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Comment Re:Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 473

Strangely, those narrow and parochial activities have shaped history on 4 continents, including that of the Zulus and Aztecs who were both subjugated as part of European colonial expansion.

The Gupta empire faded partly as a result of invasion by the Huns and competition within the subcontinent. They had little contact outside the continent and mentioning them makes about as much sense as mentioning the global influence of the Aquitinians (which isn't to take away from cultural developments, which were significant).

Comment Re: Stop it with the SJW crap!!! (Score 1) 473

My belief is that there's an overwhelming consensus amongst scientists who are experts in this field that man-made climate change is real and worth taking action to mitigate.

My belief is that whether or not the warming is man-made is almost completely irrelevant. It's clear that the planet is warming, and it's clear that this is going to make our lives more difficult, meaning it's going to consume huge amounts of labor and resources to adapt. Therefore, we should absolutely be taking action to mitigate the change, as long that action consumes less labor and resources than would be required to adapt to the change (which argues for pretty aggressive action, since adaptation is going to really costly, e.g. relocating a large portion of the human population).

The source of the warming is only relevant because it may point us towards some possible mitigation strategies. We should not, however, focus only on ameliorating the causes. Other, more direct, climate manipulation strategies should be seriously investigated.

Comment Re:Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 5, Interesting) 473

It's a strange attitude to have, because it implies that everyone else should be trying to murder them to protect themselves.

Isn't that what we've been doing for most of human history? Family against family, clan against clan, tribe against tribe, village against village and so on for most of human existence?

Most of European history from the Greeks onward can be seen as some kind of action/reaction to this dynamic. Established civilizations expanding their territories for both economic accumulation but also attempting to build buffers against other expanding or migration civilizations that threaten their borders.

Roman history can easily be interpreted as a continuous defensive expansionism designed to check the destabilizing influence of Germanic migrations from the North and Parthians in the East from time of Marius all the way to Marcus Aurelius. Much of European history from the 7th century through the 12th century can be defined as action/reaction to Viking expansion, from then on attempts to fix borders against expanding Mongols and Islamic armies from the conquest of Hungary, the Crusades and through the Siege of Vienna.

You could argue that almost purely economic colonialism on the part of Europeans didn't even really start until the general borders of Europe were largely established and fortified and external threats were minimized in the 17th century and even then such expansion was motivated by political and territorial stalemates of a fairly established European states and borders. The "new worlds" were conquered for their economic value but this can easily be explained as defensive maneuvers to outflank their local European rivals as well.

And the European conflicts from the 100 Years War, 30 Years War, Spanish Armada, the Napoleonic Wars all the way through WW I and II are attempts to establish hegemony and secure borders within Europe itself.

It would seem that the entire course of human history can be interpreted as a series of conflicts designed to secure specific regions against outsiders who threaten territorial independence and economic security.

Comment Re:Good at desensitizing too! (Score 2) 81

Very effective at making operators forget that they are training to kill other human beings, make it easier to unthinkingly shoot when told regardless of right/wrong.

I don't think video games are particularly effective at changing the way people think about real combat, when there are real people downrange.

What does work well is what has always worked well... tribalism and intentional dehumanization, which includes calling the enemy "hun", "jerry", "jap", "slope", "slant", "gook", "raghead", "tango", "target", etc., and attributing subhuman and evil characteristics to them.

Comment Re:Defective by Design (Score 2) 212

Apple pay isn't on android, by definition. Unless you're talking about the competing Google Pay, which is a different competing standard.

You mean Android Pay, not Google Pay. And it's not a different, competing standard. Both Apple Pay and Android Pay use the same NFC technologies and standards.

On the name, I should point out that it's somewhat understandable that you call it "Google Pay", since Android Pay is a successor to Google Wallet, which was Google's original NFC payment solution, released in 2011 (long before Apple Pay). The Google Wallet approach was a little different, though. Because of payment network limitations, Google used a "proxy card" solution, where a Google-issued credit card was what was actually used to pay at the point of sale, and Google then charged your credit card on the backend. That approach had problems both for the user, who might not get full credit from rewards cards, and for Google, who lost money on every transaction due to the difference in fees between the card-present transaction at point of sale, and the card-not-present transaction used for user's payment, but had the supreme advantage that it would work with any credit or debit card. Banks also really disliked the proxy card solution because it threatened to take too much control of the payment systems away from them. With the intermediate routing step Google could have arranged to use any payment system on the back end, and then used its clout to get the point of sale updated to a solution that didn't involve the banks, and removed the banks from the process completely. There's no evidence Google was going to do that, but the banks were afraid of it and chose to make Google's life very hard in all sorts of ways around the NFC proxy card (and its physical, plastic analogue, which Google issued for a while).

