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Comment: Re:So what will this accomplish? (Score 1) 143

by Rich0 (#48920371) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

But you did suggest they're doing this "so you don't have to", which has the connotation that they're doing us a favor. I'm pointing out they are only doing themselves a favor.

The whole point of a free market sale is that you're both doing each other a favor. You'd rather have a trip home than the money in your pocket, and I'd rather have the money in your pocket than the time/expense it takes me to give you a lift. It is a service industry even if it isn't charity.

Since we can't exactly force rationality into individuals, nor can we force buyers to not give their money away, the pragmatic solution is to limit what is considered a rational maximum price on sellers. If you as a buyer still choose to pay more, that's all you, man. Society already warned you.

How can a buyer choose to pay more if the government regulates the maximum cost of a ride?

Hey, if word gets out that people are willing to tip extra, you'll get your results of getting more drivers out there and more people getting home. So please, if you really believe what you're saying, go out there and leave those big tips yourself.

Tips are just part of the price if they're negotiated in advance. If they aren't negotiated in advance then they have no impact on the availability of the service. Nobody is going to go out in a storm hoping that somebody is going to be nice and give them a big tip.

Tipping after a service is rendered really doesn't make that much sense economically unless you're a regular customer (in which case you're really just tipping way before the next service is rendered, which is why it works). Having payment based on performance certainly makes sense economically, but only if both parties are bound by the agreement.

Comment: Re:Misdirected Rage (Score 1) 545

by Rich0 (#48920329) Attached to: Google Explains Why WebView Vulnerability Will Go Unpatched On Android 4.3

I would, and do, buy the nexus and sony phones. The nexus 4 is upgradable to Android 5.0, and the xperia z1 is still upgradable to 4.4.4 i think.

And the Nexus 4 would still be under contract if you bought it on a 2 year contract on the last day that it was sold. Let's see if it gets the next update.

That said, Google has been getting better. The Nexus 4 is the longest-supported Nexus phone to date. The previous ones didn't get any updates after about 1.5 years from their first sale.

Comment: Re:only trying to help? (Score 1) 143

by Rich0 (#48920273) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

Free market guarantees shortages that is it's function. What you are really saying is if you can not afford it, meh, fuck you, ha ha, die in the blizzard.

Not being able to afford something doesn't mean that there is a shortage.

And I'm not suggesting people that can't afford a cab should die in a blizzard. Free markets and socialism are orthogonal. You can have either with or without the other.

If you're going to die in a blizzard, then call the police. They won't charge you to respond, and if we're talking a really big issue then the national guard should be bussing people out of dodge.

There is also no need to have poor people in a free market. You can give people a basic income so that they can afford food, and then let the prices reflect scarcity, so if there is a big chicken shortage the poor people can just switch to eating hamburger. You don't have to keep the price of chicken cheap and then watch as every store runs out of it anyway.

Comment: Re:What's the difference between China and EU? (Score 1) 206

by manu0601 (#48920107) Attached to: China Cuts Off Some VPNs

On first point: I agreed the only power of the parliament was to reject a directive subject to codecision. That is thin.

On the second point, you misunderstand my point of view, which is surprising since it is quite common. I suspect you just do not want to understand alternative point of view on EU, but I will retry anyway.

I support democracy. Each treaty moves subjects from member state to EU, but there is still less democracy in EU institutions than in member states. At least member state MP can propose laws, something MEP still cannot do.. In my opinion, all moves we did to build EU have been regression of democracy.

In a nutshell, I refuse giving more powers to EU before it get democratic.

Comment: Re:Hear Hear! (Score 2) 352

by Rei (#48917379) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

Ah, Americans and their "mammoth snowstorms" - try living on a rock in the middle of the North Atlantic. You know what we call a snowstorm with gale-force winds and copious precipitation? Tuesday ;) Our last one was... let's see, all weekend. The northwest gets hit by another gale-force storm tomorrow. The southeast is predicted to get hurricane-force winds on Thursday morning.

Here's what the job of someone dispatched to maintain antennae for air traffic control services has to deal with here. ;) (those are guy wires)

Comment: Re:So what will this accomplish? (Score 1) 143

by Rich0 (#48915767) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

Since the national guard wasn't around to give people a lift, maybe we should offer additional compensation to the folks who take the risk of getting into an accident so that you don't have to.

I'm sure your local police, fire department, national guard, and other emergency services accept donations. Those are your "folks who take risk so you don't have to".

Uber drivers are "folks who take risk so they might make a buck". They're a company. They're there to make a profit. Remember Adam Smith on how we get our bread.

I'm not suggesting that they're motivated by anything other than making a buck (though the reality is somewhere in-between - workers are motivated by more than money).

The thing is, I bet that even with the price caps Uber drove a whole lot more people home than the local police department did. I bet that if prices were higher they'd have driven more people home (after all, the goal of the algorithm is to charge the highest price possible while utilizing drivers 100%).

So, if you want to feel good then donate money to the police. If you want to get home, then offer to pay a driver whatever they feel the ride is worth.

Comment: Re:The system is corrupt ... (Score 1) 177

I won't argue that governments created the cable monopolies, but network effects tend to create many others. What government action prevented anybody from buying an alternative OS pre-installed on their home PC without paying a fee to Microsoft in the process?

If you want to believe that monopolies are harmless you can do so. It really doesn't matter - corruption like the one in this article will ensure we never get rid of the government-sponsored monopolies let alone get rid of the ones I'd want to see go away.

