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Comment Re:First things first. (Score 4, Interesting) 573

Next thing I do (after buying a house, of course) is start studying accountancy, because if I've learned anything from reading the news the past several years, it's that NOBODY can be trusted with that many zeroes.

After that, I've got friends who need help, and who deserve it much more than I do. I want to see them happy. Then I can start worrying about businesses and philanthropy and shit like that.

You're overthinking this. Read The Four Pillars of Investing by William Bernstein. Invest your money sensibly. Make sure that all your eggs aren't in one basket - invest with a number of different firms and with a broad portfolio. Pay attention to annual performance and ask questions.

Then look after your friends, although you'll discover that everyone looks at you in a different way.

Even when you're wearing your old comfy jeans, they'll look at your feet and see the $800 shoes that you bought because they're the most freakishly comfortable things you've ever put on your feet. Your Aston Martin key fob will start unwanted conversations with TSA screeners every time you pass through security (they all seem to think that a Ferrari 458 would be a much more sensible choice than a 4-door sedan).

Meeting people gets a bit awkward. They'll ask where you live and you'll tell them, "Just out of town, near the river," hoping that they won't ask the next question, which is, "Oh! How many acres? Three? Four?" You'll lower your voice as you start apologetically - "A hundred and sixty. But we have horses..." It's not the sort of attention an introvert enjoys.

Comment Re:Look outside, not inside (Score 4, Insightful) 195

Show me a pilot that has to rely on their instruments and I'll show a pilot who can't fly.

You're not a pilot, obviously. Every airline pilot has an instrument rating to ensure they can fly safely without external reference to the ground and horizon (when flying through cloud, a snowstorm, fog, or even at night over a sparsely populated area between cloud layers. You (usually) need an instrument rating to land through cloud and when conditions are below visual limits.

It is almost impossible to stay oriented in thick cloud without using instruments, because one of the side-effects of turning in an aircraft is that in a properly coordinated turn, the occupants of the aircraft will feel that they are being pushed "down" toward the floor of the aircraft. That's convenient and feels more comfortable than sliding out of your seat. However, it means that it's quite possible to enter an extremely steep turn that fools the body into thinking that everything is OK. Bad things can easily happen unless you learn to ignore what your body is telling you and instead rely on what your artificial horizon is telling you.

Comment You don't want it to seem too appealing. (Score 1, Insightful) 312

No, the government has to keep up pretenses - Make it challenging to slip of to join ISIS so that only the hardcore religious fanatics actually make it to Syria. The last thing you want is millions of people signing up as cannon fodder, because that might actually enable ISIS to destabilize the region more than it already is.

As a side note, extreme religious fanaticism has all the hallmarks of a mental illness -- delusional thinking, belief in the supernatural, a willingness to do horrific things to please an invisible master. It should be treated as such.

Comment Sometimes "experts" are clueless (Score 1) 479

I agree that phone support calls can be infuriating, but sometimes experienced tech guys go off on wild tangents and refuse to step through basic troubleshooting. A case in point: I had a customer recently who contacted me frustrated because some equipment was "broken." When I sent him a short and simple list of tasks to do, his response was, "did that yesterday, didn't work." In the next email, I asked him to check one parameter. He went off on me about "irrelevant mindless support scripts that just waste time" and refused to check, then demanded an RMA. In a subsequent email, he commented that he did actually get around to checking that parameter and "it wasn't activated" -- essentially confirming that he hadn't actually run the initial process, which would have set the "irrelevant" parameter on our hardware.

The RMA'd hardware was fine, although I had to endure several insulting emails from this imbecile claiming that "reputable" companies would have paid for return shipping costs for defective hardware.

The only solution to this problem would be to stand behind the customer while he diligently and correctly worked through a 90 second checklist to confirm that he was an idiot.

Comment Bell runs a competing streaming service... (Score 4, Informative) 408

What the article neglects to mention is that Bell recently started a competing streaming service called CraveTV. They have licensed some shows that are available on the US Netflix, so the only way for Canadians to watch them is to subscribe to CraveTV or use a VPN to access the American version of Netflix.

Where things get really stupid is that Bell's $4 CraveTV service requires potential customers to subscribe to a Bell (or partner) cable or satellite TV plan in an effort to protect their traditional business. Have an OTA antenna on your roof instead? Tough. You don't qualify for their service.

