April 2013. Zubr hovercraft being loaded in the Ukraine for transport to China.
2 months ago
That the Swedes and Danes understand each other's languages with the minimum of effort is a truth which over the years has been carefully cherished at high levels in both countries. But this is often a truth with provisos, and even more often something more serious, a case of wishful thinking, for instance, or an illusion. Or to put it bluntly, a lie.
Two of the many victims of this wishful thinking were Hammar and a prominent Danish criminologist, who had known each other for many years and often met up at police conferences. They were good friends and each used to make highfalutin statements on how they had each mastered the other's language with the greatest of ease, which any other normal Scandinavian ought to be able to do, a sarcastic addendum they seldom neglected to make.
This was so until, after a decade of hobnobbing at conferences and other high-level meetings, they met for a weekend at Hammar's country cottage, when it turned out that they could not even communicate with each other on the simplest every day matters. When the Dane asked to borrow a map, Hammar went and fetched a photograph of himself, and then it was all over. Part of their universe had collapsed and after celebrating formal orgies of foolish misunderstandings for a few hours, they went over to speaking English and discovered that they did not really like each other at all.
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This explains a lot. From The Jargon File via a comment on one of Roberta X's posts.Hackers have relatively little ability to identify emotionally with other people. This may be because hackers generally aren't much like ‘other people’. Unsurprisingly, hackers also tend towards self-absorption, intellectual arrogance, and impatience with people and tasks perceived to be wasting their time.As cynical as hackers sometimes wax about the amount of idiocy in the world, they tend by reflex to assume that everyone is as rational, ‘cool’, and imaginative as they consider themselves. This bias often contributes to weakness in communication skills. Hackers tend to be especially poor at confrontation and negotiation.Another weakness of the hacker personality is a perverse tendancy to attack all problems from the most technically complicated angle, just because it may mean more interesting problems to solve, or cooler toys to play with. Hackers sometimes have trouble grokking that the bubble gum and paperclip hardware fix is actually the way to go, and that they really don't need to convince the client to buy that shiny new tool they've had your eye on for two months.Because of their passionate embrace of (what they consider to be) the Right Thing, hackers can be unfortunately intolerant and bigoted on technical issues, in marked contrast to their general spirit of camaraderie and tolerance of alternative viewpoints otherwise. Old-time ITS partisans look down on the ever-growing hordes of Unix and Linux hackers; Unix aficionados despise VMS and Windows; and hackers who are used to conventional command-line user interfaces loudly loathe mouse-and-menu based systems such as the Macintosh. Hackers who don't indulge in Usenet consider it a huge waste of time and bandwidth; fans of old adventure games such as ADVENT and Zork consider MUDs to be glorified chat systems devoid of atmosphere or interesting puzzles; hackers who are willing to devote endless hours to Usenet or MUDs consider IRC to be a real waste of time; IRCies think MUDs might be okay if there weren't all those silly puzzles in the way. And, of course, there are the perennial holy wars — EMACS vs. vi, big-endian vs. little-endian, RISC vs. CISC, etc., etc., etc. As in society at large, the intensity and duration of these debates is usually inversely proportional to the number of objective, factual arguments available to buttress any position.As a result of all the above traits, many hackers have difficulty maintaining stable relationships. At worst, they can produce the classic geek: withdrawn, relationally incompetent, sexually frustrated, and desperately unhappy when not submerged in his or her craft. Fortunately, this extreme is far less common than mainstream folklore paints it — but almost all hackers will recognize something of themselves in the unflattering paragraphs above.Hackers are often monumentally disorganized and sloppy about dealing with the physical world. Bills don't get paid on time, clutter piles up to incredible heights in homes and offices, and minor maintenance tasks get deferred indefinitely.1994-95's fad behavioral disease was a syndrome called Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), supposedly characterized by (among other things) a combination of short attention span with an ability to ‘hyperfocus’ imaginatively on interesting tasks. In 1998-1999 another syndrome that is said to overlap with many hacker traits entered popular awareness: Asperger's syndrome (AS). This disorder is also sometimes called ‘high-function autism’, though researchers are divided on whether AS is in fact a mild form of autism or a distinct syndrome with a different etiology. AS patients exhibit mild to severe deficits in interpreting facial and body-language cues and in modeling or empathizing with others' emotions. Though some AS patients exhibit mild retardation, others compensate for their deficits with high intelligence and analytical ability, and frequently seek out technical fields where problem-solving abilities are at a premium and people skills are relatively unimportant. Both syndromes are thought to relate to abnormalities in neurotransmitter chemistry, especially the brain's processing of serotonin.Many hackers have noticed that mainstream culture has shown a tendency to pathologize and medicalize normal variations in personality, especially those variations that make life more complicated for authority figures and conformists. Thus, hackers aware of the issue tend to be among those questioning whether ADD and AS actually exist; and if so whether they are really ‘diseases’ rather than extremes of a normal genetic variation like having freckles or being able to taste DPT. In either case, they have a sneaking tendency to wonder if these syndromes are over-diagnosed and over-treated. After all, people in authority will always be inconvenienced by schoolchildren or workers or citizens who are prickly, intelligent individualists — thus, any social system that depends on authority relationships will tend to helpfully ostracize and therapize and drug such ‘abnormal’ people until they are properly docile and stupid and ‘well-socialized’.So hackers tend to believe they have good reason for skepticism about clinical explanations of the hacker personality. That being said, most would also concede that some hacker traits coincide with indicators for non-hyperactive ADD and AS — the status of caffeine as a hacker beverage of choice may be connected to the fact that it bonds to the same neural receptors as Ritalin, the drug most commonly prescribed for ADD. It is probably true that boosters of both would find a rather higher rate of clinical ADD among hackers than the supposedly mainstream-normal 3-5% (AS is rarer at 0.4-0.5%).
"Worst of all from this point of view are those more uncivilized forms of eating, like licking an ice cream cone--a catlike activity that has been made acceptable in informal America but that still offends those who know eating in public is offensive. ... Eating on the street--even when undertaken, say, because one is between appointments and has no other time to eat--displays [a] lack of self-control: It beckons enslavement to the belly. ... Lacking utensils for cutting and lifting to mouth, he will often be seen using his teeth for tearing off chewable portions, just like any animal. ... This doglike feeding, if one must engage in it, ought to be kept from public view, where, even if we feel no shame, others are compelled to witness our shameful behavior." - attributed to Leon Kass by Wikipedia.People are funny. Some people are repulsed by the littlest things (ice cream licking, you're kidding, right?), others by almost nothing. ("I never let the little things bother me", said by Nikita after the cleaner shoots her hysterical partner.) I think that's how the Victorians developed their ridiculously stringent standards for public behavior. I mean you can never tell when some unconscious habitual action of yours is going to turn someone else's stomach and queer a business deal or even start a war.
"Sexual desire's not something you understand," I said, giving my usual middle-of-the-road opinion. "It's just there."It's common knowledge that men are attracted to young women and there is a good biological, evolutionary reason for that. What I find odd is that some men are attracted to very young women, typically under the age of consent. Women's faces change as they mature and what some men call attractive I call children, because their faces have not grown up. Basically we call it a perversion and forbid any such relationships.
That's the engine intake vortex caused by condensation (water vapor). - IndianatheartReminds me of some pictures of jets with visible vortexs coming off the wing tips.
P. 744Long ago Zula had got to a place where she could not be surprised, let alone outraged, by anything the jihadists did. This, she reckoned, must be the story of all radical groups, be they Taliban, Shining Path, or National Socialist. Once they had left common notions of decency in the dust - once they had abandoned all sense of proportionality - then it turned into a sort of competition to see who could out do all the rest in that. Beyond there it was all comedy, if only you could turn a blind eye to the consequences.
Unknown to [Benjamin] Franklin but now clear to a growing roster of lightning researchers and astronomers is that along with bright thunderbolts, thunderstorms unleash sprays of X-rays and even intense bursts of gamma rays, a form of radiation normally associated with such cosmic spectacles as collapsing stars. The radiation in these invisible blasts can carry a million times as much energy as the radiation in visible lightning, but that energy dissipates quickly in all directions rather than remaining in a stiletto-like lightning bolt. ... Unlike with regular lightning, though, people struck by dark lightning, most likely while flying in an airplane, would not get hurt. But according to [lightning researcher Joseph] Dwyer’s calculations, they might receive in an instant the maximum safe lifetime dose of ionizing radiation — the kind that wreaks the most havoc on the human body.By "not get hurt", I imagine the reporter means that a person struck by dark lightning would not be crispy crittered. Yet getting a lifetime's dose (or more) of ionizing radiation does not seem like a good thing. Maybe better than the alternative.
"Economists are professionally trained to be wary of diminishing returns to any one activity, and to be entrepreneurial about starting new activities." - William Easterly and Laura Freschi on Aid Watch.I can't tell just from reading the post whether they are being jackass serious, or suavely sarcastic, or maybe it's just something that slipped out in that space where you-need-to-say-something-to-explain-your-actions and nothing really comes to mind. Anyway, it just hit me cross-wise. I didn't think you could characterize economists in any way other than that someone (perhaps even themselves) called them an economist, and I certainly didn't know that they got professional training in how to run their lives. I mean, where would you get such training? I know I could certainly use some. Might not take, but one can always hope.
|U.S. Army Cpl. Jacob Bath enjoys a cigarette during a break on Forward Operating Base Farah, Farah province, Afghanistan on April 7, 2009. U.S. Air Force photo by Jonathan Lovelady.|
System console for the AN/FSQ-7 computer system, circa 1960. It includes the OA-1008 Situation Display with a light gun (at end of cable), cigarette lighter, and ash tray (left of the light gun).
The AN/FSQ-7 computer system was part of the Defense Department's early warning radar network. Photo by Joi Ito.