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US Navy Creates MMO To Fight Somali Pirates 318

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-tax-dollars-at-play dept.
dotarray writes "Ever wanted to fight Somali pirates without leaving the safety of your computer? Well, believe it or not, the United States Navy could use your help. MMOWGLI is a new video game project (that's Massive Multiplayer Online WarGame Leveraging the Internet, by the way) that is being used to crowdsource ideas on how to fight off maritime terrorists and hopefully secure the Horn of Africa."
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US Navy Creates MMO To Fight Somali Pirates

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  • Too complex (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @03:46AM (#36091088)

    This game is too complex. To stop piracy: just sink these damned pirates. When they will all be in the depths of the sea the problem will be solved.

    One pirate in the depths of the sea is pollution, all the pirates in the depths of the sea is the solution.

  • Arr? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @04:07AM (#36091176)

    JckSparrow logged on.
    JSprrow12 logged off.
    JackSparroz logged on.
    JackSpzrrz logged on.
    JackSparrow323 says: "But why is the rum gone?"
    Jacksparrow1337 says:" HARRRRR"!

    Just a summary of how it'll go.

  • "terrorists" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kirth (183) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @04:15AM (#36091222) Homepage

    Now "piss poor fishing men who had their fishing grounds ravaged by international fishing-fleets and turned pirates because of that" have become "terrorists".

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @05:15AM (#36091438)
    A number of posters above are suggesting solutions which have, in the past, been shown not to work (in Moby Dick, despite having small arms on board, Ahab decides to outrun the pirates. Think for a while about why. But then Melville had actually crewed on a whaler.)

    The problem of the US Navy is that it is not set up to combat piracy economically. Its ships and munitions are too expensive to operate, and its systems are intended to detect tactical level threats, not identify which of a hundred similar fishing boats is in fact a pirate boat. It would probably be cheaper and more effective just to give the pirates reasonably well paid jobs, lack of which explains why they are involved in piracy in the first place.

    In this country, General Wade was once despatched with an army to deal with the rebellious, raiding Highlanders. When he got there he decided that the problem was poverty. He set them to building roads in the Highlands, bringing trade to the area. It worked. Later, the Caledonian Canal was built for much the same reason: it wasn't economic as a canal but it brought employment and opportunity. These are the examples that the US should be looking at.

  • Re:Too complex (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jandersen (462034) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @05:20AM (#36091456)

    This game is too complex. To stop piracy: just sink these damned pirates. When they will all be in the depths of the sea the problem will be solved.

    Reality IS complex; people in general don't turn to crime or become terrorists simply because they are evil - if you start smply killing "the evildoers" without addressing the reason why they got to be that. And the solution is not likely to involve dumping an American style reality-show democracy on them. We really need to solve issues of social/political need and instability in the whole of Africa.

  • Re:Too complex (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @05:28AM (#36091488) Homepage

    ...and Iraq/Afghanistan. Going in and shooting people isn't really really helping there.

  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @05:35AM (#36091534)

    4.1. Entire crew on captured ship killed, ship scuttled in revenge. Cameras get beautiful shots of small pieces of children scattered across burning remains of bombed village. Massive calls go for war crime tribunal for people who ordered strike on civilians. US loses essentially all political clout it had with "human rights issues" worldwide. Company that owned the ship/its insurers and teary wives and children of killed seamen go to court against US and likely win huge damages, as potential ransom costs but a small fraction of ship and its cargo's value.

  • Re:Too complex (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SpazmodeusG (1334705) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @05:47AM (#36091590)

    I was thinking the exact opposite. The game is too simple. There are just variations on combat missions to perform. There's no option to protect Somalian fisheries from the foreign trawlers that have taken advantage of the lack of government. There's no option to investigate foreign vessels dumping toxic materials in Somali waters.

    Basically the game has no way to long term plan. Instead it's all about finding ways to "kill em faster than they can be made". An approach that's never worked.

  • by arcite (661011) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @05:48AM (#36091594)
    There is a limitless supply of pirate wannabes, and there is a limited supply of relatively cheap boats for the pirates to use. Far better to target the kingpins, organizers, and financiers of piracy. The facts are, the pirates have better funding.
  • by arcite (661011) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @05:50AM (#36091606)
    Much cheaper to just pay the ransom. Let the insurance companies take the hit. Pirates got kids to feed to ya know.
  • Re:do nothing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dails (1798748) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @06:03AM (#36091646)

    US does nothing, people complain that we can't do anything with our super-powerful navy. US does something, people complain that we're sticking our noses into blah blah. It's getting hard to give a shit about generally uninformed opinion in the face of piracy.

    Somali MO: Attack unarmed vessel, capture crew, demand ransom, kill crew if no money transferred, steal ship, sell cargo.
    US MO: Approach armed hijackers, negotiate first, offer to pay ransom, honor ransom negotiation if accepted, escort rescued ship's crew, even if not American.

    Oh yes, I see the hypocrisy in using different terms for what amount to basically behaving the same way.

    As for your last point, maybe you should do some research into the operating cost of a single destroyer vs. what percent of shipping is affected by piracy. While you're at it, check out the legal ramification of attacking pirates. My guess is since you haven't yet, you won't do it now.

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @06:31AM (#36091744) Journal
    Apply international pressure on the government of Somalia to clean up its act and clear things out. Offer them incentives (foriegn aid, support to eliminate the warlords and guns or whatever else) if they are willing to clean up their country and stop the pirates.

    Does Somlia have a government? I thought that this was the problem.
  • Re:Too complex (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xacid (560407) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @07:47AM (#36092074) Journal

    "We really need to solve issues of social/political need and instability in the whole of Africa."

    Do WE really? Personally, as a citizen the USA, I'm kind of sick of us intervening everywhere. Take the current situation in Libya for example - why isn't the Arab League handling it?

  • Re:Too complex (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @08:48AM (#36092532)
    The thing about your answer is that there have been people in the position like the Somalis for all of history, yet piracy was effectively wiped out for over 100 years. How did that happen? The British Navy made pirate hunting a top priority, and when they found pirates, they killed them. Many of these were summary executions, but some were brought back to port for trial. However, the purpose of the trial was not to establish guilt or innocence, it was to set an example to other sailors who might be considering turning to piracy.
    So, history suggests that the solution that the poster you responded to recommended works. History, also, suggests that trying to "solve issues of social/political need and instability" does not work. Historically, when outside groups try to solve a problem by addressing the "social/political root causes" of the problem, the problem gets worse. On the other hand, when those same outside groups drive up the costs and drive down the rewards of the problem behavior, the problem behavior diminishes. Often times, when the problem behavior is no longer a viable response to the "social/political root causes" the people who before went into the problem behavior act to correct the "root cause" of the behavior.

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

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