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Comment Re: They'll say anything (Score 1) 251

Oh, and I don't want to sound like the coalition hasn't done anything bad. They've actually had their worst incident in quite some time (perhaps the worst during this entire conflict) during the SDF siege of Manbij, after misidentifying a crowd as fleeing Daesh fighters; they killed dozens of civilians (including a number of children), with some reports over 80. That was about a week ago. Much of the Syrian opposition issued a unified demand that they stop the bombing (even though they're also fighting Daesh). They've long been very uncomfortable with how close the coalition is working with the SDF (Kurds, primarily) - they accuse the Kurds of ethnic cleansing arab villages in order to build "Rojava" (their Kurdish state in Syria)

I'm trying to think of the last time they specifically hit a hospital however. They recently captured the hospital in Manbij, but it wasn't bombed in the process.

(Honestly, if you asked the opposition the worst thing they'd done, the NySA would probably argue that it was abandoning them right as the assault on Al-Bukamal began, in order to pursue the Daesh convoy fleeing from Fallujah... they and their sleeper cells really got slaughtered because of that one)

Comment Re: They'll say anything (Score 4, Informative) 251

I follow the Syrian conflict very closely and there's a new hospital or clinic hit by airstrikes about once a week on average... sometimes more, sometimes less. It's not always clear which airforce (Syrian or Russian) is doing it, but more often than not when the distinction can be determined it's Russian. There was a multiple clinic hit in Idlib about a week ago, while an ambulance was hit in Aleppo 4 days ago.

It's really a meat grinder over there :(

A lot of the time the hits on civilian targets are accidental. Sometimes they're on purpose. Most of what Russia uses, and virtually all of what the Syrian air force uses, are "dumb bombs". For the past month the vast majority of Russia's air power has been directed at north Aleppo (Handaraat / al-Mallah, primarily), so there's been a great amount of white phosphorus and cluster bombs, but in denser-populated areas near Castello Road they use a lot more high explosives. So there's a lot of potential for accidental hits. On the other hand, in many cases it's hard to interpret the attacks as anything but deliberate attacks, particularly on hospitals that are treating wounded rebels - multiple hits on the same target, targets with no conflict in the immediate area, with no obvious targets of value nearby, etc. They do a lot of "double tap" hits on them as well.

Just in case anyone isn't aware... this isn't "ISIS" that they're focusing on. Daesh (ISIS) doesn't exist in Aleppo, let alone Idlib (further), let alone Latakia (even further), let alone the freaking Jordanian border which they've been bombing recently much to the anger of the Pentagon (whose "New Syrian Army" is there trying to take Al-Bukamal from Daesh and cut off Daesh traffic to and from Iraq). When they do bomb Daesh, it''s overwhelmingly in two areas: Palmyra and Deir ez Zour. The latter is a Syrian government pocket in the middle of Daesh territory that they've been struggling to hang onto for a long time, against constant assault. The former is well known. One exception: the government forces, with some Russian air support, tried an assault from Ithyria toward the Daesh city of al-Taqbah, but they were basically baited into a trap and suffered massive losses. They retreated back to Ithriya and haven't retried since then.

Oh, and while we're talking about Syria, two things of mention:

1) The massive "factory of death" southwest of al-Safira exploded last week, with a huge earthquake that rattled houses 50km away, was visible 75km away and audible 100km away. Hopefully that'll reduce the barrel bomb and elephant rocket attacks... at least somewhat...

2) There's a lot of chatter that Nusra is imminently going to break with al-Qaeda. This would be huge if it happens, but I'll trust it when I see it.

Comment Re:Here's more credible evidence of Trump-Russia t (Score 2) 251

A more assertive US? From the guy who wants the US to leave Ukraine to Russia, and overrode the Republican party on the platform issue? Stating that he wants to give Putin a free hand in Syria? Insists that there's no evidence that he kills journalists, political opponents and invades countries? The guy who's exchanged repeated back-and-forth praise with Putin on the campaign trail, with fawning language like "It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond" and "a very bright and strong leader"... so much of a bromance that people in Eastern Europe have started painting murals? Are you talking about the same Donald Trump here?

Comment Re:XKCD Predicted this (Score 1) 54

The sad thing is that Spirit could still be with us today too if things had played out differently. When Spirit got stuck a lot of their early attempts to get out so that they could get to a good wintering grounds were in vain. However, right near the end they came up with a clever way to "swim" the wheels through the sand and were nearly out when winter hit and they had to leave it in a poor location... where it failed to wake up the next spring, most likely due to excessively low internal temperatures.

