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Comment Re:I see what your Putin down, not buying it... (Score 2) 304 304

Russian here. First, it might seem to you that powers that be can simply fabricate whatever data they want, but this is not the case. The elections are presented as democratic, they are monitored to some extent, and this year monitoring was more efficient than in any previous elections, so fraud is non-trivial. The most typical method is ballot stuffing and it is detectable using statistical methods.

Second, you're overestimating the "political machine". There was no properly designed fraud with some super-intelligent planning at the top. It would require proper coordination and commitment on all levels, not to mention some real skill, while in a corrupt government lower levels always try to reap whatever they can for themselves, while pulling the wool over eyes of upper levels. That's how the whole thing eventually falls apart. What upper levels care most about? Local election results. So the lower levels clumsily try to fabricate them.

The fraud wasn't even that blatant. By different estimates, only 1/3 to 1/5 of the votes United Russia got were fraudulent.

Comment Re:But that is actually the point (Score 1) 583 583

These other "historical events" are a creation myth. Think the Bible, or Talmud, or Quran (if you are a Christian, Muslim or Jew, choose the one you don't believe in). There are many people in this world who think these books are historically accurate, and they were used used so many times to decide who is right and who is wrong. Used to claim the status of a god chosen nation. Used to justify endless wars.

I don't know if you noticed, but in this book all mentions of "Eru" are literally equivalent to phrases with the words "god" ("praise Eru", "in Eru's name", "Eru is his witness", "Great Eru", "Almighty Eru"), and "Morgoth" is directly equivalent to "devil" ("devil's tricks", "devil's spawn").

I'm pretty sure Yeskov (like an overwhelming majority of Russians) is an atheist, while Tolkien was very religious.
Books

Philip K. Dick's Exegesis To Be Published In 2011 82 82

Dynamoo writes "The NYT reports that a two-part edition of PKD's Exegesis will be published next year. This huge work, a combination of journal and philosophical treatise, has been published in part before, but this is the first time that the whole version will be made generally available."

Comment Re:Perfect explanation (Score 1) 231 231

If you could not refute any argument whatsoever by simply refusing to use deductive reasoning because "this is a special case", refusing to use analogies because "this is a special case", and surely refusing to use inductive reasoning because "this is a special case", you might have a point.
Media (Apple)

Apple's "iPad" Out In the Open 1713 1713

Reader oxide7 is one of the many to note that the heaviest speculation is mostly over (still waiting on the price, though) about Apple's anticipated new device (though there are surely plenty of questions about the device's hardware capabilities and the scope of its software and content marketplace): "At an event in San Francisco Apple released its anticipated iPad.'[It's] Way better than a laptop, way better then a phone. You can turn it any way you want. To see the whole page is phenomenal,' said Jobs." The (0.5") skinny: 1.5 lbs, multitouch, up to 64GB of flash, 9.7" screen, and a 1Ghz "Apple A4" chip (more about the A4 in Engadget's developing story). The iPad is closer in concept to an expanded iPhone (OS and all) than a miniaturized laptop, though it doesn't have quite as much connectivity as you might expect, with no 3G connection built in. (You'll have to make do with 802.11n, Bluetooth, and tethering.) Live coverage is ongoing at gdgt live, Engadget, and Gizmodo, as well as various others. Update by timothy, 19:58 GMT: Got the 3G part wrong; 3G is indeed an option. Prices run from $499 (16GB flash, WiFi but no 3G) to $829 (WiFi and 3G, 64GB flash). Should start shipping in 60 days (WiFi only), in 90 days for 3G. Surprsingly, no built-in camera.

Comment Re:the parental model (Score 1) 473 473

The most important reason is: why not? I suppose you're one of those guys thinking private property is a god given right. It is not. If the government would not stop me, I could just come with a bunch of well-armed guys and take what's yours. Private property right is given to you by government because it has been shown to be beneficial for economy. Also, market economy is not a god chosen system, as opposed to planned economy. It just works better. Copyrights, patents and trademarks are also government provided rights, and it is done because it is thought it is beneficial for the economy if author receives due compensation for his work.

Now, you see, while material goods are constantly produced, consumed and destroyed in this society in necessary quantities, having limited use and limited lifetime, useful information is not destroyed. Accumulating information forms certain concepts called "culture" and "science", and this process is called "progress of human civilization". Everything we do is based on ever-growing heap of information, and if the cost of using this information grows together with the size of the heap, our progress will eventually grind to a halt. However, appropriate compensation for creation of this information is necessary to stimulate production of this information, so some middle ground must be found here. Middle ground, and not perpetual government enforcement of some weird god-given right you say you have.

You could say "don't buy my book if you don't agree with my license", but the government could as well just say "don't distribute this book if you don't agree with my copyright enforcement rules". And if not for government there would be no protection.

Microsoft

Visual Studio 2010 Forces Tab Indenting 390 390

An anonymous reader writes "For years, Microsoft has allowed Visual Studio users to define arbitrary tab widths, often to the dismay of those viewing the resultant code in other editors. With VS 2010, it appears that they have taken the next step of forcing tab width to be the same as the indent size in code. Two-space tabs anyone?"
NASA

NASA To Cryogenically Freeze Satellite Mirrors 47 47

coondoggie writes "NASA said it will soon move some of the larger (46 lb) mirror segments of its future James Webb Space Telescope into a cryogenic test facility that will freeze the mirrors to -414 degrees Fahrenheit (~25 K). Specifically, NASA will freeze six of the 18 Webb telescope mirror segments at the X-ray and Cryogenic Facility, or XRCF, at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, in a test to ensure the critical mirrors can withstand the extreme space environments. All 18 segments will eventually be tested at the site. The test chamber takes approximately five days to cool a mirror segment to cryogenic temperatures."
Microsoft

Cygwin 1.7 Released 203 203

jensend writes "The 1.7 branch of Cygwin, the Unix-like environment for Windows, has reached stable status after about 3 1/2 years of effort. Among many other changes, this release drops support for Windows 9x. Since the NT API and NT-based versions of Windows are more capable and somewhat less of a mismatch with POSIX (for instance, they include a security model), this has allowed for code path simplifications, better performance (particularly noticeable with pipe I/O), better security, and better POSIX compatibility."
Microsoft

Microsoft Pushes For Single Global Patent System 495 495

Xerolooper writes "What would the world be like if everyone could enjoy the same patent system we use in the USA? From the article: 'A senior lawyer at Microsoft is calling for the creation of a global patent system to make it easier and faster for corporations to enforce their intellectual property rights around the world.' They have already attracted opposition from the open-source community and the Pirate Party. According to the article, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will be meeting in Geneva on the 17th and 18th of September."

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