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Comment: Re:Rules of war (Score 1) 177

by shutdown -p now (#47798567) Attached to: Ukraine Asks Zuckerberg to Discipline Kremlin Facebook Bots

It's a bit more complicated.

Ukrainian military right now basically consists of three distinct parts. One is the regular army - those are reasonably well equipped (all the usual stuff, artillery, tanks, air etc - if somewhat outdated), but poorly motivated. The other is the National Guard, which was basically recreated and stuffed with mostly ex-MVD and internal troops - these are neither well equipped nor well motivated (many of them were on the "wrong" side of Maidan).

Then there is that part of the National Guard that consists of the volunteer batallions - Azov, Dniepr, Donbas, Aidar etc. These consist mostly from people who were on Maidan and wanted to keep the fight going, but also from the newly reinvigorated far right groups like Right Sector (in particular, Azov is almost 100% neo-Nazi, and they aren't even hiding that fact - take a look at their insignia, and if you're not familiar with the symbolism, look up Schwarzezonne and Wolfsangel). Now these guys are very motivated, and they are one of the few units which sometimes even refuse to retreat against direct orders to do so, and are generally very battle efficient. However, they are not well equipped - in many cases the state didn't even issue a proper uniform, so they're wearing the stuff that was crowdsourced for them, and they have very little heavy armor or artillery.

Comment: Re:Some people might unfairly judge Ukraine (Score 1) 177

by shutdown -p now (#47798553) Attached to: Ukraine Asks Zuckerberg to Discipline Kremlin Facebook Bots

If Russia had been "rolling tanks, armoured personnel carriers, rockets, heavy field guns, anti-aircraft guns, and airbourne [sic] troops" into Ukraine, it would have been subdued within a week at most - just as Czechoslovakia (sp) and Poland and Hungary were subdued, despite being far better organized than Ukraine today.

Czechoslovakia and Hungary were subdued in an open invasion - the Soviet troops that were rolling in on the tanks did not disguise their allegiance or which state sent them. And comparison doesn't work on many other levels. In Czechoslovakia, in particular, there was pretty much no open resistance. In Hungary, resistance was fierce, but poorly organized and very poorly equipped - basically, they had small arms, but little else, and definitely no artillery or armor. In Ukraine, the undercover Russian troops are facing the Ukrainian military, complete with UAVs, artillery, tanks and air support. It's not a "pacification" operation, it's modern warfare, almost at a full scale (the only thing that's missing is air support on the separatist/Russian side - though they already use UAVs for recog).

Comment: Re:Some people might unfairly judge Ukraine (Score 1) 177

by shutdown -p now (#47798541) Attached to: Ukraine Asks Zuckerberg to Discipline Kremlin Facebook Bots

They are unapologetically acting like the USSR; using the old national song as the basis of russia's national anthem is like the Germans taking up "deutchland, deutchland uber alles".

Guess what the official state anthem of the Federal Republic of Germany is?..

Comment: Re:How I know that Russian troops are not in Ukrai (Score 1) 177

by shutdown -p now (#47798535) Attached to: Ukraine Asks Zuckerberg to Discipline Kremlin Facebook Bots

I'm not GP, but the two tell-tale signs that I'm seeing are the spelling of "Abhasia" (direct transliteration of Russian "x" into "h" - it doesn't make sense for an English speaker, because the sounds are very different, which is why normal transliteration is "kh") and "08.08.08" (date format with dots and leading zeroes that is normally used in Russia, and it's also one of the few countries that refers to that conflict by the date alone, much like 9/11 in US).

Comment: Re:Actually Russians not well informed ... (Score 1) 177

by shutdown -p now (#47798527) Attached to: Ukraine Asks Zuckerberg to Discipline Kremlin Facebook Bots

Not all Russians live in Russia. And even in Russia, there's still mostly unfiltered Internet, you know.

85% of the citizens may be sucking Vova's dick and enjoying it, but the rest of us are not so enthused, thank you very much. So don't dismiss a point just because of the person's native language. Dismiss it based on the validity or lack thereof of his arguments.

Comment: Re:Wait.... what? (Score 1) 177

by shutdown -p now (#47798513) Attached to: Ukraine Asks Zuckerberg to Discipline Kremlin Facebook Bots

Last time I checked, Ukraine was fighting a separatist movement that wants to liberate the east of Ukraine after a coup occured in Kiev.

"Liberate" is a funny word here. The previous leader of separatists, Alexandr Borodai, said in an interview that he does not consider himself a separatist - rather, Ukrainians are the separatists from the "Russian World", and his fight against them will only be over with the militia's tanks on the streets of Lviv.

If the separatists have the support of the majority of the local people, why would we oppose them?

They haven't shown any clear evidence that they do have the support of the majority of local people. Unlike the referendum in Crimea, the ones in DNR and LNR were so ad-hoc that their results are basically meaningless.

Comment: Re:Tax evasion (Score 1) 357

I wouldn't exactly call it voluntary. For one thing, Qu'ran is pretty harsh on people who refuse to pay it when they have the means, to the point of calling such munafiq. For another, a state-administered system of collecting it (which was not voluntary) was in place from a very early time, since the second Caliph.

But, yes, the original intent was charity, and specifically a form of guaranteed basic income.

