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Comment: Indirect tax (Score 4, Insightful) 462

by jlar (#47079497) Attached to: Fiat Chrysler CEO: Please Don't Buy Our Electric Car
This is in effect an indirect tax. Buyers of non-zero emission cars are effectively paying for the loss that automakers make on the zero emission cars. It would be much more honest to tax them directly instead of letting the auto industry act as an intermediary. But then again: taxes and honesty are probably not words that one should use in the same sentence.

Comment: Re: False premise (Score 1) 379

Could you please document that older people call in sick more often? In my country it is actually the other way around. Young people tend to call in sick more frequently than middle aged people. And I have the numbers to prove it:

Comment: Re:When is python going to support parallel proces (Score 1) 242

by jlar (#44615941) Attached to: Interviews: Q&A With Guido van Rossum
If you want to avoid the overhead of spawning new processes you might want to look into IPython Parallel:

If you use that you can keep your "engines" (= processes) running to avoid the overhead of spawning processes. But the inter-process communication will still be slow (I believe they also use pickling) unless you use MPI for communication (which limits the datatypes that you can transfer and adds some extra programming overhead).

Comment: Re:When is python going to support parallel proces (Score 1) 242

by jlar (#44611501) Attached to: Interviews: Q&A With Guido van Rossum
But spawning processes is very slow. And more importantly communication between processes means pickling and unpickling objects which in my experience can be a showstopper due to the performance penalty. I guess this is a consequence of the fact that the multiprocessing module is very general and can run on several nodes. So my question is:

Will Python get a fast parallellization module for CPU bound problems on shared memory architectures?

Comment: Re:First and third (Score 1) 290

by jlar (#44386279) Attached to: My NSA-induced paranoia level:
Get your quotes straight (there are multiple versions of the "first they came..." story but none with muslims:-):

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Catholic.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Comment: Re:Bad P/R (Score 1) 467

by jlar (#44183141) Attached to: BART Strike Provides Stark Contrast To Tech's Non-Union World
"For one, they've failed the address the perception that unions protect lazy workers at the expense of the productive ones."

That is not a perception but a fact. And at least in my old union they did it openly. I was employed at a public institution where part of the salary was fixed (based on seniority) and a minor part was individual. The individual part is however not negotiated between the employee and the employer but between a union representative and the employer (also for employees not in a union - effectively forcing people into the union). One of the negotiation tactics that our union representative used was to deny productive employees that the institution wanted to reward any increase in wage supplements since the union wanted the money spent on the low productivity employees.

Fortunately I left that workplace for another workplace where the unions are much less influential.

Comment: Re:What is it I am supposed to learn? (Score 1) 141

by jlar (#43779719) Attached to: What Professors Can Learn From "Hard Core" MOOC Students

"I guess eventually a lot of professors would be too if they were to release texts or videos and compete with one another."

I believe that this is why the top universities are betting on this. My expectation is that the top universities will provide cheap education for the masses in the future. In other words: The MOOC revolution will be similar to how TV took over from movie theatres.

Second tier universities will simply disappear or the professors will be relegated to teaching assistants for the top professors. Or more likely: Second tier universities will play another role as meeting places for students taking courses from the best universities - and possibly with the professors as TAs. Or they will have to concentrate on areas where they can compete with top universities. I am happily looking forward to this development.

Comment: Re:This thought crosses my mind a lot. (Score 3, Insightful) 808

by jlar (#43749533) Attached to: Rice Professor Predicts Humans Out of Work In 30 Years

"You could have said the same thing about mass production, and predicted that the world would still be full of serfs and slaves 200 years in the future, but you would have been wrong."

But the problem is that until now technology has generally acted as a productivity multiplier for the general population. What will happen at some point is probably that humans are in fact not needed any more. And we will therefore only be able to earn money by capital investment (in non-human based production). And that will have a tremendous effect on the distribution of wealth in the World and will probably lead to revolutions and worse.

Comment: Re:This thought crosses my mind a lot. (Score 1) 808

by jlar (#43749507) Attached to: Rice Professor Predicts Humans Out of Work In 30 Years

Robot (with RMS's voice): Dave, please don't use the term "open source" or I will have to restrain you and read the GPL for you until you repent. And if that does not help I will force you to use emacs until you learn to say "free software".

(although I am a vim user no flamewar is intended)

Comment: Re:Well, with a lot of differences (Score 1) 484

by jlar (#41360735) Attached to: Google Blocks 'Innocence of Muslim' Video In Indonesia and India

I agree. In a historical context small girls were probably given away (sold) as spouses in Arabia. And that is history. But all islamic schools insist that the behaviour of Mohammed is perfect and should not put into a historical context. And that is exactly my point. It is good that the parts of the life of Mohammed that are totally unacceptable in the world today are drawn into the clear sunlight. It must be made clear that if muslims want to live in harmony with the rest of the World they have to abandon the notion that the Quran is perfect and is not part of any historical context.

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