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Comment Re:Why? (Score 4, Interesting) 451

Yes, truckers are cheap because the industry has turned them into the ugliest of sharecroppers where the are paid by the mile, lease the trucks from the company and pay for upkeep on the trucks. Now fuel, that's expensive! And for longshoremen, everything is so automated that the docks are deserted compared to a century ago so the port labor cost per pound is miniscule. Truckers are lucky to get gross $20/hour BEFORE expenses.
The biggest expense in shipping is time: capital setting idle, decaying value due to technological obsolescence, missed market windows, etc. Find some smart MBA at a global company, buy them lunch and let them bend your ear on logistics. That is why so many of your favorite electronic toys arrive via cargo plane.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 2) 451

One of the real long term bottlenecks for our ports is the over reliance of trucks to move containers in and out of the ports. Let's face it, everyone want to be next to the ocean so freeways are already clogged (LAX, SD, SFO, SEA). The US ports need to take on building (or greatly expanding) their own rail links to the interior to get around big city traffic. Existing long range freight rail is already maxed out in the west due to extraction industries exporting oil and coal that farmers can't get their grail to the ports for export. There is also the need to restore many of our short line rail in the western cities to get cargo between the ports and logistic centers. Much of these road beds are just setting fallow in "rail banks," waiting for us to restore them to life. What cheaper and more efficient way unclog our freeways of heavy, slow, polluting and damaging trucks.

Comment The Ultimate bridge to no where (Score 2) 451

This is about as practical as building a space plane to take me from my kitchen to my livingroom. Slow and inefficient rubber tired transit for more than 1/2 around the planet is the biggest waste of a slashdot article let alone the massive physical resources. Modern cargo containers ships are faster, travel more direct, are more all weather, cheaper and gentler on the environment than running trucks on iced over roads. Other than a civil engineer's board imaginations, I can only assume that this is the ultimate attempt of the Serbian chamber of commerce to get a global scale pork barrel project in their backyard. For transportation comparison:
Mode - Miles/Gallon/ton - [Hydrocarbons, CO, NO lbs/ton mile]. .
Ship - 514 miles/gallon - [0.0009, 0.0020, 0.0053]
Rail - 202 miles/gallon - [0.0046, 0.0064, 0.0183]
Truck - 59 miles/gallon - [0.0063, 0.0190, 0.1017]
Keep in mind that the above does not include the materials, cost or environmental damage to build this road to no where. If you really want a wild road trip drive from Cape Town to Cape Chelyuskin.

Comment Re:Non-problems, except for traffic (Score 1) 410

With our Seattle transportation issues we only seem to talk about cars. There is another big side of this that we don't address with all our talk of ST3 and Metro. That is the ever growing truck traffic being driven by the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. The ports need to step up and take responsibility for their impact on the roads. The ports have the bonding authority to do just about whatever they can get wall street to finance. RIght now good can not get into or out of the ports. Our Washington state farmers can not get space on trains to get their wheat to the ports due to all of the space being leased up in bulk by coal trains. I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass is a often closed in winter for delivering trucking cargo that results in billions in delays. There is a fallow railroad bed, known as the old Milwaukee RailRoad that is in public hands. It runs from between the two ports in Renton, near I-90 just east of Issaquah and reaches all the way to south of Spokane. It has a very even 1.7 grade at that could easily be built out to 150 MPH. The planned expansion of eastside light rail will come very near to the Old Milwaukee line at Issaquah. The ports could easily restore the Old Milwaukee line and lease excess capacity to Sound Transit, Metro and Amtrak. Imagine how moving all of this truck traffic off our Seattle and Freeway roads would reduce congestion. Imagine how a two hour train ride to WSU, the Apple Cup and Spokane would unite the state, reduce congestion, carbon pollution. With a one hour trip from the massive cold war runway at Moses lake it would allow the port to push freight out of Seatac to open up more lucrative passenger plane slots. This would put the ports at a competitive advantage if they can guarantee containers will be in Spokane on railcars ready for trucks or further rail transports regardless of weather or traffic. Now imagine the Ports building out a high speed rail line along I-90 that leverages cargo and passenger service. By combining the cost and solutions of cargo and commuter transportation together we can solve both problems at lower cost. Win-WIn-WIn.

Comment Re:Somewhat cheaper... (Score 1) 496

I have a 2014 Subaru with a back-up camera that displays on the radio ONLY when you are in reverse. I expected it to be redundant with the internal rear view mirror, but it is not. It is mounted just off center above the license plate. It is under the ledge above the plate and points down. The clear lens cover is about 1 CM so a small smudge of mud or droplet of water can obscure a large areas of the viewing field . I've learned to rub my finger over the lens every time I walk to my car. With a side mirror you can bob your head and work around a little dirt.

Over laid on the back-up image are two dashed "runway" lines with each dash showing one foot. It shows the ground right up to the back of the bumper. It the past if I were backing up to a low object object I have to guess. Now I'm parking within a couple of inches of where I want to be. I've put a small mark on the floor of my garage and I can back in to exactly where I want to be - every time. I'm sure there are useful ways of adding simple "VR" data to replace the parallax benefits of head bobbing and stereo vision.

Comment Re: Cost of Components (Score 1) 41

Digikey is amazing. Use them all the time for Protos and some production. Where tracking Digikey fails is the roll of truly innovative stuff barely out of the lab in small production as we'll a the other end custom ic. Sure they do fpga but try buying a full intel chip set, a GPU or what ever Qualcomm is selling to phone makers. They really are more trailing than leading edge. And the county airport is being expand to handle larger federal jets just for Digikey. They probibly have several million skews and many of those skews are for reels of 5 thousand resistors per real and many multiple reels of a skew in stock. They must be tracking billions of pieces of stock.

Comment Re:Unionize (Score 1) 630

In the US unionism as settled on "craft" or "trade" unions that are organized by specialty. The alternative is industrial unions that represent workers by industry. Before world war I industrial unions drifted more into social movements and lost ground to trade unions in the work place.

Comment Two visionaries from MIT & Stanford (Score 1) 196

The era leading up to and during WWII generated some amazing leaps in technology. Mostly led by two people. If you really want to see an amazing computer visionary take a look at Vannevar Bush. He is the grandfather of digital computing, information theory (Shannon was his grad student), hyper text/web, nuclear bombs and so much more. Douglas Engelbart was directly inspired by Bush.

The godfather of hardware was Frederick Terman at Stanford. Steve Blank has a great talk of the founding of silicon valley and Terman role in driving innovation (hint, radar's needs created the valley). These two people did not do the heads down work, but were really the two greatest product managers in history who had the resources of a nation as their development teams. For example Bush was the champion of the Manhattan Project so pretty cool having Oppenheimer as your technical lead on a project.

Comment Call your California Legicritter. (Score 1) 190

There fixed it for you. Congresscritters are at the federal level. Therefore it would seem that Legicritter would be the matching honorific at the state legislature level. This a California state bill. Although asking for it in other states seems to be a good idea.

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer