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Comment Re:It's because of the police abuse (Score 1) 188

I was last in Egypt back in the mid-80s, mostly in Cairo but we also crossed Sinai. Everybody was really friendly, the buses were very crowded, the bureaucracy was really weird but as a tourist I didn't have to deal with much of it (the US got rid of stamp taxes as part of our revolution; Egypt still had them.) Didn't get very lost wandering around the city, and never felt unsafe. Couldn't go some places because the trains were on strike, but that happens in lots of places.

But I also had friends of friends who were arrested because they had converted from Islam to Christianity. Sorry, not safe, not sane, not a government I'd be willing to live under, even if it's claiming to be secular (as it claimed back then.) And while it's always dangerous to be around during a revolution, religious and ethnic bigotry against the Copts seems to still be a big problem today, though there were also a lot of brave people opposing it, and it's not like there aren't western countries with severe race problems.

Comment No, Rule 34 still applies (Score 1) 171

The TSA folks have apparently been passing around X-ray porn for a while, in spite of official claims that the machines don't support it. And the standard images of the naked TSA official that they keep putting in press releases are low-res newspaper-quality versions, not the full resolution that the actual operators can see if they want.

Comment Backscatter X-Ray Cancer Risks (Score 1) 171

The primary risk is that the radiation is concentrated at the skin, but the "safety" studies the TSA was claiming to have used assumed that it's spread out through the body. Nobody wanted to take responsibility for doing an honest risk assessment. And because they were able to take them out of use because they didn't have a censorship feature, they didn't have to address that, but if they get deployed in Federal buildings, they might have to face serious challenges that they can't deflect by saying "Terrorist Underwear Bombers!"

Comment Fireworks for Everybody! (Score 1) 307

My sister lives in Hawaii, and they not only celebrate July 4 with fireworks because it's haole national day tradition, and firecrackers for Chinese New Year because it's cultural tradition, and Jan. 1 New Year because they've got fireworks. Technically most fireworks are illegal most of the time, but holidays are a standard exception.

They may not have a tradition of setting them off for Bastille Day, but it's a good excuse too.

Comment Not Just China! (Score 1) 307

Lunar New Year isn't just China; it's also celebrated by a number of other east Asian countries, particularly Vietnam (Tet), Thailand, Korea, parts of Japan, and Chinese-style celebrations happen anywhere with large Chinese populations.

There are a lot of traditional Chinese holidays. The People's Republic of China has , some of which are traditional, some Western (New Year and Labor Day), and National Day. Hong Kong and Taiwan have somewhat longer lists.

Comment Re:Does China have a holiday on Jul/4? (Score 2) 307

July 4th is a nationalist holiday, not a cultural holiday - the equivalent would be Threw-Out-Chiang-Kai-Shek-Day, err, National Day, Oct 1.

Lunar New Year is a cultural holiday that many of the east Asian cultures celebrate, not just China, just as many of the European cultures celebrate Solar New Year or May Day (either as Labor Day or Pretend-It's-Not-Beltane cultural holiday.) And in fact, China does celebrate Solar New Year and May Day as official public holidays.

Comment Re:Also 19 September (Score 2) 307

Yarrr! But ye don't have ta take that day off, as long as yer boss is ok with ye talkin' like pirates at the office and doin' bad statistics!

The place I worked in the 80s started getting more culturally sensitive and having a rotating variety of ethnic foods for lunch in the office cafeterias. It was in New Jersey, and that meant they did a much better job of doing Italian than other ethnic groups. But hey, if you want pasta for lunch, they can set you up.

Comment Re:Vacation days for holidays (Score 1) 307

I don't get Good Friday off at work, and have to take a vacation day or floating holiday if I want the day off (though we do get floating holidays that are intended for days like that or Jewish holidays.) And most companies don't give you a day off for Eid, or, for Hindu holidays, or for the various neo-pagan holidays, nor do most of them even have a clue about the Zoroastrian holidays (even though they may have Iranians or Parsees working for them) or Baha'i holidays, and those are just the ones I can think of on short notice that have affected coworkers.

Comment Re:No. (Score 1) 307

Mardi Gras is only partly related to Lent; apparently there are also African traditions of having feast in the spring and using up the meat. (Having a big party to finish off the things you're not going to eat during a long solemn fasting holiday is kind of missing the point.)

Also, Mardi Gras roughly tracks with Chinese Lunar New Year, because it's a fixed number of days before Easter, which was originally celebrated based on the Jewish lunar calendar, though the Romans munged the date into their solar calendar system, and the Jewish calendar's leap-month approach to keeping lunar and solar calendars aligned probably doesn't match whatever the Chinese calendar does.

Comment Re:Holiday time where I work (Score 1) 307

I've worked at a large company for many years, and the way our bureaucracy has worked things out between management, union, and non-union folks is that we get a small set of US national holidays off, plus three floating holidays that the company can't tell you when to take and four or five more that they can, in addition to however much vacation you get (based on seniority.) So typically if you're Jewish you use those three days for the high holidays, if you believe in Columbus you might take Columbus Day off, if you believe the President you might take Presidents' Day off. Some years they'll tell us when we have to use one of the normally-floating holidays, e.g. if New Years' is on a Tuesday they might tell us to take Dec.31 Monday off.

It works for me. I don't feel the need to take Columbus Day off, and I'd rather not take Winter Skiing Holiday on the same weekend that everybody else is there.

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