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Comment: Re:I hate to be this guy... (Score 1) 183

Corruption as part of the culture is an enormous part of it, especially in Africa and Asia and to a lesser extent in South America. That's a problem that you can't really throw money at because it tends to just add to the issue.

There are economic complications, too. Simply delivering food and water outside of a disaster situation undermines the local food economies: why buy food from the local farm if someone else is giving it away for free? Farms go under, leaving more people reliant on handouts.

War is another major issue. We hear about a million refugees in Gaza, but they're largely just a few kilometers from their homes, so delivery isn't that difficult. There are other cases where refugees in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan end up hundreds of kilometers from home, and these present bigger challenges. But in Africa, there are millions of people who have been moving over thousands of kilometers through war zones that have been akin to the areas controlled by the Islamic State for decades. No one really notices because no one reports on it. Even the Rwandan Genocide took weeks for most people in the West to notice despite on-scene reporters providing detailed reports.

There's a great deal of research going into what works. Solving economic issues is a big start. Reducing infant and childhood mortality rates by directly (i.e., not through the local government) fighting malaria with sterile releases and mosquito bed nets has helped dramatically in some locations. Teaching farmers how to more efficiently tend their crops, and opening them up to international markets has also helped.

The space program helped, too, mapping climate changes that provide hints on where to help, when to change to different crops, and how to handle desertification.

There will be no time that all earthly problems are solved so that we can concentrate on space. Trying to divert all of the money spent on it would be devastating to industry anyway, and no other nation will join in because, like it or not, we now all rely on space.

Comment: Missed Opportunity? (Score 4, Interesting) 81

by silentbozo (#47853993) Attached to: Microsoft Takes Down Slideshow-Building Tool After Getty Images Lawsuit
So... Getty Images, instead of using the power of image-matching algorithms to get more customers for its library by setting up a checkout point at the end of the auto-slideshow and/or tack on advertising (ala YouTube) just torpedoed the whole thing instead.

You figure they had the tech to identify the infringing images to begin with. Why not just say to Microsoft "hey, we have this set of algorithms that you're welcome to use to improve your widget. Let's talk about blanket licensing for Bing in exchange for downstream revenue."

Comment: Re:news for nerds? (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47847751) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

You've missed my point. Even if 50%+1 of the voting-age population (we'll leave out those not eligible to vote due to lack of citizenship, felony conviction, dishonorable discharge, etc.) voted for him, it still wouldn't be a majority of all Americans. There were about 313 million people in the US in 2012; half of that would be more people than voted, and would require 77% of the voting-age population. No president is known to have gotten that vote level, let alone overall preference. Washington might have, but no popular vote totals are available before 1824, and women were blocked from voting, as were most blacks, so rendering a majority support virtually impossible anyway even if every person legally allowed to vote did so.

Comment: Re:Do it yourself? (Score 1) 130

by mrmeval (#47846965) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Service To Digitize VHS Home Movies?

I used a video capture card with Svideo input. I found after many trials that VLC worked well in capture mode with a tape that had issues. I had to manually clean the video and audio heads in the thrift store VCR and used another tape to verify the VCR worked wel mechanically. It still took two attempts. I then transfered it from the Windows 7 box to a Linux box and had FFmpeg transcode it after bleeding the docs for a couple hours and fumbling with several attempts.

Comment: Re:Stop making sense. (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845755) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

I find that it's not so much ideology as a desire to boil down the situation to the simplest form in an effort to win the argument. Sometimes this works when certain nuances aren't significant, but it's easy to go too far. The most common one I see is treating all Syrian rebels as if they're part of the IS, when it's a patchwork of groups with many goals.

Comment: Re:Eurasia vs. oceania (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845743) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

I'm not talking about those supporting US military action. That's a separate list. I'm talking about those who have participated in some form of engagement. The only one that is perhaps in doubt is Russia, but they are providing intelligence support, if only relaying information between the US and Syria since neither of those countries wants to admit cooperating with each other.

Those entities above known to be actively fighting the IS:
- Iraq
- Syria
- Hezbollah
- Free Syria Army
- United States
- Iran
- al-Qaeda (via al-Nusra Front)

Those entities providing military and/or financial aid to those fighting the IS:
- United States
- Britain
- Iran
- Saudi Arabia

Those entities providing intelligence support:
- Syria
- Jordan
- Free Syria Army
- United States
- Britain
- Iran
- Saudi Arabia
- Russia

Comment: Re:Send Them Back To Hell (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845453) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

That's why there is a significant effort to bring the Sunni emirs back to Baghdad's side, starting with the new Prime Minister. The IS itself doesn't have much in the way of forces (ranging somewhere around 10,000, maybe a bit more), but instead relies on allied emirs to provide fighters.

And the army has stepped up. While Shi'ite militias have certainly helped, the Iraqi Army has retaken most of Tikrit and broken the siege at Amerli. It's slow progress, but it is weeding out many of those who just joined for a paycheck. Some Sunni militias have also turned against the IS and are creating problems for it within its controlled territory.

Comment: Re:Eurasia vs. oceania (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845405) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

Saddam Hussein funded terrorists where he found it appropriate (mostly in other countries) and fought terrorists where he found it appropriate (mostly in Iraq).

Corruption in the government isn't the problem, at least not as we usually think of it. The attempt by previous Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to sideline the Sunnis and Kurds as second-class citizens is the problem. The man basically tried to become a dictator, and it wasn't until the rise of the Islamic State that Iran finally stopped backing him. Maybe the new PM, Haider al-Abadi, a man who Sunni politicians found acceptable, can repair some of the damage. Already, some of the Sunni emirs have switched sides and ordered their militias to fight the IS.

Comment: Re:Eurasia vs. oceania (Score 2) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845373) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

I've got a better match for you. Here are just some of the entities that the Islamic State has made enemies of:
- Iraq
- Syria
- Jordan
- Hezbollah
- Free Syria Army
- United States
- Britain
- Iran
- Saudi Arabia
- Russia (maybe)
- al-Qaeda

They're not exactly all on the same side, but they do all oppose the IS. I can't think of a time when a group was more universally opposed.

Comment: Re:Terrorists, not Fighters (Score 1) 215

by Martin Blank (#47845357) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

There are dozens of rebel factions in Syria. The weapons were sent largely to those a part of or allied with the Free Syrian Army, a group with secular aims. It's not surprising that they ended up in other hands, given the chaos.

But the US isn't the most prolific supplier of weapons. That goes to a group of countries led by Saudi Arabia. They're sending weapons to try to overthrow al-Assad to weaken the regional influence of Iran.

Algol-60 surely must be regarded as the most important programming language yet developed. -- T. Cheatham

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