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Comment: Re:I'm all for recreational drone use but... (Score 1) 72 72

Realistically, yes, I'd call the cops quickly if someone was buzzing the crowd unsafely with a quadcopter. And cops are not totally incompetent - it's usually not that hard to spot an R/C operator (presuming the operator is flying within line-of-sight.)

But if the opportunity presented itself, I'd probably throw a jacket or other object at the stupid thing, and if by some random chance it actually came down, I'd probably stomp the shit out of it. I have no tolerance or respect for people threatening my safety with their stupidity.

Comment: Re:The reason is more simple (Score 1) 640 640

= = = You had official numbers for the same years, and then added an unofficial number 9 years later. You then compared people per household in 2001 to vehicles per household in 2009. Why? = = =

Because the first set of numbers came from US DOT which has not published an official number for 2010 yet; the 2010 value is from a widely-quoted private source of statistics on automobiles but is not an academic quality publication.


Comment: Re:Low-tech for a reason (Score 3) 146 146

No, I don't have to learn any of the skills, at all, and I don't want to. I don't want to spend days or hours or even minutes learning the finer points of pit BBQ, and that's the entire point of buying this robot. I don't have to learn when to turn up the heat or turn it down, I don't have to know how much wood to put in or when. I don't have to check on the condition of the product. I simply give my charge card to Williams-Sonoma, haul the BBQbot home and plug it in, add meat and wood, and get delicious brisket out the other end. Every. Single. Time. I wasted zero of my time learning how to barbeque brisket - I just enjoy the results of other people's learnings. If the robot fails, I drag it back to Williams-Sonoma and ask them to service it. It would be no different than any other tool that I own that I don't fix myself.

I don't understand your preoccupation with fear of breakdowns of systems. I know that some days, despite scheduled maintenance, my truck will breakdown in some way I can't fix and that I'll have to have to deal with a problem. Fear of the inevitable breakdown doesn't mean I sell my truck today and walk to work. It means that I understand the truck can break, and that some days I'll have to call for a tow. Similarly if the BBQbot fails in my restaurant, I tell the servers to 86 the brisket, and we sell grilled chicken until the replacement robot arrives.

As a business owner, why would I buy a BBQbot instead of hiring a pit master? Because the robot costs me $20,000, and it stays in the kitchen 24x7x365. A pit master has weekends, takes vacations, calls in sick (or doesn't call in at all), and costs me $60,000 every year. I'd be far more worried about hiring a temperamental person that could quit and cripple the menu on a busy night. And if I discovered I was that utterly dependent on the robot, I'd simply buy two of them.

Every business risks breakdowns of all kinds of complex systems every day: plumbing, fires, melted freezers, employees quitting, roof collapses, electrical problems, labor problems, yet most manage to stay in business even through disasters. Why? Because they know how to adapt to problems, and because taking the risks yields far more reward than doing nothing; instead of sitting there paralyzed by the fear that something might go wrong.

Comment: Re:Road trips. (Score 2) 640 640

Sure. And you are an outlier:

15 miles one way, 30 miles round trip is the 70th percentile. That's well within the range of a Leaf not to mention a Volt.

And there are some extreme outliers out there, but that shouldn't set either perceptions or policy:


Comment: Re:Low-tech for a reason (Score 4, Insightful) 146 146

Through lifelong dedication, a craftsman can align a car with a string, or smoke BBQ in a trash can, or whatever it is he or she does. But their activity doesn't scale beyond what they can personally produce. And if they end up smoking 100 pounds of meat per day to run their restaurant, that's it. There's little time left in the day to innovate. Craftsmen don't scale well, unless they industrialize their processes, (and then you risk ending up with a product with all the qualities of Budweiser.).

The rest of us are dedicated to other things: jobs, families, other hobbies. Does our inexperience mean we can't enjoy products of similar quality as the craftsmen produce? What's wrong with distilling the essence of their wisdom into a PID controller and an Atmel chip? If my BBQ-bot fails, I'm certainly not going to fix it with string - but that's not the point. The point is I could occasionally enjoy a high quality smoked brisket, thanks to a machine that knows more than I do about the process.

Comment: Re:So many reasons (Score 1) 640 640

Fear of change. Funny thing is my late grandfather-in-law told me about having the same discussion with his father when he (grandfather) proposed replacing some of the horses and mules on the farm with gasoline-powered tractors. Great-grandfather admitted 5 years later he had been wrong which from what I've heard down there was not something that happened very often.


Comment: Re:So many reasons (Score 1) 640 640

If your region loses electricity for any significant period of time your local gas station won't be pumping any liquid fuel. OTOH during the last hurricane evacuation from Houston - bumper-to-bumper traffic for 16 hours - Priuses made it through due to regenerative braking while liquid fuel vehicles ran dry. So there's that.

And entire economy cannot be structured based on 1-in-100-year worst case scenarios. Los Angeles (earthquake), Seattle (earthquake, tsunami, lahar), St. Louis (earthquake) are not so structured and no one is proposing it be done. A daily driver cannot be justified based on a 0.00001% use case.


Comment: Re:Design Counts (Score 1) 640 640

= = = Who wants to roll around town looking like the "before" picture in a testosterone replacement ad? = = =

It was only ever a certain percentage of the US population that ever participated in that "my sexual identity is wrapped up in and reinforced by my car/horse/mastadon" game. And by observation, among the current generation that percentage has dropped drastically since the 1970s. So I don't think automakers really need to tailor their design and marketing campaigns to reproductive organ insecurity anymore.

Comment: Re:The reason is more simple (Score 4, Informative) 640 640

Distribution of Vehicles and Persons per Household
Vehicles Per Household
1969 = 1.16
1977 = 1.59
1983 = 1.68
1990 = 1.77
1995 = 1.78
2001 = 1.90
2010 (unofficial) = 2.28

Persons Per Household
1969 = 3.16
1977 = 2.83
1983 = 2.69
1990 = 2.56
1995 = 2.63
2001 = 2.58

2.28 cars per 2.58 people. One of those cars is typically dedicated to primary breadwinner commuting. So the "expense of the 2nd car" is already there.


Comment: Re:Volt (Score 1) 640 640

I agree on the $20k target (although the average price of a new car sold in June 2015 was around $33k); it will be interesting to see where GM prices the 2016 Volt (2nd generation).

However for most of its model life the Volt has been eligible for tax credits and rebates which are generally around $4-5K, lowering the out-of-pocket cost quite a bit.


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