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Everything posted by StoneSoup

  1. Fabricated story: http://www.stickboybangkok.com/news/farrangs-tollway-minivan-no-taxi/
  2. My friend who has run a business in Shanghai for many years describes Chinese tourists as swarms of locusts, who destroy in their path. Good luck with that, Thailand. SS
  3. You need something to show the insurance company, to explain how your car got destroyed.
  4. That should have been: the Nescafe girl was 180 cm - I'm not sure what happened to the "1" in front. She was also wearing shiny black go-go boots, to a bit above her knees.
  5. No - I'm assuming that at each level of the ancestral record, each ancestor was the result of a mating between a male, and female, roughly 25 years older that the individual. This is pretty much an undeniable truth - and it does not matter if there were siblings to any ancestor, or any "neighbors" who did not generate offspring. Doubling the "mating players" involved at each layer of anyone's ancestral tree gives a minimum population needed to produce each that succeeding generational layer. The only assumptions needed are that: 1) Children did not mate with their parents 2) Children did not mate with their siblings There would almost certainly have been some occurrence of those situations -but I am figuring that for at least the past 800 years, the taboo against close incest has predominated. SS
  6. Interesting thought experiment. Think of your ancestral "tree". You had two parents, they each two parents, and so on - all the way back. Assume 25 years (on average) between ancestral generations. If the number of ancestors doubles each generation, then basically - to figure out how many ancestors you had at any generational level in the past, you just multiply back by two. Well, if you multiply out 2n where "n" = number of generations, then after 31 generations, each person had 1,073,741,824 ancestors. Multiplying 31 generations x 25 years = 775 years - or the year 1240 A.D., counting back from 2015. According to https://www.census.gov/population/international/data/worldpop/table_history.php , the world population in the year 1250 was unlikely to have exceeded 450,000,000 people - and Earth's population did not hit 1 billion until after 1750. I'm not sure exactly what this means - but it seems very likely that most of us have common ancestors within the past 300 years or so (just 12 generations back). I invite criticism - because this story seems too easy - and also too unlikely. Cheers, SS
  7. WTF? It won't let me display the video????????
  8. I post this in case it helps one or two guys get this done smoothly. I've had a Thai driver's license since 2000. You have to get a first license, and then a couple of one-year renewals, and they then let you renew for five years at a time. I had five one-year licenses, and then two five year licenses. The license expires on your birthday. You can renew the license during a window from several weeks before your expiration, until several weeks after your expiration. What I describe applies to renewal of a five year license - ONLY. Rules may differ for one-year renewals, and they definaiely differ for initial application TIP #1 - renew after expiration. I renewed six days after expiration, and the new expiration is on my birthday in 2021- six days short of SIX YEARS. I previously always renewed BEFORE expiration, and just got five years. What you need to bring: Passport Old Thai driver's license Work permit (or - if no work permit - you need to bring Embassy-certification of your residence address) 655 baht per each license that you want (car, and/or motorcycle) Bring an ink pen Tip #2 - you no longer need a medical exam certificate. I paid 500 baht for one, and brought it - and no one was interested I went to the main renewal location at the Department of Land Transport complex near Chatuchak Market. This is a complex of at least six big buildings, spread across a large campus. Where you go for driver's licenses is Building 4 - at GPS 13.797339, 100.554234 . It is about a 700 meter hike from Mochit BTS Station. The building numbers are in Thai script, at top of each building, readable from a km away. The Thai script numeral for four is https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTJQx5ofKRorhZkqpzmejSan1bXWGl5G6a2BNHMVwyz53j5mrop When you get to the building, go to the main entrance, and walk in. Big open space. Head to the left rear - where , at the base of a wide stairway, there is a desk with two girls running copy machines. 2 baht per copy. Hand them your passport and work permit - they know which pages to copy. Two passport pages, and 3-6 work permit pages. 16 baht maximum. Next, climb the stairs - where you face a registration center - big wide counter with maybe six lanes. Slide to the left - where there is a long counter/shelf - and ink-sign all pages of copies. Then - get in any lane. When its your turn, hand over your stuff. They fumble for 45 seconds , then hand you back a bundle of forms - and they have you write only two things: 1) You passport name in block letters 2) Your (mobile) phone number, above a smudged blue ink stamp. They then give you a paper queue number slip - which has the queue number (BIG), and also the desk number. Mine was 3010, and Desk 18. You about-face, and exit the room, and then turn left to go into another "room" - which is basically a big hallway, with desk cubicles off of it. Evidently, farangs are sent to desks 17 and 18 (English-speaking staff) - which are at the right end, as you enter. You sit, and wait for your queue number. When called you go in, hand over your bundle, and they fiddle some more - and then give you back a smaller bundle, and tell you to go to third floor. Go back out, and climb the stairs to third floor. At third floor, there is a big waiting room, facing a TV monitor, and then off to the left, another room, with eye-coordination physical testing. Go to "Information" desk at the the back left of the waiting room, and hand in your packet. They give you a green plastic queue number tag - mine was 261. You then sit in the waiting room, and watch a video about the tests. You end up watching the video about four times, alternating between Thai and English versions. They periodically call out batches of about 20 numbers, and you proceed to the testing room when your number is called (in Thai). Test 1 - Standing, you watch a traffic signal about five meters away, three lense-circles high, which flashes green, red, or yellow, in any order - a total of maybe eight or ten flashes. Each time, you simply state the color. Note: the yellow looked greenish-yellow to me, and I called green the first time - but the next flash was "serious" green - so I realized that I screwed up before. I guess they gave me extra flashes - because I then got the rest easily correct. You then move to Tests 2 and 3, side by side. Test 2 is a depth perception test. The video ahead of time does not really make it clear. You face a box - maybe four meters away - with a black interior background. There are two vertical posts in the box - whitish color. The post on the right is fixed in position. The post on the left moves backwards and forwards along a track. You are presented with two buttons - green and red. Green moves the left post forward and backward, in full sweeps. Red stops the left-hand post in place. What you are supposed to do is move the left-hand post forward or back, and stop it when it is at the same distance from you as the right-hand post. It is actually pretty screwed up - the lighting is bad, the green button seems to have a long lag in movement. The good news is - the "forward and back" tolerance in relation to the reference post is evidently huge. I think they simply passed everybody. You then slide left to Test #3. Two pedals on the floor - gas (petrol) and brake. Vertical scoring panel five meters away, with green and red lamp. You step on the gas pedal - a brief lag - and green lamp lights up. It stays green for a few seconds, and then the display switches to the red lamp - and you have to slam on the brakes. There is a column of lights on the scoring panel, which climb upward with each millisecond between red light going on, and you hitting the brakes. You have to hit the brakes before the light column reaches the top. It goes quite quickly - you have to be sharp. You then go to the final test - Test 4 - Peripheral vision. You place the bridge of your nose into a guide, and stare straight ahead. They then flash green, red or yellow lights off to the far sides. You simply have to state the color. Again, their yellow looked slightly greenish to me - but I think they were not concerned with that distinction - as long as you saw the flashes at all. I think five or six flashes each side. They then give you your document packet, and send you up to fourth floor. Note: I think that after the second floor stage, the sequence can switch between going to third floor or fourth floor next - because I saw a guy who was with me originally, but he then went next to 4th floor, and then to 3rd floor. At fourth floor, there are a bunch of people sitting in a waiting room. You go to the window at front end of room, and hand over your documents. They have you enter your name into a ledger book, and they then give you a yellow queue number, which also has a room number, and a time period. The rooms are 401, 402, and 403. My queue tag had 10:00- 11:00 and Room 403. Bizzaro note: As I reached the fourth floor waiting area, there was Nescafe promotional stand set up, offering free cans of chilled Nescafe coffee drink. The stand was operated by a tall (at least 80 cm), leggy, reasonably attractive Thai chick in shiny black hot pants and vest - looking like a Coyote dancer. As I was sitting down, she was packing up - I guess for a break - and put up a little sandwich board that said (in Thai) "Will be back at 11:00 am" At 10:00 am, they called for everyone who had room 401 - and everyone else went in - and then the lady who had given me the queue card - and had specifically told me to wait for room 403 - now told me to just go into room 401. I then went into room 401 and watched EXACTLY one hour of video about driving, accidents, etc - all in Thai language. My guess is - if they have enough foreigners, they run a session in Room 403 in English. I was the only farang out of maybe 50 people - so they just said the hell with it, and sent me to join the Thais. After one hour, they released everybody - and told everyone to find their document packet from a line of desks along one wall - where all the document sets were laid out in a row. But - as I came out - a lady was standing there - dedicated to me - holding just my passport and one small square of paper. She handed it to me, and told me to go back to second floor. I went back to Desk 18, and sat outside it, in the seating queue. An assistant lady had helped me earlier, and I got her attention, and she took my one scrap of paper, and dug my document packet out of an in-box - and handed it to me, and asked me to proofread my details. She also motioned me to enter cubicle 18 - where another guy was still finishing up. I looked everything over - it was OK - and I signed the place where it said (in English) to sign. The other guy left, I handed the packet to the lady, she fumbled with it for 90 seconds, then made some entries on her computer, then asked me for 655 baht. I gave it to her - and she then asked me to move to the photo-taking seat. She then took two photos - and then asked me to come around to her side of the desk, and pick the image that I liked best (!!). I did so - and she fumbled with the computer for 60 seconds. A printer next to her then printed a page -which she folded into thirds, and then tore into three sections. She gave me one section - my receipt. She then fumbled for another 60 seconds - then left the cubicle to go around behind the row of cubicles to a special printer. 90 seconds later, she returned with my license, and set it on the desk - and told me that I now had another five years. Mission accomplished. And - my new license is actually good for 5 years and 359 days. I entered the building at 8:50 am, and departed at 11:20 am. If you hit perfect timing at all points, it could all be done in about 100-105 minutes. 'Hope that helps someone. Cheers! SS
  9. Yesterday, I walked past the site of the new Soi 11 branch of the El Gaucho Steakhouse, which appears to be nearing completion. Its style is very similar to the original version on Soi 19. The Soi 11 version is on the small Soi that connects Soi 11/1 to Soi 11 - with a long veranda facing the side-soi, and only a small frontage actually facing onto Soi 11 itself - directly across the street from the Zanzibar outdoor restaurant. Cheers! SS
  10. VAT was always 10% until the financial collapse of 1997-98 - when it was "temporarily" lowered to 7%. They have continually proposed restoring it to 10% - but each government just "kicked the can farther down the road." The best thing they could do would be to start enforcing tax collection on revenue from residential rental property - but this would impact virtually every senior civil servant - who are all invested in rental properties, receiving income that they do not report. The second thing they should do is collect annual property tax on residential property - and also require property valuation to be assessed at a higher proportion of actual market value (instead of at original value at the time that property was first registered with Land Office). Both of these property-related initiatives would bring in huge tax revenue - and also help cool the property market a bit. But - both initiatives would also impact the "rice bowls" of the elite - and so are unlikely to ever happen. Cheers! SS
  11. You are still a victim of someone's propaganda. "Palestinians" are a political fiction. There is no such thing as a Palestinian language, a Palestinian cuisine, a Palestinian culture, or even Palestinian history, prior to maybe the early 1900's. Here's probably the best map of the area in existence, from the 1700's: http://www.loc.gov/resource/g7500.ct000387/ What you see are "national" or political areas, from left to right: Galilee (yellow border), Sumara (red border), Judea (brown border) , and then something called Idumaea Su (or something like that - red border). The geographical region is called Palestine - but that is not a political entity - any more that "the Outback" or "the Appalachians" or "the Amazon basin" are political entities. Around 1820, freed American slaves, assisted by something called the American Colonization Society, carved out a chunk of West Africa and called it Liberia - which grew into the nation of Liberia. Someone (some tribe?) must have occupied that land prior to 1820 - but no one agitates against Liberia. So - after World War II, surviving European Jews flee to Judea, and set up a nation. There were already Jews in JUDEA - who spoke Hebrew, and also some Arabs, who spoke Arabic. Question: where did the Hebrew and the Arabic languages originate? ARABIC originated on the Arabian peninsula - and that's where Arabic speaking people's ancestors came from. Hebrew originated from Canaan - which is basically the culture which existed in the geographical region called Palestine. The Hebrew language flourished first in the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, in the Levant, from the 9th to the 6th centuries BC, before being consumed by the Persian conquest of Cyrus the Great in the 6th Century BC. There was no Arab who called himself a Palestinian until about the 1960's. It is all a political fiction. All genuine long-lived political cultures can trace back to some King or ruler from before 1900. Please try to find me the name of a Palestinian king, pope, ruler, general, or anything else from before 1960. There is none - because Palestine didn't exist. The first four Kings of the Israeli Kingdom were Saul, and then David, then Solomon, and then Rehoboam. You may have heard of a couple of these - they ruled from 1050 to 930 BC. Or prove me wrong - teach me. Cheers! MS
  12. I share this approach. Instead of telling me that heroin mules should get off because some terrorist got off, let's complain about the state not executing the terrorist. Execution may or may not be a good deterrent against specified crimes. But - for certain - it is an excellent way to achieve 0% recidivism. SS
  13. I dunno - I must be a dinosaur. I can;t quite grasp all the weeping for heroin smugglers. If I run a government, and i put up signs everywhere, including Immigration entry cards, saying "We take apprehending drug smugglers seriously, and - if you are caught, you will be executed. So - don't bring drugs into our country" - and you are stupid enough to challenge our laws, then don't cry when we string you up. That is basically what Singpore does - and I doubt that a whole lot of drugs are smuggled into Singapore by drug mules. "If you get caught doing the crime, don't cry about doing the time." Similarly, in Bangkok, in 2010, the Army took over an area around Dindaeng, and roped off, and posted about and broadcast very clearly that the (specified) area was a military-imposed "no-go" area, and that anyone entering that area would be shot and killed. And then some idiots decided to see if the Army was serious, and tried approaching (attacking?) through the "dead" zone - and the Army promptly shot them down - and the Red Shirts started wailing about the incident. 'Seemed to me like a pretty straight forward case of "death by suicide". MS
  14. For a good laugh - clever: http://youtu.be/pvcj9xptNOQ
  15. I'm not sure how well this would work in practice, and it would require you to next be using the MRT to go somewhere, but if you go down to train track level at any MRT station, and you go to the far, far end of the platform, almost to the walls that bound the station - you are in a cool, clean, dry spot that is probably at least 50 meters (and in some cases - such as Thailand Cultural Center - maybe 150 meters) from the nearest soul. Assuming that you lay out some sort of mat, and your chanting is not too loud, there is a chance that no one would even notice you. As long as you did not appear to be in distress, and you are not making a mess - even MRT staff are unlikely to bother you. How long would your session be? I have occasionally seen groups of uniformed schoolkids grouped and sitting along a wall, with some minor rough-housing going on - and MRT staff seemed relieved that they were away from the main flow of commuters - and therefore not bothering anyone - and the MRT staff did not bother them. But - this normally lasted only 10 minutes or so, before the next train came. The only complication I see is if the MRT staff thinks that you are preparing for a ritual suicide, or are tripping on drugs. It is probably worth at least trying. The worst that can happen is that they tell you to cease and desist, Cheers! SS
  16. Now, this remarkable photo - taken in the UK - is (reportedly) neither faked, nor staged - it happened spontaneously. But - the "back story" is not as noble as the photo would suggest: As much as we’d all like to believe this is a wondrous tale of friendship wherein two mates go on an epic adventure featuring a baby weasel and his magnificent flying steed, sadly it’s NOT. It’s a photo of a weasel trying to kill a woodpecker. More at: http://www.buzzfeed.com/tasneemnashrulla/the-tale-of-the-weasel-and-woodpecker?bffb#.qe9m53PNN Cheers! SS
  17. "Noble" violent jihadi terrorist murderers are given 10-year sentences in a 5-star hotel. Shoplifters have a hand cut off DUI gets you 50 lashes Adulterers get stoned to death (including rape victims) Drug mules get beheaded 'Nice little legal system, they got there. Designed by the Clockwork Orange Team? Or maybe Freddy Krueger? Or this guy: http://www.morbidofest.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Hellraiser-Pinhead.jpg SS
  18. Animals do not wantonly destroy things. Animals are looking for something to eat, to f%$k, or to fight - and take little interest in inanimate objects. These monstrosities are demons, taking zealous pleasure in torture, cruelty, wanton destruction, and intimidation. Luckily, they are (at least at present) mostly contained to the Muslim lands of the Middle East. I strongly encourage the local Muslims to fight to the last man to defeat this scourge.
  19. This is a fun video, showcasing a fairly impressive home-grown variation of the standrd Thai festival rocket: http://youtu.be/pD_yQZ4iNjY I am ignoring the derisive Youtube comments, which fail to grasp that this is about fun, finesse, and getting a lot of mileage out of shoestring village budgets - and not about "shooting for the stars". I think it's a great performance. Cheers! SS
  20. There are many ways to skin a cat: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/denmark-bans-halal-and-kosher-slaughter-as-minister-says-animal-rights-come-before-religion-9135580.html I suppose there may still be Muslim vegan/vegitarians.
  21. Which is real life, and which is fantasy? Is "there" the real thing, and "here" is the fantasy excursion, or is "here" the real thing? Does the tail wag the dog? Is "home" the place that you spend nine dismal months per year, or is "home" where you spend three pleasant months per year? Only the shadow knows...... "It's not my circus,. and these are not my monkeys." Cheers! SS
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