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Comment: The AirBnB Jab -- (Score 1) 282

by eepok (#48141411) Attached to: Four Dutch Uberpop Taxi Drivers Arrested, Fined

"While similar bullying applied to short rentals of private rooms through sites like Airbnb"

Look-- Uber, Lyft, and all the other distributed taxi services are being so heavily attacked by regulatory agencies because it is the responsibility of those agencies to protect consumer safety. Voluntarily make sure your company meets all the same safety and insurance requirements as an existing taxi system and you'll be set.

AirBnB is similar in that the repeated short-term rental of homes as hotels requires health and fire inspections of these distributed hotels, BUT there's an additional issue. Amsterdam is a massive tourist attraction. People want to visit Amsterdam, ride bikes, get high, and maybe visit a prostitute. However, Amsterdam is not that big... and the people who live there don't want it to get very big. In fact, if it got too big or too expensive, then you'd have no dutch people living there-- just tourist agencies and immigrants dressed in stereotypical Dutch garb-- "Welcome to Dutch Land, Americans!".

The ease of facilitating short-term tourism rentals via AirBnB makes it exceedingly profitable to buy a flat and use AirBnB to bring in more revenue per month than you could get renting the place out to people who actually want to live and work in the city. And that's the problem. Amsterdam should be full of the Dutch but without appropriate regulation, it will be full of tourists with some Dutch on the side.

I would love to visit Amsterdam, but wouldn't care to do so in the future if it's jam packed with tourists.

Comment: Re:metric you insensitive clod! (Score 1) 403

by eepok (#48097379) Attached to: Fuel Efficiency Numbers Overstate MPG More For Cars With Small Engines

When selling to end-users, you should be describing cost per distance traveled. They will want to know how much it will costs them to use the vehicle day to day.
When describing emissions, you should be describing lbs or kg of CO2 or CO2e per distance traveled. Since vehicle mileage is easily tracked, we can use that figure to determine, with simple multiplication environmental effects of driving an automobile.

Of course, when you are using an EV, this goes out the window because the cost of refueling is highly dependent on when and where you charge. Moreover, the blend of electricity sources determines the actual pollution from charging the vehicle. (Charging in West Virgina is significantly worse for the environment than Southern California).

Comment: Bribery's Sin is Relative (Score 1) 110

Countries most likely to require a bribe (per Transparency International)

1. Russia
2. China
3. Mexico
4. Indonesia
5. United Arab Emirates
6. Argentina
7. Saudi Arabia
8. Turkey
9. India
10. Taiwan

Sometimes bribery is just expected. Russians have been brow-beaten by their ruling class(es) since the dawn of time. If you were to moan about paying a bribe there, grandmother passers-by would tell you to nut up and just get it done. In China, it's simply an expected part of business-- gifts of all sorts and money are expected when visiting offices, homes, and closing deals. Mexico's just messed up. They've not had a stable government since the narco cartels took over.

Comment: Re:So what exactly is the market here. (Score 1) 730

by eepok (#47865659) Attached to: Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

Just a quick correction because I see a lot of people buying Fitbits without understanding what they actually do. And then returning them.

Fitbits are very simple devices that act as an accelerometer, pedometer, altimeter, and a watch.

Worn Fitbits do not monitor your health or fitness. They cannot tell you if you're sick, developing cancer, or at risk for heart disease. They cannot tell you your BMI, your body fat percentages, glucose levels, or blood pressure. They can't tell you if you need a recovery day or if you're about to pass out due to dehydration.

Fitbits are not substitutes for regular medical visits. It sounds nitpicky, but as a go-to nerd, I've had to explain this to too many people who then feel dumb for the purchase. Everything you think your Fitbit is doing for you, you can do on your own or don't need to do in the first place.

Comment: Yes, But How Would YOU Design the System? (Score 1) 170

by eepok (#47835085) Attached to: NYPD Starts Body Camera Pilot Program

I know next to nothing about what is required to inventory, issue, use, download, store, index, and recall all the hardware and video that would be required for such a system. I can only speculate. Has anyone had experience in this realm? Creating massive databases for video or images and indexing them in such a way that police reports could be tied directly to them and be pulled up as necessary?

If so, in your perfect world, how would you build the system and how much would it cost?

Comment: Re:Actions Against People Who Happen to be Women (Score 1) 1134

by eepok (#47831125) Attached to: Combating Recent, Ugly Incidents of Misogyny In Gamer Culture

Where do you go to see RL gay people and women being verbally attacked online because they are gay and/or women? That's sounds like a horrible place. Why do you go there?

But are you certain it's *because* they have those characteristics or might it be, as suggested, that knowing those characteristics, the offender specifically uses certain terms and phrases to hurt that person?

There's a big difference between a person who thinks everyone woman is a slut to be hated and person angry at another person who happens to be a woman and (using the knowledge of womanhood) chooses the word "slut" as a means of honing one's insult.

Too hard to believe? Consider the angry rantings of a child.

Almost everyone has heard a pissed off kid say, "I hate you! I wish you weren't my mom!!"? Maybe you said it yourself as a child.
Which is the more likely interpretation?
(A) "I genuinely wishes that s/he had different parents. I would not cry if I was taken away from you."
(B) "I'm pissed that I didn't get my way. Knowing that you love me as a parent, I offer words contrary to my own knowledge and opinion with for the specific intent in doing you emotional or psychological harm in retribution."

Comment: Re:I predict (Score 1) 1134

by eepok (#47831071) Attached to: Combating Recent, Ugly Incidents of Misogyny In Gamer Culture

This is easy and it's happening more and more frequently. Today's games are much more likely to have female non-victim playable characters. But if that's going to be a gauge for any kind of improvement over time, then you have to establish a reference date. For example:

2003 -- Year Zero -- X number of games and Y% of games on the market have the option to play female lead characters.
2004 -- Year One -- X number...

But then you can't go back and say, ".01% of all video games made between 1982 and 2014 have had the option of playing a female lead character." That would be disingenuous. That would be holding today's developers and writers accountable for actions taken by other developers while today's developers were in primary school. At some point, you have to have the integrity to say, "The old generational thought is dying out. The new generational thought is taking hold. It just takes time from here."

And still, you can't force game designers to choose to make a character female any more than you can force a novelist. Part of game creation is following a creative vision. Yes, studios can make such changes. Yes, we can HOPE that newer game designers have the same gender-based sentiments as we, but since it is still an artistic endeavor, they should have the freedom to create the games they wish to create... with the audience deciding if it's a game they want to buy.

"Assuming that art is ultimately a cultural product, what does that say about the gaming industry's attitudes toward women? How do they compare to other creative industries? (Movies, TV, etc.)"

It says a couple things-- neither are too surprising. Young girls are taught to want to be rescued. Young men are taught to want to rescue. After the rescue transaction, adult-oriented fiction asserts that there's an expectation of physical intimacy. That's the fantasy story that told day-in and day-out. Sometimes the story is reversed. Sometimes it includes the same gender. It says nothing about women but quite a bit about our **historical** fantasies.

Today's stories are different. Resident Evil, Salt, Twilight, Harry Potter-- Female competence and heroism is a celebrated expectation and is becoming more and more mainstream-- not because peoples' tastes are being forcibly changed, but because kids grew up with the expectation that boys and girls can both be whomever they wish.

It's generational. The old and their ideas will die off. The new and their ideas will replace them. So just make sure not to hold the new accountable for the actions of the old. Hell... don't even lump them into the same categories.

Comment: Re:Actions Against People Who Happen to be Women (Score 1) 1134

by eepok (#47827933) Attached to: Combating Recent, Ugly Incidents of Misogyny In Gamer Culture

Translation A: I don't like what you've said and I'm showing it by saying things that I hope to make you angry.
Translation B: I'm a random troll.

And by the way, I wish you hadn't capitalized all those words. Now I can't help but imagine what a culture of reptilian Mexicans worshiping at Temple would look like. And now I'm imagining the combination of cultural dietary habits. Great! Now I have a novel!

Comment: If necessary, what's the best way to do it? (Score 1) 137

by eepok (#47827815) Attached to: New Usage-Based Insurance Software Can Track Drivers Using Smartphones

There are some things (very few) in this world that I simply accept to be inevitable. I predict that the cost of having non-tracked auto insurance will increase greatly in relation to the cost of tracked auto insurance. It will become costly to hold onto 100% privacy in your automobile transportation habits.

While I have the preference of not being tracked whatsoever, what limitations would you propose within such a tracking system to preserve as much privacy as possible while also promoting the risk analysis that an insurance company would want from the data?

My suggestions:
-- Record speed measurements every 5 seconds the engine is on.
-- Record mile traveled per day.
-- No GPS coordinates recorded. (No actual location.)
-- Transmit data only once per month. Frequent transmissions can be used as a means of obtaining location.

What say you?

Comment: Re:I predict (Score 3, Insightful) 1134

by eepok (#47827521) Attached to: Combating Recent, Ugly Incidents of Misogyny In Gamer Culture

I'm a male gamer and I agree with the assertion that video games with women typically find methods of objectifying the female form... but it's not as though video games or gamer culture is unique in this way. The gaming industry objectifies women. As does Hollywood. And print media.

One of the best selling products in history is the female form and it sells well. Sex sells well. What do you do in a capitalist society when there is a seemingly unlimited demand for a product of which you have a nearly unlimited supply? Well, you sell it.

