House Balstroko

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About House Balstroko

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  1. The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

    The reason why BitTorrent has never been shut down, is that the premise behind it is not illegal. In many ways it functions in a similar manner to what LimeWire and Kazaa did in the past. They are used for running illegal activities, but at it's core as a P2P service it is designed so people can share their own files. Now we know that oftentimes it is used to upload/download third party content that is not authorised for free distribution, but there will always be a legal case to keep the services up and running.
  2. The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

    This is a very interesting topic and one which will play a huge role in shaping tomorrow's society. This is somewhat off topic but here goes: What's interesting is the position a lot of big names in science/IT have taken in regards to the future of AI http://observer.com/2015/08/stephen-hawking-elon-musk-and-bill-gates-warn-about-artificial-intelligence/ As of now we have not had to contend with dominating AI because it is still not sufficiently advanced to break free of human command. We can still overwrite any faulty algorithm and kill off the technology if it becomes troublesome like Microsoft's AI. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tay_(bot) The problem will definitely grow if we ever get to a stage where the AI's algorithm is so advanced that it will essentially become an entirely independent unit. I think it's entirely possible that such a system will view humans as a form of virus and try to eradicate them to cleanse the planet. I think this could be especially troublesome for cybernetics. If any part were to go rogue, it would seriously impair the individual in question.
  3. Fidel Castro dies

    First of all, if the US truly wanted Castro gone, he would have been removed. Maybe not during the Cold War, as it would have increased tension with the Soviet Union further, but definitely during the 90's. As you keep on saying, the US definitely had the capability of doing so, and it may have tried so in the past (like the Bay of Pigs). That doesn't change the fact that Castro used that as an excuse to impose his will on the island for over 50 years. many of the supposed coups were used to boost his popularity, just like that clown Maduro is still doing in Venezuela. Why do you think banning artists from expressing their opinion is the right thing to do? Should the US arrest/ban anyone who criticizes the government? Why haven't Chomsky, Alex Jones, Michael Moore all been arrested? Why are most artists still allowed to perform, while in countries like China they are heavily regulated? Metallica was barred from playing the song Master of Puppets because the government felt it might promote dissent, despite the fact that the song is about drugs controlling one's life. Do you know which other country is surrounded by hostile nations? Israel, and they are doing great from an economic and technological standpoint. Sure, you could say that they received a lot of aid from western nations and you would be right, but that money could have easily been squandered. The real reason Israel was a success is because the country developed it's own technology and was able to turn an inhospitable environment into arable land. Today it's also a leader in research. Israel has far more disadvantages than Cuba; it's surrounded by mostly hostile nations with which its been at war in some form or the other since it's formation, a lot of the land is arid making agriculture somewhat difficult. Cuba has not had a war/major issues since the Cuban missile crisis (1962). It may be in the shadow of a large hostile nation, but it's not in a war with it, not to mention it has plenty of other countries to trade with to the South and East. It was also the poster boy of communism, meaning it received a lot of aid from the Soviet Union. Cuba is also a tropical/subtropical island which has easy access to water, unlike Israel which needs to process it. Why is there also such a huge discrepancy between the development of North and South Korea? After all, the North should have all the advantages, it's next to the two largest communist nations. If there was anything it needed, China/SU could just roll it across the border. South Korea only borders the North, with which it has no diplomatic relation, yet still manages to outclass it in pretty much everything. Then we have Vietnam, a country still communist in name only. I've been to Vietnam and there are a lot of people who still refer to Ho Chi Minh City as Saigon. Why do you think that's the case? They told me that while they dislike the war and the death toll it brought, the biggest damage to the country was brought forth by the communist regime. As to your last point, it's really unfair that you just dismiss what I wrote as propaganda. I've never insulted you and respect your opinion, despite the fact that I disagree with you on most points.
  4. Fidel Castro dies

    I'm definitely not ignorant of what's going on. If you seriously believe that the US is responsible for all of those then you have a poor grasp of history. The world is a much more complicated place with so many intricacies to it. Labelling everything a coup is doing disservice to all the struggles that went on. You mention the 1953 coup, but ignore the fact that the person who came into power to replace the Shah did so by a coup himself. You mentioned Vietnam as well, but ignore the fact that the Vietcong was also backed by the Soviet Union and CCP. Even Castro's rise to power was technically through a coup as he overthrew the previous government. Should 1959 be labelled a Soviet coup? Plenty of countries are capable and most certainly do interfere in global matters. The US may have the greatest reach but it is not the only actor. I've never once suggested that the US is innocent, but it's pretty obvious that the attempted coups that keep getting brought up are an excuse to silence dissent. Have you ever wondered why most countries where those things are mentioned fare poorly in democratic circles. It.s easy to label everyone who disagrees with you as a "paid western agent" and its a very cheap tactic. By siding with this you are essentially telling people that if they disagree with their government, they are puppets. Erdogan did it this year, Maduro as well, in fact so did China with the Hong Kong protests. Iran did it back in 2009 during the protests. I have quite a few Iranian friends and most thought very poorly of Ahmadinejad. In fact someone even suggested the same with Cuba, as if there would be no legitimate grievances with Castro's regime. I remember reading an article about how Cuba accused the CIA or trying to forment dissent by promoting rock music. That's just ridiculous. There are so many American bands that are critical of US foreign policy. Are they working for someone else? Should Rage Against the Machine, Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers all be banned because they are critical of the government? I'm only using some popular ones but they are plenty in metal circles as well. How is it possible that in a world with nearly 200 countries, only one government is interested in organising coups? Humans are humans at the end of the day, largely driven by similar motifs. How do you get an outcome where governments are sweet and noble, if you have populations that engages in all kinds of criminal activity on a daily basis? This is real life not the LOTR. As to my last point about the "lack of development", I said that Cuba's achievements or lack of are a result of its own policies. The embargo should not figure into the discussion. Was the embargo unnecessary? Sure. Is it the reason Cuba stagnated, as claimed by the government? No
  5. Fidel Castro dies

    You're right that gloating over the death of a leader is counter productive as it doesn't solve any issues. I was definitely not gloating over it, as I'm myself indifferent to it. My criticism was largely aimed at those who praise him as a model leader.
  6. Fidel Castro dies

    My explanation was very simple because there is not much to it. Yes, it's true that to a certain extent the US did undermine Cuba, but that's just how countries operate. it most certainly isn't unique to the US. Countries have been doing it for eons. Blaming the embargo for Cuba's lack of development is absolutely ridiculous. At some point, you need to stand on your own two feet. Not to mention that unlike many developing countries, Cuba was constantly helped by the Soviet Union. Of course many people love the romantic narrative of a brave leader fighting against the odds, so they will easily buy the notion that Cuba's state of being is the direct result of the embargo. i also never suggested that western democracies are impeccable. They have many flaws that are worth addressing. There are also plenty of countries that have socialist tendencies, yet are still very successful in many areas (Sweden, Norway...) I'm really getting tired of the coup nonsense that keeps getting brought up. "We are innocent little lambs, but the big bad US is here to get us". It's pretty obvious that Castro was using the notion of coups to consolidate power. After all, its what many regimes try to do: label anyone who disagrees with you as a dissident to alienate them from politics. One does not have to be American (I'm not) to believe that Castro is terrible. While it's true that there is some propaganda aimed at Cuba and other regimes, it's silly to think the reverse does not exist. Propaganda works in many ways, it exists in every country and it has many objectives. The notion that the US is terrible, while every other country is so sweat and innocent is extremely juvenile. If you seriously believe that, you don't understand basic human psychology.
  7. U.S. Politics: 2016 Election Goes To Overtime

    Unless there is evidence of fraud, the results should be respected. I do support the notion of getting rid of the EC and making the popular vote taking over. However, those changes should be undertaken before the 2020 election, not following the 2016 one, that would only undermine democracy further.
  8. Fidel Castro dies

    Of course you can criticize what you want, I never suggested otherwise. There is a lot of discourse happening in many western countries at the moment regarding the merits of different political models. What I strongly object to, is praising Castro for standing up to "imperialism" when you rely on products that come from said "imperialistic" nations. You cannot indulge in a culture (movies, music, social media, computers, cars...) and then turn your back on it by elevating leaders who supposedly stand up to it. I'll ask you another question, would you be a fantasy blogger if you had spent your life in Castro's Cuba. I highly doubt you would be on this forum if you had been living there. I don't think I ever mentioned that technology is only for capitalists. I said that a lot of it was developed in capitalistic countries. Using the embargo as an excuse is a cop out. Cuba is in its state through its own doing. The country was free to trade with however else it wanted. At best you could say that the embargo was unnecessary, which I do agree, but to use it as an excuse is just plain silly. Forgive me for saying this, but I do have a hard time believing you would be willing to live in Cuba. I'm not trying to be disrespectful, but it's really easy to say that on a forum without thinking things through. I'm not American and by no means did I suggest that the US has the best model. What country do you live in? I'm going to take a wild guess and say Sweden.
  9. Fidel Castro dies

    No, there are plenty of countries that make phones, and by make I do not mean manufacture. Except there are multiple countries making satellites. Cuba still relies on vintage technology from the Cold War era. I'm not saying that capitalism is directly responsible for technology, but do you really think it's by coincidence that the most advanced countries follow a capitalistic model (to varying degrees). My original point was that it is bizarre that some people look to Castro's Cuba as a model country, when it has accomplished so little. They think that Castro was some benevolent individual who had people's interests at heart. If that's the case why did he rule for 50 years and not allow anyone else to run for office? Would you trade your life in New Zealand for one in Cuba?
  10. Fidel Castro dies

    No, but the products you use in your daily life are definitely the result of capitalism (as flawed as it may be). There is something inherently wrong when people use computers, the internet, social media (all western products), to praise a communist leader who lambasts the countries who produce those very things. Some people like the idea of a romantic Cuba, devoid of modern technology, but that's because they know they can go back to their comfy chairs at the end of the day. It is entirely dishonest to portray Castro as a model leader when you're not willing to live under the conditions many Cubans go through.
  11. Fidel Castro dies

    Some of the things like computers, the internet and GPS were, which largely came from the West.
  12. Fidel Castro dies

    Most of the things you use. The internet, computers, smartphones, (information technology in general). Then we have the industry which developed following the industrial revolution (cars, trains, aircraft...)
  13. Fidel Castro dies

    I don't understand in the slightest how some people can praise Castro while sitting comfortably in western countries, using technology that only exists as a result of capitalism. It's easy to praise someone when you don't go through the daily struggles people do. I know a lot of tourists enjoy Cuba because it offers something that is unique, which is a result of the country being isolated. Unfortunately, to them Cuba is essentially a virtual museum. Leaders like Castro, Chavez/ Maduro, Kim use the pretext of standing up to imperialism to distract the international community from their domestic activities. It's especially ironic when you realise that Cuba largely runs on western infrastructure built during the Batista era. If you want to change the social order then you need to provide a competitive alternative, or else don't bother.
  14. Star Wars Rogue One: Now With Less Rouge

    i would prefer if they give us a live action TV series. GL was originally working on one, but the project never got past the drawing board. I think we already had way too many animated ones.
  15. Queer characters in fantasy

    The Malazan series has quite a few gay characters. Erikson decided to make his world as egalitarian as possible, which is why you can find characters of different ethnicity, religion, gender, orientation playing important roles in the series. Off the top of my head comes Tavore, who has a relationship with T'amber. Its not shown in any graphic way but there are subtle hints throughout, about it.