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Comment: Re:Just wow. (Score 2) 106

I love how pretty much every country has come to the same conclusion: We can bypass our own laws if we have someone else do it for us.

There's nothing surprising in this. Most countries hire consultants and advisors from the same international legal/accounting firms, who themselves have been trained in the same schools of thought, and often the same universities. The international ascendancy is mostly a mono-culture.

Comment: Re:Major disappointment... (Score 1) 94

by TapeCutter (#47519325) Attached to: Finding Life In Space By Looking For Extraterrestrial Pollution
One of the assumptions behind SETI is that aliens want to be heard, we have deliberately broadcast radio messages to nearby stars, SETI are hoping aliens will do the same thing.

The idea of looking for atmospheric signatures of technological life that do not occur in nature (such as CFC's) has been around for a long time. Non technological life can be inferred from an atmosphere rich in both methane and oxygen. People are trying to perform atmospheric spectroscopy on exoplanets but the technology is not quite there yet, I believe someone recently claimed to have detected water vapour on an exoplanet.

Having said that I was taught in 1970's high school that it was theoretically impossible to detect an exoplanet from Earth, but that was before wobble mirrors were invented..

Comment: Adver-teasing is fun. (Score 4, Funny) 167

by TapeCutter (#47514477) Attached to: Privacy Lawsuit Against Google Rests On Battery Drain Claims
I haven't a mobile phone of any kind for almost a decade but google and facebook know (from my bank) that I have spent some serious dollars on dentistry recently, their computers are thoroughly convinced I should buy a $350 set of plastic clip on teeth. I don't need false teeth but I post something random about the plastic teeth to web sites about once a week, like I'm doing here. I've been doing this for about six weeks, almost every page I visit is now plastered with the same ad (I clicked on it once just to tease them).

There's some people selling porcelain teeth that started following me last week, I'm currently experimenting with different phrases to see if I can ignite a bidding war between the two vendors. Would love to know how much they have spent on me so far....

Your post is spot on, it's exceedingly difficult to opt out of the civilization you found yourself born into. Ridicule is the best defense against extremists, so my advice is try to have some fun with the absurdities of "targeted advertising", and the crusaders who are battling it..

Disclaimer: For many years I have had the slashdot "disable advertising" option available, I don't use it because I actually want slashdot to make a few pennies from my eyeballs. It's also humourous seeing ads for religious scams posted to a bunch of atheist nerds ranting against religion. If we keep burning gods money like that maybe (s)he won't be able to buy as many congressmen in the future.

Comment: Re:Better safe than sorry (Score 1) 189

we suck at knowing things, even when those things are big enough for us to see

Welcome to the real world where imperfect knowledge has been enshrined in a very useful philosophy we call "Science".

Science is just highly refined common sense. The fact that the biblical plague of smallpox has not been seen in the wild for decades convincingly demonstrates science knows enough to control it, what more do you need to know? Sure it may pop up somewhere after all these years, but even if that very unlikely* event was to occur we have already demonstrated we know how to deal with it and stop it spreading. So even though we can never know for sure that every last smallpox bug has been killed, we do know that as long as our current knowledge is passed on to the next generation, smallpox will never again cause human miseries of biblical proportions. This scant knowledge also tells us that smallpox (alone) would be a stupid choice for a biological weapon.

very unlikely* - Without special care smallpox does not survive for very long outside of a human host, the human body is it's unique natural habitat.

Comment: Re:Here we go... (Score 1) 434

by TapeCutter (#47507253) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

But we have one side ready for peaceful coexistence and the other side who wants only the total destruction of their enemies.

If you watch it for a few decades you will see the sides alternating, when Israel makes a peaceful move in conjunction with Fatah, Hamas retaliates with rockets. When Hamas declares and keeps a 2yr ceasefire, Israel lays the boots in. Israel does want a 2 state solution but only if they can veto who's running it, in the meantime they call it an occupation territory so that it doesn't screw up the demographics of a jewish state, similar to the way S.Africa denied the black a vote to keep their "white demographic" intact. Fatah has been widely seen as Israeli puppets by people in Gaza since the death of Arafat. The Israelis came close to a resolution with Arafat in the 90's but he backed out at the last minute over the "right of return", Arafat wasn't the only one punished because of that act of political disobedience.

The situation also has similarities with the British occupation of Ireland in the early 20th century, the Brits solved that mess in the 80's and 90's by talking the high moral ground of allowing full participation on the political side while simultaneously infiltrating the IRA and bringing members of the military wing to justice via criminal courts and local police. Trust has to start somewhere and Israel are supposed to be the grown up government in this equation.

Hamas cannot defeat Israel, from a purely militarily POV Hamas is a nuisance largely of Israel's and Egypt's own making. When will Isreali soldiers follow the lead of the Brits in 1980's N. Ireland and remove their riot helmets while on street patrol. Replace the live ammo with rubber, swap real cannons for water cannons, stop shifting the border, stop evicting people and bulldozing homes that have been occupied for centuries by the same family, bring your own extremist dogs to heal to show the palestinians how it's done.

Comment: Re:Here we go... (Score 1) 434

by TapeCutter (#47506861) Attached to: MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures
It wasn't widely broadcast at the time but after Hamas came to power with 70% of the vote in what all international observers called a "free and fair" election. They declared a unilateral ceasefire and kept it for about 2yrs. During this time Israel and the west in general simply punished the palestinians for "picking the wrong team". This doesn't mean the palestinians are blameless Arafat fucked up a 2 state deal before that and was duly punished for it. However it's clear to see the palestinians are the significantly weaker under-dog, and the similarities with apartheid era South Africa is not lost on anyone old enough to remember it.

The hypocrisy and immorality inherent in international politics is simply offensive to any thinking person, the west bitches about Putin's rockets shooting down airliners while Israelis watch and cheer US bombs landing on hospitals from nearby hills. Neither of these events has anything to do with self defense, it's just the same old proxy wars the 5 veto powers have been playing since they agreed not to shoot directly at each other.

Comment: Re:Correction (Score 1) 97

by TapeCutter (#47504663) Attached to: UEA Research Shows Oceans Vital For Possibility of Alien Life

How so? What did it accomplish or change?

There's more than a touch of irony in military project that reached the ultimate high ground only to show us that the world domination game was not worth playing.

But I guess you had to be there to really grasp the significance of Apollo's role in the cold war. Personally I think the 1968 "earthrise" photo from apollo 8 was the most significant contribution, it's often credited with igniting the environmental movement (along with the book "Silent Spring").

The notion of the "pale blue dot" (google it) came out of that photo and exploded in our cultural consciousness several years before Carl Sagan gave it an eloquent voice. The Earthrise photo made it very clear in a lot of people's minds that there is nowhere else to go in the foreseeable future. It was clear that mankind had run out of territory to conquer on Earth and it asked the question at the height of the Vietnam war - why are we still squabbling over the spoils?

Earthrise and the PBDot are now popular cultural icons, they say something to us in the same way a red cross says something to a soldier on a battlefield.

Comment: Re:I was six years old watching that (Score 1) 204

by TapeCutter (#47497191) Attached to: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

The National Geographic that came out with the wonderful moon maps and photos was a treasure of my childhood.

I still have a copy of that issue. :)

The "mankind" thing was just poetry for a domestic audience, read Kennedy's speech and it's crystal clear that the Apollo project was a military response to the "threat" posed by sputnik.

Comment: Re:Other Systems (Score 1) 127

by TapeCutter (#47491509) Attached to: Dungeons & Dragons' Influence and Legacy
My bones say - close enough to 40 in round numbers.

Never played myself, I was 17-18 when I first heard of it. It appeared to me to have nothing to do with motorbikes or girls so it failed to hold my attention. We did however as younger teens play a (nameless) game that used a die, a ruler, an eraser, some pencils and a roll of wallpaper or similar.

The idea was to set up a battle, drawing in pencil the units of your army on your end of the paper. To move a unit you erased and redrew it, the dice determined how far a unit could move (in inches). To shoot you put the pencil point on your unit, put one finger on top of the pencil to hold it upright, and flick it with your fingers on the other hand. The pencil would leave a line on the paper which represented your bullet. Other than that there weren't any fixed rules, you could make up your own rules for each game...how small can a unit be, how many hits could a unit take, different coloured pencils for different bullets, a bouncing bomb is a series of pencil flicks, etc, etc. Had just as much fun playing that as a kid as I do playing WoT as an grandfather.

Have no idea if the game has a name or where it originated, it seems to be quite old, my dad showed us how to play but it was not his invention since I found other kids at school who had learnt it from their dad, not sure but I think dad played it as a kid in the late 30's, early 40's. While on the subject of kids games, here's something a bit geeky that will blow a grandchild's mind.

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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