Freedom of Religion is used to persecute individuals once again, using governmental threat of force to back up such persecution. It is time to abolish it in name and concept, and instead let the Freedoms of Opinion and Speech carry on its original intention.

But after living in Japan on and off for a quite a few years, I think I've identified a general feature of Japanese culture that does lend itself more or less to blanket statements. And - even more surprisingly - it's one that I suspect may be holding Japan's economy and society back in significant ways.

Basically, Japanese culture is too averse to argument.

To see what I mean, try to start an intellectual debate with a Japanese person at a house party, bar, or coffee shop. Chances are that the reaction will be immediate discomfort - looking away, changing the subject, or just not saying anything. Often, Japanese people react to attempts at argument as if they expect you to physically assault them any moment. Many times I've tried cheerfully to debate some assertion a Japanese friend made (just as I would have done in my college dorm), only to have them ask: "Why are you upset?"

The US and British militaries insist that this is such an expert program, but it's curious that they feel the need to deliver faulty information, few or no statistics about civilian deaths and twisted technology reports on the capabilities of our UAVs. These specific incidents are not isolated, and the civilian casualty rate has not changed, despite what our defense representatives might like to tell us.

If you think that selfishness and cruelty are fantastic personal traits, you might be a libertarian. In the movement no one will ever call you an asshole, but rather, say you believe in radical individualism.

Men i övrigt är svensk politik fullständigt förvirrad. Alla traditionella riksdagspartier försvarar den generella välfärdsstaten – samtidigt som de försöker ge intryck av att vara öppna, toleranta och kosmopolitiska. Men det flyger inte. Man kan inte samtidigt vara för en sluten välfärdsstat och för fri rörlighet. Så det politiska Sverige säger en sak och gör en annan. I all praktisk handling – faktiskt – samma sak som (SD). Det vill säga att de offrar den fria rörligheten till förmån för välfärdsstaten.

We all know that inequality has been rising and the average American household has been suffering. There is a myth that says all this suffering is necessary, that extreme inequality is the by-product of a rapidly growing economy—or worse, that it’s a good thing because it motivates everyone to work hard and climb the long ladder to the One Percent. § Even a brief glance at the historical record reveals just how perverted this hypothesis is.

The thrust of this argument is simple: terrorism is such a minor threat to American life and limb that it's simply bizarre—just stupefyingly irrational and intellectually unserious—to suppose that it could even begin to justify the abolition of privacy rights as they have been traditionally understood in favour of the installation of a panoptic surveillance state. Would Americans give up their second-amendment rights if it were to save 3000 lives? Well, it would, but we won't. Surely the re-abolition of alchohol would save more than 3000 lives, but we're not about to discuss it. Why not? Because liberty is important to us and we won't sell it cheaply. Why should we feel differently about our precious fourth-amendment rights?

If there is one thing about testing in Perl which bugs me, it's that most testing in Perl is what cgi-lib.pl is to Plack. The following is mostly a rant and I'm also guilty of many of these sins.

Halloween is rapidly approaching, which means it's time for scary movie marathons. And while watching "Friday the 13th" for the 137th time never fails to entertain, maybe it's time to check out a seriously terrifying movie that you probably have never even heard of. Add each of the following movies to your list. We guarantee they'll entertain, terrify, and disturb you.

There's plenty of psychological research to show that when we spend using physical notes and coins, we spend more sensibly. Of all forms of payment, cash is the most "transparent" – the one that connects us most directly to the fact that we're parting with our money. That's also why, as the behavioural economist Dan Ariely has argued, cashlessness seems to be associated with increased dishonesty: it's easier to cut ethical corners involving money, while continuing to think of yourself as an honest person, when you're psychologically distanced from the money involved. "We are moving to a situation which allows people to rationalise dishonesty to a much, much higher degree," Ariely told Wired Magazine last year.

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