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Comment A History of Water Diplomacy in the Middle East (Score 5, Interesting) 228

Ok. Seriously. There is a problem, but there are solutions too. Water conflicts have been around for a long time now in the Middle East since the beginning of civilization tiself.
4500 years ago, the control of irrigation canals vital to survival was the source of conflict between the states of Umma and Lagash in the ancient Middle East. 2700 years ago, Assurbanipal, King of Assyria from 669 to 626 B.C., seized control of wells as part of his strategic warfare against Arabia. In the modern era, the Jordan River Basin has been the scene of a wide variety of water disputes. In the 1960s, Syria tried to divert the headwaters of the Jordan away from Israel, leading to air strikes against the diversion facilities. The 1967 war in the Middle East resulted in Israel winning control of all of the headwaters of the Jordan as well as the groundwater of the West Bank. In these cases, water was certainly an important factor in both pre- and post-1967 border disputes.
But contrast this to cases in Africa, like the Okavango delta (the world's largest inland delta) which through a negotiation by Angola, Botswana and Namibia has received a fresh lease of life. I think the key is how likely countries are to negotiate rather than go to war. The current Middle East does not seem like a place where cooperation can or will replace conflict.

Comment Re:Batch (Score 3, Insightful) 318

^ This, I would agree with.
COBOL is not a great programming language, and people who are experts in it are NOT good programmers per se. It definitely worked well back in the days, and we should appreciate its use, but let us not let nostalgia tinge the garbage that was useful a long time ago, and now just sits there as the elephant that no one cares to move around, gently tended by the cheap Asian labour... and has no exploits because it doesn't really move around a lot.

Comment If a technology is outdated, outsource it. (Score 5, Interesting) 318

Yup. I was hired into one of those mainframe companies that worked with COBOL and JCL. The work was the most menial of works I had ever done(after they trained me for 6 months in it).
The financial sector, the lumbering dinosaur that accepts change only when they have no other option, and the ones maintaining decades-old mainframes really have no incentive to change technologies at the moment. It's easier to just outsource the maintenance and servicing of the mainframes. There are enough of coders (like in the company I joined) in developing countries across the world who would gladly take it up.
From my experience, there is little development happening any more. I think the day when they run out of people who want to this crappy menial job (which is never) is the day COBOL will go extinct.

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