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Comment: 100th idiot (Score 3, Insightful) 34

The only way I can see these people getting their crazy plans funded is through the 100th idiot effect amidst venture capitalists.

From _Matter_ by Iain M. Banks: "100 idiots make idiotic plans, and carry them out. All but one justly fail. The hundredth idiot whose plans succeeded through pure luck, is immediately convinced he's a genius."

Comment: Re:Races are different (Score 1) 53

by dasunt (#48672973) Attached to: Russian Hackers Stole Millions From Banks, ATMs

Now the elephant in the room is, do all the races have exactly the same IQ distribution amongst their population? Test results say no. Need citation? Just look up anything, SAT, GRE, MCAT, police dept entrance exams, fireman exams, military exams, straight IQ tests, anything. The body of evidence is overwhelming.

The body of evidence is overwhelming. IQs have been steadily rising over the past century. The phenomenon even has it's own name: The Flynn Effect.

It seems that for the population as a whole, nurture and not nature has a strong effect on IQ. We have some indications of what that "nurture" may be - nutrition, education, household stability, etc.

So lets not jump on the "some races are naturally dumb" bandwagon quite yet, until we even out the nurture part.of the equation. Until we eliminate food insecurity in poor households, until an inner city school is just as good as a private school, until we've brought livable incomes to all, we should not and can not excuse the problem by saying some races just don't have what it takes.

We need to fix our society, because as it happens, we've set up a class of people (which partially correlates to some racial groups) to more likely fail than succeed. And that's a drain on the present and the future.

Comment: Re:Tired of this shit (Score 1) 448

by dasunt (#48613575) Attached to: Virtual Reality Experiment Wants To Put White People In Black Bodies

I just think it would be interesting to see how it affects you psychologically when you are a treated differently by society.

Don't bath or shave for a few days, throw on some dirty tattered clothes and a hat, and otherwise look like a homeless person.

I suspect you'll get some different views of people.

Comment: Re:How is that startling? (Score 2) 413

by dasunt (#48479847) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

Why not include a census question asking people what neighbors they feel they are closest to?

That way, with a few simple rules, it's possible to calculate census areas which are culturally distinct. So a major urban area won't dilute a rural area, a black majority-area won't be diluted by being split up into multiple districts, etc.

Comment: Re:Hmmm ... (Score 1) 167

by dasunt (#48423507) Attached to: Bicycle Bottle System Condenses Humidity From Air Into Drinkable Water

Agreed. I'm a cyclist, both short and long distance.

I've never had a problem with getting water. A cyclist can easily travel 10 miles an hour, even fully loaded. Its easy enough to refill every few hours. Even if I was in the boondocks, I could carry a water filter and fill up from streams.

I suppose there are places without sources of water for tens of miles, but it's a very rare corner case.

Comment: Re:Stupid, trucks cause the problem (Score 2) 554

by dasunt (#48393691) Attached to: The Downside to Low Gas Prices

I have done the same, in Germany though. None of your mentioned problems whatsoever.

I commute to work, by bike, from an affordable house that's technically in the suburbs (less than a quarter mile from the main city). My commute is 5 to 8 miles (say 8 to 13 km).

This is in the US, in the north where it's snowy. It was a fun week last week, that's for sure. It was below 10F (-10C for everyone else), which wasn't bad - easy enough to dress for. However, for the most part, we're automobile-centric enough that we don't really dress for the weather around here.

That isn't the major issue. Here's the issue. Most of our infrastructure is very auto-centric. I have a few major limited access highways to cross on my commute, and all of them have severely impaired bikeability/walkability. The remaining streets that transverse these highways are optimized to move vehicle traffic quickly. All of which is rather unfriendly to cyclists. In addition, since there's such few streets that transverse the highways, they tend to be used for all traffic - bus routes, delivery trucks, etc.

Now I can cut over to side streets for part of my route, and I've done so, but there's the remaining issue - all these vehicle-optimized roads have encouraged fast driving and the idea that roads are for cars. At every intersection, I must slow down, regardless if I have a stop sign or not, because people will tend to try to roll through the stops, and in winter conditions, they can't stop in time. If they ever do kill me, odds are that won't face any legal repercussions.

Add in the occasional bit of road rage with drivers literally threatening to mow you down with their cars, and you may understand that the United States isn't that bike friendly.

Comment: Re:The Highway Trust Fund (Score 1) 554

by dasunt (#48393615) Attached to: The Downside to Low Gas Prices

If the money was used as originally intended - to fund building and maintenance of the Interstate highway system - it would be brimming with cash. Instead, it's also being used for lots of other projects, like mass transit, bicycle paths, and landscaping for roads. About a quarter of the income from the HTF goes to non-highway projects.

What's your source for this?

I'm not seeing the numbers adding up. According to the Washington Post " In 2013, the trust fund disbursed $50 billion to states â" $43 billion for roads and $7 billion for mass transit, reports the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)."

But what was the revenue? This claims $30 billion from the gas tax in 2013.

That's a $13 billion shortfall.

State and local spending on roads is even worse.

You may want to do more research in this area. The 4th power rule for vehicle weight/damage to roads seems to indicate that cyclists cause negligible wear to the roads. Induced demand will explain why building more roads won't necessarily make traffic better. And the externalities of vehicle pollution, if you look into that, should be considered yet another subsidy to motor vehicle travel.

Comment: Re:Doesn't solve the problem (Score 1) 136

by dasunt (#48291741) Attached to: A Smart Electric Bike: Taking the Copenhagen Wheel Out For a Spin

Also bikes are quite light and do not have the weight on the wheels needed to get a good grip.

Technology has marched on. Right now, you can buy an off-the-shelf bike with 4" or 5" tires that will run at 8 PSI. Studded versions are available.

Trust me, traction ain't the problem.

Comment: Re:Doesn't solve the problem (Score 1) 136

by dasunt (#48291727) Attached to: A Smart Electric Bike: Taking the Copenhagen Wheel Out For a Spin

Being someone who rides a motorcycle, weather has a very large part of how stress free a ride might be. Bicycle? same thing; as the temperature hits 45 degrees or so - you just get cold. That's it.

Minnesotan here. Lowest temp so far I've faced on my morning commute is 26F. I still haven't broken out the heavy winter gear.

A lot of it is how you dress. A wicking underlayer, an insulating middle layer, and a wind-blocking outer layer goes pretty far.

Unlike a motorcycle, a bicyclist has two advantages - less speed, and more energy output. Both help contribute to staying warmer.

Comment: Re:Does that mean they'll get to vote? (Score 1) 385

by dasunt (#48099539) Attached to: Chimpanzee "Personhood" Is Back In Court

The law seems to fail here. We have the concept of "human", and the concept of "animal", but nothing between.

The great apes (excluding ourselves, of course), as well as some other species seem intelligent enough that we should consider them a special class of creature. Of course they lack human sophistication and intelligence, but they have the ability to think above and beyond most creatures. They seem to be able to crudely communicate using sign language (although they have great difficulty with grammar). They can pass a mirror self-recognition test. They are capable of tool use. If I had to hazard a human analogy, they are somewhat like a young human child, but lacking human's preprogrammed neural pathways for proper language.

Comment: Re:chest thumping... planet of the apes (Score 1) 342

by dasunt (#47971511) Attached to: US Revamping Its Nuclear Arsenal

The world has gone insane!!! Why would anyone threaten or rationally consider using nuclear weapons against any country all over the political leanings and chest thumping of the leadership of some other country?! It's insanity.

Because threatening a nuclear war raises the cost of the war.

Take Ukraine currently. Russia's slowly nibbling away at its territory. If Ukraine was a nuclear power, it could very well raise that as a deterrent and perhaps Russia would decide the increased cost of destabilizing Ukraine wasn't worth it. On the other hand, Russia is a nuclear power, which raises the cost to anyone who wants to interfere with Russia's expansion.

Is it ideal? No. But a nuclear threat does give a nation bargaining power.

Another example would be Pakistan/India. Both nuclear powers, both with a history of pointless border conflict (they hold the record for the highest battleground - they've actual fought over a mountain glacier that was so inhospitable that only a tiny fraction of the casualties were due to combat and not the environment). Being nuclear powers, even the pointless border wars have a strong incentive not to spiral out of control, because if vast amounts of territory were lost, the nuclear option would be considered.

Is this insane? To a degree, yes. Has it worked so far? To a degree, yes. Hopefully someone doesn't screw things up.

Comment: Re:Can we please cann these companies what they ar (Score 1) 288

by dasunt (#47896837) Attached to: California Declares Carpooling Via Ride-Share Services Illegal

Who cares if Uber _is_ a cab company? What moral authority does the state have to stop consenting adults from forming their own contracts and doing business with each other?

As an adult and a cyclist, I would prefer that any vehicle that hits me have the insurance to cover my injuries. Since Uber only has 50k/individual/accident if the driver is between trips, and since Uber has denied liability in similar circumstances, I consider them a risk.

"Laugh while you can, monkey-boy." -- Dr. Emilio Lizardo