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The Courts

Submission + - Western Governments Condemn Russian Courts (csmonitor.com)

reporter writes: According to a report just published by "The Washington Post", "The White House and foreign ministries across Europe had decried Monday's [court] verdict [against Mikhail Khodorkovsky] as raising questions about the Kremlin's commitment to boosting the rule of law and judicial independence and said it was an example of selective justice." Upon direct orders from dictator Vladimir Putin, the Russian "legal" system is brutalizing Khodorkovsky. In 2003, Khodorkovsky dared to use his wealth and his influence to support the democratic political forces in Russia. The ruling elite, including Putin, reacted violently; they arrested Khodorkovsky and threw him into prison for 8 hears. He was due to be released in 2011, but the latest verdict by a Russian court may have extended the period of his incarceration to 2017.

The report just published by the "Christian Science Monitor" offers another view of this travesty of justice.

Comment "Star Trek" produced a generation of engineers. (Score 2) 298

Watching the original "Star Trek" (ST) probably inspired more kids to become engineers than visiting the local science museum. A museum tells you what has been done by humankind, but a film like ST tells you all the possibilities that remain to be achieved. They include warp drive, natural-language computers, time travel, etc. Those possibilities capture the imagination of children, who tend to have active imaginations. Just look at all the kids who contribute to Slashdot!

Many Slashdotters have admitted, in various articles over the years, that Mr. Scot (the chief engineer of the "Enterprise") motivated them to become engineers. He out-engineered all the adversaries (of the Federation) by making the "Enterprise" nearly invincible.

Indeed, some of the engineers who were inspired by Mr. Scot participated in the construction of the first, non-functional, prototype of the space shuttle and gave it the insightful name: "Enterprise". This prototype was used to test the ability of the spacecraft to glide back to earth.

The Courts

Submission + - Russian Court Decides Against Political Prisoner (wsj.com)

reporter writes: According to a report just published by the "Wall Street Journal", "A Moscow court Monday found tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky guilty of embezzling and laundering billions of dollars worth of oil from OAO Yukos, the company he once controlled, confirming widely held expectations of a conviction in a case that has come to define the rule of Vladimir Putin.". This "legal" judgment is the latest attempt by the Kremlin to silence Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

His legal troubles began when he used his wealth and influence to support the liberal political forces in Russia. Putin warned him to back off from politics, but Khodorkovsky ignored the warning. So, in 2003, the Kremlin arrested his partner, Platon Lebedev. Still, Khodorkovsky continued to dabble in politics. The Kremlin responded by arresting Khodorkovsky himself, and a Russian court then sentenced him to 8 years in prison. Before today's court ruling against him, he would have been released from prison in 2011. Today's ruling means that he will likely stay in prison until 2017.

The report just published by the BBC offers another view of this matter.

Comment Russian Game: Assistance but Not Participation (Score 2, Interesting) 175

A report by an Australian news organization notes, "Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed yesterday to involve technicians in development plans, but did not make a commitment if it became operational and warned that Russia might decide against joining the US-led effort if it were not treated as an equal partner." Though Russia is assisting NATO, Russia is not necessarily committing to using the system.

That response by Russia should have raised suspicions about the Kremlin's actually sabotaging the design of the missile system. After all, if the Kremlin is not committed to using the system, why would the Kremlin bother to ensure that the system can actually work?

Worse, "President" Medvedev has accused the Europeans of using the shield to neutralize Russian nuclear missiles. If the Kremlin were a true supporter of NATO, why would the Russian "president" still present Russia as an adversary of the West?


Submission + - Fatal Online & Offline Journalism in Russia (pulitzercenter.org)

reporter writes: With the recent attempted murder of Oleg Kashin, we should examine the recent history of fatal journalism in and around Russia. A summary of the recent bloody history of Russian journalism appears at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and was written by Fatima Tlisova.

Freedom of the press and the safety of journalists should have special meaning for Slashdot and its many readers, for freedom of the press is the very reason that Slashdot can exist in the West. What can Slashdotters do to help journalists in and around Russia?


