Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:BULLSHIT US saved Russia (Score 1) 1002

Please dont tell me bullshit about LL. LL was arranged in late 41, just a few months later Russia won the biggest fight in history, involving about 4 -5 million soldiers - the battle of Stalingrad. That was the start of the end of the NAZIS. Befor eyou jump... theres no way anythign got thru to Russia by the time of Stalingrad.

You've mastered the party line comrade. Decades of Cold War propaganda agrees with you. But the facts are otherwise - and those facts are revealed by Soviet records declassified after the Cold War. Large numbers of British tanks and aircraft played a critical role in the defense of Moscow, and both British and American tanks and aircraft - in large numbers - played a critical role in 1942. To give just one example, Soviet Ace Alexander Ivanovich Pokryshkin flew the American P-39 Airacobra during 1942 (starting well before the Soviet offense at Stalingrad) and shot down many German aircraft in that plane (mostly ME-109 fighters). The fuel processing equipment and additives needed to support such high performance aircraft - which the Soviets could not yet manufacture themselves - were also supplied.

So yes, LL (Lend Lease) did get through well before Stalingrad - and early enough for Soviet personnel to learn to use the new equipment - and it played a major role, not only supplying direct military aid, but providing Soviet industry with critical components it could not manufacture in sufficient numbers and quality by itself, thus providing the long term foundation for Soviet wartime industry (and the supply of critical materials would continue through the end of the war, in staggering quantities).

Russia contribute man power and equipment like tanks that the west has no concept of.

Russian tanks and equipment have been studied in detail by the West. They had a lot of great engineers - and had the benefit of being able to learn from their mistakes during the Spanish Civil War and at Kalkin Gol. At the same time - they paid a lot of attention to paper specs, and missed some of the critical aspects of design. Good armor, decent guns, but major misses on the other stuff. The communications systems for early war T-34 and KV-1 tanks, for example, were abysmal. The tanks were also poorly organized for crew efficiency, and extremely unreliable. All this led to massive (and bloody) disasters. Fortunately, the USA was able to supply enough aluminum to build huge numbers of replacement tanks (the T-34 engines depended on this, as did Soviet fighters). The US Sherman tanks were vastly more reliable - in many battles the majority of Soviet tanks were lost to mechanical problems long before they saw the enemy.

Eventually the Soviet tank designs would be corrected, but it is noteworthy that - in Korea and during the early Arab-Isreali wars - upgunned versions of US Sherman tanks generally beat the T-34s operated by their opponents (the tanks were pretty equal by that point, but the crews were not).

For example there were literally 10x more Russian armies when Germany surrended.

Soviet armies were far smaller than their Western counterparts, so the "army count" is misleading. The USA had 12 million personnel in the Armed Forces at the end of WW2, Britain had another 5 million (not sure if that counts Commonwealth forces), and the other Allies had smaller (but still important) contingents. The Soviets had about 11.3 million personnel at the end of the war.

The truth is Russia WON ww2 by blood and guts.

False. WW2 was a team effort. The Soviet role was important - but so was that of the Western Allies. During 1943, the majority of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) would be operating in the West (eventually 95% of the fighter squadrons, and a much higher percentage of operational aircraft), and during 1944 the majority of German tanks would end up in the West. The Bomber War occupied another million German military personnel, huge number of guns, and huge amounts of fuel, ammo, and other material - all of which were not available for use against the Soviets. The Luftwaffe died in the Mediterranean and over Western Europe, incidentally - 2/3s of Axis aircraft lost for all reasons were lost in those theaters, and the percentage of combat losses is even higher. The major Soviet victories after Stalingrad owed a great deal to this - and to the consequences of Allied strategic bombing in Europe.

For a concrete example, you might consider that the British faced roughly 33 German vehicles per mile of front in Normandy - while for the great Soviet victory against Army Group Center in June 1944 there were only 2 German vehicles per mile of front. Even then, the battle was won as much by Soviet control of the air as much as anything else. The IL-2 was a superb ground attack aircraft - and could operate very effectively during that battle as a consequence of the destruction of the Luftwaffe in the West.

Comment Re:I wanted to take a photo of my ballot (Score 1) 127

That 3% number is clearly nonsense. And you can contact the county offices to make sure your ballot was received and is in order (which I did).

My vote is overseas. They're counted at the same time as local votes. You're thinking of absentee ballots.

What state are you? Don't forget about the downballot races.

Comment Re:Positive development (Score 1) 162

The abundance of one species does not a healthy ecosystem make. I have a friend whose family owns a 1700 acre island off the coast of New England. It used to support an enormous white tail deer population -- and not coincidentally it had a plague of ticks, because everything in nature is food for something else. You would not have wanted to visit there back in the 1970s because the tick problem was insane. Everyone in his family has had Lyme disease, which also feasted on the swollen deer population.

Then in the 1980s the Western Coyote made it to New England, and a pack swam out to the island. In a single season they took down most of the deer herd, and now the island is a pleasant and sanitary place to live. And this is not some kind of odd aberration; this is how ecology works. If you disturb an ecosystem (say by killing off all the native timber wolves), weed species take over and they end up riddled with disease.

Weed species the ones who by sheer luck can live in conjunction with or off of large human populations. In a healthy ecosystem they may be cute, but an ecosystem dominated by weed animals can be nightmarish. I know lots of natural science geeks, and for the most part animals don't scare them. I once went for a walk with a girl who picked up a rotting coyote head and put it in her jacket pocket. She was TA'ing an anatomy course and wanted to show it to her students. But even she wouldn't go near a racoon, because unchecked by predation suburban raccoons are chock full of leptospirosis, salmonella and roundworm -- not to mention rabies. Those diseases can and do cripple, even kill people.

A world dominated by weed species would be quite horrible to live in.

Comment Re:More condoms less climate change (Score 1) 162

People per se have almost no impact on climate. It's what people do and how much in aggregate they do it.

Environmentalists are often stereotyped as pessimists, but really most of the people I know who've dedicated their careers are optimistic that technology can address many environmental problems. Sure, they'd like to see the global population stabilized, or even somewhat reduced, because that makes the job of preserving the environment much easier. But they actually believe the sustainability problem can be licked, even without reducing the global population by much.

I'll give you one example of how an actual environmentalist thinks. I was at a meeting with the sustainability director of a major sportswear manufacturer, and he was describing the research they were doing into improving the recyclability of polyester fleece clothing. He made the point that scale is critical to assessing the environmental impact. For a small band of hunter-gatherers, wild animal pelts would be the source of clothing with the least impact; wool would have intermediate impact; a chemical plant that reprocesses coke bottles into polyester resins would have a ridiculously large impact. But if you are making hundreds of thousands of garments, the impacts are actually reversed: the chemical plant has the least environmental impact. Once you turn those bottles into fleece you can continually recycle those molecules into more fleece. He describes recycling as "living off your environmental income instead of your capital."

Environmentalists -- by which I mean the people who are actually working on solutions to environmental problems -- generally believe that even with a large population we can make use of the products of ecosystems without disturbing the equilibria that sustain those systems. As one civil engineering environmentalist I know put it: I = P*S/T ; impact is proportional to population and standard of living but inversely proportional to technology. You can reduce the environmental impact of home heating by reducing the number of people; or you could do it by people getting used to being colder. But you can get the same result by insulating your house and heating it with renewable energy.

It's actually the anti-environmentalists who are the pessimists; they don't believe in people's ability to adapt, and they anticipate nothing but suffering from trying to do anything about problems. Their version of "optimism" is to discount any evidence that problems exist, or to convincing themselves if we do nothing everything will work out for the best.

Comment Re: Sociopaths gonna sociopath. What's new? (Score 4, Insightful) 232

Yep, GP loses at bad-research bingo. Also, he missed the actual problem with this research: the subjects are divided into classes by self-reporting. So the headline should read, "People who consider themselves above other people pay less attention to others." It's not an un-interesting result, but it is not quite as interesting when you put it that way.

I've worked with people of all classes, and anecdotally at least I've found that F. Scott Fitzgerald was right: the rich aren't like you and me; they have more money. Old money at least lives a little bit like the people you read about in Jane Austen books; a lot of their energy goes into socializing with others of their class. So it would be interesting to look at old money/new money this way. Another interesting confounding factor is urban/rural. Rural people tend to be poorer. Urban people actually get more human interaction per time while participating in less per person encountered.

In most interesting social science research it's not the first and obvious way of dividing up people that draws your attention (e.g. rich/poor, young/old, male/female); it's the second cut. That's because most of our pop-psych deals in the first cuts (men are from Mars, women from Venus); the second cut tells us the ways our intuitions are limited.

Comment Re:Grid Scale Batteries (Score 3, Insightful) 114

Solyndra was a bet that silicon prices would remain high. It was a way to get more power out of less silicon. The bet was wrong. With the drop in price in silicon, their death was inevitable. They also had a weird design decision, going for the concentrator. It made sense (in the economics of the time) to go for either concentrators or CIGS, but not both.

That said, the government took way too much flak - politically motivated - over Solyndra. With any diverse profile of startup investments, you expect some to fail. Economists analyzing the ARRA post-facto have been by and large given it quite positive evaluations for its effects on the economy. The loans program office had already wiped out the Solyndra loss just two years later.

Slashdot Top Deals

"An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup." - H.L. Mencken