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Comment Re:Use Russian ATMs? Really? (Score 2) 74

Speaking as local, I'm really surprised to read this comment. For more than three years of using credit card I've never experienced any problems with it. None of my friends did too. And not only in Moscow, but in several other cities too. I do trust my bank and it's security measures, and all cases of credit card info theft I know of happened in US or Europe.

Now, for example, one thing I am scared of is US airport security. And how would it look if I'd said something like that: "It's a service guaranteed to humiliate you in every possible way. Why would I use it, *ESPECIALLY* if I was local?"

Comment Re:This is just embarrassing. (Score 1) 338

+6 Funny, man :) I think that "Taking back Alaska is a common theme" would become a running joke for all of my friend for couple of days, thanks for sharing it with us.

Now, if you would excuse me, I have to go feed my pet bear with caviar and vodka, or it would stop running in the wheel that powers my Internet connection.

Comment Re:This is just embarrassing. (Score 1) 338

Well, strictly speaking, it all was just a consequence of absolutely corrupted, inefficient, idiotic and "not-working-even-in-theory" economic model of SU. And arms race had much to do with that - best scientist, engineers, technicians and other specialists were working on the military contractors, and civilian sector was fed with worst leftovers of their achievements. So it was arms race, oil prices, total lack of any political will in SU's government (and simple reason at the same time), and some other factors - each of them played it's role.

By the way, after the Olympic Games of 1980 in Moscow there was a huge disappointment all over the country - people thought that it was a promised "communism", but after the Games it ended as promptly as it began. It was a true "crisis of faith" even for most "hardcore communists", and it all went downhill even faster from there.

Why your post was modded Troll, anyway?

Comment Re:Just what India needs (Score 2, Insightful) 102

So that India can do to it's science the same thing that USA Government did to NASA? Most of the problems you've mentioned are not as hard-pressing, as we, Westerners here can think. But leading in science is crucial to any country's political and economical success. Or you would prefer that Indian Government just spend all it's money on ineffective corporations bailouts, crazy military projects, paranoid surveillance and self-perpetuating fear "security" programs? Well, Indians learned much from Brits in their time, but now they seem much more reasonable than their old "mentors". So they are "doing it right", to my taste.

Comment Re:Science (Score 1) 330

Nevertheless, it's really simple and popular (in good sense) explanation of alchemy's goals. C. G. Jung and W. Pauli even wrote a book at some point, and it's main ideas were based on their research of Western alchemy. Of course, it had nothing to do with impossible chemical reactions, it was all about psychology (and a little bit about physics in general). So, if a good "technothriller" uses some correct basic idea, it's not a bad thing - interested reader would find more material on his own.

And it's still much better than to blindly assume that all alchemists of the past (some of the acknowledged wisest men of their time, for a second) were just crazy loons or clever crooks. Of course, there were many greedy liars and misguided fools in that trade - but is it much different from today? With all modern "astroturf", "snake oil", Apple cult and "conspiracy theories", are we much better than society that believed in possibility of chemical transmutation of elements? So I think it's good that Stephenson is trying to educate someone a little - I'd prefer truth in science fiction over a lie in an official school book.

Comment Re:No thanks (Score 1) 133

Yep, and here in Russia there are many people who do believe in some "unchangeable truths" too - like one that "all Americans are fat, dumb, loud, constantly suing each other and give firearms to their children for free, so they can go in school and shoot everybody there". My American (and Canadian, German, Swiss, etc.) friends are always laughing with me, when I share such "truths" with them. But I don't think that it would be amusing if I'd refused to use some American technology because "they still use to hang black people on the trees, or burn them alive on Sundays". A little too old-fashioned humor, to my taste.

By the way, about warm holiday experience - there is still much more sanity in our airport security rules, as in other policies considering foreign visitors. Although weather right now is not all warm and sunny, that's true.

Comment Re:Ah, it is MK... (Score 1) 226

Not quite so - _the_ "Buran" is one and only craft that really visited space. Later models were meant to be named differently, but only one of them was named at all (model 1.02 "Burya")

To correct my first post - "Buran" was destroyed in 2002 on Baykonur, and version in theme park is only a test model, never meant to fly in space (still capable of atmospheric flights, as I understood). And what was "discovered" is version 2.01 - there's even a photo in Russian Wiki article.

Comment Ah, it is MK... (Score 2, Informative) 226

Well, it's not newspaper analogue of Fox News, but still very close - well-known "yellow paper" tabloid. So it's not _the_ "Buran", it's just some model / unfinished project, as it was said above. Still, it's not much worse than fate of original "Buran", which now just serves as a cheap attraction in local theme park.

Comment Re:Sigh (Score 1) 321

Probably would be modded troll or flamebait, but anyway: "Slap a new label on something and most people won't notice that there's not difference" - like labeling a WikiLeaks "a threat to Homeland Security" is some magic way of turning attacks on it NOT censorship? Or labeling military presence in Iraq "forces of peace, democracy and free cheeseburgers" is suddenly going to bring all dead people (American and Iraqi alike) back to life? Or just label fast decay of personal rights "War on Terrorism, Pedophilia, Drugs and Piracy", and most people will gladly accept it, happily getting in line to being strip-searched, abused and sued in the end... oh, wait, nevermind.

Along said lines Department of Homeland Security translated comes pretty close to KGB, doesn't it?

Comment Re:This isn't over? (Score 2, Insightful) 248

Hah, and now imagine how do we in "Evil Putin's Russia" feel ourselves reading about "communist Obama"? By the way, we too have (crappy, but) free medical insurance here. And while we do experience all sort of governmental corruption here, I'm pretty sure that our government will never accept ACTA or anything similar to it.

Sometimes I feel that in some aspects of life tables had turned completely - USA being paranoid and totally authoritarian over it's "intellectual property", censoring Internet with DMCA's (yes, to me it's just another form of censorship) and "terrorism/pedophilia" hysteria, pushing such behavior to other countries; while "socialist" Europe and "communist" Russia enjoy much more open and free Internet (plus we're moving towards open source OS'es and applications much faster than Microsoft/Apple occupied USA). Ironic, really.

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