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Topic: Today's Bad News (Read 56841 times)

  • Frenzie
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Today's Bad News

  • Belfrager
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Re: Today's Bad News
Reply #400
When pharma corps take doctors to promo seminars (with all-included meals, housing, and recreation) and the regulatory framework permits to incentivise treating every problem with drugs, then what did you expect?
Well... the best wealth system in the world.
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
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Re: Today's Bad News
Reply #401


Eli the Computer Guy - once upon a time a nice actual computer guy whose tutorials I used when I built my own first computer but these days he is just an irked commentator on news - mouths off about the travel authorisation system that the EU will slap at US citizens beginning 2021. I agree with him on the most important points: Yup, it is a visa in everything but name and it is stupid and EU sucks. "There's Europe for you."

However, he ignores that the US has been doing this exact same thing to EU citizens throughout the post-911 era, a "visa waiver program" involving an application to get authorised entry to the country. It is an actual visa procedure to get your visa waived, so to say. At first the procedure cost USD 5, now it is USD 14 I hear, but soon will be 20 I'm sure.

So from my point of view there are a bunch of more things that suck. US sucks because they did it first. EU sucks for having been so slow to catch up to the reality. And, truly, EU sucks for failure to have a civilising effect on US and to make them stop their idiocies. Instead we end up emulating them.

  • ersi
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Re: Today's Bad News
Reply #402
Notre-Dame de Paris on fire :(


  • Frenzie
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Re: Today's Bad News
Reply #403
I saw, that's pretty terrible. I visited it in... 2002 I believe.

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/15/world/notre-dame-cathedral-fire/

  • ersi
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Re: Today's Bad News
Reply #404
In New York, which I visited before Paris, I saw churches that I suspected were small copies of Paris' Notre-Dame. Then in Paris I was surprised to see how tiny Notre-Dame is. St-Eustache is far more impressive in my opinion. But of course I don't want any of them to burn.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Today's Bad News
Reply #405
It's also a handful of centuries more recent. But yes, I'd also expected it to be slightly larger.

  • ersi
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Re: Today's Bad News
Reply #406
Notre-Dame de Paris may be tons more valuable in many ways, but for me it was hard to appreciate as a tourist, because other tourists were in the way. Too many people in too small space. Whereas St-Eustache was basically empty while also being much bigger and taller, so I could take my time to appreciate every corner. And there are lots of corners to appreciate. It is of somewhat irregular plan, different parts from different ages.

Similarly from a tourist's convenience point of view, Eiffel tower is not worth it. Too overcrowded and you do not get very high. Take Tour Montparnasse instead:
- you'll get higher
- faster
- cheaper
- bonus: excellent photographic/selfie-worthy view towards the Eiffel tower.

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Today's Bad News
Reply #407
However, he ignores that the US has been doing this exact same thing to EU citizens throughout the post-911 era, a "visa waiver program" involving an application to get authorised entry to the country. It is an actual visa procedure to get your visa waived, so to say. At first the procedure cost USD 5, now it is USD 14 I hear, but soon will be 20 I'm sure.

My favourite tit-for-tat would be to have Visa waivers for all but residents of a dozen US states.  That would be true reciprocity.

  • ersi
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Re: Today's Bad News
Reply #408

US now seeking social media details from all visa applicants

The State Department is now requiring nearly all applicants for U.S. visas to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers. It's a vast expansion of the Trump administration's enhanced screening of potential immigrants and visitors.

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Social media, email and phone number histories had only been sought in the past from applicants who were identified for extra scrutiny, such as people who'd traveled to areas controlled by terrorist organizations. An estimated 65,000 applicants per year had fallen into that category.

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The new rules apply to virtually all applicants for immigrant and nonimmigrant visas.... The new visa application forms list a number of social media platforms and require the applicant to provide any account names they may have had on them over the previous five years. They also give applicants the option to volunteer information about social media accounts on platforms not listed on the form.
My next trip to USA will occur early next year. We'll see how bad it is. Already, there is a requirement in place that people's smartphones, tablets, and ereaders should be charged so that they switch on upon the officials' request when they want to take a look at/into them. If not, get lost.

By these rules, a trip to USA has become about as inconvenient as a trip to Russia.

  • ensbb3
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Re: Today's Bad News
Reply #409
Takes a lot to get me to fly vs drive.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Today's Bad News
Reply #410
Even back in '08 when I first visited the US (and you could basically just fly out instead of having to make preparations) American customs was already an obnoxious affair.
Takes a lot to get me to fly vs drive.
I prefer a train if reasonably possible. :)

  • ensbb3
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Re: Today's Bad News
Reply #411
I'd definitively like that to be more reasonable here.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Today's Bad News
Reply #412
But yeah, it'd need to be 5+ hours for me to consider flying, since realistically that takes a minimum of about 4 hours anyway. Perhaps you could take it down to 3 if it's from a smaller airport (like Antwerp Airport to London or Manchester). You may not need to include a 60 minute safety margin for security checks, since there aren't 50 million flights leaving.

Then again, a 2 hour train ride from Brussels to St Pancras may still be much more comfortable and even faster in total, depending a bit on where in London you have to be. (The total would be about 4 since you need to get to Brussels South on time, but not nearly as on time as for a plane.)

PS I've never actually been to London unless you count a few layovers at Heathrow. Just brainstorming. ;)

  • jax
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  • Global Moderator
Re: Today's Bad News
Reply #413
US customs/border controls were already more unpleasant than any other I have come across, and I got the tail end of East Germany. That's OK with me. If they don't want me to come, I don't need to go.

The trick to enter the US is to have two profiles on your phone and/or PC. One, the one you enter the US with, is a dummy one. If they insist on unlocking or more they will get a handful of nothing. All the new regulations introduce is a level of forward thinking. With five years of social media, you just have to prepare for 2024. In the meantime borrow a dummy profile for Facebook etc, rename them suitably to look like yours. When you return home, you can give the profile back to the original owner.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Today's Bad News
Reply #414
If they don't want me to come, I don't need to go.
The US economy has definitely missed out on more of my tourism due to this simple fact. There are so many places where you can spend money that don't treat you like a suspicious criminal at the border.

  • Belfrager
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Re: Today's Bad News
Reply #415


It will be tomorrow, the 29 of July 2019.
A matter of attitude.