Yes, I think you're quite right. Alton Brown is definitely one of my science heros.
Right now on Slashdot, we've got nerds and computer experts referring to this challenge as proof that it isn't possible. Sure, Slashdot isn't the absolute epitome of computer expertise, but dammit, we've got some smart guys here. Now, if company XYZ were to take this challenge and complete it as requested, then not only would they get their measly $500, but they would also (I'm sure) get a nice frontpage article on Slashdot along the lines of "XYZ Victorious in Great Zero Challenge!"... and there would be a nice memorable flamewar about how long we've been able to do this. And next time a nerd needs their zeroed-out hard-drive recovering, they are going to Google "Great Zero Challenge" and then click the XYZ link in the article. This is not only a chance to win $500, but it's a chance to be "those guys that finally confirmed the zeroed-out recovery myth".
I understand the desire of self-preservation, but when the price for self-preservation is an innocent life... it need not be glorified.
I think I need to explain a little. I am not against the soldiers here. Fuck, if I was in their situation, I probably would have done the exact same thing. I can completely understand being driven mad, being in a foreign city and constantly being the target of insurgents. Give me a rifle and a helmet, and hell, throw some WP in there too, and I'd probably be the first into that building. But the thing is, no matter what, my actions would be wrong if I were to kill innocents just because I was confused and scared.
I blame those who put the soldiers in that situation in the first place. I blame those who gave the orders.
I have a number of friends in the military, a couple who have served in Iraq. I know what war out there is like. I know that most of the soldiers don't go out there to kill and maim, but to defend their country. They are put in a bad... no, terrible situation and have to deal with it as best they can. I am not against the soldiers, and nor am I "insurgency friendly", but their actions, while understandable, are still wrong.
I'd think the feeling of being burned to the bone is much the same whether it's by thermal or chemical reaction.
"It's not against the rules because it works a little differently than the illegal stuff". Go fuck yourself.
Urban fighting ensued, and the insurgents ultimately lost.
As did hundreds, if not a thousand, innocent bystanders.
Fallujah wasn't a "pitched battle". It was a massacre. Sure, there were insurgents there, and they were out to cause harm. But throwing phosphorous grenades all around, burning civilians alive, obliterating the occupants of whole buildings... out of line.
I don't think I've seen a game based on Vietnam, but this is damn close, and it's disgusting. Wholesale murder with complete disregard.
Our soldiers go out there to protect innocent lives. Unfortunately, they don't seem to give a shit about other nations' innocents, only American innocents. If there were American citizens dotted throughout the buildings in Fallujah, you can be damn sure they'd be a lot more careful. "Oh, but they don't know who is an insurgent and who isn't, so they have to be careful and shoot everybody that could be, including children." Again, sounds just the same as Vietnam, and it's no less disgusting today.
Murder is murder. It doesn't matter if you are scared that someone could be an insurgent. If they are innocent, and you killed them, it's still cold-blooded murder. And that's what this game is based on. Sure, they'll probably make every enemy NPC into an insurgent, just so they don't have to deal with the cold, hard fact that a good number of the people killed were civilians.
I've seen the raw footage. I've seen the bodies burned. I've seen children's corpses mangled, the buildings crumbling. All because 19 terrorists flew a couple of planes into a building full of innocents. In Fallujah, the body count was about two thirds of the final body count of 9/11. Can we go home now? Can we stop the killing? Can we let it be and not seek to further glorify the actions of the American military, which is going to haunt the soldiers for the rest of their lives?
With a heavy heart,
If in any problem you find yourself doing an immense amount of work, the answer can be obtained by simple inspection.