Desert Tortoise comments

Posted in: Europe's cars get a second life in Africa, but at a cost See in context

Something I have often wondered about is why there seems to be such a ready supply of clean used engines with right around 100,000 km from Japan? Is there some regulation in Japan that makes people scrap cars with such low mileages? It's great for us because if you put a bunch of miles on your Japanese car, or want to do an engine upgrade low mile used engines are cheap and plentiful.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: NASA gears up to deflect asteroid, in key test of planetary defense See in context

More worried about nuclear annihilation from crazed despots than I am about any rock from space landing on my head. Let's focus on this, shall we?

The Earth being hit by a big enough asteroid could make a nuclear war look trivial in comparison.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan bans export of chemical weapons goods to Russia See in context

actually USA and UK still hold stockpiles of chemical weapons

The US eliminated all of its stockpiles of chemical weapons under international supervision. I had a room mate involved in the program to dispose of them safely. At least for the US they are all gone now.

As a practical matter they are not very useful in combat. To be effective the weather has to be very favorable, there is a risk to one's own forces from your own weapons, and their effects are easily protected against with modern NBC suits and wash down stations that pretty much every modern military possess and trains with.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan bans export of chemical weapons goods to Russia See in context

Seems like a loophole if any countries all the export of chemicals or processing equipment to mass produce chemical weapons. Can't see anyone in any western/free country thinking this ever was a good idea. Good to close it and not just for Japan, but for all countries.

Some chemical weapons are not that far from insecticides or rodenticides and the chemicals for making these are widely available. Likewise from a foreign intelligence standpoint it can be difficult to discern if factory is producing legitimate commercial insecticides and rodenticides, or chemical weapons. The equipment and raw ingredients are not very different.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: South Korea's president scolds media over hot mic moment See in context

Mr. Yoon has nobody to blame but himself. A good lesson from the experiences of other public figures is to assume all mics are hot.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Swastika-wearing gunman kills 13 at Russian school See in context

Everyone knows that there are far more nazi sympathizers in Russia than in Ukraine. 

First time I have ever heard that story. The Russians memorialize the "Great Patriotic War" as they call WWII and very much vilify the nazis, at least that is what I have long known going back to my Cold War era studies of them. Their great battles in that war are memorialized every year.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Swastika-wearing gunman kills 13 at Russian school See in context

Unless he can convince his people that the killer was a non-Russian 'Nazi' then it's not going to work

The article mentions the shooter graduated from that very same school, so the Putin regime will not be able to pin this tragedy on Ukrainian "nazis".

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan protests Russia's expulsion of official; denies spying See in context

Diplomats can not be arrested or detained.

Independent sovereign nations cannot be invaded or attacked. It is illegal.

I get what you are saying but the Russians have an embassy full of their own citizens there as diplomats the Japanese could start arresting if the Russians chose to violate international law and imprison one of Japan's diplomats in Russia.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan protests Russia's expulsion of official; denies spying See in context

Mr Tatsunori got it light by being expelled from Russia, with the current situation he could have suffered much more serious consequences from the accusation, true or not.

Under international law as an accredited diplomat the host nation cannot try or imprison him. To do so would be an act of war. All the Russians can do is declare the diplomate "Persona non grata" and expel them from the country, which they did. Nations expel other nation's diplomats caught gathering intelligence fairly routinely.

Pretty much every nation sends their intelligence officers abroad as "diplomats" exactly for this reason. If they get caught spying they are protected from prosecution and being imprisoned.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Mazda in talks to end car production in Russia See in context

I'm wondering what's to talk about? If Mazda leadership had even an ounce of morals they would have shut that plant the day Russian troops rolled into Ukraine and told their Russian "partner" firm to take a hike. And what about Mazda's shareholders? No spine there either. But these same business people will strut around bragging about being the "best and brightest" among us. Yet there will be some who can't understand why so many people think capitalism itself is immoral. I'm an economist who both understands the benefits of capitalism and why socialism and communism fail, but I also see greed and a lack of basic human values destroying capitalism and turning the public away from it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Riken researchers develop rechargeable cyborg cockroach See in context

Jeez. A couple of posters here have more sympathy for cockroaches than they do for human beings who might be helped by this. Remarkable.

