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InitialsDiceBear„Initials” ( by „DiceBear”, licensed under „CC0 1.0” (
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Even if god exists religion can't possibly be the way to god
  • Show me 12 guys that experience something absolutely world changing, and none of them write anything about it for decades and then tell me they were factually motivated

    Literacy and writing were uncommon then, though.

  • Even if god exists religion can't possibly be the way to god
  • I agree with this and do not dispute it.

    However, I think there is value to the human mind in performing ritual, meditation, and positive thinking. We can think ourselves into feeling better. The placebo effect works, even in you know about the placebo effect.

    Jesus didn't know about these things 2000 years ago, but the stories about him make him seem like a worldly rabbi. He might have seen evidence of people getting better from disease through the power of prayer. (Never amputees, though.) The human body can fight disease; it can never regrow a limb.

    The human mind also tends to remember positive experiences, and tends to ignore things that don't seem to work. This is how fake psychics and cold readers work. You send out a bunch of guesses, and get a couple of "hits", and the client remembers the hits. We all remember the hits. It's harder to remember the misses. (Side note: I experienced a palm reader at a party and experienced this first-hand, and despite knowing their techniques, I still felt it a little.)

    All this makes me believe that our brains are generally susceptible to a construct like religion. And that there could be some value in meditation, ritual, and positive thinking. However religion is frequently a grift and makes people do bad things - it doesn't have to be, though. Being quietly spiritual is ok, which is what Jesus taught.

  • What is a good second career?
  • OK - this is going to be a crazy suggestion. Do you have any storytelling or entertainer chops? How do you feel in front of small audiences?

    I am a part-time magician. (Thus my user name.) I started at about age 40, with a minor interest in magic, which grew over time until I started going pro. It hasn't supplanted my regular job, but I currently get as much work as I can handle, and then some.

    I joined a local club, the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM), but there are other groups: Society of American Magicians, Fellowship of Christian Magicians, and others. They are all over the world and in most major cities, holding local meetings.

    You can become a strolling magician with a small repertoire of solid close-up tricks. I literally took one of my first close-up tricks out of the Mark Wilson's Course of Magic - a beginner's book. But most beginner's magic books have a couple or more of hidden gems in there that are powerful stuff. There are absolutely amazing tricks that require no sleight-of-hand whatsoever. You can launch a complete career out of a beginner's book. I use some in my own pro repertoire. Note that, magic is about 95% storytelling skill and acting, and only about 5% special effects.

    After probably not enough preparation on my part, a friend asked me if I wanted to do walk-around magic at an after-prom party for a little money. That started me off. After that, I developed a few more tricks for a stage/parlor act. About 3-7 tricks can make a parlor act, depending how good you are at the communication/acting stuff. I've seen magicians entertain with one trick for 20-30 minutes, and it works.

    Here is a step-by-step plan for an entertainer part-time-pro career path:

    1. Start doing free shows. Say yes to any that will let you perform and be bad.
    2. Do a bunch of shows. Learn more and expand your repertoire.
    3. Once you seem to be getting too many shows, and you are getting better with more experience, increase your prices just a bit. Go to Step 2.

    I can give more details if anyone is interested. AMA.

    Edit to add: I don't know to what degree your kid has autism, but I'm come across an autistic fellow that became a magician, and uses his autism in his act. He uses magic to bring autism awareness. He's a heckuva nice guy, too. Check out magician Cody Clark in the Louisville, Kentucky area - from the same magic club that Mac King and Lance Burton came from! Cody tours nationally.

  • A PR disaster: Microsoft has lost trust with its users, and Windows Recall is the straw that broke the camel's back
  • Maybe?

    Again, I'm not a lawyer, but I've read a lot of EULAs.

    However, to challenge that, your have to sue Microsoft, against their team of super-lawyers, the best that Microsoft could buy. And you'd have to do it in the jurisdiction started in the license agreement, which is undoubtedly friendly to Microsoft. And you'd have to have some sort of standing, meaning you have suffered some actual damage from the thing you arguing against, and that you want remedied. So you sue for damages, but it can only be for the amount that you were actually damaged, which is problematic - especially for free Microsoft software. But for paid software, I'm sure there's a return/refund clause which would make you whole.

    And you are paying your own lawyer to Microsoft, right? How long do you plan to sue Microsoft? I guarantee they have deeper pockets than you, and can outlast you in court. And remember if you lose the lawsuit, you will probably be countersued for the cost of their lawyers.

