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Comment: Good, this may push more cities to flat rate. (Score 1) 240

by caveat (#46218947) Attached to: How To Hack Subway Fares Using Fare Arbitrage

IMO NYC does it right - $2.50 gets you into the subway and you can ride to your heart's content. Yes, it is unfair to both ten-block-hops and massive city-spanning expeditions, but two wrongs make a right - the short Midtown-confined trips that businesspeople and tourists take in droves balance out my cross-metro trips from northern Manhattan out to the Rockaways in the summer (over an hour and close to 30 miles). Also vastly cheaper in terms of implementation and operation - if a card has adequate fare or time remaining, the turnstile opens and that's the end of the transaction. I really don't get why a proper metro-area mass transit system would ever be metered (commuter rail is a different beast, but that's regional).

Comment: No, it costs fares because taxes cannot sustain it (Score 1) 240

by caveat (#46218869) Attached to: How To Hack Subway Fares Using Fare Arbitrage

Here in NYC the Metropolitan Transit Authority (subway, buses, regional commuter rail, bridges and tunnels - anything you pay a fare or toll for) had a 2013 budget (PDF) of $1,357,806,000. And that's still bleeding damn near another billion a year, with 25% fare increases and 25% service cuts. You could probably slash that overrrun quite a bit more by stopping all current and planned construction/improvements and going to a minimal-maintenance schedule, good luck with that.

Yeah, free transit is a great idea in theory, but if you've figured out how to squeeze three billion dollars a year in sustainable tax revenue out of a single city, even a large one, you're a better economist than I.

Clue this: the homeless have pretty much free access to the subways - most stations no longer have attendants on duty so hopping a turnstile and riding for days on end is feasible. Hell, I've done it myself (I have a monthly pass so not swiping isn't taking a fare). Foul smelling, insane homeless emptying entire train cars is a bigger problem than them freezing to death, at least in this town.

Comment: Here's two. I trust the NIH is acceptable. (Score 1) 231

by caveat (#45898557) Attached to: The Other Exam Room: When Doctors 'Google' Their Patients

Haven't done any reviewed work in years, I kinda miss it! I'm not going to bother doing full citations, just title and link, if that's OK with you.

"With a 50 ng/mL cutoff concentration and following low doses of 10 to 45 mg cocaine by multiple routes, detection times extended up to 98 h." - Urinary Excretion of Ecgonine and Five Other Cocaine Metabolites Following Controlled Oral, Intravenous, Intranasal, and Smoked Administration of Cocaine, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3159558/

"In serum, in chronic users, benzoylecgonine (primary metabolite of cocaine, the standard screening chemical) (BE; LOD 25 ng/mL) was detectable for 5.1 days on average (maximum 8.6 days)." - Detection Times of Drugs of Abuse in Blood, Urine, and Oral Fluid, http://www.researchgate.net/publication/8480649_Detection_times_of_drugs_of_abuse_in_blood_urine_and_oral_fluid/file/60b7d52a213aab0fb

Comment: 39 megapixels is very common w/pro gear (Score 1) 103

by caveat (#45806811) Attached to: CSI Style Zoom Sees Faces Reflected In Subjects' Eyes

If you've only been exposed to cell phones and retail-level cameras you might think it's just a gimmick Nokia is using, but...you'd be wrong. The Nikon D800 DSLR is at 36; Hasselblad/Mamiya/Pentax/Leica medium-format bodies are anywhere from 50 to 80. Have been since 2006 or so. Give it another two generations on the DSLR front and you'll be getting a $499 50MP Nikon or Canon at Wal-Mart.

Anyway, even on my D5100@16MP I can pull recognizable images if it's a frame-filling portrait, anything more is just making it easier.

Comment: Yeah, that's going so well (Score 1) 961

by caveat (#45585905) Attached to: Is the Porsche Carrera GT Too Dangerous?

Sure, most downmarket cars don't have the ability to switch off the stuff, but then again who wants to zip a Fiesta around like Vettel? (Well, the ST is amazing, but I digress). Funny thing though, most of the high-end vehicles still offer plenty of ways to shut down all the aids. Hell, most of 'em come with a Big Red Switch conspicuously labeled "RACE MODE" that handily switches everything off and resets the suspension for performance. I take it that should all be banned, no?

Come to think of it, why should ANY car capable of exceeding 75mph, or getting there in 15 seconds, be legal? Seriously?

Also, if you enjoy a sports car with anything other than TC and ABS (both of which make it faster) you have no business wasting money and fuel driving it.

Comment: He was a pro-am, that makes it WORSE. (Score 4, Insightful) 961

by caveat (#45584039) Attached to: Is the Porsche Carrera GT Too Dangerous?

Looking at the pictures, it's pretty freakin' obvious the driver went "Lemme show you what the car can do - I got skillz yo, no worries!" and pegged it on a public street. Regardless of any risk to others, it's insanely moronic to drive like that off-track simply because there's zero margin. You fuck up, you die. No nice kerbs or runoff or gravel pits or SAFER walls to hit...just trees and lightposts. At 45mph, that car was perfectly safe, probably safer than anything else on the road that day because it's designed to go, and crash, much faster.

But it wasn't exactly going 45 now, was it? Even IF something in the car broke, and that was why there was a loss of control - there was a loss of control at MASSIVELY EXCESSIVE SPEED. The gearhead-hooligan in me is sad, but the Responsible Adult is pleased these idiots sanitized the gene pool.

Comment: I'd like to be able to switch it off at will. (Score 3, Insightful) 961

by caveat (#45583729) Attached to: Is the Porsche Carrera GT Too Dangerous?

I, along with most other "enthusiasts", wholeheartedly appreciate all the electronic gear and realize that a lot of it does make for outright faster lap times - but at the same time, I'd like to be able to switch it off should I choose. There's something to be said for hanging the ass out with a healthy jab at the throttle and shrieking around a parking lot trailing smoke, or slip-sliding around a corner on an empty gravel road in the boonies. OTOH, with extensive winter driving experience, there's also something to be said for having every driver aid known to man spinning a set of Blizzaks in the middle of a wicked nor'easter - all that skulduggery has gotten me home with far less stress than my reflexes and skills alone. There's a time and a place for everything, but a lot of manufacturers these days are eliminating the choice.

Comment: Looked into this - my mom is 100% gone. Morphine! (Score 1) 961

by caveat (#45527571) Attached to: Why Scott Adams Wished Death On His Dad

As in sits in a wheelchair or bed sort of looking around vacantly, with a 10% chance of even cracking a smile on seeing me. Can't speak, move, or do much of anything. It's one of the more unpleasant life experiences I can imagine.

That being said, she has a proper living will, so when she's finally unable (well, actually, forgets how) to swallow that will be it. But, from what I understand, since death by starvation/dehydration is painful and unpleasant, she'll be given a morphine drip...perhaps calibrated wrong, whoops. I can think of worse way to go..

Comment: I grew up with woodstoves, 25 years at least (Score 1) 1143

by caveat (#45384297) Attached to: EPA Makes Most Wood Stoves Illegal

When I was a kid, we heated with wood, I used the fireplace and stove in my college house, lived in Maine for seven years burning wood by the cord. It definitely affected my lungs...my hematocrit was over 55 at my physical last month, my VO2max is north of 50, and I run half-marathons in well under 1:30 and getting close to a sub-6-minute 5K. That pack-a-day COPD inducing toxic brew I grew up in was sure horrid, uh huh. Come to think of it, we pretty much all had woodstoves growing up (small town in CT) and our running teams were state elite, bred a couple of national-classers. I'll say that breathing all that smoke and doing sprint workouts outdoors in the winter at 15F actually developed our pulmonary systems.

That being said, woodburning on a large scale can be a particulate pollution problem, and if you have a really smoky, leaky stove I can see a problem. I know there's massive issues in the 3rd world with respiratory disorders from nasty sooty unventilated indoor cooking fires...but really, developed-world woodstoves don't fill your house with noxious fumes any more than an oil or gas furnace.

Encryption

NSA Foils Much Internet Encryption 607

Posted by timothy
from the do-your-taxes-buy-civilization? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times is reporting that the NSA has 'has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world, the documents show. ... The agency, according to the documents and interviews with industry officials, deployed custom-built, superfast computers to break codes, and began collaborating with technology companies in the United States and abroad to build entry points into their products. The documents do not identify which companies have participated.'" You may prefer Pro Publica's non-paywalled version, instead, or The Guardian's.

Comment: That map is originally from 1972. (Score 1) 124

by caveat (#44406037) Attached to: A Circular New York City Subway Map To Straighten Things Out

The Vignelli Map. A triumph of minimalist, functional design - and pure beauty to boot. The original had some geographic information (parks, major landmarks, etc) but when he redesigned it for the Weekender he stripped even that out. Now it's just lines and stops, as it should be. You need to worry about geography on the street, not in the Land of the Mole People.

Comment: The (legendary) Vignelli Map did this 30 years ago (Score 1) 124

by caveat (#44406013) Attached to: A Circular New York City Subway Map To Straighten Things Out

Massimo Vignelli redid both the signage and the map for the MTA in the 70's. Minimalism all the way - the signage remains to this day, white Helvetica on a black background, simple colored circles for the lines, and almost nothing else...there's barely even any arrows.

And his map...oh, it's a thing of beauty. "It was not a map. It was a diagram. It was not about what happens aboveground. The purpose of the diagram was to show where the subway lines go." So perfect that when the MTA wanted a weekend-service-change map they had him reissue it (and this time he eliminated ALL geographic information, and people love it)...and a copy of the original ,a href="http://www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=89300">still hangs in the Museum of Modern Art

Comment: Nope, can't make a gun-type with Pu (Score 1) 192

by caveat (#44350621) Attached to: Interactive Nukemap Now In 3D

If you could get isotopically pure Pu-239, which doesn't exist, it would work - but even the tiniest traces of Pu-240 will spoil it. Quoth Wiki: "The presence of the isotope plutonium-240 in a sample limits its nuclear bomb potential, as plutonium-240 has a relatively high spontaneous fission rate (~440 fissions per second per gram—over 1,000 neutrons per second per gram),[20] raising the background neutron levels and thus increasing the risk of predetonation."

Long story short, all those extra neutrons make a chain reaction far more likely to occur - so likely that if you use gun assembly, supercriticality is reached long before the two pieces are physically together and they just blow back apart with a negligible yield. Granted, "negligible" in the sense of nuclear weapons means anywhere from a few to a few hundred tons, and there's still an intense load of radiation and fallout, so for terroristic purposes it might suffice...but you aren't building a city-leveling device with Pu and a surplus artillery barrel.

  Anyway, breeding it with a neutron tube would be slow, Like building a skyscraper with a set of Craftsmen tools slow. Reactors are the *only* way to synthesize >mg quantities of any transuranic. If you have those resources, a simple (albeit large) implosion system is pretty much trivial.

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