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Comment Re:Straight out of the Cold War playbook (Score 0) 789

Looks more like a play straight out of the US's exciting 21st Century, "My Big Book of Made-up Excuses & Misdirections to Justify Invading Oil-rich Nations"

Play No 1: "He's a very bad man because he doesn't do what we want him to do: Boo! hiss!

Play No 2: "The military coup we paid billions for is a legitimate government. Pay no attention to the Nazi / Al Qaeda* terrorist extremist groups we're funding — the resistance are the terrorist extremists."
*delete where not applicable.

Play No 3: "They have less WMDs than us, and we're the only country mental enough to have used nukes on people, but — mushroom clouds! Terrorists! Ooo! Scary!"

Although to be fair to your cold war sensibilities, the current Russian invasion does have a Tonkin Gulf Incident feel to it, in that the aggressors appear not to have turned up yet. We have 3 crappy satellite pics of Russian hardware which, given its ubiquity throughout the Ukraine, may equally be the rebels or the Junta troops. The other 3 satellite pics NATO present as proof that Russian troops are occupying Russia —hardly an intelligence coup, and definitely not proof of an invasion.

Comment Re:Send in the drones! (Score 0) 848

The Waffen SS on the other hand has as a surprisingly large fan base in Western Ukraine, particularly the 14th Voluntary Division SS "Galizien". Strange, uncomfortable, but true — I thought it was so much pro-russian rhetoric up until I chanced across the wikipedia page on the Ukrainian SS volunteers, after claims of SS Insignia wearing Junta troops by the Eastern Ukrainian rebels. There's a pic of a football stadium section packed full of SS-insignia waving supporters and a "70 years — Heroes not forgotten" from 2013 at the bottom of the page.

Comment Re:And the US could turn Russia into vapor (Score 0) 878

Exports to the US represent 18% of China's exports, so whilst it'd take a hit, it may not the crushing blow you seem to think. Where Russia could harm the US economy is by refusing to trade oil and gas in US dollars anymore and switching to Euros or Rubles or whatever. This would do far more to harm the US dollar and it's economy than bonds dumping and so on, because the EU & China wouldn't need to buy all those US dollars for Russian oil & gas. So the money would still be rolling in to Russia, but the US's ability to print it's way out of debt would be lessened. Should the number one oil producer in the world be successful in the switch from the dollar, there's no end of other oil producing countries who'd like a shot at screwing the US over royally in return for years of abuse at the hands of US foreign policy who might well follow suit. Most of the 9-11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia. Iraq, Iran & Venezuela are not huge fans of the US either, thanks to various US coup attempts / invasions.

Comment Re:I believe it (Score 0) 1010

If God doesn't exist, and I believe and have made my life better because of that belief, I still win.

If you deny God and He does exist as He says, you will have eternity to contemplate your pride and ignorance.

That assumption only works if it was a straight choice between belief in your god or atheism.

It's not though, is it? There's supposedly around 4,200 different religions to choose from at present, with a whole load more "dead" religions to choose from.

So you've also got to contemplate a third possibility to Pascal's wager:

That you may also be denying god by your very belief in a false god.

Depending on the deity, this may work out worse for you than for the atheist.

Comment Re:Good. (Score 0) 699

Technically, being "struck off" the medical register means the loss of your license to practice medicine. It does not mean the loss of your medical degree.

In the UK, surgeons go by "Mr./Mrs./Miss" rather than "Dr." so, ironically, referring to him as Dr. Wakefield counts as a loss of status.

Comment Re:Wages as share of GDP dropping since 1972 (Score 0) 754

the central premise of socialism is that the government (the people, collective, whatever you call it) owns the means of production.

Which raises the question: "Will 3D printing usher in an era of semi-communism?"

If they can perfect and simplify the tech to a good level of reliability & quality, it will be very interesting, and extremely turbulent times. The markets for retail, manufacturing and the transport sector would be slashed significantly. Capitalism itself might take a beating. I suspect it might even engender a whole new economic system, neither capitalism nor socialism as we know them.

Comment Re:Make it easier (Score 0) 562

Yes, but that slight difference in morphosyntax does not mean that the character-based writing system in use across the Han languages is somehow a burden for speakers of one Han language learning another, as the OP misunderstands.

Not so slight —Cantonese and Mandarin use very different vocabulary. Cantonese also has a lot of commonly used words that don't appear in Mandarin at all, and some that don't even have a character at all. In Hong Kong they use the English letters "Q" and "D" for texting two of those "no character" words.

The Chinese subtitles on Cantonese programs on Hong Kong TV don't actually match the words spoken at all, but the meaning is for the most part similar. This is precisely because if the subtitles did match word for word, no mandarin speaker would be able to understand the subtitles.

Furthermore the whole "it's all the same script" argument only applies to the Han languages, and there's a few more languages in China, including Tibetan, Mongolian, Uighur, Kazakh, Manchu, Hebrew etc. all of which don't use the Chinese characters at all. Which is why it's got a fair few extra scripts on the renminbi notes. Mongolian for example uses the Mongol Bichig (although in the Mongolian People's Republic they also use a slightly modded form of cyrillic, too - introduced in 1946).

And then there's Zhuang, which - in its old-school form - uses Chinese characters and hybrid chinese characters, but would be utterly unintelligible to a chinese reader.

And then there's classical Chinese, which, although using the same characters is also fairly unintelligible to a modern reader, unless they have studied classical Chinese.

But unless they ditch the language wholesale, any tonal form of Chinese is stuck with chinese characters — pinyin doesn't cut it at all, and is only really useful for foreigners to learn mandarin. Context will get you so far, but written down there's no easy way to tell which of the dozen or more characters you mean by the pinyin "chán". Worse still, it only works as a phonetic for mandarin, so it makes no sense to represent the cantonese "Heung gong" as "xiang gang" and even less still with the little tone marks, given that pinyin only has 4 to represent the 5 possible tones of mandarin (4+no tone) when you're using a language with 6+ tones.

Comment Re:So basically... (Score 0) 459

I was born in the late '60s (Generation X - I guess), and I have to say that the phrases that most infuriate me in emails are all perpetrated by Generation X people.

"R U Going?", "LOL" and the like is fine by me, but I take a very dim view of the corporate remtards who email me with "please revert to me soonest" or "this is very concerning".

Please revert to the proper use of "revert" soonest, you dimwits. Then try concerning yourself with how to use "concerning". WTF is wrong with using "reply" and "worrying", FFS? They're shorter, easier to type and, as a bonus, they actually mean what you're trying to say.

I also hate the redundancy of typing out "Dear Dave" or "Hi Bob" at the beginning and then signing off at the end on every email. Why do that? It already has "to:" and "from:" right at the top. Sure, if it's the first ever email, say "hi" at the beginning, tell them who you are, but after that it's just a waste of everyone's time.

Comment Re:Pot calling kettle black (Score 0) 140

Where " trouble-makers" is the set of people trying to use truck bombs, car bombs, and suicide vests, plus various experiments with poison gas and plague, to kill masses of innocent people and who aren't engaging in said activities on behalf of or in support of the US Government, yes.

Fixed it for accuracy.

Comment Re:Two Words: Tony Ben (Score 0) 395

Once you are in the house of lords you cannot run as an MP. Therefore you cannot be PM.

Not true. First up if you're in the House of Lords, you are already an MP. MP = Member of Parliament not Member of the House of Commons.

Secondly you don't have to be in the House of Commons to be Prime Minister (see all those Lords in History).

It is technically and legally up to the monarch to select who is PM - but no monarch in the last century or so has used that power as anything other than a rubber stamp of the "will" of the Commons.

A PM from the Lords hasn't happened since 1902, mostly because the power is more in the House of Commons now, and having an unelected leader of government looks a bit dodgy even in a broken down unrepresentative semi-democracy like the UK (although only the constituents of whatever safe seat the PM ran for MP in get to directly "elect" the PM).

But the fact remains that there is no legal prohibition of a member of the House of Lords becoming PM. Nor does the PM have to be leader of a political party.

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