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Comment: Re:^THIS (Score 1) 493

Where teachers are not union, or where the unions are weak, teachers tend to get paid less than their union counterparts.

Funding for public schools needs to increase at all levels. Bad teachers need to go, but average teachers need to get paid more than they are.

It's become acceptable to not know math and science and what we pay teachers reflects that.

An acquaintance was working for a program that recruits scientists and engineers to become teachers and sort of gave me the pitch while we were hanging out one day. They'd provide a stipend that only covers living expenses for someone fresh out of school, and that doesn't even cover tuition and minimal living expenses for the duration of the training, then you have to teach in LA schools for some number of years (2 or 3), at teacher salaries. She said they get quite a few mathematicians and engineers, but essentially nobody in chemistry or physics. I laughed - unemployment is pretty low in both of those and you can make a lot more money for a lot less trouble actually working in chemistry and physics, and your education is typically fully paid by someone else. Better salaries so that teachers get as much as they could get in the fields where they'd be if they weren't teaching might make it a much easier sell to become a math or science teacher.

Comment: Re:you keep guessing instead of reading (Score 1) 204

It is not the case that all households have two adults and 2.2 children. I've told you twice already, the average household size is 2.51, meaning 18,801 households.

No, actually you haven't. If you read the post I replied to above you're doing math mixing number of households and residents. 5400 households is about 29% penetration into the market at your numbers.

You said:

There are 47,000 people in the city (who are on the hook for the bill).
Of those 47,000, only 5,400 have chosen to get the service.

which doesn't include your 2.51 people per household.

Next time read the post you're replying to, m'kay

Next time read the post you're writing...

Comment: Re:It's called arithmetic (Score 2) 204

There are 47,000 people in the city (who are on the hook for the bill).
Of those 47,000, only 5,400 have chosen to get the service.

47K people may be only 9K to 15K households. If all the households have 2 adults and 2.2 kids, 5400 is about half the households in the city. It may very easily be that while there's insufficient profit available for a large providers to come in, it's more than worth it for the residents to have what's become a rather important utility for much or most of the developed world.

Comment: Re:It is unfair competition (Score 3, Interesting) 204

All the evidence I can find suggests that the municipal systems are better for the community than the commercial operators.

For somebody making such a claim, you offer surprisingly few citations. Zero to be precise.

During the Enron Induced Electricity Crisis in southern California I lived in the City of Pasadena. Pasadena has its own municipal water and power service, and did a very good job of managing costs so that I didn't see rate increases at all, while customers of SoCal Edison were paying enormous amounts of money for power when they had it, and had plenty of brownouts/rolling blackouts while I had stable service. The City of Los Angeles did even better - DWP had done a very good job of planning and prepurchasing power and had excess available that they could sell at a profit, lowering the cost for their own municipal subscribers. Most municipal systems did similarly well during the summer of Enron, while private electricity was a disaster.

I now live in unincorporated LA county and am served by SoCal Edison. When we had a huge windstorm that took out power for about 1 million households across multiple power providers, Pasadena had nearly everybody back up in a day (they've spent a great deal of effort moving a lot of the supply underground and on reliability in general). I was driving across LA during the first full day after the storm and every hour or so the radio would report that another 100,000 of LA DWP customers were back up, but no change in SCE. Nearly all of about 400K City of LA customers were back up in 2 days, while SCE took as long as a week for many customers (they had something like 500K customers out), and was essentially incapable of even estimating how much they had to fix or when they could do it. SCE has had absolutely terrible service for most of the time that I've been in their service area, and I would gladly pay Pasadena prices for their reliability.

Comment: Re:We the Government (Score 2) 204

If you have a gas stove and no gas connection then you should pay nothing. I know I wouldn't pay a dime for gas service if I bought a gas stove (or the house had one when I bought it) and I never call the gas company for a hookup.

So for the years when I had no car and couldn't use freeways I should have paid nothing to support them? Can I file for a rebate for that? And don't try to claim that roads are paid for by gas taxes-- that hasn't been true for quite a long time. A substantial portion of funding for roads comes from general taxes. We should just make all roads toll roads then, and let private companies build and maintain them and charge whatever they want for them, and every time you cross from one companies territory to another you get to pay.

Comment: Re:We the Government (Score 1) 204

What we are talking about is not a bunch of people getting together to run cables. No — the talk is of coercing — at gun point (as all taxes are collected) — all of the town's residents (whether they want it or not) to pay for some Common Good[TM]. And that shall not be allowed to stand — not in a country, that calls itself free.

Like for police, fire, roads, water, trash pickup, sewer, and any of a number of other municipal services? Try moving to Somalia or Detroit.

Comment: Re:$28 million is a lot! (Score 2) 204

What about the companies that leave town -- like the ones that the competition from the local government kill or keep from coming in to compete with the existing services? It's already bad enough that a second company won't come compete because the return on investment would be low; imagine how many would come if the competition from the taxpayer-funded system made that ROI negative? (Answer: none).

Like Comcast? They're not going to bring money to or keep money in your local town-- they're going to pay as little as possible to people to ignore you on the phone for support, put an office staffed at minimum wage and located as far from you as possible, and give you as little service as possible while charging you exorbitant rates for bad service (with the money going to line someone's pockets far from your town). And if they can't make enough profit in your town, they'll get legislation to prevent you from building the service yourself. And with few exceptions, broadband providers don't bother competing directly for the same subscribers, so there is no second company coming to compete, anyway.

Comment: Re:Passive RFID tags implanted into the balls (Score 1) 239

by bitingduck (#48956469) Attached to: NFL Asks Columbia University For Help With Deflate-Gate

There have been some quite tiny absolute pressure gauges developed for cryogenic applications (they'll work fine at room temp, too). I think the company that made them dropped them from the line for lack of interest, but they can be made quite small. Hook it to an RFID chip in a way that the pressure value affects the response of the RFID, and you don't even need power-- just a quick scan with an external scanner.

There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX. We don't believe this to be a coincidence. -- Jeremy S. Anderson

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