Links for April 7th

The amorality of the faithful

Rabbi Avi Shafran is a columnist who, to my mind, represents the very worst of religious dogma. He often writes about “morality”, bemoaning the horrid state of godlessness, but his morality is little more than the rote obedience of the dogmatically orthodox. His usual complaint is that atheism removes the moral compass provided by a god — that one can believe that any arbitrary thing is good if you’re an atheist.

Handy Tweaks To Make GIMP Replace Photoshop

GIMP was never designed to replace Photoshop, yet with every release, it comes a little closer to being able to do so. It can be used to author graphics, create logos and edit photos, as well as make short animations (using GAP). Despite these features, the open-source app is a foreign world for many users switching from Photoshop. Familiar tools are missing, menus are laid out differently and tasks must be accomplished in unknown ways.

In this article, we list eight tweaks to make GIMP a more serious Photoshop replacement option.

Microsoft’s recession-era ploy to get you to buy a PC instead of a Mac

One surefire way of inciting violence among techies is to wonder idly whether Apple computers are really worth their inflated price tags. Mac devotees are sensitive about this subject: Tell a Mac-head that you can’t understand why anyone would pay $1,300 for a MacBook when a comparable Dell sells for $900 and you might as well be calling him a vain fool. Who wants to be regarded as paying for style over substance? Then try suggesting to your Windows-loving pal that there’s more to choosing a computer than looking for the lowest price. What about ease of use, long-term value, and the sheer pleasure of using a Mac? Now you’re calling your Windows friend a cheapskate. Either way, you’re asking for a black eye—or, at least, a three-hour earful about why price should or shouldn’t matter in your next computer purchase.

Dave Gorman: Re: Cycling…

Since announcing the tour I’ve been inundated with questions and advice. All of which is lovely… but I’m really not very well equipped to deal with much, if any of it.

A lot of people don’t seem to believe me when I say that there’s no real plan in place. It was an idea for a bike ride. Then I added in the idea of doing a gig every night. Then the gigs were booked. Then we announced the tour. But that’s it. That’s all I know. I haven’t mapped out any particular routes.

Robo-scientist’s first findings

Scientists have created an ideal colleague – a robot that performs hundreds of repetitive experiments.

The robot, called Adam, is the first machine to have independently “discovered new scientific knowledge”.

It has already identified the role of several genes in yeast cells, and is able to plan further experiments to test its own hypotheses.

The creeping fungus of religion in government

A recent court decision went against the Bush administration, and also reveals some of the contemptible influence peddling that went on in that gathering of scoundrels. The subject was birth control, in particular Plan B and other forms of emergency contraception, and as many of you know, the Bushite regime dragged its feet with ridiculous deliberation in allowing the FDA to approve these forms of contraception, and effectively blocked them from public access. By hook and crook, by cheating and deception, and by lying to the people, as this court decision affirms. This is why we fight the inclusion of religion in government: it poisons everything.

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