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Comment: Right to privacy? (Score 1) 447

by JBMcB (#49365135) Attached to: Why the Final Moments Inside a Cockpit Are Heard But Not Seen

The pilot is sitting in an aircraft he doesn't own. There's almost never just one person in the cockpit (at least from now on in the Germanwings case.) A side-factor is the pilot is directly responsible for the lives of hundreds of people.

Exactly where does this right to privacy come from in this case?

If someone wants to stand behind me and watch while I work I could care less. Heck, when I pair-program that's exactly what happens. It's not my computer, not my desk, and not my office. If I wanted complete privacy I'd work as a contractor at my house.

Comment: Re:Why isn't public transport 'free'? (Score 1) 198

Which is why zipcars make sense. Some people only need to drive once and a while. Some people can use public transportation some of the time but not all of the time. Some people can't use public transportation at all and have to drive everywhere.

Unless you know what mix you're going to end up with, throwing gobs of money at public transportation might be a waste. A mixed system is probably better.

Comment: Re:Why isn't public transport 'free'? (Score 2) 198

At a guess, I'd say there are two main reasons people don't use public transport: it's inconvenient to schedule your transport around someone else's timetable and path, and it's inconvenient to have to carry the correct quantity of cash / make sure a bus card has enough money on it; for the poorer demographic the cost part is probably a greater component.

You're only looking at the demand side of things. You also need to look at the supply side. If you are going to greatly increase demand, you're going to have to increase supply. Public transportation systems don't always scale linearly in terms of cost per supply. In other words, you can't just throw more buses and trains at the problem to increase capacity. You need to hire more people, build more stations, which increases fixed costs in relation to maintenance and HR costs. Seemingly paradoxically, buses do more damage to roads than cars, so road maintenance costs will increase, even if you decrease the amount of traffic (all that really matters as far as road damage goes is the weight of the vehicle)

The last thing you need to look at is if you're actually going to reduce emissions. If there is a lot of traffic regardless - say in a downtown area during rush hour - buses generate significantly more pollution than cars. Unless each bus is completely full, the emissions benefit may not cover the number of vehicles on the road. This may be mitigated by building more efficient buses, or better traffic management, or trying to optimize your routes to increase ridership (not trivial - see traveling salesmen problem.)

Anyways, what you need to do is look at all these costs and decide if it makes sense. It might be cheaper and have more impact to simply subsidize the heck out of plug-in hybrids, or develop a Zipcar style system.

Comment: Underlying problem (Score 5, Insightful) 130

by JBMcB (#49306139) Attached to: ISPs Worry About FCC's 'Future Conduct' Policing

And here is the underlying problem with a good chunk of FCC regulation.

Basically, you can do anything you want until they decide it is against an arbitrary regulation. Then they can not only stop you from doing it, but fine you for having done it.

Think of the "decency" statues for broadcast TV. Sometimes you can swear (playing Saving Private Ryan) sometimes you can't (some random award show) Sometimes you can show nudity (NYPD Blue) sometimes you can't (Superbowl?) The FCC will let you know you violated the unspecified rules via a fine
well after the fact.

This is the regulatory regime being imposed on the business practices of ISPs.

I don't like the big ISPs screwing around with the internet just as most anyone else, but this type of regulation is bonkers.

Comment: Equivalence (Score 1) 123

by JBMcB (#49253849) Attached to: Mass Surveillance: Can We Blame It All On the Government?

It's not our fault people have computers with webcams and microphones that we can easily hack into and install monitoring software to record everything they say and do, because we're involved with the encryption and security standards and can design-in backdoors that we can access easily.

That's not our fault at all. Stupid citizens.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling