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Comment A Little Light (Score 1) 135

In my area taxi drivers simply pay a set fee for the cab for the shift. It used to be $75. per shift. The driver keeps everything on the meter. A small number of drivers own their own cabs but operate through a major company like Yellow Cab. Most of the year in south Florida it is hell to make a living driving a cab. Some days the cab rental costs more than your intake and you actually lose money driving. If your car breaks five minutes into your shift they keep the $75. and you do not get another cab. If you are injured on the job they claim you are an independent contractor and in fact you are not but your medical care and disabilities will not be paid for. In training they actually tell you to make arrangements with the local whore houses to steer likely customers to them and have an agreed upon fee for delivering these customers with the whore house. So a driver that gets four sailors near the port can get quite a fee from the brothels. Meanwhile politicians have made the fees so demanding for taxi insurance policies that very few people can operate as an independent. Taxi drivers have other gimmicks such as demanding a $20. minimum fee or adding a large charge for using your debit or credit card. All in all the taxi business in city areas in Florida is so corrupt that taxis need to be made illegal for a while so that new standards and regulations can be put into play. A continuous film recording all of the interaction and conversations are recorded and held for 30 days would help. These drivers are robbing the IRS blind.

Comment It Will Change Everything. (Score 4, Interesting) 126

Think about it. One tractor trailer driver can easily be paid 60K per year and he must get food and shelter allowances as well. The law limits his hours in the cab so unless he is breaking the law that truck will sit still at least 12 hours a day. On the other hand a machine driving the truck requires zero rest so that truck can keep rolling 24/7 with brief stops for fueling. That means operation of a truck will be reduced in cost by 60% or greater. Further the customers will get much faster delivery of their orders. Trucking companies will want this like you won't believe. Taxis will also be automated and we will probably see Uber cars automated as well. The cost of owning such a vehicle will be far lower as the vehicle can stay in constant use. So you own the vehicle and it is out earning you money every minute you are not in your car. This means that we can reduce the actual number of cars on the road vastly. Further your automated car can drop your kids off at school and then go to the grocery store and have it loaded by the bag boy and the car brings your order home. Amazon is about to start a delivery service such that products from any store can be delivered to your home. One side effect is that hundreds of thousands of jobs are about to vanish because of this technology.

Comment Conspiracy (Score 2, Insightful) 203

The extreme right wants to prove that any government regulations are wasteful and ineffectual. To make certain that all programs fail they insist on severely under funding the programs at which point they do become wasteful and ineffectual. There followers are so stupid that they can't even see what is actually going on.

Comment Crowding and Hills (Score 1) 278

Population density can cause accidents. Too many people and too many cars in too small an area leads to accidents. San Francisco is also famous for rather steep hills and twisty turns. One can well imagine that breaking distances are greater on the downhill slopes and any mechanical failure on a steep hill is likely to have amplified, negative results. cars simply rolling out of parking spaces when parked on an incline probably account for several deaths a year there.

Comment Re:define "gifted" (Score 1) 445

Beware generalizations. Look at the few musical prodigies that crawl to a piano at the age of three and are able to play well in just a few minutes. Some abilities really are hard wired into a person by genetics or even a blow to the head whereas some cases of really dull minds seem to be a curse from birth. That is not true of most young people but there really are numerous exceptions to our expectations. The famous mathematician who came from a mud hut in India and was taken in by Oxford is a great example. The man was doing world class, breakthrough mathematics without any text books or education at all.

Comment I Don't Think So (Score 1) 445

Poverty causes tremendous disadvantages in learning in US cultures. It does not relate to intelligence at all but rather activities and items available to people who have more money. Worse yet the damage done by limited stimulation and behavior modeling in the first three years of life largely sets the stage for what will take place for the rest of a child's life. Overcoming that poor start the first three years is usually impossible. testing really measures the ability of the person taking the test to achieve the tasks presented on the test. one either knows or does not know the answers.After all the area of a circle is just that. A young person either knows how to calculate that area or he does not. When it is cold the poor get colder. When it is hot the poor get hotter. The only way to make that untrue is to put money in the hands of the poor and it must be quite a bit of money and one must expect really bad decisions as it may take several years for people to re- pattern their lives. The problem gets worse as most low end jobs really are aimed at making people wage slaves rather than providing a living and if those wage slaves do not need those low end jobs people simply will not take them or perform them well.

Comment No Way ! (Score 0) 110

The problem is that people seek to expand what the word privacy is all about. We are not talking about two people, home alone, whispering a secret to each other. If I go to the grocery store the items I buy are in plain view in a public space. If i use a debit card to pay for the groceries I have shared that data with banks, the grocery store and god knows who else. It is not private information. So if the data is sold to my life insurance company or my medical insurance company why should I gripe? After all, the purpose of privacy should not be to deceive others who have a financial interest in my health and longevity. Now the second layer of use should kick in. Suppose I buy about five quarts of vodka every week. If that data is mined and passed along to the local police force it might pay to have them make note of the times when my car pulls into my driveway. A sudden police stop as I approached my home and a field sobriety test administered making certain that I do not drive impaired. If that five quarts of vodka is for my personal use you could place a bet that i drive drunk most of the time. Wouldn't it be nice to know the alcohol habits of your surgeon or even your lawyer? And again when you buy liquor at a liquor store it is a public transaction in every sense of the word. Surveillance is only a problem when individuals or companies are not allowed to do what the government does. Equality must extend to data mining and analysis.

Comment Future Challenges (Score 1) 300

Human knowledge is doubling at about every three years. That implies that we need to cram a lot more education into our students which is a difficult if not back breaking demand. Obviously nations like Japan traditionally are quite severe in the demands put upon children. Americans would see their system as child abuse. But against that we have a strong counter point. If you want great trumpet players you must train many thousands of trumpet players for several years for the great ones to rise from the mundane players. Programming should be about like that. If we train 30 million young people to very high levels of programming we will see programming super stars emerge. We very well may need those super stars to survive as a nation. If that seems extreme then simply consider that drones use a lot of computer programming and if an enemy has and edge your drones are dead meat. Our air craft will soon fly without humans on board. Naval war ships are being designed to operate without human crews. There is no way to send reliable messages from afar to such war weapons. It has to be done by heavily protected, internal computers. Programmers will need to have the highest level of skills to keep us ahead of other nations.

Comment Who Pays (Score 3, Interesting) 161

The share holders end up paying for this mess and the share holders never had a clue. Meanwhile the typical manager or executive who was responsible has probably already sold off their shares and are beyond punishment. Seriously when will people get the point that corporations exist in order to avoid responsibility. Doesn't the term LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) declare upfront the intent to not be liable or responsible?

Comment No! (Score 1) 142

I suspect that advanced cultures would deeply value data collection and analysis and would like very open communications. Think of an ant hive. As far as we know every ant in the hive is able to receive as much communications as every other ant. As very advanced cultures there would be almost no danger from less evolved cultures and very advanced cultures are by definition rare compared to more mundane cultures. One would think that truly advanced cultures would have no need for war or aggression but be more than able to easily defend themselves if attacked. This is the very reason that Babe Ruth could point to the spot at which the ball would go over the fence when he hit home runs. there was nothing the opponent could do to stop him. The more advanced a species becomes the less one has to be concerned about enemies. In a way encryption really is an act of war. In the human equation hidden equals sinister.

It's not hard to admit errors that are [only] cosmetically wrong. -- J.K. Galbraith