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Comment: Re:$1.1 Trillion over 54 years... (Score 1) 532

by BranMan (#47889479) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

Hi Dave,
    Whew. Thanks for the reply. Have to take this one at a time - there is just too much. I'm afraid you have lived much too sheltered a life.

Freedom of Religion - is very special, and it is not everywhere by any stretch of the imagination. Common across the world? Wow. Um... No. Iraq is falling apart due to a lack of this - people are killing each other over there in Sunni vs. Shiite violence. They are two sects of the Muslim religion, and everyone in Iraq thinks of themselves as Sunni or Shiite - not Iraqi. It is tearing them apart - to the brink of genocide. Look into it - please. The news media does a poor job of it.

Also look into the persecution of Muslim immigrants in France - they were rioting because they were not allowed to get jobs - by the government. Look into the IRA - Catholic vs. Protestant in Ireland. Killing each other with bombs and machine guns just for being of the 'wrong' religion. Look into the background of the Puritans having to leave England in the 1600s (yes it was a long time ago) - can you even conceive of the level of DESPERATION of a religious group to leave everything they own and have ever known to embark on ships to reach a new land they have never seen to maybe, god willing, survive the journey, just to have a chance to live in peace and practice their religion? I know I can't.

I use the examples above as France, England, Ireland seem very very close to what America is like. There are hundreds more examples all through history. I don't know - Crusades anyone?

Freedom of Religion is very rare - rarer than it seems growing up in the US. Not unique to the US, but rare. Unique may be that we actually codified it into Law - the very Constitution itself.

And no, I don't think American culture is this list of things - I think it is built on these things, like the foundation to a building. It is these basic things that helps make us different in the world, and allows us to do all the awesome things we do.

Comment: Re:$1.1 Trillion over 54 years... (Score 1) 532

by BranMan (#47883257) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

I will answer this as a serious question: What is American Culture? Complicated question - complicated answer:

Nationalism - we started as a Nation - collection - of States. Roughly the size and specialization of European countries. Forming as a Nation we have changed from early days "I'm a Virginian!" to modern days "I'm an American!". This is in vast difference to the rest of the world - the old USSR never got this far as it never held together long enough, even though it too was a collection of States - there is no tribal-ism, there is no clan-ism, racial bigotry is minimal (there are those who would argue, but compared to the rest of the world that erupts in literal genocide from time to time, ours is nothing).

Upward Mobility - by and large there is no constraint on individuals becoming successful. Gates is a billionaire, but so is Zimmerman. Refugees can come here with the clothes on their backs and little else and become successful business people. As a corollary to that we have homeless too.

Rule of Law - The Law rules the land, and with some argument, covers all equally. Property rights are pretty much paramount - what is yours remains yours. We have exceptions to that that some would argue, and I agree there is no absolute. But the fact that those exceptions get such attention is because they are rare. And worth fighting against. If the government or a corporation wants to do something bad, they need to hide it. And be in a shit-storm if it comes out.

Freedom of Religion - Pretty much a founding principal, and makes us one of the few places in the world there can be open talk of the FSM without fear of repercussions.

Capitalism - Basically we have an economy that works by incentive (I do things to make money, then can spend it how I want) instead of direction. Greed is a great motivator and helps us work hard - cause it benefits us. Directly.

Global Economic Interdependence - We NEED the world - the whole world - as we need materials that are scattered all over the planet. That is a big reason we are in everyone's business - we need to keep the oil, and wheat, and molybdenum, and rare earths, and everything else flowing everywhere, just so we can do all the things we do. So we work to keep the world stable (for us) as that benefits us (greed again - great motivator!) directly.

How's that for a starter - fee free to add to the list.

Comment: Re:Uncompetitive? (Score 1) 312

by Knuckles (#47818515) Attached to: Uber Now Blocked All Over Germany

Thanks. I couldn't find coverage numbers for commercial transportation of people, but here's the numbers for the liability insurance a private car owner is required to have. That's the minimum coverage required by law:

7.5 mil EUR for bodily injury.
1 mil EUR for property damage.
50k EUR for financial loss.

The sums for commercial vehicles are probably higher.

Comment: Re:No, it wasn't. (Score 1) 463

by BranMan (#47816821) Attached to: Deputy Who Fatally Struck Cyclist While Answering Email Will Face No Charges

Actually the PO DID break traffic regulations - says so right in the summary. The reason he hit the biker is that the PO drifted into the bike lane. That is the infraction. He was distracted by his laptop, went out of his lane, and struck a biker who was in the correct lane. PO's fault, and it definitely should be negligent homicide.

Comment: Living laboratory? (Score 1) 41

by BranMan (#47811793) Attached to: Saturn's F Ring Is Now Three Times As Wide As During the Voyager Flybys

This is a really interesting finding. So far as I know, even a lowly 3 body gravitational interaction cannot be exactly predicted. I'm wondering though - if enough high quality observations of the F-ring can be gathered over a period of years, is it possible to use them as a life-sized demonstration of the N-body gravitational solution? And could we curve-fit or otherwise reverse-engineer the paths of specific particles (or groups of them) to come up with (at least) better approximations for such N-body interactions?

Now THAT would really be something.

Comment: Re:Drivers license (Score 1) 312

by Knuckles (#47810155) Attached to: Uber Now Blocked All Over Germany

oh a side note how does one drive differently with a paying customer as apposed to a family member??

It's simple insurance mathematics. The insurance for taxis is most likely simply higher because the payouts are higher. Much more time on the road, etc. And it makes sense to require that a professional driver has adequate insurance for his passengers - which is a lot of coverage if you consider that a mistake can put 4 passengers in a wheelchair for decades.

People are always available for work in the past tense.