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Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

shutdown -p now Re:So much unnecessary trouble (566 comments)

What makes you believe that it's Putin that's playing for that side, and not the other way around?

One thing that I'm actually seriously afraid of is that Putin will use the separatists to stage a coup inside the country. Consider this: right now, it seems clear that without outside intervention, rebels are doomed - Ukrainian forces grind them down slowly but surely, even despite the heavy losses. They know it full well, and they have been demanding help from Russian government since the declaration of independence - and then complaining that what they get is still not enough (which is true). Some of the lower-level commanders and rank and file have already been calling Putin a traitor on record. But never the top brass, like Strelkov. In fact, Strelkov is pretty much always very deferential to Putin, and called him "supreme commander" on occasion.

Now, imagine what happens when the last stronghold is overrun. The remaining forces - doubtlessly, the most loyal and battle-hardened of Strelkov's troops - will try to retreat across the border into Russia. If, by some "miracle", they are allowed to pass safely through, what do we have? A charismatic leader, widely popular in Russia itself, with a clout of an almost-martyr for the cause that most people root for, valiantly and losing the battle only because of "traitors" - even if he's not pointing any fingers at them (just makes him that much more noble, hey!). And several thousand armed loyal troops at his command. Now, what if Putin declares that the only reason why he was not able to order a direct intervention and turn the tide is because of all the traitors in the government, and that he needs help purging them? Strelkov then turns the entire Dolchstosslegende around and says that, yes, the people who were complaining about treason were right all along, but Putin was not the traitor, the traitors were the one who bound him and prevented him from acting - and marches straight onto the Kremlin. No-one would stop him; heck, I know for sure that a lot of people would cheer, and most police and military units would just step aside if not join outright. Once he arrives, we have a bloody but brief purge, with some bodies displayed for the amusement of the crowd, and Putin is now officially a dictator for life, Defender of Holy Rus or whatever titles they decide to bestow on him, with his own personal loyal guard to protect him.

4 hours ago
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Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

shutdown -p now Re:So much unnecessary trouble (566 comments)

Yes, Ukrainians do in fact have a special place in that model - they are considered "Russians who forgot/rejected their roots" (ditto Belarusians).

At the same time, you're also correct that the current conflict raised the hostility between two nations to a level that was never seen before, and it is also felt in Russia. The rhetoric was updated accordingly: now Ukrainians are deemed to consist of two parts - the larger one that is the unconsciously subjugated Russian-at-heart majority that can be rehabilitated (by force of arms if necessary), and the minority of hardcore "true Ukrainians" who do the subjugation, and for whom hating Russia is in their very nature. The latter are generally associated with Galicia (many people have suddenly discovered that those lands have not been in Russia, or any state that Russia claims succession to, for over 700 years before the 20th century - and therefore decided that reclassifying the inhabitants as inherently hostile is alright after all).

Thing is, I don't think the people who run the country believe in all this crap. They peddle it to the population because it's an easy sell and meshes well with their policies.

yesterday
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35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

shutdown -p now Re:So! The game is rigged! (514 comments)

You might need to apply for a crappy card at first if you really have NO history

Getting a credit card with no history whatsoever might be tricky unless you're really young. But even in that case, pretty much any bank will happily give you a credit card if you place a security deposit with them (the credit limit will then be tied to the amount of said deposit). That still counts as credit and lets you build up credit score - and eventually they will release the deposit. I had to resort to that when I moved into US from another country - given my age and employment, combined with the complete and utter lack of any credit score records whatsoever, that's the only arrangement that I could find. I got my security deposit back on the second year of using the card, and started getting more card offers from other banks at about the same time, which I assume coincides with crossing some threshold on the credit score.

yesterday
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Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

shutdown -p now Re:So much unnecessary trouble (566 comments)

They already have to include non-Slavs, though. Remember that Russia is like 10-15% Muslim (depending on who you ask), and most of these are non-Slavs. Then of course you have a bunch of other guys like Yakuts or Buryats.

The overarching ideology is actually Eurasianism; Russians are seen as the "core nation" in that model, the one that binds everyone else together around it. Not dissimilar to how Stalin described USSR after WW2.

yesterday
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Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

shutdown -p now Re:Weakest Russia ever (566 comments)

You still missed the point, sorry :)

What I was saying is that your premise - "if he crashes the economy his country is no longer a threat to the world" - is incorrect. For one thing, it's always tempting to "fix" the crashed economy by going to war. But even if it doesn't actually fix it, it can be that last "okay, if we're going down, you're going down with us" sort of gesture. Yes, a country with a ruined economy won't be able to wage a protracted war, but it doesn't need to do so to make others hurt, and the bombs and the missiles won't magically disappear. Nor will the manpower - and said manpower is only going to be more desperate and therefore (with the right coaching) more angry.

Now, as to why I believe that such a war would work to bolster inner popularity. The trick, of course, is to present it in such a manner that the war is declared on you. Russian TV has already been quite successful at spinning things that way about Ukraine - a recent poll showed that 94% of Russians get their news primarily from TV channels (all of which are now state-run or indirectly state-controlled), and 75% believe that its coverage is truthful and objective. Only 25% believe that "propaganda" is an apt description for what they're seeing.

So, really, all Putin needs to do to escalate to war is to keep provoking the West, and then blowing up any responses as something big. And heck, there are tried and proven methods to get a decent casus belli when the time comes - see Mainila incident for an example. After all the crazy conspiracy theories that are eagerly accepted for granted in Russia (by the population, not by politicians!) just to be able to preserve the "we are the good guys" mentality... something like that would be swallowed very easily.

And yes, the "patriotic" fervor in Russia today is such that, with the right sugar-coating, the population will happily swallow the war pill. If they are explained that all economic woes are due to Western shenanigans (and the occasional spy/saboteur - for the sake of some public circus).

Hell, they are already clamoring for war, seemingly more so than the government itself. Did you see #PutinVvediVoiska ("Putin, move the armed forces in!" [to Ukraine]) Twitter hashtag? It's only growing in popularity as more sanctions come in. Then there's another thing where people are mocking the sanctions themselves - that is also going pretty strong.

2 days ago
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Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

shutdown -p now Re:So much unnecessary trouble (566 comments)

Central Asian migrants speak Russian well enough to be ordered around, and I don't think the powers that be are particularly concerned about the Russian culture, to be honest.

2 days ago
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Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

shutdown -p now Re:Weakest Russia ever (566 comments)

They do have plenty of support inside Russia. If they announce a crusade against "traitors", there will be even more.

2 days ago
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Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

shutdown -p now Re:Weakest Russia ever (566 comments)

Oh, and the other aspect of it is who is going to come to power if Putin steps away. If you asked me that question in 2011, I still had hopes that pro-western liberals had a chance (at least in a coalition with moderate nationalists). Now, though, I'd say that the people who will use the opportunity will be the ones like Strelkov and Borodai - and Putin will be a sane angel in comparison.

In fact, given that there is seemingly some bickering between Kremlin and DNR/LNR leaders, I would say that the most likely (as in, more likely than anything else - still rather unlikely in general) possibility of Putin being ousted at this point is if Strelkov and his guard escape Ukrainian forces, cross the border to Russia, and announce that they're heading for Moscow to punish the traitors who backstabbed them. There's already plenty of talk going around about how Putin is "betraying the Russian Spring" by refusing to commit full support to the rebels. If a charismatic figure like Strelkov would formally voice such a complaint, and have several thousand battle-hardened fighters standing behind him, I honestly don't know how that would go - except that there would be a rush of volunteers (from extreme nationalists, monarchists, maybe even some Stalinist-type communists) to his ranks.

3 days ago
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Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

shutdown -p now Re:Weakest Russia ever (566 comments)

You missed the point. It will not take 2 or 5 or 10 years to get rid of him. If the economy crashes now (or in 5 years), he'll just blame the West (cuz sanctions), and will use it as an excuse to crack down on the "fifth column" and the "national traitors", that he already identified as the enemies in his speech earlier this year, even more. If it gets really tight, why, time for another war, nothing like some shooting to make sure people don't grumble too much about rising prices and lack of goods. Georgia, perhaps?

3 days ago
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In France, Most Comments on Gaza Conflict Yanked From Mainstream News Sites

shutdown -p now Re:Like China och USSR (503 comments)

The "whole Western World" is not a monolithic entity. You can say what you want about Israel or Jews in US, for example.

3 days ago
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Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

shutdown -p now Re:So much unnecessary trouble (566 comments)

Ukraine has similarly low birth rates, so it's not a solution. And in any case, the present Russian regime has been solving the birth rate issue in a way similar to most other countries - by immigration (from Central Asia).

3 days ago
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Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

shutdown -p now Re:Weakest Russia ever (566 comments)

The problem with economic sanctions is that they, ironically, work to solidify Putin's power hold.

The original reason for strong popular support behind Putin was that he oversaw a decade of steady economic growth. For many people in Russia, it was the time where they saw their lives change from borderline poverty to something reasonable. It can be argued that he is not the one to take credit, and that it's all due to high oil prices etc, but either way he got to reap the benefits. It's also what triggered the entire "imperial revival" mentality: people see that their country is more prosperous, therefore it is stronger, therefore it is time to remember the old squabbles.

Now, Russian economy was already in recession as it is, and likely one from which it will not require. The sanctions will undeniably accelerate it, but at the same time they give Putin and his clique the ultimate excuse with respect to anything bad that happens with the economy: "Americans did it". Thus, all the rage will be channeled overseas, instead of the people in charge. And if economy does collapse, what you have now is a country of 140 million, raging, armed to teeth, with a history of willing and able to pile up the bodies two to one (and even higher) to win. Oh, and with nukes.

I strongly suspect that, if the sanctions are ultimately successful, the immediate consequence will be the full-on ground invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Not the present proxy war with subtle aid here and there, but Russian tanks on the streets of Kiev, that kind of thing.

If the West really wants to help Ukraine, it needs to give it direct military assistance.

3 days ago
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FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret

shutdown -p now Re: Transparency (139 comments)

I do know a few right-wingers who discussed the subject even back in Bush days, long before Obama. For example, Matthew Bracken, who wrote "Enemies Foreign and Domestic" (it's basically a right-wing propaganda piece, with central theme being the govt cracking down on gun owners, but it also directly touches on surveillance and police militarization, and the use of terrorism as a pretext to curtail civil liberties; as I recall, it specifically mentions the PATRIOT Act). That book was written in 2003, back when Bush's reign was seen as uncontested, so effectively it targeted that administration.

You can also look at the Pauls. Say what you like about them, but they have been very consistent in arguing against all these things, and Rand at least counts himself as Tea Party affiliated (though many people in that movement would probably dislike him).

OTOH, yes, you also have large quantities of "I'm not racist, but why is he black?" guys there too, for whom it's just the convenient excuse of the day. But they're not all there is to it.

4 days ago
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FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret

shutdown -p now Re: Transparency (139 comments)

Tea Party is a minority among right-wingers, but it's also the one that is most strongly pro-gun, and also the one that's most consistently emphasizing the "right to armed uprising". Mainstream Republicans are rather averse to such rhetoric (the politicians are another matter when they're pandering to electorate - they know that being seen as "pro-gun" will win them some fringe votes, but won't spook the mainstream enough to cost them more, especially when the other option is a Democrat).

5 days ago
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The NSA's New Partner In Spying: Saudi Arabia's Brutal State Police

shutdown -p now Re:we doing it all wrong... (125 comments)

with a place like saudi arabia and all the bloody religious fanatic countries the ONLY thing we should export are BOOKS...books and fucking books again. And THEN after everyone damn reads them all and LEARN

What makes you think that Saudi Arabia would permit the kinds of books from which people might learn such things?

Remember how it went? "If these books contradict the Holy Qu'ran, then they are blasphemy - burn them. If these books are in agreement with the Holy Qu'ran, then they are superfluous - burn them."

5 days ago
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The NSA's New Partner In Spying: Saudi Arabia's Brutal State Police

shutdown -p now Re:Heck, we probably already fund them (125 comments)

Yes. Thing is, if Israel really wanted to maximize Palestinian civilian casualties, they'd turn Gaza into rubble literally overnight, with casualties in hundreds of thousands. They certainly have the means - it being packed as dense as that, a few fuel-air bombs would cause immense casualties, without a single shot being fired in response.

Ironically, the fact that Palestinian casualties haven't even reached a thousand yet (and this includes the combatants) is ipso facto evidence that Israel is not deliberately targeting civilians as a matter of policy (though it doesn't mean that individual soldiers don't fire at civilians, by mistake or otherwise).

5 days ago
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FBI Studied How Much Drones Impact Your Privacy -- Then Marked It Secret

shutdown -p now Re: Transparency (139 comments)

I'm not right wing, but I have to call you out on that. Most extreme right-wingers that I know - the kind that likes to talk about right to keep and bear arms as "means to fight back against a tyrannical government" - are actually pretty skeptical of PATRIOT Act, NSA surveillance, and all that stuff. Notice how a lot of recent attacks on the NSA came from Tea Party.

5 days ago
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Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate

shutdown -p now Re:DEsalination plants should be a priority (374 comments)

That was the point, wasn't it? You can be NIMBY all you want, but when that translates to "no [water] in my back yard", you can bet that a lot of people will suddenly reconsider.

5 days ago

Submissions

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Microsoft adds Node.js support to Visual Studio

shutdown -p now shutdown -p now writes  |  about 8 months ago

shutdown -p now (807394) writes "Coming from the team that had previously brought you Python Tools for Visual Studio, Microsoft has announced Node.js Tools for Visual Studio, with the release of the first public alpha. NTVS is the official extension for Visual Studio that adds support for Node.js, including editing with Intellisense, debugging, profiling, and the ability to deploy Node.js websites to Windows Azure. An overview video showcases the features, and Scott Hanselman has a detailed walkthrough.

The project is open source under Apache License 2.0. While the extension is published by Microsoft, it is a collaborative effort involving Microsoft, Red Gate (which previously had a private beta version of similar product called Visual Node), and individual contributors from the Node.js community."

Link to Original Source
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Python Tools for Visual Studio 2.0 Beta Released

shutdown -p now shutdown -p now writes  |  about a year ago

shutdown -p now (807394) writes "My team at Microsoft, which works on Python Tools for Visual Studio — a free, open source extension for Visual Studio that adds support for Python to that IDE — has just shipped a beta version of the upcoming 2.0 release with numerous new features and improvements.

PTVS supports most Python interpreters including CPython, advanced code completion, debugging, and profiling. Some highlights of this release are mixed-mode debugging of Python and C/C++ code with integrated call stacks, stepping and breakpoints; the ability to remotely attach to and debug Python programs running on Linux and OS X; and Django support with ability to conveniently deploy Django websites and services to Windows Azure.

PTVS works with Visual Studio 2010, 2012 and 2013 Preview, as well as the free Visual Studio Shell."

Link to Original Source
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Code from Microsoft submitted to jQuery

shutdown -p now shutdown -p now writes  |  more than 3 years ago

shutdown -p now (807394) writes "Microsoft has previously announced its support for jQuery JavaScript client framework when it started bundling it with Visual Studio back in 2008. Since then, Microsoft developers, in direct cooperation with the core jQuery team and the community, have developed three new plugins — Templates, DataLink and Globalization. Today, this contribution has finally found its way upstream into the main jQuery code base, and will be included into the upcoming 1.5 release. As all other jQuery code, the plugins are dual-licensed under MIT and GPLv2, making it another rare case of Microsoft contributing code to an Open Source project under the GPL."
Link to Original Source
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Windows Phone 7 Series - Developer Perspective

shutdown -p now shutdown -p now writes  |  more than 4 years ago

shutdown -p now writes "As previously promised, at MIX10 developer conference, Microsoft has released details about the development side of the upcoming Windows Phone 7 Series.

It is now confirmed that two frameworks for application development will be XNA for games and game-like fullscreen, high-performance applications, and a subset of Silverlight 3 for everything else. Both frameworks support managed .NET code only — no native (C++) code support. Furthermore, the applications are sandboxed, and "unsafe" functionality, such as P/Invoke, is not available. A fairly detailed set of UI guidelines for developers has been made available as well.

The integrated web browser is claimed to be based on Internet Explorer 7 engine with some extra features, such as proper XHTML support.

An single centralized store will be available, called the Marketplace. It will include both applications and other media (such as music). The Marketplace will be the only way to install applications onto the phone (though, supposedly, "enterprise customers" will have some workaround). There will be an approval process for publishing applications on the Marketplace, and, aside from filtering out malware, it will also require that applications are "generally good taste excluding pornography, hateful/inflammatory speech, and gratuitous violence".

On the hardware side, the specifications will be tightly controlled for the benefit of developers. A standard set of hardware buttons is mandated on all phones ("Back", "Home" and "Search"). Screen size is limited to two standard resolutions: 320x480, and 480x800, and touchscreen must be capacitive, with at least 4-point multi-touch. Other requirements hardware requirements include 3D acceleration, GPS, and accelerometer.

Unlike past mobile SDK releases from Microsoft, a free version of development tools for Windows Phone will be available, named "Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone". A preview of that is presently available, complete with an emulator. In the future, a mobile-oriented version of Expression Blend 4, a designer-centric development tool, will also be available."

Link to Original Source
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Microsoft Office 2007 SP2 Released, Supports ODF

shutdown -p now shutdown -p now writes  |  more than 5 years ago

shutdown -p now writes "On April, 2008, Microsoft has released service pack 2 for Microsoft Office 2007. Among other changes, it includes the earlier-promised support for ODF text documents and spreadsheets, featured prominently on the "Save As" menu alongside Office Open XML and the legacy Office 97-2007 formats. It is also possible to configure Office applications to use ODF as the default format for new documents.

In addition, the service pack also includes "Save as PDF" out of the box, and better Firefox support by SharePoint."

Link to Original Source
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ISO publishes final Open XML specification

shutdown -p now shutdown -p now writes  |  more than 5 years ago

shutdown -p now writes "ISO/IEC 29500:2008, better known as Office Open XML, is now a published ISO International Standard. Major changes since last public drafts include splitting the standard into "strict conformance" and "transitional conformance" parts, with all the Microsoft Office compatibility hacks going into the latter, "for Office Open XML consumers and producers that comply to the transitional conformance category ... provide support for legacy Microsoft Office applications". The complete standard, including the transitional part, is still rather unwieldy at 7,228 pages; of those, the transitional elements take up only 1,475 pages.

In addition, the ISO press release explicitly references something called "Microsoft Office 2008" at least one time. Presumably, it would be a Microsoft Office release fully compliant with the newly released specification in its final form; however, there haven't been any announcements from Microsoft about a product named "Office 2008" yet."

Link to Original Source
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Exploits generated autpmatically from patches

shutdown -p now shutdown -p now writes  |  more than 6 years ago

shutdown -p now writes "A group of researchers wrote a paper (PDF) on automatic generation of exploits from security patches. It works by performing flow analysis on the code that is changed by the code to find the boundary conditions that lead to vulnerability in an unpatched version. It's not just theory, either: they have successfully generated exploits for 5 known vulnerabilities in Microsoft products using their algorithm. The authors note that a successful attack using this method is particularly likely when vendor deliberately delays releasing security patches to the general public, to push them in a single bundle on a regular schedule — as is the case with Windows Update and its infamous Patch Tuesday."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Contact me

shutdown -p now shutdown -p now writes  |  more than 2 years ago

If you want to contact me without spamming article discussions (i.e. if you're new here), just reply to this post.

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