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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 03:52pm
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Boeing 757 wrote:
ryacko wrote:
Alyrium Denryle wrote:
So... slavery is OK provided you are nice to the slaves?

Slavery is okay as long as non-violent resistance is not punished, as that is the true marker of freedom.


:wtf: No, asshole, it is not "okay." How would you like it if YOU were made a slave?

I would refuse to work, or rather go on strike.

Besides, slavery is unprofitable, most slave owners allowed slaves to work for others so that the slaves themselves may buy their own freedom, which often was more profitable for the owner then have the slaves do backbreaking labor all day.

Alyrium Denryle wrote:
1) They are social creatures. Empathy is the backbone of complex social interactions, and orca grieve for their dead. There is nothing to indicate that they dont feel empathy in some form. Now, it may be the case they they cannot expand that to other species. It is certainly possible that their cognitive capacity is insufficient and too child-like to be able to extend their empathy that far. However considering how dolphins in general interact with people who they have accepted into their social group, that possibility seems remote.

Considering that

Quote:
No trade is required. Different groups of orca specialize on different food items. Some pods on seals, others on fish etc, depending on what is locally available and what other pods are eating (two different pods in the same area specialize on different prey to avoid competition). Eating of other fully sapient beings is generally rare.

Oh and um... you know, there is nothing saying we cannot just... you know, give the affected pods food should we eventually learn to speak orca and convince them that eating other dolphins is probably wrong. We could also stand to stop over-fishing so that they can more easily merge pods. I figure if things progress that far, we should be able to deal with that issue.

Have moral hazard you want to deal with? Find a fucking solution. The solution to moral hazard is not to complain about how hard it might be to deal with it. You be an adult, and you deal with it.

Way to miss the point. Orcas are not capable of civilization, or at least the basic requirement for civilization: trade and the specialization of labor. While you mention that they divvy up territory or resources among themselves peacefully, they possess no capacity to go beyond a hunter-gatherer civilization.

So we should start an Orca-welfare program to protect the victims of Orcas? At least people on unemployment insurance contributed to the unemployment fund when they were working.
Quote:
Quote:
It doesn't excuse humanity, but, how can I complain in my comfortable home typing away using electricity?


Wait, so because you live a cushy life, you have no right to say "hey, maybe it would be a good idea if we stop raping the oceans" and instead must simply assent to every fucked up things people do?

I am sitting here using electricity. Electricity that is 100% renewable. I also restrict my fish intake to sustainably farmed fish (read: lower trophic level freshwater fish that are not fed other fish) and well-regulated alaskan salmon. Other meat intake is limited to a fraction of the typical american diet. I drive a fuel efficient car.

With even that small amount of effort, I have managed to mitigate both my carbon footprint, and my impact on the world's oceans. It is not even the limit of the various things I do.

What you are is a contemptuous lazy moral coward, worthy of nothing but contempt.

I suppose the materials to make those renewable power sources are themselves renewable, biodegradable, and free of toxic industrial chemicals as well?

I suppose you are going to say that you are 20% more efficient or cleaner then others? The fact of the matter is that you are far more dangerous to the planet then someone in Bangladesh living off of ten dollars a day.

What you are is a high brow hypocrite, smug in your sense of self-superiority, and your own ethical values are superior to others.

Perhaps this is the one distinguishing point of humanity, the ability to form values, beliefs, and even die for them. Not like there are many Orcajihadists. In the end, it is a struggle between species.
Humanity is winning. And I am an apologist for humanity.



Suffering from the diminishing marginal utility of wealth.

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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 04:20pm
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It's not a battle between species, you idiot. It is humans out of equilibrium with our environment. Treating other species (perhaps aside from viruses and their ilk) as enemies is a self defeating holdover attitude from a misinterpretation of our primitive past. Other species aren't competitors for some objective prize; we depend on them. We are also approaching a position where we can decide what happens to the world as a whole, and we can choose to do so ethically or not. Other animals, which might not be able to form civilizations on there own, still have a range of cognition and capacity for suffering that entitles them to moral consideration, even if it isn't exactly the same as that entitled to humans or an equivalent sentience. Moral worth isn't an all or nothing deal, which is a point that sails clean over your blunt little skull. As for Alyrium and others being far more dangerous to the planet than an Afghan peasant, he is also in a position to contribute knowledge that will, in the long run, far outweigh the costs of his lifestyle. Perhaps he could do more; so be it. It doesn't negate his moral position.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 05:34pm
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Quote:
I suppose the materials to make those renewable power sources are themselves renewable, biodegradable, and free of toxic industrial chemicals as well?