Comment: Re:Well... (Score 1) 213

by Rich0 (#48915601) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

I suspect you could also use an unregulated trebuchet to launch something over a fence, or perhaps an unauthorized weather balloon with a payload to drop something on your neighbor's lawn from altitude. Or a slingshot (although those might be illegal within city limits). The notion of a serious "security gap" is farcical because any reasonably intelligent person could come up with a number of clever ways to outwit fences and exclusion zones.

Yup. If it is THAT important to protect the president's life, then he shouldn't be anywhere near a window or wall that isn't armored.

Comment: Re:Visible from Earth? (Score 1) 113

by Rei (#48915031) Attached to: Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble

A sun-like star is about 1 1/2 million kilometers in diameter. To blot out all light from such a star that's 10 light years away, a 0,75 kilometer diameter disc could be no more than 1/200.000th of a light year, or around 50 million kilometers (1/3rd the distance between the earth and the sun).

The brightest star in the sky is Sirius A. It has a diameter of 2,4 million km and a distance of 8.6 light years. This means your shade could be no more than 25 million kilometers away.

The sun and the moon both take up about the same amount of arc in the night sky so would be about equally difficult to block; let's go with the sun for a nice supervillian-ish approach. 1,4m km diameter, 150m km distance means it'd be able to block the sun at 800km away. Such an object could probably be kept in a stable orbit at half that altitude, so yeah, you could most definitely block out stars with the thing - including our sun!

Comment: Re:keeping station behind it? (Score 1) 113

by Rei (#48914773) Attached to: Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble

It makes sense. We can radiate individual photons for thrust if so desired. We can move individual electrons from one position in a spacecraft to another for tiny adjustments of angle and position if so desired. It seems you're going to be much more limited by your ability to precisely track your target than by your ability to make fine adjustments.

I think a much bigger problem is going to be isolating standing waves from within the shielding material from distorting its perfect rim (with a shield that big and thin, there *will* be oscillations from even the slightest thrust inputs). You need to isolate the rim from the shielding. And you also need to make sure that you can have a rim that can be coiled up for launch but uncoil to such perfection in space.

Tough task... but technically, it should be possible.

Comment: Re:No (Score 3, Insightful) 113

by Rei (#48914527) Attached to: Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble

I would presume that the bulk material in the inside has no need for accuracy, only the very rim. The question is more of whether you can have a coiled material that when uncoiled (deployment) can return to a shape with that level of accuracy. I would think it possible, but I really don't know.

I would forsee a super-precise rim with just a small bit of light shielding on its inside, deployed via uncoiling, and then attached to a much stronger, less precise uncoiled ring to which the bulk shielding material (and stationkeeping ion thrusters) are attached. The attachment between the two would need to provide for vibration and tension isolation (even the slowest adjustments in angle of such a huge, thin shield are going to set in motion relevant vibrations, you've got almost no damping - you want the structural ring to deal with those and not transfer them through to the precision ring). Not to mention that your shield will be acting as a solar sail whether you like it or not (unless you're at L2... but then your craft better be nuclear powered).

Your telescope behind it is going to need to do some real precision stationkeeping (either extreme precision on the whole spacecraft positioning, or merely "good" positioning of the whole spacecraft plus extreme precision adjustment of the optics within) . This means long development times and costs to demonstrate that you can pull it off before you actually build the shield. But I would think that also possible - just very difficult. If they take the latter route they could probably demonstrate that here on Earth, which would be a big cost-saver.

Comment: Re:So what will this accomplish? (Score 1) 143

by Rich0 (#48914509) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

If you are freezing to death and the only thing that can save your life would be using that check in your pocket for a million dollars, you would burn that check, in order to save your life.

If this were literally a matter of life and death then the national guard should be herding people onto trucks to get them out of danger, and shooting looters in the street.

Since the national guard wasn't around to give people a lift, maybe we should offer additional compensation to the folks who take the risk of getting into an accident so that you don't have to.

Comment: Re:So what will this accomplish? (Score 4, Insightful) 143

by Rich0 (#48914477) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

Correct me if I'm wrong, but in normal operation on a busy night you can see Uber prices surge up to 500% or more. If you want to see anti-gouging laws implemented like they have in New Jersey, where gas stations and service providers are not allowed to increase their prices during a disaster situation, go ahead and support Uber's right to surge pricing whenever they want it.

What a surprise that during hurricane Sandy there were huge lines in NJ and it was impossible to buy gas there. Maybe if they allowed prices to float people would have reconsidered the importance of their trip, but anybody with a need to drive could pay the $20/gallon to drive, or at least easily obtain enough gas to drive to someplace where it was cheaper (you only need a few gallons to get to an area not impacted by the storm). Also, if prices were higher you'd see everybody with a tanker truck driving east to fill up and offering the gas for sale at a street stand, which would provide far more gas to the region.

Instead it worked a bit like the USSR. If you knew somebody you could go buy cheap gas from FEMA, and if not you either stood in line all day long, drove 150 miles yourself for gas, or went without.

Comment: Re:only trying to help? (Score 2) 143

by Rich0 (#48914425) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

Exactly my point. They are only trying to make money for themselves, and if exploiting a disaster make them more money, they will do that. Yet here we have people (like the OP) trying to claim that they are 'ensuring there are enough drivers'. Bullshit.

Free market pricing is desirable BECAUSE it ensures that there aren't shortages. That doesn't mean that this is the primary motivation of the participants in a market.

When you buy a smartphone you're not doing it to reward some kid for studying hard to become an engineer, but that is the result of your actions all the same. The smart kid isn't building the phone so that you personally can have one, but that is the result of his actions all the same.

All the benefits of a free market tend to be side-effects, but they're benefits all the same.

What is the alternative, capping prices and watching everybody stay home, so that you're stuck freezing on the side of the street when nobody wants to go pick you up?

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.