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Comment: Re:"Unfair"? (Score 1) 362

by CycleMan (#46385881) Attached to: Google Funds San Francisco Bus Rides For Poor

It's not a "bus line". It's a point to point service that causes parts of SF to become artificially more desirable to Google employees than they would be otherwise, whose wealth is propped up by Wall Street investment patterns.

This causes those particular neighborhoods to have housing costs move out-of-reach of median incomes.

I disagree with your use of the word "artificially" as every human construction can be called artifice. There exists sufficient mass transit in SF that SF Googlers can take MUNI to the Google bus stop from wherever they live in the city. The bus didn't cause all the Googlers to move to SF and take over the neighborhood; the Googlers were already living there and driving / carpooling / vanpooling to Mountain View in some number of vehicles that exceeded the number of buses now on the road. Every driver should be cheering. Yes, the bus means that some Googlers will decide to move to SF. No, you can't always have everything you want, not as long as others have the freedom to do what they want. Change happens. It's time for cooler heads to prevail, and for the neighbors to get to know the Googlers, invite them to integrate as a part of the awesome San Francisco community, tutor some inner-city kids, encourage them to use their 20% toward solving some local challenges, and embrace the future. Because San Francisco used to be so good at that.

Comment: Re:Stop the emotion, use logic next time. (Score 1) 362

by CycleMan (#46385819) Attached to: Google Funds San Francisco Bus Rides For Poor

Silicon Valley has decided to offer them on a regular basis to tech workers as a job perk, thereby filling a glaring gap in SF's public transit system.

this so called gap is *because* companies built their "campuses" away from existing public transit infrastructure as it was much cheaper to do so

There probably was not a bus stop next to a vacant field before the campus was built. Because it wouldn't have made an ounce of sense. However, Silicon Valley public transit agencies perpetually revise routes and schedules to accommodate rider demand. Most or all major corporate campuses have at least one bus stop right beside them.

The hard part is that the Bay Area's geography and historical development focus are not based on high density and urban cores, but on preservation of open spaces, family farms, large lots, a car culture, etc. which all mean that people commute in all directions, a difficult thing for mass transit to effectively and profitably support. Development is helter-skelter around here, because whoever sells a large piece of low-density land sees instant high-density redevelopment, but the plot across the street remains low-density. Plus, the Bay Area is as many as 9 counties, each with their own transit agency, and multi-county routes are pretty much limited to two semi-linear rail lines, CalTrain and BART. A San Francisco to Mountain View bus crosses three counties, so no agency offers it.

Comment: Re:I don't get it. (Score 3, Interesting) 362

by CycleMan (#46385771) Attached to: Google Funds San Francisco Bus Rides For Poor

The difference is owning vs renting. If you own and prices double, you can cash out if you want to. If you rent and prices double, no soup for you. Maybe you pay the extra; maybe you move and take a longer commute and find a new daycare and relocate your kids to a new school and say goodbye to the neighbors you've gotten to know and love. It can be very disruptive to community and continuity, and I understand the concern.

50 miles south of San Francisco, there are discussions about whether the owner of a mobile home community can decide to sell the land to a big housing developer. The senior citizens who live there know that if he is able to sell, they'll have to move out of the area because there are no affordable alternatives, and good luck taking your manufactured home with you.

California adds an interesting wrinkle with its Prop 13, a 1979 law saying that housing values for tax purposes can only rise 2% each year if you don't sell your home and property tax is capped at ~1% of housing value, so property tax bills are pretty stable compared to other places. That law was partly to keep elderly from being pushed out of their homes by skyrocketing property taxes. However, properties are reassessed at market value upon sale, so if these folks have to move, their new home may carry a hefty tax increase without necessarily being any nicer of a place to live.

Comment: Re: "post-food consumers" (Score 1) 543

by CycleMan (#46050043) Attached to: 20,000 Customers Have Pre-Ordered Over $2,000,000 of Soylent

I for one would add "a cure for having to go potty" to that list.

Yes. Cure/speed the bodily excretions, nose-blowing included. And add a fix for showering/grooming. Would like a Dyson device that I could walk thru once a day and get fully clean in 15 seconds. I spend the time cleaning myself, and I think cleanliness is valuable, but I would like to save the time and spend it on sleep, or something enjoyable of my choosing.

Comment: Re:defeating public transit, insultation, privileg (Score 1) 692

by CycleMan (#46040941) Attached to: Protesters Show Up At the Doorstep of Google Self-driving Car Engineer
Private buses may be decreasing the number of public transit riders, but our local transit system is already 85% subsidized, which is about the highest in the nation. Almost none of the lines are profitable ever, before or after Google. So while I welcome more folks riding transit, and think that a public system that helps non-car-owning (generally low-income or student) populations to get around is a good thing, putting every Google and Apple and Genentech employee on the buses won't do much to the subsidy level.

Comment: Re:Thugocracy in Action (Score 1) 692

by CycleMan (#46040881) Attached to: Protesters Show Up At the Doorstep of Google Self-driving Car Engineer

How broad geographically is CTA/RTA's scope? I'm curious because this sounds like a completely logical and intelligent idea.

The main challenge I can see in Google's case is that these buses would run through 3 counties (San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara), each with its own transit authority, and CalTrain and BART are two additional transit authorities. There is a visible lack of coordination between these agencies, and funding is uneven. With one joint overall authority, greater alignment might be possible.

Comment: Re:Automated vehicles already exist (Score 1) 937

by CycleMan (#45910697) Attached to: Who Is Liable When a Self-Driving Car Crashes?
Apart from the airplanes, those situations are closed systems, where those who own the vehicles also own and secure the transportation surface. If something went wrong, there are fewer places to point fingers. Non-mass transit is about having a mixed-breed situation, with some automated and others manually controlled, on a roadway that is not owned by the vehicle operator, passenger, or manufacturer, on which non-vehicle humans and non-human lifeforms can appear as well. The options and scenarios that non-mass-transit vehicles need to consider are far greater, and the liability in event of an accident is much more complex to sort out.

Comment: Re:What about all the new jobs in the "digital" ag (Score 1) 674

by CycleMan (#45895081) Attached to: The Internet's Network Efficiencies Are Destroying the Middle Class

Wrong. Flat tax is a bullshit idea that benefits the rich the most. Money's value to an individual is logarithmic, not linear. Taxing a billionaire 10% and a homeless man 10% is NOT fair, and it's simplistic to think it is.

Which is why there's a flat refund element in there, so that the poor are essentially not taxed, or even given some money. This system would benefit them financially; today's Earned Income Tax Credit also benefits folks. Note that in the AC's post, there is no mention of deductions. Rich people can hire fancy tax accountants to guide them into tax-saving investment strategies with fancy deductions and investments. General Electric paid 7.4% of pretax income in taxes in a recent year; in all my working years, I've never been that low.

I'm not saying that a flat tax with a flat refund is perfect. I haven't thought thru all the ins and outs. Without the mortgage interest deduction, for one, housing prices would readjust. H&R Block and Intuit's Turbotax employees would be job-hunting too. But that flat tax would make the tax calculation, collection, and audit process a lot faster and cleaner. People could easily visualize what their taxes would be, and could use their free time to be productive, poets, painters, or just catch up on lost sleep. Which is valuable to both the poor working-class folks and the billionaires.

Comment: Re:KODAK is actually a good example. (Score 2) 674

by CycleMan (#45890305) Attached to: The Internet's Network Efficiencies Are Destroying the Middle Class

Back in Kodak's heyday, they employed over a hundred thousand people.

All of the companies you mentioned have at most a few hundred each. So the net employment is negative.

Folks love to point out at how well Google, Yahoo, etc.. are adding to the economy, but they only have a few thousand employees.

Being slightly pedantic, Google has >46,000 employees (as of Q3'13) and Yahoo! >12,000 employees. Even Groupon has >10,000 employees. Groupon! And that's without considering all the companies they contract with, which I know from their privacy agreements which tell me how all their subcontractors will properly handle my data. Your argument is stronger if you avoid claiming that these tech companies "only have a few thousand employees."

Comment: Re:bit of a tricky question with forums (Score 1) 171

by CycleMan (#45809143) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Getting an Uncooperative Website To Delete One's Account?

We can publish your Content in your neighborhood website or to nearby neighborhoods as described in our privacy policy.

they grant themselves an unlimited, irrevocable, non-exclusive license to use it

Almost. They specify where and how they will use it. Content written in Los Angeles will not show up in New York City. And the decision to post to your neighborhood website or to multiple (within a radius of a mile or so) is made by the user at the time of the post. This isn't nearly as awful as Facebook letting companies stick your name and face next to their product.

Full Disclosure: I use Nextdoor. I have my own issues with parts of it, but I overall like the product. And I did receive a free t-shirt from them last year.

Comment: Re:When did 91 out of 5000 become 91% (Score 1) 84

by CycleMan (#45773591) Attached to: Researchers Connect 91% of Numbers With Names In Metadata Probe
I RTFA. Since a quick free automated process resolved 27% of their 5000 records, they decided to see what a little human time and money could do. They sampled 100 of the 5000, and found data for 91 of them (91%). The sample might not be fully representative of the larger set, or of data in general.

Comment: Re:Yes. (Score 1) 1216

by CycleMan (#45505731) Attached to: Should the US Copy Switzerland and Consider a 'Maximum Wage' Ratio?

Even if this law were to pass in your jurisdiction and be effective immediately, think it over from another angle: Start a VERY small business. If you're the sole employee, then you can pay yourself 12x what you pay yourself. Your salary is now unlimited, which sounds like a recipe for success to me!

Humor aside, best wishes for the biz, the house, and the baby.

Comment: Re:People are bad (Score 1) 487

by CycleMan (#45466641) Attached to: Musk Lashes Back Over Tesla Fire Controversy

PBS and NPR are not saints, but I think they are better than the alternatives I know of. This Old House has product placements, but they're far more realistic than Extreme Home Makeover. All commentators have biases, but The News Hour with Jim Lehrer and BBC News tell me something of what's going on in Washington and globally, while my local station seems to drool over an individual car crash or apartment fire.

But you've piqued my curiosity: given the flaws in each of these, where/how do you get your news? Is it a scalable solution that I could start using? Ultimately I keep wanting to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of my information without subjecting myself to confirmation bias. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Comment: Re:People are bad (Score 1) 487

by CycleMan (#45465037) Attached to: Musk Lashes Back Over Tesla Fire Controversy

They make money by getting people to read their advertisements. ... It could not be different.

It could be different, but it would require us to pay the news services ourselves instead of asking someone else to do it. In business, the golden rule is "He who has the gold makes the rules." As a result, I get better (my subjective judgment) news from public radio and public television, because they don't need to drag out minimal news across four commercial breaks but can instead present more thoughtful in-depth material about things other than celebrities and tragedies.

"The greatest warriors are the ones who fight for peace." -- Holly Near