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Comment Re:just use cash and no cell phone (Score 1) 89

in NYC you can find a basement to rent in a private home for cash and a lot of times a minimal background check.

Can you really? In the UK the checks that landlords must provide are far form minimal. I'm pretty sure you could find places to rent that didn't do this, but I don't think they'd be in the best parts of town!

Comment Re:Sounds like a good idea. (Score 3, Informative) 212

This is pretty much what university students in the UK have had since the early 2000's, but without offering different terms for different fields. Instead, some career paths, e.g. nursing, are incentivised with bursaries.

It comes at a cost though. The UK government believes that around 45% of university graduates will not earn enough to repay their student loans. Of course almost all will pay some, and a lot will pay most of it - but there is an outstanding bill. In the UK the government (i.e. taxpayers) underwrites student loans and will pick this up ,,, I'm not sure what will happen in the USA - or if they will just charge a lot more to those who earn more to make it cost neural.

Comment that's strange - everygets one worse than official (Score 4, Interesting) 159

everyone I know who has a VW, or has had one in the past 10 years (around 8 or so) has all gotten BETTER than advertized MPGs.

Its funny, maybe it is a US vs Europe thing but I've never known anyone get anything near the official MPG. There is an interesting paper from the European Federation for Transport and Environment which shows that the average difference is now 36%, and that despite real world MPG scarecly improving since 2012 the manufacturers claims continued to reduce. Strangely VW is far from the worst, being bang on average with a difference of 36% from real world figures, whereas Daimler manages a 48% difference.

Comment Re:"Incorrect" MPG numbers (Score 1) 159

In the United States, it is illegal for a car manufacturer to advertise any fuel efficiency number other than the one determined by the EPA.

Even running an ad campaign to the effect of "Hey, the EPA says that this car gets 45 MPG, but our testing says it's more like 42. Just thought you should know." would be a crime.

TTIP will put that right. You will have to accept figures determined by the appropriate agencies of any TTIP signatory.

Comment Re:Paris terrorists didn't seem "religious"... (Score 5, Informative) 494

From AFA: "She loved partying and going to clubs. She drank alcohol and smoked and went around with lots of different guys." (

Except that particular story has turned out to be false - the images "proving" this were actually of a totally different moroccan woman. Her pictures were sold to media by a former friend, which turned on her and did this for revenge. That woman now lives in fear, for obvious reasons. Some of the media who published the pictures took them offline, but didn't fix their reports.

Comment Re:When guns are outlawed (Score 5, Funny) 312

When guns are outlawed

Only outlaws will have guns.

Worse. When technology is outlawed, only outlaws will have technology. It will probably be illegal to develop an injection rifle for a wildlife doctor as well.

I can't help wondering .... if laws were outlawed would only outlaws have laws?

Comment I suspect that the "anonymous" attacks are .. (Score 4, Interesting) 392

I suspect that the "anonymous" attacks are the intelligence agencies. My thoughts were that they can find thousands of accounts with maybe a 5% error rate. They cannot get a warrant with that, and don't want complaints of "you brought down my legitimate site" so they just have an "anonymous" announcement that they will do it.

Comment Re:Close the f'ing borders already! (Score 2) 274

The idea is to secure the Schengen borders, i.e. not the borders inside of Schengen.

It's been proven that immigration benefits the economy if it is immigration from inside EU or Europe. You can hardly say that there is any benefit to having 30% unemployment rates and high criminality among immigrants.

For your first point: well, France has closed all borders, including inside of Schengen. We'll see how long it will last, as it does have nasty repercussions (so much for "they won't change our values, our way of life").

For your second point: according to german economists, the current immigration wave is good for the german economy. Also, german police has confirmed the criminality rate is no higher with the immigrants than with the general population - adding that there's been quite a wave of extreme-right-style crimes against facilities for asylum seekers. And as to unemployment: you are aware that asylum seekers have to have their papers through before being allowed to get a job?

Comment Re:Prepaid phone SIM (Score 1) 274

They certainly are cracking down on prepaid phone SIMs, where the owner of the phone isn't identified. Apparently Belgium and Luxembourg were the only EU countries left which still had them

That is certainly false. A lot of "eastern block" countries still have them like Romania, Czech Republic, I think Bulgaria. If you think they aren't "EU enough" there's also the UK (and probably Ireland) - where you don't even have mandatory ID card.

And even with registration go on german ebay (Germany has mandatory registration since before 9/11!) and you can buy preregistered cards by 10-pack, 100, sometimes 500 and 1000.

Well, that points out the fine quality of our local media reports then... </sarcasm>

Comment Re:Close the f'ing borders already! (Score 2) 274

Sure, close the borders. A fine example right now is the one between France and Luxembourg, passed each day but tens of thousands of commuters who live in France but work in Luxembourg. What was already bad logistics, prone to accidents and thereby traffic jams, is now a nightmare each morning and evening. No, that nightmare won't be helped by those people moving, as there isn't anywhere near sufficient housing available, and prices are already at levels comparable to inner city London or Paris. The Schengen treaty (signed in Luxembourg, very close to the french and german borders) was done for a reason, and it's for good reason that most concerned countries want to uphold it.

While we're at it, it's already been proven that immigration benefits the economy. You also shouldn't conflate muslims and these (homegrown!) terrorists, who just have no religion.

Comment Prepaid phone SIM (Score 1) 274

They certainly are cracking down on prepaid phone SIMs, where the owner of the phone isn't identified. Apparently Belgium and Luxembourg were the only EU countries left which still had them, but they are phasing them out quicker (now!) than was planned. Apparently, there were just too many shenanigans done with them.

I'm less sure about prepaid credit cards, we've got one of those in the household, but I didn't hear anything yet about them being phased out. They were offered as one means to limit losses in case of fraud (e.g. online payments where details would get out; this actually makes sense), and customers are identified in this case. Also, such transfers go by clearing services, so I should think these can easily be tracked (on court order at least, if not by espionage).

Are there such prepaid credit (well, actually debit I guess) cards where users are not identified?

"The most important thing in a man is not what he knows, but what he is." -- Narciso Yepes