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Comment Merkel has good approval ratings (Score 3, Interesting) 321

She's number 4 on the list of most popular politicians in Germany. Her party is still 14 percentage points in front of every other party. 50% think she is doing a good job.(Source) Yes, there is a vocal minority that hates her and calls the media "Lügenpresse" or lying press and vote for the new right-wight populist party "AfD"(12%) but far more people either support Merkel's party (36%) or center to left-wing parties (22%+10%+10%). And this isn't just MSM, many of the federal states of Germany had elections this year and while AfD had impressive gains, it is nowhere near a majority anywhere.

Comment Re:Trivial to stop the abuse (Score 1) 184

Some weighting depending on area could be a good idea, but needs additional measures to prevent abuse. Otherwise consulting companies will apply for H1Bs in a cheap area with very low wages and then move people to silicon valley soon after the visa has been granted. It also seems a good idea to give more H1Bs to areas with higher wages as these often indicate real shortages. Stricter limits on working hours are also needed, otherwise companies will cheat the system by paying a high monthly salary that is actually a low hourly salary because of the insane working hours demanded. One potential solution for that issue could be rules that require paid overtime for H1Bs and allow workers to sue for their overtime payment even several years later.

Comment Trivial to stop the abuse (Score 5, Interesting) 184

It seems trivial to stop the abuse: Stop the lottery and replace it with a list ordered by salary and give the visas to the applicants with the highest salaries. This would make hiring H1Bs expensive and limit their use to hiring rare very talented foreigners.

At the moment H1Bs are broken: The lottery often prevents bringing in highly talented people, while it doesn't matter too much for companies that just want a random cheap semi-skilled person. They just fill a lot of extra applications to get enough H1Bs granted.

Comment Re: Nobody knows yet (Score 1) 165

Exporting cars to the UK will be fine, even if we go back to a WTO-type deal and tariffs need to be paid. Germany exports cars to many countries outside the EU after all. But building cars in UK will be a big issue, as most suppliers are within continental Europe and while the overhead is reasonable for something as big and expensive as a car it isn't if you need to import many small car parts. The UK is too small to build their own complete car supply chain.

Comment Re:Meanwhile the EU is saying... (Score 1) 315

Exports from the UK to continental EU are ~13% of the GDP of the UK, while exports from continental EU to the UK are 3% of the GDP of continental EU. The impact of a BREXIT without a replacement trade deal on continental EU would be large but manageable. The impact on the UK would be much more massive. Continental EU can afford to play hardball in the negotiations, the UK can't. The UK absolutely needs a deal. Continental EU could even benefit in some areas, if no deal is done, as many international companies and banks would move their headquarters from London to Paris, Frankfurt, Dublin or Brussels. While continental EU also wants a good deal with UK because of their own economic interests, they will still make sure that the UK will be significantly worse off than without a BREXIT to prevent the next exit. If the UK will not accept free movement of people within the European Single Market than access to that market will also be limited in other regards, e.g.: free-trade with goods, but UK banks will not get access to the remaining EU. If they accept free movement of people they might get the deal that Japan wants them to get, but they will be likely have to contribute more to the EU budget than pre-BREXIT and will have less influence on EU regulations and standards while still being forced to adhere to them.

Comment Re:But they pay more to the EU than they get back. (Score 2) 517

The paperwork is really not that bad. You need to report your results and how you spend the EU money. Other research project would generate a similar amount of paper trail. As soon as your project is greenlight, the amount of documentation is fair given the big amounts of money most project receive. The bigger issue is that to get your project funded you need to send in big and really well written project proposals and your chances of actually getting money are rather small.

Comment Re:The real reason? (Score 4, Informative) 381

The issue is that it can be perfectly healthy to eat around 900,000 calories a year, but if you eat just around 15,000 calorie per year too much, people gain 5 pound a year. That is less than 2% over target, but a weight gain of 5 pound per year, will easily cause significant issues in the long term. 15,000 calories a year is just 41 calories a day or about an half an apple every day.
People do not have to eat significant amounts of food to become fat, even tiny amounts of extra food can easily add up to significant gains. Without a closed regulation loop it is basically impossible to eat just the right amount of food. If people have broken internal regulation loop, they build their own regulation loop and permanently count calories and watch their weight to adjust the amount of calories consumed. Unfortunately there is a lot of noise in weight measurements and a broken internal regulation loop often tries to counteract external regulation. It seems that an unhealthy diet can damage the internal regulation. Gastric bands seem to help because they help to readjust the internal regulation loop and not just make it harder to consume a lot of calories.

Comment Re:Warning: Healthy At Every Size supporter (Score 4, Insightful) 381

I think the main issue here is that HEAS and fat acceptance people are overdoing it. Some people can be slightly overweight but everything can be fine health wise and try to force them to a normal weight is more likely to make things worse. There are also some complaints against "fat shaming" that are justified. Obesity is a significant lifestyle-based health issue, but there are many others such as smoking, lack of sleep, drug abuse, risky sexual behavior or being underweight. Shaming should to be fair: If people ignore smoking but are shaming slightly overweight people and claim that shaming is based on health concerns instead of aesthetics that is just bigotry or bad information.

A little big of overweight (BMI 25-27), especially with low levels of abdominal fat is not a big health issue, it might even be slightly more healthy than normal weight. Something like BMI 27 to 30 is unhealthy most of the time, but on average still causes smaller health issues than smoking. But many people are significantly fatter than that. They almost always have health issues caused by their weight and should really lose weight and could easily do so by swapping some high calorie count items in their diet with vegetables.

Comment Re:Thanks! (Score 4, Informative) 339

The german stellerator Wendelstein 7-X aims for up to 30 minutes of confinement. At the moment only a some very earlier tests have been done, that did not aim for long confinement but just to check that everything is okay with the installation. Wendelstein 7-X started operating end of last year and EAST started operating in 2006.
This chinese tokamak aims for confinement of up to 1000s and has reached 102 seconds of confinement after 10 years. At the end of 2013 they already had reached 30 seconds. Wendelstein 7-X will first do some experiments that do not aim for a really long confinement time, only up to 10 seconds. These experiments are planned to last about 2 years, after that they will install some additional equipment, that is planned to take 15 month. The chinese record should thus last for at least 3-4 years. But news from Wendelstein 7-x have been very positive, I would not be surprised if confinement works extremely well.

Comment Power Rating (Score 1) 138

This sounds like a good idea, however when using a 240V surge protector at 100V you need to consider the reduced power rating. The power rating is likely mostly an maximum current rating and the same amount of power at 100 V instead of 240 V uses 2.4 times the current. So if you need 150 Watt maximum power at 100 V, you should use a 240v surge protector rated at least 360 W.

Comment Questionable Results (Score 4, Interesting) 73

These results seem to be very questionable. Their graphs claim that in some configurations almost all 4k read requests are handled within 100 ns. But getting even a single DRAM burst from a random DRAM location already takes almost 100ns, even through the memory controller is connected with a much tighter interface, optimized for low latency and PCIe is much slower than DRAM interface. Even without overhead 4 PCIe 3.0 lanes ( 8 GB/s) can only transfer 8 KB per s. Transfering a 4 KB Block should thus take at least 0.5 s or 500ns and that does not include any overhead nor the time needed to actually send the request to the SSD, open the page from the NAND flash, run ECC and decompression.

Comment Re:BMI is a poor tool (Score 1) 425

It is a rule of thumb, but a very inaccurate one. If the BMI of someone is 30, it is extremely likely that he or she should lose weight. But if the BMI is 25-28, then it is very unclear. Depending on muscle mass, fat distribution, blood pressure, sugar levels, he or she might be perfectly fine and healthy or too fat. Some people with a BMI of 25 should lose weight, while others with a BMI of 27 are perfectly fine. So basically BMI does not tell you anything that most people would not know without the BMI. Someone with a BMI of 30 usually noticed that he or she should lose weight. BMI is helpful to people with body image disorders that think they are fat with a BMI of 18 or are healthy and just a little bit chubby with a BMI of 35. But normal people do not get much extra information from the BMI. Waist-to-Height Ratio is actually much more useful.

Comment 50 extra calories day are >5 lbs gain per year (Score 1) 425

Everyone can figure out why someone who is overeating more than 500 calories a day gets fat. But even if someone consumes just 50 calories (a small apple) each day too much, he or she gains 5 lbs each year, in ten years he or she can easily go from normal weight to obese. It is almost impossible to estimate both calorie intake and use to such a high accuracy.

Calorie counting only works because people will also constantly monitor their weight and adjust calorie intake accordingly. People can usually not get a stable weight by calorie counting. They will do classical bang-bang (on/off) control and constantly switch between eating a few hundred calories less than needed and eating a few hundred calories more than needed. That way calorie counting does not have to be very exact and still works but also causes stress. If calorie intake and use could be monitored more precisely people would not need to switch between two different states, but instead tiny adjustments of meal size would also work.

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It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".