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Everything posted by Cicero

  1. Woodstock's Legacy:

    I'm not sure if this will help you, but what has helped me in learning foreign sounds is learning the International Phonetic Alphabet and gaining a solid understanding of phonology. Once I understood how the parts of the mouth are positioned when making sounds and how the sounds blend in a language, it became a lot easier to pick up the sounds. Also, immersion in the language whether through tapes or just living there helps. My linguistics professor has been able to learn Navajo, which has many unusual sounds, through these methods.
  2. Classical Tale of Wartime Heroism

    What's also interesting about the salary is that 55-60k is what they get paid after 20 years of service. The starting salary is on average $20K for enlisted soldiers and $40K for officers. These salaries hardly encourage the caliber of young men it takes to make SOF. I agree that military salaries should be revisited and we should completely eliminate wasteful programs like Peace Corps.
  3. Classical Tale of Wartime Heroism

    First, I am not familiar with the events leading to Lt. Murphy's Medal of Honor. Now, to your first question. Finishing School does explicitly deal with how and why the Seal's have changed. Explaining exactly why is a long answer, which is why I directed you to Down Range. The SEALs have always been involved in close-quarters operations that require precision tactics that require a great deal of training and expertise to pull off. For this reason, the SEALs have transformed from a group that was primarily concerned with direct action, unconventional warfare. Now they deal with much more counterterrorism and reconnaissance missions. They have, to a certain extent, become more similar to the group known as Delta Force. I'm not sure if this exactly answers your question, but any other answer would require a much longer response. I'm a bit unsure why your concern about 9/11 being a terrorist act has caused the SEALs role to change. Perhaps you could explain further what you mean by that.
  4. Classical Tale of Wartime Heroism

    True, but it appears that a few of the posters on this thread may not have been aware of how the SEALs train for every type of battle. In my experience, most people seem to think that the SEALs operate only in aquatic settings, which I think is caused by watching too many Jean Claude Van Damme movies. :-) Also, in reply to RickWilmes, The Finishing School talks a bit about how 9/11 caused a change in SEAL tactics, but for a more thorough treatment of how 9/11 has led to new SEAL missions, I recommend reading Down Range (also by Dick Couch). In case you can't tell, I'm a huge Dick Couch fan.
  5. Classical Tale of Wartime Heroism

    All SEAL teams have at least one sniper-qualified SEAL on the team. Often the teams are a mix of experienced SEALs who have served multiple deployments and rookie SEALs. The actual SEAL team will spend a year of pre-deployment training, which includes missions where the team supports and covers the SEAL sniper(s). As for the other questions, they are very valid questions that I imagine should be answered. For more information about what a SEAL team consists of and their skills, I recommend Dick Couch's The Finishing School. He follows SEALs through SQT, which is the phase after BUD/S and then through their pre-deployment training. It's an interesting read to see exactly how the SEALs role has changed from a primarily aquatic strike force to a now land-based strike force.
  6. Classical Tale of Wartime Heroism

    Zeus, perhaps you should read a bit more about what SEALs are trained to do. He wasn't "dieing to support the current Iraqi dictatorship", he dying to support his fellow soldiers. If you knew how the SEALs are trained, which involves a year of pre-deployment work with their units which makes them almost a family, perhaps you wouldn't be so cavalier in your dismissal of a true American hero. I suggest you go read some works by Dick Couch to find out what "this dead Navy SEAL" and his friends have gone through just to earn the right to protect their nation as a Navy SEAL.
  7. Dogville

    Please add Dogville.
  8. Please add No Country For Old Men.
  9. Juno (2007)

    I really enjoyed this movie. First, for a movie about teenage pregnancy, it avoided pretty much every cliche. Also, it managed to avoid sermonizing or having an after-school special feeling. Second, the dialogue in the movie was superb. The screenwriter Diablo Cody has a good grasp of how teenagers actually speak, thus avoiding making the characters sound too old or too young, as a lot of teenage movies do. Third, the settings always had some little quirk in the background that lifted them above just an ordinary movie set and made it feel like an authentic setting. There is a lot to like about this movie and I highly recommend it to anyone.
  10. One man's recent Apple experience

    Wozniak received an iPhone the day before it was released. He was in line to buy more for his family and friends. This was covered widely on Digg and Slashdot during the iPhone launch. Also, Apple's management gave an iPhone to everyone who worked at the company shortly after the launch, similar to what they did when they launched the iPod. I think the current Apple management is doing just fine running an amazing business. As for the hard drive problem, I don't personally agree with Apple's policy. However, it is their policy, and the guy who is complaining about it obviously didn't read his contract and now wants to be protected from his own mistake. It's tough to feel sorry for him. I don't think this is symbolic of Apple's customer service. There are many good stories about people who had a problem with their computer, and after sending an email to Steve Jobs's office, received a quick resolution to their problem. Apple does have the problem that any large computer business does, but they are much more aware of their public image and they try to quickly resolve PR messes like this in a way unlike most other large computer companies. Anyways, Merry Christmas to everyone.
  11. Happy Birthday to JRoberts

    Happy Birthday!!!
  12. Stephen's Health

    Stephen's posts always challenged me to think about an issue, and I will miss his input and vast knowledge. My condolences to Betsy.
  13. Final Fantasy VII

    I agree completely that this was a great game. However, it pales in comparison to the greatness that was Final Fantasy VIII, which is my favorite game of all time. The reason I don't like this game as much as Final Fantasy VIII is the characters. I never personally cared for Cloud or Aeris, so the game dragged on for me at times. Still, it is one of the top 10 games for me.
  14. Augustan Age Literature

    I would check Latin Literature: A History by Gian Biagio Conte. It covers the entire history of Latin Literature, and the introduction to the section on the Augustan age discusses the influence of Maecenas and Augustus, along with the instability caused by the civil war.
  15. Meditations

    Having read The Meditations for a paper I wrote about Roman Stoicism with an emphasis on Epictetus, I spent a lot of time reading this and various commentaries on it. I enjoyed reading it, although not for extended periods of time as it tends to be a depressing book. Still, it is probably one of the best examples of personal Stoicism that exists now.
  16. Ayn Rand & Lunch

    When I first started reading Ayn Rand about two years ago and I would go out of town for something, I would always go to the biggest bookstores possible to look at her books, since the stores in my city didn't seem to have many of her more advanced books. Anyways, I was in Austin in a bookstore in one of the malls reading the first chapter of Virtue of Selfishness. This older man walked by to look at the philosophy books and saw that I was reading Ayn Rand. He stopped to tell me that he had a degree in philosophy and had done research on many philosophers. He recommended Ayn Rand, since she was the happiest philosopher and gave the most advice about how live a good life. He then recommended a few of her books for a beginning student of Objectivism and wished me a happy life.
  17. The DaVinci Code

    Having read the book, I agree with FreeCapitalist's opinion of it. The author blends history into the book in a fun, creative way that makes the book an enjoyable read. Note that FreeCapitalist explicitly said he did not know if the history was accurate, but that it was presented in a fun fashion. Also, if you read the book, you will discover that Dan Brown has a very extensive knowledge about the Grail lore. Having read a few of Dan Brown's books, he is very into conspiracy theories. Even though I know they are all false, his extensive research makes them a lot more interesting and just a fun read.
  18. AP English Reading List

    I've read Their Eyes Were Watching God for school. It's written completely in dialect, so it's very hard to get into unless you plan on reading it straight through in a night. However, the plot was better than I had expected it to be, so it's not a horrible experience. Still, it's not a book I ever plan on reading again.
  19. Spybot

    I've worked with JavaScript, and I can say that any programming experience makes it easier. What's useful is that JavaScript and Java are both based off of C-style syntax, so it should be pretty easy to get in and pick it up. Have fun!
  20. Spybot

    I've heard about AJAX, but I haven't really researched it too much. However, reading the link you gave me, the name stands for Asynchronous JavaScript + XML. JavaScript is not Java. They are two very different technologies, and a lot of people have gotten confused by them. JavaScript is fun to work with, but you'll still need a programming language under your belt to use AJAX based on my understanding of it. It seems like something that lets the client do requests using web services, which is really a catch-all for several technologies of which the dominant one is SOAP. So, you'll still need to make programs on the server that can do the processing needed by the client. For this, Java is an excellent choice, as servlets are a core technology that are used often in this kind of job. Of course, I may have completely misread the point of AJAX, so take this with a grain of salt.
  21. Terry Goodkind

    I agree completely with this. The storylines do begin to blend into each other and stop being interesting. I've read all of the books up to Faith of the Fallen, which I couldn't even finish. While I like how he embraces Objectivism, his writing suffered greatly when he tried to demonstrate the philosophy in the books. He would have Richard Rahl make long speeches about morality and such, when it isn't in Richard's character to do anything like that. I also think the way he contrived the switch was artificial and did not seem to fit into the book. With all of that being said, I still recommend the series, at least the first three novels in it.
  22. Spybot

    Yes, you can. However, you should also realize that most of these were designed on Linux by people who fervently support Linux. The documentation for how to run them on Windows can be very bad. However, I think for projects like MySql, PostgreSQL, and Apache, the support is excellent for Windows, as many Windows-based companies use these products. What kind of web applications do you plan on doing? If you're going to do stuff like scripting with PHP and Perl, you'll find the best tools will be available on *nix platforms. However, if you plan on using the .NET architecture, you'll obviously be using Windows. Personally, I recommend Java, as it is pretty much platform independent and can be used for a wide variety of tasks, including web applications.
  23. Spybot

