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What Did You Change Your Mind About in 2007? 578

Posted by Zonk
from the read-dawkins'-its-awesome dept.
chrisd writes "The Edge 2008 question (with answers) is in. This year, the question is: 'What did you change your mind about and why?'. Answers are featured from scientists as diverse as Richard Dawkins, Simon Baron-Cohen, George Church, David Brin, J. Craig Venter and the Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees, among others. Very interesting to read. For instance, Stewart Brand writes that he now realizes that 'Good old stuff sucks' and Sam Harris has decided that 'Mother Nature is Not Our Friend.' What did Slashdot readers change their minds about in 2007?"
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What Did You Change Your Mind About in 2007?

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  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @12:50PM (#21875236)
    Mother Nature is not now, nor has she ever been, looking out for us.

    I would go further and say that, not only is she not looking out for us, but Mother Nature is a bitch.
    • by canadian_right (410687) <alexander.russell@telus.net> on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @01:28PM (#21875530) Homepage
      "Mother Nature", AKA the natural laws of the universe, doesn't care about us one way or the other. Mother Nature isn't even aware we exists as Mother Nature is NOT aware of anything. Attributing awareness to 'mother nature' is irrational.
      • What is with you people? Can't you recognize a JOKE when you see one? And why don't you read Harris' letter, in which you would have realized that he was saying the same thing you are.

        Cripes.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mcpkaaos (449561)
        Attributing awareness to 'mother nature' is irrational.

        You must be new around here (humanity), because that's just what we do. Almost everything we do not understand is assigned an identity, a personality, and it almost always wants to hurt you (or burn you in hell forever... out of love).

        In any case...

        Mother Nature is NOT aware of anything

        how are you so sure?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by geekoid (135745)
          Easy. It's not living, it is only a set of reactions. A complex set, but that is all.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Fael (939668)
            Funny... I imagine that's what your cells are telling each other about you right now.

            (Of course, cell language is pretty limited - that's probably the only words they know.)
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by GoofyBoy (44399)
              Thats what I imagine what Mother Nature is saying about us.

              "THAT'S what you consider as an example of intelligence?!?!?"
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Timinithis (14891)
      No, Mother Nature is a Whore....

      A Whore will screw everybody...a biatch will screw everybody *but* you.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @01:45PM (#21875650)
      Monty Burns: Oh, so Mother Nature needs a favor? Well, maybe she should have thought of that when she was besetting us with droughts and floods and poison monkeys. Nature started the fight for survival and now she wants to quit because she's losing? Well, I say "hard cheese"!
  • I learned that offshore outsourcing isn't to bad after all. It's actually quite an asset.

    It has a disciplining effect on the entire organization since the punishment for immaturity is harsh and tangible.

    An additional benefit is that it has a rather sobering effect on local know-it-all's when they see that their work is in fact inferior to what we can get from a third world sourcing partner. After this sort of ego bruising they are more ready to accept modern and mature practices.

    • by east coast (590680) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @01:19PM (#21875468)
      Congratulations on your promotion to management.
    • by sethstorm (512897) * on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @01:32PM (#21875556) Homepage

      An additional benefit is that it has a rather sobering effect on local know-it-all's when they see that their work is in fact inferior to what we can get from a third world sourcing partner.
      Exception, not rule. The locals will end up cleaning after the large amounts of mistakes.

      It has a disciplining effect on the entire organization since the punishment for immaturity is harsh and tangible.

      After this sort of ego bruising they are more ready to accept modern and mature practices.
      Play $DEITY somewhere else, not with workers. If one has to add fear (by offshoring) over their heads to drive a point, something is terribly wrong.

      You're part of what makes people hate offshoring, you use it for fear, and not productivity.
    • by plasmacutter (901737) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @01:33PM (#21875558)
      well, not willing to, more like "forced to" accept triple the workload they used to, resulting in fatigue around which an entire industry of pharmaceuticals arose to keep them up with stims rather than labor regulations to keep offshoring down so they can live healthy lives which involve rest and the possibility of actually speaking with and raising their kids.

      and of course they have to accept the erosion of their middle class status to the point they will never ever retire and can't ever afford a house.. "as the rents go up, and job opportunities go down"

      yes i'm sure our descent into third world status will "only" harm the "immature"

      and where do you get off declaring what is and is not mature? did it ever occur to you that you may be the one who isn't mature. Usually the ones who believe themselves far enough above others to pronounce judgment are themselves the fools.

      But yeah, go ahead and support the destruction of the middle class for your twisted sense of self righteousness regarding other people's maturity.
      • by maeka (518272) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @02:26PM (#21875998) Journal

        But yeah, go ahead and support the destruction of the middle class for your twisted sense of self righteousness regarding other people's maturity.

        I would argue it is not destroying the middle class, so much as moving the middle class.
        Welcome to the global economy.
        There is going to be a painful transition period while the former third world achieves what they have not had for so long.
        Blame the old status-quo on imperialism, blame it on racism, blame it on whatever you want. Regardless, the world is becoming an increasingly level playing field - finally.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by plasmacutter (901737)
          I don't call the shipping of jobs to nations with no standards for labor or human rights a "movement" of the middle class.

          It is right to call it the destruction of the middle class.

          They dont gain our standard of living, but we lose our standard of living.

          Painful transition my arse, it's called corporations raping our nation and leaving us for dead while spineless politicians let them.

          It's called the renewal of the gilded age because spineless politicians let them.

          It has nothing to do with labor competition
          • by maeka (518272) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @02:51PM (#21876136) Journal
            They might not gain "our standard of living" but they (as a whole, I'm not going to argue individual cases) a better standard of living.
            Without an influx of money and the growth of leisure, there never will be political reform, IMHO.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by plasmacutter (901737)
              I have no compassion for their "growth of leisure" when we have none.

              We are at the point where we have our "leisure" from ages 1-18 and after that we never see any extended periods of "me time" again.

              compare this with 50 years ago when people could come home and kick back, now we are expected to work 18 hour days, 6 of them off the clock thanks to obscene deadlines and quotas.
              • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @04:14PM (#21876794)
                Someone with nearly 2000 comments on a newer (900,000) era /. account is claiming they don't have any leisure time?
              • by R2.0 (532027) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @05:49PM (#21877390)
                "compare this with 50 years ago when people could come home and kick back, now we are expected to work 18 hour days, 6 of them off the clock thanks to obscene deadlines and quotas."

                No, SOME people could comehome and kick back - the upper-middle and upper class. Lower middle and lower class folks have ALWAYS had to work their asses off, mainly at shit jobs, for long hours and low pay.

                You are pissed because jobs that USED to produce an upper-middle class lifestyle don't do that anymore. Guess what - that kind of stuff happens all the time. Everyone here rails against the **AA's for not recognizing a failing business model, but somehow thinks individuals should be immune from those same rules. Why?

                IT jobs used to be a good path to the upper middle class; now they are not. Same with factory jobs. Welcome to reality.
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by plasmacutter (901737)

                  Everyone here rails against the **AA's for not recognizing a failing business model, but somehow thinks individuals should be immune from those same rules. Why?

                  There is a key difference in your fallacious comparison.

                  The **AA is a failing business model, not a way of life.
                  This implies another business model can take the place of the **AA

                  This is not the case with offshoring.

                  The middle class is not a business model pal, it is the american dream.

                  IT jobs used to be a good path to the upper middle class; now they

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by WrongMonkey (1027334)
                50 years ago the middle class household had:

                ~900 square foot home

                1 car

                1 small TV

                a refrigerator and a couple small appliances

                No computer, no video games, no cell phones, no cable TV

                If you are willing to accept all those conditions, I'm sure you can afford some more free time. If you want more material wealth than 50 years ago, then don't complain that you have to work harder than 50 years ago.

              • by kklein (900361) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @08:22PM (#21878346)

                I'm an academic, and the single biggest reason is that I'm a workaholic and if the place didn't almost shut down for 4 months of the year, I'd work myself to an early grave. As it is now, though, I work my ass off 8 months of the year, and 4 months of the year I'm blessed and cursed to be able to get almost nothing done (well, nothing that requires the organization). It's been very good for my health and mental well-being, if not necessarily for my wallet.

                Over the last summer break, I spent about a week staying with my friends who work at a major IT company as developers. I saw their lives, and was envious. They make a lot more money, they come home earlier, and it is virtually impossible for them to work at home, so they don't. "Damn," I thought, "I really did pick the wrong career." But then I noticed something: I was staying at their house in a different country from where I live for a week, and that was just one week out of about 7 or 8 in a row that I didn't have to report to work. I was still getting some things done on the laptop, but that had much more to do with my workaholic nature than necessity. "Damn," I thought, "maybe I picked the right career after all."

                The point I'm trying to make is that you are ultimately in control of your time. You are. Really. It's your time. Your life. If you feel that you are losing it to a company, and the money isn't worth it, you need to change gears. It's not their fault. It's your fault for doing it.

