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Comment Re:Internet access in Cuba (Score 1) 70

Providing internet connection without government's permission would be illegal and doing that one would certainly risk getting jailed. As I understand, currently the government doesn't care much about those who simply facilitate reach of ETECSA provided WiFi but any unlicenced satellite dishes are quickly dealth with. There is not much one can do until the Cuban government stops ETECSA monopoly and allows competition. The changes in this direction will be very slow, don't hold your breath. Abolishment of US embargo would probably do more than anything else at this moment. So, write to your political representative if you are an American.

Comment Re:Good News, but ... (Score 2) 70

It probably exists but in more obscure manner. I guess they actually have the capability to monitor all activities but then again the same is being done by many Western agencies as recent scandals reveal. But for most Cubans the problem is high cost relative to income and slow speed. When I was in Cuba, I couldn't access my gmail.com hosted personal email, ironically due to USA embargo rules.

Comment Re:Weakness (Score 1) 185

Nope. It is the opposite. Depression is the sign that you have been too strong for too long. It is thought that depression is a natural reaction of the brain to make you stop banging your head against the wall when you consciously don't want to give in a hopeless situation. When one is only going to hurt oneself and maybe others when one insists that one should never give up. Then depression steps in to protect one from harming oneself and accept a low profile until the situation changes. When such a thing happens, it is a sign that it is time to stop and take a step back. If one doesn't accept this and tries to achieve unachievable, depression only gets stronger and one may commit a suicide. Other successful people who have gone through series of failures are probably more lenient to themselves. When they see a failure they admit it quickly. The motto of the Silicon Valley is is fail early, fail often. Basically it means: don't be too strong. Test new ideas, put some effort. But if it doesn't work, don't get too attached to them. Let them fail before they fail you.

Comment Re:Is the history he teaches incorrect? (Score 1) 363

Indeed, Saruman's attempts of industrialization in the LotR could indeed be viewed as an attempt of progress. Yes, it caused destruction of nature and pollution. But imagine if the industrial revolution hadn't happened and we would still be living in medieval world with primitive technologies and slow communications?

Comment Re:More to the point (Score 5, Insightful) 187

The premise is wrong. Ads have very little informative value. They are mostly acting on human psychology. The more expensive ads are, the less informative they are. Pretenders are another issue. Lemons versus peaches. The solution to the problem can vary for different products.

Comment Re:Life has a mortality rate of 100% (Score 1) 478

It sounds right. It is estimated that about 100 billion people have ever been born. Today there are about 7 billion people alive on this earth. Of course, it depends on the assumed time point when our species started to resemble humans in the sense we understand it. Still it is quite an impressive number. The human history has been so rich and yet it was created by relatively small amount of individuals. We don't fully comprehend the potential of current human civilization.

Comment NSA secrets are not secrets to other countries (Score 2) 743

It seems that NSA has a very big security hole. If there are 1000 sysadmins at NSA who can access files without audit trail like Snowden can, how can you be sure that there isn't a Chinese spy among them? What Snowden did, was patriotic. Another person would have simply sold the secrets to Russians or Chinese and retired at Bahamas and NSA would be no wiser. I am almost certain that it has already happened. Why neither Chinese, nor Russians expressed interest in info that Snowden had? Because they already have it and much more than Snowden had decided to release to public.

Possibly that NSA is operating with presumptions that the info has already leaked. They don't really care. What Snowden did was unforgivable however, because he disclosed their illegal operations to the American public.

Comment competition was the key (Score 2) 195

Latvia is a poor EU country but that's not the main reason why broadband prices are relatively low. It is all because of competition. Latvia had poor phone infrastructure and after the Soviet era the government decided to give a monopoly to Lattelecom and as a result the prices for local call were unreasonably high. Internet, however, remained unregulated. The opportunity was immediately seized by small entrepreneurs who bought one high speed link from the Telecom and connected local apartments in the complex with local ethernet cables. The service was shitty and the speed varied but the required investment was minimal, just a bunch of routers, some cables and connections with housing owners to receive permission to pull cables to apartments. The specifics of Riga was that there are very little of suburban housing and most people live in apartment complexes.

