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Comment Re:Those who can, program. (Score 1) 94

I'm a professional developer with a post-grad degree in Mathematics.

There's an ounce of truth in what he says, not the part about computer scientists or software engineers somehow being better than scientists, on the contrary, you're largely right because most programmers decry maths and claim it doesn't matter to them, but they're really just the dross of the industry. Maths is what separates someone reinventing the wheel by condemning themselves to produce CRUD applications for all eternity from someone who comes up with genuinely new and novel bits of software. Those with an understanding of maths are the ones who give us everything from the highest quality programming languages to Google search, and increasingly beautiful game engines to AI solutions like Siri.

But I digress, the point intended on making is that the fact is that those with computer science have been the ones helping push the largest gains in science in recent years, whether it's the type of data handling required at the LHC or entire subjects like bioinformatics. We've long passed a point where much scientific discovery can come from lone individual geniuses, and are entering an era where many problems are impossible even with merely teams of people. We're at a point where leveraging computing power is essential to much further scientific discovery, and for that you need computer scientists who both understand the science, and the machines needed to drive the discoveries in said science.

In this day and age I'd pity the scientist who looks down on computer scientists, because frankly in most areas of science it means they're building their own path towards irrelevance and failure. It's unlikely they'll ever achieve anything in most scientific fields if they're not willing to work with those who understand how to command the machines, or who do not learn themselves to command the machines and themselves become computer scientists in the process.

Comment Re:Legality? (Score 1) 315

Agreed, I don't see a legal issue with this, they have the right to serve what they want from their servers assuming it isn't outright malware.

Similarly though, users have every right to use countermeasures to bypass this because they also have the right to do what they want in terms of manipulating any content served to them for display. It's one of the key design features of web standards dating back to even the earliest versions of HTML - the idea that a user agent can process data in a manner that best suits the end user whether that's ripping out style sheets and images, applying high contrast style sheets for better readability, or refusing to accept certain additional content from the server or referenced servers.

Yahoo can do this legally all it wants, but it's just entering an arms race it can never win - the end user has control of their user agent which means the user can always determine what is and isn't rendered to screen at the end of the day and nothing Yahoo can do can ever override that.

Comment Re:Budget (Score 1) 63

It was the Foreign Office but in 2011 they started shifting it onto the license fee and closed a load of services as a result.

Now that they're reversing some of those closures I don't know if that means it's being moved back to the Foreign Office budget or not but I can't see how they can foist the expense of this onto the license fee given that they've already moved some welfare for pensioners onto the license fee. Normally you'd hear the BBC vocally complain if they were, but they seem silent on the issue so far, so I think in this case to be fair it's probably coming from central government again like it used to and not the license fee.

Comment Re:Annoying (Score 1) 330

And that is probably one of the biggest mistakes the losing side of just about every war has ever made - underestimating their enemy.

You're also talking about the sorts of people who have concoted some rather clever IEDs, who have managed to intercept predator drone feeds, and who have been managing to survive in bombarded cities cut off from all food and water supplies for years.

Some, such as the Glasgow airport attackers are even Phd students/graduates. Their explosives experts put together bombs and detonators that take a wealth of scientific knowledge and can counter some of the most advanced jamming tech the world's leading military - the US has been able to research and deploy.

You're talking about people who have been able to create a defacto nation state in the middle of the sovereign territory of two nations that have themselves struggle to even build something loosely resembling a stable state.

Yes, there are a lot of stupid jihadis, the ones who kill themselves are frequently dumb drones who fall for the crock of shit about dying to get a hundred virgins. But behind each of those dumb fuck suicide bombers are incredibly intelligent explosives experts, incredibly clever and manipulative recruiters whispering in their ears and telling them what to do.

So tell me, who do you think goes out buying their equipment, do you think it's the suicide bomber drones themselves, or the people who kit them out in the first place?

To pretend all islamic extremists are merely dumb is dangerous and naive. Even Sun Tzu all those centuries ago understood that you should never underestimate your enemy - and that holds true to this day. To simply write them off as dumb is the surest way to get more of our soldiers and civilians killed.

