poveyjo, of course simulation is useful in many ways. My point was that the immersiveness is not enough to capture a massive market - there is way more to it than that. If Second Life did anything you have in your examples well it might be a lot more useful.
beat that for weird.
LOL very very good. I wonder if that's the amazing new intel. CIA codecracking machines have finally had Allah speak directly to them.
More seriously though; how is it people don't know what a scientific theory is?
I blame the way science is taught. My experience of the scientific method at school was "Hypothesize theory taken from textbook. Conduct experiment with dodgy equipment under severe time constraints. Discard evidence not fitting theory". This was after doing what I actually consider science "Notice phenomenon. Hypothesize theory. Attempt to disprove by consequences of theory conflicting existing observations. Attempt to disprove via experiment or new observations. When disproved, hypothesize altered theory. Repeat until failure to disprove". Unfortunately this meant disproving just about all of accepted science (usually through experimental error) and landed me very poor marks.
My favourite example was proving that objects do not fall with constant acceleration. This was done with ticker tape attached to a falling object. A device made marks on the tape every 0.1 of a second. We then examined the ticker tape and found the acceleration was very strange indeed. Very dense collections of dots at both ends suggested it fell slowly at first, picked up speed, then slowed down, and then stopped. This was repeated 3 times.
It was only at the end of the year that we discovered how this had happened, when during a teacher's 10 minute absence we got into a ticker tape battle. We noticed that every single roll of ticker tape had already been used, probably for the acceleration experiment. We must have used ones in the reverse direction that they had been used before, presumably because a previous student (or an underfunded teacher) had rolled them up that way.
What was interesting to me about this was that no other students had concluded that the accepted laws of science were all wrong. Many of them must have had exactly the same thing happen to them as happened to my team. Everyone, without exception, had come up with the 'right' answer. Did they use the scientific method? Or did they simply conclude, as I did, that the scientific method being taught was to look stuff up in a textbook?
Craig, if it's a choice between civil servants making policy without telling us what it is, or politicians, I'm undecided which is more democratic.
As for clear and direct answers, I'd fall off my chair if any politician was ever so bold (without simultaneously being a complete liar or a political irrelevance). If I actually did want to know what policy is about something, the civil service is totally the place to go to for answers. It might be a long and frustrating search, sure, but very often the search for specific answers to specific questions is.
Kyle, you don't get it. It is not intelligent to debate policy. That is what bureaucrats do. Politicians pick on something isolated and silly, like hip hop tours are when they're taken out of all context. That is intelligent.
I'd feel a whole lot safer if National just said they were going to leave all policy to the bureaucrats, and spend their time in government intelligently debating hip hop tours. But I have a sneaky suspicion it ain't so.
:-( Don't let the Eurocrats redact you out of existence.
Andrew, progress is still progress. If you can forget the past then even tiny little improvements that put you only 2 decades behind where you were a few years ago, seem like wonders.
I imagine inmates in Guantanamo bay are extremely relieved the days they're allowed to, say, stand up, or not get waterboarded. That must seem like progress. And I accept that it is progress, but I will not forget that they shouldn't be in there in the first place, or that they have put up with years of hell.
Nor will I forget that Iraq used to have a lot more people in it. I will not forget that this came about through a bunch of lies taken from intelligence, willfully misconstrued by Bush & Cronies. Especially not right now, when more intelligence comes out, which could be just as much lies and probably will be willfully misconstrued, in the hopes of doing to Iran what I'm supposed to forget happened to Iraq, because 20 less people got killed in sectarian violence in November, or whatever amazing signs of progress we are supposed to thank Bush & Cronies for.
James, you may not have grasped my point. You said things aren't going so bad in Iraq. My point was that your observation depends entirely on whether you are the one who got killed, or had their family killed or kidnapped or bombed or any number of totally shit things which are daily life in Iraq, or whether you are sitting behind a keyboard in New Orleans not giving a shit. I suggest you are in the latter category, and that if you went to Iraq and tried to tell people that things weren't so bad, it would make fun viewing on YouTube. In fact, I suggest that if you did video it, Al Qaeda would do everything in their power to get that footage to air. It might seem rather gruesome to your relatives, they might get a wee taste of what your idea of "It's not so bad" is like.
It could still be that iran is gaming but it does appear that this was considered.
The same comment applies before the "new information". It is quite possible that it's a game Iran is very good at. Given the flipflop I'd even say it's likely. Either they're good at hiding their weapons project, or they're good at hiding that they don't have one. I don't feel confident about either fact, and just conclude they are good at hiding stuff.
it's more likely to be an honest mistake than some sort of skulduggery (a view based purely on not much).
Either way they are proving their complete unreliability as a source of information.
I tend to think that intelligence agencies would be more prone than most institutions to groupthink. Academic communities thrive in a world of open information, repeatable discoveries and robust debate, but none of these is a possibility for the spook world. You're talking about information that is tainted by secrecy, political motives, monetary motives, torture, counter-intelligence, fear, ideology. Nothing about this lends itself to the truth being accessible.
For instance, say this amazing intel is from some agent working in Iran? What's to say they aren't a double-agent? Or it's an Iranian double-agent that's been turned. Can we be sure they aren't a double-double-agent? Or perhaps it's just opportunists selling info to the highest bidder, who don't actually have any real intel at all. Maybe it's some covert team who have penetrated an abandoned nuke project? Who can say it just hasn't been moved?
All I can see from the outside is a flipflop. It's an insult to my intelligence to suggest that it is the facts that have flipflopped. 1984 has been and gone. The fairest I could be is to say that they can't have been that certain in the first place.