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Comment: Re:Missing Option. (Score 1) 410

by McSnarf (#44900027) Attached to: The last time I used a dial-up modem was...

Heh heh... At 52, this is similar to the experiences of my youth. At that time, when 300 baud couplers and HUGE (as in box the size of something you could keep canadian snow boots in) 2400 baud modems, there weren't even LAWS agains that kind of stuff in Germany. And let me guess - you used DATEX-P, an X.25 network, using a stolen NUI.

Oh well. BS2000. For those who do not know what it was: Take some IBM OS meant for a /360 (ancient even at that time), remove all attempts at flexibilitiy. Localize it into German, making sure not to even use one word of English and create a vile command processor. The world's only terminals with an Enter key labelled "DÜM/DÜZ".

At that time, you'd find unprotected SINTRAN-III machines by Norsk Data at CERN...

Comment: Re:Can someone explain what they did wrong? (Score 2, Informative) 1671

by McSnarf (#31745250) Attached to: Wikileaks Releases Video of Journalist Killings

Another former soldier here. From a country which learned that war means your country is in ruins afterwards - and you will probably have lost someone you love. War is more than just sending heroes out to foreign countries to kill the "bad guys".

Of course, I would expect everybody up to NCO level to be against the conventions, as it makes their life more difficult. Working to international conventions requires judgement and thinking. But of course, life would be much easier if you could fire at civilians at will, use land mines, chemical weapons, napalm and many other toys.

I've seen the video. In addition, I read the official report, which is ALSO available online.
Look for
"INVESTIGATION INTO CIVILIAN
CASUALTIES RESULTING FROM AN
ENGAGEMENT ON 12 JULY 2007 IN
THE NEW BAGHDAD DISTRICT OF
BAGHDAD, IRAQ

Report of Investigation UP AR 15-6
MAJ , Investigating Officer
2ND BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM
2ND INFANTRY DIVISION (MND-B)"

The official report shows the following in Exhibit O:
AK found on the ground.
RPG-7 photo redacted, nothing to be seen.

In Exhibit R, we see photos which appear to be taken by the journalist before being shot at. You can recognize in detail a US HMMWV in telephoto range.

So, yes, there was at least an AK rifle and the helicopter crew might have at least good reason to see that a RPG attack was imminent. Exhibit C mentions "Probable Telephoto lens", but is this obvious to trigger-happy kids in a gunship? I doubt it. Plus they don't want to be responsible for the results of not taking action.

(Read paragraph 6 on page 12 of 43.)

The helicopter crew reports and requests permission to fire.

So far, this is more or less an unavoidable chain of events. Most likely a mistake, but given the circumstances, understandable.

But...

Have we learned to shoot at wounded combatants? At people trying to help the wounded? Which are obviously not returning fire?

There's the war crime.

Comment: Re:Did She Create Something New? (Score 1) 449

by McSnarf (#31122510) Attached to: Is Plagiarism In Literature Just Sampling?

Not the question here. The (assumed) literary value of a copy/paste novel wouldn't be reduced in any way by some kind of attribution. In fact, it would even be improved.

So why admit to major plagiarism only after being caught?

September 11 was an impressive move in asymmetric warfare. We are still suffering from the attack - just try to board a plane. Was it something novel? Yes. Did it help the attacker's cause? Yes. Did they play by (what we consider to be) the rules? No.

Society has rules. For warfare and for literature.

Comment: Re:Meh (Score 1) 449

by McSnarf (#31122092) Attached to: Is Plagiarism In Literature Just Sampling?

*sigh* It is one thing to quote a well-known work. It is another one to have a well-known father in literarture and creating a copy/paste novel, stealing from lesser-known bloggers and bands. This is not about taking inspiration from other authors. Also not about quoting, either literally (as seen in science) or as an easy-to-get reference, such as an in-joke.
This is not Pratchett's Sam Vimes using a swamp dragon as a weapon, in a hilarious Dirty Harry quote. Also not Blade Runner quoting Metropolis. This is "Oh cool. I'll copy and paste this and make it my own because noone will notice."

Hegemann cannot even remember some major passages of her OWN book, as demonstrated in a recent talk show. No wonder - copy and paste will not leave as strong an impression in someones memory as doing it yourself.

Seriously. There are a lot of web sites comparing text from both sources. And yes, it IS a ripoff.

Comment: Re:Did She Create Something New? (Score 1) 449

by McSnarf (#31121914) Attached to: Is Plagiarism In Literature Just Sampling?

We'll use Google translate to translate one of the samples here:

http://www.gefuehlskonserve.de/axolotl-roadkill-alles-nur-geklaut-05022010.html

Axolotl Roadkill, page 23:

"I have a fever, problems with coordinationn, [one part per 1000] in the overheated blood ..."

Strobe, page 106:

"I have a degree fever, and barely [one part per 1000] alcohol in the overheated blood."

By the way - she copied from more than one source.

Comment: Re:Well... (Score 1) 453

by McSnarf (#29183485) Attached to: Wikipedia To Require Editing Approval

Not to mention that this group pf people will elect each other.

Bingo. You defined Germany's Adminipedia perfectly.

One example: Article reverted with dubious cause. Person who did the original change asked for a reason for the revert. Answer? "Because I can."

Second one: Article about an aspect of physics. Person with degree in physics corrects article, quoting publication in peer-reviewed, accepted magazine. Reverted due to "no reference given".

Unlike Usenet, Wikipedia in some areas IS run by a cabal.

Comment: Re:free upgrades? (Score 1) 647

by ILongForDarkness (#29183333) Attached to: Apple To Ship Mac OS X Snow Leopard On August 28
Office blows on a Mac. My understanding it is because MS outsourced the GUI development and the outsourcer's blew goats. It is very slow to load (15 seconds to open Excel on my Core 2 Duo 2.0 MacBook Pro), and isn't contained in one window you have the format bar as a separate window, edit pane etc, nothing is really 'docked'. They also did away with VBA in one of the versions which can, depending on how the company uses office be a deal breaker.

Also, people might just prefer the Mail app that comes with the Mac. Office costs a lot more than $29 and wouldn't get you the finder and general speed improvements. In the past why people didn't go the Entourage route? Not sure. Probably the usual IT argument that it is another platform to support and their techs would have to be retrained, maybe there software push apps don't work with Mac etc.

My work is a research institute so people are quite happy to use whatever they like best and at least some of them can do it themselves. About 70% of our systems are Mac, we do discourage windows but if people need it they can get it. Heck I even had one guy go and install Services for Unix on his windows box because he was more comfortable scripting on UNIX but needed windows for his app :-) Not saying our user base is normal (most places don't have a workforce that is 100% university grads, 50% PhD's), but still cool to see.

Comment: Re:Digital divide FTW! (Score 1) 368

by Dhalka226 (#29182859) Attached to: Blizzard Answers Your Questions and More

O I know they aren't going to put it back.. which is why everyone will be downloading this via torrent and feeling good about it...

Yeah, that's why. Whine and cry and then pirate a game because you don't get your way. You sure showed them, they'll be positively clamoring to give you everything you want next time!

You know what claiming you're going to pirate a game because the Big Bad Creators didn't give you something you want says? It says "I love your game so much I can't live without it, despite you not giving me what I want. Therefore I am going to be a petulant child."

Good luck with that. Whatever moral justifications you try to shroud it in, you're just a self-entitled brat crying because he doesn't get his way.

You want to make a point about how important LAN play is to their game? Don't play their fucking game.

Comment: Re:Ethical question (Score 1) 157

by fooslacker (#29182427) Attached to: Air Force & NASA Fire Off Green Rocket
If you want to boil it down to a simple yes/no, I think it largely comes down to a calculation of what supports the most sentient creatures in the end or a sentience total cost of ownership concept. Given that these things are unknowable you would have to turn to statistics, quantify sentience, and then find the set of events with the highest expected value for sentience, Time is relevant to the question you pose only in the fact that it affects the probability calculation for life or death of a unit of sentience.

It's an interesting thought experiment but in the end that's the interesting thing about evolution. Each individual creature can act with self-interest and things like environmental adaptability, altruism, and numerous other emergent behaviors that are a side-effect of the simple will of the individual to survive take questions like this out of our hands for the large part which IMO is a much better system than one person or a small group of people attempting to decide things for themselves within the limited context of their own existence.

Pohl's law: Nothing is so good that somebody, somewhere, will not hate it.

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