They are not. Yet. However, they are a better alternative at every timeframe possible than what humans otherwise are doing.


Quote:
I suppose you are going to say that you are 20% more efficient or cleaner then others? The fact of the matter is that you are far more dangerous to the planet then someone in Bangladesh living off of ten dollars a day.


No. I am also not in extreme poverty. As that peasant in bangladesh tries to become better off, they use more energy. Would you rather have that energy come from gas? Or would you prefer a mixture of nuclear (sans yakuza), wind, and solar power?

Quote:
What you are is a high brow hypocrite, smug in your sense of self-superiority, and your own ethical values are superior to others.


Oh noes! Solutions to moral hazard are not perfect! I am not a strict deontologist. I do not require moral perfection.


Quote:
. In the end, it is a struggle between species.


Support that claim. How exactly do you reach that determination?

I also see that you insist on your categorical fallacy.

Quote:
Besides, slavery is unprofitable, most slave owners allowed slaves to work for others so that the slaves themselves may buy their own freedom, which often was more profitable for the owner then have the slaves do backbreaking labor all day.


...

That is not true. Yes, they rented out their slaves. However, if slavery was not profitable, why do the founding documents of the CSA state clearly that slavery was the basis of their economy?

And that is just US slavery. Roman slavery was amazingly profitable. The patricians who owned slaves however were expected to free slaves for free who displayed certain roman virtues, and slavery was operated differently than southern chattel slavery in a great many respects. So you cannot even go back that far.

Your argument is a non-sequitur. Please make non-fallacious arguments.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 05:41pm
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Quote:
Heh, jumping the gun just a wee bit there.


I know. However, our methods of evaluating animal intelligence are really really damn conservative. We minimize type 1 error, which is great for science. However, it is less good when you want to make correct moral judgements or make contact with an alien (in terms of non-human, not ET) intelligence in a meaningful way.

Quote:
I also am hesitant to say "talk". It implies a certain complexity of interaction which I am not convinced is possible, not because orcas are "less" intelligent or anything, but simply because their cognition does not necessarily parallel ours closely enough on a higher perceptual level to allow for "talking." Communication, yes ... we already CAN communicate with them, and those methods will get increasingly sophisticated and complex with more research, but I am skeptical it can ever really reach the level of "talking."


That is why for the most part I said "if". Holding the possibility open as a hypothetical inside a thought experiment. "Talk" is defined loosely, of course.

I look at it like this. It is plausible that orca etc are smarter than we give them credit for, given what we have observed in the wild and in captivity from them, and that they have the capacity to communicate complex information to eachother in a manner that we might consider language. Dolphins for example understand syntax and IIRC transitive reasoning. That is not cognitive light-lifting.

This particular beluga initially only used humanesque vocalizations in the presence of humans, not when trying to deal with other whales. Mimicry is a social signal, birds use it as part of mating displays etc. To use it specifically when interacting with the species one is mimicing? That is a bit different.

The problem when it comes to actually distinguishing that hypothesis from alternatives like mimicry or the effects of operant conditioning is that the results are indistinguishable using our techniques, and because they are not human there is bias by way of potential over-correction for anthropomorphizing them. When we ask dolphins to invent a new behavioral routine, we cannot be sure if the time they spend underwater vocalizing is a planning session, or if they are imitating eachother very very closely. We dont know if the commands we give them are understood, or if the dolphin is just conditioned to perform a certain way when we give the command. At least not on its own. Given they understand syntax, transitive reasoning, and can interpret 2D images as representing a three dimensional action or as a command, we can be pretty sure that it is the former. Before we can get any further and really get into the meat of the matter (how smart are toothed whales, how well do they communicate, and can we translate things into dolphin) we have to have a huge shift in our research paradigm such that we minimize type 2 rather than type 1 error. We dont have a Rosetta stone. Their intelligence is alien to our own and probably not organized the same way. We need to:

A) stop thinking of ourselves as special snowflakes
B) stop directly comparing (even though I made an analogy to this earlier) their intelligence and neural physiology to our own (it works for an ethical comparison, but not when you are actually trying to do things). Encephalization quotient means nothing between lineages. We should not expect two intelligent beings separated by tens of millions of years of evolution to have their intelligences evolve using the same brain structures and be organized the same way in the brain.
C) adjust research paradigms appropriately.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 06:38pm
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The link to the article is dead--are there any links to the original paper available?

