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Comment: Re:I've always thought that the best way for Israe (Score 1) 73

by dotancohen (#47439131) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

They do that occasionally, and are universally condemned for it. Remember Israel is not allowed to defend itself. They have to just accept 100's or rockets a day lobbed at them and not react. If they do fire back, and go as far as to warn the targets, Hamas gathers their children and brings them to the target creating mini-martyr's and generating huge sympathy, especially from the west.

They have a standing offer: it Hamas stops the rockets, they stop theirs. Not difficult, unless your Hamas

Regarding Hamas bringing children to the buildings designated for destruction: you should realize that their values are different than yours and mine. We value life, they value heaven. If someone is killed in war, then themselves and 300 of their family are guaranteed a place in heaven:

Some people like to laugh and say that 72 virgins are waiting for them. That's ridicule, but not far from the truth depending on whose writing you are reading, but it is not in the Koran.

So yes, they do invite neighbours and children when a building has been marked (and warned) for destruction. But that is not cause for ridicule but rather a difference in values between them and you and me.

Comment: Re:Subject bait (Score 1) 73

by dotancohen (#47439103) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

Actually, we just had another rocket attack while I was composing the previous post.

I don't think that damaging the building structure is a wise move considering the threat. I do appreciate the idea, though. I have taken some precaution and improvised some things which are likely to be of value considering the situation.

  Railroad ties would make horrible improvised shelter roofs. You don't want that falling on your child's head! Rather, armoured concrete (lots of armoured concrete) and dirt (lots of dirt) make decent shelter roofs.

Comment: Re:Subject bait (Score 1) 73

by dotancohen (#47439091) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

Ha ha! Well, _technically_, isn't it the palestinian's home? But I suppose might makes right and all that.. ;-)

I don't know what you mean by "technically", but yes both people call this land home. Hence, war!

Hamas has been shooting rockets at Israel non-stop for years, but only when we shoot back does it become news. Assad kills on average 300 people per day for the past three years, but that is not news. Up until last week, more Gazans have been killed by Hamas rocket launches gone bad than by Israel, but that is not news. 100+ of the 120+ Gazans killed were Hamas militants, that is about 85% militants-to-civilians rate (US in Iraq: 8-15% militants-to-civilians rate, Russians/Soviets anywhere: 2-5% militants-to-civilians rate) but that is not news.

Comment: Re:Subject bait (Score 1) 73

by dotancohen (#47439061) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

I understand your position, I suppose that you live in a land that is not the ancestrial homeland of your people? I.e. a North American of European decent? I understand that it is probably difficult for you to understand my need to stay. I find some aspects of other cultures difficult to understand as well, as I've mentioned above.

I have a personal connection to this land. So does somebody else. Hence, war! I'm sure that the Hamas would love nothing more than for me to pack up and leave.

Comment: Re:Subject bait (Score 2) 73

by dotancohen (#47438793) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

The 'shelter' is one of two places:
1) The building stairwell, as it has no outside walls.
2) The underground shelter, which means that we must run though completely unprotected areas to get there.

Note that exactly the "unprotected areas" I mention were in fact completely destroyed when a missle hit in November 2012. Luckily, we were in the stairwell at the time, and now we always run to the stairwell for that reason. Of course, the stairwell will not protect us from a direct hit on the building as the undergroud shelter would, but it does protect us from the missles' shrapnell that land outside the building.

Comment: Re:Belief (Score 1) 73

by dotancohen (#47438765) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

The rockets being sent against Israel are small, sporadic, unguided, and mostly lack the range to hit major population centers (Tel Aviv). On the rare occasions it does hit a building, it won't destroy the building but will gut a room.

I suspect that you're just trolling, but you might just be 10 years out of date.

Unguided missiles have no military value as they cannot be aimed at military targets, that is true. However, unguided missiles are best for terrorizing civilians, and of course those rockets have the range to hit major population centers. I've had about two hundred shot at my city in just the past week. The current rockets are variants of the Soviet Grad and Iranian Fagar 5 missiles. Plenty of range, unguided but with a COP of about a kilometer, and 40-90 KG of HE.

With the Iron Dome with only get a few hits in the city, and due to the alarms the population is in shelters when the rockets do hit. Without the alarms, my children would have been dead in November 2012 when a rocket landed were they were playing outside our building. Tens of apartments across the street from the blast were damaged very heavily, only to be rebuilt because they were in a building with undamaged apartments on the other side. About ten or twenty vehicles were destroyed. Nobody was even injured, because the whole city fled to shelters. No injuries, nothing on the news. We usually like it that way.

If the Iron dome is effective, great. If the belief of the people is it's effective, even better, especially for politicians in power. Pretty much what the article says.

Comment: Re:Subject bait (Score 5, Informative) 73

by dotancohen (#47438717) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

Stay on topic and discuss the technical aspects of the missile system, at least that is what should be discussed here.

I live in Beersheba. Of the two hundred or so rockets shot at my city in the past week, we had our first casualty yesterday: an 80 year old woman was injured when a rocket fell outside her house. So far as I know (by hearing the different booms of both successful hits and Iron Dome intercepts) this was only the fourth or fifth rocket to get past the Iron Dome into the city. I'll ask my daughters tomorrow morning: they are the ones keeping score of the booms that they hear.

So from a technical point of view, the Iron Dome is very effective.

That doesn't mean that the rockets have no effect on us, even if they are not blowing up our houses. We _still_ have 60 seconds to get ourselves and the children to shelter 2 or 3 times per night when they shoot at us and the alarms go off, so nobody is getting any sleep. All other aspects of life are "get ourselves and the children in 60 seconds" so that means that working is affected, shopping for food is affected, going to the toilet is affected, walking the dog is affected, etc.

We still have it better than the Gazans, though. They do not have alarms, their only warning is pamphlets dropped from F16s telling them to evacuate buildings used to launch rockets at Israel before they are destroyed. Unfortunately, a large part of their populate screems "Shahid" and actually invite the neighbours over to be a part of "protecting" by being in the building before it is bombed. I understand that their values and their culture is different than ours, but I still feel bad for the children who have to be a part of the "be a Martyr" culture, not the "save yourselves" culture. I really do feel pity for them.

I understand that of the 120+ people killed in Gaza in the past week, about 20 were civilians (not militants). Israelis mourn those casualties just as we mourn our own. I understand that there is no 100% effective way to remove the Hamas without injuring the civilians, but that does not belittle thier casualties in any way. As an Israeli and a neighbour of Gaza I tell you: pity the Gazans.

Comment: Re:Great... Instead of CO2 we get CO (Score 1) 133

Formic acid can be stored and used in a fuel cell to have a very good solar storage fuel. No need to worry about CO if kept within this fuel cycle.

Related Abstract:

And what is the byproduct of that fuel cell? No, let me guess... a potent greenhouse gas?

I agree that this could be a useful fuel cell if the energy density is high enough, but the net CO2 change in atmosphere is 0. All the CO2 that came out, goes back in.

Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 4, Interesting) 178

Governments shouldn't be using closed source garbage to begin with. It just locks them into a specific company and keeps them at their mercy, not to mention that even if the government reviews the source, the public can't do the same. Not a good message to send.

Actually, the _real_ point here is that Microsoft is now implying, quite strongly, that open-source software is preferable for security, privacy, and other sensitive purposes.

I hope the governments and other entities that this program targets are smart enough to read between the lines.

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel's behind. -- Edgar R. Fiedler