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Comment: Re:Send in the drones! (Score 1) 825

by TranquilVoid (#47782411) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

The proper response to this is to strengthen military forces in new NATO member states surrounding Russia, including US boots on the ground. This will make a clear line that Russia knows it cannot cross without provoking all-out war. Unfortunately Ukraine is not part of NATO.

I don't think this is unfortunate as the expansion of NATO is partially responsible for Russian aggression - they have a motivation to maintain a strong buffer. What you otherwise suggest has merit but is still risky. The U.S. is unlikely to engage Russia in war over an invasion of Latvia, for example, regardless of what the NATO agreement says. Placing U.S. troops there might change that, but the risk is that Russia considers it a bluff.

Comment: Flamebait (Score 1) 212

by TranquilVoid (#47780389) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

I also wonder if the vaunted Canadian healthcare system plays a role. When advances in medical science are something you automatically expect to benefit from personally if you need them, they look a lot better than when you have to scramble just to cover your bills for what we have now."

Or conversely, maybe when the government looks after your health you don't need to worry about researching it yourself, and you take it for granted and don't value it as much. But let's stir up a big argument about capitalism versus socialism.

Comment: Re:Amazing (Score 1) 276

by TranquilVoid (#47745315) Attached to: Among Gamers, Adult Women Vastly Outnumber Teenage Boys

Possible, like the saying that musicians have the worst sound systems. Still I'd say this is backwards. The more you value any activity, the more likely you are to seek out the community and other indirect aspects of what you enjoy.

For example, technology. Surely discussing IT on Slashdot indicates you are more an enthusiast than someone who clocks more 'technology' hours than you simply web browsing on their consumer device.

Comment: Not Unexpected (Score 4, Interesting) 132

It's hardly surprising for a company to hold its financial results close to its chest, but this is made more delicious given how much time they spend pointing out the downsizing of rival Fairfax Media.

Fairfax papers, especially, have suffered from the internet while News Corp has soldiered on, but it was only a matter of time. Being more left-wing, Fairfax's demographic is younger and more inclined to embrace new technology. As they age, and likely become more conservative, they will still consume news online rather than return to dead tree papers.

Comment: Re:Dissappointed (Score 1) 291

by TranquilVoid (#47488507) Attached to: Australia Repeals Carbon Tax

I think you misunderstand the concept of a mandate. It is used when a party wins an overwhelming majority in the lower house to suggest that the upper house, where the party has a minority, should capitulate on a particular issue. I.e. suggesting the checks and balances should step aside. It has nothing to do with complaining about losing in a democracy.

Personally I think a mandate almost never exists. In a representative system you might say that all elected members have a mandate to vote as they campaigned.

Comment: Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (Score 1) 461

by TranquilVoid (#47322311) Attached to: Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

Very informative. The density of the German population makes sense, but can you explain why Germany, a nation with a lot of manufacturing, would have less troubles than the US with balancing?

P.S. I'm hoping the answer is their lack of strong sunlight, for delicious irony.

Comment: Re:Everybody is wrong... (Score 1) 270

All caches have a non-zero miss change, it doesn't mean the concept is useless. In this case it could still work. If it predicts your Sunday night show 80% of the time, then for the 20% miss you'll have to stream from the original server. However if the 80% applies to all customers then network congestion has been significantly reduced and your streaming can work at HD.

Comment: Re:Gox used margin trading & fractional reserv (Score 1) 143

by TranquilVoid (#47097571) Attached to: Sifting Mt. Gox's Logs Reveals Suspicious Trading Patterns

How does fractional reserve work with Bitcoin? If they loan out some deposited coins, fair enough, but if the original owner draws on it they cryptographically need that exact coin, not some other random one.

Or do depositors hand over the coins to the exchange for a virtual account, destroying the signed-ownership benefit of Bitcoin and replacing it with trust in an institution?

Comment: Re:Roman empire killed by geometry and resources (Score 1) 384

by TranquilVoid (#46875881) Attached to: How Concrete Contributed To the Downfall of the Roman Empire

Without military force, [they] developed the art of religious coercion and control, and the Roman empire eventually became the Holy Roman empire.

Perceptions are interesting, my understanding was completely the reverse, that as the empire declined the church had to pick up the slack of looking after the population, and so developed the attributes of a state rather than being a pacifist religion.

And the money continued to flow to Rome, for centuries....

A good point, it helps explains how the empire survived for centuries after its territory had ceased expanding. I think we see the same effects today within former colonial powers like Britain and France. The trade connections don't disappear just because they no longer officially own the country.

Comment: Re:Economic reasons (Score 1) 384

by TranquilVoid (#46865913) Attached to: How Concrete Contributed To the Downfall of the Roman Empire

the myth tells people what they want to hear: A good morality tale, supporting their own particular morality.

To be fair we're all subject to this. Everyone has a particular understanding of how the world, and people, work, borne of years of experience. Any story that goes against our understanding is naturally suspect, and rightly so in most cases. Imagine if you adjusted your view of the world to accommodate every Facebook story on the miracles of coconut oil or what have you.

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

by TranquilVoid (#46764785) Attached to: Is Crimea In Russia? Internet Companies Have Different Answers

The people of Crimea however should get to decide where Crimea goes. The only thing Russia can do is either offer to annex or refuse to offer to annex if the Crimean people wish to be part of Russia.

How far should this be taken? Should the majority-Ukrainian sub-districts within Crimea get to decide if their sub-district is part of Ukraine or Russia? How about individual Ukrainian households within Russian-dominated sub-districts?

Managing populations is messy and there is no clear moral principle around geography, but Crimea was a Ukrainian state, under a constitution that required a nation-wide referendum. The question is, at what point are things so bad that you should violate another country's sovereignty?

Russia clearly did more than offering to annex. They actually ran the referendum after sending their military in semi-covertly, ensuring history books will forever question the legitimacy of the vote.

Comment: Re:Sorry about the loss of the magic (Score 1) 469

It is actually about 'playing in' the wood. This is more noticeable with acoustic guitars (and violins) - they will sound radically better after even a few months of playing due to the vibrations changing the wood. I suspect it softens the wood allowing the instrument to vibrate better across its entire mass but don't know the details.

There are diminishing returns, and I do agree that thinking a 70 year old guitar is intrinsically better than a 5 year old guitar is mostly psychological.

Prototype designs always work. -- Don Vonada