Hi, I am about to give you a copypaste from /u/iopha about a year ago adressing this exact issues. He/she litterally could not have put it better so I thought it would be better to just let them say it.

“Hi Unsuremother,

First, off, though I am an atheist myself, I want to empathize a little: this must be difficult for you and your family. Your faith commitment is an important part of your life and it is bewildering to have your own child turn away from this. I don’t know exactly what you believe, but you might be worried about his soul in the next life, or his behaviour in this one. If you don’t believe in God, how do you know right from wrong? If you reject God, how will you be reunited with Him in the next Kingdom?

The most important thing to understand is that these kinds of concerns, while very vivid and real to you, only make sense within a belief system your son no longer accepts. There is no sense in making threats of Hell or damnation anymore: atheists do not believe such a place exists. We don’t believe such a place could exist. The thing that is important to remember is that while we no longer believe that there are places beyond the world, the world he lives in has now become all the more important. That’s all we have. That’s all we ever have. His world is family, and school, and friends: all these things structure his life and he will need them more than ever. He needs you. He’s still a kid, and he’s a kid dealing with Really Big Questions in the only way he can: honestly and critically.

Most of us have come to this point honestly. This must be emphasized. We’re not angry at God, we’re not trying to get attention or going through some cultural phase. We looked at the arguments on both sides and came to the best conclusion we could. We only have 70 odd years on this planet. We make mistakes, too; we are fallible creatures prone to error and haste. We do our best. And sometimes our best is ‘well, I don’t think any of this is right.’ I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I don’t rightly know where the universe came from, or how life began at first. But I don’t need all the answers to know that some answers are the wrong ones. I don’t know, and I don’t think Christians, or Muslims, or Taoists know either. They claim to know; I claim to not know.

Suppose I’m wrong. Suppose your son is wrong. I’m standing outside the pearly gates and St. Peter, or God Himself, gives me one chance to explain myself. What would I say except “I’m sorry–I got it wrong. I really tried. But I got it wrong. I saw all the different religions, each saying different things, all changing over time. It seemed just a part of human culture, not ultimate truth. I saw unnecessary suffering and couldn’t make heads or tails of it, if you were good and all-powerful. It didn’t make sense to me to posit something existing to explain existence: that gets it backwards. I’m sorry, God, that I didn’t believe in you, but it wasn’t malicious–I just–I just screwed up.”

What would Jesus say to that? Would he send me to suffer forever? Do I deserve to be tortured eternally because I read Lucretius as a young man–the 2,000 year old Roman poet who professed his atheism before Christ ever walked desert sand? Because I looked at the ontological argument and found it wanting?

Or would he press me to Him and forgive me? And wouldn’t I desire that forgiveness—?

If there is a God that would send me to Hell for making this mistake, I don’t want it in my life. Nothing justifies torture. Nothing at all. And He would not be worthy of worship–or even respect. If He is merciful, then I will apologize. If I am right–and he doesn’t exist–then I live my life as a free man.

And that is how atheists live: under actual freedom. The German philosopher Nietzsche wrote that ‘freedom is responsibility’–genuine freedom. I am responsible for the consequences of my actions. So: how do I live? What do I do? Do I want to live in a society where everyone does what they can get away with? What standards do I hold myself up to? This is the essence of the atheist’s morality: his freedom, his rationality.

Before even Lucretius wrote his atheistic treatise De Rerum Natura, there was another man, Socrates, who asked a simple and startling question: Does God say something is Good because it is good, or is something good because God says it is? We must be careful here. If what is good is whatever God says is good, then we have no morality at all, but caprice. If God says: kill your son! it is good to kill your son. If God says: from henceforth, children shall be murdered–then it is good, by definition, that children be murdered. But that’s not morality. That’s authoritarianism. And if you say: “But God would never do that,” I ask: why? Because if there is a reason, then goodness is independent from God after all. It is grounded elsewhere. In what? Well: maybe in reason itself? Or maybe morality is just part of the universe–a different kind of part, not like your sofa or TV or the moon is part of the universe, but the way numbers, or relations (like ‘equal to’)–an abstract object, none less the real.

There is a very, very long tradition of ethical thinking that is, in fact, older than Christianity itself. In philosophy classes we teach wisdom that was recorded a millennium before Christ. If it is impossible to be good without God, there wouldn’t be one virtuous atheist. Yet there are millions of us non-religious men and women on the planet, and we live our lives, as best we can. Atheists don’t fill the newspapers with tales of carnage or debauchery–clearly we can figure it out on our own.

Well. Not quite on our own. We have each other. No one else–just each other. And that’s enough. So be there for your son.”

A real issue among tech companies

“Not invented here” syndrome is not unique to the IT world.


When I first read the claim that HealthCare.gov, the Web site initiated by the Affordable Care Act, had cost $500 million to create,4 I didn’t believe the number. There is no way to make a Web site cost that much. But the actual number seems not to be an order-of-magnitude lower, and as I understand the reports, the Web site doesn’t have much to show for the high cost in term of performance, features, or quality in general.

This is hardly a unique experience in the IT world. In fact, it seems more the rule than the exception.

Here in Denmark we are in no way immune: POLSAG, a new case-management system for the Danish police force, was scrapped after running up a tab of US$100 million and having nothing usable to show for it. We are quick to dismiss these types of failures as politicians asking for the wrong systems and incompetent and/or greedy companies being happy to oblige. While that may be part of the explanation, it is hardly sufficient.

The traditional response from the IT world is that the Next Big Thing will fix this, where the Next Big Thing has been a seemingly infinite sequence of concepts such as high-level languages, structured programming, relational databases, SQL, fourth-generation languages, object-oriented programming, agile methodologies, and so on ad nauseam. I think it is fair to say that none of these technologies has made any significant difference in the success/failure ratio of IT projects. Clearly they allow us to make much bigger projects, but the actual success/failure rate seems to be pretty much the same.

At the same time, there are all these amazing success stories, where a couple of college kids change the way we think about information retrieval with their Google information-scoring algorithm, or a bunch of friends change the way we communicate with their Twitter information-distribution system.

Why, despite politicians’ lofty speeches, does that never happen in government IT applications? There is clearly something we are missing here, something we’re doing wrong, without even thinking about it. That particular mistake is far more common that it should be in a (so-called) “knowledge economy.”

Growing up in the countryside, I spent a good portion of my youth operating a wheelbarrow. The European wheelbarrow is a rationalization of the handbarrow, which was basically two planks, two feet apart, with boards nailed or tied between them. One person grabs the two planks at the front, one in each hand, another grabs them at the back, and then they trudge away with their load.

Sometime back in the early one thousands, a productivity consultant must have pointed out that if you replaced the person in front with a wheel, then you could get twice as many wheelbarrows moving with the same number of workers. (This industrial application of technology undoubtedly earned the consultant a hefty fee.)

And that’s it! That is the very same contraption I lugged around as a kid and the same one I used just a few hours ago for gardening. As anybody knows, using a wheelbarrow is easier than carrying things, but it is still quite heavy work. You lift roughly half the load yourself, you provide the energy for motion, and you must steer it in the right direction, which is difficult on account of the first two expenditures of energy.

While a vast improvement over the handbarrow, the European wheelbarrow is stupidly inefficient, at least compared with the Chinese version.2 Somebody in China was smarter than the Medieval European downsizer and moved the wheel to the middle of the wheelbarrow, so that the entire weight of the load is carried by the wheel. The Chinese wheelbarrow will readily transport two or three times the load of a European wheelbarrow, with the operator hardly breaking a sweat, just pushing and steering, with barely any lifting.

From a management perspective, the Chinese wheelbarrow is identical to the European one: one wheel, two handles, one operator. Looking at it that way, however, we blind ourselves to how differently they work, and we miss the full productivity improvement of the wheel.

In Europe we have known about the Chinese wheelbarrow since at least 1797,2 yet, to this day, we still sweat while lifting half the load carried on our nonoptimized wheelbarrows.

The “not invented here” syndrome is not unique to the IT world.

I’m beginning to think that the reason our big IT projects sink is that we make the same kind of mistake: mindlessly replacing human labor with technology instead of solving the actual problem.

Many human jobs can be replaced directly with computers. E-mail replaced the old telegraph system, delivering the exact same conceptual service: delivering a text message quickly while using hardly any manpower. But delivering text messages was the least e-mail could do—once we got to know it better. First there were programs answering e-mails, sending source code, or looking up things in databases. Next came programs sending e-mails to other programs, to keep databases synchronized, and then e-mails containing pictures, sound, and vice presidents.1

The e-mail system we know today, as envisioned by Ray Tomlinson, was not the only such system somebody came up with, however. The state-sanctioned post and telegraph monopolies attempted to standardize e-mail—or “telematic services” as they called it—in CCITT (International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee) recommendations X.400-X.599,3 as part of the grand vision of “The Intelligent Network.”