I was involved in dolphin cognition research in 1994, and I remember in observing the researchers' discussions that one of the biggest obstacles in true communication is not just language, but perceptions drawn from evolving in two different environments.

I hope someone jumps all over the chance afforded by this beluga. I'd very much like to follow how it proceeds.



"In the long run, however, there can be no excuse for any individual not knowing what it is possible for him to know. Why shouldn't he?" --Elliot Grosvenor, Voyage of the Space Beagle

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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 07:48pm
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Here is the link to the original paper. It seems that they have removed the paywall. Granted, I dont have to worry about paywalls...

Still, I will get this digested at some point this evening.

http://download.cell.com/current-biolog ... diate=true



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 10:03pm
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Alyrium Denryle wrote:
Quote:
I suppose the materials to make those renewable power sources are themselves renewable, biodegradable, and free of toxic industrial chemicals as well?


They are not. Yet. However, they are a better alternative at every timeframe possible than what humans otherwise are doing.

A reassuring thought, comparable to an indulgence.
Alyrium Denryle wrote:

Quote:
I suppose you are going to say that you are 20% more efficient or cleaner then others? The fact of the matter is that you are far more dangerous to the planet then someone in Bangladesh living off of ten dollars a day.


No. I am also not in extreme poverty. As that peasant in bangladesh tries to become better off, they use more energy. Would you rather have that energy come from gas? Or would you prefer a mixture of nuclear (sans yakuza), wind, and solar power?

I hope you mean sans yakuza, sans gosplan, plus proper regulation. A la France.

I would prefer nuclear energy. But it's high initial capital cost is telling, making investment impossible. However supplies of nuclear fuel are fairly close to infinite, with even granite being a viable source.
Wind and solar are very... inefficient to say the least. For the same price as many solar/wind "farms," you could buy a large petrol or diesel generator that could out put the same electricity, reliably, and efficiently, and use the money you save to donate to an important cause. And possibly let nature use the land more efficiently as well.
Large wind turbines, I've read, cause turbulence.


This is probably one of the few things I will agree with the communists, the third world must use cheap energy to advance to western standards. But I go further, I believe in using energy efficiently, so that we may continue to develop human civilization.

Alyrium Denryle wrote:

Quote:
. In the end, it is a struggle between species.


Support that claim. How exactly do you reach that determination?

I also see that you insist on your categorical fallacy.


How do I reach that determination? From what I know of Darwinism.
Alyrium Denryle wrote:
Quote:
Besides, slavery is unprofitable, most slave owners allowed slaves to work for others so that the slaves themselves may buy their own freedom, which often was more profitable for the owner then have the slaves do backbreaking labor all day.


...

That is not true. Yes, they rented out their slaves. However, if slavery was not profitable, why do the founding documents of the CSA state clearly that slavery was the basis of their economy?

And that is just US slavery. Roman slavery was amazingly profitable. The patricians who owned slaves however were expected to free slaves for free who displayed certain roman virtues, and slavery was operated differently than southern chattel slavery in a great many respects. So you cannot even go back that far.

Your argument is a non-sequitur. Please make non-fallacious arguments.

[/quote]
http://mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/RAE7_2_2.pdf
In sum, it was a result of government regulation and tradition that maintained the existence of slavery and penalized manumission.
Please stop saying my logic is not sound when it is. Someone else brought up slavery as a discussion point, and I am discussing it. If you wish to bring yourself into the discussion of slavery, then by all means, but don't claim you were forced to reply to every single thing and that you don't like non-sequiturs when it wasn't even I who brought it up.

Quote:
I look at it like this. It is plausible that orca etc are smarter than we give them credit for, given what we have observed in the wild and in captivity from them, and that they have the capacity to communicate complex information to eachother in a manner that we might consider language. Dolphins for example understand syntax and IIRC transitive reasoning. That is not cognitive light-lifting.

Language is not an indicator of intelligence, just look at our politicians.
On a more serious note, the ability to communicate intelligence, the ability to appear intelligent, and the ability to be intelligent are three distinct aspects of intelligence, and no controlled environment can derive that. Since you would know more then I do about this, do octopi communicate?



