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Comment Re:Think like a soldier in the next war for a mome (Score 1) 294 294

""Afghanistan there's possibly in the range of 250K deaths, and a lot of the country is still under Taliban rule.""
I'm not seeing a problem.

Seriously? A quarter million dead people and you don't see a problem? I'm going to hope that's just short hand for "oh it's terrible but it's worth the cost for the part of the country that's more free than before".

This presupposes that the Russian empire would not seek to restore past territory at some point in the future.

There's other ways to protect against that, principally not treating Russia like an enemy to contained.

The assumption was that it was safe to treat Russia like a potential enemy and surround then with NATO forces because they wouldn't dare thwart American power. Clearly that was not the case, Putin turned hostile, and Ukraine is now paying the price.

That war was predominantly desired by the Europeans and not the Americans. Our assistance was invoked by the French etc because they lack the logistics to project power even so far as north africa without our support.

I'm not sure what you're laying at our feet here. What did you want the US to do?

Possibly not get involved.

I admit it's not easy to see an atrocities and simply let it progress, I was partially in favour of a Libya intervention and I'd probably decide the same way over again, but helping is a lot harder than dropping some bombs so the "good guys" win and it's hard to see what the destabilization might do.

Read the rhetoric coming out of people that are highly critical of US middle east policy and it often gets anti Semitic. When it comes from middle easterners it is guaranteed to get anti Semitic but shockingly you'll see that out of French and English people as well. Its kind of sad.

There's definitely antisemitism, though it's ironic that you're mentioning it after that response to 250k dead Afghanis.

But there's also a lot of very legitimate criticism of how the Israeli state came to exist and how it's acted over the last 40 years, especially with regards to the settlements, that has nothing to do with antisemitism.

As to your experience... I'll refer you to your line about people not understanding their own misdeeds. You don't really know why you're saying things sometimes. You don't see the layers of influence and supposition in it all.

Possibly, but so far I'm doubtful you have better insight into my motivations on this subject.

As to drone strikes... its a weapon and a tool. No more capable of creating a terrorist than a pistol shot to the back of someone's head. They're not going away. Get use to them.

As to the notion that killing one terrorist leads to 5 more. Not in our experience. They tend to come from places that have no family connection to the person being killed. The reason person X becomes a terrorist is almost never because we killed his friend or his brother or something. Typically they're radicalized somewhere and they would have come or done something no matter what because they were radicalized.

I'm not talking about the dead terrorists, I'm talking about all the innocent civilians getting killed around them.

Would you find it acceptable to kill ten Americans to kill one terrorist? There's a very clear message that the lives of those Muslims don't really matter, it's not hard to see how that message would create a lot more Muslim terrorists.

Comment Open Source and Mobile Apps (Score 1) 292 292

With so much moving to mobile devices and applications I wonder about the state of open source on those platforms and how developers can make a living while writing open source mobile apps.

The ads and sales that most mobile apps use to generate revenue aren't really an option for open source apps. Does that mean developers have to rely on a donations or are there other ways they can fund their work?

Comment Re:Think like a soldier in the next war for a mome (Score 1) 294 294

Ok weird thing, I thought I had sent the AC post but that was actually just some random AC. I got an email for your reply, it just brought up the thread, I saw your response to the AC and thought it was your response to me (I assumed I'd be logged out and posted AC).

Either way since you took time to respond to the AC I'll respond a bit on their behalf :)

As to gaining our "way" by using military force... first that doesn't go against our principles or we'd have talked to the Imperial Japanese and Nazis instead of bombing them into submission.

Actually you did mostly talk to them. The US came very late to both world wars. (though you did pretty much all the fighting against the Japanese).

But with Iran you engaged in the talk and it worked, you get a less hostile Iran with a lower chance of Nukes, the alternative was likely a Middle Eastern North Korea.

