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Comment Re: I'm sure he had nothing to hide (Score 1) 893

Kosovo is an independent country the same way Abchasia is an independent country - in name only. It is a puppet state controlled by Albanian mafia.

I disagree with this, and I suspect that a detailed discussion of the matter would take us far afield and be unlikely to resolve much.

This is also not correct - for example more soldiers participating in the Crimean war were killed by cholera than by weapons. Typhus was rampant among soldiers during the WW1. The use of antibiotics made wounds far less likely to be deadly and so did blood transfusions that were perfected by the 1960ies.

Antibiotics and blood transfusions are relevant improvements. But the death toll totals hold even when one isn't counting deaths from diseases such as cholera.

As for the Taiping rebellion - true, I guess I am too eurocentric. But there was a reason that WW1 was supposed to be the war to end all wars - never before Europe has been that ravaged and only WW2 topped that, so the wars in Yugoslavia or all the conflicts which resulted from the breakup of the USSR were small potatoes in comparison because of the far smaller scale.

But as a percentage basis of total population at the time, WW1 wasn't that much larger than previous European wars. Around 5 million people died in the Thirty Years war when there were around 600 million people alive. By WW1, there were around 1.6 billion people, and around 20 million people died. So by that standard, WW1 was only about 50% worse than the Thirty Years war.

(Incidentally, Blindsight is an awesome book and that's a great sig.)

Comment Re: I'm sure he had nothing to hide (Score 1) 893

Kosovo is an independent country. China continues to have serious problems with Tibet (and the situation there has been a part of of some ongoing issues- for example it was part of why the US decided not to include China in the ISS in the 1990s). But your basic point does have some merit; it isn't like the Russian situation is the only example of this sort of thing and many have not been reverted. But every time this happens, there's a damage to this taboo which is by and large strong.

The part with fewer people dying is only true because WW1 and WW2 set the "standards" so ridiculously high. Well, that and better medical support. Compared to the 19th century wars the second half of the 20th century is pretty much competitive.

Improved medical care has mattered certainly, but that's much more in the last 30 or so years (and is partially responsible also for the decrease in homicide rates). But that's relatively recent; modern emergency medicine did improve after World War II, but the casualty death rate during the Korean War and Vietnam were both close to that of World War II. It is only in the last 20 years that the emergency medicine has improved so much as to really make a substantial difference there, and even then it isn't large enough to explain the entire effect. And the idea that the world wars were so ridiculously high isn't accurate. The Taiping Rebellion and the Manchu conquest of China both had higher total death tolls than World War I for example, even as the world population was much smaller (and in fact they occurred in relatively narrow geographic areas). There's an excellent book which discusses many of these issues (although he doesn't give as much attention to the improved medical care as I would have liked)- "The Better Angels of Our Nature" by Steven Pinker.

Comment Re: I'm sure he had nothing to hide (Score 1) 893

The claim isn't that there are no wars, but that there have been few large scale wars. In general, even as the population has gone up, the total number of war casualties has been low, and as a percentage basis, the fraction of people dying in war has gone down. See e.g. And yes, the claim isn't that there have been no annexations, and yes, every one of those is problematic. The particular problem here is the revanchist aspect- the justifying of annexation by claims that territory was historically one's own or has people in one's own ethnic group, which only applies to some of those. Note by the way that for multiple of your examples, the country attempting annexation doesn't currently have control. For example, East Timor is independent.

Comment Re: I'm sure he had nothing to hide (Score 4, Insightful) 893

The difference is how recent the event is. And that's important. A major reason the last 50 years have been relatively peaceful is that post World War II a general norm has been established that taking territory based on revanchist claims is not acceptable. The events by Russia seriously undermine that norm.

Comment Connected to jobs also (Score 5, Informative) 490

Millenials have fewer job prospects in general and are less wealthy than their parents were at the same age. This is true by a variety of different metrics. See e.g. In the last few years, something, it isn't clear what, has been drastically reducing the resources available to young people. This is combining with cost disease in a way that is leaving many people in the young age bracket with far less effective purchasing power than their parents would have had for many things. It isn't completely the case; some goods such as computers and cell phones are far cheaper (and often weren't even available to their parents) but that's a relatively small fraction of their total goods. Some other trends are clear positive, such as the reduction in poverty in the US, and the overall trends throughout the world are mainly positive. See e.g. But the US specific young people are clearly going through a bad time in general.

Comment Re:Copenhagen Interpretation (Score 1) 82

I think one could reasonably summarize MWI as the object being in more than one place at once in different branches, but I do agree that it isn't a great description. In any event your last sentence in parentheses merits more of a response: other than some very naive collapse interpretations, all interpretations of quantum mechanics agree on predictions for experiments; that's what makes them interpretations rather than models or hypotheses in their own right. So one can't reasonably defend a specific interpretation as meeting experimental data.

Comment Middle paragraph eaten (Score 1) 309

Ugh, apparently Slashdot doesn't like some symbols and so ate part of the post. Rewriting middle paragraph avoiding notation. 6=(1+1)(1+1+1) shows that ||6|| is at most 5. One has the upper bound for ||n|| of 3log_2 n, and a lower bound of 3log_3 n. The upper bound was best for about 50 years, and the link that got eaten that mentions an improvement was I think that's most of the eaten content in that paragraph.

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