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Comment Insurance is not like music (Score 1) 146 146

Music by specific artists is a unique product -- another artist generally can't reproduce the same music in exactly the same way.

Insurance is the opposite. All auto insurance is essentially the same -- the differences have very little value. If one insurance company fails to update it's business model, 5 more insurance companies will swoop in and take the business.

Comment Re:"We have a profound opportunity to distort." (Score 1) 48 48

It will also vary depending on the performance of the vehicles immediately ahead of, oncoming-and-passing, or crossing ahead of the street view vehicle. Especially the first: The sensor will be running in the exhaust plumes of the vehicles ahead of the street view car, so the map will be a very non-random sampling.

On the other hand, the partculate and "volatile organic compounds" sensors will produce some very interesting data. The latter is what the federal standards call "unburned hydrocarbons" when emitted from an engine, and the output of modern engines is vanishingly small. But many species of evergreen trees emit them in enormous quantity, as part of their ongoing chemical warfare against insects that eat trees. That's what the blue haze around pine-forested mountains (such as "the Smoky Mountains") is about. You can literally destroy (by extreme and long-term contamination) an automotive conformance test cell (the room where they test the car's emissions), requiring it to be torn out and rebuilt, by placing a Christmas tree in it overnight.

I expect some towns in remote, forested, mountain areas, where people move "for their health" and "for the clean, fresh, air", to get a rude awakening. B-)

But I doubt it will affect the extremely tight standards for automobile engines - except maybe to cause a flap that tightens them further. These days many engines are so clean that running then can IMPROVE the air quality in some places (such as portions of Los Angeles, with topography that created such a thermal inversion that a single settler's campfire could leave the whole valley filled with smoke for a day or more) by inhaling and burning far more hydrocarbon and particulate pollutants than they create.

Comment Re:Windows master race (Score 1) 81 81

> Fact is most users would easily be just as comfortable on a gnu/linux or Mac machine.

OS/X, sure. For me, Mac hardware, not so much. Generally when a new Mac comes out it's already behind the curve... and then the go and cripple them by making them non-upgradable. Hell, aren't they even GLUING the Macbooks together now making them unserviceable? Between that, the chicklet keyboard, and the one-button touchpad (ugh! Don't suggest multitouch as a workaround), and you've completely lost me.

Linux - I work with it all day long, but on my own time it's Windows. Why? Photoshop and Lightroom CC, Adobe CS2 (I still use Illustrator CS2 - haven't had the need to upgrade to Illustrator 2015/CC), my embroidery machine, games, and 3D Vision. What, Steam is on Linux, you say? Well that's just great... how does 3D Vision work on Linux? Yeah I know there are a few different 3D Vision projects going on but I really don't want to spend more time fiddling with and tweaking my PC instead of actually using and enjoying it.

Comment Re:Many gas stations to close? (Score 1) 858 858

An article with this level of simple insight would never get published on Slashdot.

You need to add a conspiracy:

Diesel is only available because ... big oil pushes diesel and bribes politicians to keep it available. Refining oil into gasoline without also producing diesel creates a byproduct with infinite energy per liter. If they stopped making diesel fuel, the oil companies would all go out of business.

Comment Lots of room for methodology issues. (Score 1) 288 288

The lack of accidents and crime are more likely related to a general trend in crime going down from before they started turning off the lights. ... Give me at least one full year worth of data so I can compare it to the prior year, and have half of the country keep their lights on so It can be compared to the same time frame as well.

Hear, hear!

There's lots of room for methodology errors. Here's another:

Comparing murder rates between Great Britain and the US is complicated by differences in reporting. The US bumps the murder stat when there is a body and evidence of foul play. G.B. bumps it when they have a conviction.

Do they do that with other crime? If so, stable stats in the absence of street lighting might mean that any rise in crime is compensated for by a fall in identifying, apprehending, and convicting the criminals responsible. (Indeed, turning off the lights might easily result in LOWERED crime statistics at the same time it was causing a drastic increase in actual crime.)

Comment Victory for "Soft" Socialism (Score 1) 858 858

Subsidizing the cost of nascent "green" technology is needed to prod the industry to produce and learn how to make a better green mouse-trap through experience and R&D.

It's paying off now as electric cars are getting competitive. Gasoline engines have been the dominant car technology for a century, and thus have had a lot of R&D behind them. Thanks to subsidies to induce sales and R&D, electric cars have evolved to be competitive with gasoline.

Private companies rarely look more than 5 to 10 years ahead. It's why they have to be prodded via subsidies, etc. Finance theory on ROI teaches one to generally focus on the short-term. Whether this is entirely rational or not makes an interesting debate, but it's the ruling view of the current business world.

By the way, I consider "soft" socialism to be incentive-based. "Hard" socialism would be outright banning products. I'm generally against outright banning for products, such as incandescent bulbs and sugar-loaded Big Gulps. Tax them heavily as a disincentive, but don't ban them.

Comment What hospital is that? (Score 1) 54 54

I'm an anesthesiologist. I put people to sleep for cardiac surgery. My hospital does around 400-500 hearts a year... and we don't kill any dogs.

What hospital is that? I'll want to avoid it if I ever need heart surgery.

Seriously: How does your cardiac unit's mortality and morbidity rate stack up against those of hospitals where practice surgery on live animal, models, at least where the surgeon is new to the procedure, is more common?

Comment Re:Animals (Score 1) 54 54

I'm an anesthesiologist. I put people to sleep for cardiac surgery. My hospital does around 400-500 hearts a year... and we don't kill any dogs.

So maybe I'm not up to date, or things are/were different in research hospitals.

My personal info was based on stories told by my mother, in about the '60s, when she was a special duty RN at the University of Michigan hospital, often handling cardiac recovery.

My favorite was the one where the UofMich hospital cafeteria, which had been purely open seating, established separate rooms for the staff to eat after an incident where patients' families overheard, and were traumatized by, a cardiac surgeon's response to a question. Asked how his operations the previous day had gone (referring to his experimental and/or practice surgery on a collie and another dog), he said "The blonde lived but the old bitch died."

The kids and adopted dogs story was from my wife. The surgeon in question was Dr. Albert Starr in (at least) the '60s through '80s. He was at St. Vincent's and also flew, with his team, to operate at a number of other west coast hospitals, university and otherwise.

Comment Re:The power button (Score 1) 679 679

> To extend this discussion - I rarely use my backups. Let's get rid of those!

I did better than that - to save time and also the hassle of cycling through and keeping track of tapes; I just back up to /dev/null now... and you'd be amazed at how quickly the backup job runs!

Comment Re:My Pet Peeves (recent Windows laptop keyboards) (Score 1) 679 679

> The numeric keypad tends to be pretty highly valued by typists that are 10key proficient and type a lot of numbers. It's actually more common than you probably believe

That's because a LOT of us spent days keying in program listings from Compute! Magazine in the '80s

After an instrument has been assembled, extra components will be found on the bench.