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Comment: CA requires commercial licenses for pickup trucks. (Score 4, Interesting) 204

No, but money changing hands (commerce) impacts whether it is "commercial", and requires a commercial license.

"Impacts", perhaps. But it's not definitive. Especially in California.

For instance: I bought a pickup truck, to use as a tow vehicle for my camper and my wife's boat. Then I discovered that CA requires pickup trucks to be tagged with a (VERY pricey) commercial license, regardless of whether they're used for business. (You CAN petition to tag a particular pickup truck as a personal vehicle - but are then subject to being issued a very pricey ticket if you are ever caught carrying anything in the truck bed - even if it's personal belongings or groceries, and regardless of whether you're being paid to do it. (Since part of the POINT of having a pickup truck is to carry stuff home from the store this would substantially reduce its utility.)

The one upside is that I get to park for short times in loading zones.

If we aren't going to require commercial licenses for commercial driving, then why even have them at all?

And if we ARE going to require them for clearly personal, non-commercial vehicles that happen to be "trucks", why NOT impose this requirement on putatively commercial vehicles that happen to be cars as well?

The real answer to your question is "because the state wants the tax money, and the legislators and bureaucrats will seek it in any way that doesn't threaten their reelection, reappointment, or election to higher office" - in the most jerrymandered state in the Union. The Uber case is one where an appraent public outcry arose, bringing the bureaucrats' actions, and public outcry about them, to the attention of elected officials.

The full form of the so-called "Chinese curse" is: "May you live in interesting times and come to the attention of people in high places."

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 4, Interesting) 190

by tompaulco (#48893141) Attached to: WhatsApp vs. WhatsApp Plus Fight Gets Ugly For Users
Not even remotely the same thing. Of course you would get in trouble for making Internet Explorer Plus. However, these are users. They did not MAKE Whatsapp Plus. They merely used it. Some of them, perhaps most of them are unaware that they are not affiliated. The appropriate target is the creator of Whatsapp Plus. Targeting the user is detrimental to WhatsApp's cause.

Comment: Didn't hit "Send" yet (Score 2) 304

by tompaulco (#48892601) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes

a third of 2013's police-reported car accidents were the rear-end crashes and a "large number" of the drivers either didn't apply the brakes at all (what?!)

That is because they didn't hit send yet. They were still staring at their phone and not concerned whatsoever with the innocents in the car with them, or the innocents in the car in front of them.
Another poster said that texters have worse response time than drunks. That is probably not true, because drunks at least have a response time. You can't respond to something when all of your sensory input is focused on something else. For texters, the response comes after the crash.
I have noticed a trend for years that rear end collisions have been getting more prevalent and the damage more severe. It was like people weren't even hitting the brakes. I blamed it on texting while driving. Now the statistics are saying the same thing.
However, I am NOT in favor of the new devices to apply the brakes when the driver doesn't. Automation in the cockpit will only lead to stupid people becoming MORE complacent in the car and will increase their irresponsible behaviors. Instead of looking up every other character to see what is going on, they will just stare continuously at their phone until they have finished their message.
Perhaps I could see having such a braking system if, after a single auto-braking incident, the car disabled itself except for low speed travel so it could pull over to the shoulder, and then, travel over 10 mph was disabled until the car was reset by a qualified driving instructor.

Comment: Re:its nothing new really. (Score 1) 808

by tompaulco (#48877883) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret
The F-350 is a truck. Why on earth would anyone lust after a truck? It's only practical purpose is hauling stuff around and the ones that are built today are rarely, if ever, used for hauling anything other than groceries. They eat gas, they fit only two comfortably because the back is taken up by the huge bed which nobody ever puts anything in. They cost about as much as a small 3 bedroom house. Nope, can't see any reason to lust after that.

Comment: Re:HondaKarts? (Score 1, Insightful) 808

by tompaulco (#48877753) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret
I would like to see proof that straight pipes by themselves do anything for the cars performance. The stock muffler provides a certain amount of back pressure and the engine is specifically tuned to work with this type of pressure. Eliminating this pressure is more likely to reduce rather than improve performance.
Of course every teenager with $100 thinks that a bolt on part (which fits all models of Honda, Nissan and Toyota!!!1!!ONE!!) is somehow going to improve the performance of the vehicle better than the hundreds of Japanese PhDs that designed the car.

Comment: Re:Gov't contractors are not paid by the hour (Score 1) 253

by tompaulco (#48877561) Attached to: IRS Warns of Downtime Risk As Congress Makes Cuts
That is the same as contracting anywhere, if you are an employee of the contracting house. You are paid salary and the company is still billed for hours you work over 40, you just don't get paid for it. That is why you don't be an employee of a contractor, you be a contractor. Or you find a contractor house that will pay you for all of your earned time. In that case, though, they will probably expect you to take some of the risk and not get paid when you don't have a contract.

Comment: Re:*Yawn* (Score 1) 144

by tompaulco (#48874587) Attached to: Doomsday Clock Could Move
Well, AC thinks they will scrap another minute because they are fear-mongering lefty scientists. If they add time, then he is wrong. But I would have to agree that if they take a minute out, then they are just fear mongering, or trying to make a political statement about the environment. In truth, nuclear devastation is a real threat to life as we know it and could happen in a matter of minutes. climate change is an affect to the climate which could take decades to have any noticeable affect, although we measure it daily. Not that the climate isn't important, but it doesn't justify changing the nuclear doomsday clock. Yes, it is the nuclear doomsday clock, and has been since 1947. The word "Climate: did not show up in the reasons behind adjusting the time until 2007, despite the fact that man had been affecting the climate since before the idea of the clock arose.
If they need to make a Climate change clock and set it to 100 years until Climate Change midnight, that is fine, but there is no reason to hijack another clock that already has a stated purpose.

Comment: Re:Who they do not attempt to stay relevant? (Score 1) 144

by tompaulco (#48874485) Attached to: Doomsday Clock Could Move
Well, you initially said "statistically", which is just wrong. Of the estimated 30 billion or so people that have died since Homo Sapiens became a species, 0 of them have died of an asteroid strike, so statistically, it is at the bottom of the list, along with sun going super nova, alien invasion, space herpes, moon colliding with Earth, giant space turtle stepping on Earth, Earth being swallowed by a black hole, etc.

Comment: Re:Different trick (Score 1) 489

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48863083) Attached to: Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

A journalist ALWAYS needs to write something that is SOMEHOW different from what the reader believes. (If he's just reinforcing what the reader believes, why should a reader bother reading his output?)"

Actually, studies have shown that people tend to read authors and publications that tell them they are right. Echo-chambers existed long before the internet. So, while you ask why a reader would read that which reinforces his beliefs, the reality is he does.

Echo-chamber yes. But needs some difference, also yes. Even an echo-chamber medium is about giving the reader some new aspect to consider, new argument to use, etc. It may be primarily reinforcing, but it also adds or tweaks aspects to deepen the conviction and/or warp it into slightly better conformity with the common ideology of the journalist's in-group.

So I don't think there's really any conflict between our claims.

Comment: Different trick (Score 4, Insightful) 489

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48851953) Attached to: Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

The trick to the Betteridge law is that when a journalist writes a headline as a question, the question is suggesting what most people find improbable; and the improbable rarely happens.

There's some of that. But that's more about choice of subject matter. A journalist ALWAYS needs to write something that is SOMEHOW different from what the reader believes. (If he's just reinforcing what the reader believes, why should a reader bother reading his output?)

The real trick that leads to qusetion-headlines (that are almost always implying something that's wrong) is different.

When a journalist writes a juicy headline as a question, it's because he couldn't find evidence to support the conjecture, but wants to run it anyway.

Usually this is because he guessed wrong. The deadline is approaching, he's got to publish SOMETHING to stay employed, and he just wasted a bunch of time researching something that didn't pan out. Oops! So he runs his orignnal conjecture and the workup he did on it before finding out that it was either wrong (usual) or maybe right but couldn't be supported in the time available (rarely). He just phrases the headline as a speculation rather than an assertion.

That way his credibility isn't wrecked for the future, he gets to publish something, it's interesting and plausible (even though probably totally bogus), and in those rare cases where it WAS right he's scooped his competitors. However it comes out it's a win for the journalist - though it's a bunch of noise for the readers.

I think there's a world market for about five computers. -- attr. Thomas J. Watson (Chairman of the Board, IBM), 1943

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