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Comment: Re:And people called Atlas Shrugged Fiction.... (Score 5, Informative) 702

by localman57 (#45408851) Attached to: Venezuela: Cheap Television Sets For All!
The important phrase here is official rate. The bolivar is bullshit, and everybody knows it. That's why it trades at 10 times as many per dollar as the official exchange rate. Venezuela doesn't make televisions. They're imported, and the people who do make them price them in yen, RenMinBi, or Won, or perhaps dollars. The people who sell them are likely to want hard currency to pay for them. So the price in bolivars looks nuts. This is what happens when you peg an artificial exchange rate, folks.

Comment: Re:Wow (Score 5, Interesting) 702

by localman57 (#45408765) Attached to: Venezuela: Cheap Television Sets For All!
Yeah. It's real. And the ironic part is that Chavez died at just the right time that a lot of people are going to look back on his rule as the good ole days. The path he laid out was utterly unsustainable, but was pleasant in the sort term for a lot of the people who ended up on the right end of his ultimately self-defeating economic policies. A lot of what he did was paying for things on credit against oil that wasn't even pumped yet. The wheels would have come off the bus eventually, but now they're going to come off while Maduro's driving, not Chavez. And people will blame Maduro (not that he doesn't have it coming as well, as is obvious from this article).

Comment: Re:It's a Stalling Tactic (Score 3, Insightful) 362

by localman57 (#44809683) Attached to: Syrian Gov't Agrees To Russian Chem-Weapon Turnover Plan
My conclusion is that if he's a better poker player than us, then we shouldn't play poker with him. We either don't play any game, or choose one that plays to our strengths.

Just because you acknowledge someone's capacities, it doesn't mean that you admire them. To the contrary, my whole point is that we have to understand how he's gotten this far, if we want to have any shot at a positive result.

Comment: Re:Taken to school (Score 1) 362

by localman57 (#44808619) Attached to: Syrian Gov't Agrees To Russian Chem-Weapon Turnover Plan
Plus, the Russians and the Chinese win because we don't set a precedent of having one country take unilateral action when a country decides it's anything-goes on protesters/rebels. Both the Russians and the Chinese want to keep their ability to pull a Tienamen Square without external interference, as long as they can bork things up in the Security council. Neither of them want to see more Kosovo type stuff.

Comment: It's a Stalling Tactic (Score 5, Insightful) 362

by localman57 (#44808187) Attached to: Syrian Gov't Agrees To Russian Chem-Weapon Turnover Plan
I think it's important to remember how Assad played Kofi Annan for a chump for weeks near the beginning of this conflict. The whole time, he kept everybody talking, dangling the bait of a peaceful solution- some compromise - while he was using tanks on protesters that were overwhelmingly peaceful, and at worst lightly armed and totally disorganized.

He may well be doing the same thing now. He has masterfully played the hand he was dealt with delays, and a gradual escalation of tactics and brutality, essentially boiling the frog of public opinion to avoid any one escalation that yields a response. Dictators for decades will study this. I watched the interview last night with Charlie Rose, and I'm pretty convinced that Putin is probably the only major world leader who'd have a chance against this guy in a poker game.

Comment: Re:Very dangerous (Score 1) 73

by localman57 (#44677647) Attached to: NASA Visualizes Asteroid Grab Mission
At which point the House will decide that it will only pay for this asteroid-protection plan to save the earth if equivalent cuts are made some place else. Now, the Senate ain't gonna buy that. So the asteroid will just go ahead and hit the earth, but fortunately hit someplace nobody (here) cares about. And, for some fucking incomprehensible reason, fully 90% of these asshats will be reelected the next cycle.

Comment: Re:ada issues (Score 2) 192

by localman57 (#44657903) Attached to: Students At Lynn University Get iPad Minis Instead of Textbooks
How is this different from textbooks? You had to make an exception for some people by making a large print version, or a braille version. It seems to me that this transition, particularly if there's a text-to-speech option, should make the books more accessible, not less. Some extra tech required, but it seems much easier than creating multiple editions of each book.

Comment: Re:Actually, I like the dead trees (Score 1) 192

by localman57 (#44657859) Attached to: Students At Lynn University Get iPad Minis Instead of Textbooks
As I remember, For 80% of my books, that's still a good deal. Book Store used to sell em to us used for $50, and maybe give you back $10. Unless there was a new edition (frequent), in which case you got jack. So, that was 20%, or 0% off, and I didn't own a damn thing.

15 years into my career, I have used exactly 0 of my text books I chose to keep in the last 10 years. But only recently finished paying off the last of my student loans.

Comment: A conversation with David Cobden (Score 3, Funny) 35

Professor Cobden:

These solid-state triple points are fiendishly difficult to study, essentially because the different shapes of the solid phases makes it hard for them to match up happily at their interfaces


Oh, yeah. That's pretty cool. So...you..uh...see that new Pacific Rim movie? Those giant robots were pretty awesome, huh?

Comment: Re:Would probably be outlawed... (Score 5, Funny) 492

by localman57 (#44634969) Attached to: New Drug Mimics the Beneficial Effects of Exercise

Yes, it's terrible to think that professional sports players should actually be rewarded for training and talent rather than drugs.

I'm so sick of people lecturing me about how bad steroids are, so why don't you SHUT UP! I've got half a mind to come over there and RIP YOUR HEAD OFF just for saying that! What? You gonna look at me like that? THAT'S IT!

The goal of Computer Science is to build something that will last at least until we've finished building it.