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This is the category to put all kinds of things that cannot be included in the other categories. First of all I would like to put a little moral story, which I may not remember in 100% (and I am also translating it, from what I remember originally in Spanish), but you'll get the idea:

 

   

The Power of Bad Thoughts

Only once in the year, during Yom Kippur, the Supreme Priest could enter the most sacred area of the Temple in Jerusalem to offer a sacrifice to God. In that moment, if the slightest bad thought crossed the Supreme Priest's mind; it is said that it could cause the destruction of the world...

But then, our ancient ancestors asked: What difference is there between Yom Kippur and the other days of the year? In principle - no difference at all. And what difference is there between the Supreme Priest and the rest of the humans? - No difference at all. And what difference is there between the Temple and other places in the world? - No difference at all.

So, the slightest bad thought of any human, at any place of the world, anytime; can cause the destruction of the world.

Note: Yom Kippur - the Day of Expiation, the most sacred religious date for the Jewish people, when we must repent of our faults and try to reconcile with all our fellows.


Big dreams, cheap dreams

I
a universe of atoms
an atom in the universe.
Richard P. Feynman

 

When I was 6 years old, the NASA almost routinely sent manned missions to the Moon. Nobody doubted what would come next. I remember some of the sci-fi series of that time:

Cosmos 1999: There is a BIG moonbase, which after an accident starts a long travel beneath the stars (the latter is irrelevant, what matters to me is what was given as a fact - a big moonbase in 1999 - JA!)

2001 - Space Odyssey: A manned mission is going to reach Jupiter (or Saturn, according the book) - JA!

Well - you get the idea. Many of the advances predicted by those sci-fi movies didn't happen (and yes, they failed to predict some good things we DO have). But the general attitude towards space exploration those years (the 70's) was of the beginning of what would be the never ending human presence in space.

Now - we are far, very far from that. And it is not getting any better. What do we want technology for: smaller cell-phones? Getting riches overnight at the NASDAQ? Cheap dreams... I would also want the big dreams back.

 


In Praise of Zionism

Zionism is the national movement of the Jewish people. After countless dissasters, killings, discrimination and what not against our people, it started to crystalize the idea that the only solution to our problem (different from the cynical nazi "solution" to the Jewish problem), was to create a State for the Jewish people. As simple as that.

Seeing what happens lately on the world, the need for the existance of the state of Israel is big today as it was 50 years ago. I am not so fanatic not to accept criticism to the policy of Israel. I also think that it is very good that some people in the world feel that it is their obligation to march in support of the Palestinian people. But, intermixed with those with good intentions - I recognize once again the same old vermins. They give a damn for the suffering of this or that one. They only hate us, the Jews (together with all those that are different from "them", whatever that means). And the turmoil in the Middle East is their opportunity to go to the streets and show their hatred and antisemitism.

Generations of antisemitic education will not fade away easily. And on later years, arab and (former) soviet propaganda created another monster - anti-Zionism. To make things worse, news coverage, most notably in Europe and in certain US networks (CNN...) is unbelievably single-sided and blatantly anti-Israeli.

Maybe the country you were born in, is normal enough to accept you as you are.

Some countries in the world will accept you if you are wealthy; or if you are young, or talented (or both).

Other countries may even be willing to accept you as a refugee under certain conditions.

But, if you are a Jew, no matter if you are young or old, talented or not, man or woman, rich or poor, black or white - only one country in the world will accept you unconditionally: The state of Israel.

And Israel needs YOU.


Quality or Quantity?

Some time ago, I was told that there is a demonstration for what is better: quantity or quality. Well, the demonstration is limited to a theoretical war confrontation, but anyway let's see it:

There is a battle between a lot of low quality tanks, and a few, high quality tanks.

 

The low quality tanks (green) are destroyed by a single hit from the high quality tanks (gray). The gray tanks have to be hit ten (10) times to be destroyed!

There are 40 green tanks against 10 gray tanks. So it is 4:1 numeric superiority for the green tanks, but it's 10:1 quality superiority (number of needed hits) for the gray.

And if that wasn't enough advantage for the gray - we'll let them shoot first...

So the gray tanks fire, and destroy ten green tanks.

At the end of this round, there remain 30 green - 10 gray.

Things are looking good for the gray... So what do you think? - Who will win?

Now it's the greens' turn to fire. So they destroy only three gray tanks.

Results at the end of the round:

30 - 7

The grays fire again.

Results at the end of the round:

23 - 7

 

You can stop here and try to figure out by yourself what will be the final result...

...

...

...

...

... (Don't peek)

...

...

...

...

Greens fire.

Results at the end of the round:

23 - 5

Grays fire.

Results at the end of the round:

18 - 5

Greens fire.

Results at the end of the round:

18 - 3

The next rounds in the fight will be with the following results:

15 - 3 (gray fire)

15 - 2 (green fire)

13 - 2 (gray fire)

13 - 1 (green fire)

12 - 1 (gray fire)

... And the greens fire, destroy the last gray tank, and win!

So - quantity is better, isn't it?

Remember that we started with an advantage of 4:1 for quantity, against 10:1 for quality, and anyway quantity won...

OK - I thought a bit about this, and the demonstration didn't convince me. So why didn't it convince me?

1. The simulation is way too simple. How do we define quality? - For example, if the high quality tanks are also faster, they could run in, hit, and escape; once and again, and get victory without even a single loss.

2. Even if we limit the simulation to the simple rules we started with, there are still a lot of questions. How do we know that on each round, the low quality tanks knock a quantity of tanks equal to one tenth of their number? That would need a perfect synchronization of all the small tanks, so they would all fire at the same (big quality) tanks. If that was NOT the case, the second round would end, not 30 - 7, but maybe 30 - 10, with all the high quality tanks hit, but not destroyed...

3. Then again, you could say that a hit (hi-quality) tank would have a somewhat poorer performance than a "new" one, so we could have to complicate the simulation further...

4. In my opinion - there isn't a simple answer to this question. But it is interesting enough, so I have put one simulation in the games section. Go check it!.

5. I talked shortly about this issue with some people in DIV' s chat room, and Lukas (Adherbal) correctly pointed out that terrain is also a big factor to be considered. By the way, the graphics of the tanks in the pictures were addapted from original graphics from Adherbal's WWII game - so here is the credit he deserves.

6. Final note about simulation - I don't think that taking things to the extreme is good. You could say that 1,000,000 tanks will surely win over 10 super-tanks, but I would like to know how that million tanks will be all together within range of fire of the hi-quality tanks. On the other hand, a hi quality tank that fires, for example, neutron bombs that vaporize 1,000 tanks each shot, is also highly improbable. The question of quality / quantity is interesting within the limits of reality and common sense...

And to finish, let me put here some thoughts about real conflicts of the late time:

1) World War II - Quantity won, in my opinion (and of many others). "From 1939 to 1945, German's military machine struck out and conquered most of Western Europe... In time, however, the Allies gathered strength and eventually crushed the German Army and Axis powers with a display of brute force that has remained unmatched to this day. What started out as a war based on military tactics and blitzkriegs, later became a war reliant on industry and mass production" (from SSI's Steel Panthers manual - one of the best tank battle simulators for WWII).

It is widely known that German engineers and scientists were way ahead of the allies during WWII. Some of their inventions were misused (a typical example is the fate of the ME 262, that could have been an excellent fighter but was misused as a bomber), but for me, the final result of the war was inevitable. In no way could the Germans win against the huge mass of resources that (mainly the US and the URSS) put in the field against them...

2) Desert Storm - Quality shone... Iraqi officials have said that this was not a fair war... Their tanks exploded without them having the opportunity of seeing who was firing at all...

3) The Cold War - USA against the URSS - Again a victory for quality... This was, by the way, a widespread controversia within the US, for the US invested billions of dollars in high quality hardware, in the same time that the URSS mass produced lesser quality armament. The Warsaw nations' planes and tanks outnumbered the NATO forces by large. There was not a "real" war on the ground, but in my opinion, quality won in this case.

4) Middle East late wars - Again a victory for quality. One of the extreme cases was the 1982 Lebanon war, during which the Israeli Air Force destroyed more than 100 Syrian planes without even a single loss...

So - there is not a simple answer for this question... But it's an interesting issue anyway - What do you think?


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