15 posts • joined Friday 12th September 2008 20:18 GMT
Take it easy boys, I'm just messing with you.
The Ghandi comment should have tipped you off. Slow day yesterday, and I wanted to poke what's-his-face in the eye for dissing our WWII contributions. Looks like I riled you guys up a bit. Fun times.
The wilderness-related comments were straight-faced though. The bear that "visits" my sister is around 400 pounds. And I live WAY out in the sticks, so yeah, you can have my long guns when you pry 'em from my cold dead fingers.
So, look. I think the flame war is kind of getting old, so how about a new one: American food vs. British food. Chili beats shepherd's pie, and a cold Boston lager's better than that black mud you guys drink.
Have at you!
Geography, sir -- geography! Only the part of Russia that lies to the West of the Urals is situated on the continent of Europe. About 77% of Russia lies in the continent of ASIA. That being said, Russia is generally not considered to be European; it's mostly thought of as Slavic, isn't it? But I guess that wouldn't serve your "rah rah jolly old england" purpose, would it?
But let's not split hairs. Whether or not Russia was handing Hitler his ass on the Eastern Front has NOTHING to do with whether Western Europe had already thrown in the towel (they had) or whether England was about to get its ass handed to it on a big, steel tray (it was).
I would also like to mention that EVEN IF Russia was able to defeat Germany (which they would NOT have been if the allies hadn't tied up German forces on the Western Front) if Russia had managed to take Europe, they'd have taken England next. Communist doctrine was about expansion, not playing nice with the neighbors. If it weren't for our help, you might just be eating borscht instead of shepherd's pie, and waiting in hundred yard long lines for toilet paper.
I can't believe I even have to tell you this stuff. What is it with you guys? Do you not feel manly unless you're bitching about the U.S? Do you feel GUILTY about needing our help? Does it make you feel weak and girly?
After all, we saved your butt in TWO wars in a row, against the SAME adversaries! I guess maybe it's an ego blow or something, for a former colonial power that has lost almost ALL of its possessions, including losing the ENTIRE CONTINENT OF INDIA to a man wearing a little diaper thing and advising people to be completely nonviolent.
Remind me: how do you lose a colony when you have a vast army and zillions of guns when the opposition is a little old man who is simultaneously a pacifist?
You guys need more practice at this whole "tough guy" thing. Seriously.
Bottom line: why Americans like their guns. (seriously)
I'd like to point out to our British conversational partners that the reason almost everyone in America owns a gun can be broken down this way:
1: Most suburban and rural areas border large forests full of wild animals, which sometimes go nuts and try to eat things they shouldn't (like children, because they're smaller and less intimidating, apparently). In New Jersey, black bears have been a problem lately, and there have been a few fatalities. When raccoons go rabid here in New York, they usually have to be killed because they'll chase and attack people, giving them rabies. Then there are wild dogs, coyotes (which have been known to attack children, dogs, cats), etc. My sister has had a large bear approach her kitchen door several times this year. SO FAR, it's left her alone; her neighbor has kindly offered to turn it into a rug if it gets too bold. He can do that because he's a gun owner.
I know you brits don't have bears and rabid raccoons wandering around outside, so I'll cut you some slack here. I know the concept of "big furry thing that might try to bite giant chunks out of me" is kind of alien to you. Most of you live in urban areas, right? Or, at most, suburban. And the biggest animal you're likely to see is a neighbor's cat...
A couple of years ago, out in California, a Japanese man was barbecuing in his back yard with his dog, a Shitzu. A large mountain lion leapt over his six foot garden wall, broke the dog's neck, picked it up by the neck, and dragged it back over the wall, all in the space of 10 seconds. The man was astonished. Apparently, in Japan, there are no large, furry things that can eat you. Just like you British guys... It's out of your experience.
We Americans that live close enough to capital-N "Nature" tend to be very protective over our right to own big guns. We have good reason to be.
2: Even if you don't live close enough to the woods to have a bear shuffling around your back yard, you still have to worry about OTHER PEOPLE. People get pissed off at each other all the time. Maybe you're dating someone with an ex that just can't let go. Maybe you have a dispute with someone. Maybe a criminal just decides to rob your house. Whatever.
