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Comment Re:"We have a profound opportunity to distort." (Score 1) 66 66

We already city-level air quality indicies that let us do comparisons between cities - http://www.airnow.gov/

Anyway, it's not a hard problem to solve. Street View cars already revisit the same streets they've been to before, so eventually they'd collect enough data to be able to average out those sources of variability.

This looks more like it would be useful for comparing neighborhoods within a city. How much worse is the air in the industrial districts compared to the residential ones? What is the difference in air quality in each of San Francisco's microclimates?

But traffic is a large source of solution, so that would bias their data. It would be cool if they strapped these sensors onto the Street View backpacks that they use to map hiking trails, and get data on the air quality along walking paths in parks and other areas that can't be driven to.

Comment Re:Easiest question all week. (Score 1) 252 252

Not my car. I pay the extra money to have my own seats that no one else's bum touches, my own cup holders that never hold alcohol or drippy milkshakes, and my own seat fabrics that only my kids drop their toys onto.

Serious question: do you avoid taxis for the same reason?

Comment Re:If you sedate everyone and put them in a coffin (Score 1) 394 394

I'm not so keen on being sedated, but I'd pay extra to be stacked horizontally!

A few years ago Lufthansa had a concept where they would have triple-decker bunk beds in their planes. Read more about it here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new...

Long haul business class (which is currently the cheapest way to get a lie-flat bed) costs about 3x as much as economy class. But having 3 levels would probably bring this price back down to only slightly above economy class prices, and would be much better than flying DVT class. I'd also happily give up meal services and carry-on baggage (I'd just check everythign in) to be able to lie down and sleep properly.

Not sure what happened though. Maybe it's against some safety regulation, or maybe they thought it'd cannibalize their current business class offering.

Comment Re:Taxi licenses are crazy expensive (Score 1) 334 334

On the surface these regulations sound useful, but I've still had a lot of bad experiences in taxis. Not every time I get into a cab, but it's happened a not-insignificant number of times. I've had multiple taxi drivers pretend that the meter is broken, and then try to charge me a ridiculously overpriced fare (which I refused to pay). I've been verbally abused because a driver didn't feel I was travelling far enough to be worth his while. Many drivers smell bad, and have dirty cabs. Female friends have been sexually propositioned, and drunk friends have been taken advantage of.

Since I've started using Uber and Lyft, I've never had any reason to complain. Never mind the lower price; the quality of the service is simply better. Drivers are friendly, and since the payment goes through the app, it's hard to get cheated.

Say what you want about the importance of safety and accountability, and the regulations needed to ensure this. But in my experience, the regulations around taxis don't work as well as whatever Uber/Lyft are doing. I'm guessing that the ratings systems in Uber/Lyft quickly flush out asshole drivers, whereas in the taxi industry you have to go to the effort to file an official complaint. In some cities you need to show up in court to argue your case, which is especially hard when you're using a taxi in a city that you're just visiting, as was the case for me in Sydney.

If the existing regulations don't work, then they're not worth defending. Good luck to Uber.

Comment Re:I'm spending 60% of my monthly income on rent (Score 1) 940 940

A city of 4 storey buildings sprawls more than a city of 40 storey buildings. So maybe the roads would need to be widened but they would also be shortened, and this would allow people to find other methods of transport that are more efficient than hauling a 1.5 tonne steel cage with you everywhere you go. The costs get socialized either way, but the higher density layout is less socialized.

Comment Dependencies (Score 5, Insightful) 119 119

Why do you think a numeric priority system gives "freedom" to the end user? To me, having to manually mess around with numbers is an annoyance, and it means that the init system is getting in the way.

Having numbers means that some dependency info gets lost. If you have an S10 and S20 script, is there any dependency between them, or were they just arbitrarily numbered? It's impossible to tell unless you go and read through the script and figure out for yourself. This makes it hard to debug when things go wrong. You also just end up with a bunch of scripts that all start with S99 or K99.

The NetBSD init system (which was introduced way back in 2001, and I think ended up being adopted by the other BSDs) has a simple way of solving this. There's a tool called rcorder that parses REQUIRE and PROVIDE lines in each startup script (it's tsort, essentially) and determines the order to run each script. If you wanted to debug something, you could run this yourself and check the output. "Runlevels" were implemented with dummy scripts (i.e. scripts that just had dependency information in them, and didn't perform any actions).

Other than that, it's as simple as the traditional sysvinit, but without meaningless numbers everywhere. You can read more about it here: http://www.mewburn.net/luke/pa...

It's 2015, we should be naming things not numbering them.

Comment Re:Advantages of living in a small town (Score 2) 38 38

Great! Since you seem to think my logic is unsound, you will demonstrate its failings for us by naming a single successful, low-crime majority-black area that has no local warlords and no "thug gangsta" culture destroying its own people. That would make me shut up, fast.

5 seconds of Googling came up with this: http://atlantablackstar.com/20...

Comment Re: Tolls? (Score 1) 837 837

Right now a lot of it is paid for from the general fund. But if we do move to a pure user-pays system, indirect users would still be paying for what they indirectly use, because businesses would pass on transport costs to consumers. This would actually create economic incentives for people to buy local goods, like what the "locavore" movement is trying (but failing) to encourage. This is how the free market is supposed to work, and it's ironic that the private car has become a symbol of the free market even though so much of the infrastructure it relies on is socialized.

Schools are a little bit different because children shouldn't be punished for the mistakes of their parents. If you want a society with any sort of social mobility you need to have equal access to education for everyone.

Comment Re:Need the pop up ad revenue? Doing it wrong.... (Score 1) 618 618

I don't particularly like advertising, but I do see it as a necessary evil on today's web. Obviously people dislike ads, but they dislike paywalls even more. I suspect that far more than 50-60% of sites would die without ads - I'd say it's more like 80-90%. When I look at the sites that I visit (including Slashdot) nearly everything is supported by ads, with only a few exceptions like Amazon and Netflix.

One solution might be Google Contributor, which lets you buy ads from the pages you visit. The ads get removed from the page and the site owner gets money from you, rather than from an advertiser.

Comment Re:Good movie? (Score 5, Insightful) 776 776

This happens a lot on IMDB. The first people to see a movie are usually hardcore fans who have been anticipating it for a long time, and will enjoy it no matter what. So there's a sampling bias at the start, then normal people start watching the movie and the average rating goes down.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (10) Sorry, but that's too useful.