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      Welcome!   03/05/2016

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The Old Hack

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Everything posted by The Old Hack

  1. Story Monday, August 19, 2019

    Yes, but remember, a HUGE amount of these casualties came from illness, infections, poor hygiene in general and stress exhaustion. Not to mention indirect warfare. It's a lot easier to lob artillery shells at human beings than it is to actually look them into the eyes as you kill them.
  2. This Day In History

    I remember being like twelve years old and seeing James Clavell's 'Shogun' among my mother's books. At the time, I thought it read 'Shotgun.' All you do is brutally abduct them from their homes, pack them in layers in stinking ship holds with insufficient food and drinking water, sell them off on markets like slabs of meat and then put them to work under conditions that would make an early 1800s factory owner blench. And then they get all upset about it. People are so thin skinned.
  3. Story Monday, August 19, 2019

    I did. Quite a few of them do, but I am unsure they are any good for the purposes of combat statistics -- these seem to be mostly books about mental disorders in combat veterans and warfare survivors. I've noted British, German and Austrian works so far. I have noticed a few civilian efforts, too, if that is helpful. Also the author has conducted a lot of personal interviews with actual combat soldiers. Even Grossman himself stated as much. I think that you are correct in that the exact numbers are uncertain. What does seem certain is that an unknown but large percentage of combat soldiers simply cannot bring themselves to kill other human beings even in extremis. He cites eyewitness accounts that confirm this, though these obviously are no good for statistical purposes.
  4. Story Monday, August 19, 2019

    Dave Grossman's excellent book 'On Killing' describes the problems and cites multiple sources. I will send you some of the sources he used in a private message later when I have slept.
  5. Story Monday, August 19, 2019

    Expressing my actual opinion of him would take me weeks or months and would end up looking something like 'The Oxford Dictionary of Obscenities and Vulgar Expressions'.
  6. Story Friday August 16, 2019

    I really don't know. All I know is that 640K ought to be enough for anyone.
  7. Story Monday, August 19, 2019

    I have an intense dislike for Orson Scott Card but he is undeniably a skilled writer.
  8. Story Friday August 16, 2019

    Load of nonsense. After all, IBM themselves said that some stupid device for making copies of written material would never be of any use in office work.
  9. Story Monday, August 19, 2019

    You might be surprised to learn that this isn't very effective either. Careful investigation of soldiers in battle showed that in an average WW2 army only 10% of the soldiers in any given unit actually attempted to directly kill the enemy soldiers. In some exceptional units this rose to as much as 20%. Humans just aren't that happy about killing one another and simply dehumanising the enemy is not enough. If it is shaped and moves like a human being, your basic person on the street will face stiff psychological resistance against killing it. What is more, even if you do succeed in killing another human being -- no matter how dehumanised that person may be to you -- you suffer psychological scars from it. A large contributing factor to PTSD among veterans is simply that they cannot process having killed other human beings. And even the best training will not protect you from that. Modern training involves convincing human beings to shoot at human-shaped targets without thinking so that when they are finally in battle, muscle memory will override your resistance to killing. When you know you are just shooting at a target, you do not face this reluctance. Constant training against realistic targets will mean that in battle when split seconds count your reflexes will tell you, "It's just another target, shoot it." And only when you are looking at a bleeding corpse will it dawn on you that you have just killed another human being -- and then, obviously, it is too late. The damage will have been done, to the person killed and to the killer. This training works, mind you. Modern armies with this kind of training sees numbers rise to as many as 50% of all soldiers fighting effectively, possibly more. All that is moot in Susan's case, though. She had NO training. She did the act anyway. And even if she had had training, she would still have suffered trauma. Your proposed method of psychological support is about as effective as offering a placebo vaccination against the bubonic plague after the patient has contracted it. Yeah, you really ought to think. I hear you get good results from that and that it results in spewing total nonsense less often. Also just occasionally you avoid doing incredibly offensive things, like taunting the person you are communicating with about how their family was subjected to persecution and genocide.
  10. Story Monday, August 12, 2018

    Sophistry. You are arguing legal distinctions. I guarantee you that no matter which of these lie behind, the victim is still equally dead. And the dependents are still equally harmed emotionally and personally. If you are for some twisted reason bringing up whether the person responsible should be forgiven or not, take that one to the survivors. They might want to debate that one with you. I won't, I stand by my position that forgiveness is an individual decision and that no-one is required to either forgive or forget if they do not wish to.
  11. Story Monday, August 19, 2019

    Yeah, good luck explaining that to a thirteen year old girl who was just forced to kill one in self defence. With an axe. I am sure she is in a real mood to debate philosophy.
  12. Story Wednesday August 21, 2019

    "You'll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs, or engaged in doing complicated long division sums."
  13. NP Friday, Aug 16, 2019

    Thank you for that information. That is terrifying and scary. I can only think of two potential answers to the above questions, and they are not good ones and certainly not exculpatory. Because nobody had thought about it and because they had always done it that way. I admit I am shaped by my father's thinking. He is a medical professional and part of the work he used to do was improving safety procedures. He deemed preventing future repetition of mishaps far more important than placing responsibility for present ones and stated that if you assured those who had been part of the mishap that they would suffer no punishment for it, then you would get a much larger percentage of honest reports. Allowing anonymous statements was key to this. I do not know the full scope of the incident in question. There is such a thing as criminal negligence and I respect that. I just wanted to toss in my two cents based on my father's much more valuable expertise.
  14. Story Monday, August 19, 2019

    Susan was a literal survivor of two potentially deadly fights, one of which did result in a death -- and at her hands, too. I would not be shocked to learn if she had PTSD. It is a brutal shock to the human psyche to kill another human being, especially at that age. There is a reason modern nations outlaw the use of child soldiers. I agree with you that it probably was a much smaller shock... but part of me wonders if that might not have been due to numbness, too, and that makes me feel terribly, terribly sad.
  15. Story Wednesday August 21, 2019

    I've always gotten along well with cats. I've used the technique @mlooney describes above many times to good effect. I think part of the reason it is so useful is that you place yourself at (literal) arm's length and thus clearly respect the cat's personal space. You give the cat a feeling of safety and something new to sniff at, and then often its natural curiosity will take over. As to the rest of it, I simply give them room and wait for them to decide if they are interested in me. If they are, I begin friendship overtures. Otherwise I leave them alone. It seems to work both for me and the cats.
  16. Story Monday, August 12, 2018

    I don't care what her intentions bloody were. She also didn't intend to hurt Justin by stalking him for two years and gaslighting him. Intentions count for precisely two things, and one of them is jack. Results count. In fact, they're everything. Let's take a look at the page in question. "This is what it took. After two years and countless apologising, I had to help save your friend's life before you'd forgive me?" No. Absolutely no. That was emotional blackmail. Justin had NO moral obligation to accept her apology. And the countless apologies and the constant stalking made things WORSE. If she had allowed Justin space to heal, maybe he would have forgiven her by then already. Justin is a much kinder and gentler soul than I am, so he probably would have. But by picking at his injury and repeatedly tearing it open, she herself virtually guaranteed that there would be no forgiveness. There was no blame on Justin there. It was all on Melissa. ALL ON HER. Yet she instantly and easily shifted it to Justin, showing precisely how little she cared about his pain and how much it was all about her. And yeah, good for her that she helped save Elliot and I am certainly thankful for that. That STILL didn't give her any right to weaponise that action to hammer her emotional manipulation home. FUCK THAT. "I accidentally did something horrible to you and I am truly sorry for that, but I loved..." Yeah, no. The two years of stalking and gaslighting was 'accidental'? Also, any apology where you insert a 'but' and a justification is an attempt to evade responsibility. "I am sorry for hitting you, but in my defence your face just looked like it needed punching." "I don't have the right to be mad at you..." OH THANK GOODNESS A BRIEF BREATH OF HONESTY IN ALL THE EMOTIONAL BLACKMAIL AND GASLIGHTING. Then again, a competent abuser will be careful to insert a few of these to make their shittiness easier to swallow. If they can be used to reinforce how horrible the abuse victim is being to the abuser, all the better. "I promise not to bother you anymore." YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE THAT TWO YEARS AGO WHEN HE FIRST TOLD YOU HE DIDN'T WANT YOU IN HIS LIFE ANYMORE, you horrible toxic waste dump excuse for a person. In that case we really do have to disagree. I am sorry, but Melissa's pattern of abusiveness has not at all changed for me. It has only gotten subtler, and hence more poisonous. She had NO NEED to fire all that crap at Justin. She could just have said "Thank you. But... I think we had better keep our distance still. I am not ready to handle this right now." And she certainly shouldn't have used his justifiable anger to hurt him or held her efforts to save Elliot over his head like a hammer. Yeah, no, she still outed him in the first place. I agree it was a human error. But it was a BAD one and she is still responsible for the ruins of Justin's life. As I have said before, intentions don't count. Results do. NO SHIT SHERLOCK.
  17. Story Monday, August 12, 2018

    Certainly. And the harm originally done to the person in question also had an impact on them. I reiterate, I do not owe to anybody that I accept their apology and I reserve the right to withhold my acceptance. Making acceptance of apologies mandatory would in fact be disastrous because this would completely rob the apologies of any meaningful value whatsoever. Before I accept any apology, I require certain conditions to be fulfilled. One, I must consider the apology genuine. An offhand or half-hearted apology is to me an insult in and of itself. Two, I must consider the apologist to at least in some measure own up to the harm originally done. They do not necessarily have to fully understand the exact ramifications but they must be aware of having done harm and of the necessity to not repeat it. And three, there are certain kinds of harm that I simply cannot and will not forgive. I state this without either pride or shame. This is simply how I am; I make neither excuse nor apology therefor. May I be blunt? I feel Justin is clearly better off. Melissa stalked him, she constantly attempted to gaslight his homosexuality after outing him and she did not even have the grace to give him space to heal. That she had the fucking GALL to make the fact that Justin was still angry to center on her just shows that she is still toxic to him. She did the right thing in walking away. She did absolutely not do anything right by shittily manipulating the fact that he was still angry and twisting it into something bad on his part before she walked away. As to the crocodile tears she shed on the way, I hope she chokes on them. And that I fully understand and respect. As I trust I have clarified above, I feel each and every person must come up with their own answer. I hope they will serve you well.
  18. NP Friday, Aug 16, 2019

    Scary!
  19. Story Monday, August 12, 2018

    It came across as pressure to "stop being so mean and forgive her already." And it contained a strawman -- implying that I had somehow desired Diane to be punished directly for her actions -- with argumentam ad absurdum, punishments so extreme as to be ridiculous. I reject both. They are beneath contempt. I completely agree. I also agree with this. That is why I wonder why people constantly condemn the simple stance of distrust and attempt to paint those leaning toward it as the true offenders in this case. And so it turns out that the two stances are so compatible that one can even achieve a synthesis between them. How remarkable. Perhaps being distrustful does not make me a frothing hatemonger after all. I do, especially if it is only a matter of a yard or two. Moving to another room is a bit more drastic but nonetheless entirely within reason if I wish to avoid the person. It is myself I am moving, after all.
  20. NP Friday, Aug 16, 2019

    Yeah. The inside of the Apollo 1 was 100% oxygen. That turned out to not end well. Admittedly not for reasons of breath, it must be said. It had more to do with the fire that got ignited somehow.
  21. NP Friday, Aug 16, 2019

    Well, it starts to be an issue already when you are deep underwater and moving further up, so that is just a cherry on top of it. Explosive decompression isn't healthy either, I am given to understand. Though maybe nitrogen isn't the main issue there. At least not in a vacuum.
  22. NP Friday, Aug 16, 2019

    Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Not pleasant, that. Fortunately that is mostly only an issue when underwater.
  23. Story Monday, August 12, 2018

    I would not even necessarily suggest that they move very far. Enough out of my immediate vicinity so as to not impede me would be sufficient in most cases. Alternately, I could relocate myself to somewhere where their presence does not impinge on mine; that would work fine for me as well. If they then insist on following me and continue to do so against my expressly stated wishes that they do not, then I may consider appropriate further measures.
  24. NP Friday, Aug 16, 2019

    Good job that nitrogen doesn't affect the process much! I remember one time in physics class. I was like twelve years old. I was eager to learn and determined to apply what I knew of scientific method to what the teacher told us. At one point we were informed that nitrogen was 'an odorless, invisible and nonpoisonous gas'. I was about to ask how we knew that and then I remembered that, well, DUH, it is about 80% of the atmosphere we are breathing so maybe that ought to be experimental evidence enough for me!
  25. This Day In History

    I definitely prefer 'free to be rude' to 'jackbooted into arresting and imprisoning/executing/sending to labour or extermination camps for Voicing The Wrong Opinion or an accident of birth'. Well, either that or his watch stopped.