The low cost of entrance created quite a competition and kept prices low. Gradually many such micro-ISPs were merged or bought by bigger companies and quality gradually improved. The possibility of competition never disappeared and eventually it forced all major ISPs lower prices.

Comment Re:Kinda right, but not... (Score 1) 624

Replied to the wrong post, so I will repeat it here.

The reason why airlines sometimes are so anal about scrutinizing passport or visa status of international passengers is that they have to pay enormous fines if a passenger in question is refused entry into a destination country due not having a proper passport or visa. It is an airline's job to check if a passenger has these in order and if the airline fails to do this then they will be fined at least $15000 and probably even more. The airline licence to fly to international destinations usually comes with such conditions.

Visa rules are complex and constantly changing so they may refuse boarding in complicated cases where a passenger appears to be violating some rules. In most cases it is indeed the fault of a passenger. For example, when visiting the US under visa waiver program one has to have a return ticking within allocated time. Also a visa waiver cannot be used when flying to the US in transit and then taking ground transportation to ultimate destination in Canada. Many passengers forget about this and then they blame the airline when they are not allowed to board the plane.

But in some cases it is clearly the fault of airlines who is not aware of some rare exception or recent changes in immigration rules. Nobody's perfect. In such case I would recommend a passenger to study the entrance rules and be ready to explain them to airline's representative and refer to authoritative sources. I have heard cases when people have successfully received reimbursement from the airline for their inconveniences including additional hotel bills etc. because they were unjustly refused boarding.

Comment Re:Kinda right, but not... (Score 1) 624

The reason why airlines sometimes are so anal about scrutinizing passport or visa status of international passengers is that they have to pay enormous fines if a passenger in question is refused entry into a destination country due not having a proper passport or visa. It is an airline's job to check if a passenger has these in order and if the airline fails to do this then they will be fined at least $15000 and probably even more. The airline licence to fly to international destinations usually comes with such conditions. Visa rules are complex and constantly changing so they may refuse boarding in complicated cases where a passenger appears to be violating some rules. In most cases it is indeed the fault of a passenger. For example, when visiting the US under visa waiver program one has to have a return ticking within allocated time. Also a visa waiver cannot be used when flying to the US in transit and then taking ground transportation to ultimate destination in Canada. Many passengers forget about this and then they blame the airline when they are not allowed to board the plane. But in some cases it is clearly the fault of airlines who is not aware of some rare exception or recent changes in immigration rules. Nobody's perfect. In such case I would recommend a passenger to study the entrance rules and be ready to explain them to airline's representative and refer to authoritative sources. I have heard cases when people have successfully received reimbursement from the airline for their inconveniences including additional hotel bills etc. because they were unjustly refused boarding.

Comment Re:1% are failing us again (Score 1) 57

Like I said, you can't at the same time ask for "growth" in your own nation without expecting someone else somewhere to lose out.

Why not? Progress of science and technology can help us to produce more, to live better and have more wealth. In fact, improvement of technology goes very well together with greater social equality. A slave is not as effective worker as a well paid technician.

Global trade is good in theory. In practice it doesn't work too well in many cases because of asymmetric power. Rich countries can afford to influence trade in their favor and there are no world government that would not allow this.

Comment Re:1% are failing us again (Score 1) 57

I suggest you to learn about the world economy and what it means to have a growth. Economy is not a zero sum game except when it is.
It's the same when you look to different countries too, the cost of living makes a difference.

Absolutely not. If you want to compare taking into account the cost of living then use purchase parity by all means. On a national level you may be right but to say that some malnourished Somalians have approximately the same quality life as Londoners is nonsense.

The line diving 1% is arbitrary. It is not about some mystical qualities that divide them from us but that the fragile balance of democracy, power and wealth generation is broken and needs to be reestablished. It is not against people having more money but objection towards the system where wealthy have most of political power and use it unwisely, not for the benefit of the nation, what to speak about world's population.

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