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Comment Re:This is why ISIS wins (Score 4, Informative) 591

U.S., Iran, Turkey, Assad, Russia. All hate ISIS. All have an interest in destroying the ISIS "caliphate."

Can't stop fighting among themselves for even a minute to even consider an alliance.

Meanwhile, ISIS just slips across some other border that the side who happens to be fighting them at that moment can't cross.

Bullshit - Turkey has been supporting ISIS in many ways, including logistics, since the beginning. This includes free passage for ISIS fighters while blocking the passage of anti-ISIS forces. Turkey is also acting as a de-facto air force for ISIS, by bombing their most successful adversary, the Kurdish forces in Syria.

Comment III-V semiconductors (Score 1) 115

As a materials scientist, I think they squeezed the last bit of potential out of silicon. Well, they could perhaps go for isotopycally pure silicon, but the gain would be relatively modest for a high price. III-V semiconductors such as GaAs, InGaAs etc. are expensive mostly because it's hard to grow large crystals, but it is worth it due to the far higher mobilities of electrons in them.

Comment As a post-doc researcher, I have good balance (Score 1) 195

My context is widely different from a US-living IT worker: I live in Finland and am a post-doc researcher in a field related to chemistry. I work very close to exactly 40 hours/week, even though sometimes I could get away with less. It's just that I really enjoy what I do. But even so, I never let myself work more than 40 hrs/week because family.

Comment Re:I wouldn't put it past Putin (Score 1) 289

He's able to get away with what he's doing in Syria because there are no boots on the ground and so hardly any risk to Russian soldiers. The chance of a shoot down at the altitude Russian sorties are being flown at is pretty negligible.

First of all, let me stress very strongly that I agree 100% wit everything you said, except the quote above. The thing is, Putin can get away with bombing Syrian rebels because he is very effective (compared to allied sorties) also against ISIS targets. The thing is that UK and EU public opinion is very much in favor of Russian airstrikes in Syria. I have seen BBC News stories where the comment section was flooded with messages in support of the Russian attacks (it was a story about Turkey warning Russia not to interfere in its air space). And practically all the highest-voted comments were pro-Russian strikes.

Why is Russia so much more effective than the allies (chiefly the US)? I thin because the allied sorties amount to little more than pitter-patter, as they're super-careful to not offend the Saudis and Turkey, both of whom are strong supporters of Syrian rebel groups, including Al-Nusra and apparently even ISIS. Russia doesn't give a shit about Saudi Arabia since they have their own oil and gas. They don't give much of a shit about Turkey, either (Turkey is a NATO member).

Comment Re:Smart move. (Score 1) 674

I am not sure Pegida would have anything to do with having or not having a basic income in Germany. The anti-immigration stance and the social progressive stance are, as strange as it may sound, not mutually exclusive. Take... Finland, for example: in my country the True Finns, a far-right party from an immigration point of view, is now very powerful and indeed part of the government (indeed the government that is going to implement basic income). True Finns, at the same time, has a strong socially progressive platform which advocates for more social benefits and higher taxes for the rich. Now I didn't vote for True Finns myself, but as a socialist, I see no issue with their social platform.

Take Poland, as another example: the Law and Justice party is against immigration and for control of the borders. They, also, have a relatively OK social platform - they support universally available social services, tax rebates based on number of children and state-supported universal healthcare. But Law and Justice is socially regressive when it comes to gay rights.

So.... it's complicated.

Comment Re:Total lack of power analysis (Score 1) 674

This sounds great, until you realize that once the rich pay all the taxes and the rest of us pay virtually no taxes, the rich will effectively own the government.

No, they won't. Your argument is a non-sequitur, i.e. it only works in your own head thanks to a lot of handwavium. Adding more handwavium doesn't help.

"Spock, did you see the looks on their faces?" "Yes, Captain, a sort of vacant contentment."