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  • Reply to: Forward Recall Open Thread   45 min 12 sec ago

    Rebuilding Solomon's Temple?

    “If you were to meet God himself in his own house, what would you wear?” This question was asked by the bishop Renato Cardoso, from the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God  from Brazil, in an official video released by the church and intended to instruct the guests and the faithful who tomorrow will be attending the inauguration of Solomon’s Temple, a 10,000-seat replica of the Bible’s most famous temple, built in the eleventh century BC in Jerusalem. The new temple occupies an area of over one million square feet in Sao Paulo and will serve as Universal’s new headquarters.


    The 69-year-old Macedo will be the star of Thursday’s inauguration, which will be attended by President Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, among many other influential political figures from Sao Paulo and throughout Brazil. It was his idea to build a replica of Solomon’s Temple as a way to showcase his church’s incredible presence in Brazil and its reshaping of the country’s religious scene over the last three decades.

    Still inside the church, there will be an ark on the altar that will represent the Ark of Covenant. The aim is to produce a three-dimensional effect: when open, people will be able to see it inside, and its image will be reflected in the baptism pool, giving people the sensation that, during the baptism, they are being baptised inside the Ark.


    According to the president of the World Zionist Organisation’s youth department, Persio Bider, the initiative will give non-Judaic Brazilians the opportunity to know more about Israel and the Jews, eliminating prejudice and anti-Semitism, still present in our society. “Only by getting to know each other will we be able to eradicate prejudice and discrimination, to work together, and to respect each other’s differences. We have a lot in common, and we need to unite ourselves and work for a just and more positive society, focused on coexistence and religious tolerance. And that’s the reason why I found Bishop Macedo’s initiative very interesting; he seems to love Israel and the Jewish people very much,” affirmed Bider.

  • Reply to: Forward Recall Open Thread   1 hour 28 min ago

    The main thrust seems to be the naked selloff of assets to overseas investors, in the name of efficiency.  Unlike China, we have a very long history of this.  Take Goldman Sachs and Modi.  Especially after the 2008 et seq meltdown, one cannot expect that any nation would willingly invite in Goldman Sachs to direct investment.  Yet in 2013, before the election, this is what Goldman Sachs said.

    MUMBAI: Under attack over upgrading Indian equities on expectations of electoral victory for Narendra Modi in the next year's elections, investment banker Goldman Sachs on Friday said the report was unbiased and based on the views of market participants.

    "It was not his (author's) views of the political climate, but his views on how market was looking at...," Goldman Sachs India CEO Bunty Bohra said at an event here.

    "Research is independent, and it is not like it's my view. It is the research department independently saying what's going to happen."

    His comments came as commerce minister Anand Sharma and Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh trashed the report of the investment banker, saying they should confine themselves to what they claim to specialise in--economy-- and not dabble in political speculation.

    Goldman Sachs in a recent report titled as "Modi-fying our View: raise India to Marketweight", had upgraded overall view on domestic equities to "market weight".

    The brokerage house revised its end-2014 target for nifty to 6,900 points, which implies a 9 per cent upside from the current levels and a 14.5 times forward price to earning ratio.

    And whats the big news today?

    Recently Goldman Sachs reportedly disclosed its willingness to invest USD 200 million (Rs 1,200 crore) to build a new campus in Bangalore that can accommodate 9,000 people.
    The global investment bank's Bangalore operations, with 5,400 people, is already the largest outside its New York headquarters, where it has 12,000 employees. The Bangalore office, established 10 years ago, has seen its headcount rise at a compounded annual growth rate of about 19% over the past five years.

    If it were just outsourcing, as with previous governments, everyone here would cheer.  But one doubts if Modi, and his entourage has the economic and political nous to handle Goldman Sachs from the POV of someone who looks at our interests first.


    The success of ISRO may be a brake on this, perhaps.

  • Reply to: Open Shawshank Redemption Thread   2 hours 50 min ago

    I swear I made my picks last week, I think they didn't take due a login issue. Considering I think I might have only gotten 5 points anyway, it doesn't really matter.

  • Reply to: Open Shawshank Redemption Thread   3 hours 53 min ago

    ....but I suspect that I will never have the time, (or motivation), to really put anything together for myself. But it does like a stable platform that accepts lots of different stuff...(obviously a recommendation from Mr.


    Best Wishes, Traveller

  • Reply to: Open Shawshank Redemption Thread   7 hours 35 min ago

    hankp98072 [at] yahoo [dot] com


    The two that seem to make the most sense are blogger or wordpress. The big problem is importing the database, neither one looks really easy but wordpress looks easier. Wordpress will probably le us get closer to the look and feel of the current site. But I just started and I'll update you as I find out more.