                Now, this decision will most certainly result in a decrease in income. It may mean you aren't buying a house (if you're in the US, this is a terrible time to buy anyway--wait for the market to really crash first--and if you already bought, you have my sympathy), it may mean that vacation is usually spent on the couch instead of on the beach. It may mean you will be hanging on to your old car and just keeping it going until it dies. It means you don't get the "American Dream" kind of life people in my generation seem to somehow feel is necessary. BUT, you will get your life back.

                Depending on who you are as a person--whether you value money or time more--this may or may not be a viable lifestyle choice. But the choice is there.

                Finally, however, I want to address this idea that we work harder than our elders. I think that is really only the case on Leave it to Beaver. In talking to my parents, both of their parents worked. Mom got home earlier than Dad (schoolteachers in both cases), but Dad (a lawyer on one side and a shopkeeper on the other) got home late. Anecdotal evidence, I know, but I really think that we have too rosy a view of our elders' lives. In my own parents' case, they run a business that is attached to the house, so they were around a lot, but were also usually working. When my dad had to go out, which was/is almost every day, he didn't come home until late (8-9). He also gets called out to truck wrecks (independent insurance adjuster specializing in the hard stuff that companies hire a third party to handle) in the middle of the night fairly regularly, and might not come shuffling back home for 18 hours, after dealing with cops, insurance companies, grief-ridden truck drivers, and the survivors of the family they just killed. That being said, there are down periods with little work and no money, and I grew up being pulled out of school during those periods to drive around the country and learn things. My parents basically made the same choice I did. Time is more important than money.

                Further, think of the Depression generation! They didn't work because there wasn't any. Lots of time, but absolutely no money. If they did work, it was long hours in a dusty field. And before that? The agriculture- and manufacturing-based economy. The ag business is still crazy hours (grew up in a little town--had lots of friends who were farm kids and grew up working), and the only reason manufacturing went to 8 hours a day is that in the 20s factories were literally working people to deat

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The real problem is that there isn't a real middle class; there are the rich, the poor, and the well off poor. To say that the well off poor are the "middle" class is grossly overstating the amount of money they have.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Seumas (6865)
        The original parent says that part of the effect of outsourcing is that it sobers employees up so they'll be more malleable and pliable to executive whim instead of demanding unreasonable things like (at least) cost of living increases.

        Coming from a company that has had more layoffs than I can remember since 2000 (each taking about three to ten thousand people with it), I can tell you the changes I have witnessed in the local employees.

        The change is that many are no longer excited, hard-working, enthusiasti
    • Yeah, cos people work best with the threat of losing their jobs hanging over them.
    • by Znork (31774) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @02:09PM (#21875860)
      "I learned that offshore outsourcing isn't to bad after all."

      And next year you'll have learned that offshore outsourcing isnt so cheap after all.

      Well, maybe not next year, but the writing's on the wall; between the lackluster performance of the dollar and the (almost) pan-asian economic overheating and inflationary meltdown, as well as the young sourcing partners growing up and aquiring their own managerial fat and rigidity, you'll find the balance shifting once again.

      Personally I've been overjoyed to have some foreign colleagues; suddenly there are actually people I can send work to when we are far too overloaded to do anywhere near all that needs to be done.

      "After this sort of ego bruising they are more ready to accept modern and mature practices."

      Yes, well, what goes around comes around. Dont expect temporary phenomena to last forever; you may find yourself in the position to have to kiss and polish those egos once again, so if I were you I'd concentrate a bit more on the positive aspects rather than gloating and fostering discontent.
      • It may not have been obvious in my original post but there are two parties who needs to wise up. The ones who gets punished harshly (and quite visibly) is management. They get into a lot of hot water when cost and schedule spirals out of control due to their dick'ing around. The sourcing partner makes this stuff painfully visible.

        That the local developers gets 'inspired' a bit is a secondary effect. It's not like their job is in danger since we're hiring like crazy. It's mostly management who's in hot wat

  • Ron Paul and the war (Score:4, Interesting)

    by argoff (142580) * on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @12:57PM (#21875292)
    I changed my mind about the war in Iraq because of Ron Paul. I was always sympathetic to the idea of bringing liberty to those overseas, but it is clear now that the source of liberty is individual choices not government ones. Ron Paul made it clear and final that the war is not helping the freedom of the people over there, and it is obviously not helping the freedom of people over here, and is directly responsible for the rise of a police state mentality in the USA, and is contributing greatly to our ongoing economic collapse. As Ron Paul once said, if we want wars all over the planet and want the government babying people from cradle to grave - then we must have an IRS and massive debt. But if we want freedom and liberty, then yes we can get rid of them.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Wonko the Sane (25252) *
      Who said anything about bringing liberty to anyone? The only thing I heard GW talk about was exporting democracy.

