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Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 618

by flyingsquid (#47780357) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Putin is doing everything 100% right (this article about invasion is total BS by the way). He is staying out of direct conflict, while supporting the rebels.

Explain how invading and annexing the Crimea is 'staying out of direct conflict'. Even Putin eventually got to the point where he couldn't deny they were Russian troops and keep a straight face, and admitted his Little Green Men were in fact Russian military. And explain how Russian troops, captured on Ukrainian soil http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-28934213, are 'staying out of direct conflict'. Russia doesn't even deny they're Russian troops. And explain why NATO satellites have caught Russian artillery on Ukrainian soil http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-28972878 and that's not 'direct conflict'. And last of all, explain how Russian SA-11 surface-to-air-missiles shooting down Ukrainian aircraft and a civilian airliner is 'staying out direct conflict'. A SAM battery is a complex system, not the kind of thing where you can just pick up the instruction manual, and they're typically operated by a team. How would a popular uprising find a trained crew for a SAM battery? The Ukrainian military doesn't even use the SA-11, so the only place to get a trained crew is from Russia.

Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 618

by flyingsquid (#47780177) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

We don't need to send "boots on the ground"; just help Ukrainian defenders with weapons.

It's not even clear that the issue is weapons. This isn't 1980s Afghanistan we're talking about. Ukraine is a former member of the USSR and was within spitting distance of NATO, so they're armed with fighter and attack aircraft, helicopter gunships, transport aircraft, artillery, armored personnel carriers, etc. etc. The Ukrainian military clearly has issues that have nothing to do with armaments- early on in the conflict, a group of soldiers simply surrendered their armored personnel carriers without a shot being fired, so there are major issues with leadership, discipline, morale, and organization. This is where U.S. military advisors could play a key role, and the U.S. has sent advisors over there, and presumably they're offering intelligence support such as satellite photos as well. The fact that the Ukrainian army is getting its shit together may be related to this. The fact that Russia has kept escalating the situation is in fact evidence that it's working; if the rebels were doing well against the government, they wouldn't need to intervene.

But the charlatan-in-chief would not even send Ukrainians the perfectly defensive helmets and body armor

This is just misleading. The US has sent body armor and night vision goggles. Perhaps more importantly, the West has committed $27 billion in aid to Ukraine over the next two years. With that kind of financial backing, they can simply buy whatever equipment they need.

Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 2) 618

by flyingsquid (#47779807) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine
There is a saying, attributed to Napoleon, 'never get in the way of your enemy when he is in the process of destroying himself'. Putin may score points at home by annexing the Crimea and invading Ukraine. Internationally, however, Russia moving towards becoming a pariah state, like Iran, North Korea, or Libya under Qaddafi. He's invaded and annexed part of his neighbor, shot down a civilian airliner, imprisoned political opponents, clamped down on free speech and murdered journalists, criminalized having a different sexual orientation. If the long-term goal is to politically isolate Russia, to help contain Russian influence like during the Cold War, well, Putin is doing a fantastic job of it.

War has been called "politics by other means". Putin has launched this war because he is desperate not to let the Ukraine fall into the Western political sphere- probably the best analogy would be the way the U.S. got defensive about having communist governments in Cuba and Central America. At best, he'll manage to carve off the eastern edge of Ukraine to create some tiny, pro-Russian buffer states. In the process of gaining this territory, Russia will isolate itself and its political sphere of influence will shrink. Putin will never give up power, and the West will never trust him again, so we could be looking at another 10-25 years of this sort of behavior, before eventually someone succeeds him and tries to normalize relations with the West.

Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 618

by flyingsquid (#47779083) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Whatever you blame Bush for, the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq are squarely Obama's doing.

Bullshit. Obama might not have handled things terribly well, but Bush bears most of the blame here. Let's look at the first issue: former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. Maliki pursued a divisive, sectarian agenda that caused the country to split along religious lines. Could Obama have done more to influence Maliki to be inclusive? Maybe. But who created him in the first place? That's right- George W. Bush. Maliki was brought to power in 2006 with extensive US involvement and support. If Maliki's politics are to blame, then Bush is ultimately the one to blame for Maliki.

Second Issue: withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. Damn you, Obama! Except wait a minute, who was it who approved a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq that called for all U.S. troops to leave in 2009... hm, it'll come to me... oh, that's right, it was BUSH! Maybe Obama could have pushed harder to keep a residual force, but he wasn't able to get an agreement. Turns out, he couldn't negotiate with Maliki. The guy, you will recall, put in power by the Bush administration.

