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Comments

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MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

quantaman Re:The UN (396 comments)

story
20 rockets were found in a UN owned school in the Gaza strip. The UN is caliming they were not using the building and did not know the rockets were in the building. What happened to the rockets once the UN discovered they were hiding munitions for Hamas in a school? The UN did the only responsible thing possible and handed those rockets over to Hamas.

Interesting, lets read the link then:

So where did the rockets go? Well, according to Israel, they went right back to Hamas. As an official told The Times of Israel:

The rockets were passed on to the government authorities in Gaza, which is Hamas. In other words, UNRWA handed to Hamas rockets that could well be shot at Israel.”

Ok, that sounds damning, but lets read till the end for the buried lede:

On Monday afternoon, Chris Gunness, the spokesman for U.N.R.W.A., denied that the rockets went back to Hamas.

UNRWA did not give the rockets to Hamas. The rockets were taken away by bomb disposal experts that were answerable to the newly formed government of national consensus, which Hamas has left."

So the rockets went to people most likely hostile to Hamas. Now maybe the UN could have done better disposing of the bombs themselves, but a UN bomb disposal mission in Gaza sounds like something that could also go really wrong. Remember the role of the UN isn't to fight for Israel, in that case they're just trying to provide humanitarian aid.

yesterday
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

quantaman Re:I don't see the problem. (662 comments)

One biased side is fighting edits from an even more biased side.

The first casualty of war is the truth. In this case both sides are trying to pummel truth's dead body into a hamburger.

There's not some mythic unattainable "truth" surrounded by complete lies.

Every statement is a mixture of truth and lies, the goal of decent people it to not only call out the lies in every statement, but to still recognize that an imperfect statement can still contain a great deal of truth.

Right now Russia is telling egregious lies. The proper action isn't to stand back and act like it's fine because everybody lies, it's to drag them out and discredit them so that they have a reason to start telling the truth.

And when someone else lies you should drag them out and discredit them, but to brush off misdeeds as something that's normal is how Russia became the joke it is today.

2 days ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

quantaman Re:Propaganda (662 comments)

a strategy of kremlin propagandists.
distribute lies about events ("oh, ukrainians shot down mh 17 ! they even shot down their own planes a few days before that. we claimed credit for that just for fun !"), then go "ooooh, but you know, i don't trust either side, they all are lying"

so far russia has been caught lying many times. all evidence points at russian special forces (and regular army, too) being responsible both for invasion in eastern ukraine, and for downing mh17 specifically.

No it doesn't.

The evidence points to Russian special forces and regular army being responsible for the annexation of Crimea.

In the war in Eastern Ukraine the evidence points to Russian paramilitary organizations operating with the backing of the Russian government and some level of direction. But there's no evidence of actual Russian soldiers in East Ukraine. To be honest they'd be dumb to send any. There's more than enough Cossacks and Chechen militias they can direct over unofficially. No point in sending over official soldiers who could be killed, identified, and drag Putin into an actual war he doesn't want.

Putin still bears full culpability for every death that's occurred, but he's keeping official Russian soldiers out of it.

2 days ago
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

quantaman Re:I don't see the problem. (662 comments)

Terrorists? I've seen them called both separatists and I think Militia. I haven't heard them called terrorists until now, and whilst I'm not fully educated on their movement, treatment of civilians in the area and other matters, I don't know if they should morally be classified as terrorists by the international community, that is unless they shot the airliner down on purpose or performed other heinous acts of terror.

Honestly I'm not entirely sure what to call them, but terrorists isn't it (though the Ukrainian government has called them that all along).

Generally I call them rebels or separatists, but that doesn't really apply. To be a rebel or a separatist it's implied that you're fighting your own government, but in this case many, if not most, are Russian citizens motivated by a combination of nationalism, adventurism, and wealth. Guerrillas maybe? What do you call a paramilitary organization that invades another country to try to steal some of its territory?

2 days ago
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The Last Three Months Were the Hottest Quarter On Record

quantaman Re: The Heartland Institute (552 comments)

Every now and then I go down your "informed skeptic" rabbit holes to make sure I didn't miss anything in my personal conclusion that AGW is real and a problem, but every time the data YOU present always ends up refuting your point.

Don't worry, they all came away just as convinced and reassured as to the irrefutability of their conclusions.

about a week ago
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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

quantaman Re:Iraq (526 comments)

George Bush left Obama a stable Iraq. It didn't have to go down the tubes.

He also left Obama a healthy economy and a basket of puppies!

about a week ago
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Marvel's New Thor Will Be a Woman

quantaman Re:Congratulations? (588 comments)

That strikes me as disrespectful

That's what we do with other people's mythology to fit in into stories, especially if there's nobody left that sees it as anything other than distant mythology. Take a look at some things that Japanese anime do with Christian motifs for another example (eg. Hellsing, Evangelion, A Certain Magical Index, Chrono Crusade). To push stories along they do things to Christian ideas that could be seen as disrepectful if it wasn't clear that those worlds have some large differences with ours.

If I were Christian I don't think I'd care about anyone's portrayal because Christianity is so strong that people would know my beliefs regardless. But if I felt Norse mythology was a part of my heritage I'd be pretty concerned about what Marvel did because that would be the major exposure a lot of people got to my heritage.

about a week ago
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Marvel's New Thor Will Be a Woman

quantaman Re:Oblig Penny-Arcade - Black Heimdall (588 comments)

We already did this... Even a racist clock is right twice a day

In Marvel Lore, anyone who is worthy may wield the hammer and gain the power of thor... this has included

A horsefaced dude (beta ray bill who now wields a dupe of the hammer, sorta)

A frog named Throg

it has also been wielded by Storm (who is a woman) and Captain America.

This is a non-story, and not the first time a woman has wielded Mjolnir.

I think black Thor is tacky, objecting has nothing to do with being racist but the fact they're screwing with other people's mythology. Now if they made Spiderman a gay black man? Or Professor X a female? Now those are changes I could endorse and the resulting changes would make the character's fundamental characteristics more compelling.

As for this case I'd say Marvel is the one being misogynist. The basic implication of this stunt is that the only way they can see to make a flagship female character is by taking a male flagship character and turning them female.

A woman shouldn't have to piggyback on a man to gain fame.

about a week ago
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Marvel's New Thor Will Be a Woman

quantaman Re:Congratulations? (588 comments)

They also made Thor come from space, speak English, made Asgard not an afterlife, and changed all sorts of other details.

What makes this change particularly galling to you?

The previous changes were necessary to integrate Thor into the Marvel universe.

This change unnecessarily alters a core characteristic of who Thor is.

It would be the same thing if they turned Thor into a telepath or a pacifist, if you're going to change a core characteristic of Thor then don't call it Thor. Or if you do do it then you should have a proper motive such as an artistic twist as opposed to pandering.

And why is it Norse Mythology they're screwing with anyways? It's one thing to base a character off of a Norse god, but screwing with that bit of heritage for blatant pandering? That strikes me as disrespectful.

If Marvel really wanted to be bold and challenge readers they should have made a female Professor X. A woman in a position of intellectual authority? Now that's a change I could respect.

about a week ago
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Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

quantaman Re:Slashvertisement event horizon (499 comments)

Not necessarily, there's a real question whether ./ got paid or suckered.

about two weeks ago
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The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

quantaman No one is passing the Turing Test (285 comments)

Just because someone sets some random people up for a five minute interview with a chatbot doesn't mean they're running a Turing Test.

Give people enough time to conduct a proper conversation, hell give them time to ask the chatbot for some original content. Do that and you'll be running a real Turing Test.

The reason you keep hearing about these simplified Turing Tests is those are the only tests people run because those are the only tests computers can pass. But passing a true Turing Test is still a great standard for detecting real AI, and something no one can even approach doing yet.

about two weeks ago
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UK Computing Student Jailed After Failing To Hand Over Crypto Keys

quantaman Re:Seems appropriate (353 comments)

It seems you can be compelled to reveal your passwords in the US if they're looking for evidence they already know to exist rather than information they may not know about.

about two weeks ago
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Tor Project Sued Over a Revenge Porn Business That Used Its Service

quantaman Re:Pretty sure this won't work (311 comments)

Yes although I'd bet money that Shelby Conklin is going to discover how unpleasant the Streisand Effect can be. She will probably now be known as the revenge porn woman.

I don't agree with her suing Tor but I disagree that this is necessarily an instance of the Streisand Effect.

Not taking action would be succumbing to a form of the heckler's veto. I suspect in a lot of cases they start out trying to get rid of the info and most stop when it becomes obvious they'll only make it more public. But in a case like this she might be willing to face the publicity because she thinks seeking justice is more important than giving up.

about two weeks ago
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US Arrests Son of Russian MP In Maldives For Hacking

quantaman Re:Imperial Police (176 comments)

I'm playing a bit of the devil's advocate but I'm assuming that the US has an extradition treaty with Maldives.

The US has a fairly responsible justice system when it comes to this. If a person from Russia/Nigeria/a country with a dubious court system is stealing credit card info in the US/Canada/EU I think it's absolutely appropriate for one of the latter countries to seek that individual's arrest when that person enters a jurisdiction with an extradition treaty.

So for me the US having the Maldives' police arrest and extradite this guy would be fine.

The iffy part is the US using it's own law enforcement. I can understand the US wanting to run the show so nothing goes wrong, but it definitely speaks to a general disrespect to the sovereignty of the country in question.

about two weeks ago
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New Russian Law To Forbid Storing Russians' Data Outside the Country

quantaman Re:So they don't have to ask the NSA (206 comments)

There's also the possibility it's there to help Russian companies (and the economy).

Facebook wants to operate in Russia? Well then they need to open up a Russian server farm and put all the Russian data in there, or pay massive arbitrary fines, or get blocked. Lots of Russian companies probably use Amazon's EC2, now Amazon either needs to put up a region located in Russia or those Russian companies need to use a Russian cloud company.

