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Comment: Re:Well, of course (Score 1) 359

If you look at just about anybody's success story, the first thing that is of utmost importance is being in the right place at the right time. In other words, luck. The American dream has always been a dream. I'm not convinced that anything much has changed in the last 70 years about this, i.e. since about the end of WWII. Sure hard work is a factor but by no means the only one.

Comment: Re:In civilized countries... (Score 1) 169

by HuguesT (#47250973) Attached to: Starbucks Offers Workers 2 Years of Free College

Most prestigious, most awash with money, yes. What befuddles me is why these super-rich universities don't simply select the very best students all over the world (including the US), and don't offer them affordable tuition. They would be even better. As of now, most US universities simply perpetuate a rich class divide.

Comment: Re:Is it a Complete Set? (Score 1) 208

by HuguesT (#47233805) Attached to: Lego To Produce Three Box Sets Featuring Female Scientists

As long as the US remains attractive for immigrants, you are correct, this is a life choice. However realize that population in any given country needs to be replaced. Having (too) many kids in Uganda do not compensate for the (dramatic) lack of kids in Japan. It's not a simple matter of shifting kids around, which is never simple to begin with.

So in short you may choose not to have children, but somebody will have to pay your pension eventually. It can help if this is someone you now well.

Comment: Re:R & D in America (Score 1) 135

by HuguesT (#47193577) Attached to: MIT Used Lobbying, Influence To Restore Nuclear Fusion Dream

Quadtree are an approximation technique widely used in imaging and computational geometry. Did you look on Google Scholar/Web of Science or just in patents?

A light search returned these links:

http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/3-540-47789-6_106 (sorry paywalled)

https://diglib.eg.org/EG/DL/Conf/EG2002/short/short90.pdf

I'm not sure if this is what you are looking for. In discrete geometry (construction of a Voronoi tessellation on pixel data), it is often more efficient to used an Euclidean distance function, which is linear. Indeed constructing the quadtree plus using it for the computation takes more time.

Comment: Uber is a multinational skirting regulations (Score 1) 260

by HuguesT (#47186751) Attached to: Virginia DMV Cracks Down On Uber, Lyft

In many cities around the world, taxis are heavily regulated. Among these regulations are a fixed number of license plates, and the costs of these plates (or equivalent medallions, etc). This means that in many instances there aren't enough taxis to go around because these numbers were fixed a long time ago and may not be have been updated to meet demand. This benefits most the taxi operators and to some extent the drivers themselves because a high demand drives the price of the fare up. Also a business with low competition is always more comfortable to run. Customers hate it but are used to this situation.

Now Uber and others have sought to change the game, first by ignoring regulation and getting self-employed people to drive their own car to ferry people around. This is very good to some extent because taxi business in a lot of places is over-regulated and does not meet demand. Also the Uber et al have a nice online presence and at this stage at least do provide a useful service, so why not.

However, Uber fares are not cheap, this is not "sharing", this is a business. The self-employed individuals driving the cars may be putting themselves at risk: with their rides, the regulatory authorities, in case of accident, with other regulated taxi drivers, etc. We are still in a "honeymoon" period but this is sure to end. Uber has become much to big to be ignored, and so will soon have to fight for its own existence, in a lot of places all at once. I'm not sure their (huge) valuation will be enough.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard

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