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Comment: Have cake, eat cake (Score 1) 158

by Freultwah (#47368351) Attached to: Russia Moves From Summer Time To Standard Time

So from now on they’ll have the luxury of seeing a glimpse of the sun when they drive to work, yet they’ll have to resort to pitch black darkness when they get back. In summer, the sun will rise at 4 in the morning and it will be dark before nine in the evening. It won’t be long till there is a popular backlash against it – people will demand their DST back because they want their beauty sleep unimpeded by the overly early sunrise, and they want their evenings to be light longer.

At least that’s precisely what happened in my country when the government abolished DST for a couple of years. Plus there were ramifications regarding time differences with adjacent countries that had previously been in the same timezone. All in all, the experience that looked nice on paper (and I was initially for it) turned out horribly wrong. Even DST all year round (in effect moving the timezone one zone eastwards) is a saner approach, as long as humans are involved.

Comment: Re:Its politics not culture ... (Score 1) 272

by Freultwah (#47242021) Attached to: EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods
According to OECD stats, Italians, Spaniards and particularly the Greeks work much more than the much lauded Germans. How’s that for ‘raw numbers’? The Greeks are among the most hard working OECD nations, statistically speaking, with the other South European nations not far behind. Incidentally, the laziest nation appears to be the Dutch, the second laziest being the Germans. Now, this does not take into account the structure of the economy of those countries. It’s obvious that if you build a car in three hours then you’re viewed as more productive as the other guy who works in his olive grove until sunset.

Comment: The report is part of a political gambit (Score 1) 116

by Freultwah (#47003133) Attached to: Estonia Urged To Drop Internet Voting Over Security Fears
There is really nothing to see here. The report was commissioned by the Estonian Centre Party (ostensibly by the City Council of Tallinn, but they are the same thing) and was strategically scheduled to be published a few days before the European Parliament elections. (The Centre Party has been denouncing e-voting for a long time, mostly because they don't do well at those because of the demographics of their core electorate, and of course their own constant campaigning against it.) The team was handpicked from among well-known e-voting contrarians, so the result was a foregone conclusion. I was only surprised how much demagoguery and outright lies went into it, but then, knowing the Centre Party, I should not have been. Cherry-picking the data, wilfully drawing the wrong conclusions, purposefully deceiving the reader, deliberately ignoring information that disproves what they're out to achieve etc etc. Let's just say that the fact that letting the observers know the SSID and the password of the guests' wireless network segment does not constitute a security breach that would merit annulling all the election results. There were other laughable ‘discoveries’ as well, such as “we took the copy of the system home and logged on as root, we were able to change some stuff in it“. Well, duh. If you're on the clock, you must draw the conclusions that the master demands, and even better if you are predetermined to do that anyway because of your convictions (which indeed were the reason you were hired anyway).

Comment: Re:Who would have guessed? (Score 3, Informative) 217

Organic farming uses natural pesticides, such as specific plants and plant infusions that insects are averse to, and those are not used to spray the crops, they are strategically planted or placed in the field. And they are completely harmless to humans. Where did you get that ‘older pesticides’ nonsense?

Comment: Re:How does that sit with you, Snowden? (Score 1) 149

by Freultwah (#46818475) Attached to: VK CEO Fired, Says Company Under Kremlin Control

It looks like a multi-party system on paper, but the Kremlin has slowly and steadily gained control over all the media (with some exceptions), most notably the television, and as that is what most Russian citizens use for getting their daily dose of information, it’s a good and effective way of keeping one party in the limelight and belittling everybody else. The opposition gets no media time, but they do get politically motivated arrests and jail time on trumped up or made up charges etc. NGOs funded from abroad are labelled as foreign agents, and while this may not sound like a big deal, it effectively closes down all the election monitoring and human rights groups etc. The communists’ resilience is astounding, but it’s also understandable, because nostalgia is king (and also plays a big part in the current events in Crimea). Besides, they serve their purpose: the message from above is that it’s either us or the commies, and you remember how that ended. It’s the Kremlin’s modus operandi – they keep some nutcases on the payroll or at least let them speak in public so that the rulers can look sane in comparison. (See Zhirinovski and Kiselyov et al.) And they can use them to probe the public opinion.

This, however, is not to say that the entire opposition is necessarily a force for good. While Putin’s derzhava rhetorics worry me, I myself am equally wary of some opposition figures’ nationalistic rhetorics, because even though they tout democratic values, they are also big on Russian nationalism. In some respects, Putin’s derzhava (mighty state) take is more predictable and safer than the nationalist course that would end up much the same way, only worse for the ethnic minorities.

Comment: Re:How does that sit with you, Snowden? (Score 1) 149

by Freultwah (#46817855) Attached to: VK CEO Fired, Says Company Under Kremlin Control
So if the West has problems of its own, it automatically follows that the West is just as bad as Russia? Sorry, me no buy this. If I cross the road with the red light when in a hurry and sometimes bike home after two beers in a pub, it makes me just as bad as a child molester or an axe murderer?

Comment: Re:Ukraine's borders were changed by use of force (Score 1) 304

by Freultwah (#46760477) Attached to: Is Crimea In Russia? Internet Companies Have Different Answers

...And I have read that the war was over the South giving the North the finger and trading with Europe directly (cotton for thee, machines for me), thus denying the North a huge market for its industrial output – there were reportedly messages passed between the sides with Lincoln proposing the South that they can keep the slaves as long as they stay in the Union and buy the stuff that the North makes, and the South flipping them the bird because the European stuff was so much better. And that the slavery issue was an afterthought, as Lincoln himself had previously said that he had no right nor plans to force the slavery issue upon the Southern states, and that he had proposed sending the freed slaves of the North to some uninhabited Pacific island in order to avoid living with them in the same country.

So everybody has an opinion about it that they can back up with some documents. There is just so much material to pick from. It’s not unlike Soviet Union where everything could be justified with a citation from Lenin, as the guy had written dozens of tomes of self-contradicting shite.

Comment: Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (Score 1) 469 is a good place to start. Bass range is 65 to 392 Hz. OK, so I skr00d up the baritone part, it’s 98 to 440 Hz. Russian octavists go even lower, to the 40 Hz area, but it’s an exception. However, you did not even begin to address my point regarding the very common musical instruments that operate in a way lower register than the magical 100 Hz boundary. The cello goes down to 65.41 Hz. Even the standard tuning for the six string guitar goes down to 82 Hz. Many metal bands tune their guitars down a step or two and a good chunk of the riffing happens on the lower two strings, so effectively almost everything they do (and what makes the moshpit boil) happens under the 100 Hz boundary, adding downtuned basses and thudding drums to the mix. As for the bass, the double bass or (dog forbid) the piano (at 27.5 Hz)...

Comment: Re:Modern audiophiles are no different. (Score 1) 469

100 Hz is quite normal for a baritone to pull off regularly, and it’s not even a feat to write home about. My own morning voice can go down to ~80 Hz if I push it (although it does sound more as if I were taking a dump) and I am not even a bass. Classically trained basses spend quite a lot of time in the sub-100 Hz region. As for modern music – the lowest string of the four string bass guitar (standard tuning) is E1 at ~41 Hz, and six string basses that are often used go down to B0 or ~31 Hz. And they are audible. The lower two strings of my regular acoustic guitar (tuned in NST) are tuned at 65.41 and 98.66 Hz, respectively. So where did you get that 100 Hz figure from?

Comment: They cannot stop with Crimea (Score 4, Informative) 479

Crimea's only freshwater source is the Dnieper River in Ukraine via the North Crimea Canal. The peninsula is not connected to mainland Russia in any way, only to Ukraine via the Isthmus of Perekop, a 5 to 7 km wide strip of land. Without the canal, there is no water on the peninsula if you discount bottled Evian. Desalination is too costly and only possible in coastal cities. Therefore, in order to secure water supply to the newly re-grabbed piece of land, Russia needs to secure the canal and the Kakhovka Reservoir in mainland Ukraine, which means occupying, well, more land.

Comment: Re:I wonder (Score 1) 347

by Freultwah (#46334061) Attached to: NSA and GHCQ Employing Shills To Poison Web Forum Discourse
Not just NSA. My money is on FSB as well. It seems that a similar tactic is being used in the neighbouring countries of Russia to sow distrust towards the state, the elected officials and the system of government as a whole. No hard data to back it up, obviously, but I am enough of a masochist to read online reader comments and one does not have to be paranoid to see an unsettling trend there.

A computer scientist is someone who fixes things that aren't broken.