    After reading this thread, I have a few thoughts that I would like to contribute. First, I think an error is being made by a lot of people who criticze Linux. They're criticizing Linux, which is actually only the core of the operating system, when they have legitimate criticisms of the distribution. The distributions, i.e. Slackware, Ubuntu, and Mandriva, vary widely in ease of use and functionality. Some, like Mandriva, pride themselves on being bleeding-edge and are not really meant for general users. Others, such as Ubuntu, aim to be desktop replacements. So, it's really a choice of distribution and what you want to use the computer you'll being installing the Linux distro on. If you have an old computer that has little RAM and an old processor, there are distros like Damn Small Linux and Puppy Linux. If you want a good desktop computer, there's SUSE, Fedora, and Mandriva. On the issue of Linux being insecure, I would highly doubt that Linux systems get hacked any more than Windows systems. It all depends on the user and what he has set up on his computer. If there are any stats on Linux vs. Windows hacks, I would like to see them. Half of the stats I have seen are always questionable due to who funds them, what kind of systems they test, and other environments. Microsoft funds a lot of surveys that, surprising enough, show Microsoft as being the most secure system. On the other hand, I have seen ones that Open Source people have funded that show Linux being very secure. There have also been issues raised about migrating to Linux from Windows. I've used both for extended periods, so I think I'm qualified enough to give an opinion. The differences cosmetically are minimal. Personally, I had no problem going to a Linux distro running KDE from having used Windows all of my life. Some of the programs were different, such as OpenOffice.Writer, but it wasn't like a huge difference. The only problems come in when you need to use the command-line. I agree, it is difficult. However, once you get it, which took me about two weeks, it's infinitely much easier than simply using a GUI. I cannot go back to Windows machines now for any type of real work besides surfing the Internet. It's so much easier to use tools that come with any Linux distro.*If you would like more elaboration, just ask.* Concerning Open Source Software(OSS) vs. commercial software, that depends on what you are going to do. If you want to do graphics, there's GIMP in any Linux distro, but I would still recommend a Mac. If you're making programs that are going to be run primarily in a Windows environment, it's pretty obvious what you should be doing. However, for web applications, I would recommend OSS, mainly because the tools out there that run the Internet, such as Apache server, PostgreSQL and MySQL databases, are all open source. There are lots of really good programming packages for web applications that are all open source. I'm primarily a Java programmer, so I'm more familiar with the tools for that language. Just off of the top of my head, I can name several excellent open source packages that far exceed any commercial alternative (Log4j, Hibernate, Struts). In many cases, there are no commercial alternatives because the OSS is so good there's no need for it. Also, FreeBSD rocks. I use it at my house just because it's such a fun system. I'll admit, it's not for beginners, but it's an excellent system for anyone who wants to truly understand computers and operating systems.
  24. Inspiration from Epictetus

    "It is the ability to show people, both individuals and groups, the inconsistency they are caught up in, and that they are focused on everything except what they want. For they want the sources of happiness, but they are looking for them in the wrong place."(Discourses 3.23.34) This is one of the more amazing quotes in Epictetus that I have come across. The importance of this quote in both his style of philosophy, his message to his audience, and to future generations that he did not know would be reading his works is beautifully summed up in this quote. He gives the essence of Stoicism, mainly that people focus too much on the wrong things to achieve happiness, and that they neglect their inner self in this pursuit of external happiness. Epictetus is criticizing a speaker who relied on verbal pyrotechnics to impress his audience while he read an old work that was well-known to the audience. Epictetus criticizes the speaker for not trying to impress upon his audience their failures and moral inconsistencies, and how those faults cause mental problems which prevent happiness. Epictetus, when he lectured, would criticize his audience for its flaws and incisively show how they were failing morally. He would encourage them to replace their bad habits with good moral actions. This style of lecturing an audience was part of a tradition in Stoicism that they traced back to Socrates. It is called protreptic and elenctic. The elenctic part refers to getting the listeners to challenge their own beliefs by using a question and answer format to show that their beliefs are founded upon faulty ideas. Proptreptic refers to actually changing the listener's ideas by showing a better way . Although it was often very harsh on the listeners, it fit with the classical thinking that a philosopher should challenge his listener's core ideas in the most public way so as to force a change upon him that would make him a better person. This change that Epictetus encouraged was the questioning of one's impressions of the world. By questioning one's impressions, he did not mean to question the validity of the senses or of nature itself. Instead, he meant check to make sure that when you observe something that you do not add your own personal opinions and beliefs to it. He discouraged adding emotions to what should be an objective impression of reality since it would cloud reality and cause mental anguish as long as you avoided reality. His underlying concept could be summed up as check your premises. This concept, which has been ignored throughout human history, could have prevented so much useless suffering and damage. It is only recently that Ayn Rand applied this principle to achieve her integrated philosophy, Objectivism. Think of how much could be done if this principle were only understood and applied as she did.
  25. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

    It's Once More, With Feeling. You can find a short synopsis of the episode by clicking on the link. That was actually the episode that got me to start watching the series, because USA Today did a big piece over it, and how all of the actors on the show had no problem singing.