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Comment Re:Americans Always Breaking New Ground (Score 2) 270 270

Going to a foreign country to visit and having a drone flying over your head... Really? Always finding new ways to display an astonishing lack of class.

As an American, I am in agreement. And note that as is always the case, the ones who bitch the most about this and completely lose their minds over it will never, ever, visit New Zealand or any place with such laws. I had a friend some years ago (we're not friends any more because he's basically nuts and I had enough) who last flew in an airplane around in 1998 or maybe 1999. Definitely well before Sept. 11, 2001. You couldn't say anything at all to him about traveling anywhere by air without him going into a tirade about TSA. He has no reason to ever fly again in his life and likely never will and he has never personally experienced TSA checks, but it sure didn't stop him from ranting and raving about it. Same thing here for the drones and those who complain.

Comment Re:Aussie freedoms are inferior (Score 0, Troll) 337 337

The gun thing is also important. I'm not a gun nut... but I believe I have a right to be dangerous in my own country and in my home. Not for hunting... not even for self defense... to be DANGEROUS. I feel that is an important check on anyone that would try to intimidate the people. If they understand that the people can and will turn on them with an instant militia of millions. That forces the elites to be careful.

No, it actually doesn't. You're an idiot and I can easily prove it. The "elites", which seems to be your code word for the US government, has nuclear bombs and drone missiles. Let me know how your army of people with pea shooters does against them. There seems to be an endless number of people here in America who actually believe that the "people" with their handguns can actually overthrow an "evil" US government. Ha ha ha. Again, let me know how your army of peasants does against nuclear bombs. If the supposedly "evil" government decided that killing you and your pals was in its best interests, you'll be dead.

Comment You may need to talk to a real lawyer (Score 1) 213 213

My best friend for many years now is a college buddy who is a lawyer. He has taught me a lot about how the law really works in the USA and I can assure you that what people who aren't lawyers say is true about the law and how it really works are not the same at all. I'm pretty sure that people can't just open accounts in your wife's name in another state where it's easy to prove you don't live and without her social security number somehow make you responsible for it, but again, you probably really need to talk to a lawyer. I know it sucks to pay one, but lawyers can do a lot for you like send legal threats on your behalf to the cable company to, ahem, "encourage" them to get a lot more interested in your problem before it grows into a much worse problem for them . If they do actually have her social security number then that is a completely different situation and her identity is already compromised. You need a lawyer for that too. I have to ask - are you definitely sure that the cable company really has her email and name on file and that this isn't some really good phishing email trying to get you to click on a suspicious link and doing identity theft that way?

Comment My limited personal experience on the subject (Score 4, Interesting) 364 364

My last two girlfriends were both born and raised in China ladies and neither understood very much about how financial markets work. The most recent was quite a bit interested in the stock market in the USA and China. The first one wasn't interested in the subject. My most recent ex-girlfriend, even though she had lived in America for a few years by the time we started dating, seemed to have this belief that you simply couldn't lose money in the stock market. On some level surely she had to know that losses were possible, but I think she just wrote those off as the exception to the rule. She would ask me questions about the market and it seemed to me that she believed that the stock market was free money for the taking, almost everybody got wildly rich, and the fact that I wasn't making tons of money off it (no thought at all was given to exactly how much I even had to invest) meant that I was stupid, lazy, or both. I can't prove it, but I suspect that a lot of Chinese people are like my most recent ex-girlfriend where they think that they can't possibly lose in the stock market. This kind of thinking explains why so much of the Chinese stock market was done on margin trading. Given the high amount of government control over the economy there I really can't explain how the people running the show believed that repeating the mistakes that led to the US market crash of 1929 would turn out differently. Maybe it's due to Chinese exceptionalism run wild (""We're China, so the rules don't apply to us because we're better than everybody else").

Comment I thought he just wanted out (Score 1) 100 100

With all that talk about not being able to do other projects being debunked by the show's producers as soon as it first came out, I thought that maybe Shearer just wanted out of the job and he was afraid to admit it and have the fans nut out over it. In that scenario, claiming to not have time for other projects would be a good cover story as it can't be disproven and it would get him off the show. I really didn't think it was over money because it seemed illogical to me that he could realistically expect the entire cast to sign for the same deal and him get something better. He's 71 now, so I just figured he'd had enough and wanted to do something else at this point in his life. Now that I read that he re-signed I really have no idea what this was all about unless maybe it really was an attempt to get more money that failed.

Comment Re:Responses (Score 4, Interesting) 251 251

"How frequently have people run into companies sending sensitive information (like passwords) in cleartext via e-mail?"

I see this and people sending both public and private PGP keys to outsiders more than I should from other companies. I assume it's because in general American businesses have devalued IT for so long that they're getting exactly what little they pay for now with barely trained and barely competent people who don't know anything about security.

Comment Re:Nope! (Score 4, Informative) 409 409

This. I've also always wondered why the U.S. put all its money on the Arab countries instead of Iran. Iran at least has basic level of Democracy with presidential elections. Irans youth is, in general, more progressive and open minded that in most other islamic countries. The U.S. big ally and arch-enemy of Iran, Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is a practically an absolutist monarchy practicing extremely conservative interpretation of Sharia law. It's also interesting to point out that many high-profile terrorists, such as Osama bin Ladin, were Saudi Arabians. I wouldn't be surprised if elements in Saudi Arabia's government secretly support or at the very least condone IS in Syria and Iraq. They seem pretty single-minded about supporting Sunni Islam against everything Shia.

Basically significant segments of the Iranian government and a good number of the population (not necessarily a majority, but enough to have influence) have anti-Americanism as their raison d'être. Khomeini hated America for supporting the Shah and he passed that hatred down to his disciples. His disciples continue to be the true powers in Iran. These people have merged religion with anti-Americanism so to them, not being anti-American is like rejecting Islam. It will probably be decades before enough time has passed for mullahs to come into power in Iran who have no personal animosity towards America. Consider too that among people old enough to remember the Iran hostage situation that there is some severe hatred towards Iran so that makes it difficult for the US to make friends with Iran as portions of US power (some people in Congress and various government agencies) will never trust them because of that.

To be honest, the US would probably like to be friends with Iran, but the mullahs can't and won't allow it. The US really would be better off backing the Shiites like Iran as they are somewhat less troublesome to deal with than the Sunnis, but they can't publicly say that because the Sunnis have the numbers. Numbers of followers alone make it in the US's best interests to try to deal with Sunni governments, many of which hate the US and do things that support terrorists indirectly if not directly. The Saudi government has been pretty good friends with the USA, but unfortunately they support a version of Islam that over time has become more and more intolerant of non-Muslims and is directly or indirectly responsible for groups like ISIS and Al Queda. The Saudi rulers need US support to stay in power and the US needs them lest Saudi Arabi turn into an even bigger headache for the US than Iran.

The US governments under George W. Bush and Barack Obama have had unrealistic expectations of Middle Eastern democracy. The idea was that if given the opportunity to freely elect their leaders that they would be so grateful to the USA that they'd become our best friends. Instead it has become apparent to me that if given a free choice, the majority of Muslim voters will willingly vote to take away their own rights under oppressive religious governments and those that hate the US will come out of the shadows and work to attack the US. The only country that went through the Arab Spring and maybe came out on the better end was Egypt and they had to beg the military to overthrow the legally elected government.

Comment Greece also had a very low retirement age (Score 1, Insightful) 359 359

Just 2 years ago the legal retirement age in Greece was 57. I think it's been changed to 61 now and there was talk of moving it to 63, but generations of Greeks have been coddled and given so many handouts by the government that they are going to riot if they have to face reality. As you point out, bit coin can't solve the problem of an entire nation so addicted to entitlements that it can't accept any way out of the crisis that doesn't involve no changes or hardships at all.

Comment Why Republicans want to take away health insurance (Score 1) 591 591

Congress is free to amend or write a new law - but if they weren't spoiled, selfish children, they would have done that already. They could have easily clarified this, but didn't because Republicans would have used the opportunity to destroy the ACA rather than helping to make it even a little better -- especially important in light of the *fact* that the Republicans have no alternative to the ACA, except to get rid of it. Don't know why they don't want to keep the poor and middle class from getting health insurance...

As someone who lives in a red state and has a lot of Republican friends, I can tell you exactly why Republicans (including supporters and not just elected officials) want to take away health insurance from the poor. I think in Clinton's first term he signed a law that changed welfare and basically stopped most able bodied people from staying on it forever. Amongst the people I know, many of them believe that perhaps as high as 20% of the US population is permanently on welfare and has no desire at all to get off of it because they are lazy. The idea persists that those who are poor are that way simply because they want to be poor since they are willfully lazy. And there's an undercurrent of subtle racism at play as it's always "blacks" or "Mexicans" who they always blame for being on welfare forever. So since these people believe that everybody in the USA could have a good job if they only wanted to, they see the poor as being unwilling to better themselves and helping them get anything like health insurance is basically enabling behavior encouraging them to stay the same. All of the people I know who hate the ACA have jobs that give them insurance, so again, they view even middle class people who need help as being lazy or stupid because if they weren't lazy or stupid, they would get themselves jobs that had health insurance. They view all people without health insurance as having deliberately made the choice to be that way. The worst thing Ronald Reagan ever said was "Government is the problem" which 30+ years later has become a mantra for the Republican Party. So people think that the government can't do anything right, ever, and thus the ACA can't ever be good because an evil, incompetent government with a lifetime 100% failure rate is in charge of it.

Comment Re:Prime Scalia - "Words no longer having meaning" (Score 1) 591 591

Repeal the 17th amendment. At least you would have one house that isn't campaigning all the type.

IMO, the 17th broke a fundamental safeguard of our republic.

No, it didn't. You need to spend more time understanding why this amendment got passed rather than let idiots like Hannity and Rick Perry and others lie to you about it. The reason that the amendment got passed is that the process of picking senators was completely corrupt. Back room favors and under the cover payments and all sorts of illegal things got done to get people appointed as senators. The situation couldn't be salvaged so the only way to fix it was to make people run for office. And you do realize that you are actually arguing for less democracy and more corruption by begging to return to those "good old days", right? No of course you don't because you just repeat what the right wing talking heads told you to think.

Comment Re:This is wrong (Score 1) 333 333

Martin Luther King:

While I give you props for at least finding somebody new to quote instead of the usual American Slashdotter practice of finding some 200+ year old quote Jefferson or some other founding father said and applying it to your situation, I'd like to point out that just because you found a quote in the past from same famous person, that alone does not mean he or you are right. How I wish I could find some really completely off the charts offensive racist quote from some founding father so I could throw it up there as a retort the next time somebody offers up a quote from the past as the justification for something. I don't care what Martin Luther King said. Human beings are not perfect and the fact that he apparently (I'm not going to fact check this, so you get "apparently") said something you like in no way justifies your point.

Comment Re:Arrest (Score 3, Interesting) 333 333

What's illegal about protesting illegal government actions? Uber is ILLEGAL in France but they continue to operate! Do you understand the concept of "protest"? The idle rich like you are SUPPOSED to be inconvenienced, it is the INTENTION that you get annoyed.

Protesting is fine. Here in the USA, we have this crazy thing in our constitution called "free speech" that covers it. Most or all of Europe has no such law. Se we are Americans are totally cool with the whole protesting thing. What myself and others are not at all cool with is blocking access to train stations, beating up people who they don't agree with, and so on. You want to set up protests and carry signs outside of train stations and such? That's great. Some people may be interested and may ask what you are protesting about and may end up on your side as a result. You want to block everybody from using the train? Screw you and your cause. At that point, all those protesters are doing is making the people who can't get to the train sympathize with the other side. I've been to France and in the past I worked for a US office of a big French company. This kind of stuff is why I have really mixed feelings about the French. This kind of a-hole "I am going to screw you over because I have a problem that's not your problem so I'm going to make it your problem too until you get so angry you make my problem go away" stuff is a perfect example of what I really don't like about them.

Comment Re:oh such a disconnect (Score 3, Informative) 169 169

If you want to help, if your dream is space and not some aggrandized ego stroke, then you fund nasa and make mars a reality for everyone.

I got curious so I looked. I know fact checking isn't cool, but really, you couldn't be bothered? Elon Musk's net worth is about $14 billion give or take. NASA's budget for just this year is $17 billion. Mind explaining how he's going to "fund nasa" as you put it when his entire net worth won't fully fund one year?

The problem is that the public doesn't want money spent on NASA "until we fix our problems here". That day will never, ever come. There will always be "problems here". To give you an example, a guy I know at work who likes SciFi and is pretty smart doesn't want to see NASA get even the $17 billion they get now per year because he thinks the money needs to be spent here on those problems that need to be solved. There are a lot more people like him than me who think that NASA needs even more money than $17 billion.

Comment Why I don't do polls any more (Score 1) 292 292

I actually still have a landline and I get calls every now and then for political polls. I used to participate. I don't anymore. Some of the polls are very slanted, sometimes simply in favor of one issue. I live in what is strongly a red state and most of the polls ask questions about Republican strategies I rarely agree with. I'm not really sure what the purpose is as my state is about as red as they come and it's not likely to ever be competitive for Democrats for decades. I'm not sure I feel comfortable telling strangers that no, I don't agree with whatever the Republican cause du jour is since I'm expressing what is most likely a minority opinion in a state where differences of opinion are not respected at all. The other problem I have is that the polls are too long. You can count on 5 minutes minimum, maybe 10 if you're unlucky. After a few questions I quickly get weary of the time consuming formats they insist on using and I refuse to do any of them anymore.

By the way, I've believed for years that a significant minority of people in the US deliberately lie on polls to throw them off. I've known since 2004 that you can't trust the polls at all.

Comment nomorobo has worked great for me (Score 4, Informative) 193 193

I use normorobo ( It's free for non-business use. I have my home phone (yes I still have a home phone - my current home security system requires it) going through it and I think it's great. It only works with VOIP or wireless phone numbers though, not true land lines. It works by having you activate a feature to ring a 2nd number when a call comes in. The 2nd number is No Mo Robo's phone number. Let your phone ring once and their database will pick up the call before the 2nd ring if they feel it's fraudulent. I'd say it stops more than 95% of the robo calls I get, which to me is fantastic. Maybe once or twice a month a robo call will get through, but that's all.

Just as a point of interest, I work with a guy whose ability to judge scams is broken beyond anything I've ever seen in a non-elderly person. His ability to differentiate between the bogus and the legit is just about non-existent. Remember in the past decade when a lot of us US people were getting cold calls from some company telling us we could buy an extended warranty for our cars that would pay for any and every repair we needed for years to come? He bought one. I realized that it's guys like him who keep the robo callers in business.

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay