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Comment Re:Maybe a solution? (Score 1) 642

I recently obtained a Brazilian tourist visa for a trip in January. Whereas the visa fee for most countries like EU members or Japan is $20, U.S. citizens are singled out for a $160 fee, which is classified as a "reciprocal fee" (and the clerk at the consulate made sure to emphasize that when I submitted the application). And when I go, I fully expect the full interrogation, fingerprints, etc., while my Japanese wife will be waved right through.

It's just a blatant tit-for-tat move to get back at U.S. immigration policies. I frankly don't see how it benefits Brazil in any way, but I can hardly blame them.

Interesting thing, though, is that while my wife's $20 visa is valid for a 90-day period, my $150 visa is good for ten years.

Comment Re:Maybe a solution? (Score 1) 642

And how would this in any way affect search procedures for U.S. citizens on domestic flights, which constitute the vast majority of flights to/from U.S. airports? Pre-flight TSA security checks (keeping bombs off the plane) have nothing to do with immigration procedures on arrival (keeping undesirable people from entering the country).

And many countries are doing what you've described, singling out U.S. passport holders for higher visa fees and more extensive checks, fingerprinting, etc. It hasn't done a thing except piss off international travelers. It certainly isn't going to increase pressure on the U.S. to change policies, and ends up just hurting the countries doing this (as well as the U.S.). I don't think many U.S. citizens are going to complain to the government to please stop hassling Brazilian citizens, so that the Brazil will stop hassling U.S. citizens and make it easier to go there. They're just going to decide not to go to Brazil.

Comment Re:Because it's a Public Service (Score 1) 445

Let me see.

On one hand we have a person who uses his ingenuity to exploit a market in a way that is completely legal yet socially unrespected, is completely open about how he does it and to what degree, describes this to millions of readers all over the world, and still admits to having moral reservations about it.

On the other hand we have someone who asserts that what the first person does is in itself "probably illegal" without presenting any supporting evidence, suggests in addition (also with no evidence) that the first person is evading taxes, and finally admits to be willing to destroy his own property just to spite the intentions of the first person.

I certainly have no trouble deciding which person I have more respect for.

Comment Re:Next step? (Score 2, Insightful) 391

It's not just smearing; you're also pushing the pen "into" the paper with nearly every horizontal stroke, so it digs in. Especially with cursive, where every letter is connected by a horizontal ligature.

And if holding the pen above the line is incorrect, apparently the vast majority of teachers are doing it wrong.

Comment Re:Jahva Javva? (Score 1) 337

So I'm not the only one who thought the interviewer's pronunciation was bizarre.

For all of you who haven't listened to the podcast, he pronounces the first 'a' the same as in "have", rather than "jar". I have never heard "Java" (the place or the language) pronounced that way.

Comment Re:Farsi?? (Score 0) 574

You're missing the point. "Persian" vs "Farsi" is like "Mandarin" vs. "Putonghwa", or "Cantonese" vs. "Gwong zau wa".

An Iranian speaking in his native language will say "Farsi", but a person speaking English will say "Persian", to refer to the same thing. If someone asks you in English what language you speak, I don't think you will reply in English "I speak gwong zau waa". And conversely, if an Iranian tells me "I speak Farsi", I would say "In English we call it Persian."

Comment Re:Oddly Enough (Score 1) 776

The drone pilots are military pilots, in uniform, on military installations. The aircraft themselves are clearly marked with U.S. Air Force insignia.

"Hiding among civilians" would be If the drone aircraft were carrying out their attacks while mixed in among a formation of CNN-chartered helicopters and UN support transports, or if the pilots remotely operating the aircraft were doing so sitting in public cafes dressed as businessman.

The enemy are wholly justified under the rules of warfare to attack the drone aircraft, or the pilots who control them. Neither of these actions in any way necessitate engaging civilians. If Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan don't have the means to take out a pilot sitting in a underground bunker in Las Vegas, that's their problem.

Nintendo

Man Fined $1.5 Million For Leaked Mario Game 287

An anonymous reader writes "A Queensland man will have to pay Nintendo $1.5 million in damages after illegally copying and uploading one of its recent games to the internet ahead of its release, the gaming giant says. Nintendo said the loss was caused when James Burt made New Super Mario Bros Wii available for illegal download a week ahead of its official Australian release in November of last year. Nintendo applied for and was granted a search order by the Federal Court, forcing Burt to disclose the whereabouts of all his computers, disks and electronic storage devices in November. He was also ordered to allow access, including passwords, to his social networking sites, email accounts and websites."

Comment Re:Universities can't keep up (Score 1) 1343

Actually, if you're talking about academic publications, I would bet that the typical foreign (non-native speaker or English) reader would have no more, perhaps even less, trouble understanding modern SMS-influenced grammar than a typical middle-aged, non-academic native speaker of English (myself). Why? Because such people have probably picked up all their informal English from their peers -- fellow grad students who are young and tech-savvy.

There's no arguing your main point that using "cuz" in an academic paper is a very bad idea, but I think you're underestimating the ability of non-native speakers to pick up informal language. The French speaker can figure out a phonetic transform in English-as-a-second-language just as well as the native speaker.

I frequently read English-language e-mails/postings by Japanese, Turkish, and Brazilian people and they use "pls" and "ur" and the rest all the time. Conversely, I occasionally read Portuguese (my third or fourth language) on net forums, and figuring out abbreviations like
  "vc" for "você" is quite simple.

 

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