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Comment Re:It's happened before... (Score 1) 757

Are you asserting this as an actual fact or are you just spinning a random scenario? The accomplishments of Arab scientists through the Western Middle Ages is very lengthy and very well know. Any hypothesis that they were all really Persians in Arab-drag is a foolish one. Not knowing of this lengthy list makes the hypothesis fatally uninformed.

Unfortunately, you don't seem to fare much better. The whole Arab/Islamic Science diatribe (mostly spun by Islamists, for obvious reason) is pure nonsense. All those 'great inventions' they like to take claim for (such as Math) are actually of Greek origine . They were translated into Arabic because it was the lingua franca of the time. It does not make those invention Arab or Islamic, it simply proves that Invasion works, bitches (apologies to XKCD).

Comment Bill not intended for **AA but cyber warfare (Score 1) 208

I see a lot of people going off on a tangent about this proposed Bill and how it might help the RIAA/MPAA, but it seems to be designed to get a handle on the blatant (possibly state sanctioned) cyber attacks from countries such as China.

Right now, there isn't any actual internationally accepted law surrounding Cyber Warfare. In other words, there is no consensus about what kind of cyber attack crosses the line to such an extent that it becomes an act of war. A large problem with cyber attacks is attribution. Not knowing who really attacked you limits your options in terms of a proportional response, and this is a big issue for policymakers everywhere. Essentially it has caused most governments to (at best) apply a strictly passive defense to their critical infrastructure, instead of an immediate offensive response (ie. packetting whoever is attacking you).

In the physical world an invading force would immediately be met with physical violence and quite possibly international outrage towards the offending party, acting (in most cases) as a deterrent. Right now, there is no such deterrent in the arena of Cyber Warfare and countries such as China seem to be actively exploiting that. They know that even IF they get caught, they can simply deny government involvement and blame it on non-state actors. Of course, those "non-state actors" are never actually brought to justice, making the whole exercise futile.

It seems to me that this Bill is designed to counter this problem by imposing sanctions against countries who either engage in Cyber Warfare or harbor those convenient "non-state actors", and as such seems a sane step forward.

Of course, one can only hope that such a Bill would not be abused by the **AA.


Why Are There No Popular Ultima Online-Like MMOs? 480

eldavojohn writes "I have a slightly older friend who played through the glory days of Ultima Online. Yes, their servers are still up and running, but he often waxes nostalgic about certain gameplay functions of UO that he misses. I must say that these aspects make me smile and wonder what it would be like to play in such a world — things like housing, thieving and looting that you don't see in the most popular massively multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft. So, I've followed him through a few games, including Darkfall and now Mortal Online. And these (seemingly European developed) games are constantly fading into obscurity and never catching hold. We constantly move from one to the next. Does anyone know of a popular three-dimensional game that has UO-like rules and gameplay? Perhaps one that UO players gravitated to after leaving UO? If you think that the very things that have been removed (housing and thieving would be two good topics) caused WoW to become the most popular MMO, why is that? Do UO rules not translate well to a true 3D environment? Are people incapable of planning for corpse looting? Are players really that inept that developers don't want to leave us in control of risk analysis? I'm familiar with the Bartle Test but if anyone could point me to more resources as to why Killer-oriented games have faded out of popularity, I'd be interested."

Comment Re:Working conditions differ... (Score 1) 453

Its funny that you draw a parallel with Socialism, because in my opinion it is socialist extremism that is undermining our current system. What we have -and are slowly losing- is a good blend between capitalism and socialism. Capitalism inspires people to advance themselves and better their position, while socialism ensures we keep improving the circumstances of everyone (including the less fortunate).

It is my opinion that too much Socialism would lead to failure, because you are simply giving away too much money and not stimulating income. Too much Capitalism would lead to failure because the divide between rich and poor would become a huge and there would not be enough stimulation to take care of the less fortunate.

A line needs to be drawn, and its probably somewhere in the middle. I just wish that the Dutch political parties would see that and stop accepting every sobstory that passes them by.

Comment Working conditions differ... (Score 5, Interesting) 453

I was just discussing this article with my colleague and we agreed this was probably a US-oriented survey. We're Dutch and working in The Netherlands as system engineers, and compared to the US our working conditions are great! On average, we work 40 hour weeks (sometimes less!) and get an average of 24 days paid vacation a year. Overtime is PAID overtime. These conditions apply to pretty much ALL jobs here, not just IT.

Comparing that to the US, its not strange that Americans are less satisfied. From what I picked up over the years reading articles like the ones on Slashdot, Americans in IT generally work 10+ hours a day, don't even always get overtime paid for and only receive about 5 vacationdays a year. And the pay, even though admittedly living is cheaper there, sucks too.

Is it any wonder that people are dissatisfied?

Comment Wish i was surprised... (Score 5, Insightful) 186

But im not, really. Having worked for the Dutch police twice now, I can safely say that the majority of their IT staff are completely clueless. A few years ago they "outsourced" their IT to a seperate entity to handle all their IT, but this entity was staffed mostly with the people they already had, so there wasn't any actual increase of knowledge (as far as I could tell). They got a nice fat bag of money and an unclear manifest, all paid for by us - the Dutch taxpayer - and this is what we get.

The Netherlands: No privacy, no competence and instead of capable beatcops we get highway robbery in the form of a cop with a lasergun having his daylong break sitting behind a bush next to our highways. And they wonder why the populace is starting to hate law enforcement.

Do yourself a favor and do a search on Google for "C2000", another one of the Dutch police success stories.

I could weep. Or well....puke really.

Comment Re:Pff thats nothing! (Score 1) 7

Joke: noun, verb, joked, joking.

1. something said or done to provoke laughter or cause amusement, as a witticism, a short and amusing anecdote, or a prankish act: He tells very funny jokes. She played a joke on him.

2. something that is amusing or ridiculous, esp. because of being ludicrously inadequate or a sham; a thing, situation, or person laughed at rather than taken seriously; farce: Their pretense of generosity is a joke. An officer with no ability to command is a joke.

3. a matter that need not be taken very seriously; trifling matter: The loss was no joke.

Pedant: Nounâ

1. a person who makes an excessive or inappropriate display of learning.
2. a person who overemphasizes rules or minor details.
3. a person who adheres rigidly to book knowledge without regard to common sense.
4. Obsolete. a schoolmaster.

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long