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Nickname Scottish Martial Arts
Email Concealed by request
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Homepage http://
Signed On Jun 16, 2002, 23:16
Total Comments 3169 (Veteran)
User ID 13410
 
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News Comments > Morning Mobilization
3. Re: Morning Mobilization Jun 7, 2017, 18:15 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Of all the reasons to take issue with Apple, obviously Cutter is going to go with the one that doesn't exist.  
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News Comments > Evening Tech Bits
7. Re: Morning Mobilization Jun 7, 2017, 16:03 Scottish Martial Arts
 
We don't understand the human brain well at all. We are no where near close to being able to model human cognition accurately let alone describe in detail how the brain does what it does. I mentioned deep learning neural networks as the predominant model for machine learning algorithms: the neural network piece is just a metaphor, not an actual model of the human brain. We could just as easily call it a linear system graph or a tensor graph but that doesn't sound as sexy. What you perceive as intelligence -- I searched my photos app for "beach" and a photo from my trip last weekend came up! -- is nothing more than a linear algebra optimization problem that outputs a probability. There is no intelligence or learning going on; just automated parameter tuning in response to iterative runs on labeled input.

There is no currently feasible AI application on the order of Skynet, nor is there one on the horizon. What is happening, and I work on the machine learning pipeline that supports such a product, is that tech companies are leveraging ML to make better inferences about what info you need while you're asking for it, or, someday, before you think to ask for it. What you fear depends upon new breakthroughs that go way beyond what we have to work with today. I acknowledge that such breakthroughs are possible, but if you looked at the eval dashboard I have open in my other browser tab, and understood what the metrics mean, you'd be a lot less worried about Skynet.

The point is that I'm about as worried about AI run amok as I am hopeful that someone will devise an algorithm for an NP complete problem in polynomial time. It could happen but it doesn't mean it is currently likely or feasible.

This comment was edited on Jun 7, 2017, 16:16.
 
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News Comments > Evening Tech Bits
5. Re: Morning Mobilization Jun 7, 2017, 07:48 Scottish Martial Arts
 
You guys are thinking in terms of science fiction rather than science. That isn't necessarily bad, because it allows us to imagine the repercussions and meaning behind technical change, change that is otherwise just an interesting engineering problem or pressing business need that gets solved and becomes part of the background of human experience. But we're not even fucking close to independent thought for computers. Deep Learning Neural Networks, the technology that drives most effective AI applications today, are essentially just a computational graph of linear algebra and bayesian statistics that can have its parameters trained on known labeled inputs, e.g. a picture of a car with the classification "car", so as to get a better mapping from unclassified inputs to classified outputs.

It's all just graph theory, linear algebra, and probability. The computer isn't "learning" anything, it's just tuning the weights of a system of linear equations to get better results on an objective function. There is nothing scary -- unless you don't like math -- or humanity extinguishing to see here.

Yet.
 
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News Comments > Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 in August
1. Re: Morning Mobilization Jun 5, 2017, 17:53 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Yay! Hopefully, there will be a Mega Man X collection coming soon!  
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
21. Re: Morning Mobilization Jun 2, 2017, 08:16 Scottish Martial Arts
 
jdreyer wrote on Jun 2, 2017, 02:46:
Nate Silver also warned people that according to the polls, Trump had a reasonable chance of winning. He wasn't off the mark at all.

Indeed. Interestingly, as he later pointed out, according to national polls, i.e. not state by state, Clinton had a roughly 3.5 point lead on the eve of the election. She ended up winning the popular vote by about 2 points, putting her final popular vote margin well within the margin of error for national polls. In other words, the polls weren't wrong, they were just poorly interpreted -- perhaps as a result of wishful thinking that our country could not possibly be so moronic as to elect a man so manifestly unsuited for any office, let alone the highest in the land -- leading to an unjustified sense of confidence in Clinton's inevitability.

The state by state polling in the key upper Midwest states that swung the election was not particularly comprehensive, nor was Clinton's supposed lead in those states as impenetrable as it had been for Obama. In other words, there was clear evidence ahead of time -- or at least a clear absence of evidence necessary to support the degree of certainty most of us had about the outcome -- that while Clinton was the favorite, she was not the all-but-certain favorite.

As I recall, on the morning of the election Silver pegged Clinton's chances at ~68%. Put another way, Trump had a, just under, 1 in 3 shot of winning the Presidency. 1 in 3 are not bad chances -- if you told me I had a genuine 1 in 3 chance of being given 100 billion tax free dollars tomorrow, I probably wouldn't be sleeping tonight -- and on election day the chips fell so that the 1 in 3 event happened, however narrow the path to a Trump victory ended up being (about 80,000 votes in three key swing states, according to the Washington Post).
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
19. Re: Morning Mobilization Jun 2, 2017, 00:24 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Jun 1, 2017, 23:21:
I don't trust polls from anyone, including Nate Silver.

Nate Silver is not a pollster.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
15. Re: Morning Mobilization Jun 1, 2017, 20:39 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Quboid wrote on Jun 1, 2017, 19:21:

I know this will have gone down well, this is the result of science and intelligence being demonised. Does he still have support amongst moderate conservatives, the people who didn't vote for him in the primaries? The people who thought he'd at least surround himself with competent people and 'drain the swamp'?

From the recent polls I've seen, his support among Republicans remains quite high, > 80%, but the percentage of his base who are "strong supporters" is dropping, particularly among his strongest demographic, i.e. middle-aged, high-school educated white men. Meanwhile, his approval ratings among the populace at large remain under water, with 35-40 approving, and 55-60% disapproving. Among the disapproves, the "strongly disapprove" numbers are very high. The takeaway is that Trump is a deeply unpopular President, especially this early in his term, but his support among his base remains strong enough that the Congressional GOP doesn't feel like they have the leeway to abandon him.

Personally, this past week has probably been the most depressing since his inauguration. Trump, and his team's, utter incompetence pretty well ensures he will accomplish nothing of note domestically, which given his and the GOP's stated policy objectives is probably just as well. But in the international realm, there's very little to restrain this moron's worst impulses, and between the NATO Summit and the withdrawal from the Paris Accords, it's becoming very clear that he will follow through on dramatically weakening the post WWII international order of cooperation among democratic, developed nations. Personally, I kind of liked living in an international system of treaty, trade, and non-aggression that gave us the longest run of global peace and prosperity in world history since the Pax Romana of the 2nd century AD. But to each their own: a global system of international competition and zero-sum interest seeking did give us brutal colonial empires and splendid little wars, that sometimes weren't so little, making for fascinating history reading. Although I'm not sure what it will be like to live through it once again.
 
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News Comments > Morning Tech Bits
6. Re: Morning Mobilization Jun 1, 2017, 18:47 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Pigeon wrote on Jun 1, 2017, 10:46:
Picked up an Asus 27" 1440p IPS over the memorial day weekend. Had been hoping to see improved versions with HDR and better back light bleed control coming out, but the manufactures seem to be focused on curved screens and 35" monstrosities. Speaking of back light bled, it's there, but I only notice it when staring at a black screen, which has only occurred when I purposely created a black screen to look for bleeding. I can't say it's made me a better FPS player, but at least some of those, 'how the fuck did they see me' moments are understandable now. Turns out, bigger screen + better colors and light levels = easier to distinguish targets.

Member of the 34" Master Race, here: it may be a monstrosity, but it is a glorious monstrosity.
 
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News Comments > DCS: F/A-18C Hornet Announced
7. Re: Morning Mobilization May 31, 2017, 18:28 Scottish Martial Arts
 
jdreyer wrote on May 31, 2017, 15:49:
Being classified seems an odd excuse.

1. Janes did an apache sim 20 years ago.

2. DCS did the Ka-50 Black Shark, which was developed around the same time as the Apache.

3. DCS also did the A-10C which was an upgrade done in 2011, very recently. Certainly everything for that upgrade remains classified.

It seems like you could make some educated guesses and come out with a decent sim.

1. Even the most detailed Jane's Sim (coincidentally to this thread, the F/A-18E Super Hornet) was about an order of magnitude less detailed than the DCS line of simulations; the AH-64D Longbow sim was about two to three orders of magnitude less detailed. That's not to say the Jane's Sims were not simulations, just that they had different goals and aimed for different levels of detail.

2. The Ka-50 is no longer in active production, nor is it really in active service (there are 10 of them in the Russian Army), having been superseded by the alternate Ka-52 design, and the Russian Army preferring the competing Mi-28 for procurement, overall. While the helicopter itself is a pretty unique feat of engineering, its avionics and weapons systems are all standard Russian equipment, e.g. the cannon is the same as is used on a BMP-2, the Shkval optical targeting system and the Vihkr AGTMs appear in almost all other Russian attack helicopters and attack planes.

Also, Eagle Dynamics has a working relationship with the Kamov Design Bureau, doing contract simulation work for them and the Russian military, allowing them access to the kind of data that allows them to make a simulation realistic, yet still operate at a level of abstraction such that actual system details are not revealed in commercial products. For example, the capabilities and interface of the ABRIS moving map system is well documented and declassified, and so it is fully and realistically usable in DCS: Black Shark, but DCS Black Shark does not actually have virtualized versions of the ABRIS computers running in the DCS executable; instead, the actual ABRIS computer is abstracted away, and the same goes for other things like engine modeling and weapons system modeling.

3. There are some aspects of the A-10C which are still classified. However, much as Eagle Dynamics does contract work for the Russian military, they also do it for the US Air Force. In this case, DCS A-10C was originally made under contract for the US Air National Guard as a "desktop training simulator" for ANG A-10A pilots making the conversion to the A-10C. As part of the contract, ED retained rights to release a commercial version at a later date, with all classified components abstracted or removed. In other words, DCS A-10C was the result of having access to the classified data necessary to make the simulation realistic and detailed. Nevertheless, the classified A-10C systems represent a very small proportion of the end simulation; according to ED, DCS A-10C has > 95% commonality with what they delivered to the Air National Guard.

Depending on the aircraft, you could probably make sufficient educated guesses to make a simulation of a classified aircraft. In the case of the F-22, you would be making almost entirely educated guesses: you wouldn't be simulating the F-22, you would be simulating a hypothetical aircraft that may or may not be what the F-22 is actually like. ED has made pretty clear from the beginning that they'll only be doing DCS branded modules on aircraft for which there is sufficient data to provide realistic and accurate simulations, and in the case of the F-22, the F-35, or other highly classified aircraft, they simply don't have access to the data.

You'll note that the great bulk of DCS modules released to date are from second (~Korea) and third (~Vietnam era) generation aircraft, with just a handful of fourth generation (e.g. the A-10C) aircraft. This is not coincidental.
 
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News Comments > New Intel CPU Announcements
39. Re: Morning Mobilization May 30, 2017, 21:54 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Prez wrote on May 30, 2017, 19:11:
So which of these does matter to gamers? The low end i9 or high end i7?

We'll have to wait for benchmarks to say for certain, but I'd wager the low-end i9 will probably end up being the new x700k as the sweet spot for a gamer wanting a high-end CPU but is still willing to acknowledge diminishing returns.

edit: wait, I was looking at the wrong line in the table, lol. I'd go with the high end i7-7820X. It appears as though it would offer meaningful performance increases over the 7700K. The i9 range looks like it is purely for people whose computational workload benefits from parallelization, e.g. people who work with video, scientific computing, or big data processing jobs. The only variety of gamer who would benefit from the i9 line is the aforementioned streamers.
 
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News Comments > New Intel CPU Announcements
34. Re: New Intel CPU Announcements May 30, 2017, 17:05 Scottish Martial Arts
 
jdreyer wrote on May 30, 2017, 13:49:
Agent-Zero wrote on May 30, 2017, 10:09:
i mean.. 18 core 36 thread?? holy fuck dude.. wow

Besides something like 4K video editing or hobbyist 3D rendering, what is something like this useful for?

Prototyping data processing pipelines that will eventually run in a distributed server environment comes to mind. You don't want to waste computing quota on a buggy pipeline, but running a pipeline on realistic test data can quickly bring a workstation to its knees.

But yeah this kind of core count is not needed for gamers or general consumers.
 
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News Comments > Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China Takes Off
8. Re: Morning Mobilization May 29, 2017, 18:50 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Xero wrote on May 29, 2017, 13:02:
Remember when flying simulators were all the rage with PC gaming in the mid to late 90s? Where did they all go?

The low- and mid-fidelity flight games shifted to mobile, where the accelerometer provides a surprisingly decent input device for flight control. I know Bluesnews likes to shit on mobile gaming and modern computing, but mobile is actually quite good at doing Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe/Strike Commander style flight games. The high-fidelity simulators are still around, and thriving actually, but the rest of the market is no longer with on PC. If you're willing to put in the time to learn a DCS A-10C style sim, then there is more than enough high quality content these days, in both the civil and military aviation realms. Civil aviation has a few mid-market products, primarily sims by Dovetail Games, based upon reconfigured versions of Flight Simulator X, but not so for military. For military flight sims on the PC, you've basically got Battlefield, with entirely arcade flight dynamics, and Digital Combat Simulator, where starting up your aircraft is a 10 minute procedure, and nothing in between. Fortunately, I quite like the DCS games and can start up a Ka-50 and employ it and its weapons effectively in combat with almost the same degree of recall as riding a bike. Of course, it took like 1000 hours to get to that point lol.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
22. Re: Morning Mobilization May 29, 2017, 08:45 Scottish Martial Arts
 
RedEye9 wrote on May 28, 2017, 18:58:
It sucks but there is no other choice for gaming. With that said be sure and read this recent tidbit: Security Analyst Concludes Windows 10 Enterprise "Tracks Too Much"

He effectively makes the case that it's a pain in the ass/impossible to disable Windows 10 telemetry. He does not discuss what's being reported, nor how the mechanisms for collecting that telemetry represent a security flaw. I went to go check his Twitter rant for more context, but Mr. Privacy posts ~40 per day -- and apparently really likes posting shitty memes about tacos around lunch time -- and I didn't have the patience to scroll back through a mere 8 days of posts. Finally, he doesn't discuss the tradeoffs entailed in software developers having no telemetry data to work with. Coming from the other side -- i.e. someone who works on improving the quality metrics of an extremely large scale data processing pipeline -- there's a whole lot of shit in modern computing, shit that you rely upon and use everyday, that we just can't do if we don't have any data to work with to assess what works and what doesn't. That doesn't mean we need to abolish privacy, but it does mean that there's a trade off that's not being discussed when an addictive Twitter user complains about the lengths you have to go to to disable anonymous telemetry.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
9. Re: Morning Mobilization May 27, 2017, 20:14 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Personally, I think this is a solution that is more likely to prevent jaywalking: https://youtu.be/SB_0vRnkeOk

Plus, it's more fun.

When I moved to Manhattan earlier this year, it was a bit of culture shock that A) New Yorkers walk so damn fast, at least during the work week, and B) no one pays attention to pedestrian stop lights: if it's clear, you go. Trying to tell everyone their daily behavior is wrong is a difficult sell; incentivizing different, safer behavior, is probably easier. The trick with this idea would be finding a way to keep it novel, so that people continue to be entertained while waiting for the green light, even when they see it everyday.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
15. Re: Morning Mobilization May 26, 2017, 06:32 Scottish Martial Arts
 
jdreyer wrote on May 26, 2017, 04:22:
Sorry you had to suffer so that we may be spared. Yeah, I could kind of tell from the trailers that it was going to suck. All these soft reboot movies do: the Thing (2011), Jurassic World, Force Awakens, Terminator Genesys, etc. It's an attempt to cash in and not bother to come up with original shit.

Those were my expectations about two weeks ago. Then, I started hearing fairly positive things. Then, I saw it, and, for the reasons outlined earlier, found it remarkably good. Perhaps it was just the defeat of extremely low expectations, but I thought it was genuinely a good film, unlike the other films you mentioned (with the exception of The Force Awakens, which I felt was the cinematic equivalent of a very well made hamburger: you are surprised by little, you know what to expect, but damn does it still taste good, even if you've experienced the same concept thousands of times before).

For most of nerd culture, Alien and Aliens hold a very special place in our hearts, engrained in our late childhoods/teenage years, providing a common pop-cultural backdrop to everything else we've ended up enjoying. (How many video games have had Aliens references, explicit and implicit, for example?) The new one is not going to be a part of that firmament simply because no movie can be: I'm not, at age 32, going to be carrying around quotes and characters from this movie through my formative years, because those formative years have already passed. I am, however, able to enjoy the raw tension, to marvel at Michael Fassbender's performance, and soak in the thematic explorations that, although distinct from the first two films, are rich in their own right. I am also able to cringe when yet another movie misinterprets Shelley's Ozymandias, only to realize that such misinterpretation was intentional because the quoter of the poem can't even correctly identify the author, and has to be corrected, slyly allowing the writers to reveal dimensions of a character -- namely the cracks in his urbane facade -- who utterly steals the show.

But if you want to trust someone who cannot capitalize, nor complete, his sentences as an astute judge of good writing, and what constitutes trading it for spectacle, be my guest.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
2. Re: Morning Mobilization May 25, 2017, 08:49 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Speaking of sci-fi, has anyone else seen Alien: Covenant yet? I hadn't even been planning to bother seeing it, but then the critics were mostly positive, and... it's actually quite good. The villain, played by Michael Fassbender, is easily the most interesting movie villain in years: he's legitimately menacing, brilliant but diabolical, and, most importantly, you can't ever assume he's actually going to be defeated. The film mines many of the same themes as Prometheus but unlike that mess -- which seemed to be pasted together from at least three different scripts -- there's some genuine thematic richness surrounding this movie's exploration of the relationship between creation and mortality, genius and madness. As is typical for Scott, even in his terrible movies, the cinematography and production design are superb. Plus, it's legitimately terrifying, at least in an IMAX theater.

My only complaint is that too many of the doomed colonists clearly exist only to die, leaving them underwritten, and the third act is a bit rushed and perfunctory. Some will probably complain of a plot twist being too obvious, but they will miss the point that you are supposed to consider that twist a likely, but not certain, possibility, and the length at which it's foreshadowed, yet not immediately resolved, leaves you questioning whether the twist is actually coming or not, creating further tension.

The best thing I can say is that while this probably won't achieve the same cult status as the first two films, this nevertheless is the first watchable, enjoyable, and genuinely pretty good Alien film since 1986.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
62. Re: Morning Mobilization May 24, 2017, 08:19 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Quboid wrote on May 23, 2017, 21:09:
Scottish Martial Arts wrote on May 23, 2017, 19:47:
[...]Granted, 9/11 was a traumatic event, but the world only changed because we decided to collectively live in fear.[...]

Yep, to the whole post. Considering the main goal of ISIS attacks in the West is to force a divide between the West and Islam, we've conceded so much to them. Attitudes to terrorism changed in Northern Ireland too, there are people for whom The Troubles were during most of their lives and even they think terrorism is the scary Muslims.

I think there are two separate but very closely related issues: keeping ourselves safe and fixing the root problem. It's the former that dominates politics and national policy but the later which is key to the problem. Safety is obviously important but the danger to you and me is hugely exaggerated by populist politicians and sensationalist media and I think that's leading us to make bad decisions with regard to reducing the problem globally.

Heh, not that long ago I mentioned the movie Patriot Games to one of my coworkers who is recently out of school. He hadn't heard of it, so I summarized it as a CIA analyst and his family being targeted for assassination by Irish terrorists after he intervenes as a bystander in an attack in London. When I mentioned "Irish terrorists" he literally laughed: the idea of Irish terrorists to him seemed absurd. And this kid is an Ivy League engineering school grad! Yes, terrorist attacks committed by putative Muslims are a routine thing these days, but we've nevertheless entered a surreal world in which no other terrorism exists, and that the notion that white Catholics and Protestants were once the de facto face of terrorism in the West is treated as laughable. I can't imagine how weird it must be to encounter people who personally lived through The Troubles but now can only equate terrorism with Muslims.

Clausewitz is hopelessly oriented towards the Western way of war, but if we take his famous dictum of war being the continuation of politics by other means, then terrorism is the continuation of war by other means. We engage in armed conflict when we do not have legal and political means to redress disputes and resolve conflicts. We engage in terrorism when we do not have the military power to engage in conventional armed conflict to resolve our conflicts and disputes.

ISIS has goals that are too extreme to be resolved in the political system of our international order, and their military power is too weak to engage in conventional conflict beyond the borders of their "state", so that leaves them with only one option to pursue their goals abroad: low-tech, low-casualty, max impact, showpiece suicide terror attacks. As you note, they specifically want to awaken Muslims worldwide to the "righteousness" of their cause, especially Muslims in the West, so that they can have the manpower to confront us more conventionally in a final, apocalyptic battle. The attacks aren't meant to kill us in significant numbers; they are meant to make us hate them and fear them to the point that anyone with brown skin and a beard seems suspect: that's the difference between warfare and terrorism.

And frankly, it seems like their terrorism is largely succeeding in that end.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
55. Re: Morning Mobilization May 23, 2017, 21:58 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Beamer wrote on May 23, 2017, 20:32:
Have you tried Crispo yet? Just came back from there, actually.

Not yet. Google feeds me breakfast lunch and dinner during the work week, so I've actually gone to very few restaurants. And on weekends my friends seem to be more of a "brunch as the main meal of the day, then maybe some bar food as the afternoon and evening progresses" types. I do like the Corner Bistro on Jane St. for a hamburger and beer though (cheap too, by NYC standards!) and Bonsigneur, also on Jane St, is my go to for getting a picnic sandwich or salad. The Crooked Knife on 15th(?) st is also a pretty good spot for both brunch and dinner, with bottomless beer and wine dinners on Sunday and Monday night haha.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
53. Re: Morning Mobilization May 23, 2017, 21:39 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Krodge wrote on May 23, 2017, 21:17:
Scottish Martial Arts wrote on May 23, 2017, 20:14:
A Final Solution, perhaps?

Do you honestly believe that's what he was saying?
How can we even discuss the issue if you're going to imply things like that?


Granted, he left it open to interpretation but given his post history, I strongly doubt the "facts" to which he referred were about the history, theology, social practices, cultural contributions, and broad diversity of the Muslim world. Nor is it likely his proposed solution involved leveraging empathy, education, and a greater commitment to economic and social development projects in the Muslim world. In case you've never seen footage of a Trump rally, there are a whole lot of people for whom the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim. Occasionally, they show up on this forum. If he'd like to correct me, he's welcome to, but as others have noted, no one who mentions the "simple and obvious" solution seems enthusiastic about coming back to explain they weren't suggesting actions that would violate the Geneva Convention or the Laws of Land Warfare.
 
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
52. Re: Morning Mobilization May 23, 2017, 21:31 Scottish Martial Arts
 
SMITE wrote on May 23, 2017, 20:16:
This "none of us are ever going to die of terrorism" argument pisses me the hell off. So what if none of US are going to die from it--lots of other people ARE dying from it. Are the lives of people in other countries worth so little to you?

What if you happened to be born in Afghanistan? Or Pakistan? Or Saudi Arabia? Or, for that matter, France or England?

Islamic terrorism is a global issue, even if you're lucky enough to live in a country that doesn't suffer from it.

As for "being a pussy," I have no fear whatsoever of a terror attack here in the U.S. I'm not afraid, period. But I still have empathy for the victims, and hatred for their attackers, and for those who would defend the religion that drives them.

The metrics aren't much worse for France or England. Yes, there have been high profile attacks in the past several years; no, they haven't killed that many people. Well under 1000 since 2014, by my eyeballed, not actually punched into a calculator summation of the numbers here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_terrorism_in_Europe_(2014%E2%80%93present) I'd be willing to bet more French men and women die of Gauloises-induced lung cancer every week or so than will die to an ISIS attacker for as long as ISIS is a thing. The risk is higher in the EU because they face completely different security challenges, but the danger terrorism poses to them is the danger terrorism poses most everywhere: not to actually inflict real damage, but to induce fear out of proportion to that damage, so that the targets begin to take rash, self-damaging actions.

As for Muslim majority countries in which you are much more likely to die from terrorism, that does indeed suck for Muslim civilians. It also sucks that we back the authoritarian regimes which oppress those Muslim citizens and which have delegitimized the secular Pan-Arab Nationalist reform movement of the 50s and 60s which those authoritarians co opted, and, most importantly, gave rise to Political Islam in the 70s as a reaction to the perceived failure of Arab Nationalism and Secularism. Yeah, Islam in 2017 remains in many ways a medieval religion, and no, not everything is about America, but yes, damn it, we played a major role in ensuring that Political Islam, -- and after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 80s, its more militant, jihadist off shoots -- completely superseded the secular, modernist alternatives. But hey, at least we maintained the balance of power in the region against the Soviets, peeled off a few Arab states to make peace with Israel as part of the bargain, and prevented the democratically elected Mossadegh from nationalizing Iranian oil by deposing him in a coup, at least until the puppet authoritarian Shah we put in his place was deposed by the Islamic Revolution!

One of the arguments that consistently comes up after an ISIS terrorist attack is that Muslims are the problem -- an argument that is reductive in the extreme but I will nevertheless admit isn't entirely without merit either -- yet the only consistent, large scale victims of those problematic people are... themselves. So is Islam the problem that requires a "simple and obvious" solution, or are Muslims the victims of a problem that by and large doesn't affect us Westerners except in so far as we make bone-headed decisions to "fix" a region we've been progressively and cumulatively fucking up since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire? Speaking of which, kind of cool how the forces of Political Islam we were so instrumental in nurturing and unleashing -- and then arming for battle in Soviet-era Afghanistan -- have now effectively subverted what was once the crown jewel of a modern, secular, Muslim-majority state, i.e. Turkey?

Look, we're all angry and bitter because something shitty happened in the world, again. Yet, aside from the "simple and obvious" solution, or rather the human-rights-abusing-war-crimes-committing-non-solution, there's not a whole lot we can do about it. My own take is that we've long since lost the privilege of claiming this is our problem to solve.

This comment was edited on May 23, 2017, 21:46.
 
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