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Comment: Uber is illegal in France (Score 5, Informative) 330 330

Uber operates outside the bounds of the law in France. This is well documented. There are two sets of law that they do not obey. The first is one regulating car drivers that are not taxis. It is legal in France to operate a car service to drive people from A to B but you need to abide by some restrictions. The car cannot be hailed, only booked. The driver must have some qualification, etc. Uber does not abide by these laws. The second set of law protects the consumer. In particular, data must be viewable and deletable by the consumer, and they cannot be retained indefinitely. Again Uber does not follow the law.

Recently the french equivalent to state department pointed out to Uber that they needed to change some things, so what did they do? They opened service in 5 new cities with no change. This was seen as provocation, and so obviously the top executives were brought in for questioning. The french cannot state on the one hand that something is illegal and on the other let it happen. They had to act.

Now maybe the law needs to change, this is an important debate. In the meantime in a law-based country the law needs to be upheld.

Comment: Re:A Bad Day for Elon Musk Fanbois (Score 5, Informative) 316 316

This is rewriting history. In december 2008 SpaceX was at the end of its tether. Musk himself wrote that they had virtually no money left in the bank when they finally got the NASA contract in the nick of time. So it was rather a close thing:

In the meantime, at SpaceX, Musk and top executives had spent most of December in a state of fear, but on Dec. 23, 2008, SpaceX received a wonderful shock. The company won a $1.6 billion contract for 12 NASA resupply flights to the space station. Then the Tesla deal ended up closing successfully, on Christmas Eve, hours before Tesla would have gone bankrupt. Musk had just a few hundred thousand dollars left and could not have made payroll the next day.

Balls of steel but also tremendous luck.

Comment: Re:So, the other side? (Score 1) 422 422

No you don't. Employees do have more protections than in the USA, but severance payout is dependent on how long the employee has been with the company, if they were at fault or not, in which way the severance is handled (carefully and legally vs arrogantly and carelessly) and so on. There does exist a court where employment disputes are settled and employees do not typically win, by a long shot.

Comment: Re:Nash just got the Abel price! (Score 2) 176 176

This is a terrible irony. His death is most untimely indeed. Here is a high-level description of Nash's work on PDEs by C. Villani.

I personally have extreme admiration for Nash’s work on partial differential equations. He wrote just one paper on the subject, in 1958 (Continuity of solutions of parabolic and elliptic equations), but this one of the most astonishing works in the history of partial differential equations. His proof has been often described as complicated, but I find it extremely attractive, and I also like a lot the way the paper is written: with a lot of explanations about his intuition and the way he arrived at the result. The genesis of the paper is fascinating, as discussed in Nasar’s book. By the way, one of the ingredients in the proof is Boltzmann’s entropy functional.

Here is another description from the Abel Prize page.

The paper is here.

Comment: Myth (Score 1) 1094 1094

Remember Ernest Rutherford, the arrogant physicist who was saying that all of science is either physics or stamp collecting?. Here on Slashdot, because many of us are self or well-employed developers and computer scientists, we think that we can easily figure out even the most vexing problems relating to the economy. In particular minimum wages are of course for slackers, never mind that first summer job we got ages ago.

How about some interesting myth busters?.

Comment: Re:Minimum Wage (Score 5, Insightful) 1094 1094

I am an employer and I actually like my employees a lot. They are smart, they work hard, coming to the office every day is basically a joy. I try to make their life as easy and as productive as possible, and I pay them as much as I can. They know this, and this works pretty well.

I believe that if every employer actually saw their employees as human beings who are doing the best they can, and treat them accordingly, the world would be a much better place.

Staff meeting in the conference room in %d minutes.