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Comment Re:This is so bizarre I'm not sure what to make of (Score 3, Informative) 228

And you’re not going to be able to stop a cook from opening the oven door on occasion ... But designers could prevent that blast of cold air by building a blower into the door frame that generates a “curtain” of air whenever the door is opened, retaining more of the preheated air in the oven. ... Designing one for an oven is trickier because the chamber is small and turbulent currents could do more harm than good. Still, it could be done.

Personally, I haven't found the occasional door-opening to be a big deal. It is discouraged for delicate foods like cakes. But clearly we need a complicated, expensive air curtain that either runs constantly or turns on in an instant. Nobody knows how to do it and it might be more trouble than it's worth, but Myhrvold is *sure* that someone (not him) will make it work.

Siemens solved the door opening problem in a simpler/smarter way with its liftMatic ovens. These are wall mounted ovens, and instead of having a front door, you push a button that lowers the bottom and trays. They're predictably expensive.

Comment Re:As a resident of Switzerland... (Score 1) 1216

I'm all for the initiative, don't get me wrong. The funny part is that inequality in Switzerland is a little different from inequality elsewhere: you have people making a lot of money, and people making an absurd amount of money. There's no actual poverty and exploitation. Pretty much every other country in the world would need this law more than CH.

Comment As a resident of Switzerland... (Score 5, Informative) 1216

I've been having plenty of discussions on the topic. It's funny, as Switzerland is probably the country that needs something like this the least. The median salary is around 75,000 USD, and although there is no global minimum salary in the law, there are sectorial conventions. The salary for a supermarket cashier starts at around $4,000 USD per month, but a gardener with technical training, for instance, will not earn less that $4,600.

It's also one of the few where citizens can change their constitution easily and directly, i.e. one of the few where this could ever happen. It won't happen this time (according to the polls), although many voters I talked to just disagree with the number, not the principle.

The BBC has a nice article on it, showing the minimum and maximum salaries, and of course the ratio, for a few major Swiss companies. If you want to learn more about the direct aspects of Swiss democracy, the federal government publishes some information in English.

Comment Re:It's called the key (Score 1) 1176

Modern lagunas are keyless; they use a keycard that either goes into a slot or works on presence alone, depending on the model. There is a start button but it can, of course, be ignored by software. Since it was modified for disabled drivers, I'm assuming this one has an auto gearbox as well, so your only option is the brakes, which might not be mechanical either.

Comment Re:Hard to feel sorry for her... (Score 1) 665

And according to her income breakdown (, music sales make up for less than 50% of her income. She seems to be doing very well.

Of course, this is a discussion about the royalties paid by streaming, which I guess is a separate issue. But, if it does help increase the reach of her music (and I guess it does), it may still be a great deal.

Comment Re:not about murder; about improper financial bene (Score 1) 291

It's not a cost issue. Many European countries won't give you a transplant because there is a shortage of organs. They will pay for whatever treatment you need, and they will (at least mine will) even fly you to Johns Hopkins if said treatments aren't available locally... They just won't waste a precious organ on someone who'll die anyway when it could be assigned to someone who will live to enjoy it.

From watching House (I know, very reliable information), it seems a similar system is in place in the US: the nature of the condition leading to the transplant, and any related conditions (e.g. being an alcoholic, in case of a liver transplant) do influence your place on the waiting list. That makes sense, regardless of how much money you have.

Comment Re:Non-Native Insight (Score 1) 322

And yet I often end up correcting academic/formal writing by college-level native English speakers, even though my own is far from flawless; a quick look through my carelessly written past comments will yield plenty of evidence. Just look at the sheer number of native speakers who are unable to differentiate between their and they're. Let's not even get into the would of. Do these people define English?

Of course, many others have a far better command of the language than I ever will, but nativism is overrated. I started taking English classes at the age of five, and nowadays it is my working language. Do you really think y'all in the good ol' States speak better English, just 'cause you ain't got no foreign passport?

Comment Re:EU wide? (Score 1) 290

They honour 2 year guarantees in Portugal, as does every other company. Under EU law, everyone in the supply chain has to. You can choose to go to the store, distributor, importer or manufacturer, and they all must accept the item for repair or replacement. Nowadays, stores often just give you a new one on the spot and then bill or sort it out with the supplier later. This is actually the first time I hear of something like this, and it makes me question Belgian consumer protection.

Comment Re:Yes (Score 5, Insightful) 1040

Making a ticket proportional to wealth is just discrimination. I hate it when people just want to penalize the rich for "being" rich. It's stupid and disingenuous to the debate over traffic safety.

It's not. The GP explained it quite clearly: the value of a fine is meant to dissuade you from performing the action leading up to that fine. If the fine is irrelevant when compared to your income, it doesn't serve its purpose. Flat rate fines *are* discriminatory, since they only affect poor people. Making them proportional to your income fixes that problem. Also, someone "rich" who gets fined isn't being penalised for being rich; he's being penalised for not obeying the law.

Case in point: some guy was fined around $1M a couple of years ago for speeding in Switzerland. His income is, presumably, many times that number. If he were fined $200, do you really think that would be a deterrent against future infractions?

Now, you argue that fines are not the way to go. That's a different discussion. Where I live, you get a fine and lose your licence for up to 3 years - there's a penalty that affects all income brackets equally (*). I like your community service idea even better. But your analysis of the fairness of income-proportional fines is flawed, and typical of the "oh poor rich people, persecuted by the evil society" mindset, so unbelievably popular these days (with GOP candidates, I mean).

(*) Well, at least on the surface. In fact, those of us with drivers will be less affected, as will those that can pay to take a cab anywhere they go.

Comment Re:Could this be it for ACTA? (Score 2) 61

If it doesn't comply with existing IEEE basic freedom protections, the ECJ will shoot it down. They have never been afraid to go against the comission, the parliament or a member state before.

Now, why is the comission referring it to the ECJ? They may be stalling in order get people to calm down, as other commenters suggested, although that would be a very risky maneuver. If you ask me, they're folding and trying to save face, by being the ones stopping it instead of having the EP kill it in a very public manner.

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.