With jizya, yes, it was positioned as a monetary compensation for lack of armed service. On the other hand, the reason why armed service was not expected was also telling: non-Muslims were prohibited from owning and bearing weapons in general.

Comment: Old Shite (Score 2) 603

by fyngyrz (#47791649) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

I really, *really* liked my late 1970's-era 6809 system. 64k of RAM, custom graphics and sound cards of my design, timers, serial port, multiple floppies. I thought it was getting old in the tooth (it wasn't, it still works, should have had more faith I suppose), so I wrote an emulator for it -- the entire system, hardware, software, a front panel (which the original didn't even have) everything. Still works great, but due to the increase in CPU power over the years, the emulator is one heck of a lot faster than the original hardware. You can use it too, if you're so inclined and you're running some version of Windows, XP or later (might still work under Windows 95 and/or 98 for that matter.) Includes various compilers (Dugger's c compiler, for instance), forth, assembler, cross-assemblers, linkers, basics, some arcade video games that used the graphics hardware, and probably the vast majority of the commands that were available for the DOS, which was FLEX09. Percom PSYMON monitor. If you ever wanted to play in a nice, safe assembler sandbox, it doesn't get any better than the 6809. It just gets faster and wider.

For linux, the answer is Midnight Commander. Between the very nice editor and the dual-pane do-lots-of-things text mode interface, it's still my go-to under linux, I even use it on the Mac. Thankfully, they've kept it reasonably up to date, although making a native mac version without inflicting a much broader *nix ports package on the system is a real pain in the butt.

For the Mac, I use both of the above, MC natively and my emulator under a VM running a network-isolated XP, and I still run a PPC version of my HP-48G, which, I'm afraid, has made any other calculator use not only pointless, but nearly impossible. I also have two of these calculators in hardware, both of which still work fine. Because Apple dropped PPC support at OSX 10.7, my daily driver machine still runs OSX 10.6 and is likely to continue to do so unless I can find a native version of the HP emulator for Mavericks. When I decided to move past OSX 10.6 (Mavericks is actually quite nice, finally), I bought a new machine and plopped it down in my ham shack.

Ham radio: Easy. My Palomar loop antenna. This tiny (about a cubic foot) antenna system has pluggable loops for 150-500 khz, 500-1700 khz, 1700-4000 khz, and 4000-15000 khz. I like to drag it out into the unimproved areas a few tens of miles from here where there are zero power lines, telephone cables carrying data, neon and other signage, plasma TVs, buildings and so on, and enjoy amazingly good, noise-free SW and amateur radio reception on the radio in my truck without having to set up a physically large and cumbersome antenna. I also have a Panasonic RF-2200 portable analog radio that I take on trips. Both of these are pretty old, tech-wise, but both remain in regular use and have stood the test of time very well indeed.

Music: A Marantz 2325 stereo receiver and a pair of Marantz HD-880 speakers. Not only does this setup sound nothing less than awesome, it eliminates the tedious menu surfing that more modern gear forces upon us. Everything's on a front panel knob. Everything. I have (very) modern gear in the home theater, but in my office, the old Marantz blue face remains king.

Lastly, I still have, and continue to play, a 1950's Fender Stratocaster guitar. I have a fair collection of more modern guitars, but the strat's neck is still the best of all of them. Luckily, for most of my life I've been a casual enough musician, and have spent enough time on other guitars, that I've not had to have the thing re-fretted. I don't look forward to that. I can't imagine it'll be the same. Of all the old stuff I have, this is the thing that has not only kept its value, but appreciated far beyond any dollar figure I could ever have anticipated. Not selling it, though. Ever. :)

Comment: Re:Looking for a real conversation (Score 1) 357

Those quotes are correct. The problem is that taking them like that completely ignores their context. For example, take by far the most widely known verse advocating such things, known as ayat al-sayf, or the Sword Verse:

"So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."

The context of this is a war that Muhammad and his followers are waging against a hostile pagan Arab tribe in Mecca (while Muhammad himself is in Medina, where he escaped from Mecca due to persecution). There was a truce in effect at that time, but it was violated by the Meccans, and Muhammad gave them four months to make amends, or else hostilities would be resumed.

Now, most Muslims today interpret this quote in that context - that it was a specific commandment given to the followers within the boundaries set by that particular conflict, and that it ceased to be relevant afterwards. Some - in particular, Salafi - interpret it the way you did, by saying that the context doesn't matter, and that the commandment is generic and applies to the entire Ummah from there on.

The governments are, in fact, fighting the propaganda war - for example, make the state-approved Islamic authorities condemn such interpretations, and issue fatwas against following them.

Comment: Re:Tax evasion (Score 1) 357

No, it's not. GP is entirely correct, zakat is a tax on Muslims, jizya on non-Muslims.

Also, Islamic rulers in the past have extended the notion of "People of the Book" to pretty much any religion that fell under their control in practice - Zoroastrians, even Hindus. The only ones that they truly cannot tolerate is the ones that appeared after Islam and are derived from it or borrow from it heavily (like Yazidi, Ahmadiyya or Ba'hai).

Comment: Re: But is it reaslistic? (Score 1) 357

What made you believe this is meant to target USA? ISIS has killed one American so far, and what, around 10K Syrians and Iraqis?

How about Shiite-dominated areas of Iraq, for instance? I doubt their hygiene and medicine is on par with US - can it combat such a threat?

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