Apple waited until networks were ready to do "network tokenization", and until some more banks were ready to handle NFC transactions, both of which are required to enable the Apple Pay model where the payment is done directly against the user's card, with payment clearinghouses routing the the transaction directly to the bank that issued the credit card. Android Pay uses this same model, with the difference that if you have a credit card which was previously used with the Google Wallet proxy card solution, Google "grandfathers" your card in and continues using the proxy. This direct model fixes the disadvantages of the proxy card solution, but means that you can only use cards whose issuers have set up the necessary infrastructure. But these days, lots of them have. In particular, the big bank service providers like First Data have got everything set up so their clients who issue credit cards can do NFC. This means that nearly all small banks and credit unions can do it, and most of the big banks can do it. Some of the big banks, and many of the medium-sized banks still aren't set up.

(Note that I've intentionally left out some details, like the first version of Google Wallet using a direct, non-tokenized approach that only worked with one bank, and some of the other intermediate steps. I figured this was long enough.)

Comment Re: How does that work? (Score 1) 104

According to Thomas Hobbes whose philosophy holds sway over political circles, as long as the FBI asked them to do it, it isn't actually a crime. As for why there are victimless crimes on the books. Hobbes blieves the State should have absolute authority and that the state needs to protect you from yourself and is permissive in the sense that guard rails permit you to stay on the road. His example used hedges.

Comment I wish Excel had custom data types (Score 1) 327

And not just data formatting.

It would be nice to be able to define a data type and some rules and limits of progression.

I could see the value in defining an arbitrary data type that was comprised of a fixed set ("Apples", "Pears", "Oranges", "Bananas") with no progression (ie, no set member has precedence or rank) or perhaps some with progression or rank (fetus, infant, toddler, child, adolescent, adult, senior). Cells formatted as belonging to a data type would only accept those values as valid entries, and sorting would apply the set's rules of simple progression if there were any.

It might help for other numeric-based data types, such as IP addresses, where it would be helpful to define rules of progression around some kind of delimiter. If they could only add one new data type, I wish it was IP addresses.

There's probably complex ways of doing this with macro/scripting, but, they end up being complex and one of the main reasons so many people use Excel because it makes it trivial to manage lists. Trivial tasks that get made complex end up being done sloppy.

Comment Re: Does "not feeling old" mean minimalized? (Score 1) 186

Non-unlockable bootloaders are a bug.

I agree. Talk to your device manufacturer about their bug, but I don't expect them to listen to you. If you want to avoid that bug, you have to buy a device from an OEM that allows unlocking. If enough people voted with their wallets in this way OEMs *would* listen, and non-unlockable bootloaders would disappear.

Submission + - Robert Heinlein Honored as Famous Missourian with Bust in State Capital

HughPickens.com writes: The Joplin Globe reports that Missouri lawmakers have inducted science fiction writer Robert Heinlein to the Hall of Famous Missourians to a cheering crowd of fans who call themselves "Heinlein's children." State Rep. T.J. Berry says Heinlein encouraged others to "strive for the stars, for the moon" and "for what's next." Donors to the Heinlein Society and the Heinlein Prize Trust paid for a bronze bust of Heinlein, which will be displayed in the House Chamber at the Capitol where it will join 45 other Missourians honored with busts in the hall including Mark Twain, Dred Scott and Ginger Rogers, as well as more controversial Missourians such as Rush Limbaugh. In 2013 Missourians were asked to vote on who would go into the Hall. Heinlein received more than 10,000 votes. Heinlein was born in Butler, Missouri on July 7, 1907 and grew up in Kansas City. "Our devotion to this man must seem odd to those outside of the science fiction field, with spaceships and ray guns and bug-eyed monsters," Heinlein Society President Keith Kato said. "But to Heinlein's children, the writing was only the beginning of doing."

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