and possibly as many as 942,636. The research confirmed the results of the same group’s 2004 study. Even Saddam Hussein didn't kill as many people . Suppose the Iraq war had anything to do with protecting the United States from terrorism. Which it did not, and the United States are now supposedly more at threat than before. But anyway. Suppose that, a few years ago, George W. Bush had told you that his plan of getting rid of the terrorist problem would cost the lives of between 400.000 and 1 million Americans . Wha

Join me in my country!

Here's what a country governed by denis will look like. 1. No flat democracy. Flat democracy is when two wolves and a sheep get to vote on what's for dinner. It leads to dysfunctional populist policies and totalitarian states. Hitler was voted into power. So were Putin and Ahmadinejad. People don't know what's best for everyone. They can be manipulated at will and they won't ever know any better unless there's an external correction. Just look at how long the income tax has persisted. Look at how bureaucracy worldwide has ballooned. People can't get elected unless they're good at lying and manipulating. If any improvement is to be done, it can only get done by a skillful politician who can do it not because of, but despite the public. This is no way to govern a state. For their own sake, power is not for the masses. But even more importantly, power is not for the crackpots: Kim Jong-il, Stalin, Ceausescu. So where shall the power reside? 2. An e

Visual Studio 2005 Configuration Manager Bugs

The programmer who created the Visual Studio 2005 Configuration Manager should be hung. The Configuration Manager just doesn't work. It's so quirky you would think that they shipped it without even a minimal test. Suppose you remove a configuration; rename a different configuration to match the name of the one you removed; close the Configuration Manager; open it again; and both configurations reappear. Heck, forget about renaming anything. Just try to remove a configuration from a project. Close the solution and open it again. The removed configuration is still there. If I want to achieve anything, I have to edit the .vcproj files manually. Not to mention that, as you switch the active solution configuration, all of the settings sometimes just seem to flip and then you have to reset them again one by one, manually. The Visual Studio 2005 IDE, overall, is such a crappy piece of software. It is better than Visual Studio 2003, not to mention 2002, which was impossibly bugg

America's rigged elections

I tend to believe that all this is true . It is uncanny how chummy Diebold executives are with the Bushes, and how conveniently ignorant the company is when it comes to the (non-)security of their voting machines. Add to this how Fox is de facto controlled by Bush relatives, and the "small" election irregularities that kept popping up after recent elections... Even from across the ocean, it's quite clear what is actually going on. George Bush senior - the only ex-president known to still daily be reading his CIA memos - is the conniving architect who, with the help of his powerful network of friends, installed his easily-manipulated idiot son as the US president and has been keeping him in office through deceit and outright manipulation for the past 6 years. This is all being done in bad faith and these are acts that, altogether, amount to treason. The truth doesn't come out partially because (1) these people control a major portion of the media, and (2) it's in

Dress code

A commenter recently posted this on James Robertson's blog: bigz, if you come into my office wearing torn jeans and a t-shirt, I will be offended. You are not showing respect for me or yourself. That is simply the way the world works. And yes I teach my child respect. I learned it from my parents. My instinctual reaction to this is, "If you're so uptight about clothes, I don't necessarily need to do any business with you." The person who wrote this is essentially a traditionalist - a person who perpetuates certain patterns of behavior "just because", not because there's necessarily any good reason for it. Being a traditionalist is fine as long as you don't force it on others. Forcing it upon others, though, is what the words "cultural imperialism" are about. If I come into your office in jeans and a T-shirt, I'm not disrespecting you, because wearing such an outfit doesn't mean disrespect in my world. It's an outfit I like

Evil in Russia

This is despicable. It's worse than George W. Bush and the Iraq war. Dubya, at least, comes across stupid enough to give him the benefit of the doubt that perhaps he actually believed Iraq had something to do with Al-Qaeda. Or even if he was well aware that the link was tenuous, he might have been deluded enough to think that an intervention would actually result in a "beacon of democracy" and such things. It's a stretch, but - at least his stupidity makes it potentially conceivable that he didn't act overtly in bad faith. This cannot be said for Putin. What he has been doing lately is so egregiously evil - first Yukos, then Ukraine, and now Georgia - that it cannot be forgiven on any moral grounds. Bush may be an idiot surrounded by self-serving men; but Putin is truly evil. The world needs to stand up to this man. Something needs to be done about him. But with America now exhausted from the war in Iraq; with its international goodwill wasted; its superpow

Meta-programming vs. the mental gap

Boris Kolar wrote favorably about meta-programming in his comments to my previous post . Meta-programming is, by definition, writing code that writes code. The very need to write code that writes more code is something that should be avoided - pre-empted - at the time of programming language design. Show me an example where you need to use meta-programming, and I will show you a language that lacks an essential feature for which your meta-programming is a workaround. The essential problem of software development is not that programmers cannot churn out code, and so they need tools to help them churn out more code automatically. The essential crisis of programming today is that all code written nowadays has severe deficiencies in security and reliability. The problem is not that programmers are unable to create software. The problem is they are unable to create software that really does what they wanted it to do. You see, all programs are perfect. All programs are complete, and they