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Comment Re:if you are that ignorant of his work... (Score 1) 803

Yes, but still significantly less evil than the crew that replaced him.

That seems to have been true in the long run, for the most part.

However, the important thing is that he was evil enough to set up the conditions for what followed. The brutal oppression under his regime primed the population for a radical shift, and that's what allowed the Islamists to build up support for their movement.

Of course, the Islamists pulled a huge bait-and-switch, and dealt with all parties in bad faith, but it's extremely unlikely they would ever have been anything but a political footnote if the US and UK hadn't engineered the ouster of the previous democratic government to make room for the Shah.

Comment Re:For starters... (Score 1) 803

Then don't let people know that you're rich. There are plenty of towns you could move to that probably wouldn't recognize Bill Gates and definitely not recognize the creator of Minecraft. I know I wouldn't recognize him.

If you are Bill Gates, or even Notch, the cat's going to get out of the bag sooner or later.

Now maybe if you managed to lay low long enough, people would be okay at pretending to ignore the "new" circumstances once your identity were eventually revealed, but it's never going to be the same.

Comment Re:Yes. What do you lose? But talk to lawyer first (Score 1) 734

AFAIK IANAL dual citizenships aren't legal(or maybe not legally recognized would be more correct?) in the US to begin with.

The US position on dual citizenships is generally to ignore them. So as far as the US government was concerned these kids would be solely American. They wouldn't get in trouble or anything.

Comment Re:Similar Situation...and it's Worse than You Thi (Score 1) 734

while our son was born in Canada and I signed to forms to allow him to get a US passport. In hindsight I wish I had never done this.

If you were married at the time of your son's birth, then he was a US citizen regardless of what forms you did or did not fill out. There was nothing you could do about it. So don't feel too badly.

Comment Re:Yes. What do you lose? But talk to lawyer first (Score 1) 734

US consular assistance is pretty worthless. They do the bare minimum and charge up the ass for everything else.

As a dual US-EU citizen, I never travel on my US passport or deal with the US overseas when I can help it, because it's a waste of time.

Also, as a EU citizen, I have the benefit of recourse to consular services from any other EU nation if mine isn't available.

The US isn't the only country that evacuates its citizens, but as far as I know it's the only one that will send you a bill afterwards. I'd much rather be evacuated by the French, for example, who have a far stronger record in overseas citizen protection.

Comment Re:Yes. What do you lose? But talk to lawyer first (Score 1) 734

In fact, the USA is the only significant country that taxes based on citizenship rather than residence.

Pretty much no other country taxes its citizens when they are living outside that country in the long term. Only the USA does.

For this reason American dual citizens and expats are at a serious disadvantage in the international job and investment market.

Comment Re:Yes. What do you lose? But talk to lawyer first (Score 1) 734

You can rant all you like, but the US can easily seize your assets by putting pressure on the foreign bank where you have them stored.

Any bank of any size will have international operations in the US which are much more valuable to them than you are.

US government threatens bank, bank caves. Every time.

Comment Re:No big changes (Score 1) 578

in modern-day Poland, when you ride the train, there are multi-lingual signs instructing on how do do things like open the windows or operate the toilet. The signs appear in Polish (it's Poland, after all), German (much of Poland was Germany and vice versa), Russian (it was under the Soviet sphere of influence), and French (the international language). No English.

That's because they assume English speakers already know how to use a toilet.

I'll see myself out.

Comment Re:Universal Translators? (Score 1) 578

Google Translate works well with text about long-standing topics and which doesn't employ recently emerged idiom.

And it is far better with language pairs that share a lot of cultural exchange.

That's because it substantially operates without any real semantic analysis, but instead on statistical analysis of human-translated texts. They feed in books and articles which exist in both English and Spanish, for example, and the computer sees which words and phrases tend to match up.

This approach provides workable results, but it has its limits. In particular it's never going to get much better with contemporary idiom, since that's rarely used in translated materials in the required bulk. They'll have some best-selling novels here and there, but not the wide range of contexts necessary to make it really function.

Comment Re:English-ish? (Score 1) 578

Can you give us some first hand experience where you found someone in China who was not able to speak Mandarin?

I'm not the person you're responding to, but I traveled from one corner of China to the other with some colleagues from Beijing. They were native Beijing Chinese, I am a foreigner.

We had meetings in almost 100 cities and towns, and also did some sightseeing during free time.

The catchphrase of the journey was "why don't these people speak Mandarin?" I think they said it (in English) more in those few months than everything else combined. We had endless comical misunderstandings over food, meeting arrangements, transport, and everything else that didn't involve higher-ups or more educated people.

When dealing with people who could read and write, very often they'd clarify by making characters in their air with their hands or scribbling them out on a piece of paper, because that often covered the gaps better than speaking.

But sometimes that failed, and on occasion they became so frustrated that I ended up taking over by pantomiming or using my flash cards, just to break the tension and move things along.

Just because he's dead is no reason to lay off work.

Working...