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Comment: why not Transportation? (Score 1) 135

by goombah99 (#48214309) Attached to: Proposed Penalty For UK Hackers Who "Damage National Security": Life

IN old england, the prisons became so over crowded they started using the rotting hulks of navy ships as prisons and as that became full they resorted to "transportation" which basically meant you get a one way ticket to help settle australia. (see book "the Fatal Shore"). Now that mars transport is about to approach feasibility ans Elon Musk says we need vast numbers of people for sustainable living I'm shocked the UK govt isn't sentencing these hackers to Transportation.

Comment: re: trains vs. trucks (Score 1) 259

by King_TJ (#48213317) Attached to: Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

I currently live in an old railroad town in the Northeastern U.S. Our rail system is still alive and well out in this part of the U.S. -- despite the appearance of being a dinosaur in many other parts of the country. (I even take commuter rail in to work each day ... and yes, it's a full size locomotive with multiple passenger cars, including a couple of double-decker cars.)

I don't see how employee turnover has a lot to do with trains OR trucks winning the battle of who gets used to haul freight around? The real bottom line is going to be economics and efficiency. The big advantage I see trains having right now is better efficiency, in the sense that today's locomotives are pretty energy efficient. Many of the new ones have solar panels on top of them to augment power generation, and they move a MUCH larger volume of product around than a truck can. (In the case of passenger rail alone? Look how many hundreds of vehicles are taken off the roadways each weekday just from all of us who use it to commute instead of driving ... and that's just ONE of several rail lines out here that run each day.)

They also have an advantage in the fact that they don't have to deal with traffic congestion. The established railways are generally about the fastest way from point to point, so they can generally predict down the minute how long it will take to arrive at a particular stop.

IMO, there's a lot of mismanagement with the rail system, which allowed the trucking industry to eat their lunch in many cases. But it didn't HAVE to be that way.

EG. I used to work for a steel fabrication place that had a railway running right outside their back door. Up through some time in the 1970's, they always used the rail system to ship steel beams to customers. But they started running into logistics problems where customers were only willing to buy from them if they could meet deadlines for "rush" deliveries (and would pay big premiums for this as well!). The railroads couldn't adapt to accommodate this, especially when they'd often have their own logistics battles to fight, trying to get certain cars unloaded on a train before others. (They said they'd often see the train they were waiting on to pick up a load chug right on by, once or even twice, during the day, before finally stopping for them -- all because the railroad wanted to unload something else first and potentially juggle the train cars around in a yard, before coming back for the pickup.) All of that convinced them to invest in a small fleet of trucks and do their own deliveries.

But in any case? I think autonomous trucks probably will arrive before autonomous passenger cars owned by individuals. (Commercial vehicles could absorb the initially higher cost to purchase them, for one thing.) But you'll probably see them limited to driving in a designated lane, at least initially. Doing this would make their operation a little more like what the railroads do now .... follow designated paths from place to place. I'm not sure how well that will work for them, if they STILL have to have a "short haul" truck pick up their loads at some point and take them to the loading docks at their destinations, using the regular road system?

Comment: Re:Already illegal (Score 5, Insightful) 235

by King_TJ (#48208487) Attached to: Michigan Latest State To Ban Direct Tesla Sales

Bans on direct sales of vehicles are nonsense, regardless!

The idea that forcing a "middleman" to exist, by the sake of legislation requiring it (because you know.... creates jobs!), is utterly flawed.
Manufacturers would, most likely, encourage (to the point of helping fund) local distributors/dealers regardless of any laws demanding it. When you sell enough volume of a product - it starts making sense to get other entities to help sell it for you.

Tesla Motors helps illustrate the need to REPEAL any existing law preventing them from doing direct sales!

They don't (yet) do enough volume to find it beneficial to sell through a dealer network. So why not accept that at face value, and let them do business the way they believe is most beneficial? Chances are, if they sell enough vehicles, they'll eventually WANT to work with established dealers to carry their brand. Teslas will eventually start showing up in appreciable numbers on the used car lots of existing dealerships anyway.

Comment: Re:Dear Canada.... (Score 4, Informative) 512

by Yaztromo (#48205149) Attached to: Shooting At Canadian Parliament

No by getting the Muslim community involved and start turning in these idiots, the war on extremists is never going to be won unless the community that they belong to steps up.

Thus far, in every case that has occurred within Canada, the first alerts received by police about radicalized Muslims has been from Imams at various mosques.

The Muslim community has stepped up, and has been doing exactly what you extol. However, holding radical ideals isn't against the law in Canada; unless you can prove that a) an illegal act is being planned, or b) support is being given to an illegal organization, there isn't much the police can do except monitor the people involved.

The attacker from Monday's attack in St. Jean-sur-Richaleau was being monitored by police, and had even recently been questions by them. They had confiscated his passport, as he had booked a flight to Turkey (purportedly to cross into Syria to join ISIS/ISIL), but as he hadn't broken any Canadian laws, were unable to detain him. I have little doubt the way police were alerted to this person in the first place was via people at his local mosque.

Unfortunately, the police don't announce how they find out about the radicals they are tracking (news today has it that the RCMP is tracking 90 people for radicalist activities), in part to protect their sources. This is why you don't hear about it much in the media, but people on the inside know that it's been the leaders of Canadian mosques who have been at the forefront of reporting radical Islamic activity in this country.


Comment: Re:Old news (Score 1) 394

by Rei (#48194991) Attached to: NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

Hmm, now I'm curious. A fighter may have a takeoff weight of say 15000kg. Let's say that the "short lean female" saves 40kg over an "average male". With the other reductions - clothing, oxygen, etc - you probably get down to maybe a 60kg savings. That's a 0,4% reduction in system mass. The rocket equation (applicable here too) probably boosts that up to about a 0,5% benefit in many regards. Still not that much

However, if you can shrink the cockpit , then you're looking at a much bigger advantage - possibly 100-200kg extra weight savings and maybe cutting 5-10% off the total aero drag. That could actually be a big deal - relevantly faster accelerations, top speed, range, etc.

Comment: Funny how they budget project income for these.... (Score 2) 392

by King_TJ (#48194905) Attached to: Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

I mean, *if* you believe what they spout off all the time about the REASON for installing these cameras in the first place? Clearly it's about improving safety. Who in their right mind tries to project potential profits from implementing a safety measure?

Think about it ....

Comment: Re:Psychological issues (Score 1) 394

by Rei (#48194875) Attached to: NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

There is no "how human societies have been organized". Some societies have had (and even continue to have) near complete segregation of the sexes except for reproductive purposes. Some have had full integration.

And "popular wisdom" is in general stereotype BS. It was "popular wisdom" that said that people of African descent were worthless for anything except manual labor and it's pointless to try to educate a woman, that gays are a social evil that needs to be obliterated, that burning witches is the only way to save the town, and that letting the races mix is tantamount to national suicide.

Comment: Re:Women prefer male bosses (Score 1) 394

by Rei (#48194781) Attached to: NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

You seriously think you can make a claim credited to a scientific study, and then when you can't show evidence that such a study claiming what you did was ever conducted, suddenly switch to a "but everyone knows" laden with old gender stereotypes and the standard lame appeal to darwin - and think that will fly?

In almost any sentence where people say "Women (verb)..." or "Men (verb)..." and it's about something psychological (as opposed to, say, something involving reproductive organs or a statistical difference in strength / height or the like), 99% of the time it's equally accurate to simply say "People (verb)..." The popular perception of differences between genders (including the effects of both brain structure and hormones) is often vastly different from the statistical reality. Screw Mars and Venus; men and women are from Earth. Psychologically, we're statistically virtually identical in most measures. And in many cases where there are differences that even manage to meet statistical significance, what differences there are may well be artifacts of culture.

How little are most of these "differences"? This set of graphs puts it into perspective.

Again: Either present your supposed "study" or drop the issue.

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter