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Comment Re:I don't even know what "hyperloop" is any more. (Score 1) 216

In addition to what bws111 wrote:

Re: the MIT capsule: it's nothing like the Hyperloop Alpha concept (hence my post). SpaceX's test track that they're building is designed to handle a wide variety of vehicles, not just the one laid out in the Hyperloop Alpha concept. IMHO the MIT concept is utterly uninspiring. The drag levels are vastly higher, which are going to ruin pretty much every appealing aspect of the concept.

(but no, the tube has no electromagnets, the MIT design involves induced magnetic fields for propulsion)

Comment Re:More nation-wrecking idiocy (Score 1) 529

Yes, I see why it is being done. I'm just not certain that it's a good idea and will need significant proof to demonstrate that it is a good idea. It may be a good idea - I do not know. I don't think anyone knows.

Further, I'd certainly not extrapolate this to mean that it's a good idea anywhere else except those places which mimic the UK driving culture. Much like I'd not suggest we make unilateral choices based on US data, I'd also suggest the same thing for the UK. The variations in driving culture/behaviors are quite remarkable.

Sorry if you were confused but those were some examples where I would not be surprised to find it might work as well as making it clear that I'd need some proof to recommend that to anyone. They'll need to demonstrate that there's reason to believe that it's safer as regards the entire stretch of road where they're making those changes.

Why is it salient as to what I might recommend? Well, that's up to you to judge but I was paid quite handsomely to do exactly that, and more, prior to selling and retiring. This is, quite specifically, something my company would have done. Well, they still do it - I'm just no longer the owner. They're still quite successful at it. I didn't do it on my own but I was kind of "the guy" who brought the industry forward to where we were modeling traffic fairly well and with increased accuracy - on a computer. (Those three words, again...) So, you can weight my opinion based on that, if you want.

I'm actually quite familiar with the motive, method, and use-case for this sort of change in traffic patterns. They are doing this on low-speed, bi-directional, surface streets and rural lanes. That doesn't make it safe. Painted lines actually have a return on investment. That return includes safety.

I can't quite the UK estimates (they're probably similar) but a study from 1993 (so likely higher now) indicates that the estimate is that a single dollar spent on painting lines is worth $60 in realized value through increased safety, productivity, etc... And, obviously, that's subject to the Law of Diminishing Returns. There's a point where too many lines is not helping a damned thing (I'm looking at you Georgia) and the number is based on best-practices at the time. It's probably higher today than it was, it had been trending up for some time and those are unadjusted figures.

Comment Why they have to delay the announcement till Thurs (Score 1) 83

The real announcement is that they studying gravity waves using a device intended to electromagnetically reduce the weight of a suspended object. IN the process they discovered a strange mold that normally takes 1 year to grow a layer had completely covered their apparatus overnight. They built a larger machine and crawled inside of it with a tank of oxygen and found themselves at next thursday. Thus they can't actually make the announcement until time catches up with them. They could go back in time to announce it now but then their current selves might got to the same meeting and this might change the time line destroying the future Thursday. So they have to wait till time catches up to them. Fortunately Aaron started a failsafe before he left so no worries.

1. gravity waves
2. time travel
3. ?????
4. Primer

Comment Re:Take back Slashdot (Score 1) 1307

Try US International Keyboard layout. What OS are you using? With Linux, I just make sure that fcitx (don't blame me, I didn't name it) is running and that the settings are to set the International Keyboard as the default layout.

It is: "Keyboard - English (US) English (international AltGr dead keys)"

I don't *think* beta or even using the old post method impacts it. Try setting the same keyboard as that one (or the closest to it that your OS has) as the default for a minute and see if that does the trick? On Windows you just switch to the English - US International layout and set that as the default. Then, with that, I think it's a bit different to input it, namely using quotes without a space inserts accents and changes the characters. It's a bit quirky as I recall, you have to remember to press space after hitting a quote mark (single or double) or the next typed character will probably not be what you were aiming for.

Your post says "Option" which makes me think you're probably using Apple? That's sort of BSD-based, yes? I'm not overly familiar with the OS but I'm not an OS zealot of any type. I'm just not familiar with it. There's bound to be a US International keyboard layout. Try that, even if just to rule it out, and I am nearly certain that the "Option" key will not work regardless - I think it has to be "AltGr" or "dead key" input.

Comment Re:can't the state do something about this? (Score 1) 206

Heh, my memory's not too bad - I actually recalled that but I did not know that it was HUMINT. That means someone had to declassify it - an authorized person. Well, she's certainly authorized (and had an obligation, legal I think) to ensure that it was classified properly. That's a different bit of knowledge, thanks. I've read so many conflicting things and I'm not sure we'll ever know the full truth.

Aside: I did chuckle at the OT moderation. I'm pretty sure it was on-topic (a rarity for me). I suspect that means I've ruffled someone's jimmies. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to, but I see that as a good thing. Think before you vote, people. Think!

Comment Re:Everyone's phone, DSL and copper (Score 1) 177

I understand that taxes went to pay for them to upgrade. However, I'm not sure that it'd be reasonable for me to expect that to include my location. Asking it to include every American citizen would be a bit crazy, don't you think? I'm sure I'm close to the edge of what is reasonable and what is not reasonable.

I am not as remote as a loner in Alaska that flew in to his camp/house six years ago and has only been able to get back to civilization twice since then (though that does have a certain level of appeal for me). I am, on the other hand, on the side of a mountain in Maine. I am about 24 miles from the village and it's gotta be something like another 45 miles to a real town. It's a lot further to a city.

If I weren't likely to be getting fiber, I'd probably just shrug. I'm not really sure where I am on the "reasonable scale."

Oh, ha! I just double checked. I didn't add that in my earlier post. I'm actually probably going to get fiber at my house before this next winter. No, I can't tell you who told me that. ;-) However, it's a 'high probability.'

At any rate, I probably am getting access to fiber. It's going to be strung along the telephone poles so it's going to go down. Oh, that's not a question. It's going to go down - and probably frequently. I've had fiber access before - just not at my home in Maine. Fiber doesn't like being bent like it's going to be bent when the trees fall on it - and it's a certainty that trees are going to fall on it. They'll trim them as much as they reasonably can.

Err... I'll not give you exact directions but use Google maps to look around 24 miles from Rangeley, Maine. In some areas, we do have a wide berth for our utility lines. It's not quite enough, a tree hits it every year. That doesn't happen so much up near my way - it happens closer to town where they're less able to cut a giant swath of trees out without people frowning on it.

So, I'll be keeping DSL. I already have three disparate DSL connections. I'll probably run some of my own fiber, set up a trunk, and connect to that with a DSL failover automated in hardware. I'll probably drop one of the lines, maybe two.

But, what's reasonable? I mean, should I expect them to bring fiber to my particular house because they got some money (I think they got to keep a tax that was paid on phone/internet service?) at no additional cost to me? How about if I'm that guy out in Alaska with zero infrastructure at all? I'm not sure where I fit - it's already pretty much established that I'll have access to fiber soon but, if I didn't, should I be obligated to it? I'm kinda far out in the middle of nowhere. There are six residencies in my "neighborhood" (spanning many miles) and only four of them want 'net access. They've got DSL and I'm pretty sure zero of them will upgrade to fiber when it is an option. There are two who want nothing at all - one doesn't have a phone and isn't interested in the 'net and the other one doesn't have power or even running water and they're both by choice.

There's about three miles out of the village that might get some users and then there's pretty much nothing until until you get to my "neighborhood." Oh, I've paid some serious taxes. I've paid more in taxes than many people will earn in their lifetime. But, what's reasonable? Where is that line drawn?

I ask because I don't really know. Buggered if I know. I'm sure there's a reasonable and unreasonable point (fiber is expensive and it's really expensive to maintain it up here) and I'm not quite sure if I'm past the unreasonable point or not. I am not even the most remote. There are people, in my State, who are more remote than I am with *miles* of phone line that may have not been really touched in 50 years except to do repairs. What does unreasonable look like?

Comment Re: More nation-wrecking idiocy (Score 1) 529

I just noticed this sub-thread. Some friends and I call those the "Scoreboard." And, when reasonably safe to do so, we'll usually go out and see how high we can get the numbers with safety and not getting caught being the objective. Camera based enforcement is not used near my home. I'm not even sure if it's lawful to use cameras for speed enforcement in my State.

We've got a pretty active ACLU (I donate a bunch 'cause they're that good) and some actually protective laws. They can't use the license plate readers without a warrant in Maine. That may sound a bit crazy but no... They're not allowed to do automatic license plate acquisition without a warrant and they need to store the data for something like less than thirty days. Having to have a warrant makes license plate readers kind of useless so we don't have them. I am not a lawyer so I'm not sure of all the details.

Ah - I just checked. It's 21 days. You can read it for yourself:

We just had a law take effect recently and that pretty much ensures that police must get a warrant to use a drone in an investigation and that it's gotta be a real warrant, we don't have a FISA court type of thing. You can see that law in PDF format at this link:
http://legislature.maine.gov/l... (It's probably at the first linked site as well.)

We have an "Implied Warranty of Merchantability." That means, if you sold it to someone in the State of Maine it has to be free from defect and operate (key word) as long as would be reasonably expected to operate. You can just Google that one.

I intentionally have DSL. It's on the phone lines so if my ISP annoys me, I can fire 'em. I can use any provider willing to service my area - even if they're in Hong Kong. The line owner has no choice but to lease the lines at a reasonable price (pretty much without profit) or our PUC can, and will, come stomping in.

The list goes on but I retired to Maine and one of the reasons that I selected Maine was the justice system. It's not perfect but it's pretty good. It's exceptionally good when compared to some of the other States.

Oh, ha... I went and looked - Camera speed and red-light enforcement is illegal in the State of Maine. (So aren't billboards.) But, yeah, they can't actually use those in my home state. The cops are not allowed. If they want to stop speeders, they can go out and patrol the roads. If they want to watch a light-controlled intersection (there aren't that many, really) then they can go sit in the intersection and watch that intersection.

They're not even allowed to hide their vehicles - that's entrapment in Maine. Not even an unmarked vehicle is allowed to do certain things, hiding is pretty much not allowed. A "speed trap" means the cop at least has his headlights on and clearly visible at night.

Well, now I've gone and done it. :/ I've not only babbled at you again but you'll be trying to move to Maine next. It's kind of nice to have a government that sometimes actually does the right thing.

Comment Re: More nation-wrecking idiocy (Score 1) 529

Yeah, it's a bit complex. As I recall, the UK story was a bit biased in its presentation - if it's the same one that I'm thinking of. I was actually hoping you *did* have some research to support that (I have my reasons!) and I'd have been all about reading those studies.

Specifically, I think the UK removed it because it cause more hassle than it was worth. There are some litigation issues and they have a bit different justice system there than we have in the US which means I'm not sure of all of the specifics. That might also have been the town that was ripping them out because they weren't paying for themselves well enough - money was going to a third party system provider.

In the US, you're accountable for your vehicle - even if you're not driving it. The only time you're not accountable is when you have not granted authority to use the vehicle. That would be a valid defense to contest an automated speeding ticket but the burden of proof for civil matters is much lower and the 6th Amendment does not grant legal council in civil matters - only in criminal matters. In the UK, it's a little less cut and dried.

Here, in the US, you are responsible for the actions taken by the person you authorized to use your vehicle. It's shared culpability and you could, theoretically at least, then sue the authorized party to recoup your losses. As far as I know, neither of those is *strictly* true in the UK. In the US, for example, some jurisdictions may opt to file criminal charges if you allow an unlicensed person to operate your vehicle. I don't know if that's true in the UK.

If it's the story that I'm thinking of, there was also some backlash and vandalism. People were going out of their way to react to the camera - including speeding just to blow the numbers up and then the owner giving an alibi and saying that it must have been unauthorized use. Which is amusing, truly. I don't think that can be written as having no effect at all.

I still have some ties to the transportation/traffic industry, even though I sold and retired, and being able to throw down some hard numbers would be awesome. Right now, I'm a bit limited to saying that it's not unconstitutional but that unmanned enforcement takes away the accused right to face their accuser. A person who watches a video feed (what they usually use) is not your accuser - they're a reporter. So far, that's gotten me exactly nothing.

It's also important to note that there are cultural differences with traffic behavior. They're much larger differences, or can be, than many people realize. I posted a few comments in this thread about that and, in case you don't know or haven't guessed, I was heavily involved in traffic modeling (thus consulting, engineer, data acquisition, optimizing, predicting, etc) for a long time and I sold back in 2007.

The studies that I have read, and am familiar with, apply to the US. There are some agencies who will do so but I can tell you, it's foolish to try to make assumptions like that. There are very real and very different influences that go into traffic behaviors. So, you may well find a country where drivers had no reaction or even were able to show that it offered no improvement at all. Even a single State, in the US, can have vastly different results. To extrapolate across continents, without doing further research, is a fools errand - so you may find there's an area where it has no effect. I just don't know of any.

At any rate, sorry for the length but that doesn't all fit well o a bumper sticker and I kind of like the chance to discuss (and learn!) what my career was based on. It should be noted that I am of the opinion where I'm unconvinced that the benefits outweigh the fact that this not only strips away the right to face the accuser (not an accuser) and that such an interpretation was upheld by the SCOTUS.

Thanks for the feedback, it gives me food for thought. So far, I've only seen limited area studies. I wonder if they're cherry-picking locations to avoid giving a more complete story. No, no I'd not put that past people to do that. And, oddly enough, Slashdot even has a resident who's fairly familiar with the traffic and transportation industries. Safety, regulation, law enforcement, and much, much more go into modeling traffic. Feel free to respond (obviously) if you want me to fill your screen with mostly useless information about how the industry got to be where it is today and what it entails. You're probably not that bored. I can't say that I blame you.

Comment Re:More nation-wrecking idiocy (Score 1) 529

Alright. I think I understand now. I also figured I'd spend a minute and check with Google as my memory is sometimes a bit foggy but it turns out that I'm still remembering the suicide lane properly. I'm also recollecting the troubles properly. It does seem that there's a raised awareness about them but they still exist.

I figured, what the hell, and even went and got you a picture of one - if for nothing else than to make it a bit more clear. Link:

That's a mild one. You see 'em in areas that have been built up and had room to expand or plan ahead. Sometimes, yikes, you see them with a total of five lanes! That's just crazy talk and every bit as dangerous as you might imagine. They're usually in urban areas, typically where there are a lot of stores, and that means a lot of distracted driving.

I don't usually like to say things in terms of absolutes so I'll couch this one too. I can't, off the top of my head, think of any situation where the suicide lane is the optimal solution. In any area and traffic level that I can think of where it would be borderline acceptable wouldn't have traffic enough to justify its use. I really can't think of one place where it is the optimal solution and I'm having to work hard to fabricate a situation where it's even borderline acceptable.

Ah well, I'm glad that you do *not* have to deal with a traffic design like the one in the picture. I do not know you personally but it'd still be unfortunate for you to have to risk it. It is one of the more dangerous traffic patterns out there and I was actually a bit worried/disheartened that the engineers had proposed it. I'd not even wish that sort of risk on even the resident trolls. ;-)

Comment Re:More nation-wrecking idiocy (Score 1) 529

Virginia should try to put the "fog line" (that's the white outside edge marking line's semi-official name) where possible. You can, with that, do just fine in inclement weather and in poor-visibility conditions. If they're painted (there are multiple striping methods) they are usually reflective. This is especially handy if you have a oncoming traffic that did not dim their lights. Simple do not look at the lights directly and you can usually make out the fog line well enough to navigate safely.

They can get away without a center line marker, though it might confuse people so they should probably do a press-release, and just paint (or epoxy, or plastic) the fog line by itself. They might even want to do multiple press-releases, just to be sure that they're getting the message out. I suspect it'd work just fine and it could be modeled well enough. The center line should be there but, you know, if they've got no choice about adding it.

And yes, yes it is expensive. It's thick. The paint is quite pricey (as in really expensive) and I haven't bothered to look it up but the FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) will probably have that information buried in their site somewhere. They're actually pretty good about keeping, making, and giving public access to records, reports, and even proposals if you know where to look. Their site's not the best for search results so usually using Google is best. At any rate, depending on the method, I'd expect anywhere between $0.05 and $0.10 per linear foot. Actually, I'll look it up. I'm not doing anything better and I don't get a thread about traffic/highways all that often. 'Snot all that often that I get to lend a hand. I'll do some work, for a change.

Hmm... This is a bit old! It's from 1993.

They've got the price at $0.035 to $0.07 per linear foot. My numbers aren't that bad, I guess. They're actually probably a bit higher - I retired in 2008 but was 'done' around ¾ the way through 2007. Alas, I spent more time on the road or in my office for the five years prior. (I kind of miss it.) At any rate, that link should tell you everything you want to know about the lines you see on the roads in the US.

I did not read the study. I didn't even really fully read the abstract. I've actually read that before. I think the most important part to take from that is that for every $1 spent striping the roads, they expect to result in a benefit of $60. If you want to understand that (or anyone) then the study is not long, it's free, and it's just that one page unless you want to get all of the citations. I'd be surprised if you couldn't get access to most of the works cited via Google or for low/no cost at your local public university.

At any rate, you mentioned artificial light... They've actual done some research into ways to make the lines more visible. I had nothing to do with this project, at all, but I do remember reading something about it. This was back in 2005. I am pretty sure I read about it at least once before that date. It was probably in Public Roads which is an inexpensive print (now online) publication that's all about roads. It's just six issues per year and is pretty much mandatory reading, It's not that expensive and I think the online version is free but I don't recall them having a handy way to download it and browse it offline. Someone who writes a lot like me may actually have published some content in said magazine. Oh, the link:


Ah well... If you're in the industry and are looking for a way to get your name out there then it's not too hard to get your stuff printed in there. The information's on the site or in the print version. I no longer get the print version, I haven't in years. When I cleaned out my office and a back room, one of the things I made it a point to keep was my many books, trade magazines, and various non-business owned documents.

Comment Caching (Score 1) 511

You don't seem to understand the process. An ad aggregator can deal with the Cokes. They would just be paying Wired to cache their ads for them, serving them off Wired's IP address. Wired can just provide them an API to upload and manage the content. The caching can be near real time so it's almost a pass thru.

Comment What!!!? (Score 1) 511

Have you never looked at a newspaper from the 19th century. Full of ads. And even the greeks inserted paeans and hagiographies into their writings as advertisements for their sponsors. Advertising is how writing is often supported. As long as it's reasonable I'm fine with it.

I don't get where you think this is abuse or that it's something new in the last 20 years. Sponsorship is not new. Likewise the notion of a subscription service to minimize ads or to provide richer content is nothing new either. Listen to public radio if you want to hear a blend that is nicer with less advertising but also contribute. Or are you not one of those people who thinks they should contribute to the things they use?

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