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Comment: Gardeners have already known this (Score 4, Informative) 67

It's been standard knowledge for home gardeners that growing just one thing (e.g. tomatoes or carrots) in a certain space makes it easy for the bugs that feed on it to find it, but if you mix things up then the pests are confused and less successful. To protect against plant-specific pests, put a variety of things together in your garden: flowers, herbs, vegetables. The good pollinators like honeybees will love it; the carrot fly and tomato hornworm moth will have a much harder time finding the carrots and tomatoes to land on and lay their eggs.

Comment: Match doesn't understand "smart" (Score 5, Interesting) 561

by CycleMan (#47321793) Attached to:, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses's press release includes a hilarious "heat map listing where the smartest singles live," by mapping where Ivy League grads live. Apparently graduates of Stanford, U Chicago, CalTech, UC Berkeley, Northwestern, etc. aren't as smart. More likely, they're just not as rich and historically connected to Daddy's alma mater.

Comment: Re:From the article... (Score 2) 339

by CycleMan (#47114945) Attached to: The Singularity Is Sci-Fi's Faith-Based Initiative

When I pointed this out to the other workers they laughted and said their jobs were safe for the rest of their lives.

Funny that is what I was told when I worked at GM on the truck line, now those jobs are gone. Not to another country, the robots replace the humans.

And if fast food workers succeed in asking for a living wage, I expect that their robot replacements will arrive faster.

Comment: Re:this is fucking bullshit (Score 1) 499

by CycleMan (#46870047) Attached to: You Are What You're Tricked Into Eating

it's uncommon to find cereals with less than 150 calories per 1 oz serving.

Not sure how your math works. At 4 calories per gram for carbs and protein, a 1 oz / 28 gram serving is ~110 calories. It's true for Count Chocula and for Special K both. You can't reach 150 calories unless the cereal contains 8 grams of fat, which is a pretty greasy cereal. More likely you're including the milk in your numbers.

Comment: Re:Ass time (Score 1) 499

by CycleMan (#46869925) Attached to: You Are What You're Tricked Into Eating

I agree that basic cable TV can be a reasonable expense, compared to other entertainment options. Taking a family of four to one movie per month can cost $40, depending on the details. At the same time, the extended packages with the premium sports channels etc. can approach $150/month, at which point it is clearly a luxury.

But if you can feed a family of four on non-organic food for $4800/year, that's 662 hours at minimum wage, or 13 hours/week. I don't take taxes out of that hourly wage, because a family of four that earns minimum wage qualifies for EITC rather than paying federal income taxes.

I would like to know if anyone is aware of a good training/education program (or book) to help folks understand how to cook healthy inexpensive meals that are not too complex (time-consuming) and decently flavorful. I think that would help bridge the gap, and I'd gladly get involved with such a program as my schedule allows.

Comment: Re:Sugar (Score 1) 499

by CycleMan (#46869739) Attached to: You Are What You're Tricked Into Eating

The author Michael Pollan has a simple set of 3 rules for managing your nutrition: 1. Eat food*; 2. Not too much; 3. Mostly plants.

* What he means by this is "real" food, rather than the "edible food-like substances" that constitute the bulk of the American diet. He has a simple rule for identifying real food: If you've ever seen it advertised on TV, it's probably not real food.

Since I don't watch TV, how do I know what is advertised on TV versus what is "real food"?

Comment: Re:want to figure it out BEFORE most customers pay (Score 1) 504

by CycleMan (#46812247) Attached to: Oklahoma Moves To Discourage Solar and Wind Power

Lets see them budget the cost of not having to build peaking plants and extra full power plants as renewables slow the need for growth. Accounting works both ways :)

In the long run, you're correct. In the short run, sadly, my local electricity company applies for a rate increase to cover the depreciation on an already-existing peaking plant that is not being used at full capacity. And it's not limited to electricity. When we conserved water due to a drought, the water utility applied for rate increases, because we were not using enough water. But when we use lots of water, do they offer us a rebate? No, I think not!

Comment: Re:Something wrong at the foundation - (Score 1) 504

by CycleMan (#46812219) Attached to: Oklahoma Moves To Discourage Solar and Wind Power

I don't object to a fair "base rate" that actually covers the maintenance overhead; seems fair to pay that even if you're a net seller to the utility.

That much is perfectly fine, but why should a customer who decreases his electricity consumption by, say, 5 kWh per day by means of installing solar batteries be treated differently than a customer who decreases his electricity consumption by 5 kWh per day by means of buying more energy-saving home appliances?

As I understand it, the problem (in my region, your mileage may vary) is that the base rate is NOT fair. It is artificially kept low, with kWh rates artificially inflated to cover that subsidy. In theory, on average the utility makes a decent rate of return while executing a sort of social justice that charges above market rates to big energy users and charges below market rates to the poor and elderly who use little electricity. Since the fixed cost of maintaining a system is so high, this was considered equitable. Anyone who moves from high-energy to low-energy is no longer contributing the "extra" that subsidizes the poor and elderly (or else goes into shareholders' pockets), and that is why the energy companies are upset. If we didn't have this wonky pricing structure, and everyone paid a higher connection charge (and lower per-kWh rate), it wouldn't be an issue.

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.

Counting in octal is just like counting in decimal--if you don't use your thumbs. -- Tom Lehrer