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Comment: Re:Buying cars based on fuel price... ugh (Score 1) 622

by blueg3 (#49530879) Attached to: Cheap Gas Fuels Switch From Electric Cars To SUVs

Sort of. One of the major design elements of a real hybrid is that it uses a smaller, more efficient gas engine. That's what the electric motor is really there for -- the gas engine can't provide enough power on its own for proper acceleration under many circumstances, but the two motors combined can. So the electric motor is the thing that enables you to have a small, efficient gas engine, and the regenerative braking is just a good power source for the electric motor. On the highway, the hybrid has to carry around the weight of the electric system, but it carries less engine weight and still benefits from using a small engine.

In practice, for me at least, I get 45 mpg highway out of a Prius, which is pretty decent.

Comment: Re: And it's not even an election year (Score 1) 407

Then take a statistic course so that you will understand what a "representative sample" means. There's a point after which it doesn't matter whether you poll 60,000 households, 600,000 households, or 6,000,000 households, the number will be within a margin of error that you deem acceptable.

If that bothers you, then don't ever leave your house again, because it's the same methodology by which, for example, car manufacturers determine whether or not your car will spontaneously explode while you're driving down a highway. It probably won't, but if that amount of statistical certainty isn't good enough for you to trust the BLS to have a pretty good grasp on what they're doing, then what else do you just take for granted?

Comment: Re: And it's not even an election year (Score 0) 407

Actually, they do, and it is the one you hear most often in the media. I'm not sure where this fiction came from that people off of unemployment aren't counted among the unemployed, but the only three criteria for being counted as unemployed are:

  • That you do not have a job,
  • That you have actively looked for work in the past four weeks, and
  • That you are currently available for work.

I've noticed a disturbing trend lately, mostly from right-wing nutcases, to try to redefine "unemployment" to be something that it's not, in some way that is different from how it's been calculated for decades, to include people like retired people not seeking a job, students, new mothers who have voluntarily left the workforce, people who haven't sought a job in more than a month, etc.

Unfortunately for them (and you), unemployment has a specific economic definition and doesn't change based on what you think "feels right". The current unemployment rate is 5.5%. Arguing that it's something different is like arguing that the mass of an object is higher because your arms are tired and it feels heavier when you try to lift it.

Comment: Re:Pilots must remain in control (Score 1) 385

by blueg3 (#49356033) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

Any security measure will have a gap.

Yes. But some safety measures will have lower probabilities of bad things happening than other safety measures. The fact that it is always possible for bad things to happen has no bearing on the fact that some safety measures are more effective than others.

The effectiveness of a measure of course has to be balanced against its cost and impact.

Comment: Re:How's about a carrot instead of a stick? (Score 1) 1089

by blueg3 (#49297535) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

Say, a $10 tax credit if you submit your poll receipt? Or maybe civic minded companies could provide incentives: Starbucks gives you $2 off your next purchase with a voting receipt?

Quite a few companies do this. There are a bunch of places where you can get a free cup of coffee if you show your "I Voted" sticker.

Comment: Re:Then ID would be required (Score 2) 1089

by blueg3 (#49297505) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

in Australia, you turn up to the polling station (usually a local school or whatever), go to the desk and tell them your name. they look it up in their lists of voters, and cross your name off. Then they initial and hand you your ballot papers which you take to a private voting booth and fill out. Then you fold them and drop them into the ballot boxes (one for the house of reps, one for the senate). done.

In the last few elections, the Australian Electoral Commission (an independant govt body who have the responsibility for running elections) have been mailing out helpful voter cards with your name and IIRC your address on it which you can show at the desk. These cards are completely optional, you can still vote if you forget to bring it or have lost it or never got it, and you still don't have to show any ID.

Incidentally, this is how it works in the state of New York. Except it's a scannable, bubble type of form, so you don't fold it, but rather feed it into a little scanner that then drops it in a box.

Blessed be those who initiate lively discussions with the hopelessly mute, for they shall be known as Dentists.