I gave you an up-vote for that comment. The article says these roaches can be used for search and rescue. Imaging a pancaked building like that apartment that fell a couple of years ago in Florida where you know there are people trapped but can't find where to dig to save them. This little cyborg roach with a tiny camera and radio might just be what finds and save someone.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese convenience store will now ask customers who ask for a fork to use chopsticks instead See in context

How about just selling the food without the disposable utensils?

Fewer customers would buy your food if not offered some means to eat it besides fingers. How about a restaurant with no utensils offered?

Even better, bring your own.

Maybe if you are bringing the food back to your workplace that idea is ok, but do you want to tuck any kind of eating utensil into your pockets? I would want to wash them before using them and then what about after using them? Yuck.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Texas vow to 'eliminate all rapists' rings hollow at clinics See in context

I wonder what "men" ( I say that with tongue firmly in cheek, most of these bozos are the furthest thing from well adjusted adult males ) would do if women simply refused henceforth to have sex with them? No need for abortion when nobody is having sex. Right? The conservative male dream, chaste women. Time for women to go on a sex strike and watch their conservative manly-men come un f__king glued.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Iran denounces Western support for 'rioters' See in context

Does anyone remember when the Saudi religious police would not let girls leave a burning school building because they were not wearing head coverings. Then to add to the tragedy the same religious police would not let fire fighters enter the building because they would see girls without head coverings. 15 girls died. Western governments were silent.

And then there was the edict from the Saudi religious police banning women from working in pharmacies since they might have to work with men, never mind that women made up a substantial proportion of the workforce among pharmacists.

Where is the outrage from the west?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Iran denounces Western support for 'rioters' See in context

The west has surrendered any moral authority on the matter by having any kind of relations with the Saudis, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman. All of these nations treat women as badly as Iran does, including having thoroughly abusive morality police. Saudi in particular is every bit as bad as Iran, maybe worse because they do not even pretend to elect a parliament or their president. Iran at least goes through the motions and depending on who the top mullah is they sometimes have real choices on the ballot. Not so in the Gulf States. Honestly, who is worse, MBS or Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Texas vow to 'eliminate all rapists' rings hollow at clinics See in context

Claiming to eliminate rape was a ridiculous claim when it was made and remains so. Name a crime that has ever been eliminated? Even slavery still exists today right here in the US despite a civil war and it being illegal since the end of that very same civil war. Human trafficking and slavery exist to this day in pretty much every nation of the world. Murder, rape, kidnapping, theft, fraud are all as old as mankind. Education, social policies, favorable economic conditions and law enforcement can reduce the occurrence of these crimes these but claiming an ability to eliminate any of these is laughable. I wonder if anybody actually believed this Texas governor when he made that claim?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Europe's cars get a second life in Africa, but at a cost See in context

Hmmm, I have maybe one car with less than 200,000 km. Most modern car engines easily last 500,000 km. Today emissions standards around the world require cars in testing to go something on the order of 120,000 km to 150,000 km with no maintenance whatsoever including no oil changes and still pass an emissions test. This has forced engine manufacturers to use much more durable materials than they did before lead was removed from gasoline and emissions laws became stricter. When I was a kid most car engines were thoroughly worn out by 170,000 km and only maybe a Mercedes engine were durable enough to half a million kilometers before needing an overhaul. Today almost every car made can go half a million km on the original engine given reasonable care.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Stressed out, burned out and dropping out: Why U.S. teachers are leaving the classroom See in context

Lack of respect from parents or students.

Lack of respect from administrators and state legislatures as well.

But ask yourself how many times have you read the tired old line, or maybe even repeated it yourself, those who can, do and those who can't, teach. That lie needs to be buried too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Kremlin stages votes in Ukraine; sees protests in Russia See in context

The people of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Donbass are being given a democratic choice. 

Ummm no. The 4th Geneva Convention requires the occupying power to retain to the greatest degree possible the existing pre-war public services, courts police, municipal and regional governance, and other pre-war public institutions until there is an end to the fighting.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Posted in: Kremlin stages votes in Ukraine; sees protests in Russia See in context

Pretty much what I said above, from Arab media.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Posted in: Kremlin stages votes in Ukraine; sees protests in Russia See in context

Ever notice that most of the news always comes from Ukraine or the west ? Of course everything they state is true, isn't it ?

No it does not. Expand your reading list and you will see. Here are just a few examples.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Posted in: Kremlin stages votes in Ukraine; sees protests in Russia See in context

In a month or so, no one but loyal trolls & a few here will remember These ‘referendums’.

They will be forgotten, & the areas will be reclaimed by Ukraine.

The Russian leadership and the nationalists there won't forget. My fear is that the Russians use these referendums to claim ownership of the regions in question, annexing them to Russia. When Ukraine forces come to take their legitimate territory back the Russians will claim Mother Russia itself is under attack and use that to justify use of nuclear weapons.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Posted in: Kremlin stages votes in Ukraine; sees protests in Russia See in context

It took less than a single generation for Putin to turn the Chechens from bitter enemies to willing to die for Russia loyalists

Are you sure about that? Chechen rebels are threatening to resume their bitter war for independence from Russia.

I think they are biding their time, perhaps until this coming spring, after the Russian Army is ground down by the Ukrainians. Btw, there have been Chechens fighting on the Ukrainian side as well.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Posted in: Australia's Optus caught in massive cyberattack See in context


Right now Optus ( why do I want to keep calling them Octopus ? ) is claiming the hack probably came from a foreign nation but probably not China. None of the cybersecurity firms I am familiar with are saying anything about the hack in public so for now we are left guessing.

What I find astounding is that Australia requires people to produce ID to get a phone number. That requirement is a huge invitation for cyber criminals or adversary foreign powers to compromise that data. I have never had to produce any kind of ID to a phone number.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Hurricane washes houses away, knocks out power in Canada See in context

Hopefully one of our Canadian friends can answer a question I have. What are the conditions along the narrow piece of land between Sackville and Amherst connecting New Brusnwick to Nova Scotia? It has critical rail and road connections that if cut would cut Nova Scotia and in particular that rail line to Halifax off from the rest of Canada. It is reportedly very vulnerable to a large storm, being close to sea level, poorly drained and having old poorly maintained dikes, and an epic one just clobbered that very region, so I am interested to know the situation there. Thanks in advance.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Iran will act decisively after biggest protests in years, president says See in context

The people of Iran deserve better than the Ayatollahs. When the Shah was overthrown I don't think they imagined that when a little known Ayatollah arrived from exile in France that things would turn out how they did. That first month I remember everyone outside of Iran kind of saying, "ok, when do the serious people step up and start running an effective government, never imagining what they were seeing was the government that would rule Iran.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Hong Kong replaced by Singapore as Asia's top finance center See in context

One of the most unnerving things I experienced in Singapore was the potty monitor. The men's and ladie's rooms of this building were adjacent, with a booth in between them in which the potty monitor sat. She could see both rest rooms, and you could look through both of her open windows from the men's room to the ladie's room. Her job was to make sure you flushed. If you did not there was a $1000 SD fine and I was not going to be the one to test her ability to either summon a cop or dash out of that booth and tackle me to effect the arrest !

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Hong Kong replaced by Singapore as Asia's top finance center See in context

I'd be willing to go back to Singapore, but not Hong Kong. While Singapore has many rules, I was never worried that saying the wrong things would get me arrested.

Maybe, maybe not. A pair of correspondents for Time Magazine some years ago were arrested, tried and sent to prison for writing the unvarnished truth about the disreputable way the PAP came to power and maintains their power there. Before their arrest I had written pretty much the same things they wrote as part of my graduate research on the effects of income on socio-political instability. I was refuting a data set that included Singapore among the many nations listed as democracies. Not that anyone other than my peers at school and my professors would remember what I wrote, but I have indeed put on paper (back in the day, lol) words that could get me arrested in Singapore. I will certainly never set foot there again for any reason.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Hong Kong replaced by Singapore as Asia's top finance center See in context

Never had any desire what-so-ever to visit HongKong.

It is ruined by the CCP now but in the past it was one of the most amazing cities in the world. Not someplace I would ever want to live but certainly someplace to see. My one port call there was 1988 but I remember it like it was yesterday.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Toyota to end auto output in Russia over war-induced supply crunch See in context

no problem, Russia car will develop further its car industry

Russia doesn't have the electronics capability to build modern automobiles. I recall when I was on active duty we knew the Russians had examples of some high end western weapons but had no idea how to produce them. I have seen some of their best hardware and it is nothing like you see in good western electronics, They don't have complex printed circuit boards like ours and automated assembly, everything is painstakingly hard wired and hand soldered. especially the mil spec stuff. Without access to western solid state devices and automotive control software the Russians on their own could build something along the lines of the old VAZ 21033 with a carburetor instead of fuel injection but certainly not something as complex and software intensive as a Toyota Camry.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

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