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Snowden Queries Putin On Live TV Regarding Russian Internet Surveillance

quantaman Re:Old proverb (272 comments)

If _Europe_ had the balls to call Putin to task, the US would stand behind them. It gets a little hollow when all of Russia/Ukraine's neighbors are saying "lets negotiate" and the US comes in with bombers and gives them an attitude adjustment. We are working with the pieces that are on the table. Tell the EU to get their head out of their ass and start moving troops to match, if not exceed, what Russia has done. The,n we can see what Putin is made of. Until then (to return to the original Proverb) the US really does not have a dog in the fight because there is no fight; there is an antagonist whose victims are not giving an ounce of resistance.

If I wanted to describe how you would start WWIII I think this passage would be a good start. Remember Europe actually knows what a real war looks like, even if you could keep it conventional a military confrontation with Russia is going to result in hundreds of thousands, if not millions of deaths. Add nukes to the equation and you really want to get hesitant about calling Russia's bluffs.

Personally my vote is for UN peacekeeping troops in Eastern Ukraine, ideally made up of troops from anywhere except the US (and ideally Europe). It puts a neutral party with a good reputation in the crosshairs, it makes a military invasion by Russia extremely costly, but it doesn't embarrass Putin by being overly pro-West and in the worst case of an invasion it won't escalate into a major war.

17 minutes ago
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Snowden Queries Putin On Live TV Regarding Russian Internet Surveillance

quantaman Re:Useful Idiot (272 comments)

What China does in surveillance of their own citizens isn't acceptable in my opinion but how is "they're even worse" a valid defence for the US which has constantly acted like it stands apart on these matters. Secondly, and something I think Americans really don't appreciate, as someone from outside both China and the US I know China would probably try and intercept my calls etc, but at least they don't pretend to be my friend while they are at it which America has been.

I don't think China and Russia being worse is a valid defence for the US. But I do think it's a valid point of criticism for Snowden. It is a bit hypocritical to criticize the US's surveillance activities, and then flee to the only two major powers that are demonstrably worse.

That being said I think he did have understandable motives, he wanted to go to somewhere that wouldn't extradite him to the US. That means a country that is a) not particularly friendly with the US, and b) powerful enough to resist US pressure, that pretty much means China and Russia. As the Evo Morales grounding incident demonstrates Europe was not an option. Maybe Ecuador was but they may not have been big enough and he still had to get there.

It's still unfortunate that he's in Russia, I think the Ukraine incident has revealed that Putin is a bit crazier than anyone anticipated and Snowden's position more tenuous. The Russians may have been threatening to send him back to the US as a concession to ease the sanctions unless he starts cooperating in their propaganda.

about half an hour ago
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Is Crimea In Russia? Internet Companies Have Different Answers

quantaman Who are the pro-Russian commenters? (282 comments)

Everyone has noticed there are a lot of very pro-Russian people popping up on websites and I can't really understand them. The facts seem very apparent that Russia has done some extremely objectionable things, and threatens to do even more objectionable things, and the justifications for those actions seem extraordinarily weak.

Maybe some of the commenters are paid by Russia (I think that's been documented with some blogs), but a lot of them seem to be sincere westerners and I can't figure them out. Do they have Russian ancestry that makes them pro-Russia? Are they just really counter-cultural and suspicious of Western interference in the East?

Personally I'm fairly pro-West, anti-authoritarian, and have Ukrainian ancestry so I have strong feelings on the subject, but I still think I make a fairly impartial assessment of the situation. I just can't figure out the ideology that drives the Russian supporters.

2 days ago
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How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

quantaman Re:Original premise is false (544 comments)

I don't think Heartbleed says anything fundamental about open source security, but it might alter the discussion of how certain low level packages are managed. By any measure OpenSSL is a very important package, but it's also a bit generic. It has a very defined role that everyone needs, but I'm not sure how many people really have a motive to work on it in specific. It might be that the community needs to find a way to devote more resources to maintaining and auditing those packages.

2 days ago
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Russia Wants To Establish a Permanent Moon Base

quantaman Sensationalism (312 comments)

Russia doesn't want to establish a moon base, but they're obligated to step up and protect all the Russian speakers on the moon. Moreover the moon is historically Russian, not only did a recent referendum establish that 98.3% of the moon wants to join Russia, but the moon is so close that on a clear night you can actually see it from Moscow!!

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

quantaman I'm useful!! (727 comments)

Lets just see how well those post-apocalyptic bands of cannibals can find their way between supply caches without someone who knows how to perform an A* search!!

4 days ago
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CSIRO Scientists' Aquaculture Holy Grail: Fish-Free Prawn Food

quantaman Re:Not very secret (116 comments)

I don't see a problem.

As long as the people aren't fed on wild fish it should be sustainable.

5 days ago
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Canada Introduces Privacy Reforms That Encourage Warrantless Disclosure of Info

quantaman Re:Eh? (99 comments)

I think the lack of party discipline is the worst feature of the American system. In the Canadian system Michelle Bachmann, Ted Cruize, and Jim Inhofe would just be random backbenchers no one listens to. But in the US because there's no discipline each of them has a voice on the national stage.

MPs with lots of independence means political power goes local, instead of debating things on the national stage with everyone it's debated by hyper-partisans because those are the only people obsessive enough to get involved in politics at the local level. Moreover you get drawn into a lot of dumb symbolic stuff because there's not enough time to debunk all the dumb symbolism.

In the Canadian system nuanced debate happens inside the party, when they think they have the best argument they take it public and now the public has just a handful of positions to evaluate. I think a lack of discipline (and that includes an elected senate) is a horrible idea because it makes our political debate into the cacophony the Americans are dealing with.

5 days ago
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Canada Introduces Privacy Reforms That Encourage Warrantless Disclosure of Info

quantaman Re:Eh? (99 comments)

Ideally the Constitutional Monarch should have just slightly more power. Currently in Canada the Governor General does whatever the PM tells him to do, right or wrong. This has resulted in Harper proroguing Parliament when the shit was about to hit the fan a couple of times including once when he's government was going to lose a vote of confidence the next day, then he went on about how it wasn't democratic if the opposition parties ganged up on him and formed a coalition government like the UK and Australia currently have. A government consists of which ever part[y][ies] can pass a budget and if none can then Parliament is dissolved and there are elections. The voters get pissed off if this happens too often.

That prorogue situation was a bit of a mess, the Conservatives had just won the election (as a minority) and introduced a controversial election funding bill they hadn't discussed during the campaign. But the voters understand that the minority party forms government, giving the voters a coalition government they didn't expect isn't really Democratic. I think the proper thing would have been to say withdraw the the bill or we'll defeat it and force another election and let the voters decide whose fault it is.

I think the governor general made the right call, the coalition didn't even last till the conclusion of the prorogue.

5 days ago
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Canada Introduces Privacy Reforms That Encourage Warrantless Disclosure of Info

quantaman Re:Eh? (99 comments)

I've thought of that before, you might end up with rule by bureaucrats but otherwise I think it works pretty well, other than the fact that no legislative body would ever implement it.

Given modern constraints I think constitutional monarchies are the way to go, not because the monarch is useful, but because the monarch takes the "executive" role and all the power ends up in parliament where voters can pay attention.

The problem with the US is power is too distributed. 538 congress critters each with their own agenda, there's too much information to make an informed decision and it's too easy for lobbyists to overpower individual politicians.

I think Canada has about as good a system as you can reasonably get because the parties are so strong. They can stand up to lobbyists or pundits when they think it's in their own best interest (which usually corresponds to what that think is good for the country too). And the opposition can coordinate their attacks a lot more effectively. There's a Tea Party element in the Conservatives but Harper keeps it under wraps. They still introduce some bad legislation like this, but bad bills have been defeated in the past.

5 days ago
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Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

quantaman Re:We have those in South Carolina too (324 comments)

But here's the thing. If I pull you over and you have one of our public servant honor tags, you're still getting a ticket for whatever I pulled you over for. In fact, I am less likely to let you go, because of the appearance of impropriety created by these tags. I get a lot more "by the book" when someone starts flashing special tags and membership cards at me.

Is that just you or your department in general? For you at least I buy your explanation, but my question is, considering all the appearance trouble with the tags, if they aren't for nefarious purposes then what are they for?

5 days ago
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Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

quantaman Re:It's not a license to speed (324 comments)

It's the cops extorting money. It's not just speeding. This creates the appearance that, if you do not buy the membership, you'll be stopped and shown absolutely no mercy, and may even have charges trumped up against you - or otherwise be punished.

This is tantamount to soliciting bribes.

Soliciting bribes maybe, they're not accepting the money personally.

And unless cops go around advising motorists to buy the membership I don't see how it can be extortion, and I don't think the idea that if you don't have a membership "you'll be stopped and shown absolutely no mercy, and may even have charges trumped up against you - or otherwise be punished" is particularly compelling. I'd assume without a card they'd carry out their duties as usual (as good or bad as they usually are).

The cops are obviously doing something very wrong and people should be facing whatever discipline or legal repercussions it takes to make it stop, but I'm not sure what the exact charges are.

5 days ago
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UN Report Reveals Odds of Being Murdered Country By Country

quantaman Re:Singapore (385 comments)

Honestly I was being slightly lazy, taking the only per capita figure in the article.

I'll say I'm a bit suspicious how the figures vanish for the last several years until 2003 when Singapore's Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong told the BBC in September 2003 that he believed there were "in the region of about 70 to 80" hangings in 2003. Two days later he retracted his statement, saying the number was in fact ten.

Though I admit it would be very hard for them to hide executions (and there doesn't appear any evidence they did other than that misquote)

about a week ago
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UN Report Reveals Odds of Being Murdered Country By Country

quantaman Re:Next, be a woman (385 comments)

Best to be an expert cross-dresser who can choose the safest gender for the occasion.

about a week ago
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UN Report Reveals Odds of Being Murdered Country By Country

quantaman Re:Singapore (385 comments)

Singapore has 13.8 executions per 100,000, which is more than the 12.5 murders per 100,000 in Africa (though I don't know the execution rate in Africa).

Sure the executed Singaporeans have (generally) broken the law, but how many murder victims are killed because they're involved with crime? And if you can blame someone for getting caught up with a gang that pressures them to commit crime then why can't you blame someone for remaining with a violent spouse who might harm them?

I'm not sure I'd feel much safer there after all.

about a week ago
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Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?

quantaman Re:And that's surprising why? (721 comments)

Because some states released their numbers. If you actually RTFA you would have noticed that 21 states +DC which released enrollment numbers averaged about about a 30-50% increase in the last month. Doing the math, the other 29 states which did not release numbers would have had to average a 90% increase in order to hit 7.1 million.

So, there might something be wrong with IBD's math, there might be innocuous reasons which states released numbers, or there might be something fishy with the 7.1 million supposed signups which might conflict with your ideology.

Which begs the question of what's the difference between the 21 states releasing numbers and the 29 that didn't. Well 14 of the 21 states were running state exchanges. With all the hype about the federal exchange you'd expect the state exchanges to get a smaller deadline bump (they either had people sign up early or more people miss the deadline).

As for the 7 remaining states. For the most part they're probably Republican (that's why they didn't set up state exchanges), so they might have released their numbers specifically because they were underwhelming and they were trying to show their state didn't want ObamaCare anyways.

about a week ago
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How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion

quantaman Re:Knowledge (1037 comments)

Are you self-aware enough to admit that you are doing the exact same thing? You have decided that a book you have not read is false, and so you accept without question evidence of that falsehood. Any evidence that supports the Mormon narrative you dismiss, without examining it, as the work of apologists. Yet, if as you say, atheists, other Christians, Muslims, etc., become convinced of the Book of Mormon, would they not then become apologists, and in your view lose all credibility? What source could convince you, then?

A false equivalency, the bible contains many historical claims you can believe without being a christian. Many atheists believe there is a historical Jesus who was crucified, or that some of the historical events did happen. They don't believe Jesus is the son of God.

To believe Joseph Smith found some ancient gold plates and a medieval sword at a site in the US I wouldn't have to believe they were the work of a prophet, or he saw an angel. I could simply believe he was a religious fanatic who stumbled across an archaeological site. The Book of Abraham could exist,, be a proper translation, and simply be some ancient belief.

There are lots of ancient religious sects no one believes, a pre-viking European migration involving another religious sect doesn't mean we would believe that religion either. So atheists could believe those claims from the Book of Mormon without believing in the religion itself, none do which suggests that the evidence is quite poor.

have a couple of missionaries come by your house with a Book of Mormon, read it, and try the experiment contained in its very own pages. (What have you got to lose?) If you then learn that the book is its own best evidence, then it follows that Joseph Smith was the prophet he claims to be, because good fruit does not come from a poisoned tree. Everything else is just window dressing.

But if there is evidence besides the Book of Mormon then the Book of Mormon shouldn't be necessary.

about a week ago
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Scientists/Actress Say They Were 'Tricked' Into Geocentric Universe Movie

quantaman Re:I believe Kate (639 comments)

Its slightly harder to believe that someone could record the complete narration of such a film without getting some idea of what it was about - or at least getting suspicious. Nor does it pass the plausibility test that the makers would go to the time, expense or legal risk* of large-scale manipulation when there are plenty of real life Troy McLures out there would will read out whatever the hell they were handed if they needed money or lizards.

You seem to think she watch watching the film and narrating at the same time. But I suspect it's pretty common to say "here's a bunch of things we want to record you saying and here's the context", she might not have seen any clips nor even expected to watch the final product. She probably thought she knew what it was about, they probably gave her the context and backstory for every line, but if it was a lie and she trusted them it would be pretty trivial for them to get her to say incriminating stuff.

They could probably even get her to say something nice about geocentrism if they framed it right, ie "Ok, we're talking about the origins of astronomy when they first got the idea of planetary bodies, so we want you to read 'The geocentric model of the universe answered many questions that had baffled philosophers for ages'"

That sounds like it could be a credible statement, but can obviously be used in a very different context.

As for the "Troy McLures", they certainly exist, but they don't have credibility. The subset of actors who do narrations and have decent geek cred isn't huge. And it doesn't take a genius to realize that appearing in one of those things would cost them far more than the measly amount of money they'd make.

Like lots of former Trek actors Mulgrew still does a lot of genre work, you think she's jeopardize her career so for a tiny paycheck from a geocentrist documentary? Her claim that she was deceived is far more credible than the idea she was willing to destroy her reputation for this documentary.

about a week ago
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Scientists/Actress Say They Were 'Tricked' Into Geocentric Universe Movie

quantaman Re:I believe Kate (639 comments)

That's a little harsh. Lawrence Krauss was also tricked into appearing in the documentary, are you going to claim he's stupid as well?

It's not like she was writing scripts and part of the editing process. They gave her a list of lines, probably a few provocative trailer bits like "everything we think we know about the universe is wrong" which might be not ridiculous if you're talking about dark energy or something (they got the physicists to say similar things) and add a bunch of innocuous introductions and such. You don't even need to cut and paste her words together, just change the context they're delivered in and she sounds like she's endorsing crackpot loony stuff.

Maybe she could have asked around to figure out more about the people involved, but what reason would she have for thinking that the whole thing was a giant conspiracy?

about a week ago
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How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion

quantaman Re:Knowledge (1037 comments)

Well I'd strongly disagree with you about the quality of the evidence, the genetics were a good example. They came up with piles of excuses for why the evidence of these huge kingdoms was missing, and not one piece of evidence outside of Joseph Smith's testimony that they did exist. Unless you were predisposed to believe Joseph Smith there's no reason to believe the story is true.

Similarly with the Book of Abraham, the source you provided is a Mormon apologist. If the evidence stands on its own it should also be endorsed by atheists, mainstream Christians, Muslims, etc. I don't find your claim that your faith isn't a causal motive in your belief in the evidence to be credible. If the evidence could stand on its own there would be many people who believed the evidence without the faith, or the faith without the evidence. As it is there are many people that believe the faith without believing the evidence, but almost none who believe the evidence but not the faith. That tells me that faith is necessary to believe in the evidence, and the evidence does not stand on its own.

about a week ago

Submissions

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Ogg/Linux Friendly Portable Music Players

quantaman quantaman writes  |  more than 6 years ago

quantaman (517394) writes "I'm looking for a good portable music player to use for runs to/from work. There are two absolute requirements 1) it will work under Linux, and 2) it can play ogg, also since it's for running I suspect a flash based player is highly advisable. I was wondering what has worked for other people with similar requirements?

For Linux I've heard that specific support isn't really necessary beyond it showing up as a USB drive, however the Linux category on the wikipedia comparison page must be referring to something. I've also heard advice like getting an iPod + Rockbox, however there are possible downsides with putting on a 3rd party OS (ie warranty issues, a UI not quite made for the hardware), as well I'd much rather support a company who supports ogg and Linux out of the box. One popular choice for ogg/Linux seems to be iRiver, however I don't know if this is the only choice and this page seems to suggest it's Linux and ogg support isn't that great after all.

As well there's also the criteria of durability, sound quality (do the different players have differences that people besides audiophiles would care about?), size, and cost.

I know slashdot has covered this subject in the past but I'm sure things have changed since 2002."

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