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Comment Re:Teens shouldn't have access to guns... (Score 1) 371

Do you have something wrong with your brain?

No. Do you have a problem with people pointing out logical inconsistencies, mixed premises, and hypocrisy?

Not at all.

And I'd like to start by pointing out that your comparison of vehicles to firearms is completely logically fallacious and the above quoted statement is extremely hypocritical.

First off, a vehicle is a method of transportation, not a weapon. It is designed for the duty of conveying people from point to point faster than they can walk, not intended to do bodily harm and just because it can be used for that purpose does not mean that it is any way equivalent to a firearm which is expressly designed to do bodily harm. It would be like saying a gun is a can opener because it can be used to open a can, it is utterly incorrect that it is a can opener because that is not the purpose it was designed for nor is it particularly good for that purpose, which leads me to my second point.

Secondly, cars are terrible at killing people. Seriously, every feature on a modern car is designed to minimise harm to the occupants an the people they hit. They make terrible killing devices just like a gun makes a terrible can opener.

Thirdly, there are far more cars than guns. Going by deaths per 100,000 vehicles to deaths per 100,000 guns the car is a positive haven of safety even in the hands of terrible drivers.

Forth point, cars are used far more than guns. So we add add frequency of usage to deaths per vehicle, the risk of cars compared to firearms is minuscule.

Fifth point, We dont let people near cars who 1) aren't trained to operate them or; 2) have demonstrated they will operate them in an unsafe manner. We license drivers, register and test cars, we charge and even imprison drivers who break laws and make themselves a danger to other road users, drivers who are dangerous have their licenses taken off them. Considering that guns are more dangerous than cars, why aren't the same measures taken with firearms?

Finally, if you want to improve road safety, there's plenty you can do. Begin by becoming a motor vehicle instructor. Start teaching people how to use the manual transmission (this teaches novice drivers how the car works and forces them to start thinking ahead of what they're doing) start teaching defensive driving. Stop speeding, learn what an indicator does, don't drink and drive, stay off the phone when in the car. I can give you a million suggestions and yes, I'm a licensed MVDIL (Motor Vehicle Driver Instructor License) in Western Australia, so I find your comparison laughable and your hypocrisy insufferable.

Comment Re:Safety (Score 1) 371

Are you trying to cleverly imply that since the presence of the law doesn't stop people from breaking it, the law should go away?

No, he's pointing out that people who want to kill other people for notoriety are going to do it, laws or not. The laws are there so that there's a mechanism by which to punish people who do such things, should they be apprehended. The laws don't actually stop evil little shits from being evil little shits.

Nine-tenths of any crime is opportunity.

Put people in an environment that glorifies violence, has a strictly enforced hierarchy based on physical dominance and then give them ready access to guns and what do you expect is going to happen?

The first and most effective step is to remove the ready access to firearms. Like it or not, this will stop the mass shootings that are prevalent in the United states but rare events in other western nations.

However unless you also take steps to fix the causes (glorifying violence and strictly enforced hierarchy) you'll just be turning murder-suicides into plain old normal suicides.

Comment Re:Why don't taxis just provide good service?! (Score 1) 127

I've cabbed in Vegas a lot over the years, and I've always found the cabs to be clean and in good shape, the drivers (with one exception out of a long list) to be polite and capable, and the fares consistent. I've never been taken on a long ride, and I've actually gotten a lot of good information from the drivers about going-ons in the city.


The only places I've been to that regularly have dirty taxis with poor drivers are places that don't regulate their taxi industries.

This is why I cant buy the "dirty taxi's, bad drivers, harassment and so forth" excuses from the Uber crowd. Every one parrots the same tired old myth about taxi's that just flat out aren't true. I have to wonder if Uber themselves are writing these complaints for them and people are just parroting them.

I've taken taxis in 5 continents and dozens of cities. The taxi's that stand out as the cheapest and best were in very well regulated environments, more specifically Bangkok, Thailand and Medellin Colombia although Vegas rates highly with me also. Contrast this with areas that have little to no regulation (or no enforced regulation) such as Phuket, Thailand. To get from Bangkok airport to Bagkok city centre (a distance of 35 KM/20 miles) you're paying around 400 Baht for a meter taxi and you're leaving the driver with a 20 or so Baht tip. Just to go 5KM/3 miles down the road in Phuket costs you that much, the Tuk Tuk Mafia wont even switch on the engine for less than 200 baht and to put that into perspective the minimum wage in the Phuket province is less than 300 Baht per day. The Tuk Tuk Mafia also use violence and threats to prevent any municipal bus service (known as a Baht bus), this is the reason we call them a mafia.

