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Comment Re:The Onion had it right (Score 2) 110 110

Fair cop, but consider that the same despots you cite are very active in absconding with any kind of aid that even smells like money. Outside of schools and hospitals (provided mostly by church-based charities, Catholic Relief Services chief among them)? You don't find much other types of aid reaching Africa, mostly because that shiz gets swiped by every corrupt pair of hands that can reach a piece of it.

So, unless you recommend that we re-establish colonial rule, or simply sweep through with a vast army to conquer and administer (most of) the continent as a collective UN-run organization, what exactly do you recommend?

Comment Re:The Onion had it right (Score 1) 110 110

You totally forgot the frustrating bit about actively avoiding medical personnel, because you know, the local village shaman said they were evil.

Some of it is understandable (e.g. bush meat - when you can't buy hamburger at the local grocer, you do what you have to in order to feed your family). Some of it is even semi-understandable with enough ignorance (e.g. fleeing to the US or EU because the infection you just got is a death sentence back home, but you at least have some chance of surviving it in the first world). Much of it however is not.

Comment Re:Sounds great! (Score 1) 161 161


Here in Portland a lot of roads downtown lost square footage thanks to wide swaths of green-painted areas which are bike-only, forcing cars to concentrate themselves into fewer lanes, wearing those portions of the road out faster, etc.

Also, in many locales, bicycles do require a license anyway (mostly to assist in recovering stolen ones). Wouldn't take much to slap a tax on those bad boys, and without much overhead beyond what's already in place.

Comment Re:It's coming. Watch for it.. (Score 3, Informative) 161 161

Pfft! We get that in Portland now...

A huge percentage are frickin' snowflakes demand to be given the same rights and berth as automobiles, then blatantly violate every traffic rule there is. Worst part is when they blow off such things as, oh I dunno, signaling, then get mad when you have to slam on the brakes to avoid turning them into road pizza - then they look at you like *you* did something wrong. Then there's the complete disregard for traffic lights (oh, the light's red? Well I'm a pedestrian now, so screw you and give way as I suddenly pull out of my lane and ride across the crosswalk without warning!)

Mind you, a good share of bicyclists here are perfectly fine with obeying traffic rules, are are easy to share the road with. It's the massive percentage which behave like jackasses and (for instance) demand to use the middle lane (at 10mph) in spite of the really fat bike paths on either side of the road... the urge to turn them into road pizza gets strong, but that only makes them martyrs, and good luck getting a fair trial in this town should you hit one.

Comment Re:better late than never (Score 5, Insightful) 76 76

You gonna charge them with crating a Tsunami? One that exceeded estimates by Government Officials?

Seems they have Witch Hunts in Japan too...

The idea isn't to charge them with the cause of the disaster, but with more than a little incompetence that they displayed afterwards - not to mention the often blatant lies they told to the public during the aftermath. Examples include publicly chewing out the Daiichi site supervisor for using seawater to keep the surviving reactors cooled down when that was pretty much all he had to use (given the alternative? Yeah, I'd piss on the things if it helped). Other examples include sending needed cooling water to the Daini site... in drinking water bottles. There's a whole host of other bork-ups, and the blame for the vast majority of them lies squarely on the execs in Tokyo.

Besides, I do respect one thing about the Japanese - when the shit hits the fan, the leaders are the first to take blame, and go out of their way to not pass the blame downhill unnecessarily. Up and down the chain, folks take responsibility for what they do (or don't do). Wouldn't hurt to see some of that attitude on this side of the Pacific...

Comment Re:better late than never (Score 4, Interesting) 76 76

I do kind of wonder about one thing, though... why are the engineers who designed that beast not being indicted? After all, nearly all of the vital pumps and generators were in the basements of both the Daiichi and Daini sites, with much of the critical equipment right next to the water, instead of uphill where they should have been (and at least not in basements... WTH, people?)

The Daini site lucked out big-time, with a monumental effort by the crews there to run enough cable from the few generators they still had working to the pumps which needed the juice - something like 2 miles of cable had to be scrounged and tied together.

BTW, props to the operators and supervisors onsite - for instance, the idea of scrounging car batteries and tying them together with inverters so that they could get the control panels back up was pretty genius. Same with having a special firefighting team from Tokyo come in to keep the storage pools full of water. At both sites they were stuck with having to come up with creative ways to avoid things from getting as bad as they could have.

I think that with a couple of design changes (both to the reactors and to the rest of the plant) they could have survived much better off than they were.

All that said, I don't think anyone could have predicted the size and scope of the tsunami that hit them. The TEPCO execs should still have to face a bit of music though (for instance, one site operator asking for 4,000 liters of water for a cooling pool and getting 4,000 bottles of drinking water instead? Damn, y'all...)

Comment Re:Good deal (Score 1) 296 296

I wish mine would.

I live in a town with 2500 residents, and I can almost swear that we have at least as many streetlights. From my house (on a street that's literally 4 house-property-sized-lots long), I can count 8 streetlights visible from the property, front and back.

The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.