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Comment Re:this is propaganda at work (Score 1) 100

It should also be noted from TFA that ~90% of birds have eaten plastic now.

So what the article is really saying is that the number of birds eating plastic will have risen 10% in the next 35 years.

Somehow I don't think that that's going to be that big a deal.

Never mind that the "garbage patches" aren't places that most birds ever see, so the concentration of plastic there is irrelevant.

Comment Re:A-10 for the Win (Score 1) 426

That's the problem right there: the Warthog is beloved by the Army troops, and that's why the Air Force generals hate it so.


Since even before the inception of the Air Force (it was the Army Air Corps in WW2), they've just hated the idea of having to actually support the guys on the ground.

Hell, they're still pissed that helicopters aren't restricted to the Air Force only - think of all those Army choppers helping the grunts in the field....

Comment Re: Isn't this thing already deployed? (Score 1) 426

A jdam is a complete package of dumb bomb, sensors and guidance package. Think of it as the short range JSOW (all of the above + large fins that let it glide long range to target. Source - I'm a former EOD tech.

So we should report you? Or can you cite non-classified materials?

Hmm, seems to me this was mentioned in some of Tom Clancy's books back in the day. I seriously doubt it's classified if it's mentioned in a best-selling novel almost as old as some of the pilots...

Come to that, it's in the wikipedia article as well.

Comment Re:The reason for these laws (Score 1) 691

First of all, the Nazis actually managed to pull that trick before.They convinced enough people to vote for them to get into parliament, then leveraged politicians who underestimated Hitler, defects in the German constitution and apathy to take power.

I would argue that it wasn't something that could be prevented by muzzling them (if anything, I suspect it would have made them even more popular). Generally speaking, if your society is so close to the brink that it can be pushed over by an election, it's already well and truly fucked. The real fix is to not get there in the first place. In a healthy society, a Nazi-like party would gather some protest votes and such, but would never be in a position to define policy.

For instance, in a first past the post system (like the U.S.) third parties have virtually no chance to gain any influence at all. That means that many political viewpoints are ignored, and power remains with the entrenched parties, which are not required to act in a democratic manner (superdelegates).

This is not entirely true. In the American system, FPTP merely pushed a large chunk of political squabbles inside the parties, with primaries instead of general elections. And extremists can still gain political power that way - just look at Tea Party. For all the ridicule heaped on them, they did sweep quite a few states, enough for a strong faction of their own in the parliament. Again, this is an indication of an ill society, and not something that you can resolve by legislation - at best, you can sweep symptoms under the rug for a while.

If you really think that no form of speech is worth restricting, go look at how ISIS is recruiting people. That's pure speech.

I'm fine with restricting speech that directly leads to a crime. This is basically the "imminent lawless action" standard that is currently in force in US. The key part here is "imminent", and the onus is on the prosecution to prove such. It gives you the ability to prosecute people who actually manage to incite someone to a crime (because in that case the commitment of the crime is prima facie evidence of imminence), and it also gives some wiggle room for cases that are very borderline, but it's hard to abuse because it's so strict.

In case of ISIS speech, it boils down to this. People should be allowed to advocate for it, praise the virtues of the Caliphate, argue in favor of Sharia (including the promotion of death penalty and torture killing for apostasy and adultery) etc. That's all free speech. When it becomes a specific call to action that is illegal (e.g. an invitation to join ISIS), and that call is not just a random diatribe but is actually directed towards an audience that is likely to heed it, then that becomes fair game. And, of course, giving specific directions on where to go and whom to talk to in order to join, or providing specific instructions on how to wire money, is fair game.

Comment Re:The reason for these laws (Score 1) 691

A quick glance of the Wikipedia page on it disagrees with you, not that Afghanistan is related to Germany.

Instead of doing a quick glance, you can try reading the thing - it's linked from that very Wikipedia page, in fact.

"The religion of the state of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the sacred religion of Islam"

"In Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam."

[on political parties] "The program and charter of the party are not contrary to the principles of sacred religion of Islam"

"The provisions of adherence to the fundamentals of the sacred religion of Islam and the regime of the Islamic Republic cannot be amended."

And this is how these work out in practice.

But the Wiki entry on that doesn't say what you assert either.

The wiki entry does actually say exactly what I said: that in German constitution, there are certain provisions that are deemed immutable, and that one of them pertains to a "democratic nature" of society, which is interpreted to mean that no political party isn't allowed to organize on a platform that would promote changing that nature. It's actually a feature of the political system that is distinctive enough that it has its own unique name, "militant democracy".

Comment Re:pros and cons (Score 1) 426

WWII demonstrated that with Nazi Germany producing vastly superior tanks but because of their complexity, they were swarmed by cheaper, mass produced tanks.

Panther was superior to T-34, but I wouldn't call it "vastly superior"; and it is arguable whether it was superior to IS-2. But the most common German tank was PzKpfw IV, which was by no means superior to either of those. And Panthers weren't actually all that expensive, either. Tigers were (and they were also slow, and had a bunch of other issues), but there were never many of them.

Germans were out-produced by Soviets when it came to tanks simply because Soviets had more industrial capacity they could tap, once they managed to stall the German advance and buy themselves time to tap it.

Comment Re:Isn't this thing already deployed? (Score 1) 426

Regardless of which role CIA played in the Ukrainian events, the presence of Russian ground troops in Donbass does amount to an invasion of Ukraine (and said presence has been repeatedly confirmed informally by the rebels themselves - I've personally spoken to two people who have participated in the Debaltsevo operation on the rebel side who have said that it was only made possible by Russian troops and esp. armor).

Comment Re:The reason for these laws (Score 1) 691

Part of it, yes. I'm deeply suspicious of any constitution that declares parts of itself as off-limits. For example, in the new (post-US-invasion) constitution of Afghanistan, the part of the constitution that declares Islamic law to be the supreme law of the land is something that cannot be amended in any way.

In any case, you have to admit that a provision that explicitly sets something as not subject to any sort of vote is certainly anti-democratic. Whether it's a good thing or a bad thing can be argued differently in any given case.

Comment Re:Germany wants a lot... (Score 1) 691

They're offering their service on the Internet, and that's their prerogative. If Germany finds Internet to be too free and unrestricted to their liking, they can build their own national network that is tightly regulated, and firewall all gateways to the outside world (like DPRK and, to a lesser extent, China).

In a five year period we can get one superb programming language. Only we can't control when the five year period will begin.