Werthead

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  1. Breaking news about a press conference in LA where a woman will be taking legal action against Trump for sexual assault or discrimination. That's happening now but helpfully C4 News switched off at that point and the BBC isn't covering it yet. Under Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty, member states are bound to treat an attack on any one member state as an attack on all. Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are all member-states of NATO at present. An unambiguous attack on any of the Baltic States by Russia legally requires the rest of the Alliance to respond in their defence. The only exception to this is if a NATO member state undertakes aggressive action against another country and that country retaliates. In that situation the Alliance is not bound to intervene. This is why NATO refused to support Turkey after Turkey shot down a Russian jet fighter that wasn't infringing on Turkish airspace. If Russia can introduce significant tactical confusion to the situation, as they have done in Ukraine, then they may try to spin any kind of casus belli to justify an attack, but at this stage that would be pretty easily seen through. Of course, any NATO member state is free to choose not to follow the obligations of the treaty, at which point the Alliance pretty much collapses, since mutual defence and support is its underlying foundation.
  2. I don't see there being an appetite for an EU army as it would duplicate NATO and most European nations can't meet their NATO obligations, let alone an EU army one as well. However, Germany is honour and legally-bound to "bleed for Estonia" as part of its NATO defence obligations. So is the UK, France and the rest of the alliance. I remember one country thinking that Britain and France would not bleed for Poland. That did not work out so well for them.
  3. US Politics- Stay Gold, Pony Boy

    There is France and the UK as well. Not sure why the UK is being discounted here. It's only leaving the EU, not NATO, and it is very much firmly pro-NATO and takes a dim view of current Russian aggression. So does France. They have a combined arsenal of over 500 warheads, enough to glass Russia several times over (yes, Russia has a shit-ton more, but that doesn't really matter because Russia only needs half a dozen to effectively wipe out the UK and France; we are not big countries in comparison). If France and Britain draw a nuclear line in the sand, Russia crosses it at their peril. But they have to be absolutely clear on where that is and the risk is that France and Britain will not be taken as seriously as a comparative American statement. Trump actually had a good idea today (sorry, my keyboard melted when I typed that) in suggesting that Russia and the US agree to reduce nuclear stockpiles in return for the easing of sanctions. That would require a lot of fine detail to be worked out but it's a more positive statement than a few weeks ago when he was suggesting a new arms race. Or maybe tomorrow he'll suggest that the US and Russia join forces to nuke the moon. Who knows?
  4. F1 2016

    It's official. Bottas to Mercedes on a 1-year deal with an option for more. I suspect that will only be activated if he does outstandingly well this year (either wins the WC or comes close). Massa back at Williams also on a 1-year deal. If Bottas doesn't do well at Mercedes I can see him returning to Williams and Massa out again, or Massa potentially staying for another season or two beyond that. Wehrlein has moved to Sauber, with financial support from both Mercedes to Williams (including giving them their engine for free, which means Williams have an extra £14 million+ to put in elsewhere) and Sauber. If Wehrlein performs well as Sauber, I suspect the plan is for him to move maybe to Williams. That depends on their Martini deal, which requires them to have at least one driver over 25. If he does outstandingly, he may potentially move straight up to Mercedes. Alonso and Vettel are both free for 2018, so I suspect we'll see them circling Mercedes as well. Alonso I think is more likely, as his temperament has matured as he's gotten older and Mercedes know that Hamilton versus Alonso in his last 1-3 years in F1 for the championship will be top box office. Vettel would probably just be a massive, petulant headache for them. Haha. Maybe Vettel to McLaren in 2018? That'd be interesting.
  5. UK Politics: The Overton Defenestration

    Michael Gove: "Now we're at the front of the queue?" Trump: (slight pause) "I think you're going to do great!" Hmm. Not sure I find that entirely encouraging.
  6. Video Games: Fantasy's Final '16

    Continuing through BG. Completed the gnoll castle, which was tougher than I remember (did they have immediately-respawning gnolls in the original edition? I can't remember them). But I now have my traditional A-team: Imoen, Jaheira, Khalid, Minsc and Dynaheir. The weakness with this set-up is no dedicated priest, but getting a full priest means dropping one or both of the duos, or Imoen (whom I'm not crazy on but does make more sense from a story perspective). But my own character's (he's a fighter) innate powers, Jaheira's druid spells and potions do fill in the gaps, so I may rock with the standard gang. I didn't do my normal exploration of every forested area on the way down to Nashkel, so I'm wondering if I should double back and clear those or proceed into the mines first. IIRC, the mines aren't tremendously tough and I can get a lot of EXP down there before going back to the Beregost area (and flaming arrow kobold death alley).
  7. The appendix and the text in Heart of What Was Lost say that the Norns and Sithi are not immortal but live for insane amounts of time compared to humans.
  8. Video Games: Fantasy's Final '16

    With my main computer kaput and being reduced to using a laptop, I decided to fire up Baldur's Gate again. Still a great game, but the remastered edition feels a bit odd. The characters look like they're floating above the landscape and a lot of the fine detail in the artwork is off compared to the standard edition run through a couple of mods. I know there's a general consensus that the original version + mods is superior to the remastered version, but I couldn't be bothered with the fiddling around. I may have to reassess that if I can't adjust. I'm also a bit annoyed that I've picked up two of the new NPCs without meaning to (the dialogue didn't entirely suggest they were about to join up), disrupting my plan to have a classic party. Will probably dump them at some point, especially the wild mage who doesn't seem to bring much to the party but is handy until Dynaheir shows up.
  9. US Politics- Stay Gold, Pony Boy

    I think that's the problem. Someone has taken the presidency whose behaviour and values are repellent to over half the population of the country. How do you heal and become stronger and more united when the person in charge has no interest in meeting you halfway? The onus isn't on people who voted against Trump or those who chose not to vote on rolling over and accepting the status quo (especially not after eight years of the Republicans and their opponents not doing the same thing), it's on the President to find a way of doing that healing process. Doubling down on plans and policies that will actively hurt millions of Americans is not the way of carrying on if that is his intent. The problem is that Trump and his policies represent an existential threat to both the American way of life and the international diplomatic consensus, and he has no interest in moderating his approach. That may come in time but I wouldn't bet on it.
  10. US Politics- Stay Gold, Pony Boy

    Partly. He then continued the investigation free of charge because the FBI was not acting on the information he was sending them and he was getting concerned it would not be investigated until he found additional information.
  11. It's been 3,000 years since the Keida'ya arrived in Osten Ard (Heart of What Was Lost gives us that figure for the first time). A Keida'ya Great Year is 62.5 years (as 500 years = 8 Great Years in Heart of What Was Lost). A Keida'ya lifespan appears to be about 6,000 years (Amerasu Shipborn was "in middle age"), although I'm not sure about that. If that was so, there should be lots of them who were still alive in the Garden, instead of just Utuk'ku. The Keida'ya appear to have landed on the east coast of Osten Ard, as the Rimmersmen came from the continent or islands across the western ocean.
  12. I didn't really get that in the first series. They're elves/dark elves and proceed to do very elvish/dark elvish things.
  13. WorldCon Helsinki 2017 -- Planning!

    If you can put me down as a tentative. I don't even know if I'm going until the job situation sorts itself out. If we get to a point where the rooms are all taken and mine is left, let someone else have it. Will try to 100% confirm ASAP.
  14. Yup, they swapped out New Zealand for Britain, which was unexpected but then gave us a crazy Picts vs. Polynesians story which was totally insane but kind of fun.