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Comment: Re:Money (Score 3, Interesting) 140

by bluegutang (#49567751) Attached to: New Privacy Threat: Automated Vehicle Occupancy Detection

In reality they just eat up a lane of traffic that could otherwise be used to alleviate rush hour congestion. It might be different if they actually ADDED HOV lanes instead of taking one of the normal lanes and rebranding it. After all, who's going to get into a car with a bunch of strangers, and not have a vehicle when they reach their destination?

That's why the more recent trend is to build HOT lanes, which can also be used by anyone willing to pay a toll (HOVs can use it for free). The toll is dynamically adjusted based on how congested the road is, so that the HOT lane always has a significant amount of traffic but is never congested.

This solves your problem, and also gives people a reason to carpool (no tolls) which maximizes the number of people able to use the road.

Comment: Re:Take me now, Lord (Score 4, Informative) 283

Mexico is not so poor anymore. Its per capita income is similar to some European countries (like Bulgaria), and higher than that in the border regions with the US. Combined with the stagnant US economy, this means fewer Mexicans want to work in the US than in the past.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L...

Comment: I took a high speed train recently... (Score 5, Insightful) 189

by bluegutang (#49522953) Attached to: Maglev Train Exceeds 600km/h For World Record

on a trip to Italy, from Rome to Naples (same distance as DC to Philadelphia). It took 1:10 from city center to city center, at a top speed of 295km/h. Amtrak's best trip over the same distance takes 1:40 and costs literally 4-8 times as much. There was no security theater - you could arrive two minutes before departure and run onto the platform and make the train. The seats were comfortable and roomy, and there was free wifi and charging stations at every seat.

I really don't see how anyone could choose driving/flight over this for short-to-medium range intercity trips. Unfortunately it looks like the US will never get a real high speed rail system, because the Republicans think all trains are an evil communist plot, while the Democrats insist on sending every infrastructure project to 10 years of environmental review dependency hell. Meanwhile every other developed country continues to overtake us in quality of life.

Comment: Re:And now why this can not be done in the USofA (Score 1) 317

The problem is in america, we are still stuck on the idea of Big Energy large grids covering the nation. We don't think in terms of small energy, having a small community powered by modest green sources. ... These smaller sections will in agragate may take up more space, their impact is actually a lot less, as a smaller plot of land can heal a lot faster then say plowing down hundred acres.

Because small-scale power generation is inherently less efficient that large-scale. There's a reason why electric cars are better for the environment than internal combustion, even if the electricity is generated in a fossil fuel power plant.

Comment: Ridiculous (Score 1) 213

by bluegutang (#49318341) Attached to: Finland's Education System Supersedes "Subjects" With "Topics"

When an (American) football player wants to become stronger, he doesn't go practice football. He goes to a weight room and does one round of weight lifting for his pecs, one for his biceps, etc. It doesn't matter that the game of football never involves using just your biceps. You develop the muscles one by one, each one in its most effective way, and then you can use all of them as the need arises.

Similarly, in school, you develop skills in reading, arithmetic, critical thinking, and so on. Teaching them separately allows you to focus on each one by one, evaluate each one separately, and fix whatever lack of knowledge appears. A "cafeteria services" class which features a little math, a little writing, and a little communication, will not effectively identify when a student is weak in just one of those skills.

Comment: Re:Oligopoly (Score 1) 366

by bluegutang (#49290625) Attached to: Uber Shut Down In Multiple Countries Following Raids

Taxis in most cities are oligopolies in that the business is controlled by a few companies. The reason oligopolies are created is that they are compensation for requirements put on them by the government.

What makes you think that oligopoly is an inevitable result of regulations? The restaurant industry, for example, has many of the same restrictions as the taxi industry (licenses, inspections, insurance, minimum wage, accessibility, etc.) Do you think the restaurant industry is an oligopoly?

Comment: Re:Steve Jobs WAS handicapped, moron. (Score 1) 760

For your reference, a liver transplant gets you qualified for parking in a handicapped spot for some time after it occurs and all sorts of time while you're waiting, as does most of the other treatments he was going through.

Jobs was parking in handicapped spots decades before he got cancer.

Comment: Re:HOWTO (Score 1) 1081

by bluegutang (#49260245) Attached to: How To Execute People In the 21st Century

Because it's too humane. The condemned doesn't just die peacefully, they die after a brief euphoria. For many people this offends their sense of justice: It feels like an evil person has gotten away because they didn't suffer sufficient pain to balance out their crime.

Whenever someone dies while mountain climbing or skydiving, the friends and relatives console themselves with the thought "He died happily - doing what he loved most. If you have to die someday, isn't that the best way?"

Not wanting a murderer to die among feelings of euphoria is just the flip side of this attitude.

Like it or not, human beings attach great importance to what's felt just before death. Not wanting a murderer to feel euphoria at this moment is hardly an example of cruelty.

Gee, Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.

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