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Comment: Re:Can we please cann these companies what they ar (Score 1) 287

by jwhitener (#47931769) Attached to: California Declares Carpooling Via Ride-Share Services Illegal

Contract enforcement is only part of the issue.

The main issue is that cab-like services are usually regulated in such a way to act like an extension of a city's other transportation services like buses, trains, etc..all of which is basically considered infrastructure. Just like power lines, roads, and anything else that is best maintained by enforcing artificial monopolies at some level, with that level usually dictated by natural limitations. Like... only room for one road here, it makes sense to only allow one entity to control road creation.

Same goes with Taxi-like companies. There is basically a limited amount of $ to be made, with the most profitable areas being downtown, runs to the airport, etc.. certain areas only. Most cities say to taxi companies, "in exchange for having a license to operate in our city, you must promise to not discriminate based on race/religion, etc.., and you must service the less profitable areas equally as well as the more profitable areas".

If some service comes in and competes with Taxi's, but only has to compete in the profitable areas, the taxi service will go bankrupt. Now the city has no transportation service to offer anyone in the less profitable 'outlier' regions around the city. Unless they want to extend rail lines and buses, which may not be economically feasible if the traffic density is low.

 

Comment: Re:Not just Reno (Score 1) 444

by jwhitener (#47929959) Attached to: If Tesla Can Run Its Gigafactory On 100% Renewables, Why Can't Others?

How much of that comes from their invesment in renewable energy, though? Other neighboring European countries that have not invested in renewables have comparable prices, as shown on this map. Denmark is 13% more expensive and Italy is 15% less expensive and the UK is 36% less expensive. Germany is towards the top there, but it is not an outlier. There are a few countries with prices comparable to the USA in the EU, such as Estonia which is 2.4 times chepear than Germany. But it seems strange to claim that the main difference between Germany and Estonia is the amount of renewables. And as this image shows, the price of electricity in Germany has been following the average in the European Union for some time now, which again doesn't match with the hypothesis that power in Germany is more expensive than in the USA because of all the solar power.

Not to mention, I'd be curious how much the US electrical prices might rise if our tax dollars stopped subsidizing certain areas of the energy sector. I know we subsidize oil, so I assume we also give tax breaks and other forms of encouragement to things like natural gas and coal.

Comment: Re:law enforcement scams (Score 1) 462

by jwhitener (#47929833) Attached to: CBC Warns Canadians of "US Law Enforcement Money Extortion Program"

Please there is no effective difference in US politics, it's the same group.

People keep saying that, but it is too broad a brush. If you take corporatism, levels of corruption, national defense, privacy rights (patriot act, wiretapping, etc...), police power, etc., as the sole indicators, then yeah, Republicans and Democrats are identical.

But you can't pretend there aren't huge differences in other areas. You may consider those areas inconsequential, but lots of other people consider things like social issues (education, medicine, reproductive rights/lack of rights, gay marriage, legalize/don't legalize pot, etc...), taxes (trickle down vs trickle up, etc..), federal vs state power, as huge issues.

Comment: Re:Not just Reno (Score 1) 444

by jwhitener (#47919725) Attached to: If Tesla Can Run Its Gigafactory On 100% Renewables, Why Can't Others?

Renewables alone are going to be insufficient for the world's energy needs.

I've started asking for citations on that statement also. I have never gotten a response. Every time I search for information related to that statement, I get the opposite result.

However, I think it would be accurate for those 'anti renewable' people to say "with our current energy storage capabilities, and current state of our electrical grid, renewables alone will not scale to meet our energy needs completely".

A lot of people are under the assumption that energy storage, and shifting energy around the country, is an impossible problem given our current tech. I don't doubt it will cost a significant amount of money to overcome, but it certainly isn't impossible.

Comment: Re:Unfamiliar (Score 1) 366

by jwhitener (#47914139) Attached to: The State of ZFS On Linux

I am not the sys admin. I am an application developer / analyst who works closely with sys admin.

"expandability sucks"

Whoa... no way. It is by far the most flexible expansion I've ever seen. I have yet to make a request of any of the sys admins that wasn't instantly fulfilled on a zfs system. Other systems I'll often get a "well.. we can't do it that way, but I can move this mount point over here, and rename this, then add a disk, then name it back, etc....".

ZFS has pools. You can add anything that can present as a block device (file, hard disk, virtual disk from a storage device, usb keychain, etc..) to a pool. Then you can carve that pool in many different ways and attach it to zones (zfs virtual machines). And, of course, all this can be done live, in production. No reboots required. Space is added or removed from my live servers all the time.

I think one of the home NAS manufacturers uses ZFS. You can mix match drives, hot swap them, and the raid will rebuild itself on the fly.

ZFS
Snapshot of 500GB, instant.
Rollback when I mess something up, instant or like a minute.

VMWare
Snapshot of 500GB, 10 minutes.
Rollback when I mess something up, 30 minutes.

ZFS snapshot "myvolume" | zfs send "myvolume-snapshot" other zfs system. On other system, zfs boot "myvolume", log in, change the IP and system name, done. A second new server is up and running. Or a new backup system created from production, etc..

Comment: Re:I used it for about a year (Score 1) 366

by jwhitener (#47913969) Attached to: The State of ZFS On Linux

Writes to the ZFS array went from 65+ MB/s (bunch of mixed random files) down to about 8 MB/s with dedup turned on, and memory use climbed to where I ordered more RAM to bump the system up to 16 GB. In the end I decided the approx 2% disk space I was saving with dedup wasn't worth it and disabled it.

I was always curious how well it scaled down (like for home use). At work we have have multiple 100+ disk storage systems using ZFS, and notice zero performance hits using de-dupe features (mainly through mirroring).

Comment: Re:Great news (Score 1) 269

by jwhitener (#47913931) Attached to: Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

I really have no clue why people are so obsessed with proving (or disproving) racial differences in intelligence

You answered your own question quite well here:

And, if you look back at that history of people who claimed racial superiority for one race or another -- even promoting "scientific" opinions -- you'll find that they disproportionately have a racist agenda.

Scientific reasons aside, I think the general public is so interested in these sorts of studies, because of the ramifications if significantly true or false. //entering the mind of a racist
Why is Africa so poor? Well to a racist, it is because they are black. A study proving that blacks are less intelligent justifies their racism. We should continue to micro-manage them, international companies should continue to take advantage of corrupt leadership and suck the countries dry of natural resources, the international community can't every make that place better through law or actions.
Why are inner cities in the US in such bad shape? Well, because they are mostly minorities, mainly black. And blacks are less intelligent. There isn't anything we can do about it. Spending tax dollars trying to make things better for 'those people' is a waste of money. * //existing the mind of a racist(I hope).

*(I honestly think a sizable segment of our conservative politicians believe this.. though they would never say it)

Since any amount of genetic 'proof' that races have different success/intelligence rates, when controlling for other factors, is always almost instantly jumped on by bigoted/racist people, scientists are right to be cautious and clearly spell out the limits of their research.

Whenever any of this comes up, I always like to point out that modern humans (with fully modern anatomy, brain size, etc..) have been around 100,000+ years. Why did it take us 90,000 years before we decided to start farming? Or 95,000 years before we decided to use modern writing? Why was Egypt and the Middle East the cultural and knowledge centers of the world for thousands of years, and are now messed up and regressive? (Hint... their DNS didn't drastically change).

Comment: Re:Great news (Score 1) 269

by jwhitener (#47913713) Attached to: Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

Yes, but how? Which genes? What factors? What percent is our cultural communal upbringing vs genes? How 'smart' would a child raised by wolves be? Or a child raised by apes?

Humans have had essentially the same DNA for probably 100,000 or so years. Why did it take us so long to build up cities and go to the moon? Some anthropology books have even pushed the 'modern man' figure back beyond 100,000 years. If our DNA were the major factor in our intelligence, why did it take us 80,000 years to start growing food instead of only hunting/gathering? Why did it take us 90,000 years to record the first clay tablet?

Why are stone tools extremely primitive and then gradually get more refined and skillfully crafted in the archaeological record? Shouldn't any caveman with a modern brain be able to produce top of the line stone tools? Why do we see a very clear evolution of stone tools? It is almost as if a changing environment, and shared cultural knowledge, were more important than DNA....