We can even take it a step further an confidently assert that there will always be a sufficient supply of the female form to meet or exceed demand due to psychological imperative with which most Western girls grow up that suggests that if they cannot receive validation of self through other actions or deeds, then there's always the option to resort to sexuality. One could even assert that this persistent and potentially indoctrinated psychological rationale may be one of the roots of reproduction for humanity.

And it's even easier to supply the female form in games because you don't even need a female. You just need artistic skills and an imagination!

So we've defined the multifaceted problem (biologically-enforced demand and an unlimited supply). We've also based the discussion on the issues that such objectification is becoming more and more of a nuisance to the comfort of more and more people (social evolution).

So what is to be done?

Stop all games that singularly sexualize the female form? What if both the male and female forms are equally sexualized? All good?
Do the same for video and print media?
Do we affect demand?
Are we to shame males and lesbians for appreciating the female form in game, video, and print media?

And this is where I always get stuck. If we want to change the frequency or the visibility of the objectification of the female form, we have to affect supply, demand, or both-- but doing so by shaming or legislation seems to infringe not only upon the social contract but upon biological imperatives thus making such an effort pointless.

So what is to be done?

Comment: Actions Against People Who Happen to be Women (Score 1) 1134

by eepok (#47826909) Attached to: Combating Recent, Ugly Incidents of Misogyny In Gamer Culture

Is there any evidence that it's a such concentrated effort to imply a genuine, heartfelt hatred of women (misogyny)? You would really have to stretch your rationale and ignore massive amounts of evidence to the contrary to assert that there's a pervasive vein of misogyny growing throughout nerd/gamer culture.

Yes, some male gamers will use derogatory words to intentionally offend women. And men. And transgendered people. And dogs. And the dead. And the not-yet-living. And mythical characters.

If there's any cultural bias against any one group, it's the group that "pissing us off right now". And "women-as-a-whole" have never been that group.

It has nothing to do with women as a whole, but a targeted hatred at people who happen to be women.

It doesn't matter who you are. Male, female, man, woman, gay, straight, asexual, black, white, brown, Asian, American, French, German, Argentinian-- if you piss off nerds and they come after you, you can be fairly certain it has nothing to do with your immutable characteristics and everything to do with your actions. You can try to hide behind immutable characteristics as a means of suggesting some sort of irrational bias, but nerds, by their very nature, are too damn smart to fall for that.

Comment: Neat, but I can't wait for... (Score 2) 116

by eepok (#47820651) Attached to: The Quiet Revolution of Formula E Electric Car Racing

This is really cool. I'll probably watch a race... if at all possible. But I'm really watching Formula E as an industry because I can't wait for the day when they announce "Next year, no more car-swapping! You must develop battery-swapping methods!" Let Formula E be the test bed for 30 different battery swapping methods and let the world be better for it.

Comment: Re:Slashdot comments indicative of the problem (Score 1) 1262

You are 100% correct about the historical issues within masculinities. In fact, masculinities is a field in which I could have studied and then actively researched in college because it is such an important point of discussion right now. Alas, every single Gender Studies class I went into focused on the "plight of woman". While obviously important, you can't have "gender studies" while studying the issues of just one gender.

Concepts in Masculinities to actively study in a research environment: Dominance, Self-Reliance, Dependent Support, Virility, Expression, Rebellion, "Competence, Excellence, and Failure", and lastly The Visible Masculine. While my vocation and avocation are both in the setting of a research university, I don't have the time to take on this research.

But I digress.

I think it is unfair to the younger men of this country who grew up under parents who followed the literal women's liberation movement. I'm going on 32 years old and grew up an egalitarian feminist. I may have been just a tad ahead of the curve on this, but there is a massive proportion of men in the western world that have significantly divergent opinions on gender, the sexes, and sexuality than their fathers did.

Today's young men grew up spousal abuse being a crime against the state.
Their fathers grew up with spousal abuse being a "private matter".

Today's young men grew up knowing that men and women are equal in all things not physical.
Their fathers grew up with a patriarchal interpretation of chivalry and thus chauvinism.

Today's young men will likely vote for this nation's first president/vice-president.
Their fathers grew up thinking that women were just too emotional for that kind of extreme responsibility.

Today's young men are, socially, leaps and bounds beyond their fathers and to hold them accountable by requiring that they play the whipping boys for their fathers' sins is an injustice to them. It is also an injustice to the young women growing up with these young men (who would otherwise continue to grow unimpeded) by continually putting in their heads that the massive male patriarchy is still in place.

The patriarchy is crumbled and will die off with those that are 45+. There will always be jerk males and they will always abuse anyone they perceive to be weaker. Unless we raise our young women to be strong and confident, they will continue to be easy targets. That can't happen if we continue to push the bogeyman of patriarchy.

Let's celebrate the coming death of the patriarchy and the normalization of egalitarianism.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky