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Comment I live in France... (Score 2) 202

... and let me tell you that after last Friday, we are now experiencing a period in which the government can decide and impose whatever it damn pleases : massive surveillance, restricted freedom, you name it.... At this stage, I believe people are willing to accept anything in the name of (presumed) safety. At some point, this period will come to an end but until then, I except the law to change a lot, and essentially nobody is going to raise a finger about it....
Reminds me of the time when I was living in the US, right after 09/11. Sad, really.

Comment Re:Title is bogus (Score 1) 395

There is nothing in the article about France trying to kill diesel. The purpose of those measures are to get rid of OLD DIESEL CARS that are well known source of pollution (for the particules).

No. The plan is to get rid of old diesel cars indeed, but also to incentivize people to acquire gasoline rather than diesel cars. This will be done by applying some kind of malus on new diesel cars, and also by progressively aligning the price of diesel fuel with the price of gasoline (diesel fuel has been significantly cheaper than gasoline in France).

Comment Re:What the French call la dolce vita? (Score 1) 477

The French do tend towards language chauvinism.

No, sorry but that's simply not true. The French language nowadays includes a lot of foreign words. Of course we have the French Academy which tries to impose French words for everything but really, these (generally old) guys are representative of themselves only, and have nearly no relevance. For instance, they tried to impose "couriel" instead of "email" (and a whole bunch of other ridiculous words) but hey, who would have guessed, it never picked up ...
I believe French-speaking Canadians, OTOH, tend to be much more protective towards the original language.

Comment Enter the zone (Score 1) 262

As a physicist, I use hearphones just to "enter the zone". Usually, after a while, I find them distracting. Kind of as if they were consuming brain cycles that aren't free anymore. I know it's time to remove them, hoping the phone doesn't ring or som jac^h^h^h coworker doesn't pop up...

Comment Teach yourself music (Score 1) 299

Pick up an instrument, or if you used to play an instrument when you were a teenager, time to get it out of the attics.
(Re-)learn how to play (we have great softwares and books/CD for this, nowadays) and learn by listening to the masters. Learn also some theory.
At some point, get out and find yourself a band, suited to your skills (a bit better, ideally) and taste. At the very least, you'll have fun but you could even end up being a good musician. Depends on the time you want to spend on it.

Comment Re:Approved lists (Score 1) 198

Amen to that. I also have a HP48s, which I still use. Back when I was in school, I sometimes used it to cheat. To do this, I add to input many formulas or reproduce drawings, or write programs to perform some calculations (atomic physics comes to my mind). But in the process of doing that, you learn a lot. Eventually, you don't have to cheat anymore because you know pretty well the subject. And even if you didn't work enough to learn all you were supposed to, you've still learnt some of it. This makes a huge difference compared to, say, using a smartphone to browse the internet and find your answers.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.