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Comment Xenonauts also released (Score 3, Interesting) 50

A very good time to be an XCom fan.

Another release is that of Xenonauts, to be finally released next week. I think it's a must-have for fans of the classic XCom. Xenonauts is a modernized remake, but it keeps the same fundamental game mechanics (unlike the Firaxis version). Time units, multiple bases, great freedom in soldier inventory and other things from the original, and there's a huge amount of balancing and subtle improvements. I have played several indie and small-studio successors, such as UFO: Aftermath, UFO: Extraterrestrials, and UFO: Alien Invasion, but none of those have, in my opinion, captured the original's feeling, while Xenonauts managed to.

Comment Re:Did you play Doom 3? (Score 2) 108

Not having anything new in gameplay was the point. Doom 3 was an old-school shooter, you with a huge arsenal of weapons vs. hordes of monstrosities from hell. And that was with amazing graphics. Doom 3 might have had really low resolution textures, but I think the lighting and shadowing remained unrivaled for years.

Though Doom3 did have a minor novelty I wish more games adapted. It had a really nice way of interacting with in-game monitors and computers, and I can't remember if any other games have done the same. Certainly not many, if there are any at all.

Comment Re:Restrictions will be in place (Score 2) 46

This is likely correct (I have likewise been somewhat of a NK watcher), but one important point. The general population doesn't have access to the NK intranet. Those that do aren't quite the country's elite, but still represent the better-off social class. Most access to the intranet happens through universities and major organizations, while close to half of NK's population lives outside cities, and in cities other than Pyongyang the infrastructure is nearly non-existent. Sariwon and Wonsan can be barely made out as lights in nighttime photos.

Comment Re:Two big sources (Score 1) 926

I think that's a fair assessment of the American situation. But I wouldn't even say guns play much of a role in the situation.

To me it seems to be more of a combination of the very high quality of life that a large number of Americans enjoy, coupled with the fact that they do not remember existential threats. The quality of life is the same issue as anywhere in the world - the more people have, the more they have to lose, so they welcome measures that appear to make losing less likely. But also, US hasn't been really threatened for a long, long time. I think that when people are used to safety, it is natural to overreact to attacks. Where I'm from, older generations will vividly remember bombing raids, middle-aged people grew up under foreign occupation, and there were tanks and firefights in the streets a mere 20 years ago. A lot of Europe is similar. Spain or UK have had to contend with terrorism campaigns for a long time. Most countries took major losses at home in WW2, and numerous countries have had wars or violent revolutions in the decades since that. The lack of such events in living memory really sets the US apart.

Comment Re:Harmless? (Score 1) 330

This is not so. I'm from Latvia, one of the newer members of EU and NATO. We need NATO (so do our other two Baltic neighbours). We have a very strained relationship with Russia, and we have a military with essentially no fighting capability - in case of a sudden attack, our main defense we could deploy would be a light infantry force of about 1000 men without armor support.

Sure the total EU defensive capabilities are sufficient, but the EU has no single armed forces, it's 28 independent militaries. And some of us smaller countries only have any defence thanks to NATO.

Comment Re:Don't copy that floppy! (Score 1) 289

Latvian citizen here with basic legal knowledge.

There's no EU-wide "fair use" clause for copyright and nothing quite like it in Latvian law. By the way, the law is officially published on in HTML form, a sibling post here links to a doc file at another governmental websites, but while other websites may re-post laws for convenience, it's that is official.

Section 19(1)(2) of the Copyright Law states that there's no copyright violation if copyrighted material is used for educational purposes in accordance with Section 21. That's where it gets hairy as it mentions publishing works or their fragments in educational textbooks, and so on yadda yadda, if they are specifically created and directly used at educational or research institutions for educational or research purposes. The problem here is that "directly used" almost certainly excludes anything like uploading a textbook on a web server.

The situation is interested. Jurs (the teacher) made a web site that he says is intended to let children freely study if they do not have money. It has some texts and it has audio lectures recorded by Jurs himself, as TFA says. The 4$ tag on the particular book surprises me - while indeed the salary levels are much lower in Latvia, it's actually cheaper than some textbooks were when I went to school, and that was a while ago. Checking online a bit, I see the average price could be in the 8-10$ range. But generally it's a known problem in Latvia with textbooks, poorer families are often unable to buy all the books and materials, while school libraries have very few copies, even though they are actually supposed to have enough.

Comment Re:My usual path (Score 1) 413

The problem is, of course, that it only takes one program that can't be replaced to break the whole process. Like a mathematical conjecture can be disproved with only one counterexample.

Most Windows programs have Linux alternatives. I would even say the Linux alternatives are often superior. But then you have that one program that just doesn't have an alternative and won't otherwise run. I've been in a situation where MS Office was the killer for me, as OpenOffice just didn't work with compatibility (that was some years ago and current versions of Libre Office are far better). Or there might be a particular program made by your university, municipality, bank or someone else that is Windows-only and that you just need to use. As another example, I have an electronic ID obtained through my bank. While I can use it (with some hassle) on Linux, the only possibility to get it for the first time is to use Internet Explorer.

For someone wanting to move to Linux, finding alternative for 99 programs out of 100 isn't usually a problem. But that 1 in a 100 might be a deal breaker.

Comment Re:all of Estonia, huh? (Score 5, Interesting) 220

As a Latvian, I have to say I respect what Estonians have done. They've managed to be the leaders or pioneers in certain things like electric vehicles or electronic voting. Nice social stability there and Estonians are generally doing well. Yes, the average income of ~800 EUR doesn't look too good by most Western country standards, but they're doing the best out of all ex-Soviet countries. Already in Eurozone, and fastest growing EU economy. With their small population and little in terms of natural resources, that is impressive.

Comment Re:What about the crash site? (Score 5, Informative) 409

The apparent crash site (or maybe one of several, not clear if there were several sizeable fragments) is in a nearby lake, creating a 6 meter hole in ice. Picture at a news site. The site is under control of Russian authorities and a scientific group is due to arrive tomorrow to study the meteorite.

Comment Re:On injuries and damage (Score 3, Insightful) 409

For all the problems of the Russian government, the emergency services are well-prepared, given the not uncommon occurence of various emergencies. The city has its own glass factory even, and they'd be able to replace most of the windows within a couple of days. Emergency repairs should restore much of the heating quickly, and very importantly, the hospitals are not being overwhelmed - the amount of people who need hospitalization is fairly low. The authorities apparently intend to fix windows today where it's most critical.

Just to be clear, it is of course a serious situation, but by no serious damage I mean there is nothing like a need to evacuate hundreds of people to other cities for medical treatment, there are no deaths fortunately, and there are no buildings that have fully collapsed.

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