* Posts by LionelB

677 posts • joined 9 Jul 2009


Girls Who Code books 'banned' in some US classrooms

LionelB Silver badge

Re: The last sentence of the article has it.

"It backfired in that the alt-tech are doing really rather well ..."

Have they? Seems to me they've largely retreated to a circle-jerk in the corner, with occasional pustular outbreaks.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: The last sentence of the article has it.

"So a statue of an officer on a horse, or a soldier holding a musket is "oppressive"? Wow, some people are perhaps too sensitive."

So a picture of a crooked black cross is "oppressive"? Wow, some people are perhaps too sensitive.

Please look up the meaning of "symbolism".

LionelB Silver badge

Re: The last sentence of the article has it.

"Perhaps or perhaps not. Honoring someone for some honorable service they provided is not the same as promoting their beliefs."

Aye, hence the statues of Mussolini in front of all Italian railway stations.

(Actually, in light of recent events maybe that doesn't work so well... or maybe it works better?)

LionelB Silver badge

Re: The last sentence of the article has it.

As regards "cancel culture", I think there's a not-so-subtle difference.

The "left" version is along the lines of "You have the freedom to say what you like, but not necessarily on my platform. The world does not owe you a platform for your ideas".

Whereas the "right" version is more "Freedom of speech means that the world does owe me a platform - and if you criticise my ideas you're infringing my right to freedom of speech".

Now's your chance, AI, to do good. Protect endangered eagles from wind turbines

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @John Sager

Most of your comment being worthless bull, I cannot be bothered to respond at all.

With the exception of this.

"The subsidy is given to green tech."

And not to the fossil fuel industry...? Seems the IMF disagrees.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @John Sager

"Reiterated bull yet to be seen."

The only one reiterating bull here appears to be yourself.

"Actually wrong."

Nope. Perfectly illustrates my point of the fragility of global inter-dependencies, especially in a context of dysfunctional geopolitics, unstable despots, short-termism and piss-poor planning.

"Also it is important to point out the cutting of the gas supply was achieved by sanctions above all which were self imposed."

Ah... so the the despotic madman responds with malice because some nasty, nasty people disapprove of his heroic nationalistic putsch, and consider it repugnant (and, in the longer term, dangerous and self-defeating) to continue business-as-usual with him. Also, it is important to point out that sanctions were not "self-imposed", unless you think Russia imposed them on themselves.

"Which is worth piffle and squat because it is deemed green enough for most of the EU's green energy to come from it."

Lies. Scroll down to the heading "Wind and water provide most renewable electricity; solar is the fastest-growing energy source". (Besides which, I've already stated that I'm not a fan of biofuels; I am not beholden to your, or anyone else's conception of what "green" should mean.)

IOW, the only "piffle" here appears to be yours.

"And yet you already know wind doesnt work."

We've been round that one and I've no intention of indulging your dishonest and tendentious "doesn't workism" any further.

"Poor energy planning is an understatement."

Yup, Germany made a terrible hash of it, putting all their fossil-fuel eggs in one basket. Then again, if they'd been more serious about actually committing to renewables at scale, that would have mitigated the impact somewhat. In the longer term, it may well be that Putin has done a favour to the drive towards renewables.


Yes, really. It's in the science journals and reports.

"Even better we could use some cheap energy to make such R&D and manufacture cheaper!!! "

More important to actually put some funding behind it, rather than effectively subsidising the fossil-fuel industry, who, as we know, will fight tooth-and-claw against what they (probably correctly, in the long run) see as an existential threat to their business model. Ironically, if it weren't that they are so idiotically wedded to short-termism, they are arguably the best-placed industry to actually be developing renewable solutions themselves.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @John Sager

"... and yet we know warmer climate is better for life."

An utterly meaningless statement, particularly in the context of current warming and its impact on climate, etc., etc.

"The interlinked and interdependent is one of the reasons we cope so well, because if one place suffers a problem the rest of the world still has supply."

Disputable (cf. the mayhem unleashed by one country cutting its gas supply to half a continent).

"Burning wood chips from virgin wood transported around the world is apparently 'green'."

Not in my book.

"Pushing unreliable energy sources that dont work ..."

Sure; much better to push renewable solutions which do work, such as wind, solar, tidal, etc.

"Growing crops to turn into fuel during a food crisis."

Really bad idea. Wouldn't recommend that.

"The green madness is putting Europe in for a cold winter."

I think you'll find that's because of a despotic lunatic and poor energy planning by many European countries.

"We have a measurable harm to life on earth as a direct consequence of green madness."

Do we have that? Who says (apart from some alt-right culture-war warriors)?

"And yet is still in question, still very questionable predictions ..."

According to some alt-right culture-war warriors, (as opposed to actual climate scientists).

"... and based on the idea of commanding the tide to go out."


"Unfortunately the major problem is MMCC is in the world of politics and religion instead of where it needed to remain in science."

I'm all for remaining with the science.

"Let me guess- more monuments to a sky god and maybe the sacrifice of the worlds poor?"

Nope. Renewable solutions and massive research into same, especially energy storage.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @John Sager

Why would I agree to that? The climate changes and historically we have been even less prepared for the changes yet managed to survive through it. Climate change back towards an ice period would be deadly, a little warming improved life on earth.

The climate changes naturally on geological time scales. The last ice age ended about 12,000 years ago. Current warming goes back less than a couple of centuries, in which time the global population has increased enormously, and human culture become far more globally interlinked and interdependent (e.g., in terms of agriculture and food supply). A "little warming" (and what does "a little" even mean to you?) in the current scenario, with the consequential effects of changing climate patterns, increased frequency of extreme weather events, rising sea levels, etc., seems highly unlikely to "improve life" on earth. Quite the opposite.

The science of which I speak (i.e., the science in the geological, meteorological and climate science journals) gives us a good idea of warming rates given the rate at which we pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (also taking into account other factors such as deforestation and sea acidification), and also gives us a good idea of the consequences of warming for the climate and geophysical phenomena such as polar ice shrinkage, permafrost thaw and sea level rise. Yet I do not, and have not, spoken of "doom" - because, given the will, the current rate of warming can be curtailed.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @Naich

"To be fair I have only been responding recently to see what the next ridiculous comment you make is."

And I for the desultory amusement of watching you bluster and squirm.

The point I was making, of course, is that your interpretation of "doesn't work" with regard to renewable energy technology (as compared with the everyday understanding of the phrase) is ludicrous, selective, disingenuous and inconsistent.

But I accept that you have painted yourself into that corner in order to maintain your belief system, so there is little point continuing with this conversation, which has become repetitive, circular, and increasingly dull.

See ya.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @Naich

"I am in the UK. I dont know where you live to have snow all the time as the norm."

Didn't say that. But it happens.

"So the power output is reliable and doesnt need a gas backup then!"

Didn't say that. But it's pretty reliable most of the time.

"Never not once but I can believe it happens."

Oh, sure. Never gone out rambling in the countryside for a day? Travelled by train where reception comes and goes? Maybe you need to get out more. Or your ISP throws a wobble? (ISP technology "doesn't work".)

"your phone doesnt work!!! "

Okay, mobile phones are rubbish technology. They don't work. We shouldn't bother manufacturing or using them. Because (like windfarms) they don't work (sometimes).

"In normal operation you carry a satphone? ... Wtf planet are you on?"

Please look up "irony" and "sarcasm".

"You get instructions when you buy a jumper? I want you to know you have me laughing my arse off. This is funny."

Excellent. It was supposed to be. Please look up "irony", "sarcasm" and "taking the piss".

"So far yet to give an example."

Cars. Mobile phones. Jumpers.

"And Johns comment about your ad hominem abuse was in response to your insults to me ..."

Indeed, hands up, and I apologise. That's why I suggested we tone down the language.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @Naich

"Would you say that your car doesn't work because sometimes there's too much snow on the road to drive safely?"

Would that be called normal operation? I am not talking about extreme situations I am talking about normal, day to day.

Um, yeah, snow is pretty normal in this (and many other) countries. Then you require expensive back-up options, like snow-ploughs and road-gritting. (And, BTW, you might describe the wind not blowing in the Channel as pretty abnormal ;-))

"Or that your mobile phone doesn't work because sometimes the battery runs out and you've no available recharging point, or there's no reception where you happen to be?"

What is it people say when their mobile has no reception? 'My mobile isnt working'! Failing to maintain your battery as not putting fuel in your car is not normal operation.

Don't know about you, but it is hardly uncommon to find oneself in a situation where your battery is going to run out even if you started out fully charged. (Yeah, I suppose you could carry a mobile charger... but I guess that means that your phone's own battery "doesn't work".) And it is pretty normal (in this and other countries) to find yourself in an area where there is simply no mobile (or mobile data) reception.

So by your logic, we should forget about mobile phones since, like windfarms, they don't work all the time (in non-extreme situations), and you need expensive back-up options like mobile chargers and satellite phones.

"Or your favourite jumper doesn't work because sometimes it's just too cold?"

How is it not working? It is working just as a T-Shirt would be working but you are not using it correctly. Not normal operation.

Hm, that's not what the instructions said. They said it would keep me warm, nothing about "extreme cold". Now I need an expensive back-up option like an overcoat.

Okay. Not all technologies work all the time under "normal" (whatever that means) situations. So, you know what? We use back-up options, and sometimes they are expensive, but hopefully we don't need to use them often enough that we'd write off the technology as "doesn't work".

PS. Were you not accusing me earlier of ad hominem abuse? Perhaps we can both tone down the language (sarcasm entirely acceptable, though).

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @Naich

"That is a good and valid question. ... [some hokey 'analysis']"

And you have accurately costed the economics and worked out CO2 balances? I don't think so.

"However instead of efficiently running a gas power plant which reduces costs further there is increased wear and tear on a gas power plant for ramping up and down. Yet based on the 'science' gas power gives off less co2 ..."

Less CO2 than what, exactly? According to whom? Sorry, don't buy it.

"I say wind doesnt work (until the storage problem is solved) ..."

I completely disagree. That's disingenuous goalpost-shifting. Would you say that your car doesn't work because sometimes there's too much snow on the road to drive safely? Or that your mobile phone doesn't work because sometimes the battery runs out and you've no available recharging point, or there's no reception where you happen to be? Or your favourite jumper doesn't work because sometimes it's just too cold? Sorry, that's a rubbish argument.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @Naich

Actually, he is very articulate - he lies with great panache. If scoundrels like him are your gurus, I can see where your beliefs are coming from. You're being suckered.

No thanks, if we're talking about climate science I'll rather pay attention to, y'know, actual climate scientists.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @John Sager

You asked "What science?" - deeply disingenuous, since you obviously knew the answer. You then replied with... I don't know, a response to a different question?

"Which does not spell out doom."

Hmm, for various values of "doom"... let's agree It's not looking like increasing the total sum of human (or any other) well-being.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @Naich

Wow you lie. Not even grey area you lie. See below-


Oops, my bad (to be honest, that was so verbose and incoherent I don't think I even realised you were actually attempting to answer my questions).

Most!=all. So answer the question- "So your computer falls off when the turbines dont provide enough power?". We know the answer and it does you no favours.

Of course there is backup from the fossil-fuel and nuclear grid when the windfarm is not generating sufficient power. But, of course, for the majority of the time it is functional, that means less gas to burn. How is that not a good thing?

So... around we go again: most of my power is supplied by renewables most of the time. How that is twisted into "doesn't work" is quite beyond me.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @Naich

"I suggest you sit back, relax and enjoy this amusing clip- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBf2PU_Bvog"

Oh, great. I need to be lectured to by an alt-right non-climate-scientist culture warrior misrepresenting climate science? A self-publicist who epitomises the "stupid person's clever person"?


LionelB Silver badge

Re: @Naich

"There you go. A religious belief, against all real-world evidence, that renewable energy technologies "don't work" - as I sit here writing this on a machine powered by my local offshore wind farm."

So your computer falls off when the turbines dont provide enough power? Its a statement of fact that the technology doesnt work, it cant work until energy storage is solved. I quote you elsewhere in this comment section- "Plus there are some promising energy storage options on the not-too-distant horizon."

Thanks for selectively failing to quote the bit where I said that my local offshore windfarm is functional most of the time, and that I did not expect an immediate full switch-over to renewables. But I guess in your black-and-white world that is the only way it could happen... In the mean time, renewable energy is working. For me. Now.

You have still pointedly failed to answer my earlier questions; in brief:

1. Do you think it likely that anthropogenic warming is happening?

2. Assuming you accept that's at least a reasonable possibility, what do you think the likely consequences will be (with regard to quality of life, socially, economically and politically), and do you have any concerns about them?

3. Assuming that anthropogenic warming may actually be happening, and that the consequences may be, let's say, undesirable, what do you think we should be doing about that?

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @John Sager

The question was risible. Shall I spell out the answer? The science is, as always, in the scientific journals* and reports. But of course you knew that.

*Annoyingly, some of it may be behind paywalls, although that is slowly changing (at my research centre we have a strict policy to only publish open-access).

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @John Sager

"What science?"

Seriously?!? Well, there go the remaining shreds of your credibility.

"If I spot you on a corner I will recognise you. Do you just stand there or shout out to try and save souls?"

I have a very quiet voice. I prefer to listen rather than shout. (Try that sometime.)

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @Naich

"Thats fine, if the answer is we dont know enough then we dont burn ourselves assuming an answer."

However, we actually do know rather a lot about climate science (note my point that warming predictions made in the 70s by Exxon climatologists were already pretty damn good). The picture you paint of our current state of knowledge is, if I may use your turn of phrase, "bull".

"We await facts instead of abusing what little we know and then spinning it into a religion with its own messiah."

But we know very much more than "little", and are not merely sitting around "awaiting facts". The evidence for anthropogenic warming and its consequences has been steadily accumulating for decades, to the point that trying to write it off as "inconclusive" (ironically, even the fossil-fuel companies no longer even bother trying to pull that one) comes across as either ignorant or downright duplicitous.

And I most certainly do not treat climate science as a religion. As a scientist myself, I naturally treat it the same as I do any other science (do you...? honestly...?) It seems very much to me that the climate-change denialist lobby has spun its very own anti-climate science mythology, replete with satanic "messiahs" and cabals of conspiratorial scientists owned by their shape-shifting Green lizard masters.

"We are throwing out energy generation and replacing it with technology that doesnt work."

There you go. A religious belief, against all real-world evidence, that renewable energy technologies "don't work" - as I sit here writing this on a machine powered by my local offshore wind farm.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @Naich

"If it makes you feel any better these are the model predictions which might again change tomorrow when they account for the next natural process they didnt realise."

This seems to speak to a deep misunderstanding about how science works.

Firstly, science is pretty much all models (E = mc^2, for example, is a fine model for the relationship between energy and mass). But the role of models in science is frequently misunderstood. The purpose of a model is not, as frequently imagined, to mimic physical reality as closely as possible (hence the famous quote: "The best material model for a cat is another cat, or preferably the same cat." Rather, it is to have good predictive power, or to explain some aspect of physical reality well (hence another famous quote: "All models are wrong (but some are useful)".

There's a beautiful example of this in the well-known Ising model in statistical physics (something I know a little about). The Ising model is, on the face of it, a model for the phenomenon of ferromagnetism. But in terms of physical veracity it's an absolutely rubbish model. It is desperately naive, and overall behaves nothing like real-world ferromagnetism - for starters, the classic version is a 2D model, whereas of course ferromagnets are 3D. And yet... it absolutely nails one crucial aspect of ferromagnetism, the phase transition at the Curie point (the critical temperature where a ferromagnet abruptly demagnetises). In fact just about everything we know about phase transitions in physics (and we know a lot!) can be traced back to studying the Ising model. So, it may be a "rubbish" model, but it's certainly an extraordinarily useful one.

So to what extent should we "believe" science? Ultimately, current science -- pretty much by definition -- represents our best state of knowledge about a given field given the available evidence to date. And yes, of course new or more accurate evidence can come to light which will force the science to update itself. But ask yourself: can you, even in principle, do better than current knowledge based on up-to-date evidence?

So if you choose "not to believe" current science, where does that leave you? Well, I suppose you can just throw up your hands and say "the science is rubbish - we know nothing about such-and-such". But that would simply be wrong, because in reality we (probably) do know quite a lot.

As for climate science, here's an interesting story: nearly 40 years ago scientists at Exxon knew about anthropogenic climate change (their bosses, of course, chose to bury or misrepresent their findings). They were good scientists. Their predictions of warming, it turns out, were frighteningly accurate.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: Re:

"Want to change something? Start by doing yourself ..."

An admirable sentiment.

"... and not trying to force someone else to do it your way."

Well, I'm certainly not in a position to force anyone to do anything, nor would I wish to. I would be happy if I could help persuade people to listen to what climate science is telling us, and avoid getting sucked into science-denialism and conspiracy-theorising.

"Now I hear the we need to rid ourselves of the co2. My trees need it."

Well trees seemed to do just fine with pre-industrial CO2 levels. There is absolutely no suggestion that anyone would like (even if it were possible, which practically-speaking it isn't) to reduce CO2 levels to below that! What would be the point?

"Watch the big birds when they are wind surfing. They get the rise when over open fields and roads. That is where the heat is, and if we go by that, we need to ban all roads."

An insane suggestion that no-one is actually suggesting.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @John Sager

Make that "ad hominems" (plural) - dedicated to all the conspiracy nuts, tin hats and science deniers out there.

You're welcome.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @John Sager

So following mainstream science is now some sort of extremist position? Depressing.

PS. My sandwich board actually reads: "I'm really quite concerned about this".

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @John Sager

<sigh>Dammit, first it was the flat-earthers, then the creationists, then the 5Gers and anti-vaxxers... I know there's no point trying to reason with science-denialism, yet I fall for it every time. Just can't resist a tin-hat challenge, I guess.</sigh>

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @Naich

Well, I stand corrected on "undoing" CO2 levels in the atmosphere - seems we're basically stuck with what we've got for millennia. Ouch. Seems like a damn good reason to cut back on emissions with great urgency.

That said, I am not going to even attempt to argue your science-denialism, but I admit to being somewhat morbidly intrigued in what exactly it is that you do believe: so do you believe (against all evidence) that global temperatures are not rising? Or, if you at least accept that, do you believe (against all evidence) that a few degrees of warming will not have serious consequences? Are you content that we go about business-as-usual with fossil fuels? Are you unconcerned about the social, economic and political consequences of flooding, drought, fires, storm devastation, sea-level rise, crop failure, etc. that evidence suggests are already ramping up as a result of warming? What is your plan?

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @John Sager

Happily, the Channel is a pretty damn windy place, and modern turbines don't actually need terribly high wind speeds (about 7 mph does it).

Of course I don't expect an instant switch-over to wind/solar/tidal, etc. But as new technologies and economies of scale kick in, renewables are becoming ever cheaper and more efficient, while fossil-fuel options, errm, are not (in case it had escaped your notice). Plus there are some promising energy storage options on the not-too-distant horizon.

Bottom line is, once you amortise the future (and, increasingly, present) costs of the consequences of burning fossil fuels at scale - flooding, storm damage, fires, drought, sea-level rise, crop failure, ... plus the millions of refugees from, and political instability cased by those things (cf. Pakistan), there is only one conclusion: simply, the world cannot afford (neither figuratively nor economically) to carry on business-as-usual with fossil fuels.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @John Sager

"Well, yes; we are being forced to go there by the far more calamitous downsides of where we have been going."

Aka you feel guilty for whatever religious sins you hold in your head and not only wanna lash your own back in repentance but want everyone else lashed for your 'beliefs'.

Sorry, not religious, don't deal in beliefs. As a scientist, I'm much more comfortable with evidence.

And as a human, I am genuinely concerned for the future of human and other species. If anyone's to be "lashed" for "beliefs", that lashing will be climate-induced, and those "beliefs" will be anthropogenic climate-change denialism (and "belief" it is, as it is most certainly not evidence-based).

To not munch up birds, ...

More gobbledegook. Wind, solar, and other renewable/sustainable energy sources are extremely effective, and already cheaper than fossil fuel generation (as we speak, where I live most of the power most of the time comes from an offshore wind farm). Nor do I discount nuclear, since you didn't ask.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @Naich

"Yes, yes it has... over timescales measured in 10s - 100s of thousands of years, rather than the decades we are seeing now (see icon)."

Are you sure?

As a statistician and scientist myself, yes, I am reasonably sure - certainly sure enough to be very, very worried.

... which leads to the conclusion that within huge error bars we dont have much to worry about.

The evidence to date most certainly does not support that conclusion - quite the opposite!

"by ceasing to pump gazillions of tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere."

And that would reverse the theoretical change already made?

In time (measured in human years), yes - that would reverse the evident (i.e., measured) change.

Is this will a mass extermination of life on earth? I say life not just humans as cows and sheep are attacked for their 'gasses' so should we cull most of the life on the planet? Or should we not be so stupid?

Failed to parse [some weird stuff no-one is suggesting].

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @John Sager

Well, yes; we are being forced to go there by the far more calamitous downsides of where we have been going.

As far as I can see, many commentards of an engineering bent here clearly have been thinking about the problem at hand - and indeed have chipped in with interesting and plausible suggestions. As opposed to, like yourself, throwing up their hands and going "Oh, noes, there are some downsides, let's just give up and 'can this shit'."

LionelB Silver badge

Re: @Naich

But then the climate has always changed ...

Yes, yes it has... over timescales measured in 10s - 100s of thousands of years, rather than the decades we are seeing now (see icon).

... yet I assume you believe you can stop it?

Yup, we can reverse the change we are seeing on human (as opposed to geological) time scales - by ceasing to pump gazillions of tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

In Rust We Trust: Microsoft Azure CTO shuns C and C++

LionelB Silver badge

Re: Came here for a bunch of fossils who can't admit their fave language is shit

Come back here in 10 years' time - you will probably come to the same conclusion (but the language may not be the same one).

LionelB Silver badge

Steady on. I take pride in writing good Fortran (in C).

Googler says she was forced out after opposing $1.2bn cloud contract with Israel

LionelB Silver badge

Re: A very political employee throwing a hissy fit

And I yours.

The saddest thing is I actually agree with you on most (but not all) aspects of the conflict, but your desperate need for a bogeyman has closed your ears and your mind to that. A microcosm of the situation, perhaps.


LionelB Silver badge

Re: A very political employee throwing a hissy fit

"... of making the Terrorists cower in their shelters ..."

Aye, those despicable cowering Terrorist children.

"... I offer you my condolences for the lack of your soul."

How's yours? (See above).

LionelB Silver badge

Re: A very political employee throwing a hissy fit

"Firstly Palestinians are a defenceless population living under eight decades of apartheid and settler colonial occupation with periodic massacres of children and the elderly."

Ditto black S. Africans pre-liberation.

"The people have wanted nothing more than this racist nightmare to end, and it could end anytime the oppressor chooses, ..."

Ditto black S. Africans pre-liberation.

"... but the oppressed cannot force that, ..."

Yet black S. Africans did exactly that.

"Why don't you celebrate the heroics of the non-violent hunger strikers against detention without trial ..."

I'm happy to do that. Why do you think I wouldn't be?

"... rather than complaining that they fight with the only weapons that they possess."

I'm absolutely fine with them fighting back with any weapons they posses - but not with the targeting of civilians, as that is both morally repugnant, futile, and plays into the hands of the oppressor.

"Or treat them like Ukraine, ... "

I'm happy to treat them like Ukraine if they - like the ANC in S. Africa before - engage in an armed struggle with the full support of their own people (which I suspect they would have, but it is hard to tell because of the fragmented leadership) and, crucially, eschew attacks on civilians. (I did not support the IRA or ETA for those reasons: neither group, unlike the ANC, had the full backing of their own constituencies, and both attacked civilians.)

"... and then you can talk out of your neck about your principles while your sympathies lie with the oppressor but never the oppressed."

My sympathies lie entirely with the oppressed. (I realise that doesn't suit your narrative.)

"It's obscene that you cannot see simply, they resist and die more slowly or don't resist and die quickly."

I fully support their resistance.

"These people in resisting are facing almost certain death with massive reprisals against their entire families commonplace."

Ditto pre-liberation S. Africa.

"You've not got a word to say about these people who are not involved but are just as likely to be the victims of a pogrom one night, or a two ton bomb the next."

They have my full sympathy, and I absolutely support their right to resist.

"If you had any decency in you, you'd see the only way is to dissolve the madness. Equal rights for all, and the application of international law, a constitution based on the UN declaration of human rights, and mass prosecutions of the Zionist State Terrorist high command and their proxies."

Agreed 100% (I guess that makes me decent, then?)

"There are monstrous crimes committed on a daily basis under the eyes of the world which shame humanity, ... "

This was the case too for pre-liberation S. Africa.

"... and we will one day see these criminals and terrorists in the dock, reviled as the monsters they've been so often denounced as."

Interestingly, S. Africa took a somewhat different route post-Apartheid, with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I'm ambivalent about that. Personally, I would like to have seen mass prosecutions of the Apartheid regime leadership, apparatchiks and murderers. The TRC was a choice of the people, which I respect; but the idea was that those who spurned the TRC (and there were many, including Botha) would be held to account. Sadly, that never really happened. I rather doubt that a TRC could work in Palestine, but I could be wrong.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: A very political employee throwing a hissy fit

No, I don't think it's fine for anyone to use hostages/human shields, and I also don't think it's fine for anyone to put non-combatants at risk to life and limb. Still sickening, no matter who does it, and still sickening to condone it or try to justify it..

LionelB Silver badge

Re: A very political employee throwing a hissy fit

"Zionist State will collapse from within"

You keep saying that. It is a pipe-dream.

"There are no civilians in Zionist State"

If you mean within the geographical boundaries (and I cannot think what else you might mean), then you are saying that children and people with no connection to, or support for the state (many of whom will in fact be Palestinians) are fair game. That is sickening, especially so in light of the scant regard for civilian lives by the Israeli military. You are indeed stooping to their level. I will not engage further with you.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: A very political employee throwing a hissy fit

"Fundamentally you cannot use the SA experience as simply put Zionist State has learned the lessons."

You think the SA Apartheid regime had not "learned the lessons"!? They invented many of those "lessons" (including divide-and-rule via attempts to ferment and exploit tribalism, disenfranchisement via the "homelands" system, and on and on... If you think that they were in any way a less formidable opponent you are sadly mistaken. That is simply apologia. Of course it would be wholly simplistic to claim that the SA experience is a perfect parallel with the Palestinian one; that is why I said that it should stand as an inspiration (as opposed, say, to a "textbook").

"yet I note you traduce the heroic resistance to Zionist State Terror as terror tactics."

You "note" that incorrectly. I have in fact not mentioned "terror tactics" once. That is in your head - I guess a consequence of your simplistic stereotyping of me.

You want my thoughts on "terror tactics"? Okay; I remarked of the ANC that they explicitly eschewed the targeting of civilians. They were thus able to say, to their opponent and to the world: "As much as you unleash terror against us, we shall not stoop to your level". Margaret Thatcher, famously, tried to paint the ANC as terrorists - famously, she failed. A problem in the Palestinian situation is the splintered nature of the resistance (encouraged and exploited to the hilt, of course, by the Israeli state - and straight out of the Apartheid playbook, as it happens); so some Palestinian groups do target civilians, others do not. A notable strength of the ANC was its unity and single-mindedness of purpose. (There were other SA resistance groups who took a different stance on targeting civilians - they were ultimately marginalised.)

LionelB Silver badge

Re: A very political employee throwing a hissy fit

I don't know... all I am seeing from you are voluminous TL;DR diatribes about all the reasons why gaining a just settlement for the Palestinian people will be hard to achieve. Of course it will be hard! But waiting around for the Israeli state to collapse of its own accord? Simply not going to happen.

The Zionists may have the Palestinians outgunned but the Palestinians are stronger morally, and legally.

The same, in its context, was true of S. Africa. And yet the ANC organised an effective,and ultimately successful resistance. I believe that should stand as an inspiration to the Palestinian struggle.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: A very political employee throwing a hissy fit

I don't think it's correct to suggest SA willingly renounced apartheid, ...

That's why I did not suggest that.

... the ANC fought it to a standstill and the external commercial boycott near bankrupted the country. I accept that the Botha government did make strides towards the ANC, ...

It wasn't the Botha government so much as the De Klerk government. Botha's regime was perhaps the most brutal of the Apartheid era, and despite some grudging concessions, "Die Groot Krokodil" remained unrepentant until his death.

... and ended Apartheid - which perhaps reflects your point that it was unwillingly

That was my entire point.