  • Reply to: Forward Recall Open Thread   7 hours 35 min ago

    And as with St. Ronald of Tampico, India shall have a colossal spasm of hero worship, every fact notwithstanding.  I've looked at this guy for a while now, wrote a diary about him.  The more I find out, the more it seems this Modi was as culpable of collusion with genocide against Muslims as the Vichy regime of France was culpable in the days of the Third Reich.   

  • Reply to: Forward Recall Open Thread   7 hours 42 min ago

    when he first came out with his fractal geometry, saying "The emperor has no clothes" ?   How fractals would not provide any insight into nature?   I'm convinced - and my son is more convinced - that scientists and philosophers are approaching cognition with the same old concepts as the Euclidean geometers approached the descriptions of nature.


    As we get a better picture of the nervous system in operation, I strongly suspect we're going to find more "thinking" going on outside the brain than is currently supposed.  Lots of little subsystems in the spinal cord, the afferent and efferent neural pathways, there's a feedback loop in operation and we haven't even gotten as far as a proper map of it all.  Consider the heart, how it coordinates itself independently of the brain.  


    The two most promising efforts are in Alzheimer's and autism research.   That we still haven't gotten any closer to these problems speaks to a fundamentally inappropriate view of cognition.  Something terribly obvious is eluding us.  Shakespeare alludes to this multiplicity of the self in Sonnet 53


    What is your substance, whereof are you made,
    That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
    Since every one hath, every one, one shade,
    And you, but one, can every shadow lend.
    Describe Adonis, and the counterfeit
    Is poorly imitated after you;
    On Helen's cheek all art of beauty set,
    And you in Grecian tires are painted new.
    Speak of the spring and foison of the year:
    The one doth shadow of your beauty show,
    The other as your bounty doth appear;
    And you in every blessèd shape we know.
        In all external grace you have some part,
        But you like none, none you, for constant heart.

  • Reply to: Open Shawshank Redemption Thread   8 hours 18 min ago

    Keep us apprised of how your search goes.  Is the email on your ESC site the best way to reach you?  

  • Reply to: Forward Recall Open Thread   8 hours 23 min ago

    I think we have a better handle on basic physics than we do about consciousness.


  • Reply to: Open Shawshank Redemption Thread   8 hours 31 min ago

    bandwidth isn't an issue, sorry if I implied that. The main problem is CPU, which is caused by excessive SQL calls. There are a few reasons for this:


    - I'm not sure of the load each module puts on the overall system, and we use quite a few to implement features that people want - like voting for diaries, automatic promotion, alerts for new content - and ones we need, like spam blocking and all that's associated with it


    - We present a bunch of dynamic information on our front page - specifically Recent comments and Recent diaries, including notifications for new content. Since it's dynamic it can't be cached. I've tried to reduce the number displayed, but they still require a lot of sql lookups. This ties into the fact that we have a large amount of content for a relatively small site. There's only so much that can be done about this without radically changing how the front page looks.


    - The problems we have, mostly the preview issue but there are others, seem to be caused by not entirely correct upgrades. We started on v4, moved to v5 and are now on v6. Each time we did the upgrade a few more features started acting weird or not working at all. This is what you get when you build a platform on what is essentially beta software, I'm sure the database has some weird entries in it from previous versions/modules. The only solution would be a site backup, manual correction of the database, then site restoration. I'm not sure I have the skill and I'm certain I don't have the time for this.


    - You're correct about having to re-write the theme. I did it before and I can do it again, but it is the least maintainable part of the site (because my PHP and CSS skills are meager at best) and a big time sink to write and debug. I may go for a new version that's a lot closer to the default theme, both for maintainability and performance reasons.



    So unless someone steps up and takes over, I'm going to look at solutions that don't require management from me or anyone else. It's just too big and complicated a system for the resources we have. I may do the upgrade to v8, may not, but long term we either need someone else to step up or I'm going to simplify the site.



  • Reply to: Forward Recall Open Thread   8 hours 46 min ago

    Though the part about physics would certainly have far broader significance.

  • Reply to: Forward Recall Open Thread   9 hours 3 min ago

    These experiments are good because they can be falsified. If the effect is confirmed by others, then other experiments will need to be designed, and so on, till it becomes clear what is actually being observed here.


    As the effect is slight, this is most likely a statistical fluke. But it is worth pursuing anyway, since the experiments required are not expensive to run and the payoff of a confirmation could be very high.

  • Reply to: Forward Recall Open Thread   9 hours 7 min ago

    Introducing Prime Minister Modi!! A politician all the way from India who belongs to a party they call the "BJP".


    Modi's here at our central park festival to hang out with Sting, The Roots, and Ban Ki Moon, and to receive hugs from our host, Wolverine!

  • Reply to: Forward Recall Open Thread   9 hours 39 min ago

    or others - but from an AI perspective, and this is borne out in the neurology, the perception of Now lags slightly behind the Present.  Consider the problem faced by a tennis player:  the ball heads his way, it crosses the net.  None of this comes into conscious focus.  Watch where the really good players keep their eyes.  That quick glance to the point in space where they're going strike the ball, then right back to their opponent - but everything which preceded it is getting into position for that shot.


    In AI, a Verdict isn't rendered all at once.  A great deal of setup is required.  Axiomatic assertions about the problem domain cannot be avoided in AI but the human mind has no such constraints.  In AI, Verdicts come in bits and pieces.  Many Verdicts depend on other sub-verdicts.  In the human mind, some of that comes into play, but most of it is artificially constrained, as in a jury verdict:  did the defendant's actions meet the standards of the crime of which he stands accused?  


    Much of what we'd call Psi is just the mind considering potentialities.  Bern's experiments were never reproducible.  The worst insult I can dole out is to call someone Unscientific.  If the experiment cannot be reproduced, it's not science.   

  • Reply to: Forward Recall Open Thread   10 hours 24 min ago

    in the social sciences aren't quite as robust as we believe (and therefore test subjects are sometimes able to guess or respond to subtle clues in the testing procedure). 

  • Reply to: Forward Recall Open Thread   10 hours 27 min ago

    This time, however, it's Princeton's Sam Wang whose model is moving to align with Nate Silver's--


    Wang: 64% Ds retain Senate control 


    Silver: 58.3% Rs take over 

  • Reply to: Open Shawshank Redemption Thread   10 hours 45 min ago

    and with the express wish not to recommend any potential solutions, and with the further caveat that HankP really ought to be our guide - here are a few of the issues, we might face, going forward, with links to explain them.


    Bandwidth:  HankP says we're exceeding our plan bandwidth.  I'm not sure which plan we're on, but here's the menu from HotDrupal.


    SQL: Again, HankP observes, we're exceeding our plan limits, see above link.


    Drupal:  We are currently on Drupal 6, which as HankP points out, is nearing support end-of-life.  Drupal is a mature product, best thought of as a Lego Green Board, upon which the site administrator plugs in many blocks, many of which are interdependent.  Drupal has many advantages:  it's far more secure than WordPress, it scales reasonably well, it's geared to enterprise-level web apps, its administration modules offer far more control.  The Green Board we call the Drupal Core, the blocks we call Modules.


    But Drupal's not perfect: nothing is.  Contrary to the linked article, Drupal's learning curve is very steep.  To continue the Lego Green Board analogy, the newest release of Drupal, version 8, will force us to reconsider everything on our current Green Board, looking at every single block.  Every single one.  It will not be a trivial task.  For Drupal 8 is an enormous rewrite.  


    The good news:  Version 8 Core, the Green Board, has absorbed much of the functionality which used to be in the more commonly used modules.  The bad news: our Drupal Theme is heavily customised and will not survive the move - now that might be entirely true, but that's my guess/prediction/fear.  We would have to rebuild the Theme.  


    Worse, Drupal places a heavy load on a database.  Again (hands in the air) Drupal is what it is.  Want speed?  Use a dedicated database server.  


    Thanks for enduring this explanation.  We return to your regularly-scheduled rants...

  • Reply to: Forward Recall Open Thread   11 hours 8 min ago

    Just results reported with the usual 95% confidence level.


    On a subject like this,  the 5% of studies that get the wrong result using correct methods will get a lot of press,  the 95% that show nothing might not even get published and certainly don't generate newspaper articles.

  • Reply to: Forward Recall Open Thread   11 hours 33 min ago

    Yet I would not be surprised if it was.


    That is, I think it is not very likely it will be verified, but if it did I would not be shocked. There is a lot we don't know. We don't actually know what time is.


    I could easily see events having some kind of temporal wave front, and I could also see that if nervous systems could in any way be sensitive to such a wave front, there would be a slight evolutionary advantage in that. A split second sixth sense at the edge of your consciousness that tells you a dangerous thing is about to happen. It's a bit of a reach, but conceivable.

  • Reply to: Open Shawshank Redemption Thread   11 hours 35 min ago

    Wait a long time so it's a little more exhausted, give the remaining protesters lots of warnings to move, have government-friendly press magnify any little issue to smear the protesters, then crack down on the movement systematically in the middle of the night across the territories.


    Thanks for the background on the author. My impression of the comments section is similar.


    Just on the general topic, I notice the Obama admin gave a bit more support to the protesters today:


    “The United States supports universal suffrage in Hong Kong in accordance with the Basic Law,” the statement said. It continued that Hong Kong residents should have “a genuine choice of candidates representative of the voters’ will.”