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Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 793

by shutdown -p now (#47786509) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

I can't tell about Vietnam and Americans, but I can assure you that e.g. fighter pilots on both the UN (Americans) and the North Korean (Soviets) side knew full well who they were aiming to. And in Vietnam, it was most certainly presented as an American puppet regime with direct involvement in the USSR, so any Soviet troop fighting there would also know full well that he was killing Americans, not just South Vietnamese (indeed, to him, South Vietnamese would be the people that he came to save from American imperialism).

Comment: Re:Her work (Score 1) 1181

It's not enough to merely show suffering if there's no path to rectify the suffering.

It's a bullshit argument, sorry. Not every piece of entertainment is supposed to be a full-fledged women studies teaching material.

But most importantly, there's a question as to the value of this 'realism', even if it were accurate. A lot of terrible things happen in the world that we see fit to ignore. Physics, for one thing. We also don't seem to care about going to the bathroom, cancer or getting oil changes. We're willing to suspend disbelief; this is probably an area where we could live without the casual gendered violence that we've really become accustomed to.

Different games draw the lines differently here. There are some where dying of old age is a possibility, say, and racing games do include oil changes sometimes. With respect to physics, many games are actually trying to make it as real as possible.

Ultimately, the value of this particular bit of realism as a whole is drawing attention to the problem. You can complain that it's not sufficient, but it's way better than nothing.

Comment: Re:Well... (Score 1) 168

It has significantly reduced my ability to customize the user interface of Firefox to suit my needs.

Again, hand waving without specifics. The most noticeable change for me was that they button to customise the UI is now on the toolbar by default, rather than hidden away somewhere. What can you no longer customise that you could previously?

Comment: Re: Well... (Score 1) 168

The problem is that it's a dumbed-down UI design

I really don't understand this complaint. The UI changes were relatively small, and one of the biggest ones was making the 'customize UI' button more prominent in the new versions.

I switched to Firefox on Android recently because Chrome for Android has the same handicapped cookie management policy as the older Android Browser, but Firefox lets me run the self-destructing cookies plugin, which does exactly what I've wished for the last 15 years all browsers would do by default.

Comment: Re:Well... (Score 1) 168

No, it's developed in the open, but it's really hard to get changes pushed upstream. We have a bunch of patches for the FreeBSD support and to improve sandboxing, and it looks like it will end up taking 2-3 years to get them all upstreamed. Meanwhile, the code follows the traditional Google development model of gratuitously refactoring things (are Google people paid by number of lines of code changed?), so it's a lot of effort just to keep the patches up to date.

Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 793

by shutdown -p now (#47780935) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

If you think majority of Russians living in Ukraine will consider themselves Russian and be happy to be invaded

Er, what even made you believe that I was making an argument along those lines? What I wrote is pretty much the opposite... the separatists were getting crushed precisely because of what you say - that not even most Russian and russophone Ukrainian population in the areas they claim supports it. Russia actually had step up and send in its own troops, and not just weapons and advisors as they did before, to reverse the tide.

The problem is that fighting spirit and dedication are not enough; you still need artillery and tanks and planes to win a war, and people who know how to strategically apply all this. That's where Ukraine is lagging far behind, especially after the significant build-up that Russia had since 2008. And Russian troops are not exactly lacking in motivation, either - they've been fed propaganda about fascists burning people alive and crucifying children, on one hand, and about the "Russian World" on the other hand, and are itching for a fight.

So, regardless of where the sympathies of the majority of Ukrainians lie, if Putin does give the order, Ukraine will fall with no outside help. And I don't know whether it'll get that help. A few months ago I thought that it would be a given, but then we saw basically nothing done over the annexation of Crimea, and very little done over all the affronts since then... and even today Western newspapers are still mulling over maybe more sanctions (?!!).

Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 3, Informative) 793

by shutdown -p now (#47779921) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

It would actually be easier than Georgia, I suspect. The big problem that Ukraine has is that, like most other ex-Soviet states, it let its military deteriorate in the 90s to the point of utter inefficiency (did you see the photos a govt guy just posted of what their BTR reserves look like, in response to a Facebook question as to why volunteers aren't getting vehicles?), but unlike them, it didn't get a wake-up call until now, like Russia itself got in Chechnya, or Georgia got in Ossetia and Abkhazia. So now they have to recover and learn very quickly. There's a lot of enthusiasm on the troop level, but logistics is in shambles, their officers seem to have a poor grasp of tactics (like e.g. ordering an artillery unit to stay in one place while firing... needless to say, they get fucked by counter-battery fire, and the reason why we know about this story is because there were survivors), and their generals don't understand that grand plans they make bear little in common with reality. This, again, is a lot like Russia was during the first conflict in Chechnya, but that was an easier opponent, and consequences of defeat were not as far reaching.

What's going for Ukraine is that their population reserves are bigger, and they retained a larger arsenal as part of the Soviet legacy. Also, the fact that a significant part of Soviet military industry was in Ukraine, so they have experience manufacturing the things they need.

Either way, I think that the only reason why they can still fight effectively, even with large casualties, is because Russian involvement is still undercover. It became noticeably less so over the last week, what with armored columns openly crossing the border (but still with removed flags) etc, and notice how the situation that was so dire for the rebels suddenly became so dire for the Ukrainian troops. If Russia were to go all in, openly, throwing all units that it already converged at the border, I don't think Ukraine stands a chance without outside help.

How long can Russia occupy Ukraine, now, is a different question. That area has a long history of guerrilla warfare against occupiers of all kinds, including Soviets back in WW2 days. And there's a strong resolve to resist among the populace today. An occupying force might win in the field, but find itself facing bullets from every window in the cities at night.

COBOL is for morons. -- E.W. Dijkstra

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