Comment Re:Thanks! XOXO, Putin (Score 1) 109

The UK doesn't buy gas from Russia:

Our coal however does come from Russia (and Colombia and the US) though, not Ukraine:

So here we've clearly got a policy that actually decreases dependency on Russia, not the contrary as you're claiming.

If the UK ends up fracking then between that and a ramping back up of North Sea gas production (or even Falklands gas extraction) the UK could easily become energy independent for quite some time.

Which isn't to say I in any way support this, I'd much rather just see more renewable, or even nuclear usage. This is just the easiest and lowest risk way of making sure that if the shit hit the fan that we could look after ourselves. Personally I'd rather just see us take more risks on the renewable route though. That way we can become energy independent without all the downsides of fracking and such.

Comment Re:Where is the gas going to come from? (Score 1) 109

"Russia is fine provider. Soviet Union or Russia have kept contracts as signed over the terms and time of the contract, built pipelines into the West as planned and agreed on. Russian gas flowed as expected, offered and paid for. If your nation stops paying mid contract or takes gas in transit, contract is recreated to reflect new costs or currency changes. Russia is not difficult to deal with for a gas pipeline contract. Price is set, product flows as paid for."

So how much does the Kremlin pay you to spout this nonsense?:

Obviously you're completely and utterly full of shit. Please stop shilling so blatantly and at least put some effort into it if nothing else.

Oh wait, don't tell me "All those instance were legitimate because gas was being stolen, or wasn't being paid for blah blah blah". Yeah that's exactly the fucking reason why Russia isn't a trustworthy gas supplier, because when it feels like price gouging you it can. Unfortunately though the instances of shut off all happened to coincide with periods where Russia-Ukrainian political relations were being strained because Ukraine had dared to vote in someone who wasn't pro-Russia as a leader. Funny that eh? What a coincidence?

Meanwhile we can pull in gas from places like Norway or Qatar, where this kind of thing never happens. So much for Russia being reliable.

Comment Re:Content is always going to be a problem. (Score 1) 126

Nah, that isn't the problem here. The problem here is simply lack of investment - they've only really made 4 maps (they claim more, but what they really mean is that there are subsets of each of those 4 maps that they class as maps in themselves). I don't buy the difficulty and time of content production being the issue here, this is just a game made on a small budget to maximise profits. It's not like they needed to put any effort into sound and music design given that they're just reusing long established Star Wars music and sounds either.

I'd wager they've intentionally held contact back to double dip with the season pass. There are only 6 heroes, and they don't include obvious ones like Chewbacca and Yoda. I'd wager of the 4 DLC packs in the season pass we'll see one that brings in Yoda and a Dagobah map, and another that brings in Chewbacca and presumably I'd guess a Kashyyyk map.

Whilst the game itself is amazing in terms of playability, graphics, and sound, the fact you'll have to pay extra for stuff like this is a bit retarded. They focussed on the original trilogy and yet missed out everything from Yoda, to Chewbacca, to Ewoks, to playable Y-Wings and so on and so forth. It's pretty inexecusable. Realistically this game should've come with all those things I described, and the DLC's should've included stuff from other stuff outside of the OT like the characters and places in episodes 1 - 3. For $60 you should be able to expect if they're going to focus on OT, and provide absolutely no single player campaign that they'd at least give you all of the OT.

It's a good game, but the lack of content is a massive problem and not really excusable or justifiable. You're basically getting Battlefield 4 with less weapons, less vehicles, less character class differentiation, less maps, less tools, and no single player campaign for the exact same price. That's a little fucked up.

Comment Re:Annoying (Score 1) 330

I don't really buy this idea, for every one of them that believes in the myth there are going to be a bunch who also know it's bullshit - they're not all going to believe it's a myth, and even a little rudimentary research on the net will tell them it's a myth.

So why bother sending in intelligence agents, with the risk that they'll be trying to sell to someone who knows it's bullshit, and so just executes the agent?

