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Comment Re:How could you fall for this? (Score 1) 46

I have a hard time mustering sympathy for those who fall for rather obvious scams, unless they have mental health issues, in which case why aren't they taken care of and protected? Falling for a scam like this might be a good indication that a person needs a guardian.

That's not an excuse for the scammers, though - round them up, and put them in a cell with Sanford Wallace and Oleg Nikolaenko.

Comment Re:No one should be blamed for the spread of virus (Score 1) 332

There is no vaccine for HIV yet.

Not for lack of trying. Scientists have been working on it for years, and a few hopefuls made it to clinical trials, but nothing has proven reliable yet. HIV mutates like crazy - no matter what scientists come up with, the virus always manages to evolve a workaround. It's so adaptable that even when treating a single patient with antiretrovirals, the drugs have to be changed after a time because the virus evolves resistance.

Comment Re:AIDS in the 1970s (Score 1) 332

There's also the evolutionary psychology angle: The optimal reproductive strategy differs. Men have the option of fathering a vast number of offspring and potentially abandoning them, while women can produce only a small number and so have a reason to hold out for the most-fit partner. As the post below explains. I would expect it to be a combination of biological and social factors.

Comment Re:AIDS in the 1970s (Score 1) 332

This statistic fails the basic sanity check: It's simply too high to be believable without some overwhelming evidence.

I've seen studies mentioned claiming to show that gay men have more sexual partners than straight men. I've never actually looked into the question myself so I don't know how reliable they are, but it does seem very plausible. But 200+ sexual partners a year? That wouldn't leave enough time to hold down a job. You'd have to devote your leisure time entirely to the task of getting laid, touring the seediest gay clubs every evening - and you'd have to keep moving between them to gain access to new partners. That's assuming you pair up with each one exactly once, no repeats, and who would want that?

Maybe you could find a couple of men who are just that dedicated to making the high score table, but 'not uncommon' is ridiculous.

Comment Re:English losing its elegance (Score 0) 76

"I fondly remember [direct object]", not "I remember fondly [direct object]".

English is really starting to lose its elegance,

ITYM "English is starting to really lose its elegance," :p

Anyhow, to lose something, you have to have it in the first place. I would argue that English has a lot going for it, like a huge vocabulary and not being prescriptive, but elegant is not how I would describe it. A language where "I love you" and "I love sausages" only differ in the object can never be elegant.

Comment Re:The ship (Score 1) 220

A manned mars mission would run about eighteen months on the surface, as that's how the launch window line up.

The equipment needed for eighteen months would also be far too bulky to land safely, so it would have to be done with multiple landings: One manned, many unmanned 'cargo pods' full of supplies and equipment. Such a mission would probably include a small farm - not just for a bit more food, but for research.

It doesn't matter how you plan it, there's no escaping that even the most basic flag-planting mission to Mars is going to be tremendously expensive.

Comment Re: Hmm (Score 1) 1000

More to the point, Spain was a neutral in WWII, not an ally.

No, that's not more to the point - rather the opposite.
Not only were Marshall Plan aid given to countries that had been enemies (like Germany and Italy), but also to countries that had been neutral (like Switzerland and Sweden).

But the aid was very disproportionately handed out, with countries like Ireland, Portugal and Scandinavia receiving little, while countries with more industry getting the majority of the aid. To make matters worse, the countries that received the least generally also received most of the aid as loans, and not grants;
The UK received around $3.3 billion, of which around 90% were grants. Ireland received around $130-140 million, of which around 90% were loans, not grants.

More than anything, it was a device for tying European industry to American exports. The biggest profiteers were American (and later Canadian) companies who were paid for their exports through Marshall Plan funds, as part of the condition for receiving aid.

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