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Comment: Re:I am wondering (Score 1) 295

by Soft (#48618617) Attached to: French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

independant workers who paid in the 100kâ - 300kâ range to get a state-regulated taxi licence plate. ....

Please show evidence/source of what you write here and where in the Euro-Zone those prices appear.

For Paris, I found at least one English source: http://www.rudebaguette.com/2013/08/07/anatomy-of-the-paris-taxi-market-past-present-future/. If you read French, you may try Wikipedia or this article in Le Figaro.

Comment: Re:I am wondering (Score 1) 295

by Soft (#48596263) Attached to: French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

what would happen if the cab drivers would also act as Uber drivers?

They'd lose their taxi license / medallion, which they may have invested over 200,000 euros in, depending on where they operate. The license price is dropping, though, with the arrival of Uber and similar services.

That's the basic problem: the government used to enforce a license scarcity that drove prices so high that taxi drivers now consider it an investment or a retirement package. It's very like a housing price crash, except that the government has a direct responsibility for creating this bubble and letting it burst. No wonder taxi drivers are angry.

Comment: Re:The issue seems simple (Score 1) 295

by Soft (#48596213) Attached to: French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

The problem, if I understood it correctly (not a given as I know only the german taxi situation well), is that french taxi have some hoop and loop to go thru (http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/professionnels-entreprises/F21907.xhtml roughly translated says you need a licence, you need to not have been guilty of certain crime, there is some lessons you ened to follow). All costs.

What the page you cite doesn't tell is that the number of licences is limited, like taxi medallions in some US cities; you can get one free after a couple of decades on the waiting list, or you can buy one from another taxi driver who retires. In Paris, the market value of such a license is over 200,000 euros; in some other cities, it's even higher. However, the arrival of Uber and similar services are making these values drop.

So, when they speak of "families" left out to dry, they actually mean that they won't be able to sell the license they invested in, as they expected to. A bit like a housing price crash, except that license prices used to be kept high by a state-mandated scarcity. I guess taxi drivers are lashing at the government for not enforcing this scarcity anymore.

I don't really have an opinion on this subject. I think the government is at fault for letting people depend on a business model and then not being consistent. On the other hand, it happens all the time with any change in subsidies and policies. And blocking roads is definitely a step too far, but it's not the first time: the French administration has never been a good negotiator in that kind of situations; violent strikes have kind of become the default solution...

Comment: Re:Mint (Score 1) 303

by Soft (#48101069) Attached to: What's Been the Best Linux Distro of 2014?

I thought Mint just used Ubuntu packages?

Regular Mint, indeed, is based on Ubuntu and each Mint release is derived from the corresponding Ubuntu release. LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) is based on Debian, and doesn't really have releases: the packages get upgraded (from Debian Testing, I believe) perhaps twice a year.

On paper, I'd prefer LMDE's update scheme, but the apparent lack of day-to-day security updates is a big no-no.

Comment: Re:Mint (Score 1) 303

by Soft (#48100375) Attached to: What's Been the Best Linux Distro of 2014?

I personally use Mint's Debian-based distro

How do you handle security updates? I thought this distribution (LMDE) was ideal for my needs until I realized that, apart from Firefox and Thunderbird, practically no packages were being regularly updated despite vulnerabilities being discovered: LibreOffice, ffmpeg, file, apt, libnss, qemu to name some recent ones. Bash did get updated recently, and openssl eventually did after heartbleed, though I'm not sure it got all the updates.

I read some flamew^Wdebates on this topic online, which I think boil down to "LMDE is not a server OS, if you want security use Debian". This neglects the fact that even an end-user's desktop or workstation handles data from the network, which could be malware. To this kind of security philosophy, my reaction is that LMDE shouldn't be used except in very controlled environments.

As for regular Mint, I like it better than Ubuntu, though I was disappointed by their not supporting OS upgrades: as I understand it, installing a new Mint version requires a reinstall. (I tried doing it anyway, from 15 to 16 I think, and X broke. That's when I decided to try out LMDE, in fact.)

Any advice?

Science

Psychopathic Criminals Have "Empathy Switch" 347

Posted by timothy
from the why-some-people-think-I'm-nice dept.
dryriver writes "Psychopaths do not lack empathy, rather they can switch it on at will, according to new research. Placed in a brain scanner, psychopathic criminals watched videos of one person hurting another and were asked to empathise with the individual in pain. Only when asked to imagine how the pain receiver felt did the area of the brain related to pain light up. Scientists, reporting in Brain, say their research explains how psychopaths can be both callous and charming. The team proposes that with the right training, it could be possible to help psychopaths activate their 'empathy switch', which could bring them a step closer to rehabilitation. Criminals with psychopathy characteristically show a reduced ability to empathise with others, including their victims. Evidence suggests they are also more likely to reoffend upon release than criminals without the psychiatric condition."

Comment: Re:Dark != Far (Score 3, Insightful) 79

by Soft (#42325773) Attached to: Twin Probes Crash Into the Moon

...the rotation of the moon just about exactly matches the revolution around the Earth

I think we can say exactly, as it's not a coincidence that the rotations align like that, it's a stable configuration of two bodies in orbit

Yes but there's still libration. Although the Moon's rotation and revolution periods are indeed exactly the same, its orbital speed changes slightly over each orbit. So "just about exactly" is justified too.

Comment: Re:Quantum Physics @ Home (Score 1) 465

by Soft (#39792047) Attached to: Quantum Experiment Shows Effect Before Cause

What is different about the quantum case is that you can send, say electrons, through the slits *indivdually*, one at a time and they somehow interfere, that is what is intuitively strange.

Correct, but you can also send individual photons and have the same counter-intuitive result. It is not a different case, electrons and photons are both quantum particles.

Comment: Re:Applied particle physics? (Score 1) 98

by Soft (#37872564) Attached to: Superluminal Neutrinos, Take Two
Actually, there was a piece of news today, warning against possible blackouts next winter: although France does usually produce more electricity that it consumes, it imports power dto handle strong peak loads--especially from Germany, it was said. If Germany shuts down its own reactors, and the winter is again especially cold, there might be problems.

OTOH, next year is an election year in France, nuclear power is sure to be an issue, and the news I mentioned originates from the (pro-nuclear) government. Who knows how reliable it is?

Long computations which yield zero are probably all for naught.

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