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Comment: Re:And what does this have to with taxes? (Score 1) 623

by WhirlwindMonk (#36626754) Attached to: Amazon Drops California Associates to Avoid Sales Tax
They have to pay rent, staff, and utilities to their various warehouses, plus the costs of maintaining their servers and their shipping infrastructure. Not saying that isn't part of it, but it's not like they have none of the costs brick and mortar places have. I was told (don't really care enough to verify) that part of Amazon's pricing comes from their enormous market influence, allowing them to demand below-wholesale prices. That seems more likely to me than "Their heating bill is less, so they can consistently sell things for 30%+ less than anyone else."

Comment: Re:And what does this have to with taxes? (Score 2) 623

by WhirlwindMonk (#36621448) Attached to: Amazon Drops California Associates to Avoid Sales Tax

Also, might the unfair tax advantage of amazon have made it impossible for the local shops to compete? So if Amazon did NOT have its unfair tax advantage, you would still have a choice. But no, you saved a penny or two and now you got no choice.

Even pre-tax, Amazon is often much less than local retailers. $10 (Amazon now) $10 + 6% tax (Amazon with tax) $15 + 6% tax (Local store now). Somehow I don't think tax law is what's giving them their pricing edge.

Comment: Re:Can you blame them? (Score 1) 80

by WhirlwindMonk (#36601134) Attached to: Mathematics Museum To Open In Manhattan
You need a combination of both, though I believe that pure abstract would be superior to pure application. Teaching pure application leads to rote memorization. "This is how you solve this specific problem. This is how you solve this one." and so on and so forth. It leads to people who know precisely what they're told and nothing more, and when they encounter a problem that isn't within that scope, they dismiss it with any of a number of foolish reasons. By teaching abstract, you equip people to take what they know about one thing and apply it to something else. That said, abstract without application leaves many people (foolishly) assuming that there is no application. Focus on the abstract, make sure people understand it. Then show them how to apply that abstract to an application themselves. Hopefully then we can avoid the constant, insipid questions that have answers that should be obvious with just a single layer of abstraction from the previous concept. If not...well, the world still needs janitors and garbage men...

Comment: Re:Solution (Score 1) 651

by WhirlwindMonk (#36448066) Attached to: Obama: 'We Don't Have Enough Engineers'
I could see it going either way. What seems to be undeniable, though, is that even if it is more expensive for the long distance, it's not the same "type" of expense. It's an expense that can be "fixed" by workers working "better." You know, the same way you can get more work done over here in the US by making people work 50-60+ hours a week, completely ignoring that doing so decreases the productivity of the worker over the course of all those hours, and that already lower productivity degrades even further from the exhaustion that sets in near the end of the 50-60 hour week. "We don't need more people, you guys just need to work more!" Bullcrap.

Comment: Re:Facing your accuser (Score 1) 367

by WhirlwindMonk (#36401386) Attached to: Los Angeles To Turn Off Traffic-Light Cameras
So...it's exactly the same as before, except before you could say to the cop "Did you see that guy tailgating me? I'm pretty sure he would have hit me had I slammed on my breaks to stop for that light," and he might let you off. If he doesn't and you want to argue further, you can take it to court. But the default position is having a chance to talk with the one accusing you before having to pay. With a cop, my extenuating circumstances can leave me with just a few minutes lost. A camera means hours of time plus court fees, minimum. So, really, not at all the same.

Comment: Re:Cameras don't cause collisions... (Score 1) 367

by WhirlwindMonk (#36401332) Attached to: Los Angeles To Turn Off Traffic-Light Cameras
Aren't you required to leave enough room to allow for such a situation? Not saying it'd be ALL your fault, but if I do something stupid and you are following too close to react when I do something stupid, it seems like fault would be shared. And being aware of what's behind you is exactly what I mentioned in the reply to the post above yours. If I'm aware that you are too close and cannot stop in time, it is my duty as a responsible driver to keep going, even if it means not quite making it before the red light. With cameras that cannot account for extenuating circumstances, I'm screwed whether I stop or go. That's what I mean by "responsible for the guy behind me." You driving irresponsibly could force me to deal with undesired consequences no matter what my choice, holding me "responsible" in some way for your actions.

Comment: Re:Cameras don't cause collisions... (Score 1) 367

by WhirlwindMonk (#36399192) Attached to: Los Angeles To Turn Off Traffic-Light Cameras
If the guy behind me is following too close to stop if I slam on my brakes, and I have to hit my brakes hard for a light with a camera, I have to choose between a ticket or a smashed back end. And while the smashed back end will end up being paid for by the person who hit me, that doesn't fix the fact that I won't get to my destination on time, I may have to deal with a rental car, I have to fill out paperwork for the insurance company, among other things that the guy behind me cannot fix. Sounds to me like I get punished either way simply because the guy behind me was doing something I can't control.

Comment: Re:Traffic Light Safety (Score 1) 367

by WhirlwindMonk (#36398978) Attached to: Los Angeles To Turn Off Traffic-Light Cameras
Not a bad idea, except it differs for different vehicles and different road conditions. Big trucks take longer to stop that small cars, and here in Michigan, the weather is so varied that that line would only be accurate maybe 25-35% of the time. Down in Arizona or something, though, it might work.

Comment: Re:What's the deal-o ? (Score 1) 367

by WhirlwindMonk (#36398956) Attached to: Los Angeles To Turn Off Traffic-Light Cameras

How are you going to confront a picture of you running a red light?

That's kind of the point they're trying to make. You can't, despite having a right to do so.

If you were making passage for a ambulance or policy vehicle, there will be witnesses and incident logs.

So you get to take a day off work to go into a court room, demand that the GPS logs of the emergency vehicles in that area be retrieved (assuming they even exist), show that your ticket was at the same time the emergency vehicle was going through, hope that the judge believes you that you really were making room and not just taking advantage of all the stopped traffic, and even if you do get out of the ticket, possibly have to pay court fees. All of which could be avoided if it were a cop on the corner instead of a camera. Sounds like a plan to me!

Comment: Re:Facing your accuser (Score 1) 367

by WhirlwindMonk (#36398920) Attached to: Los Angeles To Turn Off Traffic-Light Cameras
Except you get taken to court for those crimes. Red light cameras just result in you getting a ticket mailed to you with the expectation you'll pay. You want to fight the decision? You get to pay anyway, both court fees and with your time. Imagine if those bank cameras had facial recognition software that compared to a database of citizens, and the computer claiming a "match" was all that was necessary to throw you in prison without a trial.

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