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Comment Re:Austin? (Score 3, Informative) 464

Austin has gotten pretty expensive, yes. We bought into a central Austin neighborhood at the bottom of the recession (thanks luck we both had jobs) and rode it up. We couldn't afford to buy in our own neighborhood now. Sister-in-law wanted to buy a year and a half later and the only houses in the price range in the city were on the periphery of the core city area. Now you mostly have to go to the suburbs or the funny offshoot bits of the city, and getting from those into downtown (or even in the core periphery area where most of the tech companies are) takes a long time.

On the other hand, if you live central and work at a tech company on the periphery, you commute against traffic. My ~10 mile commute takes 11-15 minutes.

Comment Re:Countdown to Lawsuit in 3...2...1... (Score 1) 412

I think "you can't deny housing because someone has kids" is pretty Equal Protection-y regardless of the age of those kids. And it was totally prone to abuse (no quotes required) prior to regulation, exactly as in my facetious example.

If anything seems illegal, it's probably the senior living facilities, not kids in this dorm thing.

Comment Re:Countdown to Lawsuit in 3...2...1... (Score 2) 412

Well if you have kids living with you then you're already not in their intended market, this sort of thing is a "singles only" sort of place.

...which is likely illegal depending upon the local housing ordinances. "Oh, Jennifer in 7B had her baby last week? Time to write up the eviction notice."

Comment Re:Predestiny? (Score 1) 144

That's all just VW screwing up. The researchers who found this did so because they were running a BMW and VW side-by-side and saw weird fluctuations in emissions in the VW. The BMW was consistently good.

So an SCR system has been "proven not to work" - VW's in their 2.0L TDI. Other SCR systems work fine.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 173

Asset seizure without due process has been in the spotlight recently, and many organizations including sheriff offices cannot simply take your stuff any more when they stop you. This is mostly due to local policy changes due to pressure from the media and activists IIRC, not any court action, so it's not ideal, but at least one blatantly unconstitutional process* is winding down.

* what SCOTUS said about it is irrelevant because they were wrong

Comment Re:Just what we need.. (Score 1) 211

This is important, because this is how we can reign in corporate "free speech". The Constitution, so sayeth SCOTUS, might give corporations the rights of people, but nothing in the Constitution gives certain types of people a favorable tax status over others.

Now, we have a long tradition of granting favorable tax status to certain groups, but that tax status often comes with restrictions attached. For example, to be a non-profit corporation, a corporation person is often required to publish quite a lot more financial data than a for-profit corporation would of similar size and ownership. Those non-profit corporations might also be restricted from using their funds for political speech. If they violate these rules, they haven't necessarily broken a criminal law, but their favorable tax status can be revoked.

So why don't we just do the same with regular for-profit corporations? If you want any of the speech rights of a person, above and beyond trade speech required to market, sell, and service your products, you have to pay income tax on your gross, not net. If you and your shareholders prefer your favorable tax status, so you can go about your business of being a business, then stop pretending you are a person, limit your speech to trade speech, and go back to being what you are supposed to be.

Comment Re:Maybe (Score 1) 420

IIRC the VW problem was found while the researchers were testing a BMW X5 side-by-side, and noticed that the VW's emissions varied widely over the test parameters while the BMW's didn't.

In other words, while the tests might not represent typical driving conditions, at least one company figured out how to build engines and emission systems that meet standards in more varied and realistic driving conditions. Diesel can be clean (enough to meet the spirit and letter of the law), but at least one vendor (and possibly many others) bend or break the rules rather than invest in the necessary technology to achieve those goals.

(Disclaimer: We have a BMW X5 diesel. The car is about four years old, and we had to have its horse piss tank refilled this summer because the car had started a countdown towards "vehicle will not start in X miles" unless we kept that emission system functional.)

Comment Just a consumer version, not really new (Score 4, Informative) 153

Businesses have used these things for years, especially for heavy trucks but my company sedan has one. My company gets a healthy break on insurance rates because it's there, and they get a nifty web interface where they can pull up everyone's real-time location. Some people find it intrusive but it's kind of hard to complain since it's their car and they pay for the gas. The reporting does include sketchy errors, so it's best not to trust the warning reports too much unless there's a clear pattern. It doesn't always know the real speed limit and sometimes the GPS thinks you're in a very different place than you really are.

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead