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Comment: Re:Anti-competitive behavior is a big deal (Score 1) 222

by Firethorn (#47812493) Attached to: Uber Now Blocked All Over Germany

There USED to be a good reason for many of them. Then they started being used to cull competition, raise prices and barriers to entry for no other reason than to make more money. This is why Taxi Medallions in certain cities are worth MILLIONS.

Good points. Let's look at Taxi Medallions. Now, when they were originally implemented the idea was that there were too many taxis on the roads clogging things up. So let's restrict the number, move more people to public transit. Except that the cities keep expanding and issuing NEW medallions becomes extremely hard because you have these hugely wealthy taxi companies that hold most of the medallions that realize that every new medallion issued reduces the value of their existing ones.

In NYC at least as a result you have 'livery services' which are essentially taxis that aren't allowed to stop for 'flags' on the street. IE you call one up, negotiate a price over the phone(or internet) and the car will come pick you up at a designated time and drop you off. There are additional complexities involving airports, of course.

By the same token, for the longest time the only vehicle that was considered 'suitable' for a NYC cab was a special stretch Crown Vic, apparently under concerns about leg space that assumed both the driver and passengers were all NBA athletes.

As is, new 'taxicab of the future', a Nissan NV200, has some issues because it's not handicapped accessible.

Personally, I think it'd be cheaper to simply subsidize a number of cars to have the ability and use them on a call out basis so they're no more expensive than taxis. Same with apartments, really. Requiring 100% of apartments be wheelchair accessible is more expensive than simply giving the population in wheelchairs free handicapped apartments.

Comment: Re:Why the fuck is this on Slashdot? (Score 1) 335

But he was not only person using fighting words. At a youth forum on Friday, Vladimir Putinâ(TM)s nuclear threat was simple.

"I want to remind you that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations. This is a reality, not just words."

Itâ(TM)s the first time in more than 25 years that Moscow has raised the spectre of nuclear war. The difference this time is that its tanks are already pouring over its western borders.

"A great war arrived at our doorstep, the likes of which Europe has not seen since World War II,â Ukraineâ(TM)s Defence Minister Valeriy Geletey wrote on Facebook overnight, warning of âoetens of thousands of deaths".

Putin appears to agree.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica reports Putin has told the outgoing European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso: "If I want, I take Kiev in two weeks."

Okay... short of posting the entire fracking article, the context doesn't seem to be the problem.


Okay-- now imagine Obama responding,
âoeI want to remind you that America is one of the most powerful nuclear nations. This is a reality, not just words.â

And then saying to the prime minister of UK,
"If I want, I take Moscow/Havana/etc. in two weeks."


Short of Putin coming out and saying, "I'm going to bomb Ukraine with nuclear missiles during the next two weeks"... it was about as threatening as a head of state can get.

This is the problem with a closed circle jerk news system.

Comment: Chip and Pin isn't worth it. (Score 1) 95

by gurps_npc (#47811057) Attached to: Banks Report Credit Card Breach At Home Depot
The amount of money saved by chip and pin is relatively low. A mere password doesn't cut it. US fraud rate is so low that it is not considered worthwhile.

Give us real security - a Token based system that generates a new single use credit card number for each and every purchase made using the card - both on and off line.

That number should only be reusable if you want to make it a reoccurring, monthly charge.

Comment: Re:Stupid banks... US credit cards have no securit (Score 1) 95

by Firethorn (#47810939) Attached to: Banks Report Credit Card Breach At Home Depot

You know, I think it's true that Europe had a much higher rate of fraud, which convinced them to move to chip&pin sooner.

Yes, I've heard that they're working to move to chip&pin, my bank sent out a notice that they're working on it. When I get closer to the expiration of my card I might call them up and ask to be moved over as I actually travel internationally occasionally and it'd be nice to be able to use my card in European stores.

Comment: Re:Storage isn't valuable right now (Score 1) 215

by Firethorn (#47810865) Attached to: Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

By operating a high capacity full-time, "base lead" plants are shoving the problem of variability onto other generators and making the swings much worse for them.

Perhaps, but they impose half the problem that wind does, because wind is pretty much variable by design. Outside of emergencies, you can time a base load power plant's outages so that it's up and at full power when the demand is peaking. You can't even count on that for wind/solar. Ergo the ratio of backup you need in case production drops is much higher, costing money. Whether the backup is natural gas, battery systems charged during lulls, etc... You need more backup. Of course, I'm serviced by the largest NiCd battery in the world...

Most base load power plants don't operate at 100% all the time just because they have to, it's because they have the cheapest marginal cost per kwh, so it makes sense to use them to produce as much power as you can. After that you start running into economic decisions often made decades ago - IE they 'knew' it was always going to be a base load plant, so they designed it to be a base load plant, giving it very limited load following capabilities.

One thing to remember is that in most cases base load plants are owned and operated by their associated electric company, so the electric company itself manages the mix of baseload, peaking, and storage systems. It's not quite the case with renewable systems, with lots of small operators and even for the big dedicated systems the power company typically owns only about half of them itself.

Comment: Hydro is maxed (Score 1) 215

by Firethorn (#47810705) Attached to: Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

Of course, I didn't say 20% hydro, did I? I said 20% 'other, including hydro'. As in a subset of the 20%, meaning less than 20%. The other category would be a grab-bag of stuff including hydro, biomass, geothermal, tidal, etc...

I'm well aware that hydro in the USA is effectively maxed. New dam construction barely keeps up with demolishing badly placed old ones and increasing efficiency through upgrading existing ones such as installing new turbines can only do so much.

If I don't list hydro, people complain. I list it people complain. I can't win, can I?

Comment: Re:passwords are only half of a login (Score 1) 303

by StikyPad (#47810409) Attached to: Reported iCloud Hack Leaks Hundreds of Private Celebrity Photos

I'm not sure whether you didn't read what I wrote, or didn't understand it. In the first case, here it is again:

Obscurity isn't *absolute* security, but it is a useful layer to have.

In the second case, that's about as clear as I can be, so you're on your own.

Comment: Re:News for nerds ... (Score 1) 183

Haha. "Geophysics."


Priceless. That's a great word to use in a "you don't know what you're talking about" speech.

I don't get you guys. You have no clue exactly how mindlessly you're parroting things that you read on a blog somewhere, and me pointing it out is going to result in another angry tu quoque. I can't even imagine what series of thoughts that you might have had that lead you to go "I got you now!" with geophysics. But they aren't anywhere near sane.

Here's what people who actually study geophysics focus on in case you still don't grok why you reached peak stupidity.

Repel them. Repel them. Induce them to relinquish the spheroid. - Indiana University fans' chant for their perennially bad football team