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+ - Taxi Medallion Prices Plummet Under Pressure From Uber

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Most major American cities have long used a system to limit the number of operating taxicabs, typically a medallion system: Drivers must own or rent a medallion to operate a taxi, and the city issues a fixed number of them. Now Josh Barro reports at the NYT that in major cities throughout the United States, taxi medallion prices are tumbling as taxis face competition from car-service apps like Uber and Lyft. The average price of an individual New York City taxi medallion fell to $872,000 in October, down 17 percent from a peak reached in the spring of 2013, according to an analysis of sales data. "I’m already at peace with the idea that I’m going to go bankrupt,” said Larry Ionescu, who owns 98 Chicago taxi medallions. As recently as April, Boston taxi medallions were selling for $700,000. The last sale, in October, was for $561,000. “Right now Uber has a strong presence here in Boston, and that’s having a dramatic impact on the taxi industry and the medallion values,” says Donna Blythe-Shaw, a spokeswoman for the Boston Taxi Drivers’ Association. “We hear that there’s a couple of medallion owners that have offered to sell at 425 and nobody’s touched them."

The current structure of the American taxi industry began in New York City when “taxi medallions” were introduced in the 1930s. Taxis were extremely popular in the city, and the government realized they needed to make sure drivers weren’t psychopaths luring victims into their cars. So, New York City required cabbies to apply for a taxi medallion license. Given the technology available in the 1930s, It was a reasonable solution to the taxi safety problem, and other cities soon followed suit. But their scarcity has made taxi medallions the best investment in America for years. Where they exist, taxi medallions have outperformed even the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index. In Chicago, their value has doubled since 2009. The medallion stakeholders are many and deep pockets run this market. The system in Chicago and elsewhere is dominated by large investors who rely on brokers to sell medallions, specialty banks to finance them and middle men to manage and lease them to drivers who own nothing at all. Together, they’re fighting to protect an asset that was worth about $2.4 billion in Chicago last year. “The medallion owners seem to be of the opinion that they are entitled to indefinite appreciation of their asset,” says Corey Owens, Uber’s head of global public policy.. “The taxi medallion in the U.S. was the best investment you could have made in the last 30 years. Will it go up forever? No. And if they expected that it would, that was their mistake.”"

+ - Hackers Breach Payment Systems of Major Parking Garage Operator->

Submitted by wiredmikey
wiredmikey (1824622) writes "Parking garage operator SP+ said on Friday that an unauthorized attacker gained access to its payment processing systems and was able to access customer names and payment card information. The company, which operates roughly 4,200 parking facilities in hundreds of cities across North America, said the attack affected 17 SP+ parking facilities.

According to the company, an unauthorized person had used a remote access tool to connect to the payment processing systems to install malware which searched for payment card data that was being routed through the computers that accept payments made at the parking facilities.

Parking facilities in Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Evanston were affected by the breach, though a majority of the locations affected were located in Chicago.

SP+ did not say what type of malware was found on the systems. Earlier this week, a new strain of point-of-sale malware targeting e-kiosks and ticket vending machines was uncovered by intelligence firm IntelCrawler. Dubbed 'd4re|dev1|', the malware is hitting mass transit systems, and acts a backdoor that gives attackers remote administration capabilities."

Link to Original Source

+ - Girls 'better than boys at making computer games', study finds. 1

Submitted by Esteanil
Esteanil (710082) writes "Researchers in the University of Sussex's Informatics department asked pupils at a secondary school to design and program their own computer game using a new visual programming language.
The young people, aged 12-13, spent eight weeks developing their own 3D role-playing games. The girls in the classroom wrote more complex programs in their games than the boys and also learnt more about coding. The girls used seven different triggers – almost twice as many as the boys – and were much more successful at creating complex scripts with two or more parts and conditional clauses. Boys nearly always chose to trigger their scripts on when a character says something, which is the first and easiest trigger to learn."

+ - France Wants To Get Rid Of Diesel Fuel

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "France wants to gradually phase out the use of diesel fuel for private passenger transport and will put in place a system to identify the most polluting vehicles, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Friday. Next year, the government will launch a car identification system that will rank vehicles by the amount of pollution they emit, Valls said in a speech. This will make it possible for local authorities to limit city access for the dirtiest cars. "In France, we have long favoured the diesel engine. This was a mistake, and we will progressively undo that, intelligently and pragmatically," Valls said. About 80 percent of French motorists drive diesel-powered cars. Valls said taxation would have to orient citizens towards more ecological choices, notably the 2015 state budget measures to reduce the tax advantage of diesel fuel versus gas."

Comment: Re:And yet (Score 1) 123

by greggman (#48414051) Attached to: Electric Shock Study Suggests We'd Rather Hurt Ourselves Than Others

That's probably true but it's still worse than many other countries. Why don't those countries have 1 out of 500?

Also, from my personal experience it isn't one out of 500. More like 1 out of 5, maybe at best 1 out of 10. Go into any public restroom in the USA and notice how many guys use the toilet to pee instead of the urinals, often even if there's no line for the urinals. Then notice (by sound) that almost none of them lift the seat.

I have no idea what they're thinking for sure. My fiction is they are embarrassed to use the urinal and they don't lift the seat because they're lazy and it might be dirty so they say "fuck it, someone else's problem, I'll just pee with the seat down". Still, I see it as one of many examples of "Me first, fuck everyone else" attitude that seems more prevalent in the USA than some other countries.


Comment: Not allowed to use Mac (Score 3, Informative) 313

by greggman (#48184231) Attached to: If You're Connected, Apple Collects Your Data

When I installed Yosemite the EULA said

"Terms and Conditions: Important: Use of your Mac computer, ... is subject to these Terms and Conditions"

Note: It didn't say just say "use of this software", it said "Use of your Mac computer". It's effectively claiming if I don't follow the terms I'm not allowed to use the hardware period :(

Comment: HALLELUJAH!!!! (Score 1) 320

by greggman (#48070419) Attached to: The Era of Saturday Morning Cartoons Is Dead

Yea!!! We no longer have 2 or 3 networks as the gate keepers for all cartoons. Kids are no longer limited to cartoons only 6-9 and 3-6 on weekdays and 6-11 on Saturdays.

Today's kids have Cartoon Network, The Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon 24/7. They've got Youtube, and Vimeo, and CrunchyRoll and 50 other cartoon sites. They've got smartphones and tablets and digital cameras and notebooks that allow them to easily make their own cartoons.

I'm glad Saturday morning cartoons are dead. That was a symbol of the old guard's limited world. I'm happy it's gone

It's hard to think of you as the end result of millions of years of evolution.