Third Issue. These ISIS guys. Where do they come from? They're pretty badass, they act more like an occupying army than a terrorist organization. Turns out, there's a reason for that- they include a whole bunch of former Iraqi Army officers, who went to military academy and everything. Iraqi army officers who joined the insurgency after the Iraqi Army was disbanded by, wait for it... George W. Bush. Disbanding the Iraqi army was arguably the stupidest move of all, possibly even stupider than invading. It took the only force capable of holding the country together, destroyed it, and then then turned a bunch of disgruntled, unemployed soldiers and military officers loose to create an insurgency.

Fourth, Iraq invasion. It should be pretty obvious where the blame for that lies.

Comment: Re:R.I.P. Mozilla (Score 1) 120

by Khyber (#47778285) Attached to: Mozilla Rolls Out Sponsored Tiles To Firefox Nightly's New Tab Page

"Well they have full control and all they have to say is you want this spot, you can have for this much but you have no control over anything that happens to the browser."

As if drive-by malware embedded in ads hasn't happened before. Yea, you might want to have a seat, I got some things to tell you.

Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 618

by pla (#47778169) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine
That fucker on the island almost wiped out DC. The most terrifying moment in human history was the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I have to presume you meant "almost wiped out civilization", because the erasure of DC could only serve to improve both the effectiveness of the US government, and the human gene pool as a whole. ;)

Comment: Re:About things "accidentally breaking" (Score 1) 197

by DoofusOfDeath (#47777499) Attached to: Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

Selective enforcement is a basic part of our separation of powers.

And the result is vile. We now have a legal code so complex and extensive that:

(1) No one can reasonably anticipate whether or not a given action (or inaction) would be deemed illegal by a court.

(2) Because everyone is always breaking some law, police and prosecutors can always find something to charge you with if they want to.

Comment: Board games (Score 1) 314

by steveha (#47777423) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are the Best Games To Have In Your Collection?

For group get-togethers, here are some great board games to have on hand.

Can't Stop -- 2 to 4 players. An elegantly simple "push your luck" game. You only need to make one decision: keep going, or stop?
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/41/cant-stop

Incan Gold -- 3 to 8 players. This is a reworked version of a classic called Diamonte. It's another "push your luck" game, but it's very different from Can't Stop in that it's group game. The whole group plays in parallel: they all decide whether to keep going, or stop, and all reveal their choice simultaneously. This means that the 8-player game doesn't really take longer than the 3-player game!
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/37759/incan-gold

I'll second the vote for Pandemic. But if you want something a little simpler than Pandemic, with a less depressing theme, you can play Forbidden Island (2-4 players). Forbidden Island was designed by the same guy who designed Pandemic, and uses many of the same game mechanics. I love the art, which reminds me of Myst; and it is inexpensive and doesn't take up much space in your closet. Very suitable for kids.
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/65244/forbidden-island

All of these suggestions are good for convincing non-gamers to try playing a board game.

P.S. When I was a teenager, some friends and I used to play Wiz-War, and had a blast. It's a simple game: either steal two treasures from other players, or be the last player standing. There is a deck of cards, which includes all kinds of crazy spells you can cast.

Once when I was playing, another player hit me with Slow Death, which makes you lose one hit point for each card you draw; I countered with Reversal, which reverses the effects of a spell, and started drawing two cards each turn (the max). I thought this was a good thing, but the other players were now very worried about me, and they all ganged up on me and just killed me. So the Slow Death worked after all, in a fashion. :-)

The game is now available in a deluxe edition (which I haven't played yet).
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/104710/wiz-war-eighth-edition

Comment: Re:Actually... (Score 1) 123

by rubycodez (#47777357) Attached to: No, a Huge Asteroid Is Not "Set To Wipe Out Life On Earth In 2880"

Suppose the activation potential of a neuron is a quantum mechanical quantity that is probability driven (we know the light sensors in the eye are, sometimes a single photon can activate them). Your computer can't model that to arbitrary precision, the probability density function is continuous, analog, not discrete.

Comment: Re:1960s??!! You are so funny (Score 1) 137

by rubycodez (#47777235) Attached to: Underground Experiment Confirms Fusion Powers the Sun

Yes there was some direct observational evidence, the predicted nuclei being present in the sun for both the hydrogen to helium and O-C-N. You are speaking of refinement of the model and gathering of more evidence. I was just miffed by someone saying "known since the 1960s", that's in my lifetime and I know for fact my grandfather was a kid when fusion known, in 1920 Eddington had the gist of what happens in the Sun: hydrogen to helium with 0.7% of energy converted to energy.

Work expands to fill the time available. -- Cyril Northcote Parkinson, "The Economist", 1955

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