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Uber France Leaders Arrested For Running Illegal Taxi Company 323 323

An anonymous reader writes: Two Uber executives were arrested by French authorities for running an illegal taxi company and concealing illegal documents. This is not the first time Uber has run into trouble in France. Recently, taxi drivers started a nation-wide protest, blocking access to Roissy airport and the nation's interior minister issued a ban on UberPop. A statement from an Uber spokesperson to TechCrunch reads: "Our CEO for France and General Manager for Western Europe were invited to a police hearing this afternoon; following this interview, they were taken into custody. We are always available to answer all the questions on our service, and available to the authorities to solve any problem that could come up. Talks are in progress. In the meantime, we keep working in order to make sure that both our customers and drivers are safe following last week’s turmoils."

Comment: Yeah? How hospitable were Tunisians? (Score 2) 358 358

Whether Greece makes a "little" money on tourism or a "lot" of money on tourism is a function of how hospitable it is to visitors. If the country as a whole makes it a priority to be very nice and welcoming to foreigners, they stand to reap a lot more in tourist spending than if they take tourism for granted or, worse, go out of their way to make tourists feel unwelcome.

You can make the country hospitable up the wazoo, all it takes is ONE dickhead with an AK to fuck it all up.
Or one missing child.
Or a drowned one.
Or a rainy season.
Or a global economic crisis.
Or simply a fashion trend.

Tourism is a nice bonus and a source of foreign currency, but you can't run a country on tertiary sector alone - unless you are willing to be permanently in debt or permanently poor OR to end up exactly where Greece is now. Both poor and in debt.
Cause there is hardly a more literal way of signing off one's own economic security on "hope and prayer" than resting it on good graces of fickle foreigners bored with their everyday existence back home.

On top of it, to a small country, tourism is toxic.
It artificially raises the property value to unrealistic levels, prices skyrocket and it overflows the local services with people who don't pay for those services.
And you can't just tax them cause you don't want to scare them off or simply cause you can't properly charge for things like an increased burden on the environment or water supply.
Or police - which will inevitably become corrupt first time that either local or governmental coffers go empty and they either get told to "skin" the foreigners or to let them slide.
And corruption is again something that spreads across the entire society.

On top of that, it creates conditions where country's youth will spend their most productive years SERVING instead of studying.
And since the prices are up, when they age out of serving drinks to fat tourists, they won't have a home of their own, they won't have an education - so they end up unemployed.

Which is where Greece was going with their long term unemployment rising (with youth unemployment always staying lower while following a more jagged, seasonal, curve) until the introduction of the Euro brought it down - through heavy borrowing which provided money for make-work jobs.
People who were unemployed for decades got jobs. Yay!
Just before the shit hit the fan they were running the lowest long term unemployment in last two decades, while the wages kept going up.

As the debt kept climbing up as well.


Greek Financial Crisis Is an Opportunity For Bitcoin 358 358

An anonymous reader writes: Greece's economy has been in trouble for several years, now, and a major vote next weekend will shake it up even further. The country can't pay its debts, and the upcoming referendum will decide whether they face increased austerity measures or start the process of exiting the Euro. One side effect of the crisis is that alternative currencies like Bitcoin suddenly look much more attractive as the "normal" currencies become unstable. "Tony Gallippi, the co-founder of bitcoin payment processor Bitpay, tweeted on Sunday night that he expected the price of bitcoin to rise to between $610 and $1,250 if Greece exits the Euro. The currency is currently worth $250. Part of the reason why the crisis is so tempting for proponents of the cryptocurrency is the echoes of a previous crisis in the Eurozone: the banking collapse in Cyprus in 2013, which saw that nation also impose capital controls to prevent massive outflows of currency from the panicking country. That collapse came at the same time as the first major boom in the price of bitcoin, which began the year at less than $20 and peaked at ten times that by early April – before it all came crashing down."

