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Comment OCaml (Score 1) 630

I learned OCaml first in school, I do not use it anymore, but it's quite nice. It's a pretty good way to start learning programming if you have a maths background too.
Then C, and that's when you really start missing some nice functional things like pattern matching, first class functions or type inference.

Comment Re:!Revolution (Score 1) 274

While you're definitely right that it needs some time to mature, I don't think 3D printing is something that is ever going to be widespread in the public.
Honestly, even if I could print whatever I wanted right now, I don't know what I would do. I have a need for one maybe a few times a year, not every day like for the internet, or phones or computers.
It's for professionals and some hobbyists, not the general public.

In the industry, it will be a revolution, and it's already happening. At my company we use them all the time for some rapid prototyping, but it's limited in capabilities yet. However if we could replace our expensive and long to make moulds with some 3d printed pieces, we could iterate so much faster and at a much cheaper price.

Comment Re:That's 129.2F if you're interested. (Score 1) 355

The use of pounds in France is greatly exaggerated, it's not used at all, or only by really old people.
The use of non-metric units still exists in some corner cases (like for horses as the article says), and when following "international" standards, which mostly have roots in the US.

A rather striking example is in aeronautics, where planes use feet and knots, while gliders user meters and km/h or m/s. Planes were mostly developed in the US, while gliders were an European thing (German really, due to restrictions on planes after WW1).

Comment Re:I know it when I see it (Score 3, Insightful) 527

I think what he was getting to is that there are no reasons for religious exemptions.
In the case of the beards, I assume from your wording it is still forbidden for some people, that doesn't make any sense!
Either there is a good reason to forbid beards, and no one gets one, or there is none strong enough, and everyone can have one.

Do you really think it is fair that someone from religion X or Y can have a beard, but not a guy from religion Z or a non-believer?

Comment Re:Useless against a swarm of cheap "wingman" dron (Score 1) 180

Depends on what you are trying to block. This will not work in a military situation with thousands of small drones, sure, but maybe it's not their market.
This seems more targeted at "peeping" drones, i.e. a single individual (or a few people) having a single drone each with some video equipment. So a few rather big, rather expensive drones. It might work.

Comment Re:Just use whatever the Germans do (Score 1) 315

While I agree with the rest of your post, I think you downplay a bit the support the US had among the French general population and the cultivated elites. Many in France saw the American revolution and its ideals as the logical consequence of the ideas that spread during the Enlightenment period. You just have to look at the "Declaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen" to see it's pretty much a copy/paste of the American constitution.
A non-negligible numbers of French aristocrats went to serve as officers or engineers in the US army (among others Lafayette despite the a king's decree preventing French officers to serve in the US army), positions which were sorely lacking. Many others were turned down because they did not have any valuable skills or did not speak English. (Villanueva, The French Contribution) That was when it took 2 months and considerable money to cross the Atlantic.

It's certainly not the main reason why the French's king allied with the US, but I do think it played a role in the level of support the French provided.

Comment Re:Delivery to your BACK yard. (Score 1) 177

I guess they expect most people to be there to get the package since it's pretty much instant.
You could place the order at work during the lunch break to have it in the evening when you come home, but in that case you might as well place the order before you leave work, and be there on time or close enough to get the package.

Comment Re:#prayforparis (Score 2) 728

I don't want to get to get into a theological argument, but just a quick answer to the last part of your message.

That's more or less Pascal's Wager, mixed with some "Is God good if he lets innocent people suffer?".
There was a philosopher we studied (sadly I forgot his name) that made the case that despise there are children being crippled and dying, among others, God was still good. His argument was that God wasn't interfering not because he will evil or impotent, but because of free will. Actively interfering would interfere with the free will he had given to mankind.
I do think this is an incorrect argument (why does something like polio exists, and if it exists for a purpose why are we allowed to eradicate it through vaccines?), but for the sake of it, let's just go along with it.

If God does not want to interfere because of free will, he will not in this case.
If God is impotent, then even if he wanted to do something he could not.
If God is evil, or at least does not care about humanity, he has no reason to act.
We have no reliable proof that God ever acted to prevent evil, there's little reason reason to believe he will start all of a sudden. So praying to God, even if it exists isn't going to change anything.

If by God's mercy you meant salvation after death, like going to Paradise or whatever, it gets a bit complicated. Those people that were killed were drinking, listing to music and probably doing a lot of things forbidden by the bible in the first place. Is being savagely killed by fanatics a good enough reason to be given mercy? And are prayers going to change anything, like God saying "I was going to send him to hell, but John prayed for him so I'm gonna change my mind."? That does not really go with the belief that God is omniscient.

To sum it up, praying seems pretty useless to me. It can help people deal with the situation at a personal level, but it's not going to help the dead.
On the other hand, praying goes in hand with faith, and putting faith above everything. The same faith, no matter in what it is, or how misguided it is, that convinced the guys to go and blow themselves up.
Maybe if we had less faith in the world, and more rationality and thinking, this kind of things would not happen. I think that's the message the Parisian wants to convey, let's battle blind faith with something more than more faith.

Comment Re:#prayforparis (Score 1) 728

I don't know how it is calculated, but it is certainly wrong.
Lots of people have been baptized, mostly by tradition or because they parents were religious, and have some christian religious education, but end up being non believers. They're probably considered Christians.

As per Wikipedia: "In France, about 12% of the population reportedly attends religious services more than once per month. In a 2003 poll 54% of those polled in France identified themselves as "faithful," 33% as atheist, 14% as agnostic, and 26% as "indifferent".[66] According to a different poll, 32% declared themselves atheists, and an additional 32% declared themselves agnostic."
That was more than 10 years ago, I think I saw a poll a few years ago that put atheism at about 40% but I can find it anymore.

From personal experience, as far as I can tell I have quite a few Muslim friends that practice at least somewhat, a couple of Jewish friends and one single Christian. I know it is just an anecdote, and I am in a heavily biased environment towards faithlessness, but still, it's nowhere near 80%.

As for the GP, I totally agree with this. You can pray if you want, I'm fine with it, that's personal. But answering religious fanaticism with more religion does bother me a bit. I'd rather you think and feel rather than pray.

Comment Re:Does any one care? (Score 1) 450

Probably because it's hard to link a suicide to a specific cause. And even if it is (eg someone left a message to his spouse), the reason is probably not going to get out often.

Also, other factors on top of my head that might influence it:
-not every wife is going to want to check the list, and I guess most people would commit suicide only once they've been discovered.
-it's not really easy to access the list, I think you have to download it from some torrent. So to be discovered you need a wife who has a doubt and want to have a look, plus have the knowledge to do so.
-some of the accounts are probably fakes.
-there's the "easy" excuse of "someone else created an account for me! I think it's that guy at work that hates me". It's probably true for quite a few people too, it's an attractive target for a revenge/prank, just like gay porn websites. I think Obama's email address is in the dump for instance

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