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Comment: This seems unnecessarily complicated. (Score 5, Insightful) 138

by Primate Pete (#47530539) Attached to: Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?
Why not just press dimples into the plastic/fibreglas/metal panels of the car? No expensive technology needed, and "good enough" dimples can just be made part of the parts molds/presses.

On a second topic, I would be investigating this if I owned a racing team because anything that decreases the fuel consumption of my car improves overall race performance. Skipping a single refueling stop is a big deal. Since the teams are already making custom cars, the cost of adding dimples should be negligible compared to the overall cost of the vehicle. Not quite something for nothing, but close.

Comment: Amtrak subsidies (Score 1) 195

by Primate Pete (#47474005) Attached to: The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train
Yeah, it competes with road funding, but Amtrak also takes huge funding from the government, too... near 30% of operating expenses or about half of revenue:

Bloomberg: "After automatic budget cuts, Amtrak is getting $1.3 billion in taxpayer money for fiscal 2013, with $905 million of that going to capital costs and debt service, Kulm said. That’s less than the $1.4 billion the railroad received the previous year."

Amtrak: "In FY 2012, Amtrak earned approximately $2.877 billion in revenue and incurred approximately $4.036 billion in expense. No country in the world operates a passenger rail system without some form of public support for capital costs and/or operating expenses."

It may be a good social service, but it's a lousy business, and it is nowhere near self-sufficient.

Comment: A success story (Score 1) 401

by Primate Pete (#47460523) Attached to: Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer
When I needed to cancel Comcast a few years ago because I was moving to a new apartment, they wouldn't let me go without giving them a forwarding address, which I did not want to provide. (The bill was already paid in full.) The solution I finally found was to lie to them. I called and told them that I'd found Jesus, and he didn't want that filth in my house anymore. They let me cancel without complaint or argument.So there are two lessons here: (1) find an excuse they don't want to fight with, and (2) don't tell them you're moving unless you want them to stalk you.

Comment: Re:Taxi Medallions (Score 2) 273

And this is why Sidecar, Uber, etc. will not put cabs out of business. Riders want to go where they want to go, not just where someone else is going. You will always need a cab to get to a bad part of town from a nice part of town because yuppies won't drive you there, but taxi drivers (usually) will.

One way to make your old car run better is to look up the price of a new model.