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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Augury Re:Wolves among sheep (876 comments)

What measure would you consider to be a reasonable indicator of a population terrorized by gun violence?

Number of armed hostage incidents per year?
Number of fatal shootings per year?
Number of shooting incidents per capita?

Just any other statistic whatsoever relating to gun crime in any way, shape or form?

Go ahead, pick one - anything that you think indicates that gun crime is rife in countries where there are gun controls. Take your time, think it through.

Now, go and check the statistics for whatever measure you have picked. Check Australia, where we have tight gun controls. Now check America, where you have laws and political pressure preventing gun control.

See how wrong you are?

4 days ago
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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Augury Re:Copied from elsewhere... (876 comments)

Actually, the media were very responsible in their handling and coverage of the siege - working very closely with police.

The Guardian did some analysis which provided some insights into the maturity of the networks and broadcasters during the crisis: http://www.theguardian.com/aus...

4 days ago
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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Augury Re:Don't worry guys... (876 comments)

There is nothing in attributed to the Christian god himself — nor any of his prophets — that required Crusades or the Inquisition.

And here, you've arrived at the very heart of the issue. There are many authorities around the world and throughout history which motivate action from human beings - it is a combination of the intent of the authority, the desires of humans and resulting interpretations that are the issue here. You say there is nothing attributed to the Christian god that required Crusades or the Inquisition - and yet they happened, in his name, under authority of the highest power in Christendom (the Pope).

Equally, there are Muslims who will say that Islam is the religion of peace and who will quote the Quoran and Mohammed in support of this position. And yet terrorism and other atrocities are being committed in the name of Islam, with the support of some Islamic leaders.

Rather than arguing which religion is less damaging today or which was more damaging yesterday, I feel we should subject all religions equally to scrutiny and subjugate all religious authority to the cause of bettering all mankind.

Perhaps then, we can begin sensibly to actively support stem-cell research as truly the most remarkable and promising area of medical research in decades, offering potential cures to our most deadly diseases. Perhaps then, we can agree that condoms are a sensible approach to combating the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Perhaps then, we can agree that "God told me to" was not a good reason for Bush to invade Iraq.

4 days ago
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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Augury Re:Check your math. (876 comments)

1 of them is committing this crime.

In the name of his religion.

What they need is a local Imam to get on a megaphone and tell this guy that this is not in keeping with Islam and that he (the Imam) will personally supervise his body being fed to pigs if he doesn't come out RIGHT NOW.

They did more or less exactly that, to no effect: http://www.skynews.com.au/news...

I think what you're expecting with this comment is that the perpetrator will recognise the authority of leaders in his religious community and abide by their direction due to his faith. That they did exactly what you describe and it had no effect demonstrates that there is a disconnect here between the motivations of this individual and the control and authority of the religion.

This could be a disconnect between radical and moderate elements within the religion (i.e. a schism which allows him to declare that his interpretation of the religion is the "correct" one and that those other interpretations can be ignored) or a disconnect between the religion and this person's true motivations (i.e. he isn't actually directly and wholly motivated by the religion).

In either case, this is a good illustration that Islam and adherence to the faith isn't his only motivator. In fact, there is ample evidence from his past that he is a mentally unstable person and this may have more bearing on his actions than his proclaimed faith: http://www.theaustralian.com.a...

4 days ago
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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Augury Re:Check your math. (876 comments)

Actually, our Prime Minister is doing just that.

In 2010, Tony Abbott, when asked about Asylum seekers arriving in Australia, he said "Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia" Source: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda...

He then legislated on this basis and proposed a range of immigration policy changes.

That proposed immigration policy has recently been found to be in contravention of UN human rights law. Source: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-...

So yes, at least one Christian person is committing international human rights violations in the name of his religion - unfortunately, it happens to be the most powerful man in Australia.

4 days ago
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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Augury Re:Color me surprised (876 comments)

You think someone wanting to fight and die because his imaginary friend told him it's a good idea is NOT mentally deranged?

I'm afraid if you look closely, you'll find that a great many people declare this as their motivation for major decisions - including those we elect to lead our sensible western democracies:

George Bush on starting wars, 'God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq': http://www.theguardian.com/wor...

Tony Abbott (Australian PM) on immigration policy, 'Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it is not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia': http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda...

So it's not really a sensible approach to just declare all such people mentally deranged. We need to look more closely at this motivation and work to eliminate, as far as possible, those elements of it which lead people to make decisions which are otherwise contrary to the accepted civil standards of our society - whether lone wolf acts of terror, political acts of policy-making, or declarations of war on our behalf.