It'd be far more sensible to send in intelligence agents to pretend to want to sell something that's actually real, like stinger missiles, or radioactive materials for a dirty bomb.

Baiting terrorists based on a myth is pointless when you can bait them just as well with something real, like nuclear weapons. Even the good old well sought after suitcase nuke is more plausible and less likely to get your agents killed on nothing more than a myth.

Comment Re:Real smart fella (sarcasm) (Score 1) 519

I don't think it's simply intelligence, the fact is whilst the EU is the single largest combined economy in the world, the US is the largest individual economy in the world. You're going to see a lot of economic benefit from trading with that, and if it's also acting as your nuclear shield, then that's kind of a big deal.

Consider this, if the US wasn't influencing any of these countries by offering them protection in return for that influence, and they were left to fend for themselves, do you genuinely think the Russian border wouldn't extend beyond the areas of Ukraine they've now stolen? Putin would've captured much of Eastern Europe back years ago if they were merely fending for themselves with no outside influence - it's a do as we want and we'll make sure no one else forces you to do as they want situation.

Comment Re:Real smart fella (sarcasm) (Score 2) 519

Are you telling us that you really think both Germany and Canada are completely free of overarching American influence?

I think you'll be bitterly disappointed when reality hits you in the face as if that were true then people like Snowden would be sat quite comfortably in a German or Canadian neighbourhood right now.

Instead he's stuck in Russia, because the only way to escape American influence is to live in one of the countries opposed to it.

He isn't saying some countries are better than others, he's making the point that there's always a stronger power that ultimately dictates at least some elements of your life, and if you live in the West or Western friendly countries that power is the US. The alternative is to go to the US' opponents like China, or Russia, or lawless areas governed by militias like ISIS, the Taliban, or al Shabab.

Comment Re:Anyone remember? (Score 1) 63

As others have said, yes, you're thinking of XNA. It essentially came in two flavours - the public flavour that XBox Live Indie games were all developed in, and a version that allowed access to more features such as achievements that professional licensed developers could use.

But that's not the issue here, Microsoft has a fully working emulator that runs all Xbox 360 games flawlessly. The issue is licensing, Microsoft can't just release games through backwards compat. without the owners permission. If it were up to Microsoft every single game from the Xbox 360 would work right now.

So if a game you want isn't on there blame the publishers, in some cases there are no publishers to blame - the games and their IP are sat in limbo held by asset purchasing firms that purchased the corpses of dead companies past so those games will simply never turn up. Other publishers simply want to sell you ports and re-releases so will never license backwards compat. as they want you to pay for a second time what you've already paid for once.

The one upside to it all is that Microsoft has at least made it clear that all games release free via games with gold will be licensed for backwards compatibility going forward, hence the library will increase with 2 free games a month for gold subscribers (meaning you now get 4 games per month free with gold if you're an XBox One owner).

There was a story some time back that EA is considering releasing it's entire catalog via backwards compat. I don't know what happened to that, but obviously if that went ahead then it'd flood the catalog with thousands of new titles. I'd be surprised if the other publishers didn't then follow suit.

Given all this then, I wonder now, if in hindsight, the reason Sony, Microsoft et. al have always been evasive and excuse making about backwards compatibility support in their systems isn't because of any technical issue supporting the project, but in fact simply that the legal side of it has always been too much of a minefield in getting publishers on board with them being the actual blocking factor because they didn't want it to interfere with their ability to double dip via select re-releases.

Comment Re:Meaningless Gesture (Score 1) 210

And on you go trying to pretend you know the future, justifying it by arguing that there's no point living live not pretending we know the future. What an odd set of logic, what possible need is there to insist you know the future of a Snowden trial other than political zealotry? You're only making the case that your argument is wholly about personal hatred of Snowden stronger by making such logically bankrupt arguments. I'd have so much more respect if you just came out and said what you mean - "I think Snowden needs to be found guilty and punished". I mean come on, are you really so insecure in your own political views that you have to try and weasel them in with a persistent misrepresentation of the law, misrepresentation of the definition of a fair trial and so forth? Grow some balls and say what you mean, or accept that you can't say what you mean because you know full fucking well that you're being blatantly irrational and can't admit it.

You then claim no political agenda and say it's the law, but that's the problem, it's not the law, the law (yes, even in the US) makes it clear that no trials should have pre-judged outcomes, yet you're still trying to justify that that's exactly what this trial should have based on your broken, arrogant "I know the future and am always right" nonsense.

And no, I don't know that episode of the Colbert Report because I've never ever watched it, nor do I believe it has ever even been shown here in the UK.

The fact that you still claim you know the unknowable because you have a political agenda is comical at this point, could you really be any more arrogant and ignorant?

Comment Re:I wouldn't put it past Putin (Score 1) 289

"The thing is, Putin can get away with bombing Syrian rebels because he is very effective (compared to allied sorties) also against ISIS targets."

He's barely even hit ISIS targets, he's been focussing on moderates an al Qaeda, his actions have, more than anything, helped ISIS, because they've massively damaged one of ISIS enemies - moderate rebels, and in fact, as moderate rebels have been losing ground as a result of this, ISIS have been gaining ground. Putin wants to create an Assad vs. ISIS scenario to force the West to support ISIS.

Here are some sources. This map shows the pattern of Russia's bombing campaign compared to that of the West. There are a lot of maps from a lot of sources showing the same pattern if you don't trust the BBC FWIW:

Here's a fairly detailed analysis showing the advances:

You can actually find similar evidence even on Russian news sources, although they label moderate/al Qaeda areas as ISIS, even though no one in the entire rest of the world including the people in those areas actually identify with ISIS. At best Russia's done a handful of actual strikes on ISIS to try and maintain this false credibility that it's about hitting ISIS, rather than supporting Assad and ISIS to help turn the tide in favour of Assad and force everyone to rally with him against ISIS, because the fact is, if it comes to that kind of two way fight as Putin wants, the West will have no choice but to back Assad against ISIS.

"The thing is that UK and EU public opinion is very much in favor of Russian airstrikes in Syria."

I don't think this is even remotely true. I don't know anyone in the UK or any of my friends in Europe who even remotely support Russia. Support for Russia largely exists on the fringes in groups that feel under-represented in Europe, such as far right groups like the BNP and their supporters.

"I have seen BBC News stories where the comment section was flooded with messages in support of the Russian attacks (it was a story about Turkey warning Russia not to interfere in its air space). And practically all the highest-voted comments were pro-Russian strikes."

Rather than take that as a reasonable vox pop of public opinion, you need to understand that the BBC comments section is fundamentally broken and does not even remotely represent popular opinion. It is a favour melting pot of government propagandists, and zealots. The same comments section on political stories also suggests 80% support for xenophobic and racist parties like UKIP, but actual general election day polls gave them a meagre 13%. You can't discern anything of merit from the BBC comments section, it's a cesspit of nonsense and even the moderators are part of the problem. There was a UKIPer calling Polish people a bunch of lazy spongers, and I responded saying I've actually found the Polish to be incredibly hard working, often more so than many British folk. Guess which one of us got censored and which did not? When the leanings of the moderators there (I believe the BBC contract that work out to a 3rd party company so it's not their direct staff at fault but the company they subcontract to) supports that world view, is it surprising that that view is more prominent there?

I do agree that Russia is more effective though, you're right about that, but it's largely because whilst the West at least tries (even though it regularly fails) to avoid civilian casualties, Russia just doesn't even care about them. If there's a rebel fighter in a hospital of 100 innocents, Putin is happy to see that hospital bombed to get that one fighter - he's a leader who after all openly broke the Geneva Convention and admitted to committing a war crime by removing identifying marks from his soldiers and claiming them as civilians in Crimea. Russians are effective because they have no care for the concept of collateral damage, though fail to grasp that that attitude is precisely why people might want to blow up their airliners (the US, UK et. al. have made the same mistake enough even when they unintentionally fucked up).

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval