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Comment Re: Oh no (Score 1) 637

Well bugger me, it's true! I must have missed that when it happened. Thanks for the link.

I agree that there is a strong authoritarian tradition on both sides of the commons. There has been a lot of xenophobia going around lately. UKIP have dragged politics in that direction and the right wing of the Tory party have been happy to follow along. It's easier to get people to blame johnny foreigner for their problems that it is to get them to notice that their own society is screwing them over.

Comment Re: Oh no (Score 1) 637

Hey man, I'm a card carrying leftie these days, but I think the Conservatives = Nazis line is a bit strong. Do you have a link for that 'innocent have nothing to fear' quote? There is a deeply unpleasant and selfish element in the Tory party. Their housing policies are regressive and socially divisive, they are handing over the education system to a bunch of incompetent crooks and they want to privatise the NHS. That said, the Tory party is a board church. Saying that Conservative policies are less extreme versions of Nazi policy is easy to say, but I expect you could say that about policies from all parties. Do you have any examples of specific polices? I really am interested in your line of thought here.

Submission + - Getting drunk without alcohol - Star Trek's synthehol is on the way! ( 1

MalachiK writes: A senior academic and former UK government drugs adviser reckons that pretty soon it'll be possible to enjoy the fun of being drunk without having to suffer the negative effects of alcohol. In a proposal reminiscent of Star Trek's synthehol, Professor David Nut has identified a number of molecules that he claims offer experiences that are subjectively indistinguishable from alcohol intoxication. Apparently a major advantage of using these more selectively psychoactive drugs is that the effects can be quickly reversed. It's not all good news though as Professor Nut seems to think that the drinks industry is using its financial and political clout to stop this sort of research being undertaken.

Comment Re:Here we go... (Score 1) 918

Good points. And I don't have any answers. Which is why I'm not confident in taking a strong position on this and it surprises me that so many people on both sides of the fence can be so certain. The real detail of international relations is outside of my day to day experience of the world. That being the case, my instinct is to leave well alone and not advocate for my military to go risk its ass in a theatre that I don't understand and for reasons that I can't be sure have been presented honestly.

In recent History, it's difficult to argue that Operation Deliberate Force was anything other than the right thing to do back in the 90's. That and the British in Sierra Leone certainly saved lives. But on the other hand they also engendered a gung-ho attitude to getting stuck into civil wars and oppressive governments that led to the almighty clusterfuck in Iraq.

Maybe I'm anti intervention only because I'm not sure enough to be definitively for it.

Comment Re:Here we go... (Score 2) 918

So concentration camps, gassing the populace are fine so long as they are kept small to mid scale????

Let's say I oppose the way in which the US criminal justice system puts people in gas chambers. Say I believe that both judicial and extra judicial killing are morally equivalent to murder and that states that execute prisoners are cruel and barbaric. In you view, would I be justified in calling for an invasion of those US states that carry out capital punishment?

Comment Re:Here we go... (Score 1) 918

This, Also, I feel like punching people in the throat whenever some chump starts bleating on about 'international law'. Just what the fuck does that mean, anyway?Last time I checked the freaking US wasn't participating in the ICC. Yet it's all 'for the good of mankind' bullshit whenever they head off on some poorly judged military adventure.

Comment Re:Here we go... (Score 1) 918

I honestly respect the interventionist position and I agree that there are honorable reasons to support a military intervention. Nevertheless, I disagree with it. First off, as the video you posted makes clear, it's not at all clear what;s going on. Without having a much better picture from the UN inspector guys then I'm not confident to form a firm opinion of my own. Do I think that the Syrian government might use chemical weapons? Sure. Can I say with reasonable certainty that they have? No.

The fog of war that surrounds this chemical weapons issue serves to highlight the high level of confusion on Syria at the moment. As other posters have commented, there are multiple competing factions and some of them are pretty unpleasant. It's difficult to imagine a suitably well defined mission for a limited intervention that would make things better and allow the UN / NATO / whoever to withdraw in good order in a timely fashion.

Added to this is the problem that Syria's air defenses, while not state of the art, pose a non trivial threat to western aircraft. Either we stand off and lob cruise missiles or we put in a lot of work suppressing these defenses. Neither of these options is appealing to me. I'm from the UK, and I appreciate the legitimately strong desire to avoid another WTC type attack. For all of that, I'm tired of having my friends sent off to sandy places to get shot at and blown up in military operations that have achieved little

People say that they want to stop any country becoming a base for terrorists. Fair enough. That's why we went to Afghanistan. The problem is that after a nasty and protracted struggle we're just going to hand the place back to the Taliban. I'm not exactly a pacifist but I'm sick of throwing troops onto complex and morally challenging battlefields where they can get killed for little gain. For all of their sacrifice can we honestly say that we've made the world a less shitty place?

I feel bad for people suffering under brutal regimes, but as a citizen of a democratic country I feel more responsibility for the guys who are supposedly executing the will of the people as expressed though ballot boxes in the west.


Comment Is it just me... (Score 2, Insightful) 227

or has smartphone technology reached something of a plateau? I mean, I had a iPhone 3GS for years and I held off from upgrading until the 5 was released, thinking that there'd be a step change or paradigm shift of some sort. When the time came I left Apple because looking around it seemed that all of the top of the line handsets are basically the same. I don't exactly push the envelope with my phone useage, and despite what people say I don't know many that do. In terms of the core functionality and interface experience, I couldn't find much to choose between Apple, HTC, Nokia or Samsung.

The iPhone was fantastic back in the day. The touchscreen and build quality were a real step forward and set a new standard. But these day smartphones are just another part of the scenery. Any it's not as if they're really moving forwards. The handsets have gotten as small as they can practically be, and then bigger again. Most handsets use the same style screens. Sure, we get more processing power and what not, but seriously how many cores do you need to check e-mail and post to facebook?

I'm using a Lumia 900 right now. And I'n going to stick with it until the next device comes along that changes the game on the same scale as the iPhone 3G did.

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