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Comment Re: But... (Score 4, Informative) 239

theres somthing called carpooling too which can help.

Good point, and indeed, carpooling is encouraged in Paris on smog days: although they ban half of the cars (those with odd-numbered license plates one day, even-numbered the next), cars that transport 3 people or more are exempt from the ban.

Comment Re:dates (Score 1) 497

The only safe way to deal with dates/times is to use a 64-bit int for milliseconds (UTC - always UTC). No time zone nonsense, not DST issues, safe to subtract to get a duration, easy to add a duration to, always the right answer.

Except every couple of years when a leap second occurs. (There will be one at the end of this year, BTW.) Using TAI instead of UTC may help, but conversion back to dates is harder.

Comment Re:Well for one thing... (Score 1) 254

They also provide Linux Mint Debian Edition, which is far superior, IMHO.

I also thought LMDE was right for my needs about 2 years ago, but I was very disappointed when I realized they didn't do regular security updates other than Firefox and Thunderbird. Specifically, IIRC, OpenSSL's "heartbleed" hole took weeks to be (partly) patched, and I didn't see any updates of LibreOffice, ffmpeg, libnss, apt and others when vulnerabilities were announced in them.

I switched back to regular Mint, which uses Ubuntu's security package repositories directly.

However, I believe the LMDE people planned to change their methods after Debian Jessie became stable. Did they?

Comment Re:"using the opportunity to suppress dissent." (Score 1) 248

Is the French government a known climate denier?

Not the current one. In France, the only climate change denier with any standing I can think of is a former Education minister (1997-2000), now completely marginalized.

I think the "dissent" aspect is actually some denier activists, and especially people proposing alternate solutions to whatever will come out of the governments' negociations. And perhaps, piggybacking on that, protests against nuclear energy, anti-capitalist activism, the usual. In fact, looking at a list of events (in French), I see that the canceled "protests" are in fact the Global Climate March events before and after the conference, and maybe a big free concert that was planned at the Arc de Triomphe. In other words, large crowds. The debates and other "alternative" events are still on.

I'm concerned about the government abusing the state of emergency, but this doesn't seem to be so much about suppressing dissent as suppressing any possible violence or civil disobedience. A better gripe would be the fact that they're blocking major roads and telling people to stay home on Nov.29-30, even not go to work if possible on the 30. Why on Earth are they not letting officials land in Le Bourget airport next to the conference center, and stay there and not bother anyone else?

Comment Re:Answers (Score 1) 77

keyrings [...] key derived from some set of hashes on machine-specific data, like hardware serial numbers. If you want to go hardcore, use a hardware encryption dongle (HSM).

I'm not an expert, but I'd be wary of storing passwords into a keyring that I can no longer open if some piece of hardware fails. Wouldn't a well-chosen master password be safer?

Comment Stop justifying SLS already, use many launchers! (Score 0) 77

The SLS is not needed, if only because the Falcon Heavy, perhaps even a super-heavy version, has a good chance to be ready before SLS.

Even better, stop relying on single launches of heavy launchers, and develop automated in-orbit refueling instead. A lot of the required mass is going to be fuel anyway; why not launch probes (or ships) with empty tanks on a parking orbit with medium launchers, and send fuel on several launches of small/medium launchers? Small launchers used often are bound to cost less in the long run than a heavy launcher that flies once a year.

On-orbit assembly could also work: either automate docking of the probe with separate fuel tanks or booster stages; or let astronauts assemble it at the ISS (with multiple launches, the penalty due to the ISS' orbital inclination can be overcome by sending extra fuel); or even astronauts at a dedicated short-term mini-space station made of a Dragon or CST-100 capsule docked to a SpaceHab or Bigelow module.

It's only a question of time before payloads (e.g. manned ships) outgrow even the heaviest launchers and require on-orbit work. Why not develop that right away?

Comment Not law yet (Score 4, Informative) 195

Only the National Assembly has voted; the bill must also pass the Senate. That said, given the multipartite consensus on it, there's not much chance that the Senate won't pass it.

You never know, though: given that the Senate is often deemed useless (in France, the Assembly has priority), sometimes it attempts to actually work on the bills, debate in more depth.

Also, the bill has been submitted to the Constitutional Council (which is unusual, before it's voted on). They too can veto it. We'll see.

Comment Re:I am wondering (Score 1) 295

independant workers who paid in the 100kâ - 300kâ range to get a state-regulated taxi licence plate. ....

Please show evidence/source of what you write here and where in the Euro-Zone those prices appear.

For Paris, I found at least one English source: If you read French, you may try Wikipedia or this article in Le Figaro.

Comment Re:I am wondering (Score 1) 295

what would happen if the cab drivers would also act as Uber drivers?

They'd lose their taxi license / medallion, which they may have invested over 200,000 euros in, depending on where they operate. The license price is dropping, though, with the arrival of Uber and similar services.

That's the basic problem: the government used to enforce a license scarcity that drove prices so high that taxi drivers now consider it an investment or a retirement package. It's very like a housing price crash, except that the government has a direct responsibility for creating this bubble and letting it burst. No wonder taxi drivers are angry.

Comment Re:The issue seems simple (Score 1) 295

The problem, if I understood it correctly (not a given as I know only the german taxi situation well), is that french taxi have some hoop and loop to go thru ( roughly translated says you need a licence, you need to not have been guilty of certain crime, there is some lessons you ened to follow). All costs.

What the page you cite doesn't tell is that the number of licences is limited, like taxi medallions in some US cities; you can get one free after a couple of decades on the waiting list, or you can buy one from another taxi driver who retires. In Paris, the market value of such a license is over 200,000 euros; in some other cities, it's even higher. However, the arrival of Uber and similar services are making these values drop.

So, when they speak of "families" left out to dry, they actually mean that they won't be able to sell the license they invested in, as they expected to. A bit like a housing price crash, except that license prices used to be kept high by a state-mandated scarcity. I guess taxi drivers are lashing at the government for not enforcing this scarcity anymore.

I don't really have an opinion on this subject. I think the government is at fault for letting people depend on a business model and then not being consistent. On the other hand, it happens all the time with any change in subsidies and policies. And blocking roads is definitely a step too far, but it's not the first time: the French administration has never been a good negotiator in that kind of situations; violent strikes have kind of become the default solution...

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