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Thread: A day in the life

  1. #51
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=dias;6665329]Yes in Crete Aspasia is more popular . But i am not from Crete so i can't tell you more .

    To be honest , everyone who has Greek grandparents is very lucky

    Haha I agree

  2. #52
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    *On Crete* It’s an island .Why do I see my mistakes afterwards ?...fsss…

    Today I will write about the life of Alcibiades. My friend Jibralta seems to be interested in Greek ancient history so I picked a Greek general .


    Alcibiades was one of the greatest generals of Classical era in ancient Greece. As a kid and teenager he was known for his insubordination and flamboyance .He was married to Hipparete who tried to divorced him for being unfaithful but he dragged her away from her court appearance . He was famous for his capability to adapt to the current environment like Chameleon. When he was in Athens he was like an Athenian (leading a self-indulging lifestyle), when he was in Sparta he was like a Spartan (working out a lot , disciplined and frugal) and when he was in Persia he lived like a Persian (wine, women , sumptuous palaces etc-not bad^^ ). He was also known for his adroitness to orate . This unique blend of dexterities made him one the most contradictory figures of the Classical era with lots of admirers and enemies .


    Alcibiades was born in 450 BC , son of famous aristocratic family of Athens . Alcibiades as soon as he became a general he advocated an aggressive politic against the Spartans after the treaty of Nicias. (The Peloponnesian war had already started years ago ) .He created an alliance between states of Peloponnese in order to decrease Sparta’s power. However the alliance got defeated at the Battle of Mantinea .


    In 415 BC the Sicilian city of Segesta asked Athenians for help in order to support them against the war they had with another city called Selinus . Alcibiades seized the opportunity and swayed Athenians to help the city of Segesta promising wealth , influence and expansion of Athenian’s alliance territory . However many generals and politicians were not proponents of this idea claiming that this campaign is a waste of money and vehemently disagreed with him . But Alcibiades was a formidable orator and the preparations for the campaign started . But something bizarre happened during the last days of the preparation- the hermai(statue of Hermes with a phallus) were mutilated throughout Athens. This profanation ascribed to Alcibiades and his friends , notorious about their extravagant parties at night . The city procrastinated the trial and Alcibiades left for the campaign . Athenians had some small victories in Sicily at first indeed . Unexpectedly Athenians –more than probable, Alcibiades’s enemies – called him back for the trial . The verdict would be death so Alcibiades fled to Sparta .



    In Sparta he swiftly adjusted to the Spartan’s frugal lifestyle . He advised them about how to achieve victories over the Athenians . That included telling all the secrets and tactics of Athenians. He persuaded them to build a fort outside of Athens which was an intelligent action and cut Athenian’s access to their crops and silver mines . But soon Spartans began resenting Alcibiades and he had to flee again . There are many theories about why he vanished so quickly from Sparta . The most popular is that he slept and impregnated the king’s wife –Oups! .


    Alcibiades fled to Persia and joined the Persian Satrap Tissaphernes . He convinced Persians to keep neutral-friendly terms with both Athens and Sparta and intervene only when these two would be exhausted from the war. Simultaneously he managed to sway the Athenian fleet based on Samos that he could negotiate with Persians in order to support Athens with the war against Sparta . With a lot of conspiracies , plots and unscrupulous schemes he achieved to establish oligarchy in Athens . He defeated Spartan’s navy on the Hellespont in 410 BC. He also defeated the Persians who had joint Spartan’s side .
    In 407 BC he returned to Athens as a hero and gained the title general-aristocrat (It can’t be translated in English exactly) , the top rank in Athens . Later , as a commander of the Athenian armed forces , he left an inexperienced general in charge in an expedition which proved fatal as this general got defeated by the Spartan’s Navy .Spartan’s commander this time was a very competent man named Lysander . Alcibiades left Athens again – permanently this time- and went to live in Thrace . In 404 BC Spartans won the war over Athens . The same year Alcibiades was murdered possibly by Lysander’s men in conjunction with the Athenian tyrants and Persians.


    There are many controversial and ambiguous opinions about Alcibiades from ancient and contemporary historians . Some believe he was extremely intelligent and skilled , other believe he was just an ostentatious general who could persuade people . There are always mixed opinions about great people .

  3. #53
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    I didn't know Alcibiades was from Crete! I only knew him as one of Socrates's students. Athens--Sparta--Persia-- wow, he really played all the sides!

  4. #54
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    Originally Posted by Jibralta
    I didn't know Alcibiades was from Crete! I only knew him as one of Socrates's students. Athens--Sparta--Persia-- wow, he really played all the sides!
    No,no, Alcibiades was from Athens . My first sentence was referring to my #51 post in which i made a spelling mistake . Sorry for the confusion.

    Yes he was also one of Socrates's student indeed. I think Socrates saved his life twice when Alcibiades was young .

  5.  

  6. #55
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dias
    No,no, Alcibiades was from Athens . My first sentence was referring to my #51 post in which i made a spelling mistake . Sorry for the confusion.

    Yes he was also one of Socrates's student indeed. I think Socrates saved his life twice when Alcibiades was young .
    Ohhhh that makes more sense.

    Yes, I think Socrates was a hoplite. There's a legend that at Delium, he refused to run off the battlefield as the rest of the Athenians made a fast retreat. Instead, he just calmly strolled away.

  7. #56
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    I was thinking writing about Sidney Reilly (from whom Ian Fleming inspired James Bond) but it’s a long story and I am not in the mood . Then I thought writing about Bonnie and Clyde , the American criminal couple but there is no intrigue in the story . So I will write about Victor Lustig , the famous con artist who sold the Eiffel tower twice .


    Victor Lustig was born in Austria-Hungary in 1890 . He spoke fluently multiple languages , a charming con man as they used to say . He worked( if scams can be considered work) in France and in the US. His main con was the money printing machine . This machine produced a 100 dollar bill every six hours indeed. What he didn’t mention to his “clients” was that it could only produce three bills. He was with his victims when the first bill was being produced , lamenting about how slow the machine was. Then, having sold the machine, he absconded with the money , leaving his victims waiting for the next bill . In 12 hours he was long gone of course.


    In 1925 , France had almost recovered from the Great war and Paris was flourishing . Lustig impersonated the deputy director-general of the Ministry of Posts and Telegraphs and invited six scrap metal dealers at the most sumptuous hotel of Paris. He told them that the government wanted to demolish the Eiffel tower and sell it for scrap . The idea at the time wasn’t so crazy as it would sound now since Eiffel tower was not intended to be permanent when it was built in 1889. He also asked them to keep this matter private to avoid the public outcry .


    Lustig knew the victim from the start . It was Andre Poisson . Lustig knew Poisson’s insecurities for not being in the inner circle of Parisian business community and taking this big job would make him more favorable to the business circle . Poisson’s wife was more suspicious though (as women always are ) and wondered why this job was shrouded in secrecy and had to be done so quickly. Valid points ! Thus Poisson was still ambivalent and had some misgivings which expressed them to Lustig. Lustig in order to salvage the scheme , concocted the story of the poor paid government employee who wanted a bribe and therefore the job had to be done swiftly and in secrecy . Poisson ate the bait and paid for the Eiffel tower and for the bribe. Lustig fled to Austria of course . Poisson was too embarrassed to go to the police(or tell anyone) .Lustig knowing this returned to Paris after some months and did exactly the same con again. This time the victim went to the police but Lusting managed to flee again .


    Quite interesting is the fact that he conned Al Capone . He met Al Capone and asked him for 50000 dollars and promised him that he would return with 100000 or more . Al Capone knew he was a con artist when he saw Lustig but he was regaled by him and was curious about how this deal would end . Lustig kept the money in a vault for two months and gave Al Capone the 50000 back . He told him that his investments fared bad and he was sorry for not making any profit . Al Capone used to be around scoundrels and he didn’t believe that there are actually honest people in this world . And for that ,he gave Lustig 5000 dollars which was Lustig’s goal from the start.

