Had the US not started off relations with the New Russia with a failed coup, perhaps it would have been different.
Most of Lenin's advisers were delusional enough to reject the initial German peace offer of early 1917 as they waited for all of Europe to descend into Bolshevik revolution. I strongly doubt President Calvin Coolidge and Vladimir Illych Lenin would have been toasting good relations with carbonated grape juice in the Prohibition White House of the early 1920's. The capitalist western powers loathed the Soviet Union from day one, but Franklin Roosevelt's Administration had so many sympathizers that one has to question the usual narrative of, "we wuz robbed at Yalta." I figure "Old Whiskers" calculation was that the democracies had no stomach for fighting another war so soon after Hitler's fall, so he dropped his Iron Curtain across Europe and then grinned. As for any worries that Russians might object to his aggressiveness triggering a war with Britain and the USA, such dissent could be liquidated handily.
Just about every American I've met that has mentioned the first world war has taken extra care to inform me of that. It also seems to come up a lot whenever an American wants to say something bad about the French, and wants to take the line "we saved them twice and they do this?". I'm even on the same side of the world as the French but I've seen the attitude go from "land of Lafayette" to "cheese eating surrender monkies" over what seems to be a short span of time.
Personally, I have enormous respect for the French military of the pike-and-shot era through World War I. The severe fissures in French society of the interwar period had an enormous impact on the resulting collapse at Sedan (again). Communist-sympathetic workers and unions deliberately dragged their feet on helping France arm for the looming war with Nazi Germany. Throw in a lot of gloom, dark memories of the huge casualty lists from World War I, and a lot of defeatism at the top.
That's been the prevailing view in Australia and N.Z. since April 1915.
The Dardanelles (Gallipolli) Campaign highlights a never-ending dynamic of naval warfare. The British-French fleet very nearly breached the Bosporus and could have potentially pushed Turkey out of the Central Powers using 15 inch naval rifles. Unfortunately, the loss of a few capital ships during the breaching operation caused the senior admiral to call off the attack when it was very close to success. At the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Japanese admiral had the American troop transports dead to rights, but broke off as he feared the loss of capital ships as the American escort carrier task forces threw everything they had at his battleships. Just recently, the US Navy was criticized for withdrawing the usual two fleet carriers that operated in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf. The civilian/politician criticism would be that if we can't risk these capital ships when it matters most, then we shouldn't build them in the first place. Coaches don't leave their Heisman Trophy winners on the sidelines in big games (except for Pete Carroll with Reggie Bush, but I digress).
Actually, you can type out things like 1-800-BEST-BUY on a Blackberry. Just hold down the ALT key as you type each letter. The device will translate to the appropriate number for the phone call such as a 2 for B.
We live in economic exchange-based societies. While you may not value a business card that is handed to you in one of these exchanges, the other person may greatly value it. Even in Westernized Japan, the exchange of business cards is an important ritual and you would be seen as frivolous and irrelevant if you could not offer one. Personally, I like business cards because I tend to pause and write down some key facts about the person on the back of their card if I found them interesting. Another advantage of paper cards is they can exchanged quickly without as much fumbling as is often involved with electronic devices. Let's be honest, how many times have we spent five minutes doing something with an electronic device that we could have done in less than a minute using other tools at hand? Every tool has some associated overhead and while electronics are generally best for handling information, they have their limitations too.
The bottom line is that if you are trying to provide yourself with every edge to beat the competition, it would be stupid to stop handing out professional-looking, calling cards. Besides, the vast majority of people who dislike business cards and will shun you for handing them around are probably too young to have much money or power. In another 20 years, you may need to be a lot more careful about handing out paper cards. Obviously, it would be best to just ask someone if they prefer a quick email with a vcard or a paper card or both. Personally, I would like both.
The United States of America is a Federal Republic, not a democracy. Rather than the people directly governing, they choose representatives who govern on their behalf, thus "republic". The rules that govern elections were first established in the Constitution (ratified in 1789) and then amended periodically.
You must be at least 18 years old to vote (by Constitutional Amendment) on the first Tuesday in November of an even numbered year. If you live in a US state, you have 2 Senators, regardless of the state's population size. Each Senator had to be at least 30 years old when they were elected and 1/3 of the total of 100 come up for election every even numbered year. You can directly vote for each of them when their must stand for election every 6 years. Until the late 19th Century(?), Senators were voted in by state legislators.
You live in a single US House of Representatives district. Your Representative had to be at least 25 years old when they were elected and all 438 of them nationwide stand for election every even numbered year. As the population has been shifting towards the Sunbelt, each Census has resulted in more and more Reps coming from Sunbelt states and fewer from states losing population.
You don't vote for President, you essentially "indicate a preference". The President, minimum age of 35, is actually elected by the Electoral College, bunches of political party members who cast their votes around 6 weeks after Election Day. Each state gets a minimum of 3 members, 1 for each Senator and 1 for each member of the House of Representatives, so Wyoming gets 3 and California gets about 54 for a grand total of 538/- electors. Nearly all the states use a winner-take-all approach, so when a presidential candidate receives a majority of the votes from a given state, all of that state's electoral college members are obliged to cast their vote for that candidate when the Electoral College convenes. If one refuses, they are known as a "faithless elector". Two states, Maine and Nebraska(?) use proportional representation for their electors instead of "winner take all". Other states are considering this approach.
Debates endlessly rage about the merits and demerits of this system. For good and ill it has evolved into its current state over the last 222 years. I did not consult any notes, just going from memory here so feel free to chime in...
As for the impact of this system, political scientists have simplified the analysis of Presidential elections by labeling states as either "red", "blue", or "swing" (meaning neither red nor blue). A red state is expected to cast its electoral votes for the Republican candidate, a blue state for the Democratic candidate, and a swing state is up for grabs. Once the single Republican and single Democratic candidate face off after their respective party conventions at which they are formally designated as the candidates, the major focus is on the swing states as they try to win a majority of votes and thus all the electors in each of those states. Many of the "solid red" and "solid blue" states will be nearly ignored other than as sources of funds, volunteers, and other resources. e.g. California has been a reliably "blue" state for many years so the blue and red candidates will only briefly visit it a few times prior to election day. No semi-serious political scientist expects a Republican candidate to win California's electoral votes in 2012. Until another state is added to the Union (still a possibility - I'm lookin' at you Puerto Rico), the winning number is 270 electoral votes. The requirement only to win 270 electoral votes rather than the nationwide popular vote is why a number of candidates have become President without getting at least 50% of the nationwide popular vote (Bush in 2000, Clinton in 1996(?), Clinton in 1992, Kennedy in 1960(?), Wilson in 1912(?), Hayes in 1876, Lincoln in 1860(?). Most of these were caused by third-party candidates splitting the popular vote among more candidates. The two most contested elections were Bush/Gore in 2000 and Hayes/Tilden in 1876, both involving voting irregularities in Florida.
Here is a series of interesting red/blue maps from the 2008 election Maps of the 2008 US presidential election results
Now that you see how binary the system is, you can understand why people often feel they are forced to choose "between the lesser of two evils". Skip the lesser evils, Cthulhu for President 2012. Why vote for a lesser evil?
I was first certified on MS-DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.1 and most recently on Windows Server 2XXX so I have been watching "Little Blue" for about 20 years now. (I ran Windows 1.0 on my 8088.) As Robert Metcalfe (3Com founder) recommended in the late '90s during the Department of Justice monopoly case against Microsoft, Bill Gates should have been fired, just as he and so many other company founders had been when their companies passed the early stages where the "Cowboy Entrepreneur" was the ideal CEO. Steve Ballmer was Gates' handpicked successor and has proven just as awful as most such second acts prove to be when the "Great Man" steps aside. Other than Steve Jobs, how many tech company founders stayed on as CEO "forever" leading their firms to greater and greater triumphs? Larry Ellison at Oracle? Rod Canion at Compaq? Scott McNealy? While Bill Gates was visionary about the future in many very accurate ways (smaller devices, triumph of the tablet, ubiquitous computing, intuitive familiar interfaces aka "Windows Everywhere"), he and Ballmer have been utterly incapable of making Microsoft a viable part of that future.
First, the few accomplishments during the long twilight of MSFT: 1 - share of the server market has risen from a few percent to over half. 2 - Xbox and a major share of the enormous gaming market. 3 - Hanging onto the desktop platform and office suite crowns/cash cows.
Now, the long list of failures, many spectacular, which have left Microsoft a profligate spectator while tech has conquered the world using much of the framework Microsoft contributed to so much: 1 - Miniscule share of the ubiquitous computing market: Windows Phone, tablet, and even netbook pieces are abysmally small. 2 - Windows Millenium Edition debuted in 2000 and was a dinosaur that was DOA. Many many heads should have rolled when that was unconscionably foisted on consumers and MSFT shareholders. It was another bloated, pretty version of a product that was perfect for 1998 and out of its league well before 2002. 3 - Windows Vista. Extreme bloat, countless useless, unwanted features, utter unsuitability for corporate use/support; many firms skipped straight from XP to Windows 7 which should have been Vista all along - Win 7 is basically the good version of Vista and even it is not a good tablet or netbook OS, missing massive parts of the market. 4 - MSN - a horror show and black hole for shareholder funds. 5 - Because It's Not Google (BING) - a poor shadow of Google. At least it finally does a decent job of finding Microsoft TechNet articles, something I relied on Google to handle for nearly 10 years. 6 - Live.com - you may not have heard of this, but it is Microsoft's free offering in cloud computing. Naturally it assumes your clients will be Internet Explorer which means Microsoft OS-based platforms, and those in turn are limited to PC's and laptops. Tablet and smartphone users (iPhone, Android, Symbian) - better luck next time; guess you will turn to an alternative. 7 - Microsoft.com - after about the third complete redesign I gave up on finding anything there without Google. Like I said, BING finally has some handle on the site, but it was mostly chaos for about 10 years when the Internet was getting rather important. 8 - The
Seriously, for the defenders of a company that's biggest accomplishment of the last 10 years was milking two cash cows and finally sharing a bit of the milk with long-suffering investors, you need your investing heads examined. Whether or not MSFT is brilliantly run, it is part of a universe of potential investments and has had remarkably little to offer while many of its competitors have enjoyed far greater success: AAPL, GOOG, ORCL, IBM, and so on. I used to laugh bitterly at Microsoft's ad campaign against the Department of Justice monopoly case that Microsoft "needed the freedom to innovate" ? Monopolistic practices were not innovations and neither was WindowsME, Exchange 2000, Windows PhoneOS, WindowsCE, ad infinitum. Microsoft wanted the freedom to go on knee-capping or swallowing whole their competition while praying some guy in a garage didn't make them irrelevant. The Open Source movement (bunches of guys in garages), Steve Jobs, and Steve Ballmer ended up making Microsoft irrelevant. Young IS people ask me what to learn and ever since I got my first look at Vista I have recommended "anything but Microsoft".
Not really, just supply yo mama and wait a couple of decades...
This is certainly the FUN way to make such exquisite cameras. As for the Fuji 3D, does it still function at all if one lens is broken or does it just lose 3D?
The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith