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Comment: Re:OR (Score 1) 579

by hankwang (#47369417) Attached to: Unintended Consequences For Traffic Safety Feature

"Advanced driving courses teach vehicle dynamics, skid control, proper reactionary techniques to road hazards, proactive hazard evaluation, and so on; they cost $300 here, and you can go all the way to $1500 for driving/racing combined classes"

That's cheap. Here in Netherlands, a regular driving license will cost you around 30 hours(*) of instruction, plus 10 or so hours to study the traffic rules in all kinds of edge cases, and about 1500 euros for instruction, theory exam, and driving exam. It doesn't include skid control.

Traffic fatalities (per capita) are a factor 3 lower in Netherlands and Germany, compared to the US.

(*) it took me more like 75 hours of instruction and considerably more money... started at later age and generally bad body coordination/multitasking....

Comment: Re:How much reduced sleep is tied to long commutes (Score 1) 710

by hankwang (#47313049) Attached to: Workaholism In America Is Hurting the Economy

"I know people who are losing two hours of their life a day commuting each way, "

I commute well over 2 hours, 4 days per week. I don't see it as lost time. I'm reading slashdot and other sites in the train like now (plenty of space since I travel after the peak hours). In addition, 15 km of cycling per day, which is my only exercise. Fortunately the climate over here allows cycling.

But the idea of driving a car for 2 h/day horrifies me...

Comment: Re:Oblig Prior Art Question (Score 1) 56

by hankwang (#47082943) Attached to: Questionable Patents From MakerBot

When a patent is filed, I believe the USPTO keeps it confidential for a long time (a year?) until it is well along in process, to avoid revealing its secrets long before the patent is decided.

In the standard procedure, the application is kept secret for 18 months; then the application is published; the USPTO will then wait another year or so (depending on the back log it could be much more) before deciding whether or not to grant the patent. In this time slot between publication and decision, competitors could point out relevant prior art to USPTO, which would affect the decision.

In the US system, one can also file a provisional patent application and wait 12 months before filing the final application, which will essentially stretch the confidential period from 18 to 30 months. This was the case here. The final application can differ from the provisional application (errors corrected, more examples provided, reworded claims, etc.). In case of relevant prior art that was published between the provisional and final application, the provisional application will count.

Comment: Re:Has this ever happened to you? (Score 1) 216

by hankwang (#47000833) Attached to: Who controls the HVAC at work?

"a big portion of what you experience with regards to a temperatures bearability is based on humidity. In a very dry climate, 40C won't feel bad. In a very humid climate, you can start sweating at 16C."

In addition to that, the temperature is only sampled at one point. There can be quite a difference between temperature of supply and exhaust. I think a normal office should be ventilated at 100 m3/h

A human, with computer and lighting (250 W) can generate 8 C temperature increase. If you're unlucky with the airflow patterns, you could have people sitting in zones on both ends of that range. Moreover, between summer and winter, the walls may have different temperatures, which will affect both the local air temperatures and the energy balance of thermal radiation between warm bodies and walls.

Comment: Re:BMI is a lie! (Score 1) 329

by hankwang (#46966543) Attached to: Gaining On the US: Most Europeans To Be Overweight By 2030

Bah, 99.9% of the people who complain that their BMI is high because of muscles don't have that much muscles. This is Olaf Tufte, former olympic champion

Well, that's an example of a guy who, as you say, are almost pure muscle. Go and Google for "strongest man competition". Most of those guys have quite a bit more fat, but I doubt that their overal body fat percentage is that high.

Comment: Re: Our patent system is totally broken (Score 1) 152

by hankwang (#46956921) Attached to: USPTO Approves Amazon Patent For Taking Pictures

"he's hard pressed for time. The patent office is over worked, understaffed, and runs on quotas"

I'm actually amazed about what these examiners can achieve. Depending on what you assume for the hourly rate of an examiner, including all organizational overhead, they have 4 to 8 hours to read and understand the application, search prior art, and write their response.

I sometimes have to proofread draft patent applications of my own inventions, and it takes me typically 4 hours to review those (check that what the attorney wrote is a correct description of what I think the invention is). They turn my 2-page description of an idea into 25 pages of dense legalese, but at least I believe that I should have some advantage in understanding the idea, compared to the examiner.

Comment: Re: Simple: So people will buy them. (Score 1) 482

by hankwang (#46897153) Attached to: Really, Why Are Smartphones Still Tied To Contracts?

You live in Europe. Where exactly? Europe includes Ukraine, part of Russia, and a few other non-EU countries. Even within the EU, it can vary.

"you have always been able to slap your SIM card into any phone you buy since 1995 or so. ... In Europe you always bought your phone from an electronics shop and SIM from a carrier."

Well, it has always been an option, but in Netherlands and various places where I've been on holiday, it's not what all consumers opt for. Plenty of people who get a new smartphone every 2 years. A phone bought together with a SIM often has a SIM lock, which means that it will only work with one carrier. Most shops here do not offer iPhones without contract.

In Netherlands, it seems that the 3G capacity is saturated. At least, data plans are expensive, especially with pay-as-you-go and MVNOs. MVNOs are only competitive as long as you stay here. Roaming rates tend to be the EU maximum, whereas the main providers often have better deals.

Comment: Re:Amazing discovery in this article (Score 3, Informative) 99

by hankwang (#46853191) Attached to: The Fall and Rise of Larry Page

i think both of Google's founders were smart enough to understand they were GEEKS and not try to run the business themselves. So they went out and got Eric Schmidt

TFA explains that Page was not very cooperative to get a mature CEO. Essentially, he had Schmidt shoved through his throat:

Page had never been behind hiring [Schmidt] -- or any CEO, for that matter. Google's investors made him do it. (...) And for a long time, Larry Page was very unhappy.

Comment: Re:More money does not always buy better things. (Score 1) 288

by hankwang (#46804013) Attached to: $42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

"The $150 Formica counter top at my rented flat and my mother's 30-year-old granite one beg to differ."

Last time I was looking into kitchen hardware, the salesman warned me that natural granite is a bit porous and tends to get stained irreversibly from, say, wine spills, and that you have to re-impregnate it regularly. Not something I want in my kitchen. On the other hand, all synthetic counter tops, including granite-look composites, are not guaranteed to handle hot pans. I ended up not buying a new kitchen...

Comment: Re:Useless (Score 2) 187

by hankwang (#46744927) Attached to: First Glow-In-the-Dark Road Debuts In Netherlands

"you can walk around outdoors without electric lights even when there's no moon."

I doubt that you can do that comfortably if there are trees blocking the little star light that's available or if it's a bad road surface combined with you not wearing rugged boots.

Apart from that, especially women don't feel comfortable going around in dark places where they perceive that there can be rapists hiding in the dark.

Take your work seriously but never take yourself seriously; and do not take what happens either to yourself or your work seriously. -- Booth Tarkington

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