They started approximately 15 years before Tomlinson. They spent uncountable millions of all sorts of currencies. They had legislators mandating that their way be the one and only legal way forward. And they failed utterly, miserably, and definitively.

Why is it that in IT one person can often do what thousands cannot?

It is tempting to speculate that HealthCare.gov would have worked much better had they given the task to a 10-person company rather than a conglomerate with 69,000 employees all over the globe. I’m sure that is a necessary part of the solution, but again, it is hardly a sufficient condition for success.

For one thing, while there are “only” 380,000 words in the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), the regulations floating from the law amount to 12 million words (and counting). No 10-person company would even be able to read all that verbiage before the delivery deadline had whooshed past.

Interestingly, The New York Times reports that HealthCare.gov contains an estimated 500 million lines of code.4 That’s no more likely to be true than the $500 million price tag.

I looked at one of the actual laws that make up Obamacare, the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act),5 and since I was not going to read all 906 pages, I started in the middle, on page 403. After a few pages I ran into this definition of patient decision aid:

“(1) PATIENT DECISION AID—The term ‘patient decision aid’ means an educational tool that helps patients, caregivers, or authorized representatives understand and communicate their beliefs and preferences related to their treatment options, and to decide with their health care provider what treatments are best for them based on their treatment options, scientific evidence, circumstances, beliefs, and preferences.”

Reading on, I found the requirements:

“(2) REQUIREMENTS FOR PATIENT DECISION AIDS—Patient decision aids developed and produced pursuant to a grant or contract under paragraph (1)—
“(A) shall be designed to engage patients, caregivers, and authorized representatives in informed decision making with health care providers;
“(B) shall present up-to-date clinical evidence about the risks and benefits of treatment options in a form and manner that is age-appropriate and can be adapted for patients, caregivers, and authorized representatives from a variety of cultural and educational backgrounds to reflect the varying needs of consumers and diverse levels of health literacy;

“(C) shall, where appropriate, explain why there is a lack of evidence to support one treatment option over another; and
“(D) shall address health care decisions across the age span, including those affecting vulnerable populations including children.”

Unless Congress thinks of teachers as “educational tools,” I think we can take it as written here that they expect this to be some kind of computer program. But read it again and pay attention to the language. When was the last time you saw a computer program that “engaged,” “explained,” or “addressed decisions?” Or, for that matter, when have you seen a program that “adapted for [...] a variety of cultural and educational backgrounds to reflect the varying needs of consumers and diverse levels of health literacy”?

These paragraphs legislate that Obamacare will fund research in heavy-duty state-of-the-art artificial intelligence—I somehow doubt that is what Congress intended it to say. I posit that Congress worried about having enough doctors and nurses for this new health care, so they wanted to use computers to cut down the talking and explaining. In other words, they want to save manpower—by replacing the front man on the handbarrow with a wheel.

I have used a handbarrow once, in an emergency. My fellow campers and I constructed it from two young pine trees, wrapping the sail from our tent around them. Compared with a wheelbarrow, it was both easier and faster, because the front man didn’t get stuck in any holes or hit any rocks, and he helped with all of navigation, lifting, locomotion, and steering. When we met the first responders, they gently lifted our friend with his injured leg from our makeshift version to their professional handbarrow and carried him the rest of the way to their ambulance on a hi-tech aluminum stretcher.

I am absolutely sure that Congress would never replace the front man on an ambulance stretcher with a wheel to save manpower—yet, in a way, they did just that. I won’t claim to know the correct way to optimize a health care consultation with computers—there may be one, but more importantly, there may not.

Blindly deciding that information technology will be substituted for humans is unenlightened. IT is not a magic potion that makes unpleasant or inconvenient things disappear. The right thing to do is to ask, as a Chinese engineer did 2,000 years ago, “If we’re going to put a wheel on this thing, where is the best place to put it?”

And to realize that two questions were asked.

Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone: A military doctrine or political process that appears to exist in order to justify its own existence, often producing irrelevant indicators of its own success. For example, continually releasing figures on the amount of Taliban weapons seized, as if there were a finite supply of such weapons. While seizing the weapons, soldiers raid Afghan villages, enraging the residents and legitimizing the Taliban’s cause.

Zendesk’s HelpCenter does allow for script tags in a article body so the standard code for Brightcove doesn’t work. Information on running HTTPS on a HTTP site

<!-- Start of Brightcove Player -->
<div style="display:none">
By use of this code snippet, I agree to the Brightcove Publisher T and C 
found at https://accounts.brightcove.com/en/terms-and-conditions/. 
<script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src="http://admin.brightcove.com/js/BrightcoveExperiences.js"></script>
<object id="myExperience2001" class="BrightcoveExperience">
 <param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" />
 <param name="width" value="480" />
 <param name="height" value="270" />
 <param name="playerID" value="275121" />
 <param name="playerKey" value="AQ~~,AAAAuO09AoXJkr" />
 <param name="isVid" value="true" />
 <param name="isUI" value="true" />
 <param name="dynamicStreaming" value="true" />

 <param name="@videoPlayer" value="2701" />
This script tag will cause the Brightcove Players defined above it to be created as soon
as the line is read by the browser. If you wish to have the player instantiated only after
the rest of the HTML is processed and the page load is complete, remove the line.
<script type="text/javascript">brightcove.createExperiences();</script>
<!-- End of Brightcove Player -->

The Trick is to load the script in the document head of HelpCenter. Just go to Customize Design and select Document Head



After you add the script tags to the document head you will only need to add the object code to the body of the article. Just create a article and select the Show HTML option in the editor and paste in the object code.

<object id="myExperience2001" class="BrightcoveExperience">
 <param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" />
 <param name="width" value="480" />
 <param name="height" value="270" />
 <param name="playerID" value="275121" />
 <param name="playerKey" value="AQ~~,AAAAuO09AoXJkr" />
 <param name="isVid" value="true" />
 <param name="isUI" value="true" />
 <param name="dynamicStreaming" value="true" />

 <param name="@videoPlayer" value="2701" />

This New Zendesk app will show and hide fields based on the value of a dropdown and clear out values from hidden fields. This app requires some basic knowledge of javascipt and JSON to configure.

The JSON object for the settings page needs to look like:

{"custom_field_21631456": {"cat":["custom_field_21875871","custom_field_21865183","custom_field_21745801"], "dog":["custom_field_22103126","custom_field_21613267"], "dolphin": ["custom_field_280865", "custom_field_20295661"], "the_fish": ["custom_field_279466"]}, "custom_field_279466":{"asdf":["custom_field_21651413"], "xfer_to_a": [], "fire_to_new_page": []}}

Each key is a option value in the drop down field that is being watched, in this case 21631456. Each key needs an array of ticket field ID’s to show when that value is selected. Please read up on the formating of JSON objects at Introducing JSON

You can download it here

With all the updates to the Zendesk platform the code for the end user interface has changed. So I have rewritten the code for conditional fields


The code is to be copy and pasted into the global javascript section of the Help Center, replacing the settings var with your JSON string. If you have created a JSON object for the condition fields app you can use the same object here.

To add underscorejs to your Help Center to the site, download the min verison. Upload that version to the assest section. This will give you a url to that asset, add a script tag to the document head for example:

<script type="text/javascript" src="/hc/theme_assets/41061/613/underscore-min.js"></script>

This mother has figured out how to make money off her daughters stupidity


THIS AUCTION IS FOR ALL 4 ONE DIRECTION TICKETS IN SYDNEY OCTOBER 25th. You can thank my daughters self righteous and lippy attitude for their sale. See sweety? And you thought I was bluffing. I hope the scowl on your bitchy little friends faces when you tell them that your dad and i revoked the gift we were giving you all reminds you that your PARENTS are the ones that deserve love and respect more than anyone. And your silly little pack mentality of taking your parents for fools is one sadly mistaken. Anyhow. Your loss someone else’s gain who deserves them! THE TICKETS ARE SEATED IN ROW O section 57. REMEMBER AUCTION IS FOR ALL 4 TICKETS and will be sent registered post

…OH YOUR FRIENDS THOUGHT THAT A FEW PRANKS CALLS WOULD PUT ME OFF SELLING THE GIFT WE BOUGHT FOR THEM for YOUR BIRTHDAY because YOU all LIED to us about sleep overs so you could hang like little trollops at an older guys HOUSE????? Pffft!! I find it HIGHLY amusing that you girls think you invented this stuff. Tricks like this on OUR parents is how HALF of you were conceived …..And why a lot of your friends DONT have an address to send that Fathers day card to!!! I’m not your friend. I’m your MOTHER. And I am here to give you the boundaries that YOU NEED to become a functional responsible adult. You may hate me now….. But I don’t care. Its my job to raise a responsible adult..not nuture bad habits in my teen age child