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Comment: Re:But was it really unethical ? (Score 1) 613

by eepok (#47508705) Attached to: Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

Hello Kilobug,

You're speaking my language. What you describe is the method of making a decision, but not necessarily the general goals of the decisions made. Together, goals/motivation and method create an ethic. With that, I have a couple questions for you:

1. Being a consequentialist, how do you determine which consequences are acceptable. Do you consider pain, loss, preference, pleasure, happiness, gain, etc.? If so, at what balance? Just for yourself or for the consideration of others as well?
2. While you are a consequentialist, have you always been? Was there a time when you could describe your ethical decisions based on virtues, rules, or duty?
3. As a consequentialist, do you find that virtue, rules, or duty still work their way into your decision-making or the methods of decision-making you prescribe for others?

Comment: "...getting the same money for significantly less" (Score 1) 353

by eepok (#47508259) Attached to: Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

"Now with them only working 5 days and many U.S. Post Office holidays, they're still getting the same money for significantly less."

Depends on your definition of the term "significantly less". If peoples' lives were hanging in the balance based on the arrival time of your DVDs, then yes, service is significantly less. If your income relied on Netflix DVD arrival times, then yes, "significantly less". But if the only value coming from the DVDs arriving per the previous expected schedule is that you can get through the entire Gossip Girls collection in 6 fewer days, then no, service is not "significantly less."

Sure you could make an argument for the raw percentage increase in time between DVDs, but without the context of the value of the product delivered, you really can't argue much about service. In the world of complex economics, we tend to term this issue as "not a big freakin' deal, man".

Sometimes service decreases and the cost to the user stays the same. It's a strategic move in contrast of charging everyone more to keep service levels the same after a market as changed. That's business. Don't like it? Try one of the Netflix wanna-be companies and compare the per-dollar value.

Comment: Intelligent? Damn marketers! (Score 1) 102

by eepok (#47500881) Attached to: "Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

Can we please set some sort of standard for the vocabulary of artificial intelligence? Because I'm fairly certain that kiosk manufacturers "BCS" has not created a networked artificial intelligence just to help you decide if you want to upgrade to more leg room.

It's a set of video recordings set to play in response to input stimuli and complete actions in the background and nothing more. It's "smart".

I propose:
Intelligent -- Smart and Sentient.
Sentient -- For others to describe/debate.
Smart -- Capable of making complex decisions from multiple forms of input (sensory, data input, etc.). (A really good bot.)
Clever -- Capable of making decisions and acting on those decisions. (A bot.)
Terminal -- Capable of acting on commands. (An ATM.)

Comment: Poor Implication of Causation in Association (Score 1) 82

by eepok (#47500759) Attached to: High School Students Not Waiting For Schools To Go Online

"Students who chose to independently use online instructional websites are also more likely to exhibit behaviors and traits associated with academic success and lifelong learning."

While the above statement from the summary doesn't directly suggest causation, do to the intricacies of the English language, it implies that taking online classes contribute to academic success and lifelong learning. However, I would assert that, if you're going to imply causation, it may be accurate to suggest those who have been academically successful have already started on the road of lifelong learning and utilizing online classes is just one method of travel along said road.

Comment: App-Boom Dead, Admin. Applications Still Needed (Score 1) 171

by eepok (#47467833) Attached to: Is the Software Renaissance Ending?

Smartphone and tablet software were always destined to be a very small market. With the prevalence of social networking and simplified mass criticism of these truncated applications, it's extremely easy for a single superior application to completely a particular niche. Moreover, since the applications are so truncated and are not full-performance desktop applications, people do not feel as though they need to pay too much for an "app". Thus, subscription and micro-transaction models had to be introduced to keep the revenue rolling in. Even more people are unwilling to pay such fees, so the market for that revenue stream is smaller yet.

But that's beyond the point. There is still a MASSIVE market for in-house administrative applications within colleges, universities, municipal governments, and medium sized businesses. The key-term is "in-house". Most of these types of organizations either do not have the allocatable capital to pay for off-the-shelf software or have very specific needs that off-the-shelf software cannot meet. That's why so many of their employees rely upon storing everything in spreadsheets!

What a wise programmer could do is get a job in one of these organizations with the expectation that s/he would be able to interview departments regarding their computer and data usage needs. The wise programmer would then seek to organize, standardize, and automate as many processes as possible in as simple a UI as possible while keeping open the opportunity to add modules for additional functions in the future.

You won't get rich doing this, but you will definitely have a secure job developing, implementing, and maintaining such systems.

