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Comment: Re:Presbyopia (Score 1) 450

by Eric Green (#47528799) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

This is pretty much my calculation. I don't swap glasses, I use progressive bifocals (the newer ones which have multiple focus zones rather than being totally continuous so that you can pretty much always have your workpiece in focus). Even if my vision without glasses was 20-20, I'd still need progressive bifocals, since I need multiple focal points to deal with my daily work (focus point for viewing computer monitor, focus point for viewing iDevice in my hand, focus point for viewing the speedometer in my car, focus point for dealing with tiny screws in computer cases, etc.). Given that, what's the point? I still end up needing glasses, I just add a bit of needless risk to the equation too.

Comment: Re:Just wow. (Score 2) 105

I love how pretty much every country has come to the same conclusion: We can bypass our own laws if we have someone else do it for us.

There's nothing surprising in this. Most countries hire consultants and advisors from the same international legal/accounting firms, who themselves have been trained in the same schools of thought, and often the same universities. The international ascendancy is mostly a mono-culture.

Comment: Data is Unsecurable (Score 4, Insightful) 41

Perhaps it's time for companies to realise that they cannot keep data secure. That they will never be able to build, much less be willing to pay for, the security required to keep this information under any kind of seal.

Perhaps it's time for companies to ask themselves: "Do we really need to store this?".

Comment: Re: user error (Score 1) 708

by greg1104 (#47461865) Attached to: People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

The important part is not the physics, fundamentally this is a statistics problem across some population. "heavier cars are safer than lighter cars in equal-mass collisions"...right, but that also means the heavier your car, the less cars you'll encounter on the road that are heavier than you are. The person in a 90th percentile weight vehicle drives in a world where they are on the better side of a head-on collision 90% of the time. And because of that, you can't transplant cars from a vastly different weight distribution population and expect the same safety results for them.

The Autobahn does put speed limits on larger vehicles like buses and trucks, to try and limit the worst of the high mass + high velocity combinations possible. That's far easier to do than something like parallel roadways.

It's also worth noting that most of the traffic on the specific chunk of US highway I referenced (I-95) has roughly the same car fatality rate as Germany. There's a handy chart comparing Autobahn safety that breaks things down per-state in the US. The best US entries on that list overlap heavily with the busy parts of I-95. Delaware, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, New Jersey, New Hampshire, those are all states where I-95 is the primary north/south motorway. Those also happen to be some of the richest states in the country, meaning people are buying higher quality cars too--which may also be the case for typical Autobahn traffic. There are a lot of things that correlate with highway safety in some way.

Comment: Re: user error (Score 4, Insightful) 708

by greg1104 (#47456467) Attached to: People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

Lighter cars are typically safer than heavier cars (as is indicated by your link).

I screwed up with that source and deserved the moderation down, but this isn't true either. Heavier cars are safer for the person driving them. The direction US cars have gone is based on things like this 1997 weight study, where the conclusion was that passenger cars would be better with an extra 100 pounds.

However, having a fleet of heavy cars around is more dangerous for the average person, which is what the EU statistics show, and that study points it out too. At the same time as showing cars would be better if heavier, the study also shows making light truckers lighter would be good. The important point in their words, and I'll bold it because it's the most important thing here: "When trucks are reduced in weight and size, they become less crashworthy for their own occupants, but they become less capable of damaging other vehicles."

If everyone has a light car, the average accident isn't as bad as two heavy cars colliding. That's Europe right now. Average car is heavier but you're also in a heavy car, that's the American roads. Worse overall, but it's not as bad if you are in one of the heavy cars! The really bad case is when you're driving a light car and you hit a heavy one. That's what I was describing with the EU car on I-95 example. The end result is a sort of arms race in American car design. Everyone has a a personal incentive to drive something heavier for their own safety, but everyone would be safer if, collectively, we didn't do that.

Another reason the busy American highways are dangerous is all of the trucking used to move things around. My personal distaste for being in a light car here in the US comes from watching a few car -> tractor-trailer accidents back when I used to drive quite a lot here. Whenever I'm in something like a London taxi, worrying about a collision with a truck in that tiny vehicle makes me crazy. I have to remind myself that the road isn't filled with those big trucks though, and overall that's an improvement.

Comment: Re:If anyone actually cared... (Score 1) 708

by greg1104 (#47455823) Attached to: People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

There is only one solution to the problem of how to get devices that last longer: you make them have longer warranties, so manufacturers have an incentive to make cost/longevity trade-offs on the lifetime side. That will drive up prices on everything. People would need to think of cost in terms of $/year assuming the lifetime is at least the warranty, to get a price metric that drops when quality improves.

Your run at finding easier answers has two major issues. First you're assuming that manufacturers know, in advance, which parts will wear out fast and which won't. The way things will fail in the field is unpredictable. The last thing I bothered to repair was a TV that filed due to the Capacitor plague. Quoth Wikpedia: "these capacitors should have a life expectancy of about 18 years of continuous operation; a failure after 1.5 to 2 years is very premature".

The idea that this could have been prevented by buying higher quality parts is not well founded. They already bought capacitors that were overbuilt by at least a 6X factor over their warranty period. But shit happens. You cannot overbuild to where shit doesn't happen. That's the road to the crazy town that's given us things like super-expensive "mil-spec" parts. And assemblies of things made from that quality level of part still fail early anyway; see "shit happens", again. Also, device failures are dictated by the first failing component. There's no sense overbuilding plastic parts into metal if the lifetime is normally dictated by a motor.

Second major flaw: designing for maintenance and repair is way more expensive than you give it credit for, and it's not clear it's even productive. Splitting a design into usefully modular components makes things more expensive, and while repairs are easier the failure rate goes up in the process. The way you've connected the modules becomes a whole new failure mode. Take a washing machine that was reliable as a single mechanism, split it into easy to repair modules, and the new type of failure you'll see in the field are modules that vibrate out of their module interface over time. There's a reason we've moved toward giant monolithic designs: they're simply more reliable than modular ones, on top of being cheaper to build and design too. People don't really like less reliable but easier to repair, and in a high labor cost world that's a correct preference.

Memory fault -- brain fried

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