      I'd be much happier if the US was really in the business of exporting liberty.
      • by QRDeNameland (873957) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @02:19PM (#21875928)

        Who said anything about bringing liberty to anyone?

        Well, Cheney did say we'd be greeted as liberators. However, I believe he misspoke and meant to say we'd be greeted as obliterators.

    • by Auckerman (223266)
      Sometimes I wonder about how people think. The invasion of Iraq was planned in the late 90s (Remsfeld, Cheny, Wolfowitz) and executed the moment it was politically possible. Most of the US media fell short on it's responsibility to inform people of the papers written by the architects of the war and the real reasons for the invasion and allowed the administration to lie to the people. Because of this, America was able to fall under the umbrella of belief that somehow Iraq and 9/11 go hand in hand.

      After a
      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @03:41PM (#21876542) Journal
        The Neo-cons have a rather odd view of the world and of the nature of power. They are the political equivalents of the economists of the 1920s; both essentially asserting that the old rules don't apply. In the 1920s everyone assumed that the Capitalist boom-bust cycle was over for good, that it was going to party days forever. The Neo-cons felt the same way about American power after the fall of the USSR, that the US was a hyperpower that could have nearly unlimited global influence. Iraq has demonstrated that the US is no different than Rome was in its day, a mighty military power, but not so mighty that it can't get overextended or get itself into military fiascos that have very direct political consequences.

        The US now faces a 21st century with a rising China (something that clever folks have in fact been predicting for a couple of centuries) and Russia recovering from its wounds and taking back its position as a pre-eminent Old World power. Europe, despite a lot of roadbumps, is making a growing, vibrant political union, and I suspect in the long term it will become a Neo-Rome, controlling the Mediterranean.

        The Neo-cons have weakened the United States at the very moment when it should have been mustering its resources to prepare for the new order. They thought they can short-circuit the historical trends, and by flying the American flag on distant lands and bringing democracy that they would retain uncontested pre-eminence. They seriously misread the reconstruction of Japan and thought that it could be a roadmap for the Middle East, to safeguard oil supplies and put in friendly powers.

        It's time for Americans to start reading their history, to start understanding that the United States is not some blessed land, but is an empire like any, and that it is just as vulnerable as any in history.
    • by Scrameustache (459504) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @02:01PM (#21875786) Homepage Journal

      I was always sympathetic to the idea of bringing liberty to those overseas
      Which is why that emotionally potent oversimplification was used.
      Not because it applied, but because it would make you agree.

      Why are they killing people? For liberty! We like liberty, so it makes it okay to kill people: it's for something we like!
    • by rthille (8526) <web-slashdot.rangat@org> on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @02:07PM (#21875850) Homepage Journal

      In early 2007 I thought I might be able to vote for Ron Paul against certain Democrats if it came down to that (unlikely).
      After learning more about Dr. Paul: that he hasn't felt the need to educate himself about the scientific facts about evolution and rejects it, though wasn't willing to raise his hand during the televised debate where the candidates were asked that question; that he calls abortion "Murder"; and, most critically, that he wants to remove the ability of the federal government to intervene in violations of chuch/state separation.
      If the founding fathers got nothing else right with our country, they got the separation of church and state right. Integrating religion and state power is a sure path to tyranny.
      • by jeremiahbell (522050) <jeremiahbell.yahoo@com> on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @03:07PM (#21876256) Homepage
        In Ron Paul's system of philosophy the federal government has no authority over education so he is no threat to the acceptance of Evolution. He also believes that abortion should be decided by the states because he rightly states that the federal government does not have the authority. He will do nothing to stop abortion, all he will do is follow the the tenth amendment ("The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.").

        If you believe the federal government should be involved in abortion law and education then amend the Constitution.

        Also, on the separation of church and state, read the first amendment, it addresses congress. My state Constitution has provisions for separation of church and state, and a state violation should be dealt with at the state level. If I wanted the federal government to have the authority to address a state level violation of separation of church and state I would, and if you wanted you should, ask for an amendment to the Constitution to allow such.

        P.S.--I'm an atheist.
        • He wouldn't do anything to stop abortion? He's fully on record stating he'd do everything in his power to eliminate abortion. I guess voting him President would be the best thing we Texans could do then, to assure he loses his right to legislate abortion in his home state.
      • by Lord Ender (156273) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @04:56PM (#21877038) Homepage
        No educated person could ever vote for Ron Paul, and his knowledge of biology is an embarrassment to all those who hold the title "Doctor." A medical doctor who doesn't understand the most fundamental principle of biology is a shame on his school.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by 75th Trombone (581309) *
          What the crap does it matter whether a doctor understands evolution? Doctors deal with the way people's bodies work today, and I couldn't care less what they think about how they worked millennia ago or how they got here.

          Evolution may be the fundamental principle of biological history, but that's only one facet of biology as a whole.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by moosesocks (264553)
      I apologize if this comes across as a troll, but WTF do any of those things have to do with Ron Paul?

      Libertarians have been tossing those ideas around forever. Ron Paul brings absolutely nothing new to the table, apart from a dose of religious insanity, and a rather hypocritical view on states' rights (a Ron Paul administration would almost certainly result in vastly larger and more powerful state governments)

      Although I agree that the US Federal government needs to be cut back, we can't do so by outsourcin
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Grishnakh (216268)
        Libertarians have been tossing those ideas around forever. Ron Paul brings absolutely nothing new to the table,

        Ron Paul's contribution is bringing libertarianism into the mainstream, something the likes of Harry Brown never did before.

        and a rather hypocritical view on states' rights (a Ron Paul administration would almost certainly result in vastly larger and more powerful state governments)

        How is that hypocritical? Paul's message is not that we need less government everywhere (though that helps), but real
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by moosesocks (264553)

          How is that hypocritical? Paul's message is not that we need less government everywhere (though that helps), but really that we need to go back to the way the country was before the Civil War, where the Federal Government had less power, and the States had more power.

          For a parallel, look at modern Europe. France, Germany, Italy, etc. are all separate countries with vast differences between them, but they're all in a Union where they share the same currency, have free trade, and do some things together. Th

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by svunt (916464)
      Perhaps (no, definitely) off topic, but I've really been wanting to ask the /. crowd...I know Ron Paul votes consistently, and is a constitutionally based voter, etc, and after eight years of Bush, integrity is very important, but how did a far-right dude who doesn't believe in evolution, and wants to cut ALL federal funding for the sciences get so damn popular with nerds? I'm in Australia, so I hope he wins, because I want to see the US go back to looking after its own problems rather than creating them el
  • by Ranger (1783) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @12:58PM (#21875314) Homepage
    I know everyone is complaining that oil and gas is way too expensive. They are wrong. I used to think the same way. I saw a nice chart showing gasoline prices adjusted for inflation over a period of about eighty years [blogspot.com]. You know what? It really hasn't changed that much. It was still higher in 1981 than it is now. What has changed is a decrease in our earning power.

    Proof that gasoline is still too cheap: I still see tons of Hummers, Expeditions, Navigators, Armadas, Sequoias and other mondo SUVs (aka Urban Assault Vehicles) on the road.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You may have changed your mind but it seems that you didn't learn your lesson (to look things up instead of assuming). Earning power has steadily increased for at least fifty years. [census.gov]
      • by AhtirTano (638534) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @03:01PM (#21876204)
        A couple interesting observations about those charts.
        1. From 1947-1977 (the first half covered) the mean household income (adjusted for inflation) goes from $26,322 to $51,925. That's almost double the household income. From 1978-2005 (the second half), it goes from $54,764 to $73,304. That's a little more than a 1/3 increase. So the rate at which our income is increasing has dropped drastically.
        2. The further back along the time-line you go, the fewer two income households there are. So the doubling of earning power in the first 30 years of the chart was decreasingly accomplished by single individuals making more. The lesser increase in earning power in the second half is increasingly accomplished by pairs.
    • by bmartin (1181965) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @01:28PM (#21875526)
      To expound on how correct you are, we're not really looking for alternative fuels in the US. It's sad; Europe (as a whole) is a much more agile entity than we are. For some reason, a dozen countries are making economic and social progress faster than a single one that has been an economic powerhouse for the past couple hundred years.

      If gasoline were a more appropriate price (e.g., $6/gal), we'd see alternatives popping up. Europe has been paying that much for gas for several years now. At this rate, the US will continue to produce/consume SUV's and trucks until gasoline becomes so expensive that it makes economic sense to switch over to something else. That aside, the US gov't is promoting patent law bullshit instead of realizing that it hinders our economic progress and ties up our courts, just like the war on drugs.

      The incentives for the US to stop sucking eggs aren't in place. It feels like there's nothing we can do to stop idiots like Ted Stevens from getting elected. Congress doesn't enact laws that are in our best interests and the president's a moron.

      I changed my mind about wanting to live in the US in 2007. It seems worth seriously considering a move to another country or even another continent. I'm thinking about vacationing in London. Canada and the UK don't seem like bad ideas right now. There's more wrong with this country than its president.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by argStyopa (232550)
        "I changed my mind about wanting to live in the US in 2007. It seems worth seriously considering a move to another country or even another continent. I'm thinking about vacationing in London. Canada and the UK don't seem like bad ideas right now. There's more wrong with this country than its president."

        Meh; talk is cheap. Let me know when you actually move.

        I used to think like you do, about how much is farking wrong with this place and how other countries seem to 'get it' better than we do on so many issue
      • Ted Stevens (Score:3, Interesting)

        by volpe (58112)
        It feels like there's nothing we can do to stop idiots like Ted Stevens from getting elected.

        Did I miss something about Stevens? Did he say something outrageous like like propose logging every packet in order to help fight terrorism? I mean, it can't just be the "series of tubes" thing, right? Look, I like Jon Stewart as much as the next guy, probably more so, but continuing to make fun of him like that just seems to make it apparent that there really wasn't all that much to make fun of. I mean, the guy use
    • I predict it will hit 5/gal by the end of 2008.

      There are 4 reasons for this:
      1) The middles east is stll unstable 2) Sweet crude was recently added to the strategic pertoleum reserves 3) Nigerian production has dropped 4) China and India are using more ( and to improve its pre-olympic green image, China will buy more of the sweet crude )
      • by Ranger (1783) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @05:15PM (#21877154) Homepage
        I predict it will hit 5/gal by the end of 2008.

        I've been wrong almost every time in guessing how much gasoline will rise. I think the prices will depend on the political situation going into November. Did you notice how gas prices stabilized and remained relatively low during the 2006 election? I know people say the prices weren't manipulated, but it sure seemed to me the oil companies did what they could to help the Republicans win in 06. It didn't help. So unless there is some kind of major disruption I suspect we may see a repeat of the Fall 2006 pricing.

        I've no doubt it'll hit $5 USD/gal at some point in the future, but I don't think it'll be 2008. Supply and availability are going to be the real determining factors. Until there are shortages and long lines people will grumble but they won't be up in arms.

        I predict gasoline will eventually be sold per liter as prices go up and that car mileage will be listed in kilometers per gallon. It won't change anything but it'll be an attempt to obfuscate the real costs.
  • Linux (Score:4, Interesting)

    by calebt3 (1098475) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @12:59PM (#21875322)
    I switched from XP to openSuSE in March, and decided it was too hard to work with, to the point that I pined for Window's familiarity. Temporarily lacking an XP CD, I downloaded Ubuntu as a stopgap. And decided I didn't need that XP CD after all.
  • Windows XP (Score:5, Funny)

    by m50d (797211) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @12:59PM (#21875326) Homepage Journal
    it's not *all* that bad, actually
  • Flying cars (Score:5, Funny)

    by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @01:01PM (#21875340) Homepage Journal
    I finally realized that I was never going to have a flying car.
  • They are just out to control us all.
  • I changed my mind about absolutely nothing. As I'm always confidant with what i want to believe/feel the first time.

  • I've traditionally voted Republican because I'm a social conservative. In 2007, Bush and the Congressional Republicans behaved so irresponsibly that I wanted them out.

    So I leaned Democrat. Until I saw that the Democratic Congress rolled over for Bush just as much as the Republicans did.

    Now I don't know how to lean. Now I just despair.
    • Third Party (Score:3, Interesting)

      by iknownuttin (1099999)
      Now I don't know how to lean.

      Why not third party?

      I'm a Government conservative and a social liberal (I think we should stop violating the Constitution, get rid of the IRS, stop these stupid wars, religion doesn't belong in Government, I don't give a rat's ass who you sleep with, and I don't see why gays can't get married). I vote third party and if there's not third party candidate, I abstain with the naive hope that the politicians will notice somehow.

  • by HW_Hack (1031622) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @01:25PM (#21875508)
    can effect any type of meaningful change.

    Healthcare reform, acting on global warming, tax reform, ending a meaningless war, supporting the middle class, fighting terrorism at its roots ( in the Madrases ) and local Muslim populations (versus invading random countries like Iraq or Iran), energy independence ........ on and on

    Since a teenager I've been at least tuned into the issues / politics - and would get wrapped up with one candidate or another .... now in my 50's I see that this just a bunch of horse-shit. I'll still vote (as I have since I turned 18) .... but to invest any time, money, or emotion in the political process ----- fuck that shit.
  • religion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @01:34PM (#21875568) Journal
    I changed my mind about religion, ironically it was because I started going back to church that I realized I didn't believe any of it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GWBasic (900357)

      I changed my mind about religion, ironically it was because I started going back to church that I realized I didn't believe any of it.

      I realized that a large group of people like getting up on Sunday mornings to sing songs and look at each other's fancy clothes. I realized that religion is more of a social thing then a belief.

      I realized that people fear things like the earth being round, or the earth orbiting the sun, or evolution, because they're afraid that such knowledge will destroy their ability to get up on Sunday mornings and sing songs.

      I realized that far too many people let emotion get in the way of logic.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        "I realized that far too many people let emotion get in the way of logic."

        Your emotional urge to follow logic no matter where it goes is something you should examine more closely.

        -- A fellow atheist.
  • by illectro (697914) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @01:35PM (#21875576)
    At the start of the year I still thought the big labels hadn't figured out to work with the internet and were going to litigate my favourite websites into submission, but they've finally got it and made deals instead of suing potential business partners. At the start of the year I was steadfast in my opinion that music labels were going to collapse, by the end of the year I've got the feeling that they might just make it through.
  • Impeachment. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hamster Lover (558288) * on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @01:43PM (#21875628) Journal
    At the start of 2007 and after a Democratically controlled Congress was sworn into office I was of the opinion that impeachment should be off the table while Congress got down to some real business with a President that recognized the winds of change. I couldn't have been more wrong.
  • by Hercules Peanut (540188) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @01:55PM (#21875734)
    1. O.K. I believe in global warming now. I heard a lot of dissenting evidence but it appears to be tainted.

    2. Video Games do affect behavior in many children. Studies and family members in the field of education with years of observational experience have made me switch my opinion. I'm still not a big fan of government intervention on the subject, though.

    3. Linux is ready for the desktop thanks to the EeePC. In fact, much of open source appears to be ready to eliminate the needs or even desire for a commercial alternative. Linux, OpenOffice, Firefox. I no longer feel like I'm having to settle for second rate in order to save money. I'd actually choose them even if the alternatives were free.

    4. Slashdot is moderated largely by hypocritical children who will mod up popular opinion and mod down unpopular posts regardless of accuracy. I predict the slow demise of Slashdot as the comments area, a once fertile land of discussion and intelligent observation becomes a members only arena linux/mac fanboys and video gamers who can't envision anyone else's opinion being right other than theirs. It will be a place where where speaking ill of religion, republicans or windows will be given an automatic +2 informative while speaking ill social web sites, video games, or modding practices will be an auto -2 troll.

    All four are great discoveries and lifestyle changes for me.

    Happy New Year.
  • Doublethink (Score:3, Funny)

    by aldheorte (162967) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @01:59PM (#21875776)
    I didn't change my mind, I just rewrote my past comments.
  • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @02:12PM (#21875876) Journal
    I finally changed my mind that 2007 will be the Year of Linux on the Desktop...
  • by gr8dude (832945) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @02:24PM (#21875978) Homepage
    It happened so that 2007 was a year in which many things went wrong, and I was really upset with my [lack of] performance. However, on December the 31st I concluded that everything can also be interpreted as good news, because after analyzing the failed projects [railean.net], I noticed that the bottleneck was in me, and not in my colleagues, friends, or the environment.

    In other words, things are [relatively] simple now, because I only have to focus on myself (there is no need to "change other people" or "alter my environment", etc). Of course, this may also be nothing but lying to myself and trying to excuse the poor results of 2007 :-) 2008 will tell.
  • Emotion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by otomo_1001 (22925) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @02:27PM (#21876000)
    This will probably be out of place here amongst the /. crowd. But I met the absolutely most beautiful woman on the planet, inside much more so than outside this year. And the whole experience changed me and my mind on the value of emotion in general. I am still dealing with the fallout from realizing I have been an emotional equivalent to a black hole up until now.

