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Comment Meaningless (Score 1) 519

"Solving" the problem centrally is meaningless, because you cannot know, for example, how much more I would enjoy an extra set of forks than you would enjoy a spare bicycle tire. Only the people involved in the outcomes can negotiate this directly, as peers, to determine a mutually-agreeable answer. An algorithm cannot do it in their place.

Comment Re:Get ready everyone with anything (Score 1) 189

The deficit caused by these big corporations

Haha, nope. However much money politicians get, they'll outspend it, because they benefit politically from it, because they (still) can borrow on the taxpayers' back, and because they don't pay the consequences themselves.

Also, french here, and it's pretty transparent that the Ministère des Finances going after Google is little more than maybe-legal attempted extortion. It's a mediatic coup destined mostly for french voters, in preparation for the coming presidential elections next year - Hollande has been spending a lot on taxis, journalists, students and more, to ensure their loyalty, and now he's pushing for this as a rally attempt on his own left. This is his strategy to eliminate all competition in advance of the election.

But it's a compromise: it favors the national scene over the international. France has lots of tax agreements with other countries where Google pays its taxes, and going after putative billions like this is seriously endangering those agreements, risking a major disruption of international business. French companies which do a lot of their business abroad could be the eventual victims of this hubris. We have our own tax shelters and fiscal niches, enough to call France a "tax haven" for specific categories of businesses and people, and other coutnries ho'd rather see Google's millions go to their own Treasury might take a hint.

Comment Reverse-ageism here (Score 1) 561

I'm "only" 36, but only now finally coming to a point in life where reverse-ageism isn't so much of a plague anymore. You see, I'm cursed with looking younger than I am. Like, much younger. As in if I shave I can sneak into high school and not look out of place among the kids.

For illustration, the last door-to-door salesman I saw asked me if my parents were home. Also my wedding was briefly interrupted by a nice lady who thought I was underage (I was 30 then). It's been slowing my career for more than a decade now. I'm systematically passed for promotion because I'll "get [my] chance later" apparently. As for leading projects ? It seems people who merely look older than me would object to being managed by someone who is actually older & with more experience but who does not look the part. While working in big corp I got confused for an intern several times (err no sir I'm the on-call engineer who's been maintaining your critical 30M-subscriber services the last couple years).

Fortunately it's happening less often now. I think I'm finally at a point where I look still enough like the "fresh blood" but with the decade+ experience and accumulated references they think they need as justification (or future plausible deniability ?) for hiring anyone.

Comment Good riddance (Score 4, Informative) 126

Even a passing interest in genealogy will teach any European how massively deadly malaria and influenza have been for their grandparents and great-grandparents. Malaria has killed half of every human being ever, it used to kill millions out of every generation in Europe even in the XXth century, until large-scale efforts at drying out swamps and massive DDT campaigns successfully curbed mosquito breeding to a point where the parasite couldn't spread and renew its carrier pool anymore.

Comment Re:This must be why paternity tests are illegal (Score 1) 282

Surely if cuckoldry is so rare, then there is no need for these laws.

Hmm, it seems you are confusing actual cuckoldry, and suspected cuckoldry. The stated point of those laws is to address complications from the latter, not the former.

As for my country's stance on those tests, it stems more from a rejection of genetic testing in general as an invasion of privacy, than specifically paternity issues. For instance, it's widely believed in France that 23andme's services are illegal (even though they're not). The Loi n2007-1631 du 20 novembre 2007 which covers the use of genetic markers only bans the identification of someone else from their DNA without a court-issued mandate, but some people have taken to interpret it as a ban on any form of genetic testing.

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In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982