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Comment: Re:So much for Net Neutrality. (Score 1) 42

by CRCulver (#46781991) Attached to: Tor Blacklisting Exit Nodes Vulnerable To Heartbleed

Russia has just admitted that it really did move members of its armed forces into Crimea prior to the annexation. How do you think they managed that without people catching on?

Could you cite this please? It was my understanding that the "little green men" were simply Russian servicemen already stationed there because the peninsula has long served mainly as a large military installation that Russia leased from Ukraine. These servicemen just put on new uniforms without insignia and drove off their bases to seize the surrounding area. I'd be interested in any publication you might point to that claimed that the "little green men" were secretly moved there from Russia proper. (And even if they were, considering the normal flow of personnel between Russia and Russia's base on the peninsula, it probably could have been kept low-key regardless of the actions of a Snowden.)

Comment: Re:People getting wierd about liquid water (Score 1) 148

by CRCulver (#46781871) Attached to: Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

Because the future of humanity depends on getting off of this rock eventually.

Using a phrase like "the future of humanity" suggests that humanity as it currently exists has a future. As technology progresses and the merging of man and machine becomes a possibility, who knows that future inhabitants of this planet will want or need. In his novel Marooned in Realtime , which deals with a technological singularity, Vernor Vinge speculated that an advanced race might decide to just burrow deep underground and live in a virtual reality there instead of expanding out into the cosmos. Sure, you could argue that billions of years from now civilization would be threatened by the sun expanding into a red giant, but that's hardly a case for the need for human beings to get off Earth now or anytime soon.

Comment: Re:Kim Philby II (Score 2) 304

If he were a whistleblower, we would have seen revelations in the press, not a document dump to the public.

The "document dump" to the public wasn't from Snowden, it was from Greenwald and Poitras. Like a number of whistleblowers who Americans have come to praise in respect, Snowden gave these documents to journalists and asked them to redact them before release to the public. If you have any issues with how that played out, Greenwald, Poitras and other news figures involved are the ones to blame.

Not to mention a lack of taking several hard drives full of data to the Russians

Rumours circulate that most if not all of the hard drives that Snowden had with him upon his flight to Hong Kong were decoys.

Comment: 13 years ago, eh? (Score 1) 222

by CRCulver (#46771757) Attached to: Nokia Had a Production-Ready Web Tablet 13 Years Ago

That would be 2001. I had a PDA (Pocket PC) at that time that was internet-capable. However, when wi-fi was not yet widespread, the only way you could get on the internet with the thing was a complicated modem setup, plugging a cable into an extension card. Getting data over a mobile phone link still involved the horribly primitive technology WAP. So, a fat lot of good your portable device did you. The smartphone and the tablet could not really take off until wi-fi and cheap 3G did.

Comment: Re:Revolt? (Score 5, Informative) 756

by CRCulver (#46765159) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

Keep belittling the power of people, forget about Rosa Parks and many others who through civil disobedience have change this country for better.

Rosa Parks was not a "spontaneous uprising". While in American schools her story tends to be misportrayed as a case of a solitary dissident (an issue fascinatingly explored in educator Herbert Kohl's Should We Burn Babar? ), in reality she was active in the local NAACP and her and her fellow civil rights aspirants had been waiting for the perfect moment to further their cause.

Rosa Parks is an example of dramatic social change coming from committed, organized groups and not spontaneous outbursts of individual discontent.

Comment: Re:Can the writings be read? (Score 1) 430

by CRCulver (#46742351) Attached to: Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

Which is of course regulated by law, for German the Duden holds the currently recognized words and their correct spellings as well as meanings in common use.

I take it you weren't around in the 1990s during the last major German spelling reform, when a number of German-language institutions announced that they would not be following the new rules in their publications?

Comment: Re:Can the writings be read? To make you laugh/cry (Score 1, Informative) 430

by CRCulver (#46742333) Attached to: Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?
As a linguist, I am very familiar with Truss's book, and I can assure you that it is not taken seriously as scholarship. As prescriptive pleading, sure, it's a classic, but it offers no support for the claim that loosening of orthographical standards seriously impedes human communication (or one's thought process, going back to the OP).

Comment: Re:German teaching methods (Score 1) 430

by CRCulver (#46742153) Attached to: Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

it may now be safe to start teaching how to read fraktur / black letter type again or the German speaking nations will miss out entirely on the original books and literature pre 1930 or so.

Lots of peoples have abandoned their publications of earlier eras to obscurity and don't think twice about it, sad as it may be for lovers of books. Ottoman Turkish is completely unintelligible to contemporary Turks, partially because the Arabic script in which it was written was swiftly disposed or and even most educated Turks can't be arsed to learn it and read their heritage. Geoffrey Lewis's The Turkish Language Reform: A Catastrophic Success is a pretty accessible presentation of this phenomenon.

Similarly, Latin-alphabet scripts were created for the minorities of Russia after the October Revolution, and there was an explosion of native-language reading and writing in the 1920s. However, Stalin came along and obliged all minorities to use a Cyrillic-based script, and no one makes an effort to read the Latin-script books that have survived today (athough most were pulped, as paper was scarce at the time of the switch).

Kazakhstan has long toyed with the notion of switching to the Latin alphabet, as Turkey, Turkmenistan, and the Tatar intelligentsia have done, but the prospect of the people being cut off from a century of Kazakh literature gives official circles pause.

Comment: Re:Can the writings be read? (Score 4, Interesting) 430

by CRCulver (#46742087) Attached to: Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

Eventually if too many linguistic rules and word meanings are discarded, communication becomes essentially impossible as statements don't have the same meaning to both parties in the discussion.

You really need to read some Saussure, especially the principle of l'arbitraire du signe and the distinction between langue and parole. This science is a century old at this point, there's no excuse for an educated person not knowing it. Human language naturally contains some level of ambiguity, it is simply avoidable. However, this does not typically lead to multual intelligibility, and most of the human population handles diaglossia just fine.

Furthermore, this is a discussion about a writing system, not a language. Writing systems too have a great deal of ambiguity, starting from the ambiguity in the speech they represent and then going from there. Just think about how many different lexemes are represented in speech and writing as <set>, or how two different tense forms with two different pronunciations are represented as the single grapheme <read>. And yet, readers handle that just fine.

As an English speaker, your own language's history in writing should be enough to disabuse of the notion that divergent spellings are a threat to society. English spelling in the 18th century was not yet firmly established, and yet that era saw an explosion in popular literacy and scholarly publication.

Comment: Re:Ability to design and write software... (Score 2) 578

by CRCulver (#46726579) Attached to: Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

We've tried "free trade" for the last thirty years, ask a 22 year old on their 500th resume submission how well that's worked out for us.

That 22 year-old might not hear you, because he'll be too busy staring at the screen of his smartphone, which he was able to afford because the Western companies developing the technology were able to outsource the manufacture to somewhere cheaper. Knocking down trade barriers does have its drawbacks, but it also allowed the explosion of cheap electronics that people today do not want to live without regardless of how hard the job search might be.

There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman? -- Woody Allen