We Americans find it very comforting that if someone were to try to break into our house and attack or harm us, we could respond by blowing the crap out of that person. We don't have to wait for the cops to show up, IF they show up... Blowing giant holes in an intruder often makes him decide to stop intruding. You'd be surprised what a motivator it is.
And you know, it's not that we're AFRAID of anything... Honestly, it's pretty funny that you british guys, who have the biggest nanny-state in the WORLD, think that way. We're not afraid of anything at all. If something threatens us, we kill it, plain and simple.
Fear is for the unarmed.
@Bob: yeah, bobbo, we wish we hadn't helped you, too.
In answer to Bob's stupid comment "Really, really finally: You waited as long as you possibly could with WWII, then you came over and shot all the allies whilst charging us billions of dollars for the privaledge. Looking back, I think we shouldn't have bothered asking for help."
All I have to say is this:
We Americans supported you Brits materially for years. If it wasn't for shipments from the U.S. Britain would have folded VERY quickly. It was OUR merchant marine that kept trade with England open and kept you supplied, and without us the Nazis would have wiped their asses with you in 1939 or 1940.
Try and remember that until WE entered the war and landed on the beach at Normandy, you Brits were LOSING. All of Europe had already LOST. You were already LOSERS in the war and without us you would have been DOOMED.
After we won the war for you, AFTER we saved France and Belgium and Britain and Italy and all the other weaklings who couldn't defend themselves, WE REBUILT EUROPE. We provided the support that made that happen. WE did. Not you. Not your useless grandparents. It was US. The U.S.
There's a famous joke here in the U.S, and it goes like this: Why do British and European men dislike Americans so much? Because they'll never forgive us for saving them in WWII.
On behalf of my grandparents, who saved yours, I would like to say, Bob, that if it weren't for us you'd be speaking German right now, so you can go soak your head in that rotten black beer you people like so much.
Minor nitpick about American 50-cal machine guns
I liked most of the article, but I wanted to point out that American 50-caliber machine guns have a built-in sniping capacity. At least, they have since before I was in, during the first Gulf war. I heard the capacity dated to the Viet Nam war, so it was built in back then too.
In the back of the machine gun, directly under the big trigger lever, is a round knob. You rotate it, locking it into one position or another to switch from full auto to single shot. Since a 50-cal is usually tripod mounted, and has a pintle and t&e, you can be extremely accurate. It's range, technically, is several thousand meters.
You can mount a scope on top, in particular the nightscope (AN/PVS4) they trained me on.
My favorite Hathcock story: One day, he was using one of the 50 cals, and he bet his assistant that he could hit a viet cong in the nose (the person was about 1500 meters away). He fired and hit him in the throat, just under the chin, losing the bet.
I don't know where you got the idea people disliked snipers; we Marines LOVED ours. We thought they were awe inspiring. Most of us got our camoflage training from a sniper who visited our boot camp specifically for that purpose. He told us some amazing stories, then taught us how to be almost invisible in the woods (including how to make our own ghillie suits relatively cheaply). He was a hell of a guy. Big, burly fellow with a walrus mustache, believe it or not -- not exactly regulation!
@andrew -- interesting information
Thank you for that information.
If you're right, and you probably are (you sound like you know what you're talking about), then I think it deserves another look. I'll give it a try.
JDK 5, 6 on Ubuntu using Sun's download
I don't think it's too hard to get a completely standardized Java running on Linux. When I installed Ubuntu, I got OpenJDK, but I'm not sure I like that very much; it seems like a weird mix of Sun's open source Java and a lot of goofy stuff from the FSF, like their Classpath project.
What I do is create a Java directory in /opt, download the REAL JDK from Sun, install it to my new /opt directory, and adjust my profile file so the bin directories of the JDK and the JRE come first in my PATH. Then I specify CLASSPATH wherever I need to, and target the official JDK in my tools, like NetBeans.
Problem solved: I'm using the canonical Sun-provided version of Java, and the weirdo OpenJDK Ubuntu likes to install gets ignored.
Sorry if this offends any of the OpenJDK folks... You lost me when you decided to replace the binary stubs in OpenJDK with GNU Classpath. You should have re-implemented the missing code from scratch, cleanly, instead of building a big, clunky Rube Goldberg contraption out of two separate systems.
You Unix beards always try to glue everything together from a million tiny programs... You even call it "The Unix Way". For scripting projects, that's fine, but for a large, complex project like a JDK??? Yuck. Rube Freakin' Goldberg.
Oh, by the way...
On Ubuntu, you CAN get the Sun version of Java directly from their repository, if you choose the "Universe" setting. Here's a page that describes how to set up for Sun java instead of the Rube Goldberg mixture:
Still... I like being able to manually set it up. My earlier instructions work on ALL Linux versions, except the ones with "alternative" versions of glibc.
@Dave : "Gun Crazed?"
I beg your pardon, you silly Englishman!
We Americans are NOT "Gun Crazed".
We are "Gun ENTHUSIASTIC".
I love the smell of cordite in the morning... It smells like...
IS THAT A DEER??? BLAM BLAM BLAM!
@Dave -- meters != feet
If you re-read what I was saying, I was saying it's easy to get a head-shot within twenty feet. If you get into a gun-fight indoors, or in a subway station, you'll likely be pretty close to your target.
I'd argue that anyone with any training at all would deserve to be pretty embarrassed if they couldn't get a head-shot on someone only twenty or thirty feet away! All you have to do is aim for Christ's sake.
I think it was one of our western gunfighters who said that it always made sense to take that extra second and aim at your enemy. And it was my drill instructors, bless 'em, that said "it is not shots that count, but HITS, so you will HIT".
As for whether you'd be able to aim at something when there are bullets going all over the place, sure, why not? Why do you think the military has you training with loud-as-hell blank ammunition all the time? It's to get you accustomed to being swamped with sound, to the point where it doesn't bother you anymore.
Anyway, I hope you realize how silly this conversation is. We're like a trio of Gareths -- hopefully without the pasty skin and hatchet face, ha ha.
Is that my stapler?
@Chris G -- take it easy, bro. Just kidding with ya.
I figured your veterans were as good as ours -- I was (how do you say it?) "taking the piss".
But some points:
1: In Viet Nam, our guys were stuck with crappy M-16 A1s, which had rotten sights. They were very difficult to adjust, so the guys stopped using them. My old rifle trainer told us that he put HIS M-16 in a footlocker and carried a pump shotgun his father sent him in the mail instead. He said he only brought out the 16 for inspections...
2: Please don't shoot me in the head with your catapault. I'd have to retaliate with my "wrist rocket" (a very powerful slingshot that uses surgical tubing and fires quarter inch steel ball bearings) and all hell would break loose. Probably turn into some kind of international incident...
3: I'm much larger than my "gob"; put it this way: I'm six feet tall and just short of 300 pounds, but not too fat. I've been described as "looking like I can knock walls down". Not a bodybuilder or anything, just born of good, Irish/German blue-collar stock and raised on a diet of red meat and beer. We grow 'em big out here in the woods.
3.5: "Glasgow kiss" eh? Interesting. I'll see your Glasgow Kiss and raise you a Bronx Cheer. Pbbbbbbt!
4: Your ridiculous gun laws were kind of what I was referring to when I said you guys shouldn't talk about what was possible with guns. But my criticism wasn't directed at country folk or ex military; I think yours are probably about the same as ours. It was more directed at the whole London Metrosexual thing, guys who think that if it's ever been in a movie, it doesn't exist at all.
Cheer up! If you were here, we'd go out in the woods and kill something, then get drunk and cook it. No hard feelings, eh?
Head-shots: Easier than you think
Let's get something straight, guys: Englishmen should NOT pontificate about what is possible, not possible, easy, or not easy to do with a firearm. You don't have sufficient experience with the tools in question, since not too many of you have ever actually FIRED any.
I'm an American. Over the course of my childhood, I fired just about everything you could imagine, from shotguns to magnum revolvers, to 45 ACPs, to rifles. If your target is within twenty feet, trust me when I say that shooting it between the eyes is NOT HARD AT ALL. You just have to have a little patience, and actually AIM the PISTOL.
Maybe I'm luckier than most. My father was a U.S. Marine pistol trainer in Okinawa in the late fifties, and he trained me "the old way". I was ALSO a U.S. Marine, and I tested rifle expert the whole time I was in (my best score was 242/250 on a range with a 500 yard line, on a somewhat windy afternoon).
If you want to achieve virtually MYTHICAL performance, you can improve your marksmanship with a few exercises. My father used to hold a 2" thick dictionary out at arms length while he watched television at night to build endurance. Also, you can get a more stable shooting position by rotating your elbow upwards so the arm locks, and your elbow doesn't bend when the gun fires (the shoulder absorbs the shock and you maintain your "natural point of aim"). Also, forget all that "Weaver Stance" bullshit; stand sideways with your arm extended straight out from the shoulder; you make a smaller target that way and you're more stable, and it's easier to fire around corners.
My father knew a Colonel (his boss, actually) who could fire one shot to get on target, then turn and talk to you while firing the rest of the magazine -- and still be on target. When he aimed the whole time, at 50 feet he could cover his entire pattern with a half dollar piece. They used to shoot competitively, so they aren't the average, but you should know there ARE people who can do things like that.
Finally, when I lived in the Southwest, I met and went shooting with people who practiced "instinctual shooting" -- a method of shooting which uses our natural ability to point an index finger at a target -- to fire from the hip. They would practice using bottles about twenty feet away; this is about how big a person is at 50 feet (and smaller than your head at 20 feet).
They were excellent shots.
I guess the bottom line is, maybe Englishmen need more practice! Come hang out with us. You buy the beer, we'll buy the ammo, meet us in the cinder pits outside town and we'll teach ya, Grasshopper...
Well... You can be somewhat safer with a little common sense.
Let's say you've been browsing the web. You think you may have been clickjacked, but so far all you've done is check out The Register and JibJab. So far, so good.
But you'd like to check something that requires a login, like maybe one of your online accounts.
Shut down your browser. Use Firefox's tool for deleting all your personal info and clear it ALL out, including cookies. Mine is set up to do this automatically whenever I close the browser, and to get confirmation from me so I can see that it's doing it.
Once the browser is entirely closed down, open a new browser instance and do your secure browsing in a new session. When you're done, again close the browser all the way down.
As long as you do sensitive things in their own, squeaky-clean sessions, I don't think you can be clickjacked in any mortally dangerous way.
I could be wrong, but...
Deep Linking is Theft -- and Why (and how to stop it)
Deep linking SHOULD be in a grey area; it's essentially bandwidth theft. Here's how it works.
Let's say I have a really nifty animation posted on my site. I'm selling advertising based on how much people love my nifty animation. It's very popular, and uses a lot of bandwidth, which I pay for, but the advertising covers the cost and gives me a small profit.
Along comes Joe the Schnook, who decides to deep link to my nifty animation on HIS website. Now, he's showing MY animation to HIS users, possibly without attribution, and he's getting advertising money from HIS website, but I'm paying for the bandwidth for the nifty animation itself.
Joe gets to profit at MY expense, and I basically get screwed. Naturally I could sue the crap out of old Joe, but being a techie, I go straight for the jugular.
I create an animation which consists only of a loop of goatse pictures, and I write an "htaccess" file which detects all requests for my animation in which my website isn't the referrer. Anyone who isn't coming from my website to get the animation gets the goatse rick-roll. People who come from my website get the nifty animation.
Problem solved! And Joe the Schnook and all his little friends are blinded by the all seeing goatse eye of doom.
Works a lot better than the courts, and cheaper too!
Oh, and why deep linking is NOTHING like book references
When you give someone a book reference, even with page and paragraph numbers, they still have to go out and find the actual book, so the author still gets credit and a royalty (even if it's in a library -- the book was purchased at some point). On the web, this would be like saying "if you want to see a cool picture, go to this guy's website, on this specific page URL". Nobody has any problem with this sort of thing, because you're still going to the other guy's site to see his content. He's properly attributed, he sells ads, everyone's happy.
When you deep link, you access only the content (like an image) itself, not the context, the author attribution, the web page it's on, or anything else. It's more like copying a passage from a book, putting it in your OWN book, and not mentioning where it came from. On the web, this is what happens when people link directly to an image on another site, showing the image in their site.
The worst case of this is in forum posts, where people sometimes deep-link to someone's photo as an avatar image. Because forum posts are viewed thousands to millions of times, and the avatar can appear hundreds of times in a single thread, bandwidth costs for the avatar can become totally INSANE.
It's not innocuous, and it's not cool. Don't deep link! It's bandwidth theft! Not to mention practically plagiarism...
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