Comment Re:Tolls? (Score 1) 837

All taxes are regressive. This is just another example of regressive tax ideas from the left, trying to even out the playing field.

Um. What? Left wing politicians tend to find regressive taxation *less* desirable because it results in low to middle income earners paying disproportionately more of their earnings.

Comment Re:And Cuba will be fucked ... (Score 3, Insightful) 84

Your perspective is completely wrong. Cuba isn't Disneyland, it's a country with a population of over 11 million people. Tourism is currently a significant source of income for many on the island, and even professionals with university educations are drawn to the resorts out of necessity - I know an air traffic controller who works full-time in Varadero and conducts private tours on the side to earn much needed money. He's one of the lucky ones.

Cuba needs industry and business. The country introduced reforms a few years ago to encourage small private enterprises, but access to capital and markets has kept people from being able to take advantage of those changes. As it stands, there is foreign oil investment from companies like China's Greatwall and Canada's Sherritt, but the nation's basic infrastructure is in crisis; a lot of the infrastructure was obviously built under the guidance of Soviet engineers -- concrete apartment buildings dot the outskirts of Havana that are familiar to anyone who has visited Vilnius or St Petersburg. The electrical poles are a classic Soviet concrete design, as are the 1970s and 1980s era bus shelters. Even shop doors cause me to do a double take, because they're right out of my 1990 memories from the Baltic states.

But anyway, I digress. What Cubans need is access to capital and encouragement to start small diversified businesses that extend the economy beyond rum, cigars and tacky booze holiday tourism. They also need access to the US market in a manner that isn't exploitative (American companies that see the island as a cheap labour source for large manufacturing facilities would not be beneficial, because the wealth would flow out of the country, as an example).

Comment Re:Good bye ( and not good buy) (Score 4, Funny) 160

When I realized that my 2009 ipad2 was still being used daily (albeit with lack of updates not as secure and running slowly) I realized that you can't beat apple hardware longevity.

Your "2009" iPad 2 was released in March 2011, so it's not quite as old as you think. ;)

Comment Re:Inevitable (Score 1) 194

And Walmart is laying off people because of "plumbing issues". Yeah, right.

The employees are being flushed. Seems clear and direct enough.

Would be amusing to see what would happen if every Walmart in America tried to unionize. They can't all experience plumbing issues, because there'd be nothing left except some confused buyers and warehouse staff. Oh, and a few hundred thousand shipping containers filled to the brim with Dora the Explorer dolls and Hello Kitty t-shirts.

Comment What they really mean is: (Score 4, Insightful) 38

"We released an almost vanilla fork of Android Lollipop because it's the easiest thing to do to step away from Cyanogenmod."

  And that's actually a good thing, because picking up an "Android" phone that's running some perplexing launcher with everything in the wrong place and packed with dozens of horrible branded apps that you can't remove is utterly stupid (Yes, Samsung, I'm looking at you).

Comment Re:The BBC doesn't have much latitude here. (Score 1) 662

The chef had gone home for the evening, so he was unable to order *steak and chips*. Instead, he was told that only cold sandwiches -- presumably containing nutritional vegetables instead of greasy fried potatoes -- would have to do. And, quite honestly, I fully expect that lunch was provided for the cast and crew.

I admit that I'm a tad concerned about the build up of toxins that you mention -- are you trying to suggest that the cast wasn't allowed to go to the toilet for the entire day?

Comment The BBC doesn't have much latitude here. (Score 5, Insightful) 662

The BBC is a public broadcaster, funded and owned by mandatory license fees in the UK.Clarkson was on contract to the BBC. Once the organization confirmed that unprovoked verbal and physical abuse had occurred, they had to take action or leave the corporation open to an indefensible lawsuit from the victim. They can't exactly say, "Yeah, get stuffed. We have extensive policies promoting equality and prohibiting harassment and violence in the workplace, but we're ignoring them because the presenter is popular and profitable."

No doubt Clarkson and pals will make a profitable jump to Netflix or Sky to make a similar motoring comedy show. Meanwhile, the BBC has a chance to reinvent Top Gear with younger presenters and a reinvigorated format (there are only so many new Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Aston Martins that can be driven around a track in a cloud of smoke every week and only so many routes for contrived road trips through war zones in ancient sports cars).

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." -- George Bernard Shaw

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