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Comment: Re:Dumb as a Rock (Score 0) 48 48

It's interesting how you only say "I did it" without explaining how you did it.

Most cost estimating uses ~$100/sq ft for residential properties, which would make your stone house 70 sq. ft.

Provide some facts -- finished square feet, internal materials and features, cost of land, etc, otherwise I have to remain skeptical.

Comment: Re:Dumb as a Rock (Score -1, Flamebait) 48 48

Who builds a house for $7,000? Maybe 50 years ago if you did all the labor yourself and it was a two room affair with no plumbing or running water.

Even a very basic kitchen these days would cost more than that, and that would just be for cabinets, plumbing, electrical a fridge and a stove.

I'd wager that the mortar alone would cost a good chunk of the $7k by itself, if by "stone house" you mean a single floor house built with entirely stone walls to the soffits.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 657 657

In reality, the only way to fight a war like ISIS is to do what was done to Germany -- level all cities (and all buildings in the city) that even are rumored to have insurgents. Without the commitment to do actual, yucky warfare that completely breaks all resistance... half-ass measures just creates emboldened enemies (think "Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!".)

This has been the weakness of the US military since at least Viet Nam and possibly even Korea.

The only way to "win" a war is to defeat the people, not just the army or the fighters. Sure, it's ugly because you kill a lot of people who don't really deserve to die in any conventional moral sense. But not doing it just causes you to lose lives for nothing.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 657 657

and yet 9999 times of 10000 or more they continue to treat the enemy humanely and frequently place themselves in grater danger to do so.

But do they do it for humanitarian reasons or fear of punishment?

I don't know how true to life it was, but in "Lone Survivor" when the 3 SEALs capture two random Afghanis they have all manner of animated discussion about what to do with them -- if they let them go, they will likely get a whole bunch of Taliban after them, if they kill them or tie them up so they can't get away, they might end up with some kind of war crimes problem.

During their debate, it wasn't "what kind of a humanitarian are you" it was "Do you want to go to Leavenworth for the rest of your life?"

Frankly, I think they probably should have just executed them. It was pretty clear they were aligned with the enemy (one guy was carrying a two-way radio, and I don't think Afghanistan has a CB club) and the results of not killing them were kind of as predicted -- a company-size band of Taliban chasing them down and trying to kill them, succeeding at killing two of them.

It's hard to think of any other military campaign that would have allowed an operation to get compromised like that when snuffing the enemy would have been so effective.

Maybe a better future compromise is a little autoinjector they could carry with a strong dose of a short-acting (eg, 4-6 hours) but powerful sedative/hypnotic. Nighty-night for them and when they wake up, the soldiers are long gone.

Comment: Re:Kaspersky (Score 1) 30 30

Given what's pretty well known about the overlap between FSB/KGB and Russian organized crime, the generally corrupt nature of Russian government and the cronyism in Russian business, it's hard not to see Kaspersky being reticent about talking with a foreign reporter about Russian cybercriminals.

That being said, it may have more subtle influences. Maybe they're in social scenes that overlap? Maybe there's a certain nationalism or national pride going on where they want to talk about something OTHER than the usual narrative of Russian corruption and crime.

The base problem I have with Kaspersky is that given what we know about money-grubbing American corporations and their willingness to cave to the security apparatus, how does Kaspersky operate in Russia without caving or being strongarmed by the government, criminals, or worse?

Comment: Re:Free Speech vs. Vigilantism (Score 1) 192 192

Yelp would have to want to deal with fraudulent reviewers -- and I think we've seen some claims or evidence that Yelp uses negative reviews, perhaps even dishonest ones as a "sales incentive", so they may not want to.. ..but if they wanted to, they could require reviewers to "check in" at the business (using GPS locating to ensure the customer was actually at the business) within X days of visiting the business to write a review which would then be flagged as "VERIFIED CUSTOMER" kind of the same way Amazon tags reviews as "VERIFIED PURCHASE" so that the person reviewing is identified as having actually bought the product from Amazon.

Now, there's a whole host of businesses where you aren't ever at their place of business (like a remodeling company or other home services) or you don't want to check in (ie, a doctor's office or something). Maybe those businesses could give out a "Yelp integrity code" that could be entered in for customers to validate their customer status when they wrote a review. Crooked companies may not give it out to avoid verified bad reviews, but I think generally speaking companies would have an incentive to want verified customer reviews versus just random reviews by people who weren't customers or maybe even made a mistake and reviewed the wrong business.

I think all of this would be easier if there was some sense that Yelp actually cared about the integrity of reviews. Obviously some kind of integrity checking (were you really a customer?) needs to happen, but if you're Yelp the sheer volume of reviews is part of your business model and making it harder to post reviews (or deprecating unverified reviews) reduces the quantity of reviews which I think many people use as a criteria in and of itself (a 4 star average by 2 reviewers means less than a 3 star average by 100 reviewers).

Comment: Re:Free Speech vs. Vigilantism (Score 1) 192 192

Whatever happened to the marketplace of ideas?

If you assume Joe's Pizza runs a good business, makes a decent product and generally treats his customers well, how can one reviewer with an ideological axe to grind ruin his business by posting a negative review? Wouldn't a preponderance of otherwise favorable reviews drown the cranks out?

Sure, one person with a serious problem can go nuts trying to ruin a business in many ways but not by writing one or two reviews.

I think a lot of time these complaints against review sites are by BAD businesses that aren't well liked trying to drown out negative reviews like an Orwellian Memory Hole.

Comment: Is this really a big problem? (Score 1) 112 112

I guess if estimates say 5% of fuel, but...

- half or more of flights are in the winter, when there are no bugs or a lot less of them.

- most flights spend most of their time at bug free altitudes.

- many airports are in urban areas with reduced bug populations

Is this mostly a small plane phenomenon?

Comment: Re:You think Greeks want MORE electronic money? (Score 1) 357 357

I think silver has been a reasonable competitor to gold as a commodity metal. The Romans used it, I'm pretty sure the Pound Sterling is called that for a reason, the Americans used it, etc.

It was probably because its much lower scarcity that it was used as "change" versus higher denomination/value coinage made from gold.

Comment: Re:You think Greeks want MORE electronic money? (Score 1) 357 357

Tell me about the time in the last 2500 years when gold wasn't valuable.

It has a value which has fluctuated over time, but it never seems to become valueless, either because of its history as a means of exchange, its intrinsic value as a material, or both.

Comment: Re:isn't it obvious? (Score 1) 40 40

I think I've run into a couple of dystopian stories which involve a resurgence of coal usage.

Some are kind of post-ecological failure, where the population lives in domed cities and is energy dependent to keep the domes functioning. I think one involved a crisis several years into a continent-wide drought that required a massive desalination and pumping project to prevent literally running out of water.

Comment: Re:A small part of me (Score 1) 591 591

I kind of wanted it to go up in flames not because I think ACA was perhaps one of the worst economic giveaways since the Pacific Railroad Acts of the 1860s.

Basically we just ended up enshrining the for-profit healthcare industry, including the insurance companies, into law, forever. Sure, there were some goodies in there for people with pre-existing conditions and a handful of other things, but my sense is that it really didn't do anything to address the out-of-control costs of healthcare or the relentless profiteering WITHIN healthcare.

Unfortunately I don't think any of this can be fixed without going single payer and greatly stripping the profiteering out of healthcare by making most of it nonprofit.

ACA just says "well, we're just going to make more people buy healthcare and hope it makes it cheaper because a bunch of healthy people won't use it" without even beginning to address all the people who WILL use it more now (thanks to some of the goodies) at the current, high-profit, high-cost expense levels.

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.