Curiosity is great, but the cost of Curiosity-style rovers is just so high. When I think of all that could be done with the Mars 2020 budget (Curiosity-style clone).... ugh. I would have rathered they make incremental improvements to a Spirit / Opportunity style design than a Curiosity one. Maybe more / larger radiothermal heaters so that they're not as cold-sensitive and improved wheels and flash storage, for example. Get their price down to ~$350M USD per mission (from $410M/rover for Spirit & Opportunity) rather than 2,1 billion USD per mission (aka Mars 2020, down from $2,5M for Curiosity). Send a new pair for $700M with new sets of instruments to new areas, save $1,4 billion, and put, say, $800M toward a new Titan mission and $600M to a new Venus mission.

I just don't like how Mars keeps becoming more and more of a money pit that sucks the funds from exploration of every other part of the solar system.

Comment Re:Seen it a hundred times at least. (Score 3, Insightful) 48

Or it may be related to the reliability of recovering from backups. Backups are intended to recover from catastrophic failures, not mere accidental deletion of messages, so recovery of any particular message can be problematic. Even if the message was stored long enough to be caught in a backup, incremental backups mean it may take searching a month's worth of backups to find the exact one that backed up that message. Fail to scan a large enough range and you won't find the message even if it's backed up. If the message was received and then deleted before the next backup run then it may not be on any backup, and there's no way to distinguish not finding it because it wasn't backed up from not finding it because you didn't search the right set of backups. Explaining all that to ordinary users is all but impossible, so from a service-level standpoint it makes more sense to not bring backups up at all and simply say "If you deleted it, we can't recover it.". That, users can comprehend even if they don't agree with it.

A request from a court for discovery is a completely different matter not limited by the service level provided to users, so it makes sense that Yahoo may be able to produce a message in response to a discovery request that it won't recover in response to a user request simply because they don't want to argue with every user whose message never made it into a backup or who wants them to go back through 5 years worth of backups to find it.

Comment Re:Apple Tried This Before... (Score 1) 457

I credit Apple with killing the floppy drive

Oh, puh-leez, not this mouldy old chestnut.

The 3.5" floppy format was already inconveniently small for most uses by the late 90s- the typical PC hard drive around that time was several gigabytes- and any viable replacement was likely to take off as soon as it reached a comparable price, regardless of what Apple did.

Flash pen drives didn't get to that point until several years later, and even writable optical drives which- while getting rapidly cheaper by the late 90s- still cost enough more than the read-only equivalent that the first-generation iMac only included a CD-ROM.

The idea that everyone would share files entirely using the Internet in the days when that meant dial-up and it was far enough from universal that relying on it to exchange files with others would be a problem? Not practical in the real world.

Simple fact is that Apple did the easy part of ditching the floppy, but *didn't* bother to include a proper replacement because they knew damn well it couldn't be done without increasing the price. Why do you think virtually every first-generation iMac you saw had a colour-matched external floppy drive hanging off the side?!

So, no. I don't think they deserve credit for killing the floppy at all. It died when it would have done, regardless.

Submission + - MH370 Pilot Flew a Suicide Route on His Home Simulator Closely Matching Final Fl (nymag.com) 1

schwit1 writes: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was likely steered into the sea intentionally, by its own captain, in a pre-planned mass murder-suicide, a new report reveals.

In an exclusive story posted online Friday, New York magazine says that the plane’s captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, “conducted a simulated flight deep into the remote southern Indian ocean less than a month before the plane vanished under uncannily similar circumstances.”

Comment Re:Preferred him in "The Adventures of Quik & (Score 1) 42

Neither of those games feature Sonic or were created by anyone who had anything to do with Sonic.

Aside from the fact my original comment was very obviously tongue-in-cheek- no, I don't seriously consider those to be "Sonic" games(!)- it's still quite clear in both cases that the character is meant to be Sonic.

The first one is an official Sega release and it looks *really* like him, the second obviously isn't, but- as the video points out- given the ripping off of other mascots, it's quite clear that they've copied Sonic. (Granted, he doesn't move much like the real Sonic, but it's quite possible they hadn't even seen the original game at that point).

FWIW, the video is undeniably padded and a bit longer than it should be- as, to be fair, a lot of YouTube videos are- but it's still an interesting piece of video game history. (The background stuff on the company and game development is (ironically) probably more interesting to those of us who had an Amiga than Mega Drive owners).

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