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Comment Re:I have an idea (Score 1) 578

Asia Minor was the Ancient Greek term for it. I don't think it's actively used these days, other than in historical accounts; at least not in English. Anatolia is the more common word for that region.

Ural mountains are the eastern boundary of Europe, not the northern one (they stretch from north to south). The northern boundary is the Arctic ocean. Black Sea is the southern boundary, along with the straights, and further east it's Caucasus mountains and then Caspian sea.

However, this boundary is not only arbitrary, it's relatively (as in, only a couple of centuries) new. There were other definitions before, with various major rivers used as the eastern boundary (e.g. Don or Dnieper). This is because there really isn't any good geographic definition, nor is there a particular need for one - the continent is a single one, Eurasia. Historically, Europe has been more of a political division than geographic (geography played into it only to the extent of defining easy to protect natural boundaries, like rivers and mountains, which then tend to become state boundaries.).

Afghans are actually not Arabs at all (and Arabs are themselves Semitic people). The majority of Afghans are Pashtun, which is an Iranian sub-ethnicity, and the language that they mostly speak is Pashto, an Indo-Iranian language closely related to Persian; the second most popular language is Dari, which is a dialect of Persian. The second largest group are Tajiks, which are also an Iranian sub-ethnicity and speak an Indo-Iranian language very close to Persian. Then come Hazara, who speak Dari and are also Indo-Iranian; Uzbeks, which speak a Turkic language; and Balochi, who are again Indo-Iranian. So none of these are Arabic or Semitic in any way. Arabs and Arab-speakers are a tiny minority in Afghanistan (which kinda makes sense when you realize that it's basically all former territories of Persian Empire dating all the way back to Achaemenids, so ethnically and linguistically it's rooted in Iranian culture.

Also, just FYI, in contemporary American usage, "Oriental" is seen at best an archaism deliberately used to evoke the atmosphere of the times when it was heavily used, and at worst is actually considered derogatory (or culturally alienating; either way, carrying a distinctive implication of racism).

Comment Re:I have an idea (Score 1) 578

I'm well aware of that. But OP's point wasn't that Israel is as bad in that regard as some Muslim countries - it's certainly not - but rather that it is a theocratic state. I disagree with that as a broad categorization, but it certainly isn't a secular state in a sense most Western countries are, and it has some pretty heavy-handed policies rooted in religion, marriage laws being one of them. I mean, when the state basically gives a monopoly by law, not even to a single religion, but to a single denomination of that religion, to conduct all marriages (with specific exclusions for a couple other recognized religions, but no provisions whatsoever for other denominations or for non-religious people), and their policy on it is restrictive enough in practice that many people have to travel abroad to marry, that's pretty messed up as far as I'm concerned. And it's not the only such thing there, just one that came to mind first. Unfortunately, a lot of that crap dates back to compromises made when the country was founded, and demographics ensure that the Orthodox minority is an important enough voting block that they get away with it.

Comment Re:Bad choice (Score 1) 146

And looking at its direction in the past couple of years, it seems that it's falling back into its old ways (or rather an incoherent mix of old and even older, from Soviet and Imperial times both), which makes me question just where the problem has really been all this time.

Comment Re:This is why ISIS wins (Score 1) 578

The surviving Russian pilot stated that they had zero warnings and zero indications that anything is going wrong right up until the point a missile blew off their tail.

(Of course, this may well be cooked to corroborate the whole "there was no warning" take that has been the official Russian position on this so far.)

Comment Re:Torrent (Score 1) 311

Thing is, this law will do nothing about making 3D-printed guns less accessible to be used for criminal purposes. It's still trivial to go and download the schematics and feed them into the printer. Sure, you'd be committing a crime merely by doing so now, but if you're 3D-printing it specifically to go and shoot one, I don't think that you actually care.

In any case, home-made AKs are probably not a good baseline. They still require a reasonably well stocked workbench, and some machinery for things like the barrel. But a single-shot shotgun can literally be made out of two pieces of pipe and a screw, all readily available in any hardware store - and is still more deadly than any of these 3D-printed plastic toys (and for bonus points, no-one is likely to recognize it as a shotgun, especially when it's disassembled).

Comment Re: Torrent (Score 1) 311

I thought silencers were a hollywood invention

In USA, at least, "silencer" is the legal term for the device, as used in the National Firearms Act that sets up the regulatory framework.

As to how much relation the Hollywood type has to the real thing, it depends on the specific depiction and the specific real thing. Modern efficient suppressor designs combined with subsonic ammunition that is specifically designed to be suppressed can be pretty damn quiet, especially out of longer barrels where pressure is lower at the muzzle, and in bolt-action or other manual action firearms where the action itself doesn't make any noise during firing.

visible laser beams

You can actually kinda sorta get that IRL sometimes, with a sufficiently powerful laser (which rifle laser sights often are), because it will light up the dust in the air, or particles of water when it's humid (esp. outside).

Comment Re: Torrent (Score 1) 311

The problem is that you still have to pay $200 and wait for several months to get one (and it's not a permit, by the way - it's a tax stamp; it does nothing other than produce some revenue for the state). And if it breaks or wears out, you have to pay the same for the next one. And the prices on them are very high largely because of the regulatory environment. And all of this is has no rational basis whatsoever.

Also, while it's legal on federal level, some states specifically ban silencers.

The trouble with a lot of self-made men is that they worship their creator.