Monday, 6 October 2014

Some Moral Dilemmas

The Overcrowded Lifeboat

In 1842, a ship struck an iceberg and more than 30 survivors were crowded into a lifeboat intended to hold 7. As a storm threatened, it became obvious that the lifeboat would have to be lightened if anyone were to survive. The captain reasoned that the right thing to do in this situation was to force some individuals to go over the side and drown. Such an action, he reasoned, was not unjust to those thrown overboard, for they would have drowned anyway. If he did nothing, however, he would be responsible for the deaths of those whom he could have saved. Some people opposed the captain's decision. They claimed that if nothing were done and everyone died as a result, no one would be responsible for these deaths. On the other hand, if the captain attempted to save some, he could do so only by killing others and their deaths would be his responsibility; this would be worse than doing nothing and letting all die. The captain rejected this reasoning. Since the only possibility for rescue required great efforts of rowing, the captain decided that the weakest would have to be sacrificed. In this situation it would be absurd, he thought, to decide by drawing lots who should be thrown overboard. 

A Father's Agonizing Choice

You are an inmate in a concentration camp. A sadistic guard is about to hang your son who tried to escape and wants you to pull the chair from underneath him. He says that if you don't he will not only kill your son but some other innocent inmate as well. You don't have any doubt that he means what he says.

Thursday, 28 February 2013


The word "sacred" descends from the Latin sacrum, which referred to the gods or anything in their power, and to sacerdos, priest; sanctum, set apart. It was generally conceived spatially, as referring to the area around a temple. The English word "holy" dates back to at least the 11th Century with the Old English word hālig, an adjective derived from hāl meaning "whole" and used to mean "uninjured, sound, healthy, entire, complete". The Scottish hale ("health, happiness and wholeness") is the most complete modern form of this Old English root.

The modern word "health" is also derived from the Old English hal. As "wholeness", holiness may be taken to indicate a state of religious completeness or perfection. The word "holy" in its modern form appears in Wyclif's Bible of 1382. In non-specialist contexts, the term "holy" is used in a more general way, to refer to someone or something that is associated with a divine power, such as water used for baptism.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


Holiness, or sanctity, is in general the state of being holy (perceived by religious individuals as associated with the divine) or sacred (considered worthy of spiritual respect or devotion; or inspiring awe or reverence among believers in a given set of spiritual ideas). In other contexts, objects are often considered 'holy' or 'sacred' if used for spiritual purposes, such as the worship or service of gods. These terms can also be used in a non-spiritual or semi-spiritual context ("sacred truths" in a constitution). It is often ascribed to people ("a holy man" of religious occupation, "holy prophet" who is venerated by his followers), objects ("sacred artifact" that is venerated and blessed ), times ("holy days" of spiritual introspection, such as during winter holidays), or places ("sacred ground", "holy place").

Friday, 3 December 2004

If you're thinking of using Lycos’ "Make Love Not Spam" screensaver - why you shouldn't

If you're thinking of using Lycos’ "Make Love Not Spam" screensaver - why you shouldn't

There has recently been a fair amount of publicity about the new screensaver supplied by Lycos which "attacks" known spamming sites by constantly accessing their servers in what is known as a "Distributed Denial of Service" (DDoS) attack. Lycos, via its website, is offering a free screensaver for download. The screensavers make constant http requests to spam websites. The idea is to slow down spam servers by overloading them - i.e.. by launching a DDoS. Which is illegal in many, many countries.

Don't be sucked into this!! It could cause you more problems than it's worth, including your arrest & blocking of your access to the Internet.

Firstly, it doesn't matter the reasoning, DDoS attacks are illegal in most countries. How would you like it for the authorities to appear at your door and immediately confiscate your PC & remove your Internet access for launching illegal attacks, even if against spammers sites? Some of these sites may not even be spammers any more, as they often change their site addresses regularly, and because the sites are possibly hosted by legitimate Internet Service Providers (ISP's), all other sites hosted by those ISP's may also suffer performance degradation.

But an even more dangerous thing is that it opens up your PC to all types of attacks. When you use the screensaver against a spammer's site, your IP address will be recorded by them (yeah - think about that for a moment). This means the spammer knows you are online, and may try to launch a counter-attack DDoS on you. It also means that some some malicious sites may scan your IP address for any weaknesses in your PC's security and attempt to load spyware or malware onto your PC.

All in all, the screensaver is just not worth all the trouble it may cause. Some estimates are that they may only cause a performance slowdown of less than 5% at spammers sites. The trade-off for the spammers is that they have an always up-to-date list of currently online IP addresses to try to install software onto, or take revenge with by reporting to the authorities as active DDoS participants.

So, no matter how tempting, don't download this screensaver.

Golf (Joke)

"Toward the end of the golf course, Harry somehow managed to hit his ball into the woods finding it in a patch of pretty yellow buttercups. Trying to get his ball back in play, he ended up thrashing just about every buttercup in the patch. All of a sudden, POOF!, in a flash and puff of smoke, a little old woman appeared. She said, 'I'm Mother Nature! Do you know how long it took me to make those buttercups? Just for that, you won't have any butter for your popcorn the rest of your life; better still; you won't have any butter for your toast for the rest of your life..... as a matter of fact, you won't have any butter for anything the rest of your life!' THEN POOF!....she was gone. After Harry got a hold of himself, he hollered for his friend, Fred. 'Fred, where are you?'

Fred yells back, 'I'm over here, in the Pussywillows.'

Harry yells back......'DON'T SWING FRED!!!' 'For God sake, DON'T SWING!!'"