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Comment: Re:Jerri (Score 1) 515

There are ways to prevent wars between hostile groups. The more obvious one is redrawing the border such that each gets its slice, and in disputed areas, allocating them one way or another and forcibly resettling the population (as was done in the aftermath of WW2). It sucks, but it's better than a genocide later.

And why is it a good thing exactly?

Comment: Re:Last straw? (Score 1) 515

As for the alliance - it was very seriously discussed by all sides from March to about July 1939 (UK and France kept talking after that, but Soviets weren't really listening anymore). So they were quite willing to make a deal with a devil. They - well, the Brits specifically, the French were more appreciative of the danger - just didn't want to go all the way in and "provoke" the Germans, especially since most everyone assumed that Soviets would be the next after Poland, so any committed allies of theirs would be dragged into war alongside.

Comment: Re:Last straw? (Score 1) 515

remember that the continental royal families still had fresh memories of their Russian relations being massacred despite offers to secure their exile?

The Brits (or rather specifically George V) actually explicitly refused to shelter Nicholas after abdication. So did the French (granted, not a royal family, but a WW1 ally nevertheless). I'm not aware of any other offers.

Comment: Objective-C is a mongrel (Score 1) 372

I like SmallTalk, and I like C. However, their syntaxes are very different. Objective-C mashes them together in a way that results in a very inconsistent feel to the syntax. C++, on the other hand, is just a logical extension of C syntax. Sure, there are some advantages to Objective-C's message passing approach. Well, if you consider silent failure when you pass a message to a null object to be an advantage.

Objective-C predates C++, and it shows. Someone shoehorned in OOP in a way that was borrowed from a totally different philosophy. Then Stroutrop came along and did it right. Some people may have complaints about C++ at an abstract level, but at least the language is internally consistent (or more so than Objective-C anyway).

Comment: Having your Muon and Keeping it (Score 1) 118

by Roger W Moore (#49169105) Attached to: Photo First: Light Captured As Both Particle and Wave

I wish physicists would stop using the word "measurement" when talking about quantum mechanics....We don't get to keep the original particle after we're done.

Actually that is not true if you go to high enough energy: have a look at this. Those four tracks coming out of the centre of the ATLAS detector at the LHC are muons, a heavy cousin of the electron. The muons are neither stopped nor destroyed by the detector but they do lose a little of their energy as they pass through it but for high energy particles this really is a very small, non-instrusive fraction of their energy. We can even use the curvature of the track in ATLAS' magnetic fields to measure the momentum of the particle.

Even if you stay at low energies there are biophysicists who can use lasers to pull apart single DNA and other organic molecules in non-destructive ways to study how they fold which involves quantum transitions between different folding states. So there are plenty of non-destructive QM based measurements which we can do both on fundamental, and non-fundamental particles.

If your objection is that we have 'changed' the system by making the measurement then perhaps it is worth reflecting that, at a fundamental level, everything is quantum mechanical. Hence there is no measurement that you can make which will not involve changing the system you are measuring. So if your criterion is that your measurement must not change the system you have just ruled out any measurement which any scientist has ever made.

Comment: Two photons will interfere (Score 1) 118

by Roger W Moore (#49168987) Attached to: Photo First: Light Captured As Both Particle and Wave

every dual slit experiment shows light behaving as both particle and wave, because every photon only interferes with itself. Two or more photons never interfere with each other.

If you want to see two photons interfering in a double slit experiment you don't have to do anything more complex that direct a laser pointer at a narrow slit. This is generally what happens in almost all double slit experiments ever performed by school kids and undergrads to demonstrate diffraction. You are talking about a special version of it to show that photons self-interfere but this does not exclude them interfering with other photons if there are some present.

Comment: Re:Last straw? (Score 1) 515

How about actually allying with the Soviets against the Germans before WW2 began, and striking together as soon as Poland was invaded?

It was a very likely possibility, and USSR has actively explored just such an alliance. But it demanded a firm commitment to such a joint military action, with full involvement by all sides, that Brits weren't willing to sign up for (because they didn't think that a full-scale European war was inevitable even if Poland were to be invaded). So Soviets walked away and signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact instead.

Comment: Re:Last straw? (Score 1) 515

They don't need to develop nuclear weapons, merely acquire them. That's much easier given that e.g. Pakistan already has them, and its military and intelligence services have been infested by Islamists for many years now. Granted, those are mostly people affiliated with al-Qaeda, but who's to say some of them won't switch their allegiance to ISIS? It already happened for large parts of the Pakistani Taliban.

Comment: Re:Last straw? (Score 1) 515

The problem is no-one actually understood what the hell "stabilizing the situation" even means, and most certainly what American forces were doing there wasn't that. Instead, it was all make-pretend that they could actually establish a democratic government run by the locals. But such a thing, built on as shaky grounds as it was, in a country that is by its very nature split, would never have held for long. In other words, with the way this was done from day 1, it wouldn't matter if American soldiers left when they did, or 5 years later, the end result would have still been the same.

Comment: Re:Last straw? (Score 1) 515

Finally, someone uses their brain. Sure, we could send a big army over there and stomp them into the ground. But then what?

Then you occupy the country for 20 years or so. No games with grassroots democracy, just old fashioned military administration, rebuilding the infrastructure and de-radicalizing the society and enforcing stability by force, until it can actually have a stable government and economy on its own.

Which, yeah, is basically colonialism. Except for the part where you don't extract resources, so it's also crazy expensive (and remember, 20 years!). So about the only country that might be interested in anything similar is Iran, on the grounds that it can simply annex huge parts of Iraq on a permanent basis.

Comment: Re:Last straw? (Score 1) 515

It could be stopped by allying with USSR before the latter allied with Germany. USSR did in fact explore the option of an alliance with UK and France first, specifically over the issue of providing protection guarantees for Poland. The USSR specifically wanted a clear and firm guarantee that if Poland were to be attacked, the Western countries would enter the war with Germany alongside with the Soviets in more than a token effort (i.e. they didn't want to end up being the only ones facing the Germans there). As the Phony War has shown later, it was not an unreasonable fear. The French were interested in exploring such an approach, but the Brits still believed the war was not imminent, and refused on the fear of being dragged into a war on behalf of someone else.

Additionally, Soviets wanted to extend the agreement beyond just Poland, and in particular to prevent the then-independent Baltic states from openly allying with Germany by treating such an act as German aggression that would trigger the joint military intervention provisions of the agreement.

While Soviets were already in talks with the Germans, it was the collapse of the tripartite agreement talks that prompted them to switch gears and seek a full fledged treaty with the Germans, which resulted in the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

The run-up to WW2 was really quite a mess in terms of who was supporting whom. Most people do remember the pact, but fewer are aware of the fact that Poland has participated in the partitioning of Czechoslovakia in 1938 on Nazi side, for example.

Comment: Re: Jerri (Score 1) 515

it's about "your soldier raped an Iraqi girl" or "soldier ran over Iraqi kid" - will it be tried in military courts or the Iraqi civilian ones

Of course it should be tried in the civilian court of the country in question, how else? For it to be otherwise would mean that the country doesn't exercise effective sovereignty on its territory, and the military in question is an occupying force in all but name, not even subject to the laws of the country that it occupies.

The reason computer chips are so small is computers don't eat much.