Furthermore, our "way" needs to be defined because there is this implication that we have some sort of secret or exclusive agenda that only profits us when really it is in support of the entire first world as defined by the original paradigm... aka our allies. This would include the entire EU, our middle eastern allies, our asian allies, our african allies, and our American allies. Our way is in the service of that interest which likely includes you. I don't know what country you're from but it is probably a first world country.

Canada, and I don't claim it's a secret agenda, it's just an observation that the US is a very bossy and aggressive country and diplomacy looks a lot like a demands for capitulation.

As to putting a gun against someone's head being anti democratic... our democracy didn't happen because we asked the British nicely to let us form a republic. We violently rebelled. This notion you're pushing that violence is inherently bad is simplistic and erroneous.

And being a Canadian we asked politely and got our freedom without any bloodshed :)

Comment Re:Think like a soldier in the next war for a mome (Score 1) 294 294

I'm not interested in talking about Iraq. Its a fucking whine at this point.

Sure, toss out Iraq.

Afghanistan there's possibly in the range of 250K deaths, and a lot of the country is still under Taliban rule.

The mid-2000 NATO expansion pissed off the Russians and is likely responsible for Putin's invasions of Georgia and Ukraine.

The Libya intervention brought about a civil war.

The US overthrew the moderate democratic rulers in Iran to install a dictator (which led to the Iranian revolution).

The US supported dictators over South America, supplied rebel groups and taught them how to torture.

The US is currently supporting dictators in the Middle East.

As to various nations not being happy with the US... the vast majority of that is either unhappiness that we stopped them from raping their neighbors or a mixture of envy/shame at someone being more powerful and a generous dose of ignorance as to how vital that power has been to the global status quo that everyone takes for granted.

Except in South America and the Middle East where the US supported the people who raped their neighbours

And his bias against the US was based on the belief that the US attacked Serbia for no reason in the Kosovo war and that his people were absolutely not genociding the Albanians.

The lesson there is people are blind to their own misdeeds.

Most of the anti US stuff boils down to something like that. And the thing is that the US gets that attitude no matter what we do. We go to war. People say they hate us. We don't go to war... and literally the same people say they hate us because we're not going to war.

Generally not in my experience. They want the US to be more cooperative and less dictorial with its influence. Drone strikes are a good example, you kill one terrorist and create five others.

As to the effectiveness of war... I disagree. War is extremely effective. Can politicians fuck it up after the military wins? Sure. Name something politicians can't fuck up? If you undermine the military victory by pulling forces out and abandoning the area after winning then... yeah... your victory isn't going to mean much because you've ceded all won territory by default to any other competing power which is likely to be the inevitable remnant of your enemy.

Beating armies is easy, the problem is when you have a population who doesn't really like you and doesn't share your objectives.

if the US had dropped the two atomic bombs on imperial japan and then just left... no occupation... no rewriting their constitution... no carefully sculpting their political environment for generations... then they could have just reverted immediately back to the imperial Japanese mindset.

Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. The fact Japan was very homogeneous helped.

And your citation of Vietnam or whatever else... you're ignoring that we won the battles and had the ability to dictate the nature of the societies but we ceded that by abandoning the area. Which was a political decision based on domestic political considerations and not a military decision.

You're assuming you had the ability to create the society, Vietnam isn't Japan and the Vietnamese may not have cooperated.

Comment Re:Think like a soldier in the next war for a mome (Score 1) 294 294

Since when is the enemy my responsibility as well?

How many true enemies did the US have in Iraq? Not everybody who dies because of US military action is an enemy.

Tell you what, you pay US taxes or fucking behave yourself at the very least as nation and I'll either regard you as someone that my country has to actually worry about or we likewise won't have a reason to show up.

You think we like to go to war? Fucking peasants.

I don't think you like going to war, but I do think you overestimate its effectiveness.

What did the Iraq war actually accomplish? Vietnam? Bosnia probably helped, though that combined with the NATO expansion inspired Russian aggression and Georgia and Ukraine are paying the price now.

Much of Afghanistan is better but in total war is incredibly destructive, it's very rare circumstances that it actually helps.

