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Comment Re:Welcome to globalization (Score 3, Insightful) 495

I second this. While we're not a third-world country, we aren't the pinnacle of luxury either, and work very hard for what we have. Look at European countries; very few have labor forces that work as many hours/week, and most have substantially more vacation time. Most have substantially lower healthcare costs than Americans, and many luxury things are substantially less expensive (for instance, airfare. I can't fly anywhere from any airport in my home state for less than $700 round trip (Cheyenne, WY to Vegas, NV). I'm too poor to fly anywhere; it would cost two month's wages to fly my family of three somewhere for vacation. According to Bing, a round-trip flight from London to Paris with the same dates is only $140.)
I can't remember the last time I had a vacation that was more than a weekend away. It's been about a decade.
Do we have cheap electronics? Sure, I only paid $100 for my smartphone second-hand on eBay. Walmart sells laptops for under $200. But do we have a luxurious lifestyle? I dunno, my pantry has lots of Mac & Cheese in it. And no, it's not the name brand. My food budget is about $300/month for our family of 3.
Don't tell me American's don't deserve a higher standard of living than we have. I work very hard, live very frugally, and I'm only one missed paycheck away from financial collapse. Life is hard everywhere; it's only the wealthy who think otherwise.

Comment Re:Strange situation (Score 1) 504

You're telling me.
Trust me, I speak only from experience. CPS ruined my life. And that's even considering that the judge ruled us 'not guilty' and sealed the legal record of the whole thing. It's a really long story, but I have zero faith in the guilty-until-proven-innocent 'family services' regime in this country.

Comment Re:Strange situation (Score 1) 504

I had always heard that they were worse, but that was all second-hand. I know that a lot of states are worse than Wyoming. In Nebraska, for instance, the policy in all cases of alleged abuse (bar-none) is to remove the child from the home for 6 months without any parental contact, just in case the child has been intimidated into not testifying against them. If they can't find evidence of abuse within those 6 months, and the child doesn't admit to anything, the child is returned and the case closed; in other words, even though the family was innocent, they still were split up for 6 months. NE is no place I would ever live.

Source: I had heard it second-hand for years, but within the last 2 years I've had it confirmed by two personal acquaintances; one was a victim of that process, and the other was a former caseworker, who left because of the emotional strain and guilt for the trauma she put families through.

Comment Re:Strange situation (Score 1) 504

I suppose that's probably the reasoning there, but here, they put my child in a hospital room (on the state's dime, of course) for a couple weeks after she entered state custody, even though nothing was wrong with her, because they didn't have an available foster home. If all of the hospitals were full, they might start easing back, but at least here, that's their fallback option.

Comment Strange situation (Score 1) 504

Where I'm from, those children would be wards of the state; any parents "not providing adequate food, medical care, or shelter" get their kids taken away, and are charged with Neglect. As to the 'shelter' part, that's entirely up to the CPS caseworker, and if they don't feel that it's adequate to have two siblings sharing a room, that's enough probable cause to take the children and open an investigation (in that order.) A whole family in one room? Never.
Go ahead, ask me how I know. I had no idea Cali was more lax on stuff like that than Wyoming.

Comment How does it connect the their intranet? (Score 1) 85

First, it says that wifi and bluetooth have been removed, then it says they can get onto the DPRK 'Internet', and watch local TV(!) How? I could understand if they have a GSM connection that supplies the networking (although if that is so, why remove the wifi?), but how does it access TV? I highly doubt their GSM infrastructure can support IPTV, although perhaps I'm wrong. If they do, in fact, have IPTV, I hope someone here in the states gets (and shares) access to it; I'd be fascinated to see their live feed.
Or maybe I'm overthinking it; the price listed for the wholesale parts is pretty high. It probably has an integrated NIC and hardware-based tuner with coax and Ethernet jacks across the back. Which would be hilarious.

Comment Here's what I did... (Score 1) 162

I actually canceled my Netflix streaming account a couple years ago, and went DVD-only. Then about 6 months ago, I realized that I was spending about $3/movie that way. I switched to VidAngel at that time, and have been thrilled with the service. $1 rentals, streamed, and with a full selection of all the latest studio hits. Only drawback is that the first movie cost $20.
And yeah, this is a slashvertisement; if you access via this link, I get a free movie if you sign up. If you don't want to give me a free movie, use this link instead.

Comment Interesting paradigm (Score 1) 149

This is an interesting situation, from my limited knowledge of it. It's the first time I'm aware of that something with no monetary value was taken from the issuer with no actual deprivation of services (i.e. it's not a limited resource; nobody was deprived of these coins), yet the criminals were able to literally receive millions of dollars selling them. It's as if someone was selling pirated Mp3s, except in this case, the coins aren't purchased in the first place; they're won through playing a game (which doesn't have a cost per match, meaning they're actually free after you purchase the game & xbox live membership or whatever platform this is.)
So, basically, we have a victimless* crime that made real money. Seems quite unusual.

*The victims here are the other players who didn't cheat, and now have an unfair disadvantage.

Comment Fantastic news (Score 1) 28

This is really fantastic news. One of the environmental problems the world is facing relates to all the miles of empty travel back to China, for exporters. More export from the USA to China means planes & ships with cargo going both ways; it costs the shippers next to nothing, and it puts the fuel to better use. The other benefit that stands out to me, is the fact that this could help with the USA's trade deficit. Every dollar of goods Amazon exports is a dollar into our economy that wouldn't be here otherwise. I hope this does well.

Comment What about the 'official' video on YouTube? (Score 1) 39

I was sent this last week. There are even conspiracy theorists who've made videos about things they've seen in this 'live' video feed 'before NASA could cut the feed'.
It has about 3000 people watching it right now.

Comment Re:Did renewables replace any carbon based plants? (Score 1) 340

You clearly have much lower utility rates than we do in the rural Western United States. For me, it was a matter of months. Our electricity when we lived in town was about $100-$150/month. Now that we've built a home in the country, we're completely off-grid (other than that pesky Internet fiber); we have about $3,000 invested into our solar array, battery bank, pure sine inverters, all wiring, and charge controllers. It provides enough electricity that we run a large refrigerator and a chest freezer, and we even use an electric water heater and range. We occasionally supplement with a small $200 gasoline generator when there are multiple cloudy days, but that's getting pretty rare, and probably costs less than $100/year.
My total payoff time for this system was about 24 months; 2 years. And since I have electric cooking and a wood stove for heat, I also save another $25-150/month (monthly average gas bill was about $45), and the cost for the wood stove & accessories was less than the cost of a gas or electric furnace. If we add that into the mix, it brings our payoff down to 18 months.

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