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Comment: Maybe it's the weightlessness (Score 1) 43

Your having been to space is no guarantee that you're not crap-on-the-floor looney.

I would have thought that we've learned better than to pay too much attention to former astronauts. They might well be right about the asteroids, but I still think we should go ahead and get a second opinion on this.

Comment: Re:Never forget where you came from (Score 1) 253

by Opportunist (#46797479) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

Potatoes and cottage cheese actually make wonderful dinners. And rice and beans go splendid together, if you find some kind of grease to glue them you're golden.

And if you're contrary to expectations still hungry after that Lucullan crapulency, you can always dissolve some stale bread in a cup of water. You can actually kinda bake that if you like, gives it a nice toast-y touch.

Comment: Re:Ultra-frugal cooking (Score 1) 253

by Opportunist (#46797453) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

What did work out incredibly well for me was moving in with other students. Not only do you get to have some kind of company without "wasting time" on it (and no matter what you might think, you need people to talk to or you go nuts), it also means that you can much more easily stretch the food money. Cooking for 3 is more efficient than cooking for 1. And more fun too (unless you have a weirdo like one of my former roomies who has a ... let's say rather special taste. I still say he only did it 'cause he wanted to avoid cooking duty). It also takes less time if you split the housework.

We still come together every other week, one of us cooks and we chat. It's a nice little reminder of our university years, despite us splitting up and moving apart (still within driving distance, fortunately), one of us having a family now, the others engaged or divorced... it's nice to see people you know develop and it's interesting to see how things turn out.

Seriously, unless you absolutely cannot stand people near you, share an apartment with two or three others. Life gets a LOT cheaper that way and you actually get to stay in touch with humanity despite studying.

Comment: Re:I'm not sure how common it is... (Score 1) 253

by Opportunist (#46797427) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

Well, that's the difference between universities in the US and around here in Europe. There, you have to be rich to get through. Over here, you have to be smart, because universities can afford dropout rates around 90-95%.

Tuition is cheap (and if you're halfway intelligent, free) around here. So, as one may assume, the auditorium is packed in the first semesters. I mean literally. Get there early or you won't even get to stand on the stairs (to get a seat, you should be in at least an hour before it gets going). If you want to get into a seminar, camping in front of the place where you get to register might be a good idea. It's not exaggerating too much when I say, the best friend of a new student is his sleeping bag.

That in turn means that tests are brutal for the first few semesters. I do not exaggerate, at least 9 out of 10 students will not even get past the first semesters.

But that also means that everyone, literally EVERYONE who holds a degree from my university is one of the top 5% of the people in the field. Else, he would not have that sheet of paper.

Comment: Re:Grad school is voluntary... (Score 1) 253

by Opportunist (#46797409) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

But that's the freedom of choice! Nobody forces you to choose either or. Some like it warm, others like to eat. You can make that choice individually! That's free market, in a socialist world they'd probably make you eat and turn on the heating. Without even caring whether you want that!

Comment: Re:Well considering that.. (Score 1) 253

by Opportunist (#46797397) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

We're far from that. Let's take a look at the Income equality by country.

Let's just take the richest/poorest 10% comparison. The US has a factor of 15.9. Meaning that the richest 10% make about 16 times what the poorest 10% make. With this, they're in the great company of splendid equality paradises like Uganda, Georgia (the country, not the state...) and Iran.

There is not a SINGLE European country with a worse ratio than the US. Granted, the aforementioned Georgia along with Portugal and the UK are coming close to it, but none of them is actually WORSE. Most central European (and let's also lump in the Scandinavian) countries revolve around a disparity factor of about 5-8.

That means that we're looking at about three times more equality in Europe than the US.

Btw, the 20% rich/poor ratio doesn't get much better for the US. It goes down to a "mere" 8.9 times more money in the 20% rich than the 20% poor, but it's still more than twice the ratio of Finland and Sweden.

A look at the Gini map also tells a lot (ok, if you know what the Gini coefficient is), with Europe lighting up in green and the US being in a group with such equal rights beacons like China, Argentina or Iran.

Comment: Re:Slowly, Mr Uljanov (Score 1) 253

by Opportunist (#46797309) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

It's got nothing to do with "socialism". Quite far from it. What it has to do with is completely fucked up tax and tax money politics in Germany. There is a very easy fix for it: Stop bailing out banks, stop pumping money into bailout funds for high risk investment banks (actually, tax the fuckers 'til it's no longer profitable to leech the industry to death), stop destroying the middle class and instead tax capital gains more and you're set.

Of course, nobody really wants that. Especially not "Mutti". And as long as you keep voting that ... thing in, no pity from this side of the border.

Comment: Re:How's your Russian? (Score 1) 253

by Opportunist (#46797293) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

You don't really spend a lot of time working with EU military, do you?

I had my share of work with various armies of this planet. Including Russian, various European countries and of course US. Without wanting to start a flame war, but if the average US soldier is about as motivated, trained and bright as the people I had to deal with, waiting for the US to bail the EU out is NOT really something that I'd consider a sound strategy...

Entropy requires no maintenance. -- Markoff Chaney

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