I can't wait until the US starts actually putting out of global affairs. The shocked looks on your stupid faces as you realize the US was actually doing something vital for you the whole time... I'll be giggling at your expense for the rest of my days.

I don't disagree that the US is generally a positive influence but I don't think you really understand how much hostility that aggressive attitude incurs.

Remember Americans aren't the only ones proud of their country or who think they should have influence, imagine you're not an American but you're an Iranian or Russian cheering for your side. You might hate your government, be all about free speech, democracy, and everything else you associate with the US. But when you see the arrogance that the US acts with on the international state you're going to find it very difficult to cheer for the US.

With your patriotism if you weren't an American I'd very much expect you'd hate the US.

Comment Re:Think like a soldier in the next war for a mome (Score 1) 294 294

So the soldier who no longer needs to go into battle is better off.

What about the civilians in the country you just invaded because politicians are no longer worried about getting blamed for dead soldiers?

The US already has a big problem with wars, almost all the costs are externalized.

From the Iraq war slightly less than 10,000 non-Iraqi coalition forces died.

But over 100,000 Iraqis died, perhaps over 500,000 or even 1,000,000 and their country is shattered.

These are costs that are barely registered in the US other than the fact that they create entities such as ISIS, and even they barely warrant notice except when they're threatening Americans.

If you're going to start a war you need some skin in the game, soldiers dying is a horrible tragedy but it that restrains the US from perpetrating far grander tragedies on a whim.

In the alternative universe where you have effective killbots they're now roaming the landscape over Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan. But they're also probably in Libya, Lebanon, Iran, and Gaza (Israel gets them too). It probably saves a few Americans (minor a handful from escalated terrorist attacks), but at the cost of many times that.

Comment Re:Is it possible? (Score 1) 294 294

Like the summary says, nuclear weapons require expensive and hard to obtain raw materials and a significant amount of technology not common in the civilian space. This is the only reason, IMHO, that nuclear proliferation treaties work as well as they do.

On the other hand a single nuke is very powerful and easy to conceal, which is why nuclear proliferation treaties are very tough to enforce.

But no one really cares if you have a dozen autonomous weaponized drones, that's not going to give you a decisive military edge and any more than that you won't be able to conceal.

How does this group expect governments to keep a lid on military tech that relies on ubiquitous technology found throughout the civilian economy?

Make it against international law, people will occasionally violate the law but they'll be only small instances. The real cause for concern is a large scale deployment and arms race which a law can stop.

Comment Re:Same likely holds true... (Score 1) 253 253

I'm guessing the vast majority of ad benefits come from impressions rather than clicks.

I don't think I've ever clicked on a movie ad, but I'm sure a lot of my movie choices come from movie ads.

Same thing for other products, the ads annoy you, but when you go to buy something the one you've seen the ad for suddenly looks a whole lot more credible and familiar.

Comment Re:I don't think it's a ho-hum (Score 2) 251 251

I think the biggest problem is that a two party system completely dumbs down the whole process of government and removes nuance. If you're pro-gun, you pretty much have to be a Republican and if you're pro-gay, you pretty much have to be a Democrat.

Remove the winner-take-all election contents and rather divide districts such that they elect several representatives from each district. This eventually leads to choices that don't exist along party lines and you can find a candidate that more closely represents your views (e.g., pro-gun, pro-gay, anti-abortion, pro-immigration, etc.) that has a reasonable chance at election.

Any changes that make it more difficult for political parties to operate would go a long way towards improving the country. Politicians would have to start voting their own mind, or better yet talking with their electorate, rather than simply falling into line with the party, and there would be less pandering to small, vocal parties that serve as important parts of the political parties' bases.

I think you've got it backwards.

In Canada the parties are far stronger than they are in the US and the individual MPs are almost irrelevant as they're simply expected to vote with their party, yet we seem to have a lot less of this kind of corruption and I don't think it's a coincidence.

Look at the emails, the guy was so compliant partly because he was relying on the MPAA for fund-raising, he's a state level politician dealing with the representative of the US media industry, of course he was playing ball. Just like if he was some individual legislator with a big group threatening to flood his district with money for his opponent, it's really easy for powerful interests to manipulate the government by picking off individual legislators.

If you make the parties stronger then the interests have to deal with the party instead of the legislator, and the parties are strong enough (and often incentivized) to tell the powerful interests to screw off.

Comment Re:Bed Nets (Score 0) 34 34

From the article:

Prof Adrian Hill of the Jenner Institute, Oxford, said he was pleased and encouraged by the EMA's decision but added that the vaccine was not a "magic bullet".

He said: "A bed net is more effective than this vaccine, but nonetheless it is a very significant scientific achievement.

While research into a vaccine is great, why haven't we focused efforts on supplying bed nets for everyone? I'm assuming that they'll cost less than the vaccine per unit and they also have the advantage of being reused.

Why aren't the locals buying bed nets themselves?

Supposedly $5 gets you an insecticide treated bed net that's good for 2 years, I know we're talking about very poor people but that sounds like somewhere where'd I'd expect a local industry to pop up.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 481 481

I don't know how much a full solution would affect cost.

remember what the nuclear people used to say: "electricity too cheap to meter"

now it's "we don't know what it will actually cost"

We don't know how much anything truly costs, we're barely aware of what happens to solar panel waste the moment it's built, much less 10,000 years from now. We're just putting a lot more effort into figuring it out for Nuclear.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 481 481

The electricity prices are still low in France thanks to government regulation, but they are scheduled to rise significantly over the next years. The prices have been artificially held low so that the French nuclear energy sector (EDF etc.) have been bleeding money and raking up debt like there is no tomorrow, while taxpayers have footed the rest of the bill.

So if EDF is losing money that tells me the power might be underpriced, but even rising 30% they'll still be one of the cheaper rates.

So the French nuclear sector are also effectively subsidizing their nuclear power by making French tax payers pay the bill.

Where are the subsidies? The EDF has its own finances. If it goes bankrupt maybe you could say the government subsidized it by losing equity but I'm not sure I'd buy that. Besides, all other power generation including fossil fuel and renewables are heavily subsidized as well.

The move to reduce dependency on nuclear power is made because France is moving away from subsidized prices, so the consumers will pay more in line with what it actually cost to produce the energy directly instead of hiding the costs in higher taxes or forcing the utility companies to sell at too low prices.

You're talking about a pretty intense subsidy to justify that price, and other than the fact that the EDF is in financial trouble I'm not really finding any evidence.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 3, Insightful) 481 481

because they haven't yet paid for the eventual disposal of the waste

It's underway though I don't know how much a full solution would affect cost. And realistically I think we overemphasize Nuclear waste because it's Nuclear, we generate lots of nasty industrial waste that we don't treat with the same paranoia.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 3, Interesting) 481 481

The main reason is cost. Nuclear power can't compete on price with neither fossil fuels nor renewable energy like solar or wind. So basically every french nuclear power station is a hole into which the consumers are shoveling money into.

You simply can't build or operate a nuclear reactor power station anywhere in the world that can compete on market prices.

For France, the ever more connected EU electricity grid means an ever increasing pressure on the energy sector to be able to compete on EU electricity prices. The long term prospects for nuclear energy to ever be able to compete on prices looks bleak, even if fossil fuel prices rises significantly.

In the meantime much more nimble energy technologies like solar and wind continues to make significant progress in cost and efficiency. And unlike nuclear power plants, they can quickly deploy the newest technology in the field.

So it really makes a lot of sense for France to lower its reliance on nuclear power and start to invest more in renewable energy resources.

Then why does France have some of the lowest energy prices in the developed EU and why are they exporting energy to Britain?

I mean it's not proof that France's electricity generation is fundamentally cheaper, or that Nuclear power has anything to do with it, but I can't find any evidence to back up your claims.

If you didn't have to work so hard, you'd have more time to be depressed.