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Comment Re:Who cares about some damage to a few cars... (Score 1) 375

I think you have those two words defined exactly backwards.

No, he has it almost exactly correct. Soil is a mixture of minerals, water, air, and organic material (e.g. organisms, living and dead). Soil develops over long periods of time, and lies in layers (horizons), each with its own composition and properties. Soil is alive and in situ---it has history and context. Dirt, on the other hand, is what you track into the house after playing in the soil.

Comment Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (Score 1) 145

I don't doubt that Starbucks provides a service that people are willing to pay for, any more than I don't doubt that PBR profitable product that people are willing to pay for. I was replying to the idea that Starbucks provided better-than-average coffee, which, as I pointed out down-thread, seems to have been a reading comprehension fail on my part.

Comment Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (Score 2) 145

A brand becomes popular because it offers something that people want. Quality is only one possible metric out of many. To say that Starbucks is popular, therefore they must sell better-than-average-coffee, is a fallacy. Personally, I would hazard to guess that Starbucks is popular because it is fast and consistent (i.e. I can get the same slightly burned cup of coffee at any Starbucks in the world).

That being said, I just reread the original post to which I relied, and it seems that the poster was taking this into account (he said that they do a better than average job, rather than saying that they serve a better than average cup of coffee, which is how I read it originally). Reading comprehension fail on my part.

Comment Re:Better than average (Score 2) 145

Regarding McDonalds fries, I suppose that is a matter of taste. I prefer a thicker cut fry. That still doesn't change the fact that the product that McDonalds is best known for---their bugers---are mediocre to terrible. As you rightly point out, McDonalds is not competing on quality, but on price and speed. There are many places where I could get a better burger (and better fries, too), but I am going to have to pay more or wait longer (or both).

Regarding Taco Bell, you have once again made my point for me. I can go to a real Mexican restaurant and get a great taco, but it will likely cost me more than a Taco Bell taco. You buy a taco at Taco Bell not because you want a high quality meal, but because you want a fast, cheap meal.

Comment Re:The true enemy... (Score 1) 1706

Two points:

  1. People dying in collisions resulting from drunk driving is a problem. One possible solution is to ban alcohol. That was tried, and failed. However, that is not the only solution, and you will note that many people are clamoring for harsher penalties for drunk driving, stronger enforcement, and technological solutions (breathalyser activated ignition systems, self-driving cars, and so on). Most people are capable of seeing beyond the black and white of everything goes versus prohibition.
  2. Among those advocating stronger gun control, the most common view, by far, is not an outright ban of all firearms. There are a few on the lunatic fringe who would probably make such an argument, but they are not representative of the majority in the same way that the few lunatics arguing that anyone ought to be allowed to build a nuke are not representative of the majority. Basically, no one is arguing that we should "BAN GUNS." The argument is more nuanced than that.

Comment Re:Donation? (Score 1) 341

As far as I can tell, you can give this guy as much or as little as you like, and get the binaries. On his ask page, he allows one to donate at certain monthly thresholds, and provides a link to PayPal for one-time contributions. At any amount, you are entitled to the perks or rewards offered on that page. You make a DONATION, and you get a perk. His usage of the word is entirely consistent with the way that the rest of the English speaking world uses the word. You can argue until you are blue in the face that this does not meet the dictionary definition of "donatation," but it is entirely consistent with the way that NPR, public museums, and many other institutions use the word.

I would also note that this is entirely irrelevant to your example of buying a soda at 7-11. Donations are gifts given to charities. One could argue that is not a charitable organization (in which case I would agree that this is not a donation, but that isn't the argument that you have been making), but you would have to stretch the notion to its breaking point to include 7-11 as a charity.

Comment Re:I know this won't be a popular sentiment, but.. (Score 2) 198

I can't tell if you are trying to be funny or not, but the US national anthem is the "Star Spangled Banner." The lyrics are from a poem by Francis Scott Key. These lyrics, written during the War of 1812, were eventually matched to the English drinking song "To Anacreon in Heaven."

On the other hand the English (UK) don't have an official national anthem. "God Save the King/Queen" is probably the closest approximation. While the origin of the lyrics and tune are not known, it probably dates back to the 17th century and is likely based on church music of the time. The tune is the same as that used in "America" (i.e. the song beginning "My country, 'tis of thee..."), which may explain your apparent confusion.

Comment Re:Donation? (Score 1) 341

A "donation" is a gift given to a charity. There is nothing in the dictionary definition or common usage of the word "donation" that suggests that it cannot be rewarded with some incentive (i.e. a mug or source code). You are free to argue that such a donation is not, in fact, a donation, but you are making a purely semantic argument that has already been lost.

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