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Comment Re:I'd be wary of Musk, too (Score 1) 103

They don't get *any* special subsidies or tax breaks.

Oil companies get to deduct expenses just like any business, which includes writing off the expenses for the first year when drilling a well, whether the well is profitable or not. Specific to the oil/gas industry are the depletion allowance and Domestic Manufacturing Deduction, which allow the industry to avoid over $1B in taxes per year.

The last 2 sure look like they are special to that industry.

Comment Re:4 way stops are retarded (Score 1) 451

There's no way that a roundabout would ever be cheaper than a four way stop

There is more to consider than just initial construction cost. A 4-way stop may have lower initial costs, but then imposes higher costs in time and fuel on everyone that uses it.

When you bring pedestrians into the mix, you would have to add a traffic light

We're still talking about 4-way stops here, right? The Federal Highway Administration seems to believe differently.

Pedestrians and bicyclists have far less risk navigating roundabouts than the typical intersections primarily because of the lower speeds. A pedestrian has an 85% chance of being killed by a vehicle traveling at 45MPH. That drops to 15% when the vehicle is traveling at 20MPH. There are also less conflict points (as discussed in slide 21) the crossing distance is usually much shorter, and there is oftentimes a refuge spot in the splitter island.

They do admit a lack of information regarding those who are visually challenged.

Blind pedestrians rely primarily on auditory information to make judgments about when it is appropriate to begin crossing a street. To date, little research has been conducted about the usefulness of such non-visual information for crossing streets at roundabouts

I found that doc pretty informative, you might as well.

Comment Re:they don't ban installation of open source (Score 2) 242

It simply requires the hardware to be designed such that if you install open source, you cannot modify the radio to use frequency bands and powers that it is not supposed to use. And this is easy to do. Just put in settings to limit power and lock out bands and make those settings irreversible until a full system reset. Then make the bootloader set those settings before running the installed OS. Then the OS can be open source.

From the FCC docs:

An applicant must describe the overall security measures and systems that ensure that:

  1. only properly authenticated software is loaded and operating the device; and
  2. the device is not easily modified to operate with RF parameters outside of the authorization.

Add that all up, and the easiest, cheapest way for device manufacturers to comply would be by implementing a cryptographically signed firmware image, and checks at boot time to make sure the image has the correct signature. Even cheaper, and potentially more profitable for the manufacturer, would be to burn the firmware into ROM, and have no upgrade ability. Then they could just sell you a new router instead of doing profit killing work like patching bugs.

Comment Re:Haven't I heard this before? (Score 1) 113

with some certain MACs, the system skips authentication entirely

I think in some cases, the MAC is used as the authentication mechanism. Last time I switched to Comcast, I used their modem for a week or so until I could purchase my own. When installing their modem, I had to contact customer support and register the MAC of the modem. When I removed theirs and installed mine, I had to call customer support again, and register the MAC of the new modem. I didn't have to program any username/password into the unit. That all seemed to add up to the modem MAC being the token used to authenticate to the network.

Comment Re:4 way stops are retarded (Score 1) 451

Four way stops are the safest intersection. And much cheaper than traffic lights. They are only 'retarded' if you don't care about pedestrian safety.

The state of Washington, and the Mythbusters would tell you that roundabouts are safer (for cars and pedestrians), cheaper to build, and more economical for drivers than either a 4-way stop, or light controlled intersection. There seem to be multiple other studies with similar results, a search for "safety of roundabouts vs. 4-way stop" brings up pages full.

Comment Re:A govt employee charged with a crime? Shock!!! (Score 1) 82

I said "dangerous"

Fair enough. The only point that I'm trying to make is that the job is less dangerous than a lot of LEO try to make it sound. I also understand that some area of patrol are more dangerous than others. Back to what I was really trying to reply to, whatever danger is inherent in the job, it does not justify the blue wall of silence and the inability of "good" officers to police the bad ones. The watchers seem to be unwilling and unable to watch over themselves, are resistant to someone else watching over or disciplining them, and seem to be more hostile to their customers/constituents as time goes by.

Part of it was built into the Constitution, with federal lawmakers, courts, and military or enforcement powers kept deliberately separate.

I understand the separation of powers at the federal level, but it seems like there is much less separation when you get down to the city and county level. The prosecutors, police, and lawmakers are all on the same side. There has to be some way to make those relationships less friendly, more adversarial, and still maintain some semblance of order.

Comment Re:A govt employee charged with a crime? Shock!!! (Score 1) 82

there are a _lot_ of local police doing good work

Until that work includes investigating and arresting their corrupt co-workers, I'll consider them part of the problem and not a part of the solution. A cop that doesn't enforce the laws broken by other cops is an accomplice, not a "good cop"

sometimes quite dangerous work.

More like "mostly NOT quite dangerous". LEO doesn't even make the top 10 in most deadly professions. That is reserved for jobs like logging, fisherman, construction trades, mining, etc. Last year there were 117 fatalities out of 900K+ sworn LEOs in the US. Of those, 49 were related to a vehicle crash, and 20 were related to a SINGLE VEHICLE crash. If anything, LEOs should be lobbying for better driver training, and changing procedures to make dangerous vehicle pursuits less frequent. Instead, they want body armor, assault rifles, and MRAPs.

brutal enforcement with the public as "the enemy" are terrible

Yes, I'll agree to that. We seem to be moving/have moved away from a community policing model where officers proactively engage with the public, to an aggressive, everything-is-a-threat model that is more appropriate for a military occupation than it is for internal policing. LEOs act like terrorists, and then have the audacity to wonder why the public is scared of them and their actions.

It's why it's so important that police, prosecution, courts, and lawmakers are kept at odds, so they can and do limit each other's power.

When did that start in the US? The current system seems to have all of these entities trying to be on the same side. None of them want to appear "soft on crime", so they all conspire to keep arrest and conviction numbers high. The police don't want to get on the bad side of prosecutors or the courts, and don't want to lose jobs despite the falling violent crime numbers. Prosecutors are less interested in justice, and more interested in keeping their conviction numbers up, so won't damage any relationship with police or the courts, even when it involves known lying, corrupt LEOs. Courts (especially where the judges are elected) and lawmakers have to be perceived as being "tough on crime", else the right-wing law-and-order types will have a fit.

Comment Re:Haven't I heard this before? (Score 0) 113

The other, which does not connect to the internal LAN ... Outside users must authenticate using their Xfinity credentials to connect ... nefarious activity ... will be attributed to it's rightful owner.

Once someone finds a vulnerability that bypasses either of those, what happens then? How soon will it be before Comcast admits there is a problem, and a patch is issued?

One of the MANY reasons I won't run an ISP supplied modem or router, there is nearly 0% chance that it will receive security or usability updates in a timely manner, if they update them at all.

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]