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Comment Re:US abuse (Score 3, Interesting) 966

Maybe the fact that the Romans and the Mongols never tried to conquer Afghanistan was the result of an intelligent reticence. Even in the Byzantine era (who still called themselves "Romans") when Heraclius more or less replicated Alexander the Great's feat of conquering the Persian Empire, he promptly turned around and went home without touching Afghanistan.

But like an earlier comment mentioned, as ruthless and (in my opinion) needlessly violent as the USA's recent conduct as been, the Romans would not have tolerated an insurgency. I once heard the journalist Seymour Hersch (I probably misspelled his name) allege that in the Project for a New American Century circles such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, the Third Punic War is bandied about as lot as an example of what the USA should do (As in, after two huge wars against Carthage, one of them involving Hannibal running riot across Italy for ten years, the Romans had effectively cowed Carthage into little more than a vestige of what it once was. When there were rumblings of possibly a third major conflict, the Romans responded by simply killing everyone they wanted to, selling the few survivors into slavery, and famously sowing their land with salt so that nothing would ever grow there again.)

I'm reminded of a great quote by the grouchy Roman historian Tacitus - "The Romans make a desert and call it 'peace.'"

Comment Re:Landis grew up a Mennonite (Score 1) 259

His parents had to go to someone else's house to see his performance in the Tour de France because they don't even own a TV.

Wow, so devoted to their lifestyle that they have to go all the way to their neighbor's house to breach it! I may get modded flamebait for this, but seriously, what does their objection to that technology even mean if it can be so easily disregarded. Oh, God doesn't mind or isn't looking if it's for a special occasion? How do they know? And if so, then why can't they just own a TV and call every day a special occasion?

I'd have more respect for them if they simply didn't own a television by choice and watched it at their neighbor's place, rather than out of some showy religious gesture.

Comment Re:I'd go the opposite. (Score 1) 404

Also check out Throne of Blood, Akira Kurosawa's samurai adaptation of Macbeth, in Japanese, with a few minor story alterations, and naturally none of the original text.

And while a scottish guy who happens to be black would be fine in a production of Macbeth, it's a little naive to think that race could or should just disappear. In modern settings and contexts, in multiracial countries where race and nationality are distinct, then casting should be colorblind, but in productions set in certain historical settings or in racially homogenous societies, it wouldn't work.

Comment Re:Counter-citation (Score 1) 457


I was mentioning it in the original post just based on my memory of when it originally hit the news, and responded with a TheRegister article that I got form a quick google search as I was heading out the door. I must have missed the retraction at the time and all that had hung in my memory was the initial controversy (which probably made sense to me given their somewhat controversial entry into the Mainland Chinese market.)

So, I'm sorry I cited that as an example, though I DO think it still stands as an example of Google Maps causing a political fracas, the fact that it was amended doesn't REALLY eliminate that point. Anyway, thanks for the correction.

Comment Not surprising (Score 4, Interesting) 457

One of the main things a map communicates is the relationship that the landscape of our world has with human beings, as such it will always be, on some level, an observation or a statement about people almost more than landscape. When you think about it, the first human imposed addition to any map, borders and walls, are just demarcations of division. Once you have these on a map it doesnt take long for the mere annotation or position of these to be the catalyst for violent conflict (look at the India / Pakistan border commission in the 40s, a line on a map drawn by a man who had never been there resulting in the deaths of millions, or the status of israel in western maps versus palestine in middle eastern maps)

It really shouldnt be surprising that google earth has caused some controversy, they already label Taiwan as a province of the People's Republic of China, so they have already made political statements with the program

Comment Re:Ok I'll Bite... (Score 1) 242

"Either sell advertising to cover the cost and charge people who do watch it online through the website."

Unlike the BBC, who charge a TV License tax in lieu of advertising, RTE charge a TV License tax AND include liberal amounts of advertising. All this and they don't even produce anything that comes close to the amount or quality of original programming that the BBC produces.

RTE have none of my sympathy or support.

Comment Re:"Change Vote To Republican" not the same there (Score 4, Informative) 154

Actually, even though the parent may be intended as an IRA joke, Fianna FaÃl, the current ruling party (whose failed policies have made Ireland perhaps nation worst hit by the global downturn, and who were responsible for buying all these voting machines in the first place), refer to themselves as "The Republican Party."

Though yes it refers to a different political and historical movement than the G.O.P. in the US, Fianna FaÃl have been ruling long enough with terrible enough policies and arrogance that I would consider the two analogous.

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