    Basically the EULAs are written by Microsoft's very expensive lawyers. Other corporations cower in fear of Microsoft's lawyers; I know the ones in my office did. And the rewards you'd get would be a Pyrrhic victory at best. "Do you feel lucky, punk?"

  • deGoogle Wiz How to Quit Google, According to a Privacy Expert

    Quitting Google isn't just a technical process—it's a massive project. Here's some advice on how to tackle it.

    How to Quit Google, According to a Privacy Expert

    Some companies are easy to quit. If I decide I don't like Coca-Cola anymore I can simply stop drinking Coke. Sure, the company makes more than just Coke, so I would need to do some research to figure out which products they do and don't make, but it's theoretically possible.

    Quitting Google isn't like that. It makes many products, many of which you depend on to live your digital life. Leaving a company like that is like a divorce, according to an expert I talked to. "It's not easy, but you feel so much better at the other side," said Janet Vertesi, a sociology professor at Princeton who publishes work on human computer interaction. "Think of a friend who gets a divorce and is so happy to be out. That could be you. That's how it feels to leave Google."

    She'd know. Vertesi researches NASA's robotic spacecraft teams and also publishes work on human computer interaction. In March 2012, after Google significantly changed its privacy policies, she decided to stop using Google entirely. Vertesi also runs The Opt Out Project, a website full of recommendations and tutorials for replacing "Big Tech" services with community-driven and DIY alternatives. She is, in other words, someone who has done the work, so I wanted to ask her for some advice about how someone should approach quitting Google.

    Lifehacker has already published a comprehensive guide to quitting Google and a list of the best competitors to every Google product years ago, and that information stands up for the most part. But not using Google anymore isn't just a technical process—it's a massive project. Here's some advice on how to tackle it.

    3 Mastodon Incorporates as a Non-Profit in the US

    The company behind one of the biggest projects in the Fediverse has migrated as an entity to the United States as a 501c3.

    Mastodon Incorporates as a Non-Profit in the US

    As a project, Mastodon has operated under the umbrella of Mastodon GmbH, a German company that benefited from non-profit status with the German government. Despite all indications that they were doing everything right, Mastodon GmbH recently had its non-profit status revoked, resulting in the team to seek an alternative.

    In the announcement, CEO and founder Eugen Rochko had this to say:

    > Our day to day operations are largely unaffected by this event, since Patreon does not presuppose non-profit status, and Patreon income does not count as donations. We have in fact not had to issue a single donation receipt since 2021.

    Mastodon remains one of the only popular social platforms that operates out of the European Union, and Eugen desires to keep things that way. With that being said, this could be an interesting opportunity for the project: a presence in the United States may reduce friction in hiring employees there.

    8 Zach Edey and Purdue Aren't Messing Around

    Zach Edey and Purdue were dominant in the first weekend of the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

    Zach Edey and Purdue Aren't Messing Around

    Zach Edey and his Purdue teammates are not leaving anything to chance. In the first two rounds of the 2024 NCAA Tournament, the Boilermakers have blown the doors off two overmatched opponents as they attempt to erase memories of last year's upset loss to No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson. After thrashing Utah State on Sunday, Purdue is back in the Sweet 16.

    Edey and Co. opened the tournament as the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, and hammered out a 78-50 win over Grambling. The All-American center was unstoppable in that contest, scoring 30 points and grabbing 21 rebounds. Purdue led 31-27 with 3:40 remaining in the half and decided to turn it on. The Boilermakers outscored the Tigers by 24 points the rest of the way.

    Technology Wiz

    Unpatchable vulnerability in Apple chip leaks secret encryption keys

    A newly discovered vulnerability baked into Apple’s M-series of chips allows attackers to extract secret keys from Macs when they perform widely used cryptographic operations, academic researchers have revealed in a paper published Thursday.

    The flaw—a side channel allowing end-to-end key extractions when Apple chips run implementations of widely used cryptographic protocols—can’t be patched directly because it stems from the microarchitectural design of the silicon itself. Instead, it can only be mitigated by building defenses into third-party cryptographic software that could drastically degrade M-series performance when executing cryptographic operations, particularly on the earlier M1 and M2 generations. The vulnerability can be exploited when the targeted cryptographic operation and the malicious application with normal user system privileges run on the same CPU cluster.