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Comments

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Is Whitelisting the Answer To the Rise In Data Breaches?

mrbluze Re:"whitelisting" (195 comments)

Problem: Data Beaches

Reaction: Whitelisting

Solution: Censorship

And by the way, Beta sucks.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

mrbluze Re:Lego Mindstorms (876 comments)

Try Lego Mindstorms

2: unlike variable names in traditiona code wires in labview typically don't have names. This makes it hard to understand what each wire is for (yes i'm pretty sure there is a way to label them, but it's something you have to do extra not something that naturally comes as part of the coding like in traditional languages) 3: I can never remember what all the little pictures on the blocks mean. 4: I find connecting the blocks very fiddly.

Having said that some people seem to like it.

That's exactly it. You find yourself going back to words. And the simplest use of words is just plain old text, maybe with colors, maybe with shades, maybe with lines joining relevant bits of text for visual guidance, but it's still text. Better still, there is a thing called a keyboard, with all the letters you'll ever want to use and cleverly designed to make use of all your fingers (as opposed to a mouse or touch screen which in practice reduces you to at most three fingers and a lot of elbow/wrist work ... maybe that has appeal for some!), and spares the use of your visual cortex (large, energy intensive part of the brain) to endlessly process images and lines. I can do several lines of programming without looking at the screen but maybe looking at a spec or template before I have to look up and see if it's right. Can't imageine how you'd do that with icon dragging AFAIK.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

mrbluze Lego Mindstorms (876 comments)

Try Lego Mindstorms and see whether you find it quicker or slower. It's easy to make something simple but once the algorithm gets complicated it is not much easier to decipher than text code, and no faster in my experience. As soon as you want to get serious with the system, you will wish it had a low level system that lets you lay it out in text instead of images.

This is partly the reason why surviving languages use symbols representing sounds rather than images as the Egyptians used. It's faster to write, and possibly faster to read.

about 6 months ago
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iWatch Prototypes Could Be Ready, Apple Hires Fitness Physiologists For Tests

mrbluze Re:Our community transcends any mere "place". (100 comments)

look forward to some other new site/wiki/blog/Fuhrerbunker/casino where I can digitally rub shoulders with y'all in the VERY near future. There are already several posts in other current threads about a possible Altslashdot.org; who knows what other new purpose-built destinations might come to be? But I truly have very little further hope for this fascinating & enlightening place that I've been visiting since before 9/11. It's a place that I miss already, if you know what I mean.

Whenever it's ready! I'll subscribe too.

about 6 months ago
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iWatch Prototypes Could Be Ready, Apple Hires Fitness Physiologists For Tests

mrbluze Re:Are you not entertained! (100 comments)

I think it would be wise to start a new site already. The worst that can happen is the new site will fail and Slashdot will bounce back and return to its roots.

about 6 months ago
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NVIDIA Open-Sources Tegra K1 Graphics Support

mrbluze Re:Nvidia has NOTHING to lose at this stage (66 comments)

If you can't compete, make your documentation open-source in the hope this will boot-strap some extra business.

Too little too late. For YEARS we have been screaming for nvidia drivers that aren't buggy, closed and unstable, to the point of writing Nuveau, an open source hack (remarkably good but still crippled). Rot in hell, NVIDIA - I have wasted enough money on your hardware.

about 7 months ago
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Senator Makes NASA Complete $350 Million Testing Tower That It Will Never Use

mrbluze Re:It's NASA (342 comments)

Can't they repurpose the tower?

It would make for an awesome theme park.

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?

mrbluze Productivity (503 comments)

Everything has to do with productivity. Sure we all like a bit of novelty and it's fun to tinker with new features of a desktop or user interface, but the majority of these innovations are never used (if the user has the choice), but the recent Linux desktops (Gnome mostly) have forced a new set of heuristics on a user base that increasingly uses Linux for productivity and not just tinkering.

It's a waste of time to have to learn a new way of doing everything when the existing ways work already. That is why 'classic desktop' is favored. It works, and although new things might work, they have not proven to work better.

about 7 months ago
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In an Age of Cyber War, Where Are the Cyber Weapons?

mrbluze Re:Classified (94 comments)

REALLY stupid question. It is not like they are going to wave them about for everyone to see. They most likely exist.

Yes, the weaponization is built into every Intel processor, and probably most other processors and controllers. The weapons in cyber warfare start with the smart phones we point at our own heads and will shortly be the cars which can crash us into the next tree or fail to stop at the next busy intersection.

about 7 months ago
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Israeli Group To Attempt Moon Landing

mrbluze Re:Flying to the moon might turn out to be easier. (150 comments)

Especially when you consider that most of your neighbors (if not all) belong to a religion that forbids them from making peace with anybody who doesn't share their religion.

Which religion were you referring to?

about 7 months ago
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Israeli Group To Attempt Moon Landing

mrbluze Re:Relocating the Palestinians .. (150 comments)

The comment right above, about relocating Palestinians to the moon was modded funny. The comment right below, about relocating Israeli settlers to the moon was modded troll.

Can we meta-mod the mods?

Maybe we need a funny troll mod that equates to zero karma.

about 7 months ago
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Bees Are Building Nests With Our Waste Plastic

mrbluze Re:Not good news (92 comments)

I doubt much of our honey comes from bees in the wild and bee farmers have no reason to starting using plastic nests

The bees don't ask the farmers where to find their building materials, unless the farmed bees are in an area devoid of plastic for several miles around the hive, there is nothing to say the bees won't harvest rotting plastic bags or building materials that might be lying around in the brush. Read the article!

about 7 months ago
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Bees Are Building Nests With Our Waste Plastic

mrbluze Not good news (92 comments)

The plastic microparticles will inevitably appear in our honey. The filtration currently performed on honey is mainly for visual appearance,

about 7 months ago
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Chrome Bugs Lets Sites Listen To Your Private Conversations

mrbluze Re:2014 (109 comments)

I think it's prudent to question whether this bug in Google's browser is intentional or unintentional.

I think it is safe to assume, for any verbal discussion of importance, that all smart phones in the room have their microphones on with voice recognition running. Sure, most of the time they are not, but:

1. They are the perfect bugging tool.

2. The person you are talking to might be recording everything anyway

and 3. if you are in any kind of position that could possibly be envied, someone is bound to be doing this to you.

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: It's 2014 -- Which New Technologies Should I Learn?

mrbluze Re:Work on the basics (387 comments)

Javascript/jquery front ends, php/python/ruby/sql backends.

Don't forget to learn SQL and libbdb/BerkeleyDB for databases; Qt for user interfaces; Davlik for Android. Java.... Java EE... Java JUnit.... C#. C++... Objective-C OCUnit, Cedar. Behavior-driven test tools, JBehave. Selenium framework; Cucumber, RSpec, and Capybara for testing: Javascript jasmine; Python Lettuce or Splinter . C# MSpec, SpecFlow, WaitN.

Sounds easy.

about 7 months ago
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Senator Dianne Feinstein: NSA Metadata Program Here To Stay

mrbluze Re:The unseen enemy (510 comments)

A better question is why do people in California keep re-electing her over and over. She's been there for over 20 years.

Because it doesn't matter who you vote for.

about 7 months ago
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Electrical Engineering Lost 35,000 Jobs Last Year In the US

mrbluze Re:I find this strange (397 comments)

As an EE who is a pack rat, I can tell you that's absolutely wrong. If I could hoard jobs the way I hoard junk, I'd have at least half-a-dozen in the basement.

Ah so the jobs will turn up, eventually by chance, when you aren't actually looking for them?

about 7 months ago
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Controversial Execution In Ohio Uses New Lethal Drug Combination

mrbluze Re:If that wasn't crueal and unreasonable... (1038 comments)

How about my proposed execution method that's more likely to be painless than all other "popular" methods:

Nice method. However what is the purpose of this method? If murder means you get to die instantly and painlessly, then it's a better exit than most people get who die naturally. It will deter no one.

about 7 months ago
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Controversial Execution In Ohio Uses New Lethal Drug Combination

mrbluze Re:If that wasn't crueal and unreasonable... (1038 comments)

Actually it's not cruel at all, at least not to the subject. He would not have been conscious of his death at all

And you know this how?

'Substantial risk'? Quantify that. The guy would have felt punch drunk after 30 seconds, or even less if he was anxious, and at peace by a minute, then pretty much unable to process any meaningful thought after that, let alone lay down any memories. The appearance of his death is everybody else's problem and not his.

The 25 minute saga is because they got the opiate dose wrong. That has little to do with consciousness.

about 7 months ago
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Porn Will Be Bitcoin's Killer App

mrbluze Re:People still pay for porn? (216 comments)

I suppose if you have a really uncommon and specific fetish, maybe? Or maybe it's a 'support the artists' thing? Show them their work is appreciated, and they'll make more.

That's an interesting fetish... maybe there should be porn where the artists are spending money on porn whilst watching porn of people spending money on porn (recurring).

about 7 months ago

Submissions

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Apple Avoids $1bn Tax Each Week

mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  about a year and a half ago

mrbluze (1034940) writes "As part of a wider investigation in the UK, it is revealed that by entirely legal means, Apple manages to avoid paying $1 billion in tax obligations to the US Government, paying only 2% of its overseas profits as tax.

Apple is estimated to have avoided more than £550m in tax in Britain in 2011. Its latest accounts show UK turnover at just over £1bn and profit at £81.3m, generating a tax bill of £14.4m.

However, analysis of its filings in America suggest a more realistic figure for UK turnover is £6.7bn. This would imply an estimated profit of £2.2bn and, at the then corporation tax rate of 26pc, a £570m tax bill, the Sunday Times reports.

"

Link to Original Source
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Touch Screens Will Not Take Over

mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  about a year and a half ago

mrbluze (1034940) writes "Joining the chorus of condemnation of Windows 8, a story in Scientific American decries the advent of touch-screens-on-everything, saying it won't wash on personal computers. The main problems are grease on the screen, fat fingers feeling for small buttons, flawed biomechanics of touching vertically oriented screens for hours and inadequate user interface design.

"Now, half of Windows 8 addresses half of the touch-screen PC problems: Windows 8 is actually two operating systems in one. The beautiful, fluid front end is ideal for touch; only the underlying Windows desktop has the too-small-targets problem.""

Link to Original Source
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Standard Kilogram Gains Weight

mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  about a year and a half ago

mrbluze (1034940) writes "The standard kilogram weights which are used by countries around the world for calibration have variably increased in mass by tens of micrograms. This poses a threat to the precision and comparability of measurements in science, engineering and trade. The problem is due to surface contamination, but a safe method of cleaning the weights has only recently been devised by the use of ozone and ultraviolet light."
Link to Original Source
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Nanotechnology raising health concerns.

mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Tube smoker (1034940) writes "Nanotechnology has been hailed as being clean and safe whilst offering potential solutions to some of the world's most difficult and important scientific problems.

Environmentalists, scientists, and policymakers increasingly worry that nanotech development is outrunning our understanding of how to use it safely. ... An animal study from the United Kingdom found that certain carbon nanotubes can cause the same kind of lung damage as asbestos. Carbon nanotubes are among the most widely used nanomaterials.

TFA discusses the need for a rigorous and formal approach to approving nanotech for mass production which has been found wanting."
Link to Original Source

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Swedish hacker snoops snoops using Tor

mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  more than 6 years ago

torrific writes "Dan Egerstad is hailed as having achieved the hack of the year by the Sydney Morning Herald for gaining access to "1000 high-value email accounts" using Tor.

The question on everybody's lips was: how did he do it? The answer came more than a week later and was somewhat anti-climactic. The 22-year-old Swedish security consultant had merely installed free, open-source software — called Tor — on five computers in data centres around the globe and monitored it. Ironically, Tor is designed to prevent intelligence agencies, corporations and computer hackers from determining the virtual — and physical — location of the people who use it.


The article emphasises the weaknesses of Tor as merely an anonymizing tool and no more."

Link to Original Source
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Human species to divide within 100,000 years.

mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mrbluze (1034940) writes "An article appeared in the Daily Mail outlining a prediction that humanity will divide into two different species by the year 3000. Oliver Curry from the London School of Economics suggests that:

...evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry from the London School of Economics, who says that the human race will have reached its physical peak by the year 3000. These humans will be between 6ft and 7ft tall and they will live up to 120 years.
Interestingly, he also predicts two seperate species having developed within 100,000 years, with images provided in the article that resemble both my wife and my mother in law (I'll let you decide which is which)."

Link to Original Source
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UK to imprison for inability to decrypt data

mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mrbluze (1034940) writes "Ars technica has an article describing new laws which come into effect on 1st November in the UK. Up to 2 and 5 years imprisonment can be inflicted on any person who refuses or cannot provide keys or decrypt data as requested by police or military for criminal or anti-terror purposes, respectively. From the article:

The Home Office has steadfastly proclaimed that the law is aimed at catching terrorists, pedophiles, and hardened criminals — all parties which the UK government contends are rather adept at using encryption to cover up their activities.
It refers to a potential problem faced by international bankers who would be wary to bring their encryption keys into the UK. Some how I doubt that is the real problem with the law."
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Caching hard drive writes on a USB stick

mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mrbluze writes "Dear Slashdot,

I read a paper from the University of California detailing the power savings that can be achieved by caching hard drive writes to an external USB flash drive, thus achieving prolonged spin down states in Linux. I'd love to do this on my own laptop running Ubuntu Feisty, but I have not been able to find anything concrete on the topic, but I suspect this would be an even better idea than waiting for a hybrid hard drive.

Has anyone tried this with success? Can the same be achieved just by having folders such as /tmp and /var on a USB stick?"
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iPhone security compromised?

mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mrbluze writes "A rather shady blog has made as yet uncorroborated claims that Russian hackers have found a vulnerability in the iPhone which causes it to send all stored data to a web server:

They reverse- engineered some functions and published this information. Results of a research shocked community. Russian hackers found a built-in function which sends all data from an iPhone to a specified web-server. Contacts from a phonebook, SMS, recent calls, history of Safari browser — all your personal information can be stolen.
Has anyone sighted the whitepaper?"
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Existence of black holes in doubt

mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mrbluze writes "Science magazine has an article suggesting that the existence of black holes is mathematically impossible because matter is able to escape the black hole too easily, preventing its formation.

If black holes radiate away their mass over time, as Hawking showed, then they should evaporate before they even form, Krauss says. It would be like pouring water into a glass that has no bottom. In essence, physicists have been arguing over a trick question for 40 years.
"

Link to Original Source
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mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mrbluze writes "It appears that more and more of data collection sanctioned by government is winding up in private hands according to a report in Salon.com

On May 14, at an industry conference in Colorado sponsored by the Defense Intelligence Agency, the U.S. government revealed for the first time how much of its classified intelligence budget is spent on private contracts: a whopping 70 percent. Based on this year's estimated budget of at least $48 billion, that would come to at least $34 billion in contracts.


What are the checks and balances of this method of handling national security?"

Link to Original Source
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mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mrbluze (1034940) writes "Nature reports on a eavesdropping technique developed by researchers at MIT for intercepting quantum-encrypted messages:

To listen in, the team used a quantum-mechanical principle known as entanglement, which can link together two different traits of a particle. Using an optical setup, the team was able to entangle the transmitted photon's polarization with its momentum. The eavesdropper could then measure the momentum in order to get information about the polarization, without affecting the original polarization.
This stuff is beyond me, but I can't wait to read Slashdot's explanation!"
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mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mrbluze writes "Ian Plimer, award winning geologist of Adelaide University, has given a talk which debunks the popular human-centric causative theory of global warming. Arguing that human production of carbon dioxide accounts for only 0.1% of total levels, he also doubts that melting of polar icecaps has anything to do with human activity:

"Great icebergs come off, not due to temperature change but due to the physics of ice and the flow of ice," Prof Plimer said.
"There's a lag, so that if temperature rises, carbon dioxide rises 800 years later.
"If ice falls into the ocean in icebergs that's due to processes thousands of years ago."
He attributes global climate change as being almost entirely due to solar and geological activity."
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mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mrbluze writes "The invisibility cloak may not be a fantasy after all, according to Prof. Shalaev of Purdue University, Indiana. The ABC (Australia) article describes:

"The design calls for tiny metal needles to be fitted into a hairbrush-shaped cone at angles and lengths that would force light to pass around the cloak. This would make everything inside the cone appear to vanish because the light would no longer reflect off it."
Great. Now my wife will bug me every time she can't find her invisible hairbrush!"
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mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mrbluze writes "Linux.com has an article by Bruce Byfield regarding the timeline for the GPLv3 drafting and release. Despite many delays it now appears that the Free Software Foundation has a plan for the coming months and expects the third draft GPLv3 to be released on "Wednesday, March 27" (although that date is really last Tuesday .. are we talking about 2007?), with a final draft 60 days later. The FSF will be having a telephone hot-line available to answer questions and, according to the article, they seem to be quite open to comment and debate on what should go into the license. One could expect GPLv3 to be released sometime in June/July this year."
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mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mrbluze writes "The Telegraph has an opinion article about the future of the extensive CCTV network in the United Kingdom. Automated analysis of how and where people are walking or otherwise moving, and what objects they carry or leave behind, flags the attention of security staff. This is meant to preempt a crime and make suspects identifiable even by gait. The technology is of questionable public benefit since street crime has not decreased despite the presence of CCTV.

I for one can foresee the day when you will get locked up for goose-stepping (hate crime), get sent adverts for physiotherapy if seen limping, and get sent to the loony bin if for some reason you decide to walk backwards whilst talking to yourself."
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mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mrbluze writes "Openaddict has an interesting read on how to best fight the good fight against the Evil Empire, quoting Sun Tzu's famous work.


It's not enough that we're better (because we are) — we also have to out maneuver our opponent in the press and in the hearts/minds of the average user.
"

Journals

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World War Something

mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  more than 5 years ago

The latest war in Georgia was a bit hard to overlook. It's a very dangerous turn of events, partly because it has forced the various sides to reveal their true intentions. However the timing of things has been very suspicious.

Fancy kicking off a war hours before the opening ceremony of the Olympic games. Many commentators believe that the Georgian offensive, initially targeting an undefended civilian target (ie: a war crime that cries out for vengeance) happened sort of 'by mistake', meaning that it occurred without the foreknowledge of the US and was the result of an idiotic and hot headed Georgian government that had no idea what it was getting itself into. However, the timing shows that there was nothing hot-headed about any of this. Very few people were watching anything but the Olympics at the time the war started, and the whole thing was finished before the closing ceremony. This allowed for western news sources to lay out a version of events that suited NATO and the US to be fed to the European and American public. There is, for example, a widespread perception (among the unwashed masses) that the Russian army started everything - somehow - and the Georgians were on the run (although the news sources don't exactly SAY that). On the contrary, all the reputable news sources mention (often as a footnote that gets skipped by most readers) that the Georgian army started the battle. But the power of doublespeak is in telling lies without saying untruths. The wording tends to portray Georgia as a victim nation merely reclaiming lost land, etc., whereas in truth is, regardless of who has a moral right to the land, the Georgian military committed a horrendous crime against innocent people. Why was anyone surprised that Russia took the opportunity to get involved? The temptation was too great:

  1. Russia gets the moral high-ground for taking out the Georgian army for its war crimes.
  2. By acting swifly, Russia had the chance to confiscate sensitive NATO and US property (computers and communications equipment) which is a real bonanza for intelligence services. And indeed, this did occur.
  3. Russia performs its duty of protecting its citizens (thus opening a very convenient can of worms, whereby wars can now be waged where citizens' rights are breached and not borders)
  4. Russia gets to thwart a possible avenue for an Iranian attack by Israel. Iraqi airspace has not been made available for such an attack as yet. Logistic problems of an Israeli strike on Iran appear to be the main reason it hasn't occurred yet, apart from apparent opposition by the US.
  5. Russia secures its supply routes to Iran, in the event of a ground war where Russia would presumably be in Iran's aid.

There are probably more reasons for Russia to get involved, but this is of course all after the fact. I suspect that at the time, Russia was not privy to the exact communications and events that led to the order being given by the Georgian commanders to attack. It will be a long time before we find out exactly what went on. I think it's fair to say the Georgians made a gross miscalculation, but it would be unfair to say that their government is unintelligent.

It is likely that, as history has shown, the weak and small countries get manipulated by the powerful countries on which they depend for protection (and in this case arms sales and military training). The Georgians were given the green light, probably on the basis of some bogus intelligence report supplied to them, believing that they would get their cake and eat it. They went on a march, expecting to be allowed to do a bit of ethnic cleansing and good old-fashioned invasion, with the US right behind them. They thought Russia wouldn't respond (and they were probably assured by their bogus intelligence briefing). It wouldn't be the first time a western power has pulled one of these ones off on some overly trusting government. Gulf War I wasn't that much different in how it started. I can think of other cases, too.

The suppliers of the bogus intelligence report probably believed that Russia would overstep its mark and commit wholesale slaughter in Georgia (Chechnya-style) and thus give NATO and the US 'no option' than to isolate Russia, possibly broadening the conflict and kicking off WWIII. However Russia has not overstepped its mark. One can't really fault the execution of their military operation. While they did target key infrastructure such as gas and oil pipelines and major highways, they did not by and large target civilians, hospitals, schools and so on. They eviscerated the Georgian military bases, of course, but this is what war is about. For all intents and purposes, Russia stuck to the 'just war' doctrine and, if media reporting was ever fair, would have easily won the publicity war.

So now the US is in a bit of a spot of bother. There has been hasty signing of missile defense agreements and realignment of NATO, and the pieces are falling into new places. But what next?

Someone sitting at a big shiny desk is pointing his finger sharply at a piece of paper yelling "we have an agenda, we have a timeline!". They wanted to draw Russia into some kind of mess but Russia was not sucked in... yet. This is where I think things are going. I expect in the coming weeks or months for there to be another attack on Russian interests, perhaps a false flag attack. It could be anything of course, but the underlying benefit of the coming event will be to try to force Russia's or Iran's hand into doing something that can attract blame and military reprisals. In other words, World War Three.

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I kid you not.

mrbluze mrbluze writes  |  about 6 years ago In previous journal entries I ranted on about how the US economy is headed for a crisis, not that this was news as such, but just various musings on what it entails and what could result. A recent Reuters article entitled "As faith in bank bailouts dims, losses set to deepen", mention is made of the magnitude of the next, inevitable step in the thousand-cuts death of the US economy.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac together own or guarantee about $5 trillion in mortgages, about half of the entire U.S. mortgage market.

These two are, of course, in the news a fair bit now, being on the brink of collapse. Their biggest foreign creditor is China.

Especially hard hit, U.S. bank shares fell this week to their lowest level since 1996 on fears of seemingly endless losses.

That has GOT to be telling you something. I don't know about you, but I am surprised this kind of stuff isn't making it to front page news on Slashdot, even though it isn't nerdy it certainly affects anyone living in the US, nerds included.

Gerard Cassidy, another RBC analyst, estimates that more than 300 U.S. banks could close their doors in the next three years, double what he had estimated back in February. Only a handful have failed so far.

Not a good time to be in debt, methinks. But of course it's not as though everyone is going to get poor over this (although it will probably be everyone I know). Some people stand to become ever-more-filthy rich, but they ought to be a little afraid themselves.

But what I think is scarier than poverty is the extreme probability that the US will kick off (or join in) a war with Iran very very soon. Where will they get soldiers for this? Maybe by the time they are needed, there will be an awful lot of unemployed and homeless young men walking around the streets waiting to be scooped up to help a ground invasion of a flattened, post-nuclear Iran.

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