4 days ago
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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Augury Re:Muslims? (876 comments)

This guy is simply not right in the head. It's not that he's a Muslim that caused this, its the fact he's mentally ill. He's already lost 5 of his hostages (they escaped out the back door) he's that incompetent. This is more an indication of Australia's failing mental health care than the rise of Islamic extremism.

I'm also Australian and I'm afraid I have to disagree with you here.

As you'll no doubt have now heard from the ongoing media coverage, this man also sent a number of offensive letters to the families of killed Australian armed service personnel, using rhetoric such as "A Jewish man who kills innocent Muslim civilians is not a pig, he is a thousand times worse".

He was an active participant in Muslim protests during the recent anti-terror raids in Sydney and Brisbane. At the time, he said: "Islam is the religion of peace, that’s why Muslims fight against the oppression and terrorism of USA and its allies including UK and Australia"

You can read a good summary of his progress to radicalisation here: http://www.theaustralian.com.a...

You'll note I've specifically excluded his alleged sex crimes, the charges of being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife and other elements of his sordid past. He certainly seems to be mentally disturbed, but equally there is no doubt that the Muslim faith, his belief in it, the recent rise of Islamic extremism internationally (he specifically asked for an ISIL flag to be delivered to the cafe) and his willingness to act on its behalf materially contributed to these events.

I think it's fair to say that he was vulnerable to the influence of potentially radicalising agents due to his mental health and that radical Islam acted on that vulnerability. It's not reasonable to say that radical Islam had no influence or played no part in this man's actions.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: IT Career Path After 35?

Augury Moving into management (376 comments)

I worked as a developer and solutions architect for about 10 years. I worked under non-technical management for some time and was incredibly frustrated with decisions made on the basis of general management knowledge, rather than an understanding of software development and developers.

As a result, I decided to go into management - how hard could it be? Turns out, quite hard.

There are almost no transferable skills between software development and management, unfortunately.

Also, many of the aspects of software development which bring job satisfaction don't exist in a management role.

Feedback loops move from being very direct and very short - write code, compile, run, result, fix, compile, run - to almost always indirect and almost always long-running - identify what feels like a general issue with training and currency of skills in your team, explore options for training, look into costs for each, present options to team, get no consensus as everyone has a different preference, make decision on which training to use, deal with complaints from those whose preference wasn't selected, training budget is cut, so programme isn't completed, deal with complaints from those who missed out, see some improvement in uptake of new technology by one person in team, that person leaves as they are now in demand in the market...

The built-in belief that the objectively best solution is the one that should be implemented becomes subverted by political, financial and emotional influences. Rather than working in a context where there are an agreed set of terms as to what is "better", you have to negotiate with stakeholders who have more power than you, sacrifice quality to make cost savings and implement stupid features because that's what the client demands.
And of course you stop delivering true value directly yourself. Instead all your work is done through others. How often have you seen a new team lead standing over a developer's shoulder practically telling them which keys to press? Their instinct to get involved directly is so powerful that even when they're team leading, they try to get as close to the keyboard as possible. You need to learn to step back, give clear instructions and then just let the team complete the work in your place.
A transition to management is not easy, nor is it for everyone. If you're going to make the move, you need to be aware of all these issues and the many others which come with any major career shift - because that's exactly what this is.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: IT Career Path After 35?

Augury Re: Instead of carrying on as a one-man band - (376 comments)

The problem with this approach is that there is almost no transferability between technical skills and the skills required to manage technical people, let alone train people or manage a business.

If you want to take this approach, I'd recommend a first step acknowledging this gap and spending time retraining yourself first.

about three weeks ago
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Say Goodbye To That Unwanted U2 Album

Augury Re:Not good enough (323 comments)

I can't find the track right now, but there was a moment from a live recording which changed my mind on Bono. He's on stage between songs talking about how everyone is equal and beautiful and etc, then there's a slight pause and he says "the only difference is all of you... have made all of us... very rich". There's a little laughter in his voice by the end of the sentence.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft Makes It Harder To Avoid Azure

Augury Re:Azure is marketing hype for the Cloud (164 comments)

Actually, there are some fundamental differences between traditional hosting and "cloud" services, such as Azure.

In a traditional hosted model, you get access to a physical set of resources, where you can run your application / web site / server / whatever.

What Azure supports is scaling up that compute resource seamlessly, on-demand. This means that the capacity of your hosted service will grow to match the demand being made on it - helping to avoid things like the slashdot effect, while also reducing your compute cost when the site is quiet.

There are implications to how you architect, design and code Azure solutions in order to take advantage of this, so it's a fundamentally different thing to just hosting in a datacenter.

about a year ago
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The Android SDK Is No Longer Free Software

Augury Re:come on! (535 comments)

I would suggest these are the most directly attributable contributions of the (catholic) church to mass death and misery in contemporary times.

The position on the use of barrier contraception to prevent spread of AIDS:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/17/pope-africa-condoms-aids

The position on the vaccination of children against diseases which have caused massive birth defects and deaths prior to vaccines being discovered, have been practically eliminated since introduction of vaccines and which of course could potentially re-emerge in populations which are not vaccinated:

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0504240.htm

In both cases, the conflict is caused because the obvious benefits to life and health brought by scientific progress are being held back due to the acceptance of the population of moral guidance from an organisation who draws it's position in the matter from the bronze age.

about 2 years ago
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Google Drive Goes Live

Augury The 'killer feature' of SkyDrive/Mesh (323 comments)

The 'killer feature' of SkyDrive/Mesh for me is the ability to synchronise files across all my devices, even if my cloud storage is full. In fact, I can select which files/folders to synchronise into the cloud in the first place, allowing me to manage the capacity I'm using and only back the most critical data up into the cloud.

Goes Google drive have this feature?

more than 2 years ago
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Australian Government Backing Down On Censorship

Augury Somebody think of the parents (116 comments)

As an Australian citizen and having listened to Conroy speak in a number of public forums, my concerns over his filtering scheme have shifted dramatically.

Originally I was concerned that the proposal was what most people still seem to think it is: mandatory filtering at ISP level of a government-defined blacklist.

Conroy has made it clear a number of times that what he is trying to implement is quite different.

There is, and has been for 8 years, an existing process whereby Australians can request classification of a site by the classification board. If the board refuses classification (and there is some debate around the definition of RC, but that's another matter), then the board can issue a take-down notice and the site is added to a black list which is currently distributed to software filter vendors and ISPs to facilitate voluntary filtering.

Conroy is simply proposing that this filtering be made mandatory.

The reason this changes the focus of my concern is that during discussions in public forums, I heard comments from average, non-tech-literate citizens and families, who are supportive of Conroy's proposal because they are concerned about exposure of their children to unwanted material and believe that his proposal will help prevent this.

If we really want to encourage a groundswell of outrage against the proposal, we should focus on just how little content will actually ever be filtered by it. We should highlight how very marginally more 'safe' these families will be from unwanted material.

Some stark statistics might do it: There are x billion pages of content on the internet. Australians each day view x million pages (x% of the total). So far x pages have been submitted for review to the classification board (0.0000x% of those viewed). So far x pages (x% of those submitted) have been banned.

Your child is being protected from 0.00000000000000000000x% of internet content by Conroy's plan, at a cost of $x million, or $x,000 per page. 99.999999999999% of content will remain unfiltered for your children. Sound like a good investment?

more than 5 years ago
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Evolution of Intelligence More Complex Than Once Thought

Augury Re:Wow, evolution (453 comments)

Actually the Drake equation has held for some time that not only is it likely that planets similar to ours (i.e. capable of supporting life as we know it) will arise, but so will life on those planets.

more than 5 years ago
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Facebook Wins $873 Million Lawsuit Against Spammer

Augury Re:Irony? (128 comments)

This is not spam any more. This is now "officially" (as official as internet meme's can get) called "BACN"

about 6 years ago
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Studios' Oz Power-Grab Revealed

Augury Case summary from an actual lawyer (217 comments)

An excellent summary of the case can be found here: http://www.lawfont.com/2008/11/21/the-case-against-iinet/

There is a series of Q&A at the end of the article also, which is very informative.

A further piece can be found here, sadly titled "Why iinet will probably lose the piracy lawsuit"

http://apcmag.com/why_iinet_will_probably_lose_the_piracy_lawsuit.htm

It counters some of the seemingly "common sense" defences to this suit:

* iiNet can't disconnect someone for an unproven allegation of piracy
* iiNet is not responsible for user piracy
* iiNet is covered by "safe harbour" provisions

It also has links to the original documents

about 6 years ago

Submissions

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Ask Slashdot: Rugged e-book reader?

Augury Augury writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Augury writes "I'm about to undertake a lengthy trip involving travel through dusty, damp and drop-inducing environments. When it comes to packing for such a trip, reading is a fundamental need, to help while away the inevitable hours spent in transit lounges, at bus stops and on beaches. The weight and bulk of the dead tree approach makes it impractical, so an e-book reader seems ideal — does anyone have any experience with ruggedising an e-book reader for such conditions?"

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