It's the same fundamental reason why Putin has been working so hard to keep Ukraine away from the EU. Russian companies suck and can't compete against the west, if cheap high quality EU goods can flow into Russia then the current Russian industry won't be able to compete. Similarly if high quality tech companies can serve Russians then the Russian tech companies can't compete. Solution? Screw with Ukraine to try and keep the EU physical goods out, and pass data laws to keep foreign websites out.

about two weeks ago
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Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

quantaman Re:I'm not so sure... (185 comments)

If this was just a guy posting trash on Facebook I'd probably side with you. If you read the details of the case, you will find that this is not just someone ranting. This appears to be someone conspiring to commit rape, murder, and kidnapping.

I did read the details of the case and I have to disagree. He's not ranting, he's fantasizing, but there's no evidence that he ever planned to go further.

Whether the primary web site has a disclaimer or not, does not change the fact that this goes beyond the simple act of writing about a sick fantasy. He offered to kidnap someone for 5,000.00. He went and found a recipe for chloroform, then built a pulley system to string up one of the people he was talking about kidnapping and murdering.

He offered to kidnap someone, he never did kidnap them, nor did he or anyone else complain when these plans didn't happen. He said he built a pulley in the emails but he didn't actually build it, nor did he make any chloroform. Surely if you're making a criminal conspiracy involving chloroform, a human sized oven, and a pulley system then actually obtain chloroform, a human sized oven, and a pulley system.

He used a Police database illegally for the purpose of gathering personal information about the people he appeared to be conspiring against (it was more than 1). This goes well beyond simply discussing "unconventional thoughts".

Lets change the scenario a bit. If I was to claim I want to kill someone on Facebook, I'd be a person of interest but not doing anything illegal. When I go out and search for recipes for poisons, I'm still not illegal but I should be under watch, especially if the poison is generic household items which I may have on hand. Once I start illegally gathering personal information about the targets I claimed I want to kill, would I not be conspiring to commit murder? What if I owned a gun, would that be enough? (Remember that this person was a Cop and had a Gun, as well as a position of authority to abuse, and could have been legally stalking victims without anyone's knowledge on "patrols")

Ok, here's another scenario.

You really hate John and claim you want to kill him on FB. You look around for information on poisons because you're curious, or you're fantasizing about how you could kill him. And because the guy really pisses you off you become mildly obsessed and gather information using a work database (even though doing so for this purpose is unauthorized and illegal).

Yet under no scenario could you actually imagine yourself doing so much as punching John.

If you believe it's reasonable, would you want the guy as a neighbor? Invite them over over for dinner? If so, good for you. I'd prefer to see a person like this under watch and psychological monitoring at a minimum.

I wouldn't, not because he's a criminal, but just because he'd creep the hell out of me.

This is a guy who might commit a serious crime in the future, perhaps even wants to. But he has never done so, nor has he specifically planned to do so. All of his previous plans were merely elaborate fantasies that he never took a concrete step towards implementing.

Personally I'd recommend a mandatory psychological evaluation. IF that suggested he could take the step towards moving those crimes into reality then I might consider watch and mandatory counselling. Otherwise he's innocent of everything except the misuse of the database.

about two weeks ago
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'Vampire' Squirrel Has World's Fluffiest Tail

quantaman Holy Crap!!! (54 comments)

Local legends suggest that Rheithrosciurus, which is thought to mostly eat giant acorns, can be savage. Hunters say that the squirrels will perch on low branches, jump onto a deer, gash its jugular vein, and disembowel the carcass. "It sounds pretty fantastical," says a skeptical Roland Kays, a zoologist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. "Even more than its fluffy tail."

This sounds far too awesome to be fact checked.

about three weeks ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

quantaman Re:Distinct DNA (1330 comments)

the idea of "when life starts" which is a philosophical, not a scientific problem

Pro-life scientists point out that an embryo is a distinct organism because it has distinct DNA. The life associated with that DNA thus begins when sperm meets egg.

Then pro-life scientists are abusing scientific terminology to justify their philosophy.

about three weeks ago
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Ninety-Nine Percent of the Ocean's Plastic Is Missing

quantaman Re:One non-disturbing theory (304 comments)

Is that water, the ultimate solvent -- or perhaps bacteria -- are breaking down the plastics back into it's components, and the ocean (much like the oil from the BP spill) is taking care of itself.

Naw, couldn't be. Go ahead and panic, hippies!

Yeah, and everyone know that broken down oil was completely harmless.

Whatever components that plastic is breaking down into it likely contains a lot of molecules that aren't found in nature. When those molecules enter an organism there's no telling what the hell they're going to do.

I don't understand this fantasy that some people cling to that we can dump endless streams of random crap into the environment and mother nature will just magically take care of it with no consequence. People would sure as hell notice if you started dumping garbage into a lake and screwing up a beach where people swim once a week, why do you think the things that actually live in the polluted water won't be affected?

about three weeks 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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