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Comment: Re:Here's a trick: Don't live in the U.S. (Score 2) 264

by Tuidjy (#46797813) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

When I lived in France, I would get in my car for two reasons: go to the Cora (big supermarket) once a week, and go on weekend trips around Alsace. During the week, it was public transportation all the way. I didn't know many people who commuted in their cars... the two that did commute did it on gas-sipping motorcycles.

Today I live in California, and drive 34 miles per day to get to work, my wife drives a bit less, in a different direction. Our commutes are shorter than most of the people we know. Comparing California to Alsace, the driving cultures are completely different. My daily commuter is a 24 year old 270hp Toyota Supra, the car I take to see customers a 460hp Volvo (I'm in IT, but I work for an aftermarket auto-manufacturer)

With cars like this, I would be regarded like a wasteful pig by most people I knew in Europe. Amongst the people I know in the US, my cars get good MPG.

Comment: Re:Yay for government!!! (Score 4, Interesting) 137

by Tuidjy (#46774795) Attached to: Industry-Wide Smartphone "Kill Switch" Closer To Reality

I wonder how easy it will be for someone unauthorized to force a cellphone off the air. And how easy it will be to get someone authorized to do it through social engineering.

I just hope that however they implement it, they make sure that emergency calls can still be made.

Comment: Re:How do you do your taxes? (Score 1) 385

by Tuidjy (#46761881) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

When I was single and didn't make much money, I used to do my own taxes, on paper, and mail them.

Then I started making more, and started paying a guy recommended by my father to do them for fifty bucks.

Then I got married, and my wife decided that she would file them instead of spending the money, which had gotten to a hundred by then.

Then my wife salary rose, and we went over the cutoff point for using the website she had been using.

So now, I am again doing my taxes on paper, except that I am filing earlier, because my wife gets antsy about it.

Something's wrong with this. :-)

Comment: Re:fixing the parent posting (Score 1) 307

by Tuidjy (#46750295) Attached to: Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi

> Goddamn mathematician wasting precious ammunition to have a statistics wank-fest after MY goddamn zombie apocalypse?

Yes, especially because you do not need to waste the shells if you are after an approximation. Get a string, trace a circle. Stretch the string across the circle, through the center, marked when you were tracing it. Measure the diameter string, in shells. Line shells around the circle, bases touching each other. Divide the two numbers, multiply by two, and you will get decent accuracy.

Of course, you will get better accuracy, if you stick 200 or so sticks on the circle's circumference, wrap a string around them, and measure that in shells.

And you can improve on that, by expressing the error for going straight between sticks using Pi, and solving the resulting equation.

But if you are actually able to do math, you can just use one of the series that converge on Pi.

Comment: Re:Just about anything (Score 1) 732

by Tuidjy (#46738767) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

> People are not so that stupid that large numbers are going to stay where there is no food.

You do not seem to understand. Anything that qualifies as Apocalypse is going to disrupt things enough that there will be NO way to get enough food to large metropolitan areas. Hell, who would want to head into the death trap with food?

Nine millions New Yorkers. How far get they get before they cannot get any further? How are they going to share the food they get to? How is the second million going to survive going through where the first million went? They will descend like locusts on the New York state farmers, and it will be a bloodbath...

If you have a functioning farm that can, without an outside supply of fertilizer, feed your family and maybe twenty more people if everyone tightens heir belt, what will you do when a thousand people show up at your door? Feed them your seed reserve? (if you even have that, as opposed to buying your seed from a supplier come planting season)

If only twenty people show up, are you going to feed them on your property without expecting anything in return? Who is going to protect you from people who did not find a nice farmer? What are you going to do if someone amongst your tenants decides that they would rather lord it over everyone else?

Look at any evacuation that has been performed, even recently. Now subtract any aid coming from the outside (because everyone is experiencing the same disaster) No one to bring food, to direct traffic, to set up camp... to set up a bloody port-a-potti.

And then, at some point, someone realizes that there is no functioning law and order anywhere. Sure, hothead Jim will try to bully people alone. Big Bad Bob will get three friends together first, and pick on easier targets, recruiting everyone that's too much trouble to intimidate.

Comment: Re:Medical doctor (Score 5, Insightful) 732

by Tuidjy (#46738145) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

This is all true... But people with a grasp of the history of, well, history, will know that the people most useful to themselves while be the ones (1) with familiarity with whatever weaponry still functions and (2) with a glib tongue to unite likely minded people.

It won't be an apocalypse if we can feed everyone. When we cannot feed everyone, there will be violence. When there is violence, the people will be triaged into three groups:
- the tough and glib (lords)
- the useful professionals (craftsmen)
- the manual laborers, when needed (serfs)
Those who can't cut it as thugs, and do not know something useful will be lucky to be allowed to pick at the dirt and retain enough to feed themselves. In highly populated regions, about one in a hundred will be lucky to be needed as a serf.

This does not apply to regions where the population is sparse enough and the land productive enough so that food is not an issue. But without modern tech, there will not be enough food for the everyone... and big cities will be littered with the dead and dying within a week.

Twenty years ago, I would have tried for lord. Today, I think I may still qualify for 'craftsman'. Twenty years from now, I probably will be a good fit only for 'dead'. So can we not have an Apocalypse, please?

Comment: Re:The sheer volume! (Score 1) 137

by Tuidjy (#46728101) Attached to: Cuba: US Using New Weapon Against Us -- Spam

As for South Florida ... you do realize 99% of the people you are referring to are dead now right? Most of the ones you're thinking of would be at least 80 years old, some well over 100. The Cuban exiles really don't matter any more either.

You're living in the 1960s and seem to have missed the evidence of the last 60 years.

Did you miss the part where I repeatedly said "or their descendents"? I am talking from personal experience with not just individuals, but families which have "Castro and Cuba" as a berserk button - my wife's grandmother (still alive) immigrated from Cuba. Two of her sons (not my father in law) still cannot be rational about anything to do with the subject.

By the way, why don't you see how many Miami HIGH profile politicians are descendants of Cuban immigrants... Hell, check the congressmen, while you are at it.

Comment: Re:The sheer volume! (Score 1) 137

by Tuidjy (#46718325) Attached to: Cuba: US Using New Weapon Against Us -- Spam

The embargo is a serious problem. With it gone, Cuba would be able to develop one hell of a tourist industry, and replace its aging hotels and a lot of its infrastructure in months. I've been there (as a Bulgarian citizen, in the Cold War days) and as a vacation destination, it has amazing potential.

When I first came to the States, I had a very hard time understanding why the hell the US is still keeping the embargo going. Nowadays, I have a theory.

The US has a rather weird election system. Look it up if you want to know the specifics, but one of its effects is that all of a state's votes go one of the candidates, even if he wins the state with a very slim majority. Thus, the outcome of a presidential election may change if you flip just few thousands of votes in a few contested states.

One of these contested states is Florida, which is home to a a relatively small population of Cuban exiles and their descendants. Small, that is, compared to the total US population. Compared to the margins by which Florida is lost and won in the presidential elections, it's quite large.

Most of these exiles and their descendants are vehemently opposed to the communist regime in Cuba. I have been shocked at the passion of rather rational people for the subject. But when you consider what they went through, it is understandable. These people not only would vote against anyone suggesting to take down the embargo, but they also wield influence way out of proportion to their numbers. Many politicians, celebrities, and community leaders would work to hinder any politician who wants to normalize ties to Cuba.

Well, at least I believe so. The thing is, so do American politicians, and they will not dare stir trouble and lose Florida.

Comment: Re:kids (Score 1) 353

by Tuidjy (#46631875) Attached to: If Ridesharing Is Banned, What About Ride-Trading?

What the fuck are you smoking?

I worked with a guy whose wife left him with their three month old son, and disappeared for six years. Then she married, took the kid, and he had to pay child support. Then she got kicked out by her new husband and sent the eight year old kid on a bus from Texas to California, without calling Dan until the bus was about to arrive, so I had to cover for him.

So far so good. The kicker is that she successfully got custody AGAIN a few years later. And my friend tried to fight it in court in fucking Louisiana, and lost.

So you are completely full of shit to say that a father has any chance to get custody unless there is something truly wrong with the mother, and even then, it's a slim chance.

Comment: Re:Robots (Score 4, Informative) 176

by Tuidjy (#46326825) Attached to: Apocalypse NAO: College Studies the Theological Ramifications of Robotics

> The word robot means slave in Czech

Not quite. It's derived from the word "robota", which means labor due to a feudal lord, and is colloquially used to describe unpleasant work you do unhappily.

A closer match than slave would be serf. The word 'rob' is slave in many Slavic languages, but not in Czech. Funnily enough, in every other Slavic language I know, robota/rabota mean just work, with no negative connotations.

Comment: Re:No such thing as one-way glass* (Score 1) 114

by Tuidjy (#46123541) Attached to: Engineers Invent Acoustic Equivalent of One-Way Glass

You're wrong on so many levels.

