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The Old Hack

Story Wednesday January 31, 2018

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26 minutes ago, The Old Hack said:
6 hours ago, hkmaly said:

It was totally improvised. Although the one providing the price did had outcome like this in her mind.

So it was improvised and planned? Interesting combination.

First, it was improvised plan in sense that it was done quickly, not carefully. Sure, it still worked.

Second, reaction of others was totally improvisation, as they did not cooperated on the planning. Which was sort of the point :)

 

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3 minutes ago, hkmaly said:

Second, reaction of others was totally improvisation, as they did not cooperated on the planning. Which was sort of the point :)

They did exactly as planned. Not bad for total improvisation.

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8 minutes ago, The Old Hack said:
11 minutes ago, hkmaly said:

Second, reaction of others was totally improvisation, as they did not cooperated on the planning. Which was sort of the point :)

They did exactly as planned. Not bad for total improvisation.

If they knew about the plan they would totally behave differently and likely caused the plan to fail.

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5 minutes ago, hkmaly said:

If they knew about the plan they would totally behave differently and likely caused the plan to fail.

True. I guess this is another point we can nitpick to death. Anyway, as it happened, Eris correctly predicted that divine stupidity could easily put mere mortal stupidity to shame and that when the chips (or apples) came down, everyone would erupt in infighting.

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15 minutes ago, The Old Hack said:

Anyway, as it happened, Eris correctly predicted that divine stupidity could easily put mere mortal stupidity to shame and that when the chips (or apples) came down, everyone would erupt in infighting.

I wouldn't call them stupid, or at least not more stupid than humans. They behaved EXACTLY like today's celebrities. Everything for their public appearance.

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1 minute ago, hkmaly said:

I wouldn't call them stupid, or at least not more stupid than humans. They behaved EXACTLY like today's celebrities. Everything for their public appearance.

I was doing dramatic exaggeration but you are actually 100% correct. The Greek Gods and their myths tend to be excellent allegories for human behavior. I think I've heard it said that the old Greek created their Gods in their own image, in fact.

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4 minutes ago, The Old Hack said:
8 minutes ago, hkmaly said:

I wouldn't call them stupid, or at least not more stupid than humans. They behaved EXACTLY like today's celebrities. Everything for their public appearance.

I was doing dramatic exaggeration but you are actually 100% correct. The Greek Gods and their myths tend to be excellent allegories for human behavior. I think I've heard it said that the old Greek created their Gods in their own image, in fact.

Note that the effect would be similar if it would be other way around.

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11 minutes ago, hkmaly said:

Note that the effect would be similar if it would be other way around.

I dunno. I think I am too old to start believing in the Greek Gods at this stage of my life. I'll stick to my firm belief in Murphy and Finagle, thank you.

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6 hours ago, The Old Hack said:

I'll stick to my firm belief in Murphy and Finagle, thank you.

If Murphy's Law were true, every time you took a breath, all the oxygen molecules would just happen to be on the opposite side of the room at that moment.

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1 minute ago, CritterKeeper said:

If Murphy's Law were true, every time you took a breath, all the oxygen molecules would just happen to be on the opposite side of the room at that moment.

It wouldn't need to be every time.   Just once could be terribly inconvenient.

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4 minutes ago, CritterKeeper said:

If Murphy's Law were true, every time you took a breath, all the oxygen molecules would just happen to be on the opposite side of the room at that moment.

That is taking it somewhat too far. My belief in Murphy's Law is not in a religious sense but rather in the engineer's sense. "I need to eliminate as many ways this can conceivably go wrong as possible. If I don't, someone will someday stumble on the flaw in my design and will all too likely do so in a very painful and possibly terminal way." Admittedly I am not in a position where carelessness of mine is likely to hurt a large number of people but as a rule of thumb it still strikes me as attractive -- the more careful I am, the less likely I am to get myself or people around me into trouble.

As an aside, this was an important part of my father's work before he retired. He is a doctor specialising in clinical chemistry and one of his particular interests is to devise an international standard for such work which includes designing procedures so they are as safe and error-proofed as possible. As an example, back when I was a paramedic in the Army I was supposed to deal with pairs of blood samples from three hundred soldiers. This procedure was... not very well thought out. We had six hundred test tubes, had to fill two of them with blood samples from each soldier, and we did not get the sample labels until after we were finished drawing the blood. In other words, I sat there with six hundred labels to fit on six hundred test tubes full of blood and had to hope like Hell that the test tubes had been placed in the grids in the right order in both trays -- yes, to maximize confusion each pair of test tubes were placed in different trays in what was optimistically hoped to be the matching position on both trays. Oh yes, and if a mistake happened? Clearly it would be the fault of the paramedic doing the work.

After I had related this tale to Dad, he said that this was exactly the sort of disastrous lack of organisation he and his colleagues were striving to do away with. A proper procedure, he stated, would have all the test tubes labeled with the name and number of each soldier and before you tapped the blood into the test tubes you showed them to the donor and asked them if the label matched their identity. Both vials. And so in one fell swoop you eliminate a huge number of potential errors from the process. Very dangerous errors, too. I am sure I don't need to give examples of possible bad consequences.

That is what paying one's dues to Murphy means. It doesn't mean a nihilistic everything-will-go-wrong-anyway attitude. It means that smart designs are less likely to lead to avoidable human mistakes.

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On ‎2‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 2:33 AM, The Old Hack said:
On ‎2‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 1:29 AM, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

At the time I wanted to hear at least one of them reference how that plan resulted in the Trojan war.

And here I thought it was started by someone holding a beauty contest where the winner got an apple.

The contest was the incident that sparked the war, but the war wouldn't have been anywhere as big if it wasn't for the oaths that pulled all the Greek nations into it.

7 hours ago, The Old Hack said:
7 hours ago, hkmaly said:

I wouldn't call them stupid, or at least not more stupid than humans. They behaved EXACTLY like today's celebrities. Everything for their public appearance.

I was doing dramatic exaggeration but you are actually 100% correct. The Greek Gods and their myths tend to be excellent allegories for human behavior. I think I've heard it said that the old Greek created their Gods in their own image, in fact.

The Greeks understood people pretty well, and figured their gods would be more than mere mortals, so they imagined the gods as people but more so. The gods had all the virtues and shortcomings that mortals had, but dialed up to a 'divine' scale. Larger than life, to use a popular turn of phrase. And today's celebrities are often said to appear larger than life (or at least try their best to project an appearance of being such).

 

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On 2/10/2018 at 10:19 AM, Don Edwards said:

Now, remember all those powder-trails I mentioned? Russia and Serbia had a treaty specifically calling for Russia to aid Serbia if Austria declared war on Serbia. So Russia declared war on Austria. Austria and Germany had a similar treaty in case Russia would declare war on Austria. So Germany entered the war. Germany was aware of the complex network, and figured out that France was going to enter the war and not on their side - so Germany attacked France. And so on. And so on.

Thing is, if the war had started in a different manner, Germany could have been on the same side as France and/or Russia...

The interesting question is why Austria (technically Austria-Hungary) would declare war on Serbia knowing full well that Serbia had strong ties to Russia.  They didn't have to to go to war, but from your description (I haven't studied WW1 that closely) It sounded like they wanted to.  The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand could have simply been the excuse the Austrians were looking for to declare a war they already wanted but couldn't justify diplomatically without some kind of provocation. 

If the Austrians were itching for war, then, and they weren't blind to the web of alliances across Europe, they would have to realize that Russia would intervene on behalf of Serbia.  As it happens the Russians as a people always fondly looked on the Serbs as "little brothers", which is true even today.  Bottom line: The Austrians believed that they could take the Russians in a fight, especially with the help of the Germans, who themselves wanted to empire-build after spending a long time divided against themselves and being relatively weak players on the European stage.  Germany could well have attacked France because France was protecting countries Germany wanted to conquer.

The takeaway is perception of international weakness, be it weakness of military or weakness of nerve (or both)  is very dangerous. Enemies don't respect the wishes of countries that they see as weaker than themselves.   Enemies also won't respect a strong power if they are convinced that the strength will never be used against them.

This is the root of the addage, "If you desire peace, prepare for war."

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If you want to trace powder trails leading to World War I, there are a bunch. Bismarck laid one of them by picking a war with Denmark in 1864. You see, the mother of Nicholas II, last tsar of Russia, was a Danish princess named Dagmar. To give old Otto due credit, he tried to rub out another powder trail, maybe the biggest, the annexation of two French provinces seven years and two wars later, but for once he couldn't talk his Kaiser, Wilhelm I, into seeing Bismarck's way.

Edited by Tom Sewell
"d"efecit

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12 minutes ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

It's too bad Victoria died in 1901 and Christian IX died in 1906.

If they had lived, between the two of them, I really think they could have knocked some sense into their grandkids.

I'm not too sure about that.  The European royal families were all interbred because of the mistaken notion that family wouldn't fight wars with family.  As time passed they also got a bit inbred as well.  It's possible that their forces of personality could have held back war for a while, but not forever.

Moreover, acquisitiveness and aggression have a tendency to to come out in those who are arrogant even under the best of circumstances.

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6 hours ago, Vorlonagent said:

If the Austrians were itching for war, then, and they weren't blind to the web of alliances across Europe, they would have to realize that Russia would intervene on behalf of Serbia.  As it happens the Russians as a people always fondly looked on the Serbs as "little brothers", which is true even today.

They might know about the alliances but not about the "fondly looking" and optimistically believed Russia won't honor the treaty?

25 minutes ago, Vorlonagent said:

The European royal families were all interbred because of the mistaken notion that family wouldn't fight wars with family.

Also, because marrying someone was legitimate and peaceful way to unify two territories.

 

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2 minutes ago, hkmaly said:

They might know about the alliances but not about the "fondly looking" and optimistically believed Russia won't honor the treaty?

It's possible.  I'd have to do some historical research.  I expect the last days of Czarist Russia were not its most powerful or prominent point in history.  OTOH, it would be the perfect time for a rival power to try to conquer a corner of Russia's empire.

12 minutes ago, hkmaly said:

Also, because marrying someone was legitimate and peaceful way to unify two territories.

Unification wasn't happening.  They were just trying to keep the pace of war down. 

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20 minutes ago, Vorlonagent said:
36 minutes ago, hkmaly said:

Also, because marrying someone was legitimate and peaceful way to unify two territories.

Unification wasn't happening.

Not at that point anymore, but it used to in past.

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5 hours ago, hkmaly said:

Not at that point anymore, but it used to in past.

Indeed. The slow creation of Prussia is a case in point. It happened gradually over the course of more than a century of carefully planned and mapped out political weddings. Sometimes it would take more than one, of course. One united family might give a bloodline a claim on a certain territory; several of them would tie it so strongly to the bloodline in question that they would become its de facto liege lords.

This did have its complications. At first Prussia did not have a physically contiguous form. In the latter half of the 17th century it looked something like this:

T9eylmP.jpg

It took a lot of war, politicking and land trades/purchases before Prussia managed to assume its fully contiguous shape as well as obtaining uniform laws. Nonetheless, marriages played a very important part in the creation of Prussia.

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36 minutes ago, CritterKeeper said:

Silly map-maker.  Should have used blue for Prussia!

I assure you, CritterKeeper, the Prussians were many things but they were most assuredly not Democrats. In fact, they were monarchists to the bone. :danshiftyeyes:

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That map illustrates Prussian history in the early 1600s.

"Prussian Blue", Fe4[Fe(CN)6]3 · xH2O, wasn't developed until 1706.

It would have been anachronistic to apply Prussia's signature colour to maps representing Prussia in the early seventeenth century.

And as George Jetson cautioned the Continental Congress at the end of the Boxer Rebellion, "Fact check your blogs before posting lest users ignore the attached cat videos."

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