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Comment: not true at all (Score 5, Insightful) 131

by Trepidity (#47705121) Attached to: FarmBot: an Open Source Automated Farming Machine

Businesses across the globe have been innovating for decades, while farming has been using techniques that have been handed down from centuries ago.

That's not true at all. Maybe in some hobby farms, but at a large scale (which is where most food actually comes from), farming in 2014 is nothing like farming in 1914. Modern agribusiness is highly automated, which is why the proportion of the U.S. population engaged in farm work has declined from about 30% to about 2%, while food production has increased.

Comment: Re:Well duh (Score 2) 450

by Trepidity (#47678879) Attached to: Web Trolls Winning As Incivility Increases

I used to think anonymity was part of the problem, but I haven't seen improvement when some forums have switched to real names, so I now no longer think that really helps. My local paper switched to Facebook as its commenting platform, with comments posted under real names, and the comment section is still as terrible as before.

Comment: Re:Uber is quite retarded (Score 3, Informative) 338

by Trepidity (#47676155) Attached to: Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

If you have personal auto insurance and you drive the vehicle commercially, the insurance will not pay out: driving commercially violates the terms of personal auto insurance, so you voided the policy. So you are that case, despite claiming to be insured. If you drive commercially, you need commercial auto insurance to actually have a policy that is valid.

Comment: Re:Uber is quite retarded (Score 2) 338

by Trepidity (#47675411) Attached to: Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

No, this is precisely about accountability. It's not a new problem either: London invented this solution in response to this problem ~350 years ago. In the 17th century, there were many hackney carriages driven by unscrupulous drivers, who had no assets you could go after to pay for damages they caused through their rash behavior.

Here are two solutions:

1. Enforce a skill floor on drivers, so the worst cannot drive at all.

2. Require the rest of the drivers to carry insurance, so that any damages they cause to a third party may be assured coverage.

Comment: Re: Uber is quite retarded (Score 5, Insightful) 338

by Trepidity (#47675263) Attached to: Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

No, they haven't. If Uber was willing to themselves shoulder any liability, that would be one thing. But they claim that individual drivers are responsible for any liability that may arise in an accident, and that Uber is not responsible. Of course, conveniently enough, the average driver nowhere near enough assets to pay out any liability claim in the case where they caused an accident. That is precisely why insurance is required.

Comment: seems to be the trend (Score 1) 84

by Trepidity (#47672527) Attached to: DARPA Uses Preteen Gamers To Beta Test Tomorrow's Military Software

NSF has been shifting its funding away from CS research, and DARPA has been moving a bigger proportion of its funding from basic research to near-term applied research. As a result, there are more and more strings attached to research-grant money. Some kind of "dual-use" thing where you're doing the research you want to do, which DARPA also happens to be able to repurpose for its own uses, is if anything the best case. It's not that uncommon to just straight be working on whatever DARPA wants done.

Comment: Re:Screwed... (Score 1) 327

by Trepidity (#47669049) Attached to: California May Waive Environmental Rules For Tesla

If you don't like these legal mechanisms, get rid of them.

Did you read this thread? I am arguing for that explicitly, which is what started this thread! Instead of jumping onto you ideological soapbox right away, why not learn to read?

California has a problem with red tape and NIMBYism. Telsa's fear of locating in California is most likely, I am arguing, due to that. HSR is just an example that the problem is so bad that even the government itself is running into it, so no wonder Tesla is scared of building anything there. Whether HSR is good as a policy reason or not is irrelevant to this discussion. The fact that the people using red tape and NIMBYism happen to agree with you politically on this issue doesn't make them any less disgusting fucks; they're just as bad as any other NIMBY asshole.

Comment: Re:Screwed... (Score 4, Informative) 327

by Trepidity (#47667405) Attached to: California May Waive Environmental Rules For Tesla

There are plenty of legitimate reasons you could oppose the HSR system, but tying it up in red tape and NIMBY lawsuits is not one of them, and that's one of the big things it's run into. I'm just using it as an example of how the red-tape and NIMBY-lawsuit problem is so bad in California that even California's own infrastructure projects get snagged in it.

Comment: Re:My local library (Score 3, Informative) 165

by Trepidity (#47666797) Attached to: Why the Public Library Beats Amazon

You can get academic journal articles in many libraries, which can help independent researchers, autodidacts, or even just particularly interested people. Obviously a local branch serving primarily non-researchers won't have a huge selection of journals on the shelves, but many do have access to academic library material via partnerships, if you want those materials. For individual articles, sometimes they'll even just get you a PDF scan (if local policy/law permits).

Depends on the library systems of course, but I've used two systems that are like that. The Danish public libraries have access to the entire national university system's holdings via loans and scans, and it works very nicely. Now you might think that's something that only happens in Socialist Scandinavia, but another place that does that is, oddly enough, Texas: through the TexShare program, anyone holding a public library card can visit most academic libraries in-person, or access electronic databases remotely.

The degree of technical confidence is inversely proportional to the level of management.