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Comment: Re:Buying cars based on fuel price... ugh (Score 1) 616

by blueg3 (#49530879) Attached to: Cheap Gas Fuels Switch From Electric Cars To SUVs

Sort of. One of the major design elements of a real hybrid is that it uses a smaller, more efficient gas engine. That's what the electric motor is really there for -- the gas engine can't provide enough power on its own for proper acceleration under many circumstances, but the two motors combined can. So the electric motor is the thing that enables you to have a small, efficient gas engine, and the regenerative braking is just a good power source for the electric motor. On the highway, the hybrid has to carry around the weight of the electric system, but it carries less engine weight and still benefits from using a small engine.

In practice, for me at least, I get 45 mpg highway out of a Prius, which is pretty decent.

Comment: Re:Pilots must remain in control (Score 1) 385

by blueg3 (#49356033) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

Any security measure will have a gap.

Yes. But some safety measures will have lower probabilities of bad things happening than other safety measures. The fact that it is always possible for bad things to happen has no bearing on the fact that some safety measures are more effective than others.

The effectiveness of a measure of course has to be balanced against its cost and impact.

Comment: Re:How's about a carrot instead of a stick? (Score 1) 1089

by blueg3 (#49297535) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

Say, a $10 tax credit if you submit your poll receipt? Or maybe civic minded companies could provide incentives: Starbucks gives you $2 off your next purchase with a voting receipt?

Quite a few companies do this. There are a bunch of places where you can get a free cup of coffee if you show your "I Voted" sticker.

Comment: Re:Then ID would be required (Score 2) 1089

by blueg3 (#49297505) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

in Australia, you turn up to the polling station (usually a local school or whatever), go to the desk and tell them your name. they look it up in their lists of voters, and cross your name off. Then they initial and hand you your ballot papers which you take to a private voting booth and fill out. Then you fold them and drop them into the ballot boxes (one for the house of reps, one for the senate). done.

In the last few elections, the Australian Electoral Commission (an independant govt body who have the responsibility for running elections) have been mailing out helpful voter cards with your name and IIRC your address on it which you can show at the desk. These cards are completely optional, you can still vote if you forget to bring it or have lost it or never got it, and you still don't have to show any ID.

Incidentally, this is how it works in the state of New York. Except it's a scannable, bubble type of form, so you don't fold it, but rather feed it into a little scanner that then drops it in a box.

Comment: Re:It is time to get up one way or the other (Score 1) 1089

by blueg3 (#49297459) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

As I understand, in the US you get to choose one from two candidates (unlike in my country where there are 20 or so parties etc you get a lot to choose from in the first round). What if both choices are bad?

Well, that's very complicated. What people and parties are listed on the ballot is essentially controlled by the individual states. The two major parties and all the minor parties essentially agree internally (usually with public voting, though) what people we be on the ballot under that party -- so for them, it's actually that what parties are on the ballot is controlled by the individual states. Rules very by state, as does success, so the ballots are not consistent from one state to another. (So yes, a minor party could be on the ballot in some states and not others.) In my opinion, this is all for historical reasons.

In practice, in most states, there are actually quite a few Presidential candidates on the ballot. However, for a lot of reasons, it's very rarely the case that anyone other than the major two parties' candidates have any hope of winning. Slightly more likely is that one or two minor parties act as "spoilers" that draw a small but significant group of voters away from one of the major parties (see: Green, Libertarian, Tea, Ross Perot). So functionally, there are two candidates, but the ballot actually has quite a few entries.

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