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Comment: Re:Big Old Liar (Score 3, Insightful) 276

by kamapuaa (#48071501) Attached to: Maps Suggest Marco Polo May Have "Discovered" America

This is a little stronger than "ha ha I forgot to mention, you don't have to leave tips!" He (essentially) wrote a book about China, and didn't mention chopsticks, foot-binding, or tea? But does mention a race of men who had dog-heads instead of human-heads? He also claimed to be governor of Yangzhou and other obvious bullshit.

Centuries before Marco Polo, Arab Traders were well-established in China, Italians had extensive contacts with the Persian and Arab world, and it seems very likely that Marco Polo just compiled stories he had heard. We know his stories were full of BS, exactly how much is BS is impossible to say.

Comment: Re:Why not KDE (Score 3, Insightful) 403

by kamapuaa (#47980823) Attached to: Debian Switching Back To GNOME As the Default Desktop

I've used OS X for 4-5 years and have used Unity since it came out, and I find them very similar. There's differences, but they're much more like each other than they're like Windows. My wife, who isn't a computer person and has always used Macs, occasionally uses Unity on my laptop, and finds it almost the same as Mac except the colors are different.


Comment: Re:Mind boggling (Score 2) 167

by kamapuaa (#47980737) Attached to: Now That It's Private, Dell Targets High-End PCs, Tablets

Shareholders are very happy with risk, as long as the potential profits justify the risk. Nobody would invest in junk bonds if they didn't pay better rates, nobody would invest in Amazon if there wasn't the possibility that it will one day become the largest company in the world...

Amazon is an excellent counter-example. It's a publicly traded stock with ambitious plans that has made money in just one of the previous eight quarters, and yet the stock market values the company at $150 Billion, because they see the value of its long-term plans over the value of short-term profits. Even when it has bizarre public plans like drone delivery or entering the cell phone business or a huge network of redundant warehouses.

Comment: Re:Comparable? Not really. (Score 1) 126

by kamapuaa (#47957661) Attached to: Is Alibaba Comparable To a US Company?

Sure, it's a lot of luck to day trade stocks, you might as well go to Vegas. However, over time the US economy and stock market has consistently gone up. Just buying and holding a broad spectrum of stocks or a good mutual fund has long been a way for average investors to make a pretty good return, just for doing nothing with their money.

If you simply bought an incredibly boring total market mutual fund 5 years ago and held on to it, your money would have doubled already.

Comment: Re:$100 (Score 1) 50

by kamapuaa (#47909959) Attached to: Google's Android One Initiative Launches In India With Three $100 Phones

They exist, but they typically have 1 gig ram memory, 4-8 gigs internal storage, a crappy camera. The screen is lower-resolution, the external speaker is on the weak side. Build quality and reliability is a bit lower.

They're perfectly usable, and for a kid they're fine (although kids do load up on apps, which might be a problem with a cheaper phone).

The point was that they're phones you're going to want to upgrade before too long. Whereas a computer is fine for 5 or more years, unless you're a gamer.

Comment: Drones are being used. (Score 1) 94

by kamapuaa (#47899309) Attached to: Drone-Based Businesses: Growing In Canada, Grounded In the US

Drones are pretty commonly used. My friend who does aerial photography tells me that drones are pretty much taking over real estate. Drones are used for investigating animal rights claims, are commonly used in agriculture, are being researched by Amazon as a near-future way to deliver packages...I just don't see drones as something being grounded by over-regulation.

Comment: Re: I can simply ignore all health and diet advice (Score 5, Insightful) 291

by kamapuaa (#47881243) Attached to: Link Between Salt and High Blood Pressure 'Overstated'

Cigarettes are undeniably bad. So are trans-fats, alcohol overconsumption, and too much stress.

The issue is that health publications yry to extend everything into being undeniably bad, on the scale of smoking, when in fact the food or habit may only be bad in certsin cases. One current theory on salt is that diabetics, the overweight, and blacks are higher risk groups for salt being linked to blood pressure, but for the large majority of people there is no association. Of course that's boring health advice, people like to hear something strong like "quit now and live longer," so health claims get wildly exaggerated.

Comment: She deserved it. (Score 1) 499

Read the article. The terrorist group wasn't tangentially related to the organizations she belonged too, they were "affiliated." As in, "officially attached to or connected." Not "oh a few people were in both groups," like many people are suggesting. The article doesn't explain the connection, but presumably they were all of the same blanket organization. She visited a convicted terrorist from the group in prison, suggesting that she knew the terrorists and was in an organization that she knew was connected to terrorism, even if she herself did not assist with any terrorist acts.

Knowing terrorists and having been tangentially involved in a terrorist organization is not in itself a crime, but yes without a doubt that is something she should have disclosed. Essentially, she lied on her background check and got fired. Good.

Of course not everything should be asked on background checks. I think it's fair to say, sexuality shouldn't be asked, or political affiliation, or a number of other things. The potential for abuse is too high. But if you can't ask employees if they have a connection to terrorism, what are background checks for at all?

"The only way for a reporter to look at a politician is down." -- H.L. Mencken