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Comment author: Viliam_Bur 29 August 2014 08:20:28AM *  3 points [-]

1938: "Just give him the parts of Czechoslovakia he wants. Yeah, annexing a part of other country is wrong, but a minority speaking his language lives there, so, uhm, he kinda has a good reason. More importantly, we have a good reason to believe he will stop there. Just let's not be the bad guys who fight over nothing. Everything will be fine when he gets what he wants, he is a reasonable guy."

2014: "Just give him the parts of Ukraine he wants. Yeah, annexing a part of other country is wrong, but a minority speaking his language lives there, so, uhm, he kinda has a good reason. More importantly, we have a good reason to believe he will stop there. Just let's not be the bad guys who fight over nothing. Everything will be fine when he gets what he wants, he is a reasonable guy."

The analogies are much deeper here than merely "he is a guy we don't like, therefore Hitler". Things that happen inside Russia are also very disturbing -- I am trying to ignore politics, and I usually don't care about what happens in Russia, but some news still get to me -- Putin's supporters are openly nationalist, racist, homophobic, pretty much everything you associate with fascism, he has a strong support of the Orthodox Church, journalists who criticize him are assassinated. (Someone living in Russia would be more qualified to write about this.) The only way he could lose an election would be against someone who is even more like this. Winning a symbolic war against the West will only make him more popular.

To test how strong is this analogy, we should make bets like: Conditional on Putin successfully annexing a part of territory of Ukraine, what is the probability of Russia attacking another country within 1, 3, 5, 10 years? Which country will it be?

Comment author: knb 29 August 2014 10:06:46AM *  9 points [-]

The analogies are much deeper here than merely "he is a guy we don't like, therefore Hitler". Things that happen inside Russia are also very disturbing -- I am trying to ignore politics, and I usually don't care about what happens in Russia, but some news still get to me -- Putin's supporters are openly nationalist, racist, homophobic, pretty much everything you associate with fascism, he has a strong support of the Orthodox Church, journalists who criticize him are assassinated.

All of these things also apply to the other examples I mentioned, and many other countries besides. People said the same things about Saddam, Qaddafi, Assad, etc. Putin is of course saying similar things about his Ukrainian enemies to what you are saying about him. (Admittedly, they make it easy for him.)

There is no shortage of historical examples of historical revanchism, yet the "Hitler in 1939" analogy utterly dominates. So why rely 100% on one analogy. Why insist on using the example that is the closest stand-in for "evil psychopath who cannot be reasoned with, but must be destroyed utterly?"

Probably because you're in the midst of a media driven two-minutes hate. History begins and ends with Hitler, 1939!

(Seriously, your standard for being Hitleresque is being racist, homophobic, and nationalistic? It might be a fun exercise for you to write down a list of 100 historical leaders, determine how many were/were not racist, homophobic, or nationalistic. This will give you your Hitler/non-Hitler ratio. Do you think the ratios of Hitlers : non-Hitlers is greater or less than 1?)

Comment author: James_Miller 29 August 2014 12:38:13AM *  2 points [-]

Garry Kasparov has made the following Tweets:

The reason to take difficult & dangerous steps to stop Putin today is simple. It will get more difficult and more dangerous tomorrow

The Russian commanders think Putin is crazy but he keeps being right, keeps winning without resistance. So they follow. It's 1938-39 again.

The most dangerous element is Putin & his followers' sense of invincibility. The longer they go unopposed the harder will be to stop them.

Obama & EU kept looking for easy & safe ways to fight Putin. They refused to make tough decisions and the price always keeps going up.

Putin is probably trying to calculate what's the most he can take consistent with keeping the probability of a major war with the United States below some level. If the U.S. is unwilling to fight, Putin will take all of the territory of the Soviet Empire + perhaps Finland, a country that used to belong to Russia.

Putin probably knows he might have a limited time to act because the U.S. might get a hawkish President (Hillary Clinton, any Republican but Rand Paul) or Germany might re-militarize.

Comment author: knb 29 August 2014 07:08:50AM *  3 points [-]

Yeah, yeah. It's always 1939, the bad guy du jour is always Hitler. Assad is Hitler, Putin is Hitler, Saddam was Hitler, Qaddafi was Hitler.

The warmongers really need to get a new routine, people aren't falling for it anymore.

Comment author: bramflakes 01 July 2014 12:17:56AM *  0 points [-]

Why, did you think it was about something else?

I patternmatched the first half to eugenics.

Well, "impoverished foreign country" doesn't match well to Nazi Germany, but everything else checks out.

Comment author: knb 07 August 2014 06:17:45PM 0 points [-]

I'd be interested to hear how eugenics could kill hundreds of thousands of people in days.

Comment author: ChristianKl 26 July 2014 07:45:33PM 5 points [-]

The word "circumnavigate" is always used with Magellan - it may as well be his middle name. It's used in the first two sentences on Magellan's page at La Wik.

If the student in question uses the word not because it was in his usual vocabulary but because it appeared in the article about Magellan, the teacher has a valid point. A five grade student who reads an article about Magellan might copy the word without understanding it.

A teacher who wants to check whether the students actually understand is going to want that the student expresses his ideas within their own vocabulary and not simply copy words of an article they read.

I personally had teachers not understand a point I made because of not understanding that strategy and tactics are two different words with different meaning but I hadn't an issue with teacher complaining that I'm not speaking in my own vocabulary when writing essays.

Comment author: knb 26 July 2014 11:26:45PM 6 points [-]

If the student in question uses the word not because it was in his usual vocabulary but because it appeared in the article about Magellan, the teacher has a valid point.

Not really. I'm sure "circumnavigate" wasn't in my usual vocabulary but its meaning is simple enough to determine from context. I don't think its reasonable to penalize someone for using a word they would pretty much have to pick up when learning about a topic.

Comment author: skeptical_lurker 26 July 2014 12:26:29PM *  9 points [-]

Not like certain people living in certain countries, who were, it was said, as human as anyone else; who were said to be sapient beings, worth more than any mere unicorn. But who nonetheless wouldn't be allowed to live in Muggle Britain. On that score, at least, no Muggle had the right to look a wizard in the eye.

Sorry, but I'm not a fan of this part - its not like Britain has immigration policies that ban certain races or religions, so I can only assume EY is arguing in favour of totally unrestricted immigration. But the UK has only a certain amount of room, and there are non-xenophobic economic arguments against unrestricted immigration, e.g. putting too much strain on the NHS. But regardless of the arguments for and against, arguing against immigration is not the same as being indifferent to the lives of everyone who lives in a different country.

I did enjoy the rest of the chapter however. Quirrel's statements about horcruxes were initially surprising - if he is telling the truth, then how is he still alive? If not, then wouldn't he want Harry experimenting with horcruxes in order to turn him to the dark side?

The most plausible possibility is that he wants Harry's help to get the philosopher's stone, and his initial prohibition is reverse psychology. This does help turn Harry against Dumbledoor, but no more than experimenting with horcruxes. Given this, it seems likely that he needs Harry's invisibility cloak / planning ability / human patronus / possibly partial transfiguration to capture the stone.

Still, Quirrel seems to be leaving this too late. Surely it would have been better to move against the stone very soon after the unicorn incident - by which time, Harry's anti-death ideology was very obvious, and emotionally driving. Moving against the stone when comparitivly healthy must increase the chances of success, and if it all goes wrong Quirrel could still have tried to fight his way out...

Unless Quirrel isn't actually as ill as he looks. He seems to have got a lot worse between May 13th and June 3rd.

Edit: I am not arguing that all immigration is bad and everyone should live in neoreactionary ethno-nationalist states. I'm saying that its possible to want to prevent certain people who e.g. have a record of violent criminal behaviour from immigrating to where you live, while still recognising that these people are still human.

Comment author: knb 26 July 2014 01:40:10PM *  18 points [-]

Not like certain people living in certain countries, who were, it was said, as human as anyone else; who were said to be sapient beings, worth more than any mere unicorn. But who nonetheless wouldn't be allowed to live in Muggle Britain. On that score, at least, no Muggle had the right to look a wizard in the eye.

I was surprised by that passage. If anything, it seems magical Britain is more exclusivist. Magical Britain only invited Hermione in because she's a British witch. The 99.9% of people who are born muggle are excluded completely. I also don't get the impression that foreign born wizards/witches are automatically invited to Hogwarts. So they are magic-nationalists as well.

They even forbid beneficial muggle-wizard trade, which probably results in the deaths of millions of muggles.

Comment author: ChristianKl 26 July 2014 12:42:14PM 1 point [-]

Harry completely started using magic when he went to Hogwarts. If he has basically learned year one and year two in one year I think that's okay.

Canon or not, this reminds me too much of the public school system of a certain country where kids are verboten to use words "they shouldn't know yet".

Link?

Comment author: knb 26 July 2014 01:24:23PM 5 points [-]

Not a public school, but in 5th grade I wrote a short paper about Ferdinand Magellan and used the word "circumnavigate." My teacher accused me of copying, and I had to rewrite the paper using smaller words.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 21 July 2014 08:15:05AM 0 points [-]

Probably a similarity between Putin 2014 and Hitler 1938.

Comment author: knb 22 July 2014 06:59:26PM 1 point [-]

Or maybe Europe finally learned the lessons of 1914 (i.e. not to start an apocalyptic war over relatively trivial matters.)

Comment author: Algernoq 16 July 2014 04:16:59AM 0 points [-]

The point is to build something useful, for less cost -- using self-replication to undercut the price of cheap imported robots.

Comment author: knb 17 July 2014 07:22:34AM 4 points [-]

"Self-replicating" will not undercut the price for robots for the same reason 3D printers don't undercut the market for cheap plastic items. Large scale manufacture has huge cost advantages from using specialized equipment.

Comment author: knb 15 July 2014 10:39:53PM 0 points [-]

Interesting post. I thought this comparison from CNET was a bit misleading:

I drive a 1964 car. I also have a 2010. There's not that much difference -- gross performance indicators like top speed and miles per gallon aren't that different. It's safer, and there are a lot of creature comforts in the interior," said Nvidia Chief Scientist Bill Dally. If Moore's Law fizzles, "We'll start to look like the auto industry."

Car progress is clearly slower than computer progress, but it does seem very substantial:

The most recent survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that five-year-old vehicles had about one-third fewer problems than the five-year-old vehicles we studied in April 2005. In fact, owners of about two-thirds of those vehicles reported no problems. And serious repairs, such as engine or transmission replacement, were quite rare.

One third fewer problems every 5 years seems like a very substantial rate of progress. It would be interesting to see if this rate of progress has continued from 2010-2014.

Comment author: knb 08 July 2014 12:13:16AM 1 point [-]

This article appears just below "16 Epic Jon Stewart Insults Worthy of Shakespeare" in Alternet's current most-read list.

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