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Comment Re: This is why you call your bank before tourism (Score 1) 218

Call your bank before tourism?

I've never had that work. Four times in a row I called to let them know I'd be travelling and they suspended the credit card a few days after my purchase.

This was First Tech Credit Union, by the way. I think they're just more provincial than a big bank... My Chase credit card has never been suspended abroad even without calling

Comment Re:No, drinking soda != smoking (Score 1) 500

Nope, I didn't.

There are many toxic gasses we can't smell, or only in very high concentrations, and many pungent smells that are not harmfull by themselves (but point to harmful sources, e.g. the smell of something rotting is just a pointer you might stay away and definitely not eat it).

But for a lot of substances, smell actually is a good indicator of whether or not you should take a deep breath.

Comment Re:Airstrikes on population centers (Score 1) 361

It's the fact that rather than bombing Daesh, they're bombing groups opposed to Daesh, in order to prop up the failing government

On this I consider Putin to be an order of magnitude smarter than all the US presidents and western leaders put together.

At least he understands that if they bomb away only IS, the next jihad group down there will take up their flag and continue the same shit.

You can dislike Assad all you want, and I certainly don't know enough about the guy and his politics to have an informed opinion, but AFAIK he didn't burn people alive in cages and put it on YouTube. He certainly seems like the least of a dozen evils.

The chain of causality seems really simple from an outside. The US went to Iraq to fuck over Hussein, and in doing so they strengthened Al Qaida, which at that time was not a big force in that area. When they went back to bomb out Al Qaida, the IS rose out of the rubble. I frankly don't want to see what will come after IS if this trend continues.

When what you're doing isn't working, you should try something else. Putin bombing all the islamistic fuckers seems like a reasonable approach. I don't see how you can speak about "moderate" islamists when they all share the same religious policy of "kill all infidels" and they mostly disagree about whether or not to rape them beforehand or whether stoning or throwing off a building is the proper method of execution. Calling any of them "moderate" because they take your money to bend whichever way you want like a cheap prostitute is among the most cynical political opportunisms. Nobody in the White House or the Pentagon can be stupid enough to not understand they will turn against the US the next moment.

Comment Re:In other news (Score 2) 361

Now THAT was real carnage


Sorry, you guys are just too soft-hearted for actual war if you call the US part in WW2 a "real carnage".

The USSR lost around 10 million soldiers in WW.
Germany lost about 5 million.
China lost 3.5 million.

The USA lost 0.4 million.

The real carnage in WW2 was on the eastern front and in China. For the Germans, the battle of Stalingrad alone cost them as many casualties (at least half a million, possibly up to 800,000) than the entire western front. 80% of the German casualties are thanks to the Russians.

And yes, the USAF bombed some German cities to rubble. But even so, German civilians fled the Red Army towards the west, not the other way around. If you've ever read stories about the siege of Leningrad from the Russian perspective, you know why. I know them. My girlfriend is from St. Petersburg as it is known today. After I've heard her tell WW2 stories from russian perspective, I laugh about US war movies. Omaha Beach: 2000 casualties. The horror. That would have been a quiet day in Stalingrad, where four times as many people died every day for five months straight.

That is what real carnage looks like.
Stalingrad had a population of 400,000 before the war. After the German 6th Army was destroyed, an official census counted 1,500 residents. Pictures from Stalingrad look worse than pictures from Hiroshima. That is real carnage.

Comment Re:Brave polling, but in real life? (Score 1) 133

Now this isn't fair and we should have legal protection against officials for even asking the question,

Here in Germany, there are certain questions that by law are not permissible to be asked in certain contexts. However, of course it happens anyway. So by legal precedent after a few court cases, the current legal situation is that if you are asked such an inappropriate question, you have a legal right to lie.

The primary example is pregnancy. Employers are not allowed to ask a woman if she is currently pregnant or plans to become pregnant soon during job interviews. But if they do, she can lie. Usually, if you lie in a job interview and are found out, you can be terminated for it. But for this one, nope, can't, because you were excercising your right to lie in response to an illegal question.

Comment Re:"... only if we're married or similarly situate (Score 1) 133

My first thought when I saw the poll options was "if you share passwords with your spouse, put your nerd card into the box near the exit and leave".

I was married happily for a decade, but never shared passwords. There's one hundred ways to give your spouse access (normal or emergency) to your data for emergencies without handing out passwords. Encryption keys are about the only thing you might have to share, because we don't have many non-theoretical multi-key-encryption systems around. But passwords? What for if I can set up groups and permissions nicely?

Comment distress passwords (Score 1) 133

I so much wish that more software would support distress passwords at all.

It should be mandatory for all OS to include this feature, because this is the first password that thugs will encounter. Please, Apple, give me one password that will kill all processes, shut down the system with Filevault properly in place and reset all system passwords to, say, a very, very long complex master password that nobody can remember so when I got it at system install, I wrote it down and put it into a safe.

Yes, my local security service can still get that safe and beat the combination out of me (or get a warrant for the bank), but some random foreign border agent can't.

Comment Re:GOOD GRIEF! (Score 1) 500

It depends a lot on which juice you buy. As I drink a lot of juice, I'm checking labels before buying one I don't know yet, and you usually have a good choice. Once you understand that there are different quality levels of juice and how to discern them, you can avoid the crap that is basically coke with fruit flavor.

Comment Re:The Big Soda loves the decline (Score 1) 500

Because people are idiots, true.

At home, you can bottle your own water. Or drink it straight from the faucet. If you're worried about what's in there, there are filter devices and they are reasonably cheap (I use one mostly because calcium carbonate isn't good for the tea cooker).

For the road, you can bottle water at home, or sometimes buy a bottle. Why not? Yeah, someone makes a profit, but I have something clean to drink, in many holiday locations that's a luxury. And it's better than giving someone a profit for spoiling your health. And there is much more potential for competition, including locally sourced products.

New York... when civilization falls apart, remember, we were way ahead of you. - David Letterman