Submission + - Criminals Attempt to Kill Reporter in Russia

reporter writes: Russia is one of the most dangerous countries in which a journalist can work. Consider the case of Oleg Kashin. According to a report just published by "Foreign Policy", " the paramedics reached 30-year-old journalist Oleg Kashin Saturday morning at 12:40 a.m. He was lying outside the door to his apartment building in central Moscow, his face bloodied, his legs mangled, the ground covered in blood. 'He showed his hand to the doctor so he could see it was all broken,' a neighbor told TV reporters. The toll, tallied by various news sources, was chilling: two broken jaws, one broken leg, a fractured skull at the temple and a heavy concussion, blood in the lungs, fingers partially torn off at the joints, one of them later amputated. By the time Moscow woke up to the news on Saturday, Kashin was already in an artificially induced coma.

At Kommersant, the newspaper where Kashin works, no one doubted that the attack was related to his journalism. 'The thing that bothers me is that at the moment of the beating, they broke his fingers,' the editor in chief said in a radio interview. 'It is completely obvious that the people who did this did not like what he was saying and what he was writing.' Kashin's iPhone, wallet, and other personal belongings remained on his person, untouched.

The "New York Times" has also published a report of this horrific crime.

Dmitri A. Medvedev has ordered Russia’s general prosecutor and interior minister to supervise the investigation of this crime.

How can Slashdot help to bring the criminals to justice? Buddha be with Oleg Kashin as he barely hangs onto life.
United States

Submission + - Hi-Tech Manufacturer Drives 11 Workers to Suicide (timesonline.co.uk)

reporter writes: According to a report by the "Wall Street Journal", a report by "guardian.co.uk", and a report by "Times Online", Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (HHPIC) is the dominant player in the market for contract manufacturing. HHPIC's customers include numerous tech giants: Apple, Dell, Ericsson, Hewlett Packard (HP), Dell, etc.

Part of the reason for this success is the tremendous pressure that management places on its employees. They typically work more than 10 hours per day for six days per week and for low wages.

This brutal environment eventually drove 11 workers to attempt suicide by jumping off the upper floors of an office building. Of the 11 attempts, 9 succeeded.

The only silver lining in these grim facts is that Western companies like Apple, Dell, and HP have begun to investigate the ill treatment of employees at HHPIC. These Western companies are driven by Western values and have signed pledges to discontinue using any supplier who violates Western ethical standards.

By contrast, the companies which are headquartered in Asia and which use HHPIC as a contractor have not made any attempt to ensure that HHPIC treats its employees with compassion. Asian companies do not give a damn about either workers' rights or, in general, human rights.

Comment Fairy Tale: ARMs Race Against x86 (Score 5, Funny) 253

ARM is almost like a fairy tale in which the underdog triumphs. ARM was developed on a shoestring budget by a small team of brilliant anti-establishment engineers. By contrast, the x86 processor was developed on a multi-million-dollar budget by a large team of disciplined slaves across 2 continents.

ARM is David. x86 is Goliath.

Most of us inherently favor David.


Submission + - Suicide Bombers Wreak Havoc in Moscow (guardian.co.uk)

reporter writes: About four hours ago, two women wearing belts loaded with explosives walked into two subway stations — the Lubyanka station and the Park Kultury station — in Moscow and detonated the belts. Twenty-two people died at the former station, and 12 died at the latter. Both stations are near the heardquarters of the Federal Security Service, the successor to the K.G.B. "Moscow's red Sokolnicheskaya line, where the first explosion occurred, is used by members of Russia's security service to get to work."

The news wires are lighting up with this story. See the reports at "Times Online", "The New York Times", "Telegraph.co.uk", and "guardian.co.uk"

Comment Israel, not Turkey, deserves the European Union. (Score 4, Interesting) 198

The Israelis, yet again, demonstrate that their nation is part of the West. Israel is a Western democracy that safeguards civil rights and, in general, human rights. Wafa Sultan, a prominent American of Syrian ancestry, correctly and firmly praises the achievements of the Israelis.

Israel, not Turkey, deserves to be a member of the European Union (EU).

The Turks have long attacked human rights. In Turkey, suppressing free speech on and off the Internet is almost a national sport. You can be arrested and imprisoned for claiming that the Turks are responsible for the Armenian genocide.

After a Congressional committee approved a resolution ascribing responsibility for the genocide to the Turks, the Turks withdrew their ambassador from the USA.

This sort of behavior is not what we Westerners want to see in the European Union. The Israelis act more like Europeans than the Turks and deserve EU membership far more than the Turks.

Comment The market pays what a service is worth. (Score 3, Insightful) 344

The free market is brutally efficient. In this market, the price of a good or service is determined by what it is worth.

For example, the "Wall Street Journal" (WSJ) has excellent reporting and analysis. The WSJ is worth the price that its owners charge, so I willingly pay for a 1-year subscription to the WSJ.

Is "The Times" worth 1 pound per day? Only the market can say for sure.

An interesting but indirect conclusion of my observation is that if a newspaper is so rotten that only free content will attract readers, then the reporters and the editors of that rotten newspaper are being overpaid for the crappy work that they do.

The Military

Submission + - USA and Russia have concluded arms-control treaty. (nytimes.com)

reporter writes: According to a news article just published by the "New York Times" (NYT), Washington and the Kremlin have finalized an agreement on limiting nuclear weapons and related hardware. Notably, the agreement does not restrict American development of an anti-missile shield.

The NYT reports, "The new treaty will reduce the binding limit on deployed strategic nuclear warheads by more than one-quarter, and on launchers by half. It will reestablish an inspection and verification regime, replacing one that expired in December. But while the pact recognizes the dispute between the two countries over American plans for missile defense based in Europe, it will not restrict the United States from building such a shield. ... The specific arms reductions embedded in the new treaty amount to a continuing evolution rather than a radical shift in the nuclear postures of both countries. According to people in Washington and Moscow who were briefed on the new treaty, it will lower the legal limit on deployed strategic warheads to 1,550 each, from the 2,200 allowed as of 2012 under the previous treaty. It would lower the limit on launchers to 800 from the 1,600 now permitted. Nuclear-armed missiles and heavy bombers would be capped at 700 each."

Comment We need math, but cultural differences persist. (Score 0, Flamebait) 427

One problem with this study by the professor at Boston College is that the study does not include adequate numbers of people of non-European ancestry.

Intelligence -- and the ability to absorb mathematical knowledge -- depends on 2 factors: culture and genetics. For example, Americans of Japanese ancestry have a slight advantage over other ethnic groups in comprehending mathematical concepts. Delaying the introduction of mathematics would deprive Japanese-Americans of an opportunity to learn the subject.

Americans of African ancestry are at the other extreme. They have much greater difficulty in comprehending mathematics. Delaying the introduction of mathematics in primary school may actually not impact their comprehension of the subject.

By the way, these ethnic differences are one strong argument in favor of maintaining schools that are independent of the federal government. School districts where Japanese-Americans predominate would be free to build a curriculum that is best suited for their ethnic group. The same goes for African-Americans.

The only role that Washington should play is to (1) create national tests of academic knowledge, (2) require that all students up to the 12th grade take the tests, and (3) publish the results. How to respond to the results is left to the school districts. Washington merely measures and publishes. This approach avoids the problem of certain ethnic groups's using lawyers to terminate national standards because certain ethnic groups underperform due to cultural and genetic reasons.

My idea is that Washington does not mandate any national standards. Washington merely measures and publishes.

Comment Re:Dishonest politician breaks a campaign promise. (Score 1) 555

reporter (666905) wrote, "Like many politicians before him, Barack Hussein Obama broke a campaign promise. He outright lied in order to get the votes independent voters."

I apologize for the grammatical error. Those 2 sentences should be changed to the following sentences.

Like many politicians before him, Barack Hussein Obama broke a campaign promise. He outright lied in order to get the votes of independent voters.

Comment Dishonest politician breaks a campaign promise. (Score 3, Insightful) 555

Check out the analysis at the "Houston Chronicle". The analysis states, "President Obama 'dramatically broke' a campaign pledge when he announced plans to cancel NASA's $108 billion Bush-era Constellation program to return astronauts to the moon by 2020.

That's the conclusion of an independent fact-checking organization known as PolitiFact.

The organization's nonpartisan assessment is expected to be widely quoted by supporters of NASA who are trying to reverse Obama's decision on Capitol Hill. "

Like many politicians before him, Barack Hussein Obama broke a campaign promise. He outright lied in order to get the votes independent voters.

Many news wires are now reporting that Obama broke his presidential-campaign promise to fund Constellation. In response, his supporters (of whom many are African-American) -- e. g., Beelzebud -- are pumping messages into the blogs and online forums to defend Obama.

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