WARNING: This wise programmer must be a people person or else s/he will never find out what the users actually need.

Comment: Conflicting Stimuli of Social Demands and Enviro. (Score 1) 710

by eepok (#47458577) Attached to: People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

I see the same thing in my research in California. While many, many people are willing to profess the need to use less water (especially during this drought), use less electricity (with recent plant closures, summer peak demands), and use less gasoline, they have a very hard time reconciling these very distinct concerns with the demands of modern social expectations.

How do we over-use water and why?
-- Showering 1+ times per day - We do this for person comfort, to reduce the potential of being odorous around others, and because it's socially expected to shower daily regardless of actual need. The vast majority of people living California can get away with showering every other day, but choose not to.
-- Laundry - We try to buy water-conserving washing machines, but we still have to actually use the water. And the bigger you are and the lower your tolerance for wearing clothing for more than one day increases your water consumption for laundry.
-- Landscaping - The most onerous of water sins in California is the use of water-hungry plants to keep everything looking green. Our landscaping shouldn't be bright green during a drought. Many private citizens cannot simply stop watering their lawns for fear of receiving fines from their HOAs, City governments, or their landscaping actually dying and then needing to pay to replace them.

How do we over-use electricity and why?
-- Air Conditioning - Despite living in California, people don't like to feel the heat in their homes. Most important, though, is office air conditioning. The office I'm in right now is at 68 degrees. I sweat on my way to work and put a jacket in my office. And on cooler days? The AC is still on because none of the buildings in my area have windows that open.
-- 24-hour Appliances - Perpetual connectivity has convinced many Americans to allow newer devices to be active while they're away. DVRs, newer TVs, etc. all eat up big kWh.

How do we over-use gasoline and why?
-- Long-distance commuting - Everyone in California expects to some day own a 2-story track home or a large-footprint ranch home. However, if you want the job to afford the home, you have to work in an area of high-property demand. You must then decide: small home and short commute or large home and long commute. Many select the latter and end up with 80 miles of commuting every day-- just chewing up that gasoline.
-- Designing communities around the automobile - Modern cities and housing communities are designed around the expectation that the vast majority of transportation trips (non-recreational) will be done by personal automobile. This enables designers to create ped/bike un-friendly housing communities, roads, and intersections that make it *feel* less safe to travel by anything but a car/truck. Thus, small trips like going to/from K-12 school or to pick up eggs and milk from the closest market imply a very distinct need to consume more gasoline.

Given all these engineered and socially enforced standards of resource consumption, I can't really be surprised when, as the article describes, people who are concerned about the environment don't reflect those concerns in their own personal habits.

If we want to see actual change, we have to either change those social/engineered constructs or bend them in such ways to make them more environmentally-sensitive.

Comment: It's not just engineering... (Score 1) 579

by eepok (#47370821) Attached to: Unintended Consequences For Traffic Safety Feature

In this case, where motorists are looking to pedestrian signals to decide whether or not they can increase speed to beat a light, and rear-ending another in the process, the liability is obviously with the motorist. Pedestrian signals are in place exclusively for the management of sidewalk-to-sidewalk traffic. At no place in law, MUTCD, or HDM does it suggest otherwise. Thus, the motorist is at fault if s/he uses a pedestrian signal to measure how to drive an automobile on the road and, in doing so, causes harm to person or property.

Moreover, California Vehicle Code 21703 explicitly states: "The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the roadway." That's the citation to resolve the rear-ending issue. Increase the fine, advertise it well, and watch these kinds of collisions go down.

But that's not even the underlying problem. The underlying problem is that there is an over-inflated value of life and convenience placed on the motor vehicle and driver in comparison to all others using the public right of way. This is why the pedestrian signal is being blamed for the issue, not the motorists themselves.

Drivers of motor vehicles notoriously go un-cited for killing bicyclists and pedestrians in the course of violating traffic law and, recently, some people are picking up on the pattern.

http://www.vice.com/read/you-c...
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11...
http://www.bicyclepaper.com/ar...
http://cironline.org/reports/b...

Moreover, the last 4 decades of city design have seen the expectation of free right turns and super-wide right turns-- both of which make traveling by automobile faster and more convenient, but also increase the amount of time it takes for a pedestrian to cross a road. With the increased crossing time requirements, it becomes more and more necessary to have countdown timers on pedestrian signals.

If you want an engineering solution to this problem, implement the 3 engineering change below:
(1) Tighten up corners to at intersections. This reduces the distance corner-to-corner, reduces the time needed to cross the street, and slows down automobiles so that they actually see the pedestrians crossing the street (http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersection/signalized/13027/images/e91.png).
(2) Add pedestrian bulb-outs wherever there is street parking to further reduce the time needed to cross the road. (http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/images/pages/N2674/Bulb%20Outs.jpg)
(3) Then, and only then, remove the count-down timer for pedestrian signals at that intersection.

Effects:
(1) The right-turning automobile is slowed, but red signal durations become shorter because it takes less time for pedestrians to cross the street.
(2) Pedestrians cross the street quicker.
(3) Pedestrians count-downs are removed due to lack of need thus removing the temptation from motorists to use them inappropriately.

Comment: Re:naive and fatuous (Score 1) 507

by eepok (#47223201) Attached to: Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic In London, Madrid, Berlin

Bzzzt. Wrong. Thanks for playing, though! You were a delight.

Uber is not a carpool or vanpool service. They facilitate a distributed taxi service. Carpools and Vanpools are formed wherein the driver and occupants share similar destinations. With Uber and Lyft, drivers are without destination until the promise of reimbursement for wear and tear, fuel, their time, and the facilitator fees is sufficient provokes them to pick up a passenger. That's a taxi service.

The constant attempt to brand these services as "rideshare" or "carpooling" is 100% genuinely deceptive.

Comment: Re:Racism or Thought Police? (Score 1) 398

by eepok (#47179463) Attached to: The Ethics Cloud Over Ballmer's $2 Billion B-Ball Buy

Actually, yes. That would be acceptable. But again, there would be consequences.

As a result of such a policy, you'll see the NBA boycotted by a major portion of its fans and at least some of its players, coaches, and staff. The NBA's revenue will then sufficiently flounder so that such a policy would have to be revoked, and apology issues, probably some people fired, and likely even a symbolic donation of some amount to an organization fighting against such policies.

Comment: Need Security, Not Marketing (Score 1) 122

There are plenty of people who have just graduated high school who want to be teachers. There are plenty of people in college whose collegiate experiences inspire them to teach. The problem isn't finding teachers (or good teachers for that matter), but making sure they don't get lost in the complicated morass of certification, continuing education, and the bureaucracy of tenure. They also are, typically, willing to accept the likelihood of lower wages, but need to have proper support, small classes, and the guarantee of an good benefits and retirement plan.

Pay now or pay later. But you have to pay.

Comment: Affirm. Action was Good for a Time, But No Longer (Score 1) 410

Disclaimer: I am a Mexican-American who grew up way below the poverty line to middle school-educated mother and a frequent felon father who got his GED in prison. I went to college, worked for a good portion of my career in higher education outreach, and continue to work at a university.

Affirmative Action was necessary at a time, but it is no longer necessary. The problem that Affirmative Action tried to solve is that those with very hard upbringings are at a severe educational disadvantage throughout their K-12 lives and may not have ever had a sufficient opportunity to become competitively eligible for admission to a 4-year research university in the non-local context. Race was a factor in that the most immediately visible instances of under-servedness were in communities dominated by racial minorities. The concept seemed obvious: give racial minorities some sort of boost in admissions applications.

But race (and more specifically, racism) was only one factor. With greater racial integration, the deeper-rooted issues are now more widely recognized: parent's education, family income, the actual schools attended/programs accessed, and childhood stress (divorces, violence, gangs pressures, etc.). The vast majority of universities now give special consideration (a couple extra points in the entire application score) to those who have had particular hard upbringings.

This is a better and more equitable non-impermutable-characteristic-based method of improving the quality of life for communities (religious, cultural, geographical, etc.) than Affirmative Action.

Comment: Re:It's not just raw range, refueling matters as w (Score 1) 398

by eepok (#46818563) Attached to: Will the Nissan Leaf Take On the Tesla Model S At Half the Price?

You are correct that there are DC Fast Chargers in Oregon, but they have not been sustainably funded. At the moment, you can get a full charge $7.50 or unlimited charging for $20/month (http://evsolutions.avinc.com/services/subscriber_network/). That's a heavily subsidized system that mainly benefits those who have the disposable liquid capital to take advantage of a variety of incentives and buy a new car. Once they get that car, that car's fuel is highly subsidized?

Sounds like a plan that ignores the entire concept of income equity. Tax everyone, benefit the rich.

The existing system of EV charging is based on providing low-cost/no-cost fuel to the few early-adopters with high incomes. It does not scale well at all and the entire concept will fail quicker than it started if we ever have mass buy-in to plug-in EVs.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.

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