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Comment: Re:Cuba could have lifted it ages ago (Score 1) 532

by shutdown -p now (#47887443) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

You think the Castro dynasty would give up their communist ideals just because the US lifts the embargo?

Of course not. But you give the right answer immediately.

The truth is that the US has very little to do with Cuba's problems. All the embargo really does to Cuba is give its leaders someone to blame for everything that Cuba is not. A convenient scapegoat for the government.

Exactly. Embargo is a convenient scapegoat - it lets the government to explain away harsh life and crackdowns by an ongoing conflict, "us vs them", "everything for the victory". Remove it, and it makes that much harder for them to maintain that. Long term, it will accelerate the inevitable collapse of the dictatorship and the transition to something saner. If Castros are smart, they will do what Chinese and Vietnamese elites did, and head the transition rather than trying to resist it, so as to reap the maximum benefits. If not, there will be another revolution.

Either way, all that embargo does is delay that process. So it hurts the people of Cuba, not its government.

Comment: (Score 1) 532

by shutdown -p now (#47887383) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

The embargo started before the Cuban missile crisis (in fact, many historians believe that it was the extreme hostility of US towards Cuba after the revolution that pushed the latter towards Soviets). In any case, the notion that if the embargo is lifted, Cuba would rebuild the missile bases, just defies any common sense. It was not their bases to begin with, and if someone else would want to rebuild them today, the embargo makes it easier not harder (because it takes that much less to pay to Cuba for them).

Comment: Re:Overall death toll under communism: 100 Million (Score 1) 532

by shutdown -p now (#47887373) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

If you seriously consider the Black Book of Communism to be the "best estimates for communist regimes killing people", you're either deluded or retarded. Heck, even if you take the book at its face value, even then it counts "victims of communism" - and by this they mean anyone who has died due to e.g. starvation during a famine, regardless of whether said famine was artificially induced or not (and Soviet Russia had plenty natural ones in the aftermath of its Civil War). For the actual killing estimates, they tend to take the highest figures from the sources that are basically pure guesswork, like Solzhenitsyn's books.

Comment: Re:Cuba could have lifted it ages ago (Score 1) 532

by shutdown -p now (#47887367) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

The embargo is by US on Cuba. If US truly wanted to lift it, it could just do that. The fact that it is not lifted because "Cuba does something" means that US doesn't really want to lift it, either.

Which is stupid, because Cuba is as communist as it is only because of that embargo. Hell, look at Vietnam: a country that US actually went to wage war in, with numerous civilian casualties, and now? They're rapidly catching up with China on that whole capitalism business, and you can actually talk to a Vietnamese guy on the Internet and ask him what he thinks (and tell him what you think).

Comment: Re:$1.1 Trillion over 54 years... (Score 1) 532

by shutdown -p now (#47887363) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

More like 11th century, actually.

I mean, this is Europe we're talking about here. If two states had a common border, you can be pretty sure they had at least one war per century, and often more than that. In case of Russia(/Ukraine/Belarus) and Poland, the only reason why it doesn't go back earlier is because Rus was a proto-state before then, and it wasn't until the end of 10th century that it was fully formed.

Comment: (Score 1) 532

by shutdown -p now (#47887341) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

I was born there as well, and my parents were not communist activists.

What I remember are long lines for toilet paper, shampoo and shoes.

True, but this was mostly in the 80s (and mid-to-late 70s in some regions). Basically, the beginning of the end. Which brings us to...

People imprisoned and killed on the streets

At the time where there were long lines for toilet paper, that was quite unlikely. Killing on the streets was certainly not the thing, and even political dissidents were usually found insane, so that they could be put into asylums rather than imprisoned (that's when they invented "sluggish schizophrenia") - better from the PR perspective.

Certainly, for an average Soviet citizen to be killed or imprisoned by authorities in the 70s on, would be extremely unlikely.

My Mom earning $3 per month.

That part is either bullshit or meaningless (or both). For someone like a teacher, say, the monthly salary was typically between 100 and 200 rubles during that time. Factory workers actually earned more (cuz "proletariat"). I can't think of anyone in full-time job earning less than a 100, in any case. University students got 50 rubles per month.

Now, the official exchange rate was 1 USD = 0.8-0.5 RUB, but that was bullshit in any case, because you couldn't freely exchange them. So the only way to meaningfully compare is in terms of purchasing power. Now, for example, price in rubles for some common foods:

box of 50 matches - 0.01 rub aka 1 kopeika (they used it for change when they ran out of coins)
loaf of wheat bread (400 g) - 0.26 rub
loaf of dark rye bread (700 g) - 0.16 rub
1 liter bottle of milk - 0.46 rub
1 kg of sugar - 0.78 rub
1 kg of cheese - 2.20 rub
1 kg of butter - 3.40 rub
100 g of chocolate - 0.80 rub
ice cream in a waffle cone - 0.20 rub

Some other random stuff:

bus ticket (valid for that one bus for any distance) - 0.05 rub
tram ticket - 0.03 rub
evening movie ticket - 0.25 rub
soap - 0.14 rub
camera - 15 rub
ushanka - 14 rub
vinyl record - 1-3 rub
1 liter of gas - 0.10 rub

Expensive stuff:

motorcycle - 1000-1500 rub
car - 3500-10000 rub

Free stuff:

So it's still not a straightforward comparison. If you take food - say, milk; US average is $3.74/gallon, so almost $1/liter. If you go by the prices in rubles above, it would make the average Soviet salary of 150 rub equivalent to $300. OTOH, in US, most people spend most of their income on rent or mortgage, while Soviet citizens spent most of it on food, clothing etc. Average monthly gross rent in US is ~900$; adding that, you'd end up with $1200 per person, or $2400 per household (since both would typically work and bring roughly the same wage). This is pretty close to the average median income of an African-American household in US today. So, basically, pretty damn poor, but not third world shithole poor.

OTOH, car was a real luxury.

Comment: (Score 1) 532

by shutdown -p now (#47887249) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

Actually, that's not quite right. RT will make false stories where they can get away with them (e.g. Ukraine). But when they make one about US and Europe, it almost always has some kernel of truth in it... just distorted and embellished to fit their agenda. Nevertheless, if they tell there is a problem, it's a good habit to try to find the original source - oftentimes you will in fact discover some real issue there, that you'd do well to know about (and that mainstream US media, say, won't comment on loudly until much later).

Comment: Re:+ operator for string concat? (Score 1) 729

Yeah, the syntax was like that.

I think you might be right in that the compiler didn't enforce the types at the point of the call. But I'm still fairly sure that a type mismatch was undefined behavior, and if you somehow got it working, it would not be guaranteed to be working henceforth. It was certainly not just one parameter = one word, since K&R already had long and float and double, and those would normally be wider than a word on most machines of that time

  So basically, types were always there, but type checks weren't.

When they added ANSI-style function declarations, you could actually have parameters listed with their types, and that was checked... but for compatibility they still retained the old-style function calls without seeing the definition, where you had to match the arguments carefully.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.