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starfish&coffee

Member since Jan 2009 • Last active Dec 2017

Most recent activity

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    So some person named Omarosa got fired from the white house today. I've never heard of her before, but apparently she's famous stateside. I found this article about her quite funny:
    https://www.thedailybeast.com/no-one-kno­ws-what-omarosa-is-doing-in-the-white-ho­useeven-omarosa

    Sycophant much?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8OVmhpj­PKI

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    Sorry if this has been posted already, but I think the Economist had a pretty good summary of the future in a No Deal Britain.

    Text is behind paywall so copying in below:

    IT HAS long been an article of faith for hard Brexiteers: there is nothing to fear from the World Trade Organisation. Many are suspicious of the compromises that a free-trade deal with the EU may entail, such as accepting its rules or even its courts. So why not just walk out and trade with the EU as other countries do, on WTO terms?
    One answer is that Britain’s relationship with the EU is far more intimate than most countries’. The EU accounts for 43% of Britain’s goods exports and half its imports. In services, which make up 80% of British GDP and almost half of exports, the EU market is crucial. Theresa May has dismissed a Canada-style free-trade deal because it would mean “restriction on our mutual market access”. Shifting to WTO terms would be worse still.It is also misleading to claim that the rest of the world trades with the EU on WTO terms. The Institute for Government, a think-tank in London, notes that all big countries have bilateral agreements on such trade-facilitating measures as customs co-operation, data exchange and standards. Hosuk Lee-Makiyama of ECIPE, a Brussels-based think-tank, says that
    only seven countries trade with the EU on WTO terms alone—and they are small fry like Cuba and Venezuela.
    In any case, reverting to WTO rules is not simple. Britain was a founder of the organisation but now belongs as an EU member. To resume WTO membership independently will require a division of EU import quotas, notably for beef, lamb and butter. A first effort was roundly rejected by big food exporters like Brazil, Argentina and America. The WTO proceeds by consensus among its 164 members. Were Britain to leave the EU on acrimonious terms, negotiating its resumption of full WTO membership could be difficult.
    Brexiteers say trade with third countries would be easier. Perhaps, but the EU has free-trade deals with some 60 countries, including South Korea and Mexico, and is negotiating one with Japan. It will not be easy for Britain to “grandfather” these deals, especially if it has walked out with no deal, if only because doing so would need EU agreement, too.
    Then there is the WTO’s “most-favoured-nation” rule, which bars discrimination unless it is allowed by a fully registered free-trade deal.
    If after no deal Britain and the EU wanted bilateral trade to stay tariff-free, both sides would have to offer the same privileges to all WTO members. Services are barely covered by WTO rules. But even here, were Britain to seek to keep trade in services, the same terms would have to be given to several countries with which the EU has free-trade deals, including Canada. Subjection to WTO rules might yet prove more irksome than Brexiteers realise.

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    Fuck, it's really hard to keep focusing on the human eyes and at the same time fully appreciate that underneath the phone the dog may well have its eyes closed.
    It's like one of those wine glass illusions where it is impossible to se both the glass and the two faces at same time.

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    I don't see the difference between "Person knows a phrase in Russian and is therefore suspect" and "Huma Abedin is brown and therefore inherently suspect".

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    Russian journo Andrei Soldatov seems to suggest a slightly different sequence of events than the one often suggested these days. In Soldatov's version the Panama Papers is a bigger event than the Magnitsky act, and Putin's animosity towards Hillary Clinton is a stronger force than his favouring of Trump.

    Soldatov's version seems to run more or less like this:

    • Secretary of state Clinton expresses sympathy for anti Putin demonstations in Moscow in 2011, igniting a lasting grudge.
    • Panama papers expose Putin's cello playing buddy as the man controlling Putin's vast wealth. Putin concludes that the sole purpose of the Panama Papers was to get to him.
    • One of his hacker groups, Fancy Bear, is lurking about inside the DNC servers and discovers Clinton's meetings with Goldman Sachs.
    • Putin makes an erroneous connection in thinking that Goldman Sachs owns the newspaper that published the Panama Papers story (which is bullshit) and spins a conspiracy theory where he is the victim of a Clinton+Goldman Sachs witch hunt.
    • The goal of the subsequent anti-Clinton eff0rts during the election is to prevent a Clinton presidency by every means possible. However, that these efforts benefited Trump as a result was just coincidental.

    In this version Trump's man crush on Putin is just a bonus, not a primary motivating factor for the election interference, and in a sense it makes the Trump camp look even more pathetic.
    (Sorry, can't find a link in English).

  • in General
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    I am in winter land at the moment. Daily commuting in sub zero temperatures. IMO, these 20 inch (406) studded Schwalbes are by far the best option for snow and ice. Last year I was on 650 studded tyres, they were OK 90% of the time but I had some proper oh shit moments on black ice covered by dry snow. (I presume it has more to do with laws of physics than the tyre itself). With my Dahon I've had no issues. But therein lies another problem; the Dahon is fucking heavy and it looks shit.
    My ideal set up with be a minivelo with 406 wheels, space for wide tires and either V-brakes or discs, and ideally it would look nice. I am tempted to order a custom Ti frame from XACD or similar and shift all the parts from the Dahon over to the new frame, but then I have no idea how I'd sort out the steerer tube and headset. Might also be more expensive than just buying an OTP minivelo – if only I could find one that fits the bill.

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    I put miro on ignore ages ago, but as long as you lot keep responding to him and occasionally include his quotes I am still getting BOTH sides of the debate. Democracy win!

  • in Bike Polo
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    Nah, that was just something I made up in order to track him down. Apparently, he's the guy who gave my missus the clap.

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