I'm not a wine buff, but I've found that Australian, Chilean, South African and Californian wines are generally both better and cheaper than French wines.
In France this doesn't hold. Well, that depends on the region, Bordeaux and Bourgogne are horribly overpriced here too. But don't blame the French, it's the same brand obsessed consumers that think that French wine is automatically better just as they prefer their nike shoes. In the end it's the markets that set the prices, not the snobs.
Stock markets for efficient allocation of capital, sure. Derivative markets, that's questionable, and in some cases downright laughable.
There are many different kinds of derivatives. Some of them are very useful. For example, futures are very useful in farming where it gives relatively small producers a way to insure themselves agains e.g. bad weather.
That said, contracts that would now be called futures played a big part in the tulip market crash in 1637. But they needn't be bad, just because they can be abused
There will always be yet another competitor that would happily sell and profit in the European market(s) should the competition die off. This is basic economics, but I don't expect more on Slashdot.
Actually, it is one of the assumptions of quite a few economic theories. One that, if you ask me, is stretched all too often. For example chip markets are far from ideal, lots of government involvement (subsidies), institutionalized cartels (patents), and sky-high entry barriers.
Go ahead, 'just' start another competitor. After all, if the others are fixing the prices it shouldn't be too hard to compete.
The Chinese are a resilient people who have dealt with many more huge changes than any Western culture can fathom.
Although I understand where the sentiment comes from, the statement is utter nonsense. Your point would be better served by leaving it out. I don't want to argue whether 'western' culture, whatever that might be, has seen more or less changes over the last few thousand years. My point is that comparing the histories of ill defined societies by equally unclear measures, is not helpful in any way.
It should suffice to say, that 'the Chinese' peoples have proven to be quite adaptable in the past, and there is little reason to assume they would be different now. Besides, China is currently undergoing enormous changes on pretty much all areas, except perhaps in the political system.
I think many programmers/managers would be better off with less statistics.
That's a good point. Perhaps the half baked attempts at universities and colleges to teach CS students statistics, only gives the poor graduates the misguided idea that they know statistics.
I for one had a single statistics course, which was barely enough to get acquainted to the concept of chance. Yet I still fail to grok what a 25% chance of rain tomorrow is really supposed to mean. Yes, a chance of one fourth of rain, or in one out of four cases it will rain. That's very nice, but should I take my umbrella?
... I'm not sure about the ESA but it seems kinda tiny when compared to NASA and the Russian space agencies.
NASA at a current budget of $17.6 x 10^9 is indeed much bigger than ESA's tiny $5.03 x 10^9 budget. But ESA is not tiny, the Russians are really having a hard time with a budget of only $2.4 x 10^9. Not very suprising given the state of their economy.
That said, in terms of past accomplishments ESA is tiny and is unlikely to ever catch up to either the Russians or the Americans.
I've read some german students go for loooong periods without a job- just living on welfare with no prospects to succeed. That has to wear at you after a while. But once you finally get a job, you are apparently set.
While not completely wrong, your statement does seem to skew things somewhat. People in Germany, and Europe in general are quite spoiled from the American perspective.
Practically all students will be able to find some work right after graduation. However, a job in the area of interest, at a location nearby, and at a good salary will be harder to find. So one would have to accept a less than ideal job, or god forbid, start something on their own.
Since most welfare programs in Europe do not require people to under employ and or take a job far away from home (> 100 km), one can afford to be relatively picky. For single person households, welfare is not that difficult to live off (depends on the rent I suppose).
On the other hand, the stigma of unemployment is no less grave here as it is in the USA. Also the inflexibility of the labor marked is such, that it might be better to wait for a job at the right level of education, than be underemployed. For example, it can be harder to find a job at your level once you've accepted a lower-grade job. As a matter of fact, as a recent graduate myself, I do not know any student that has accepted welfare, even if they could not find a proper job for a few months.
Note that all this is changing. Especially in the last few years before the crisis it was hard to justify the bill of welfare given the large number of vacancies. Maybe the crisis will slow change in the labor market, but I doubt it. People have not been moving to the political left in any case.
As always, industry is changing faster than public policy: I can assure you that practically no one will be able to find lifetime employment in his or her first job. Life-time employment was a luxury of the post-war generation that, even in Europe, has ceased to exist outside government circles.
It is in no way fair to compare PyPy, a compiler that actually implements about 95% of Python and is meant to be a drop-in replacement for CPython, to Shed Skin, which only works for specially tailored Python programs.
Also, the funding of PyPy wasn't cut off as you put it. The EU hands out money for research projects with a deadline (usually 2-5 years), not to deliver a marketable product.
Don't forget that, as opposed to CPython, PyPy is primarily a research project meant to explore new compiler and VM technology. This means that most of the developers work on their own extensions, rather than the stability of the core compiler.
That is not to say that your comments are completely unwarranted. Perhaps their development process is not particularly suited to the development of a compiler/interpreter.
Oh and by the way, having built an incomplete Python interpreter myself, I have deep respect for both the people of PyPy and the developer of Shed Skin.