    It used to be hard to say stuff like that, even to myself. But not any more, personal growth is always a good thing to achieve. And no she wasn't a girlfriend or anything like that either before anyone asks.

    Oh and tv. It is now almost entirely out of my life, to be replaced by real life things like skydiving and adrenaline rushes. :)
    • Re:Emotion (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @03:14PM (#21876304)
      I am still dealing with the fallout from realizing I have been an emotional equivalent to a black hole up until now.

      This is happening to a lot of people these days, men in particular. --My own version of it, (and I always thought I had a solid connection with my emotional side), happened during the Katrina disaster. I was utterly and unexpectedly overwhelmed with emotion for several days to the point of not being able to function socially at all; it was like I could feel the fear and pain of all those people all at once. --In the past, I would easily have been able to observe such a massive tragedy with detached interest. I was really stunned by the whole episode. Something was blasted open inside me, and it took most of six months to figure out how to live with the new awareness. I don't doubt that it was a good thing, but it was a very difficult process to go through!


      -FL

  • Changing Minds? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kipper the Llama (454021) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @05:24PM (#21877210)

    The following are my personal notes on the article, written and organized as I read it:

    This is a really good article, though like past years, you can know the general lean (political, philosophical and scientific) of the participants before you begin. However, there are always answers that go up against the grain, and these are the ones I find most interesting. Some of the answers are pretty fascinating, like this one from Joseph Ledoux:

    Like many scientists in the field of memory, I used to think that a memory is something stored in the brain and then accessed when used. Then, in 2000, a researcher in my lab, Karim Nader, did an experiment that convinced me, and many others, that our usual way of thinking was wrong. In a nutshell, what Karim showed was that each time a memory is used, it has to be restored as a new memory in order to be accessible later. The old memory is either not there or is inaccessible. In short, your memory about something is only as good as your last memory about it. This is why people who witness crimes testify about what they read in the paper rather than what they witnessed.

    What's so fascinating about this answer to me is that it is something that's been clear to me, upon reflection, for many years. I have a clear "memory" of my second birthday, even though this is a time from which most persons don't have memories. Now, it's known that that being able to form sentences early (which I was able to do) helps in the creation of memory; being able to "narrate" thought allows us to construct some sort of record of events better. However, around the age of 11 or so, I began to realize that I was not remembering the event so much as my prior recollection of it. This meant I began to be very careful about my use of memory and how much I trusted my own mind, which I know to play tricks on me at times. It's known that, even for a mentally well person, a long-held falsehood can become true for the person simply because they create a memory of the false event. Also, philosophy has been aware of the importance of this sort of trick of the mind for some time. It's interesting to see science just now approach it, and it is instructive in how scientific paradigm (e.g., that memory functions like a hard drive) can override the obvious conclusions of self-reflection.

    A lot of the answers touch on classic issues in the philosophy of science, a field some scientists love (most geologists, theoretical physicists) and others hate (most biologists). Karl Sabbagh's answer about expertise is right and wrong in equally interesting measures (yes, one should not trust experts unguarded, but, no, your judgement is not as good as an expert's in an area of their expertise, per se). Piet Hut's answer about explanations is sort of trivial for anyone who knows philosophy of science, but a good example of the problem (or explanation--hah!) for the neophyte. Colin Tudge's answer about the limits of science is simillarly instructive and worth repeating (in part):

    I have changed my mind about the omniscience and omnipotence of science. I now realize that science is strictly limited, and that it is extremely dangerous not to appreciate this.

    Science proceeds in general by being reductionist. This term is used in different ways in different contexts but here I take it to mean that scientists begin by observing a world that seems infinitely complex and inchoate, and in order to make sense of it they first "reduce" it to a series of bite-sized problems, each of which can then be made the subject of testable hypotheses which, as far as possible, take mathematical form.

    Fair enough. The approach is obviously powerful, and it is hard to see how solid progress of a factual kind could be made in any other way. It produces answers of the kind known as "robust". "Robust" does not of course mean "unequivocally true" and still less does it meet the lawyers' criteria -- "the whole truth, and nothing but the truth". But robustness is pretty good;

  • by passthecrackpipe (598773) * <passthecrackpipe.hotmail@com> on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @05:26PM (#21877222)
    got my divorce sorted out on christmas day. about time as well. crazy bitch was getting on my nerves
  • Richard Dawkins (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sherriw (794536) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @08:49AM (#21881576)
    I love Dawkins' point about the difference in how we view politicians vs scientists who change their minds. I never did understand why some people criticize politicians for changing direction- that should be a virtue.

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