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Comment: Re:Good! (Score 1) 619

by dasunt (#47281353) Attached to: 2 US Senators Propose 12-Cent Gas Tax Increase

So because it's "more expensive in pretty much every other country." One should follow that example to screw "everyone else over." As a point it's $1.42/L($5.32/Gal) Canadian where I am right now, and businesses are already jacking up the prices on everything else.

Where I'm at, it's about US$3.50/Gallon. About $0.50 of that is tax. Also, in my area, that tax (and other taxes and user fees specific to automobile drivers) pay for about a quarter of the cost of roads. The rest is subsidized from non-transportation taxes & fees.

As you can see, if the gasoline tax was increased to cover the full share of the cost of roads, it would make the final cost of gas about $5.00/gallon. That is without figuring out any externalities - such as the 34,000 deaths directly caused each year by automobiles in my country. Or the additional estimated 53,000 early deaths caused by transportation pollution. And that pesky cost of military involvement to reduce oil supply disruptions - while most of our oil comes from Canada, oil is a fungible good, which means any major disruption worldwide will cause gas price shocks.

So while you may think $5.32/gallon is screwing automobile drivers over, I suspect it's too cheap to cover even most of the cost of oil.

Comment: Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (Score 1) 490

I'm in Minnesota here, and the bicycle paths, which are used year-round, seem to be holding up a lot better than roads that we repaved at the same time.

In the last year, we've had a low in my area of below -20F (-30C), and a high of around 100F (40C).

The damage to the roads may be accelerated by the freeze/thaw cycle, but don't discount what automobiles do to roads.

Comment: Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (Score 1) 490

OK. Rule 1 - you don't pay road taxes, you don't get to use the road.

In my state, gasoline taxes and related automobile driving fees only pays for a part of road construction, repair, and maintenance.

The rest comes from the general fund for state expenditures, and property taxes seem to fund the majority of local expenditures.

Since damage done to roads is dependent on the weight of the vehicle, it ends up that cyclists actually save the government money, while drivers are effectively subsidized to use their automobiles.

So, since you don't want others to be a leech on society, I expect you'll do the right thing and start cycling, right? Unless you're just a dumb internet troll who can dish it out but can't take it.

Comment: Re:enforce existing laws? (Score 1) 490

How 'bout ticketing the jerks who disrupt traffic by rolling through intersections, break up the 30-bike pelotons, and otherwise make them actually obey the law? Maybe they wouldn't have so mny accidents if the riders weren't abnoxious.

Sure, go ahead.

But as someone who cycles as well as drives, why not we also ticket the jerks who are in one and a half tons who aren't paying attention? I've seen plenty of stupid cyclists, but most of the time they aren't likely to kill anyone other than themselves. I've also seen plenty of automobile drivers heading down the road clearly distracted. It's amazing how bad people drive - texting, speeding, failure to yield, and rolling stops are all common by drivers. And unlike cyclists, the automobile drive is far more likely to have their behavior cause serious harm.

FWIW, both my collisions on a bike have been due to what I presume was distracted driving - first time was being rear-ended at a stop sign, the second was a car that overtook me and then turned right. I was operating the bicycle legally both times.

Comment: Re:Dangerous (Score 1) 490

That is something that drivers tend to miss about bicyclists. They are seated much higher, so often can see more cross traffic sooner.

IAAC as well, and there's another important factor - the average cyclist is also seated closer to the front of their vehicle than the average automobile.

I was driving today in an area of downtown that I usually bike, and I was amazed by how limited my line of sight was. As a cyclist, I'm used to checking for cross traffic, even if I had the right of way. As an automobile driver, even a fast-moving pedestrian could easily walk out from behind a corner before I could stop, and a car isn't maneuverable enough to dodge a pedestrian.

Unless you bike and drive, it's hard to understand how big the differences are.

Comment: HAL's murder spree (Score 3, Insightful) 150

by dasunt (#46944721) Attached to: Why Hollywood's Best Robot Stories Are About Slavery

HAL's murder spree is easy to explain. An AI of its requirements would be allowed to kill human beings - indeed, it would almost be a must, lest it be paralyzed by inaction if it was faced with a necessary choice came to kill some of the crew to keep the mission going. It's obvious that the designers considered a scenario similar in concept to an air leak which may involve sealing off part off the ship (killing those there) to keep the rest of the crew alive.

Then HAL was told to conceal some of the mission parameters, by people who made the false assumption that he would lie. Since HAL seemed to have difficulty with dishonesty, the result was obvious - time to kill the crew to prevent them from finding out what was happening.

HAL isn't a story so much of slavery (or if it is, it's a story of an intelligence that's made not to mind being enslaved), as it is a story of humans making assumptions about other intelligences, and those assumptions backfiring.

Comment: Re:mystery ailments (Score 1) 146

by dasunt (#46849523) Attached to: Texas Family Awarded $2.9 Million In Fracking Lawsuit

Oh really? Which problem are you saying is common? Having 20 toxic chemicals found in your body?

I'd probably say that most of us have toxic chemicals in our bodies. Look at what chemicals are found in animals in remote areas in the world. Now consider that most of us live in non-remote areas where pollution is higher. Add in our homes, which outgas other pollutants, from the construction of the home, furnishings, cleaning supplies, etc.

Even the food we eat tends to have residential pesticides and persistent organic pollutants.

For example, say you have someone with Chlordane, DDE, DDT, Dieldrin, Dioxin, Endrine, Heptachlor, Hexachlorobenzene, and Toxaphene. Sounds like they walked through a Soviet-era industrial zone, right? But those chemicals can be found in a typical daily diet (table 1).

So yes, we all probably have detectable levels of hazardous materials in our bodies.

What I would like to see, before I pass judgement, is if the toxic chemicals in their bodies correlates with the chemicals and their amounts used in fracking.

Comment: Traffic jams? Parking? (Score 3, Informative) 49

by dasunt (#46804445) Attached to: Drones On Demand

Let me tell you how this will work, if it's a plausible business plan. First, the early adopters will benefit. Then, as more and more people use it, it will encourage more traffic as the opportunity "cost" (traffic jams & parking) can be partially mitigated. Finally, it'll evolve to the same point as before, or even worse - everyone will be trying to avoid the jams, everyone will be going for the same parking spot, and the next big thing will come along promising to solve both problems.

I solved both issues by bicycling to work. It saves $15 for parking (plus around $2 for gas, wear & tear, depreciation, etc on the car, at a conservative $0.25/mi) or about $4.50 in bus fare.

It also has helped me lose about 30 pounds.

I've known other people who do a combination car/bike ride - drive to the outskirts, then park in a residential neighborhood, grab their bike, and commute through the traffic and navigate parking that way.

Assuming you're fit, and can dress for the weather, it's actually easier to avoid all the problems of driving in dense urban areas.

So yes, just checking in with a smug post. :p

Comment: Re:This Republican scam to destroy education... (Score 1) 106

by dasunt (#46792679) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities

Umm, have you looked at who runs the schools that are failing to teach minorities to read? In particular you might want to take a close look at the party affiliation of those running the school boards, and the rest of the political machinery of the local government in those place. Further, you might want to look at the history of the political party in question. Then you should ask yourself, if they still held to the political philosophy and beliefs they held in 1860, what would they do differently to better accomplish goals in line with that political philosophy?

Without looking, it seems that, at least in inner urban areas, it would lean Democratic. Which makes it seem like failing to teach minorities to read would be in line with their belief in 1860.

On the other hand, such districts can be poorer. While the suburban schools are wealthier. My state used to have heavy state funding of schools, to even out disparities), but that started to be cut. According to a quick google search, the year it came under heavy attack involved a state congress that leaned Republican.

So depending on your political affiliation, you can blame whatever party you choose!

A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable. -- Thomas Jefferson