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Comment let the punishment fit the excess kinetic energy (Score 1) 760

It would help focus peoples' minds on the harmfulness of speed if, rather than setting arbitrary thresholds, the fines were proportional not only to income, but also to the excess kinetic energy of the vehicle:

Ek = 1/2 . m . v^2

Kuisla was doing 65 in a 50 zone, so his "kinetic tariff" would be (65x65) - (50x50) = 4225 - 2500 = 1725 units. (It's the exponential nature of the velocity squared factor that yields the disincentive, but, by all means introduce the weight of the miscreant's vehicle too)

This would be a rational way of reflecting the a) the risk of injury in the event of a collision; b) the undesirable environmental effects (noise, gaseous emissions), both of which rise exponentially with the kinetic energy of the vehicle.

This kinetic tariff can then be applied to income data to calculate the actual fine for the individual.

Comment A practical DoS attack on the web (Score 1) 396

The choice about whether or not to encrypt traffic should be left to each website's administrator. Many sites--shock!--use the web to disseminate information they wish to be public, and the site's users have no problem with their access to it being public either. So get out of their faces! Using the browser to deprecate admin's particular choices is contrary to the spirit of the web, which should always do its damndest to serve something, and degrade gracefully when it's in difficulty, not pop annoying dialog boxes in the user's way.

Self-certificates are already a fairly effective denial of service attack when Firefox is used to access many independent sites that try to implement https, but who fail to do so in a way that offers a smooth user experience to J. Random User (I'm thinking particularly of IndyMedia).

Please note: in China, the censorship does not rely on blocking everything; just on blocking enough that all but the very motivated fail to access it. This troublesome minority can presumably be picked off at leisure later.

Keep it simple, stupid!

Comment President was educated to do his job: it shows (Score 5, Interesting) 139

yeh, the French know that sacking the public sector in times of crisis does not help the economy; quite the reverse in fact. M. Hollande is old school ENA (Ecole Nationale d'Administration) which turns out highly-educated senior French bureaucrats and politicians, who, whatever else they may be, are not daft.

Comment Seed bank? Bah! Apocalyptic spectacle more like (Score 3, Informative) 115

A single seed bank like this doesn't make any kind of biological sense. It is remarkably unlikely to be useful in the event of catastrophe: it's a long old road up there to Norway to replenish stocks of some ancient carrot variety from most parts of Europe.

If you actually wanted to guard biodiversity, you would encourage social networks of gardeners to replant varieties each season and share the ensuing seeds. The French organisation Kokopelli does this, but seems to suffer from legal harassment rather than incur the subsidies it would receive in any sane world.

An analogy for the slashdot crowd might be Napster (centralised) vs. BitTorrent (distributed).

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The University of California Statistics Department; where mean is normal, and deviation standard.