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Comment: DLR (Score 1) 170

by Roger W Moore (#47958201) Attached to: Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

The drivers are needed in case there are unexpected obstructions on the line.

If that were correct how would the Docklands Light Railway operate above ground without any drivers at all? The sad reason that drivers are needed is because of the unions. They automated the Victoria line years ago (1960s) but the unions threatened action and the resulting chaos that a drivers strike would have caused on the lines which were not automated forced them to keep drivers on each train even though they are completed unnecessary.

Comment: No vote likely best long term result (Score 4, Insightful) 192

by Roger W Moore (#47937295) Attached to: On Independence for Scotland:
As a british ex-pat I no longer have a strong stake in it going either way but I believe that a 'no' result would be the best for both Scotland and the rest of the UK (rUK) in the long term. The UK parties have promised considerable additional powers for Scotland in the event of a 'no' vote and the only way they have any hope of delivering that is to also to setup strong, regional government in the UK and provide those same powers to each region. Without that there will be a strong resentment against Scotland in rUK since it will be getting very special treatment - and given the coalition government I doubt they would get the votes they need without something for everyone else.

So the end result of a 'no' vote would the UK establishing strong regional governments just like every other modern, western democracy. This is something that is sorely lacking at the moment and, I believe, one of the reasons Westminster is so out of control: they lack any strong regional governments to hold them to account and force them to consider what is best for the whole country and not just the south of England.

If Scotland vote yes then expect Wales and northern England to start considering their options while Scotland will run into real trouble with the EU because certain members, like Spain, with their own regional independence concerns, are not going to look happily on admitting Scotland. This is not going to lead to much happiness and stability.

Comment: Re:You can't earn a lot while working for others (Score 3, Interesting) 270

by Roger W Moore (#47925529) Attached to: College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

REALLY want to earn a lot of money, working for others won't make you rich

Tell that to the banks and the finance industry in general. You might not make it to billionaire but millionaire is easily achievable, all for risking other people's money with apparently almost zero risk to yourself even if you are the one responsible for messing up.

Comment: Worst Forecast Ever Made (Score 2) 147

by Roger W Moore (#47925101) Attached to: I think next winter will be:
The UK met office always used to complain that the reason they could not accurately predict the weather was because they could not have ground sensors over the north atlantic so they could not make accurate models. now living in Alberta with ground sensors for 1,000+ km in all directions the Canadian weather predictions are still no more accurate than the UK's are.

Still, thanks to Michael Fish, the UK still holds the record for the least accurate weather forecast ever made: not only did he fail to predict the worst storm to hit the south of England in a century or more he actually took time to rubbish the concerns of a woman who called in worried about it!

Comment: Re:The merging must be dramatic, explosive even... (Score 2) 72

by Roger W Moore (#47924285) Attached to: Astronomers Find Star-Within-a-Star, 40 Years After First Theorized

The only sad thing about living when we do, is we will never get to watch solar collisions from under 100 AU.

Given that the only star within 100AU is our sun and we are rather reliant on that continuing in a very stable way for our continued existence "sad" is not exactly the word I would use.

Comment: Re:Wait, these are for real? (Score 1) 72

by Roger W Moore (#47924261) Attached to: Astronomers Find Star-Within-a-Star, 40 Years After First Theorized

Why wouldn't it be stable? More gravity means more fusion, not less.

That's exactly why you might expect it not to be stable for long. The mass transfer to the neutron star would be presumably quite large since it is inside the companion, and then, at some point, it will go nova again. Would the companion star survive that?

Comment: Filter of Time (Score 2) 191

by Roger W Moore (#47915085) Attached to: Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future

Anyone remember the seventies pre-Star Wars? You couldn't produce an SF film unless it had a downer ending.

Rather than cyclical I'd suggest that it might be just the historical filter. The SciFi you remember looking back are the upbeat, wonderful future stories. It's similar to the filter that gets applied to modern music: it always seems to appear that things were better in the past because you forget the bad songs and only remember the good ones.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 290

by Roger W Moore (#47888505) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails
I expect that part of what colours my experience is that the companies I typically have to call most often for customer support are the ones with the longest waits and slowest response times (that's if you even get one). I suspect that there may be a correlation. The couple of times I've had to contact Apple over the past several years they have been amazingly fast but try talking to Shaw Cable or Air Canada (other than to book a flight) and make sure you can sit by the phone for an hour or more and you can forget email because they certainly seem to!

Comment: Re: ...and say what exactly? (Score 1) 363

by Roger W Moore (#47888423) Attached to: BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates
That's what the summary says but the summary is WRONG. Read what they actually said in the article. Deliberately mis-stating what has been stated to make it ridiculously inflammatory is counterproductive and makes any criticism easy to dismiss. All the BBC says is that pirates use VPN. The troubling part of what they say is not this but that ISPs should act on any wild accusation they get to cut, or restrict, people's internet access. There is plenty to criticize there without the need to make up crazy stuff that was never stated anywhere.

Comment: Really? (Score 4, Interesting) 290

by Roger W Moore (#47888041) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails
The only difference between Google and most customer service today is that at least Google are honest about it and tell you that you will be ignored. Most other companies will just ignore your email and not tell you or leave you in a call queue for so long that you end up having to hang up and go do something else.

Comment: ...and say what exactly? (Score 5, Insightful) 363

by Roger W Moore (#47860905) Attached to: BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates
But what exactly are you going to say? Despite the inflammatory slashdot summary the quoted text from the BBC submission only says that pirates use VPNs. This is not at all the same as saying that all VPN users are pirates. The troubling part is that they are advocating that ISPs should throttle and disconnect users based on accusations from other companies which, as we have seen time and time again are often inaccurate.

So lets go after the real issues and not invent new ones based on deliberate misinterpretation since the latter will result in loss of all credibility and leave the field wild open for really draconian suggestions.

Comment: Cheapest Ticket (Score 4, Interesting) 819

The only way this would work is to place height restrictions on the different classes of seat. I'm an academic and when travelling for work I have to purchase the cheapest ticket. Without a height restriction I would then be forced to purchase a ticket for a seat I physically could not sit down it (I already have to pull out the magazines on US carriers to allow blood flow to my feet).

This can then open the debate about whether it is reasonable for an airline to charge someone extra just for being tall - something they had no control over and which is gender-biased. After all they don't charge more to provide special meals for those with dietary preferences or religious beliefs and, with the exception of medical conditions, that is a voluntary choice. Nor, I hope, do they charge disabled passengers extra for transporting wheelchairs etc.

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