Your screed about SA Jews is not relevant to my point. Like S. African (non-Afrikaner) "whites" in general, some were pro-Apartheid; perhaps more (including my family) most definitely were not. There were Jews in the senior ranks of the ANC (e.g., Dennis Goldberg).

And despite your defeatism and apologia, I still believe the South African example should offer hope that a just settlement can be achieved by the Palestinians.

Alone in the world, the youngers in Zionist State poll as more right wing than the elders, so I think it will collapse from within while the worlds imperial powers are still defending the rights of Zionist State to murder Palestinians

Personally, I doubt sitting around waiting for that to happen is the most effective strategy.

Brain-inspired chips promise ultra-efficient AI, so why aren’t they everywhere?

LionelB Silver badge

Well, flat-ish. The cortex is organised in "columns".

LionelB Silver badge

Re: Real brains are "programmed" by tens of billions of years of evolution

I don't disagree. When I said brains are "programmed to learn" (okay, I should have caveated animals which don't do much lifetime-learning), I am certainly happy to include the propensity for language under that. Perhaps "structured" or "organised" to learn would be a better phrase, with "learn" intended in the broadest sense.

And yes, human (and many other animal) brains do "re-wire" in the course of not just memory/learning, but cognitive functioning in general - it's called neural plasticity. Of course that mechanism itself evolved.

And sure, we're very far indeed from figuring out the mechanisms and organisational principles which underpin "thinking".

(FWIW, I am not a neuroscientist, but I do get to work with neuroscientists - my day job involve developing mathematical methods, particular information-theoretic, to analyse neurophysiological data such as fMRI, M/EEG, etc., with the goal of gaining a better understanding of brain organisation and function. Disclaimer: that does not necessarily imply I am smarter than you ;-))

LionelB Silver badge

Re: If they are inspired by the brain, how are you "programming them"

Don't rush for your coat - you hit the nail on the head!

Real brains are "programmed" by tens of billions of years of evolution - programmed to learn very, very well indeed. We currently have no idea of the design principles behind that (beyond variations on backprop on multilayer, usually feed-forward networks).

LionelB Silver badge

Re: Thanks for the update

One thing puzzles me - should I understand "neuromorphic chip" as in spiking neurons, as opposed to, say, a chip which implements e.g., a sigmoid transfer function close to the metal (as well as large-scale connectivity)? And if so, why? it may be Nature's Way, but that does not necessarily imply it will be the "best" way to implement ML/AI technology on silicon - especially seeing as (i) we do not have a deep understanding of how biological neurons achieve functionality through spiking, and (ii) most large-scale neural models are not based on a spiking design and implementing learning/training with spiking neurons is harder (and slower!)

Windows 11 update blocking some users from logging in

LionelB Silver badge

Re: Relevant

Ditto my Thinkpad.

The crime against humanity that is the modern OS desktop, and how to kill it

LionelB Silver badge

Re: Desktops

The killer feature of Fluxbox for me is tabbed windows - really handy for organising your workspace and avoiding visual clutter. (As I recall, the first WM to implement tabbed windows was pwm, followed by pekwm; the former also does window tiling, although I've never really got on with that.)

LionelB Silver badge

Re: Not the only game in town

I was a big fan of Blackbox - and when I had to use Win XP for work I managed to find a BB4Win setup!

Crikey, I remember that. Kind of glitchy as I recall, bit of a square peg in a round hole, but kudos to the porters for the effort :-) Seems like it actually still exists (last updated 2012).

Re. Openbox, you might've got more joy with a more "desktop-y" installation, like LXDE or LXQt. In fact I usually install XFCE, LXDE or LXQt for access to system configuration stuff I'd have difficulty tracking down as stand-alone. But I've honed my Fluxbox setup over the years - taskbar, widgets and all (well actually the evergreen Gkrellm - and no! I don't use that horrid skin!), so I can now set it up pretty quickly.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: Not the only game in town

I probably I read it, and was probably not surprised; over 20+ years I've run the gamut of Linux desktops... and come to the same conclusion: I don't really want a desktop. I just want a decent window manager, multiple workspaces and ergonomic access to the functionality of my system.

LionelB Silver badge

Re: Not the only game in town

lot's of windows

Damn, I hate it when other people do that...



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