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The EU added no special exception or a previous situation to go to.

This is simply the result of the courts interpretation of the law as it is and it applies to every search engine not just Google.


You can't just change your name everywhere.


andrewfong 8 days ago | link

Why not? People change their names all the time (e.g. for marriage or religious reasons), so there's existing precedence for this. During the name change process, you get a certificate of name change, so that helps with issues with bank account names, contracts, etc. Your friends and family may still refer to you by your old name, but that's generally not an issue from a "right to forget" standpoint. The only difference would be that the government would seal any records regarding your name change.

Changing your name is, at any rate, easier than making other people forget what you did last summer.


DasIch 8 days ago | link

In the US that might be the case, that doesn't make it so in other countries.

In Germany the scenarios in which you are allowed to change your name are all defined by law. While you are allowed to change your name for resocialization or as a protection against harassment, you can get search results removed for reasons that wouldn't allow a name change.

Furthermore changing your name takes quite a bit of effort, asking a search engine to remove search results is a much simpler process.


andrewfong 8 days ago | link

To be clear, my original post was normative. As a policy, the law should favor name changes over a right to demand Google remove a search listing.

> Furthermore changing your name takes quite a bit of effort, asking a search engine to remove search results is a much simpler process.

Simpler for you, but not for the search engine! Or for society as a whole. More to the point, it should not be easy to erase your name from the Internet. The right to be forgotten is easily abused, and it should be invoked as a last resort not the first.


DasIch 13 days ago | link | parent | on: Teenage Haskell

As a student of the TU Berlin myself, I feel that this has to be taken with a large grain of salt. In the first semester you learn one functional programming language, after that it's Java, C and MIPS Assembler.

The functional programming language is Opal, a language developed at the TU Berlin, it has barely any documentation, a compiler that only works on Linux and OS X, that is if it works because it has quite a few bugs, it further comes with a REPL that sometimes produces failures the compiler doesn't and tooling is non-existant.

So as a new CS student you have to learn using Linux and setup a development environment by yourself with barely any documentation to go on. You then continue learning only the very basics of programming such as what functions are, if statements, recursion, big O complexity, a little bit of parsing and though it's called differently: monads. At the end of the semester you then develop a renderer for a regular subset of HTML that includes only <html>, <head>, <body>, <title> and <p style="text-align: {left, right, center, justify};">.

On top of that the language has a couple of weird features: Every function can be used as any kind of operator if the number of arguments fits. This means that the parser has often problems figuring out precedence rules and you end up adding parenthesis around every expression just to be on the safe side.

Number literals also don't exist. There is a pre-defined set of functions which don't take an argument and produce a number such a 1-12 or so, n^10 for a few n, and a couple of 2^n for a few n. All other numbers have to be explicitly converted from strings. In practice this means you do the latter all the time so 1 turns into ("1"!).

Furthermore variables are defined by name and type. You can have two variables called foo in the same scope, if they have a different type and depending on how foo is used (Opal has type inference) one of the variables is chosen.

The prior feature is effectively necessary because Opal also doesn't have polymorphic functions. It has polymorphic "Structures". A Structure is file you can import, within that file you can define a set of variables that are polymorphic, the types of which are defined by however is importing it either explicitly or implicitly through type inference.

This is pretty much like how you might use the pre-processor in C to achieve polymorphism.

Have I mentioned by the way that a Structure is actually just a header like in C? In the Structure you only define the types of the API, the implementation is in a different file.

So a functions like map requires writing two separate files. Luckily it's in the stdlib.

Overall these features are fine, if everything works nicely but if you have an error somewhere, the compiler can emit massive difficult to understand errors, not unlike what a C++ compiler might produce for code that uses templates heavily.

The language and the choice to use that language is heavily critized by pretty much all students, functional programming however is not. In fact pretty much everyone would prefer if Haskell (which is the functional programming language closest to Opal) were used. The only reason it's not, is that the current prof for that class lead the team who developed the language.


mpweiher 13 days ago | link

We were lucky in that Opal wasn't ready yet. :-P But we were horrified by what we heard about it.

So we were spared that particular disaster, which was and is sold using the same "unquestionable superiority" rhetoric. Instead we dealt with Hope. As in "I Hope it will finish in the next 15 minutes". "It" being a 10-30 line program. Usually it didn't, instead producing a largish coredump.

Our Sun 3-50 diskless workstations didn't help, but hey, Turbo Pascal could compile + execute a hundred lines of code in a second or two on the Z80 card in my Apple II+, a computer with several orders of magnitude less CPU/memory than those Suns.

Later we also used another language, I think it was Miranda. That introduced us to the joys of type inference. Magical when it works, completely inscrutable when it doesn't, especially since you don't get feedback on the cases that do work.

The big problem here is not that the tools were buggy and the languages less than fully thought out, that is fine, if presented that way. The problem is the complete disconnect between rhetoric ("perfection", "everything else is steaming pile of manure") and reality (sort of the opposite).

In the meantime, tools have certainly improved a lot (ghc/ghci on my MacBook Pro are quite tolerable), but the disconnect between rhetoric and reality is still there, because everything else has also improved.

Consider Opal itself: an FP language (so one of the domains FP is actually good at) in active development for more than a quarter of a century by teams using magical, all-conquering, flawless-marvels-of-correctness-producing FP unicorn-technology by teams of programmers that are experts in said technology. And it is, quite frankly, a steaming pile of manure.

EDIT: Hope: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hope_(programming_language)


DasIch 12 days ago | link

Well you have to take into account the amount of effort, time and manpower spend on different languages and (in-)directly on different paradigms.

FP hasn't been given as much attention as imperative programming languages, especially not when it comes to the important last step of language development, which turns ideas that are nice in theory into tools that are actually convenient to use.

Java is a good example for how much that matters. The language is inelegant and makes it impossible to express yourself concisely nevertheless the tooling is incredibly good, so good that it makes up for quite a few surprises.

A FP IDE that for example shows you inferred types and type errors while you are writing the code, would already help a lot as it could much better visualize the problem, than a compiler that has to describe an error purely with text.

FP languages are not perfect, no language is but they have the potential to be much more powerful in lot of ways than imperative languages. Lisp is a good example for this although it's also a good example that such power can corrupt people to use macros in awful ways.

In any case when it comes to the rhetoric especially from professors, you have to take into account that they have spent their entire life specializing on what they are doing. Of course they are excited by what they are doing and even if they aren't they have a good reason to lie to themselves consciously or not because the alternative is acknowledging they wasted their life on bullshit. They are biased and that's ok, you just have to be aware of it.


mpweiher 12 days ago | link

Your make some good points, but I don't quite buy them.

Turbo Pascal for example was written by a single guy, Anders Hejlsberg, in about 2 years for several platforms in assembly language, and included an integrated (though primitive) text editor/IDE.

Smalltalk was taken from ST-72 to ST-80 in 8 years, with small teams that also had to invent/implement complete VMs, operating systems, bitmap graphics engines, GUI framework(s) and sophisticated IDEs. You write that it would be nice to have an FP IDE so it could give you better feedback (or were you talking about an existing FP IDE). These guys built the live IDE (even better than types for direct feedback) in a fraction of the time. Does OPAL still compile to C? Does it still use Tk?

Think about Ruby, Python, etc.

I could go on (the VPRI stuff is also amazing), but I think you get the idea: it seems that not only can you be a productive member of society without FP, it sure looks like people can be a lot more productive without FP than with it.

Java is not really a good example of anything. Certainly not of an OOPL: "Java is the most distressing thing to happen to computing since MS-DOS." "If the pros at Sun had had a chance to fix Java, the world would be a much more pleasant place. This is not secret knowledge. It’s just secret to this pop culture." — Alan Kay (who coined the term "object oriented")

I don't quite get why you see LISP as an example for the power of FP, it is a multi-paradigm language with some functional elements, and most of its power comes, AFAIK, from its meta-system.

And HOFs like map or fold have been in other languages since the dawn of time, they're certainly in Smalltalk.

In terms of rhetoric, Peter Pepper might seem like an outlier, but as far as I can tell he is not. You can see it in this very thread: if you don't buy the self-evident awesomeness, it must be because "you didn't understand" and "refuse to understand", it cannot possibly be because you legitimately have a different point of view.

Another example. I watched the following talk by Simon Peyton Jones on data parallel Haskell:


Interesting stuff. But he has to go and say it: "this is only possible in a pure FP language like Haskell". Hand raised in the auditorium. "Actually, this sort of thing is pretty common in the HPC community, in FORTRAN [under some specific name]". And of course he can't just shut up and read up on things he obviously doesn't know about, he has to retort: "well, that means that it is nothing but a variant of Haskell at this point". Ouch! And finally, at the end of the talk he gives some numbers. It turns out that this amazing thing that's only possible in Haskell needs 6 cores to match the performance of a single core C program. 6:1. That's absolutely pathetic, especially when compared to what the HPC FORTRAN guys are doing. So maybe he shouldn't be lecturing them, they know this stuff a lot better then he does.

Now don't get me wrong, the talk was interesting and thought provoking, but the mismatch between grandness of the rhetoric and the paucity of the results was its usual epically proportioned self.


You just transfer the money from your bank account to the bank account of the merchant. There are various methods to do that, I prefer giropay[1]. If it's a merchant you regularly use like amazon you allow the merchant to directly withdraw[2] the money from your account.

It's not like this is some weird highly advanced stuff. Surely that's possible in the US as well?

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giropay [2]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elektronisches_Lastschriftverfa...


chc 25 days ago | link

It is not generally possible to do this in the US. Amazon allows it, but most places do not because it's not a very in-demand service — using cards is safer and easier than giving out your bank information, so not very many people insist on the latter.


zxer 24 days ago | link

How could a bank transfer be less safe? I don't know the US system but if I give out my bank account number the only thing someone can use it for is to send money to me.

On the other hand if someone malicious gets my credit card number they can use it to buy stuff and I have to go through a lot of trouble to get a new card.


jauer 24 days ago | link

It's somewhat the opposite in the US. With your bank routing and account number someone can make out bad checks or EFT pull from your account. Halting or reversing this can be quite difficult and in some cases it isn't possible to get your money back.

With credit cards the liability is on the merchant that accepts the card to verify that the person presenting the card is authorized to use it. Card issuers will reverse charges and leave the merchant out the money in the event of fraud.


edwinyzh 24 days ago | link

Didn't know this...I'm not in the US.


chc 24 days ago | link

In the US, an account + routing number pair is basically the keys to the kingdom. Yes, it is kind of scary.


Division is a lot more expensive than the multiplication itself, checking the overflow flag after the multiplication - which OP critizes for being too slow - is going to be much faster than your check.


You do realize that you can't just change your name, right?


emiliobumachar 41 days ago | link

If the legislators want to give people the right to be forgotten, restrictions on name changing should be the first thing to fix, way before forcing a corporation to burn books.


mantrax5 41 days ago | link

I don't know where you live, but actually yes, you can just change your name.


DasIch 36 days ago | link

I live in Germany and changing your name here is only possible for a small number of reasons. If you have a normal name aren't marrying someone or are transgender and transitioning, changing your name is effectively impossible.


nilved 41 days ago | link

I've changed my name in Canada. Here, name changes are made public in a government newspaper. It may be the case in other countries, too.

To be more general, a name change doesn't mean anything when the change itself is recorded.


mantrax5 41 days ago | link

What is this thing you call "newspaper"?


judk 41 days ago | link

Only matters if some Nameoogle comes along and publicizes websites with name traslations joined in.


These slides look very interesting but aren't really useful without accompanying explanation. Is there a video of the talk/lecture by the author?


wfn 42 days ago | link

Well, fwiw this seems to be the last pdf/lecture from a total of 16: http://www.scs.stanford.edu/14sp-cs240h/slides/

Unfortunately there don't seem to be any accompanying notes/etc.


ndeine 42 days ago | link

The author covers a lot of similar material at his blog. http://blog.ezyang.com/category/ghc/


Actually I don't think low paying jobs will be replaced at all, they are actually often fairly difficult to replace.

All those middle class people working in offices though whose jobs in some way exist merely as a way to outsource tasks software isn't good at or can't really do? These jobs are going to be eliminated with better AI etc. pretty much entirely.

If anything software in the 21st century might reproduce the social effects of the industrial revolution. It won't necessarily harm the people who are already poor, it will simply create a lot more of them, shifting power to the people with the means to get a significant stake in the companies that will survive before that happens.


stormbrew 43 days ago | link

Do you have some examples of low paying jobs you think are hard to replace? There are definitely some service jobs that aren't paid a very high wage, but are in some intangible way preferred to be performed by a human, but they tend to just be the customer facing tip of a business that employs a lot of low wage people behind the scenes as well.

Ie. the person on the till at McD's might last longer than the person who listens for a beep and then raises the burger griller (they don't even flip burgers anymore, they just cook both sides at the same time in a contraption) and moves them to the warming tray, but that's only about 3 people in a 10 person shift.


altcognito 43 days ago | link

Oh man, you couldn't be any more wrong. They are already moving kiosks and mobile purchasing into fast food restaurants.


This is from 2011, so it doesn't seem like it's going terribly well.

It's difficult to automate the remaining steps in food prep (though it's possible and they are working on it) for a host of reasons. Food prep involves insuring that the food is properly loaded, set at the right temperature. There is a visual inspection of the food itself by the line cooks that probably would still need to be done.

It's cooked on no less than 2 grills, and 3 vats (fries, fish, nuggets are all usually kept separate), an oven, a microwave, bun toaster and pancake grill. That doesn't get into the host of drink machines, salads and non-grill items being made. Now theoretically, you can get rid of the warmers as there won't be a need to queue things (even this is not certain as margins are tight to be wasting money on idle machines just to handle peak hours). Also all of this equipment must be completely cleaned top to bottom -- in particular between the switchover from breakfast to lunch and vice versa. Vats of oil and grease must be dealt with.

Right now, minimum wage employees are pretty cheap compared to design and implementation of machines that can handle the breadth of most fast food restaurants. Most of the work of automation of cooking has been to do the work prior to sending it to the restaurant (precooked fries is one example). Lots of that simply can't be done without seriously sacrificing quality. I realize people think that McDonalds doesn't care, but they know boundaries they can push, and things like precooking meats apparently hasn't taken off much because it makes a terrible product and they lose sales.

It will be a while until you say goodbye to the two (maybe three!) cooks working for 9 or 10 dollars an hour making food. It will happen, but it's more likely to happen first at restaurants that offer a much, much smaller menu than the big fast food restaurants have right now.


Whether or not this program is effective is irrelevant to the question of whether the program should be used or even tested. You don't restrict someones freedom without a very good reason. This program fundamentally cannot provide any benefit that should make anyone even consider this as a reason.


You do realize that the EU is becoming steadily more "democratic" and especially this election is an important milestone for this process?

While there certainly is a problem in how democratic the EU is, they are steadily working on solving this problem.


beejiu 59 days ago | link

I think the problem is that the democracy is largely symbolic. For example, elected representatives are unable to propose legislation, they are only allowed to approve it. Only the European Commission is able to propose legislation, and that is an undemocratic body -- there are only 24 commissioners who couldn't possibly represent the views of the "electorate" in a fair way. They also have a mandate to act in European interests, which makes it difficult to legislate against further EU expansion and authority. It doesn't really matter that the EU president is a democratic position in these elections, because he or she really has no authority as far as the appointment of the 24 commissioners is concerned.


arrrg 59 days ago | link

But the governments appoint the commission. That’s democratic.

It’s one or two steps of indirection (and you could make a decent argument that two steps of indirection are too many), but that doesn’t make it undemocratic.

This indirection isn’t uncommon in democratic systems. For example, the German chancellor is only voted into office indirectly by parliament. She can then appoint any ministers she wants, no confirmation needed by anyone. No one would call Germany undemocratic.

The EU commission just works similarly, only that in its case elected governments are making the appointments, though they have to additionally be confirmed by the EU parliament.

I’m all for structuring it differently, but to call it undemocratic is just wrong. Its structure is in many ways problematic, but that’s nothing that can’t be fixed.

Yes, the parliament should get the right to initiate laws, of course. But your look on this is a bit too weird.


beejiu 59 days ago | link

Having 740 million people represented by 24 councillors is not democratic. Even if they are elected in "second order" by our elected politicians, one person could not possibly fairly represent its country's citizens. We already have a first past the post system in the UK, so this is essential the 'squared' form of that. The House of Commons has a mixture of different politicians and parties representing its electorate. The single MEP, however, only represents the majority government so there is no diversity of opinion in the commission. The definition of democracy is representation of the population, not representation of the 51%.

What's the point of having 750 MEPs if they can only approve sanitised legislation?


arrrg 59 days ago | link

Giving more powers to the parliament is not very feasible, since all the EU skeptics are against that …

I want it.



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