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Comment Re:They cost enough money, they have to be good. (Score 1) 207

I think their stated profit margin per car was around $9k, which is a pretty good margin in the automotive industry. The company as a whole may not turn a profit quarter to quarter, but that is because they are making large investments in other areas as you mentioned.

Comment Not the first abuse (Score 1) 200

I seem to remember a few years back when there was a particularly snowy winter they were handing out tickets for illegal right turns like candy. The city wasn't able to keep up with snow removal and had just been plowing snow and slush to the side of the road. This eventually caused the right hand turn lanes at most intersections to be covered in banks of snow and ice several feet tall. Drivers did the common sense thing and were turning right on red, normally legal, from the right most lane that was passable. The red light cameras couldn't adjust for the road conditions though and were spitting out tickets at an obscene rate. The City acknowledged that this was not proper and that the drivers were in the legal right. The catch though was that they refused to just shred those tickets, or filter them out. Instead it was up to each driver that received a ticket to either pay the fine(s) or show up in court to contest the ticket. This was particularly egregious because the city ordinances for the cameras required a human police officer to review each and every proposed ticket from the camera system and verify it before sending the ticket out. So the city was in essence continuing to take specific action to charge people fines for imaginary traffic ordinance violations even after acknowledging no such violation happened, and insisted that to clear it every wrongfully fined individual had to make a court appearance.

Comment Re:This (Score 1) 393

I think tuition costs have sky rocketed because the Fed has gotten too lenient in their lending policies for education. As more and more students are able to take out large loans to pay for a degree the schools simply charge more and more. It's a pretty basic capitalist principle that you find a price that maximizes your profits by selling all of the product you can at the highest price the market will bear. So long as the Fed keeps pumping more money into the economy ear marked for college degrees, colleges will keep raising tuition to capture as much of that money as possible.

Restricting how many students a college can take on for any given degree path reeks to me of strong central planning. Especially when you realize that a college degree isn't specialized job training, it is purely an educational thing. Do we really, as a society, want to say who may and may not learn about whatever subject because there simply aren't enough job openings in that field?

Comment Re:I support surveillance (Score 1) 108

Except that the NSA FISA stuff wouldn't have stopped 9/11. The CIA was already monitoring the communications of those terrorists. When the terrorists crossed the border into the USA they were supposed to inform and possibly hand the case over to the FBI. Instead the CIA decided they wanted to glory hog and didn't tell the FBI anything, despite some of their own agents actually pushing to turn it over. Basically at least one person, if not more, in management at the CIA shares just as much blame for 9/11 as the actual terrorists, because while the terrorists did what they did out of some kind of twisted religious hatred, the CIA asshole(s) did it for career progression.

Comment Re:Theyre not refugees! (Score 1) 416

There is no moral imperative to preserve cultures in some stagnant state. Archive and document it maybe, but I've yet to hear a good reason that any culture should be frozen in time for anyone. In a similar fashion values also shift and change over time, and there is little real reason to insist that a group of people stick with any one set indefinitely. By advocating for the preservation of specific sets of values, and cultures you are actually damaging social cohesion. The more we meld together and discover common cause with our neighbors learning each others culture and values, the better suited we all are to interact socially in a safe manner.

Comment Re:Meh. I bought Skyrim pre-release... (Score 1) 367

I think I bought it the night before it was released and I don't really remember that many bugs. It's possible that I just didn't encounter anything bad enough to notice it as a bug or was lucky. The only thing I can remember standing out was the mouse controls being borked as a console port, looking up or down required a hugely disproportionate amount of mouse movement, which was readily fixable through an ini file change. Now that I think of it though, I don't think I ever finished the civil war quest line.

Comment Re:Downloading the intertubes, Daily (Score 2) 264

The poster did indicate it was a family using the connection. It is entirely possible that a family with teenagers might have several people using streaming media on a nearly constant basis while at home and not sleeping. 300 GB in a week still seems a bit excessive to me, but then again I don't even use a cellphone so who knows what the kids are doing these days.

Comment Re:SXSW are pussies (Score 1) 478

I think rationality gets a lot of use in religion, just not all the way from the top to the bottom. It's just like any good con, you sell one lie that the sucker wants to believe and then use reasoning to lead them to their safe deposit box. In my mind the clergy isn't all that good an indicator of whether or not one sex is more rational than the other, the congregation though is an entirely different matter. And I've gotta say I don't think I've ever seen a church congregation with more men than women.

Comment Re: Censoring speech... (Score 1) 585

I can't say yay, or nay on whether there is quality studies about that number. But there has been a lot of evidence found that indicates that the Native Americans were at some very low population numbers compared to historical highs when the colonization of North America got going. You can read up on the Mississippian Culture on wikipedia and see that there were very large settlements, comparable to Paris at the time. Then shortly after Spanish contact those settlements are abandoned and all that settlers find later are tiny tribal nomadic settlements.

Comment Re:Evade air defense? (Score 1) 237

I think a cheaper method might be to deploy thousands of drones each only carrying one or two munitions. From there you simply pile on more drones than the defenses can hope to shoot down. Since they are drones and you don't have to worry about losing expensive aircrew you can also have them fly at much lower altitudes when passing AA emplacements, making for a smaller window of opportunity for the AA systems.

The obvious problems I can see with this strategy though would be first, that guided munitions might need a lot of altitude to get on target properly, which might require rapid changes in altitude that the drones couldn't accomplish. Secondly the command and control system and subsystems would have to be very strong to handle thousands of drones, if not tens of thousands, and each drone would have to have some kind of inertial guidance system to guide it onto target in case command and control is taken out or jammed.

Even with those challenges though I'd wager it'd be cheaper than a small fleet of full size manned aircraft.

Comment Re:License to Private Server (Score 4, Interesting) 106

I wonder what MMO they are referencing there that has audiovisual content primarily stored on the game servers. Every MMO I've ever played has kept all of that on your computer and the game server just tells your computer where your character is on the map. All of the 3d models, textures, sounds, and maps are stored on your computer. All the rendering is done on your computer, the only things the game server typically provides is coordinate data for characters and mobs, spews out numbers from the random number generator, and signals events for scripted things, and of course tracks all the stats for your character.

"Love your country but never trust its government." -- from a hand-painted road sign in central Pennsylvania