First, you assume that 'one-way glass' means 'one-way mirror'. For all we know, they mean 'optical frequency circulators' which use ferrimagnetic crystals, and can definitely let visible spectrum light only way. Look it up.

Second, even for one-way mirrors, the term 'one-way' is appropriate enough. Few things in the real world are 100%. City streets, diodes, etc... we refer to them as one way, even when they really aren't 100% one way - the random car/particle gets through.

Third, we're Engineers. It's about getting results. We invent things that don't exist all the time. Although in this case, I doubt there are as many applications as the original article wishes they were. In a lot of the cases, you will get cheaper results with conventional soundproofing, and if you need the sound on one side, you can get it there with some good old microphones and speakers.

And even fourth. It's good to be looking for new stuff. You never know what's under the rock you turn over, just because it's there. You may be looking for a new way to turn lead into gold, and discover porcelain instead.

Comment: Re:Um.... (Score 5, Interesting) 562

by Tuidjy (#45730507) Attached to: Police Pull Over More Drivers For DNA Tests

Bad compared to what? To the ideal Officer of the Law? The one that hangs out with the ideal Communist Citizen and the ideal Hereditary Autocrat?

Or bad compared to a gang member, a warlord's soldier, or even security consultant?

I have never lived in a neighborhood where law enforcement dares not thread, or a country where warlords are the only authority. They do exist on this planet, though. On the other hand, I've lived in post-Communist Bulgaria, and saw what happened when the police becomes, for one reason or another, unwilling or unable to enforce the law.

One month, you could spend the night in the park, with your girlfriend, on a blanket.

The next, thugs were dismantling public property and infrastructure (from park benches to power transformers) and crooks were running gambling operations everywhere, beating up everyone who dared explaining their tricks to their marks.

One month later, no house, store, or vehicle was safe unless you were willing to defend it yourself. A lot of people learned that being in right does not make you invulnerable.

A few months later, those who had been successful at defending theirs, started defending other people... for a price. So your property was safe, if it bore a sticker saying "This X is insured by Y until Z." Well it was safe until Y was on the top of the heap, and of course, only until Z. And Y's members were raping, beating up and extorting as much as they conscience allowed them. Some had pretty enabling consciences.

I do not know what had happened since. I left. I know that I will take the worst policeman I've ever encountered in the US, before I trust the best 'security consultant' I've heard of.

We need law enforcement. What we have is less than perfect. We should strive to make it better. It is still in a whole different category than not having law enforcement. And anyway, 'Not having law enforcement' is unsustainable. There's enough people who would pray on others that it becomes inefficient for society's member to defend themselves individually. Soon enough, someone steps up to provide the service, and chances are it's not the one you wish would.

And yeah, it is true that those some of those people end up in law enforcement. At least, many of them have incentives to at least pretend to play by the rules.

Comment: Re:Politics as usual (Score 4, Interesting) 348

by Tuidjy (#45717431) Attached to: Red Light Camera Use Declined In 2013 For the First Time

The problem is that no one has interest in doing it right. As far as I am concerned, the camera-at-traffic-light was solved in the 90s, when I was at MIT. I worked on the project for a while, and I remember the problems that we faced (and solved). Even better, time has made every single one of them trivial, through better cameras, faster and cooler processing, and cheap reliable communication.

So, here is how to make traffic cameras that work and save lives:

1. Once yellow is displayed, monitor the speed of the first vehicle in each lane that should be stopping.
2. Do not turn on the green (for any other lane) until every yellow (and later red) facing vehicle has initiated a deceleration that can bring to rest before the intersection.
3. Start flashing the red early if you detect a car that appears to be going too fast to stop before entering the intersection, but too slow to to enter it before the red is scheduled to appear.
4. Issue tickets to everyone entering the interception on red. As you don't delay the appearance of the red, this won't reduce the number of tickets.
5. Send warnings to people who have delayed the green, but have still come to a stop, reminding them that emergency stops are wearing down their shocks, tires, and brakes.
6. Send warnings to people who have crossed at flashing red, or speeding tickets if they did so by breaking the speed limit.

Note that none of this makes the green come earlier, or the red come later. You can still use an underlying, tested, proven reliable system to ensure that the new-fanged system does not give green to the wrong people at the same time.

This is going to save lives, and it was successfully testing in Boston last millennium. OK, so after a few weeks, the hardware went kaput, but that left the standard traffic light in place and there was no harm done. We lost interest. With today's tech, I could rebuild the system for one tenth of the price, and it would probably last a long longer.

"If you want to eat hippopatomus, you've got to pay the freight." -- attributed to an IBM guy, about why IBM software uses so much memory