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Comment Re:Ungrateful krauts (Score 1) 606

In the EU the seller has to handle all issues and warranty claims, for 2 years.

And Amazon deals with warranty replacement so much better than any local store that any comparison is embarrassing: with the latter the only way to get service is often to mention that as a member of a consumer protection organization I won't have to pay for my lawyer. With Amazon, reporting that an underwater camera after 13 months is not working properly meant a full refund "since we are not carrying any more that model".
American customer satisfaction + European customer protection is the way to go.

Comment Re:TFA says that they can apply for relief (Score 1) 601

Whereas in most of Europe, sidewalk maintenance is considered the state's responsibility.

Construction maybe, but maintenance, certainly not. Case in point: In Luxembourg, residents are responsible for keeping "their" sidewalk snow and ice-free in the winter.

Here in Italy, the construction of a sidewalk in face of a new development is usually paid for (and built by) the developer. Maintenance could be up to the building owner for a number of years (it depends on the deal you stroke with the local municipality on the building permit) but is usually done by the municipality. In theory residents are responsible for keeping their sidewalk snow and ice-free, and where I live you can even get free salt in order to do that. In practice, either someone does it out of fun (as I do), or someone reminds the building manager that it would be him the one charged with criminal negligence in case sh*t happens.

Comment Re:Most Students Don't Cheat (Score 2) 264

When I was a graduate student at Brown in the 90s, we gave it as a fact that students would have been cheating in hw assignments, so that the largest part of the final grade had to come from written examinations. On the other hand, we had to give HW assignments some influence on final grade, otherwise most students would have skipped them. 5% sounded about right.

Comment Re:Maybe it's really family reasons.. (Score 1) 214

Sometimes I wish I lived in Europe where a 2 week vacation is not considered a bad thing.

In Europe a 2 week vacation is considered a bad thing: most people get three weeks in the summer. You are also required by law to take your vacation (usually 4 weeks) every single year, it cannot be exchanged for money.

Comment Re:There WERE computers involved, indirectly. (Score 1) 170

Indeed, even a rough reading of Tao's blog post shows that previous computer computations are an essential part of the proof:

The first refinement, which is only available in the five primes case, is to take advantage of the numerical verification of the even Goldbach conjecture up to some large (we take , using a verification of Richstein, although there are now much larger values of – as high as – for which the conjecture has been verified). As such, instead of trying to represent an odd number as the sum of five primes, we can represent it as the sum of three odd primes and a natural number between and . This effectively brings us back to the three primes problem, but with the significant additional boost that one can essentially restrict the frequency variable to be of size . In practice, this eliminates all of the major arcs except for the principal arc around . This is a significant simplification, in particular avoiding the need to deal with the prime number theorem in arithmetic progressions (and all the attendant theory of L-functions, Siegel zeroes, etc.). In a similar spirit, by taking advantage of the numerical verification of the Riemann hypothesis up to some height , and using the explicit formula relating the von Mangoldt function with the zeroes of the zeta function, one can safely deal with the principal major arc . For our specific application, we use the value , arising from the verification of the Riemann hypothesis of the first zeroes by van de Lune (unpublished) and Wedeniswki. (Such verifications have since been extended further, the latest being that the first zeroes lie on the line.)

Comment Re:What could be Kermit's most interesting legacy (Score 1) 146

But what I would really appreciate from columbia would be a clear and detailled explanation of what parts or "kind of parts" of kermit-95 and why ? cannot be open sourced ?

Just read TFA and follow links:
Regular Kermit 95 binaries can not be made openly available because they include cryptography functions whose distribution is restricted by United States export law. Kermit 95 binaries that include encryption (SSH, SSL/TLS, and Kerberos) will have to be purchased and licensed, as before. Single copies can be purchased from,, and other retailers. If the stock of shrinkwrapped copies runs out, Kermit 95 will continue to be available from in both cryptographic and non-cryptographic (safe for export) versions.

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