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-25 03:08am
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I was going to respond to you, then I read that article you posted.

Any attempt to try and analyze slavery as an economic institution absent from cultural concerns makes no sense. To paraphrase Wilderson, if this was about the market and profitability the English would have gotten their slaves from Ireland and the Baltics, not Africa. If this was about the market Bartholome de la Casas would never have existed, the liberation of 'indigenous' slaves would never have happened, and the capture of Africans would never have been used as a substitute.

As for the rest of that article, it's utterly myopic (focusing almost solely on English slavery, ignoring major cultural factors such as the creation of the concept of 'whiteness', etc.), horrendously outdated by modern scholarship on the issue, and drenched in the language of modern white privilege (the reason why slaves weren't freed was because the market mode of manumission was forbidden? Sure...)

It belongs on a special pedestal as a reminder of the sort of scholarship/mindset we should work studiously to avoid inculcating inside ourselves.


The rest of your post is an abomination too. Especially your stance on animal liberation, but I guess that's to be expected. You remind me of a fourteen year old me. Hopefully you'll grow up too.



"My annoyance is exacerbated by the fact that the suffering I am witnessing now cannot exist on its own, it has to fall into the hierarchy of a “lesser animal suffering.” In the made-for-TV reality of American culture, the only acceptable genocide is historical. It’s comforting—it’s over. Twenty million murdered humans deserve to be more than a reference point. I am annoyed that I don’t have more power in communicating what I’ve seen apart from stuttering: “It’s like the Holocaust” " - Susan Coe

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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-25 03:11am
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I mean, my gods:

Quote:
"The failure of voluntary emancipation" represents a divergence
between economic theory and our understanding of the market econ-
omy on the one hand and real world results on the other.58 In order
to explain such puzzles, economists normally look a t institutional
rigidities, changes in relative scarcity, and most especially to govern-
ment interventions in the economy.59 The positive contribution of this
paper is to introduce such a n explanation: the role that certain slave
codes played in the profitability and survival of slavery in the ante-
bellum South. Despite the almost obvious implications of the slave
codes, this form of government intervention has been ignored as an
economic factor in the profitability and perpetuation of slavery.60
While the direction of this approach could have been derived from the
work of G e n ~ v e s e , ~ ~ and while Stampp certainly discussed the subject
a t length, it seems that Ludwig von Mises made the clearest state-
ment of the connection between government intervention and the
inability of markets to bring down antebellum slavery:
The abolition of slavery and serfdom could not be effected by the free
play of the market system, as political institutions had withdrawn
the estates of the nobility and the plantations from the supremacy of
the
The political institutions that had withdrawn the plantation from the
supremacy of the market were slave code statutes. While all the
statutes had some impact, the statutes that required slave patrols
and the laws that prohibited the manumission of slaves are of pri-
mary importance.

The patrol statutes required all white males to participate in
slave patrol duty. The state required counties to establish regular
patrols, and the counties in turn placed responsibility for organizing
patrols on local judges and constables. These officials appointed a
series of rotating patrol leaders who would be responsible for organ-
izing and reporting on the activities of their patrols. Failure to
participate in the patrols or to carry out organizing responsibilities
would result in a series of escalating fines.





Revolting and asinine.


Or this unfootnoted, unsupported, baseless assertion:
Quote:
The low rate of private manumissions was not due to a lack of
interest, but rather to prohibitions and restrictions on manumission
in the slave states.


I am ashamed that this was put to print.



"My annoyance is exacerbated by the fact that the suffering I am witnessing now cannot exist on its own, it has to fall into the hierarchy of a “lesser animal suffering.” In the made-for-TV reality of American culture, the only acceptable genocide is historical. It’s comforting—it’s over. Twenty million murdered humans deserve to be more than a reference point. I am annoyed that I don’t have more power in communicating what I’ve seen apart from stuttering: “It’s like the Holocaust” " - Susan Coe

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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-29 06:45am
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ryacko, who is stupid, wrote:
I would refuse to work, or rather go on strike.

And your owner, in this hypothetical scenario, would gonk you upside the skull and send you to work with a gun at the back of your head.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-11-03 10:10pm
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as a followup - we have a korean speaking elephant:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/scien ... 74197.html

Quote:
A talking elephant may sound like something out of a Rudyard Kipling novel but scientists have shown for the first time that elephants are capable of imitating spoken words – albeit by “whistling” in the Korean language.

