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Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 821 821

I loved it when I read it. It probably helped that at the time I had no idea the author was a homophobic bigot.
But it is all a matter of taste. For example several of Heinlein's books are among my favorites (e.g. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Stranger in a Strange Land, Door into Summer...). So far I have only been really disappointed with Time Enough For Love.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 4, Funny) 821 821

See, that's the problem -- as long as they see themselves in either role, it won't work. Perhaps if they were isolated at youth, taught to fight each other, and then misled into thinking it was just a really good video game or simulation of some sort. I bet they could make a movie out of that.

No, it would suck as a movie, Hollywood would completely miss the point of the story. Better if it was a book. Or even a series of books - you could even narrate it from different points of view.

Comment: Switch? (Score 2) 191 191

I assume Android users prefer Android because of the things it has, not those it lacks. How would something that is not on Android convince them to switch? I have several iPhones (up to the iPhone 6 plus) due to my job, but I have never actually used them as phones, they sit on my desk due to their limited OS. Thinking about it, the thing that annoys me most when I use them is probably the lack of a "back" button that works outside just the App level. The fact that I can't connect mass storage devices to them, or at least connect them as a mass storage device is also a serious drawback considering what I usually want to do with a phone. I am not in love with Android. In fact, my first Android phone was the first phone I ever had that I considered a regression from my previous (an N9), mainly due to the OS having a much worse UI than the swipe UI of Maemo/Meego (and of course other drawbacks - I only switched because Meego was abandoned and it lacked some essential apps). So for me it does not seem hard to make something more usable than Android, others have already done it. But force touch is not what is missing.

Comment: Re:please no jokes about (Score 1) 129 129

Already answered, but let me try to make it clearer. So there are no ranks or training courses (basic training is 40days for all - although I did get an extra 2 weeks of NATO translation school). However, because you are a conscript, i.e. the army needs you and not the other way around, you are different "material" than the permanent army staff. You know it, they know it. So when you start out you are a bit like a fish out of the water (they actually call you a "fish"), but as the time passes and you near graduation you have learned how things work, and you get respect from both "newer" conscripts and from officers as well (I guess it is a natural response to your more "experienced" attitude). This effect is compounded if you are old (I was 30 when I got to the army, having gotten educational deferment over the standard age of 18) and also if you are educated (I was actually grouped together with other MS/PhDs). Additionally, where you served mattered as well. You might end up in a backwater camp with strict officers that would try to give you trouble even when you were nearing graduation, and perhaps there is just a Major or Lt-Colonel running the camp who enjoys his absolute authority by showing it off ;) At such a place the officers (or at least the camp Commander) might now observe that unofficial hierarchy much (but they would at least up to a degree). Near the end of my service I was sent to the Greek Pentagon as a Translator and there you were surrounded by Generals, Brigadiers and other educated officers etc. and if you were one of the 3 Translators you even got to visit the "war room", so I had probably maxed-out the possible "unofficial" hierarchy (there is actually an app for that now! it is called "lelemetro", but it is in Greek). You did not get any "pips", but you knew and everyone else also knew. Case in point, when I was sent to the Chinese officer tour I mentioned, I was sent to report to another camp. I appeared in front of the Commander early in the afternoon and he told me that my orders had not arrived yet, they would probably be in the next day, I would have to wait. So I told him, ok, then, you can write me up for a 24h "exit permit" and I will leave you my cell number to call me if something happens before that. He stared for a couple of seconds, wrote down my "exit permit" and I left. I went through the front gate and gave it to the guard. Jaw dropped, he called the other guards. "What the hell is this?" they asked in awe. "24h exit" "but there is no such thing" "there is now". The context you are missing to understand this is that an "exit permission" lasts for a few hours. At most it can last up to midnight (or in special occasions until the morning call), but to get a full 24 hours you need an official leave, which is something you have a specific quota of (and I did not have any to spare). And even with an official leave, you still have to be present at the morning call, whereas I had a strange piece of paper that allowed me an unheard of (at that camp at least - I am sure others have pulled their "rank" like I did in other places) "real" 24h leave that did not even count against my quota. I behaved like a Major General in front of that Commander and he simply went along without even flinching!

Comment: Re:please no jokes about (Score 1) 129 129

Hmm. I don't remember having that problem in Greek army boot camp. Maybe because by that time I was well trained after figuring out how to tell Chinese actors apart? ;)
Funny relevant story, while a conscript I was sent as an escort of a Chinese officer party (12 generals, 1 captain) that was doing a tour. Their captain wanted to play a joke on me so while at cape Sounio he showed me a group of Asian tourists and asked me "those tourists, are they like us?". No, I told him, they are Japanese. "How do you know?" he asked me startled. "They speak Japanese." I tell him. More startled he asks "You can tell the difference?". So I ask him back, "what do you mean, does Japanese sound anything at all like Chinese?" to which he says "eeh, no". And I left him there to think it over a bit...
That Chinese Captain was even more bewildered as he watched me and another conscript interact with our own Captain and Colonel. He told me that he could not understand our hierarchy, while he could see that we were just privates, we behaved like we were the same or above the Colonel when interacting with him. I had to explain to him that we were not privates in that sense, we were conscripts and we had a different hierarchy which was separate & parallel to the hierarchy of the rest of the army, and your level in the hierarchy was based on how close you were to graduating from the army. I explained that with less than a month left, me and the other attached conscript were at about the level of a Major General in our hierarchy so we could damn well be casual with just a Colonel if we wished... Not sure if he could grasp it...
Fun times...

Comment: Re:please no jokes about (Score 1) 129 129

It is not a joke. I come from a European country where East Asians were very rare, so when I started watching asian movies I had a hard time telling the characters apart, unless they had some very obvious defining characteristic. After several movies it became much easier.
But let's go the other way. While in the US I was going to a Chinese place with a friend of mine who comes from the same country and has the same (unusual even for Americans - never mind Asians) first name, but otherwise he is bald, I am not, he is heavier set etc. We definitely don't look alike. And they would ask about his wife when we visited (she was Asian and they knew her - I was unmarried) etc. But then I went alone once and they asked me about "my" wife. When he was not next to me they could not tell us apart!

+ - Assange loses appeal to dismiss arrest warrant.

Ecuador writes: Looks like Julian Assange will stay at my^H^Hthe Ecuadorian embassy for at least a while longer, as the Swedish Supreme Court denied his appeal to dismiss the arrest warrant for allegations of sexual assault. The WikiLeaks founder has been in the embassy for almost three years now (and it is quite a small embassy — more like a ground floor apartment). As the statute of limitations for some of the alleged crimes is approaching, Swedish prosecutors have already agreed with Assange to question him at the embassy, a fact that made the Court see "no reason to lift the arrest warrant".

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