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Comment Re:This speed limit is reckless (Score 1) 580

That's true for a while. However, studies on the long-term efficacy of enforcement have mostly shown that enforcement has an effect for a while, and then wears off once enforcement goes away. So a community must be willing to accept long-term strict enforcement if that's going to work. Otherwise, once the police are gone, people eventually go back to their speeding ways. Speed cameras are effective, but publicity and warning signs are necessary for actually getting people to slow down. I think if a community is really concerned about pedestrian safety, the best way to do that means separating pedestrians from cars, and where they can't be separated, forcing cars to slow down, preferably by physical alterations like speed bumps, traffic circles, and other measures.

The DOT has a summary of various speed research in the page below, with some notes on the efficacy of enforcement :

Totally agree with you. Road alterations are best, speed cameras second best.

Comment Re:This speed limit is reckless (Score 0) 580

The 85th percentile works well for most streets, even local streets, and various traffic studies have backed this up, noting no increase in accident rates even with increases in speed. Most people will drive in a reasonably safe and prudent fashion, and won't go faster than they think is safe for them to drive on the road. The biggest problem is when there are road conditions or hazards that won't be immediately apparent to the average driver.

And that happens often in narrow residential streets, where there is less traffic, the traffic is intermittent, or there are other concerns like frequent pedestrian crossings of the road. In those cases, reductions in traffic speed are certainly justified and rational, and uniform lower traffic speeds on residential streets is certainly one way to achieve that. The speed limit on the road I live on is 25 mph, and I certainly don't like it when people speed through it.

But in general, if you have a road, most drivers are going to drive a speed that they think is safe, regardless of what the posted speed limit is. I've read traffic studies of a four lane road near my house. The posted speed limit is 35 mph. In the study, over 50% the cars were going faster than that, and the study justified a speed limit of 40 mph. People drove at speeds they considered to be reasonably safe, and they will continue to do so even if a lower posted speed limit is set. Speed limit enforcement is of limited value in those cases, because it will only be effective during periods of strict enforcement. Once the cops are gone, people go back to their speeding ways.

If you really want to lower the speeds of cars on the road, you have to do other things, like install traffic bumps or other obstacles that slow or interrupt the flow of traffic, not merely set a speed limit.

Again, I'm concerned with pedestrian safety. As for the lowering the speeds aspect, I agree, physical changes help, but they're not entirely necessary. Speed cams, coupled with effective enforcement, work well too. First time somebody goes 35 in a 25 zone, and gets hit with a $200 ticket, they'll start to modify their behavior.

Comment Re:employees? (Score 4, Insightful) 85

Why wouldn't a company want to be able to assess the quality of its contractors, and decide if a complaint was valid or not? If you work for an outsourced call center company, and the company gets a call saying "I just spoke to CSR Fermion, and he was unhelpful and swore at me," if I'm the company, I'd want to know if the complaint was legit, rather than just having a policy of "drop anyone who gets a complaint."

The customer is not always right (or sane).

Comment Re:Obligatory my ass ... (Score 1) 85

Unless they plan on making ownership of a smart phone as a mandatory condition for providing insurance, which I question the legality of, they simply can't make this obligatory..

Why would it be illegal? I suppose it could be regarded as discriminatory against people who can't afford a smartphone, but that's not necessarily a protected class (they already use credit scores in ratings in most states, which have clear correlations with income), and offering to provide the device for free would resolve that issue.

Comment Re:You know what's as bad as anti-vax nonsense? (Score 1) 508

I said no vaccines contain methylmercury compounds. They don't, and didn't. The CDC page you cite doesn't refute that statement, since Thimerosal is an ethylmercury compound, not a methylmercury compound.

I did make one minor error - while the anti-vaxxers panic was enough to get Thimerosal removed from childhood vaccines (which raised their cost for developing markets, where they typically used multi-dose vials), it is still used in some cases for flu vaccines in the US when they're delivered from a multi-dose vial.

Comment Re:Oh, and one more thing (Score 1) 313

; 2. Polls take non-landline owners into account. Typically, around 1/3 of respondents for most polls are on cellphones.

Citiation please.

Example: phone poll, 350 of 1000 respondents are on cellphones:

The only _legal_ way for a polling organisation to make contact with a mobile phone owner is to have the mobile initiate the contact or explicitly invite the call.

You misunderstand the law. It's legal to make unsolicited calls to cellphones, but you have to do it manually. The prohibition is only on automated dialers. So, it costs quite a bit more, but you can still do it, and the quality pollsters do. See the discussion below, about halfway through the piece. The biggest challenge that cellphones bring is higher cost.


Comment Re:Background (Score 1) 313

That said, Trump is not a career politician and can run his own campaign financially.

Although he doesn't.

"Mr. Trump continues to assert that he is paying for his campaign. In an interview on CNN on Wednesday, he suggested that his financial independence allows him to speak his mind, unlike typical politicians who rely on campaign donors.

But Mr. Trump has become one of those politicians.

Early in his presidential bid, Mr. Trump did supply most of his campaign’s money, providing it with about $1.8 million in loans.

But in the quarter that ended Sept. 30, Mr. Trump raised about $3.7 million in individual contributions, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission. His own contributions in that period totaled about $101,000.

In a news release, his campaign said it had received nearly 74,000 “unsolicited donations” during the quarter with an average contribution of about $50.

At a rally in Florida in October, Mr. Trump recalled how a woman sent him $7.50 along with a four-page letter.

“How do you send the seven dollars and fifty cents back?” Mr. Trump said. “You can’t. You can’t. There’s no letter you can write. It’s true. There’s no letter that you can write to that woman to say, ‘We don’t want your money.’ ”

Mr. Trump has noted that unlike his rivals, he has no wealthy-donor "super PACs" supporting him, which he says frees him from the influence of special interests. But as for his own campaign operation, as of Sept. 30, donations from people other than Mr. Trump had accounted for about two-thirds of the total funding for his presidential bid."


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