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Comment: Re:Dumb as a Rock (Score 1) 72 72

Interesting. How big is it? I didn't see any size estimates (nor did I spider the web site, either) but it looks pretty small -- 20 ft or less on the long side, maybe 10-15 on the short side, call it 300 sq ft. That's extremely small -- the standard size for a two car garage is 400 sq ft.

While it's impressive that you were able to produce an entire house for $7k, had you said "yeah, we build a stone house for $7k and it's only 300 square feet" it would have seemed more realistic.

It almost seems like you leave how small it is out of the "entire house for $7k" claim on purpose to make the brag seem more amazing.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 700 700

The results of not killing them -- two US soldiers killed, one gravely injured, several killed when a rescue chopper comes under fire and crashes. I couldn't even give you the Taliban body count -- my guess is at least two dozen killed by the 3 SEALs as they tried to escape, another dozen or more killed by a helicopter when it finally rescued the "Lone Survivor".

The results of killing them? Two dead Taliban, the 3 SEALs escape.

And in the annals of military history in any similar situation the two Taliban would have been killed by any scouting party or commandos lest they imperil their mission and escape.

Comment: Re:Dumb as a Rock (Score 0) 72 72

It's interesting how you only say "I did it" without explaining how you did it.

Most cost estimating uses ~$100/sq ft for residential properties, which would make your stone house 70 sq. ft.

Provide some facts -- finished square feet, internal materials and features, cost of land, etc, otherwise I have to remain skeptical.

Comment: Re:Dumb as a Rock (Score -1, Flamebait) 72 72

Who builds a house for $7,000? Maybe 50 years ago if you did all the labor yourself and it was a two room affair with no plumbing or running water.

Even a very basic kitchen these days would cost more than that, and that would just be for cabinets, plumbing, electrical a fridge and a stove.

I'd wager that the mortar alone would cost a good chunk of the $7k by itself, if by "stone house" you mean a single floor house built with entirely stone walls to the soffits.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 700 700

In reality, the only way to fight a war like ISIS is to do what was done to Germany -- level all cities (and all buildings in the city) that even are rumored to have insurgents. Without the commitment to do actual, yucky warfare that completely breaks all resistance... half-ass measures just creates emboldened enemies (think "Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!".)

This has been the weakness of the US military since at least Viet Nam and possibly even Korea.

The only way to "win" a war is to defeat the people, not just the army or the fighters. Sure, it's ugly because you kill a lot of people who don't really deserve to die in any conventional moral sense. But not doing it just causes you to lose lives for nothing.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 700 700

and yet 9999 times of 10000 or more they continue to treat the enemy humanely and frequently place themselves in grater danger to do so.

But do they do it for humanitarian reasons or fear of punishment?

I don't know how true to life it was, but in "Lone Survivor" when the 3 SEALs capture two random Afghanis they have all manner of animated discussion about what to do with them -- if they let them go, they will likely get a whole bunch of Taliban after them, if they kill them or tie them up so they can't get away, they might end up with some kind of war crimes problem.

During their debate, it wasn't "what kind of a humanitarian are you" it was "Do you want to go to Leavenworth for the rest of your life?"

Frankly, I think they probably should have just executed them. It was pretty clear they were aligned with the enemy (one guy was carrying a two-way radio, and I don't think Afghanistan has a CB club) and the results of not killing them were kind of as predicted -- a company-size band of Taliban chasing them down and trying to kill them, succeeding at killing two of them.

It's hard to think of any other military campaign that would have allowed an operation to get compromised like that when snuffing the enemy would have been so effective.

Maybe a better future compromise is a little autoinjector they could carry with a strong dose of a short-acting (eg, 4-6 hours) but powerful sedative/hypnotic. Nighty-night for them and when they wake up, the soldiers are long gone.

Comment: Re:Kaspersky (Score 1) 31 31

Given what's pretty well known about the overlap between FSB/KGB and Russian organized crime, the generally corrupt nature of Russian government and the cronyism in Russian business, it's hard not to see Kaspersky being reticent about talking with a foreign reporter about Russian cybercriminals.

That being said, it may have more subtle influences. Maybe they're in social scenes that overlap? Maybe there's a certain nationalism or national pride going on where they want to talk about something OTHER than the usual narrative of Russian corruption and crime.

The base problem I have with Kaspersky is that given what we know about money-grubbing American corporations and their willingness to cave to the security apparatus, how does Kaspersky operate in Russia without caving or being strongarmed by the government, criminals, or worse?

Comment: Re:Free Speech vs. Vigilantism (Score 1) 200 200

Yelp would have to want to deal with fraudulent reviewers -- and I think we've seen some claims or evidence that Yelp uses negative reviews, perhaps even dishonest ones as a "sales incentive", so they may not want to.. ..but if they wanted to, they could require reviewers to "check in" at the business (using GPS locating to ensure the customer was actually at the business) within X days of visiting the business to write a review which would then be flagged as "VERIFIED CUSTOMER" kind of the same way Amazon tags reviews as "VERIFIED PURCHASE" so that the person reviewing is identified as having actually bought the product from Amazon.

Now, there's a whole host of businesses where you aren't ever at their place of business (like a remodeling company or other home services) or you don't want to check in (ie, a doctor's office or something). Maybe those businesses could give out a "Yelp integrity code" that could be entered in for customers to validate their customer status when they wrote a review. Crooked companies may not give it out to avoid verified bad reviews, but I think generally speaking companies would have an incentive to want verified customer reviews versus just random reviews by people who weren't customers or maybe even made a mistake and reviewed the wrong business.

I think all of this would be easier if there was some sense that Yelp actually cared about the integrity of reviews. Obviously some kind of integrity checking (were you really a customer?) needs to happen, but if you're Yelp the sheer volume of reviews is part of your business model and making it harder to post reviews (or deprecating unverified reviews) reduces the quantity of reviews which I think many people use as a criteria in and of itself (a 4 star average by 2 reviewers means less than a 3 star average by 100 reviewers).

Comment: Re:Free Speech vs. Vigilantism (Score 1) 200 200

Whatever happened to the marketplace of ideas?

If you assume Joe's Pizza runs a good business, makes a decent product and generally treats his customers well, how can one reviewer with an ideological axe to grind ruin his business by posting a negative review? Wouldn't a preponderance of otherwise favorable reviews drown the cranks out?

Sure, one person with a serious problem can go nuts trying to ruin a business in many ways but not by writing one or two reviews.

I think a lot of time these complaints against review sites are by BAD businesses that aren't well liked trying to drown out negative reviews like an Orwellian Memory Hole.

Comment: Is this really a big problem? (Score 1) 114 114

I guess if estimates say 5% of fuel, but...

- half or more of flights are in the winter, when there are no bugs or a lot less of them.

- most flights spend most of their time at bug free altitudes.

- many airports are in urban areas with reduced bug populations

Is this mostly a small plane phenomenon?

Comment: Re:You think Greeks want MORE electronic money? (Score 1) 358 358

I think silver has been a reasonable competitor to gold as a commodity metal. The Romans used it, I'm pretty sure the Pound Sterling is called that for a reason, the Americans used it, etc.

It was probably because its much lower scarcity that it was used as "change" versus higher denomination/value coinage made from gold.

Comment: Re:You think Greeks want MORE electronic money? (Score 1) 358 358

Tell me about the time in the last 2500 years when gold wasn't valuable.

It has a value which has fluctuated over time, but it never seems to become valueless, either because of its history as a means of exchange, its intrinsic value as a material, or both.

Comment: Re:isn't it obvious? (Score 1) 40 40

I think I've run into a couple of dystopian stories which involve a resurgence of coal usage.

Some are kind of post-ecological failure, where the population lives in domed cities and is energy dependent to keep the domes functioning. I think one involved a crisis several years into a continent-wide drought that required a massive desalination and pumping project to prevent literally running out of water.

A commune is where people join together to share their lack of wealth. -- R. Stallman