    Lustig deliberated and observed people very carefully and within 5 minutes of chatting he knew their weaknesses and deep insecurities. The “ten commandments for Con men” has been attributed to Lustig .
    • Be a patient listener (it is this, not fast talking, that gets a con man his coups).
    • Never look bored.
    • Wait for the other person to reveal any political opinions, then agree with them.
    • Let the other person reveal religious views, then have the same ones.
    • Hint at sex talk, but don't follow it up unless the other person shows a strong interest.
    • Never discuss illness, unless some special concern is shown.
    • Never pry into a person's personal circumstances (they'll tell you all eventually).
    • Never boast - just let your importance be quietly obvious.
    • Never be untidy.
    • Never get drunk.



    Lustig was arrested in 1935 and sentenced to 20 years in Alcatraz . He died in 1947 in prison .

  8. #57
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    What a week . Many things happened at work . An old friend from the university came for an interview . I talked to the head of the HR about her and how competent she is at programming and in collaboration . To concede the truth , I didn’t expect to take my opinion into consideration but to my great surprise he did . The next week she got hired . She deserved the position for sure , there was no need to intervene but it is her first job and I was in the same position 6 months ago so I know how hard it is to find a job even if you “deserve” it . The head of the HR came to me and told me “You know , I hired your friend” with a “you owe me a favor now” kind of attitude. How I see it , he had to hire someone anyway so I helped him to hire a good programmer and dexterous person . Instead it seemed the opposite . Fsss .Whatever. Got played . At least my colleagues seemed “impressed” that the head of the HR took me seriously as he usually doesn’t take seriously senior programmers when they ask him for the same favor.


    My project manager seems to like me more and more now that I take the initiative and help the team with more serious tasks although after that I have to get extra work for the weekend which I don’t really want-not because of the work , because I have nothing to learn/profit- . I also observed that now that managers talk about me more , girls seem more interested to help me and guys seem not very eager to cooperate . I expected this behavior and it’s normal but not from so early .


    I am not a competitive guy and I don’t really give a damn about competing anyone but I am very confident by nature and this make others competitive which irritates me .

    The head of the HR wants to talk to me , probably for a small raise or something but I don’t want since I know I will be gone in some months . I don’t know how to handle this matter….

  9. #58
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    Saturday morning, 7:56 am. The last weeks were quite strange I would say. Many vicissitudes at work. The project manager gave me congratulations for achieving something but the next week he transferred me in another department. It is known that project managers send there employees they don’t like. It got me thinking to be honest…. The thing is, the plan didn’t work out because I couldn’t connect to the local network(in this new department) for some technical reasons and they sent me back. Of course I don’t have the same enthusiasm now to work as I used to. Probably, sooner or later, the technical problem in the new department will be solved and I will go back which I don’t mind anymore as I don’t really want to stay in a team where the project manager doesn’t really want me. Besides, I will stay at this company till August and there are some coding skills I can obtain in the new department so it’s not that bad in the end.


    I got accepted to Kent and Hertfordshire Universities and I am waiting for a reply from Essex University. I knew I would go to Kent from the start but I applied to two more universities just in case something goes wrong. Now I need to send them an email for arranging a quick tour around the campus in April or March. They have open days in which there are tours at the university but I don’t know yet if I can take some days off in this certain period.


    The MSc will be in Business Analytics. Pretty much I know the software tools they use and I will practice more until September. I hope I will find a job as a business analyst -which by the way is considered much easier job than development- but as an analyst you spend a significant amount of time chatting with people which is essential for me. I have found that I need to interact with people, it makes me happier. I get easily “depressed” when I program alone for several consecutive days in a row.


    I have never been to England, it would be a nice experience. From pictures I see Kent is a beautiful place, I will have to take my camera with me.

  10. #59
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    I just watched the film Jason Bourne and it really got me thinking about the privacy issue related with networking etc. Snowden was mentioned in the film. I never really understood why Snowden’s “revelations” were considered as revelations. Too much fuss without any reason. Why people got exasperated? It doesn’t make any sense.

    Copied from Wikipedia:
    Edward Joseph Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an American computer professional, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, and former contractor for the United States government, who copied and leaked classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 without prior authorization. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance, with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments.


    Yes we are all under surveillance. We expose personal information on the web, on Facebook etc , we type credit numbers when we buy online, it’s very reasonable that governments know everything because we ourselves give these information. Most would argue that this is not ethical. Well these people are too naïve or too dumb. As a web developer I can ascertain that whatever you type on web like credit numbers etc is not safe. Automatically someone receives these information through the application. So everything depends on the person behind the application or the employee at the bank. Is he an ethical honest person? The answer is probably yes most of the times because he fears the law and possibly a good sentence in jail. But how could someone be so naïve to believe that these information are not used from governments and other organizations? Telecommunication companies know everything-I literally mean everything- for the simple reason that they provide our communication tools.


    For instance, I and a colleague implemented the online Paypal payment process for the biggest retail chain in Greece. I never thought of it, but I literally have the code that is used for transactions with the bank or Paypal when people buy things from our website. When someone buys something with Paypal, he gets a pop-up in which he has to put his account credentials. This pop up is provided by Paypal but I did the coding for initializing this process etc. So the real question is:

    1)Would you trust the guy at Paypal? And what if tomorrow he leaves for Brazil having embezzled a large amount of money since he has your credentials?
    2)This Paypal or Bank pop up is provided by the Paypal company or by the bank respectively so I personally can’t see the credentials. But what I could do (it’s not a lot of work, I could do it within a month) is to create a fake but identical pop up and send the data to my personal server at home and from there to continue the real flow of the payment process. No one would notice anything at work because I would be the only one coding on this specific task and when it gets live nobody would observe any nuance on the pop up and therefore none would suspect anything for a long time. I know it sounds very difficult but it is not, every developer can do it.

    Everything comes down to “morality” in the end. What I truly believe is that the risk of getting caught is disproportionally larger than the chance to succeed. This is what deters people. Maybe if the daily orders in our website would worth 100K per day, I would be in Brazil or in jail right now.

  11. #60
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    Nature or Nurture? The eternal question!

    I read an article about an experiment in behavioral psychology. Briefly:
    Stanley Milgram from Yale University tested 40 people from all walks of life for their willingness to obey orders from a “leader” or someone more “powerful”. The experiment was:

    An actor was sitting in a chair with some wire cables attached to him. The “subject”(the people involved in the experiment) was with a “scientist” in the next room. The subject didn’t know that the person sitting in the chair was an actor and the wires were counterfeit. The subject had to ask the actor questions and if the actor wasn’t able to answer correctly he would receive an electrical shock as a punishment. The role of the subject was to push the button for this electrical shock. The shocks started from 15 volts and could reach up to 450 volts(which is considered a strong electrical shock). Every time that the actor would give a wrong answer the shock would increase by 15 volts. Of course, the actor pretended all the necessary facial expressions of pain according to the level of the shock(he knew the volts each time). The role of the scientist was to persuade-coerce the subject to increase the level of the shock. His argument was that the experiment was carried out for the pursuit of scientific truth. They wanted to see how far normal people would go before reacting and refusing to push the button.


    The upshot was unexpected. More than 60% percent of people went up to 450 volts and this was in the USA. In other countries, I imagine with more dictatorial regime, the percentage was 85%.

    There are two theories to explain the results

    1)The experiment aroused people animal aggression instincts and this is why most people continued till the end.
    2)The other perspective is that subject’s actions are a result of the social environment of which the experiment was carried out.

    My slant on this issue is that the combination of these two opinions would explain the results. And it is pretty simple I think, because nothing is black or white . I believe our instincts are more powerful than nurture or social environment but logic plays a hefty role as well and it definitely moulds our character up to a certain extent.

    I think there are some other factors in the experiment that they didn’t take into consideration. Like the fact that the actor was a male. I don’t know the gender of the subjects but I am sure it plays a great role. Would the results be different if the actor were a beautiful actress and the subjects were all males? I am pretty certain that the answer would be positive.

    To answer the eternal question of nature or nurture I will cite Basil Zaharoff:
    A man cannot change his nature but he can discipline himself to control his reactions…

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