Sure, our DNA is part of it. But so is a long history of cultural, technological, and philosophical development, as well as a certain population density being reached that increased trade, knowledge transfers, and cooperative social strategies. Heck, one could make a strong argument that our nimble fingers alone are responsible for a huge chunk of our success. The ability to write and record our knowledge alone is huge advantage (why did writing take so long to develop.... another mystery).

Comment: Re:$1.1 Trillion over 54 years... (Score 1) 530

by jwhitener (#47894373) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

some poor schmuck (Alan Gross) is rotting in a Cuban jail for bringing computer equipment in for Jewish groups.

I was curious so I read the wikipedia page. It doesn't sound nearly that simple. Alan Gross was distributing the equipment while working for a contractor that "won a US$6 million U.S. government contract for the program in which Gross was involved, a controversial "democracy-promotion program" that ballooned under the Bush administration, to provide communications equipment to break the Cuban government's 'information blockade'."

In addition from the wiki page:

USAID's US$20 million Cuba program, authorized by a law calling for regime change in Cuba, has been criticized repeatedly in congressional reports as being wasteful and ineffective, and putting people in danger.

So you travel to a communist country, funded by US tax dollars (through a contractor), which are part of a law 'calling for regime change' and 'democracy promotion' and don't expect the communist country to act?

I agree Cuba would be a lot better off if they opened up, moved to democracy, allowed free speech, etc.. but sending US civilians into Cuba to do work that will obviously be opposed by the current government, is bordering on stupidity. Unless your goal is to provoke Cuba into arresting US citizens in order to continue the embargo, in which case the plan worked perfectly.

Comment: Re:Doesn't surprise me (Score 1) 347

by jwhitener (#47894199) Attached to: When Scientists Give Up

What makes you think the current environment is anything new?

The last 20-30 years has seen a large chunk of our political leaders (nearly all Republican) distance themselves from many mainstream scientific theories for political (or in many cases, actual disbelief) reasons. The main reason for this is the conservative religious right in the country taking over a lot of the Republican party. Lots of articles like this one: http://www.salon.com/2012/08/05/republicans_slouching_toward_theocracy/

I hope it is just a cycle and both parties can get back to more sane debates, instead of half our political system claiming (truly or just for politics) to not believe in something as mainstream as evolution.

So this current slump in scientific support does feel new to most people. There may have been an older cycle of religious right taking over the conservative party, but I'm not familiar with it.

Comment: Re:Just replace buses with electric vehicles. (Score 1) 485

by jwhitener (#47893975) Attached to: To Really Cut Emissions, We Need Electric Buses, Not Just Electric Cars

I think that is a likely outcome when self-driving cars become reality. Car computers could even feed a grid computer destinations, and the grid computer could efficiently plot each cars best route, grouping cars with similar destinations together even. Like forming trains of cars.

Comment: Re:And low-emission transport trucks, too (Score 1) 485

by jwhitener (#47893921) Attached to: To Really Cut Emissions, We Need Electric Buses, Not Just Electric Cars

Or we could just work on energy storage more aggressively....

http://phys.org/news/2011-11-battery-electrodes-grid-storage.html
http://www.technologyreview.com/news/512206/years-in-the-making-promising-rechargeable-metal-air-batteries-head-to-market/

Comment: Re:Science creates understanding of a real world. (Score 1) 770

by jwhitener (#47891811) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

A scientific fact is a different thing than an authoritative claim, and you need consensus and political debate in order to create the latter. Science produces testable facts but the question of wether or not we, as a people, must do something in response to these facts, or if these facts are relevant or important, are not questions science can answer.

Unfortunately, in the US, we are still debating whether the facts are real....

I'd love it if all the Republican congress folks trusted the scientific facts about AGW and were debating what to do about it. Weighing the risk vs reward of spending money to counter the possible range of effects, weighing that against the cost of doing nothing, etc...

But nope, half of congress flat out says the Earth isn't even warming. And don't believe in Evolution either...

Comment: Re:a shame but... (Score 1) 246

by jwhitener (#47876081) Attached to: Egypt's Oldest Pyramid Is Being Destroyed By Its Own Restoration Team

Modern engineers have commented that even today, certain aspects of the pyramid would be hard to replicate.

The precision of the layout alone is extremely impressive.

But I think more than the engineering, the fascination over the pyramids has a lot more to do with the mystery of why they were built, for what purpose (there has never been a single King's body found in a pyramid... they were not tombs), etc..

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