How Uber Takes Over a City 226 226

schwit1 suggests Bloomberg's story on one aspect of Uber's corporate behavior that may leave a sour taste in the mouth of anyone who'd like to believe the Uber-vs.-the-Cartels narrative. The company hired David Plouffe, known for managing Barack Obama's rise to fame, and many others as well, to help them navigate inevitable and ongoing moves for regulation. The scale is impressive; according to the article: Over the past year, Uber built one of the largest and most successful lobbying forces in the country, with a presence in almost every statehouse. It has 250 lobbyists and 29 lobbying firms registered in capitols around the nation, at least a third more than Wal-Mart Stores. That doesn't count municipal lobbyists. In Portland, the 28th-largest city in the U.S., 10 people would ultimately register to lobby on Uber's behalf. And while the article focuses mostly on the example of Portland, the effort is ongoing and nationwide.
United States

Google, Apple, and Others Remove Content Related To the Confederate Flag 815 815

davek writes with news that Google is removing results related to the Confederate Flag from Google Shopping, the company's online marketplace. They're also blocking advertisements involving the flag. They say, "We have determined that the Confederate flag violates our Ads policies, which don't allow content that's generally perceived as expressing hate toward a particular group." At the same time, Apple is removing from the App Store any games or other software featuring the Confederate Flag. This, of course, follows the recent shooting in South Carolina, which triggered a nationwide debate over whether the flag should be flown at government buildings (or anywhere). Major online merchant websites like eBay and Amazon have already taken the step of banning merchandise relating to the flag.

Lexus Creates a Hoverboard 102 102

walterbyrd writes: Lexus has built a functional prototype of a hoverboard that hovers several centimeters off the ground. The "Slide" is for demonstration purposes only and works through magnetic levitation created by superconductors, a spokesperson says. USA Today reports: "As cool as that sounds, there are some major limitations. Since it operates magnetically, it only can hover over a steel surface. And it also only works as long as the liquid nitrogen holds out."
United States

US Military To Develop Star Wars-Style Hoverbikes With British company 108 108

New submitter amalcolm writes: The U.S. military may soon be zooming around on Star Wars-style hoverbikes. U.K. based Malloy Aeronautics has joined forces with Survice Engineering to develop the vehicles for the Department of Defense. "The Department of Defense is interested in Hoverbike technology because it can support multiple roles," said Mark Butkiewicz, who works for Survice. "It can transport troops over difficult terrain and when it's not used in that purpose it can also be used to transport logistics, supplies, and it can operate in both a manned and unmanned asset."

Comment: THAT'S BULLSHIT AND YOU'RE TROLLING! (Score 1) 163 163

There is no such thing as a cometing industry.

A comet is small, icy, Solar System body that, when passing close to the Sun, heats up and begins to outgas, displaying a visible atmosphere or coma, and sometimes also a tail.

And they are most certainly NOT made of sugar. No, not even that white tail.

Comment: Problem is HIGHER amount of fructose. (Score 1) 163 163

HFCS 55 is 55% fructose, ~41% glucose and ~4% other sugars.
Sucrose is 50-50 glucose and fructose.

Low blood sugar is low glucose. We eat/drink until we get to the "high glucose" level. At which point the craving stops.

HFCS 55 (the soda kind) contains 110% more fructose than sucrose, and ~80% less glucose than sucrose.
So, to get the same "high glucose" level we will have to ingest more HFCS than sucrose.
About 1.25 times more. Of a sweetener which contains 1.1 times more of that fat forming fructose.

1.25 * 1.1 = 1.375
1.375 times MORE fructose is ingested with HFCS, for the same amount of glucose, needed to reach satiety, than with sucrose.
We might as well be pouring cooking oil into our table sugar and eating it with a spoon.

Comment: They are not "equally bad". (Score 3, Insightful) 163 163

Sugar (sucrose) feeds you equal amounts of glucose and fructose.
HFCS used in sodas is 55% fructose and 41% glucose.

Human body has built-in sensors for high glucose. Our blood sugar goes up, we feel energized, we stop being hungry.

Human body has NO sensors for fructose. You can eat or drink it all day and never feel you had enough.
That's cause fructose in nature comes in the form of fruit. With all that fiber you have to gobble down and then carry around in your gut till the fructose gets extracted.
And that would trip a bunch of other sensors telling us to stop eating.

So, when we take sucrose which is exactly half glucose half fructose, the moment we hit satiety for glucose that also trips our "I'm full" sensor and we stop eating.
At which point we have ingested an equal amount of both ready to burn glucose and ready to be turned into fat and burned later fructose.

HFCS 55 on the other hand only has about 80% of glucose that sucrose has. And no fiber to trip the "fructose-comes-with-a-lot-of-fiber" sensor.
So, to reach glucose satiety and trip the "I'm full" sensor drinking HFCS 55, we will have to intake about 1.25 times more sweetener then with sucrose.
But HFCS 55 has 110% of the amount of the fructose contained in sugar (sucrose).

Meaning that to reach the same glucose satiety level which would trip that "I'm full" senor, we ingest 1.25 more sweetener which contains 1.1 times more of the chemical we use solely for production of fat.
Unless we're hiking dozens of miles daily, in snow, up hill, both ways.
Cause we evolved to store that fructose which grows in warm weather for the long winter months when there is no food growing on trees.
And we don't start burning it until we burn all our glucose in our bloodstream.

1.25 times 1.1 equals 1.375 times more fructose (i.e. future fat) ingested when drinking HFCS 55 sweetened soda, compared to drinking the same soda sweetened with sucrose.

Comment: You can't put a pound of H2O in a box... (Score 1) 273 273

...shaped like a cube, 1 foot or 10 inches on each side and get a 1 gallon of volume.

Nor can you subdivide up and down between the sizes without hauling out some really unintuitive fractions - while various measures use various fractions.
Number of inches in a foot or a yard is NOT the number of ounces in a pint, quart or a gallon.
Nor do any of those match with ounces, pounds and stones.
And not only that, an ounce is not the same value OR fraction of a pint (1/20) and of a pound (1/16).
How many ounces in a glass of water? Well it depends...

1 meter = 10 x 1 decimeter = 100 x 1 centimeter = 1000 x 1 millimeter
1 liter = 10 x 1 deciliter = 100 x 1 centiliter = 1000 x 1 milliliter
1 kilogram = 10 x 1 hectogram = 100 x 1 decagram = 1000 x 1 gram = 1000000 x 1 milligram
1 liter of H2O = 1 kilogram of H2O = 1 cubic decimeter of H2O

0 degrees Celsius = freezing point of H2O while 100 degrees Celsius = boiling point of H2O
I.e. Points where it changes aggregate states from liquid to solid and from liquid to gas.
Points at which you are no longer measuring temperature of a liquid. Ends of the scale.

0 is the point of change of aggregate state of 1:1:1 mixture of salt, water and ice - while 100 is a couple of degrees above "blood temperature".
Which is stupid in so many ways I don't even want to go into it.
And no... "100 degrees means it's hot outside" is not a good rule of thumb due to a simple fact that no two people are alike or have exactly the same preferences.

And that's without going into more technical measures like Watt, Volt, Ampere, Calories etc. which are all based and interact with other SI units.

Comment: NOT naysayers. (Score 1, Insightful) 294 294

Cause... umm... you know... extinct is extinct.
You can't say "no it isn't" if all you have to show for as evidence of existence it is... you know... nothing.
This ain't a religious but a question of biology and of ability to count up to more than "one animal".

E.g. You can't go around claiming that T. Rex is actually hiding. And no, Bill Legend's T. Rex is not THE T. Rex.

The summary warns of "paid trolls", "FUD-ers" and finger pointers going around acting holier than thou, trying to "solve the problem" by placing the blame and spreading "it's the End Days" fear and panic.

You know...
People generalizing the entire humanity as being "people who cannot imagine anything beyond 3 months" and "folks who actually want the world to end" and assuming that "we're going to drive the bus off that extinction cliff while singing happy days are here again."

Which is also a bit of ye old irrelevant conclusion fallacy.
Cause... umm... people not able to think beyond 3 months about pandas or people wanting to burn all pandas and people singing "happy days" instead of working on preserving pandas...
Well... they are not the ones actually working on preserving pandas, aren't they?

It's almost as if a relatively small group of people (compared to the world population or even the population of China) is taking steps to preserve the damn pandas - regardless of all those other people.
Making them kinda irrelevant as long as they don't make it their business to get off their ass, fly off to a game preserve and start shooting pandas.


Study: Sixth Extinction Event Is Underway 294 294

garyisabusyguy writes: We've heard proposals in the past that a new extinction event is underway. However, a new study takes into consideration many other factors that may be tilting the data, and still comes to the inevitable conclusion that we have triggered a large die-off, and that we may become victims of it as well.

From the paper's abstract: "Even under our assumptions, which would tend to minimize evidence of an incipient mass extinction, the average rate of vertebrate species loss over the last century is up to 114 times higher than the background rate. Under the 2 E/MSY background rate, the number of species that have gone extinct in the last century would have taken, depending on the vertebrate taxon, between 800 and 10,000 years to disappear. These estimates reveal an exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity over the last few centuries, indicating that a sixth mass extinction is already under way."

The authors suggest that rapid work to avert the worst of the die-off is still possible. The question may really be whether we can get past paid trolls, FUD, and finger pointing in order to act wisely in a timely manner.

Getting the job done is no excuse for not following the rules. Corollary: Following the rules will not get the job done.