Within weeks of a study showing that a white beluga whale was capable of uttering a few words in English , scientists have discovered that an Asian elephant called Koshik has the comparatively extensive vocabulary of five Korean words.

Koshik, who was born in captivity and lives in the Everland Zoo in the city of Yongin, has developed a method of imitating human speech patterns by inserting the tip of his trunk into his mouth while vocalising to reach the relatively high pitches of the human voice, rather like a man whistling with fingers in his mouth.

Scientists have analysed the sound spectrum of Koshik’s noises and have found that they match well against the human speech patterns for the same words. A panel of native Korean speakers said they could understand what Koshik was saying.

Angela Stoeger of the University of Vienna, who was part of the team that analysed Koshik’s voice recordings, said she was astonished when she realised that the 22-year-old elephant could speak Korean words such as “annyong”, meaning “hello”, and “choah”, meaning “good”.

“I was fascinated and thought that this is now really the evidence that elephants are indeed vocal learners. I really wanted to scientifically prove it so that no doubt would be left,” Dr Stoeger said.

Koshik had to overcome some fundamental limitations of his anatomy to reach the relatively high pitches of human speech given that elephant sounds are normally low-frequency grumbles, according to the study published in the journal Current Biology.

By inserting the tip of his trunk into his right cheek he was able to modulate the sounds in his mouth and so extend his vocabulary to include “anja”, meaning “sit down”, “aniya”, meaning “ no”, and “nuo” meaning “lie down”.

“Human speech basically has two important aspects: pitch and timbre. Intriguingly, the elephant Koshik is capable of matching both pitch and timbre patterns,” Dr Stoeger said.

“He accurately imitates human formants [sound spectra] as well as the voice pitch of his trainers. This is remarkable considering the huge size, the long vocal tract and other anatomical differences between an elephant and a human,” Dr Stoeger said.

Like other animals that are capable of imitating human speech, such as parrots and mynah birds, there is no evidence that Koshik could actually understand what he was saying, only that he was using the sounds for basic communication with his human trainers.

Koshik was born in 1990 and spent the first few years of his life with two adult female elephants but between 1995 and 2002 he lived on his own and it was during this time that he probably learnt to imitate the noises made by his trainers, Dr Stoeger said.

There have been anecdotal reports of elephants imitating human speech or noises. A male Asian elephant kept in a zoo in Kazakhastan was reported to speak a few words of Russian and Kazakh, and wild African elephants have been found to imitate the grumbling engines of nearby Landrovers.

“In addition there have been reports about two Asian elephants that imitated the idiosyncratic whistling sounds of a female elephant that they were housed with,” Dr Stoeger said.

“We do not know whether all elephants in Koshik’s situation would have started to imitate human speech, but even these case studies show that elephants in principle seem to have the ability to imitate vocalizations,” she said.

This video shows Koshik, "an elephant that speaks Korean," interacting with his trainer. Following vocal interaction with the trainer is documented: Koshik: "choah" (good) Trainer: "choah choah annyong" (good good hello) Koshik: "choah" (good) Trainer: "choah choah annyong" (good good hello) Koshik: "choah" (good) Trainer: "choah choah" (good good) Koshik: "choah" (good) Trainer: "annyong" (hello) Koshik: "choah" (good) Trainer: "annyong" (hello)



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-11-04 04:57pm
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It seems like the news agencies have all but forgotten about Koko.



Suffering from the diminishing marginal utility of wealth.

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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-11-05 03:29pm
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ryacko wrote:
It seems like the news agencies have all but forgotten about Koko.


And, for that matter, Clever Hans.

I am skeptical that this elephant example actually constitutes proof of vocal learning, until I see a proper article on the subject (as in, article in a scientific journal, not a pop sci news story). Despite that article's claims to the contrary, a zoo animal making noises that sound vaguely like Korean words is not in and of itself proof to that effect.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-11-05 09:46pm
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Heck, my conure will mutter long strings of syllables with the cadence of English, but it's not words. He's just imitating what human conversation sounds like to him. As opposed to the 15 or so words/phrases he actually can say, about half of which he can use in an appropriate context. Even that's not language, even if it is communication.

Animals might imitate noises, that's not the same thing as making sense.



Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

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