In my own city, Perth, Western Australia, which is a very expensive place to live UberX is marginally cheaper than a licensed and insured taxi. To get from my house to the airport is A$55-60 by using a regular taxi, it's A$50-55 using UberX by their fare estimator. With a regular taxi service I know I'm going to be getting a Camry Hybrid, Ford Falcon or Holden Commodore sedan or wagon. With UberX I'm not so sure but given my experiences in Perth it's likely to be a small car like a Hyundai Getz or Kia Rio. If you've got more than 1 person with luggage it's a no brainier to get the normal taxi. Beyond this, taxi drivers are mostly Australians and most know how to avoid traffic hot spots. They pretty much have to because driving a taxi is such a low paying job if they waste time sitting in a traffic jam they're bleeding money. Taxi drivers in Perth have taught me a few good tricks for avoiding traffic. Uber on the other hand has taught me that 3 fully grown men wont fit easily into a Toyota Yaris.

Comment Re:Hogwash (Score 1) 240

Every single non-industry-funded study on GMOs has returned absolutely horrifying results about what their consumption does to, specifically, the digestive system and the immune system.

And guess what? All of them have been debunked. Furthermore, they're mostly done by people like this guy:


In other words, people who have an ideology they want to push, so they use borderline fraudulent tactics and gross scientific misconduct to try to push their "studies".

What do you mean by "borderline". They've been caught deliberately lying.

I have no issue with labelling GMO foods, it's just a label and it's better to have overly stringent labelling laws than overly lax laws IMHO. However it should also go the other way. So called "organic" foods also should be labelled with something like "This item is known to be produced in conditions that may not meet Australian/FDA/other safety organisation standards and can cause illness."

Comment Re: Selfies! (Score 1) 117

The summary misleadingly forgot to mention that
"The display function only works when the car is parked. In drive mode, all the driver can see are the various meters and controls necessary to drive the car and any maps that might be needed. "

So this means we'll have more people putting the car in P at the lights, getting distracted and not realising the light has gone green until someone a few cars down the line beeps them.

Nissan, stop making gimmicks that will never be permitted on the road in most countries and give us what we've been asking for, for the last 15 years... The S16 Silvia (and possibly another turbo straight 6 whilst you're at it).

Comment Re:Unionize (Score 1) 347

Say that to the auto industry that drove almost everything overseas. Right now, the IT industry is having it bad. Unionizing under the current paradigm would be WORSE!. It would be like "fuck it, ALL IT goes overseas, and the US as a nation is but a client purchasing all IT services overseas. There's nothing than can stop that happening now, but unionizing would definitely hasten that to occur.

I'm all about getting organized and having proper representation as a single unified voice to be heard, but unionizing as it's currently known as isn't the answer.

Explain why the highly unionised German auto industry isn't suffering?

Same with Japan that also has very strong worker protection.


Unions didn't kill the US (or Australian) auto industries, it's the companies. Germany realised that it cant make shit cars in Germany and profit on it, so they make them in Spain, the Czech republic and other places that are less expensive than Germany. Good cars that can command a premium are still made in Germany. The US didn't want to do this so in order to compensate for making cars that they cant profit on, they declared war on their own workers for daring to ask for a liveable wage.

The auto union in Australia has been nothing but helpful to the auto industry in Australia, often offering concessions to keep jobs in Australia but because we ultimately made crap cars that we couldn't export there every concession and subsidy only delayed the inevitable destruction.

So if unions are the problem, explain why highly unionised Germany has one of the strongest car industries in the world.

Comment Re:136 lbs? (Score 1) 178

I was going to ask how many pilots in the whole US Air force weigh less than 135 lbs, and then it occurred to me that this was just a way of keeping women out of their "no girls allowed" fighter jock club.

135 pounds is 61 KG. You would have to be a pretty small woman to weigh that much. I'd say that 61 KG would be small for an average height Caucasian woman. Probably a bit on the high side for many Asian sub races (particularly SE Asian). For a western woman who's gone through military training, 61 KG would be unusual (muscle is pretty dense making it heavier than fat). OTOH, how much does Tom Cruise weigh?

Comment Re:No, drinking soda != smoking (Score 1) 559

When people drink soda, they don't blow toxic and disgusting smelling fumes into people's walkways, they don't leave butts all over the ground, and they don't return from a smoke break smelling like an ashtray.

Chuck, I'm going with, "No, drinking soda isn't the new smoking."

Just apply Betteridge's law of headlines.

Comment Re:even worse fraud detection: (Score 1) 319

I rented a huge U-haul on a Citibank card. Day of the move, I was buying gas at gas stations every few hundred miles in a line across the US's major interstates. Citibank cut me off after 4 gas stations. Good thing I had a backup.

I've had a Citibank (Australia) card for a few years. I've used it in a variety of places in SE Asia without an issue but I made one withdrawal at an ATM at LAX (this was airside as well) and they immediately suspended my card. It doesn't seem to be that consistent. Especially as I think that the Philippines is a bit more dodgy than the US when it comes to card fraud.

Comment Re:This is why you call your bank before tourism (Score 2) 319

> The "fraud detection" is completely broken

I absolutely agree. They have THE WORST programmers/statisticians working on this.

How about adding a simple two-factor authentication? Instead of rejecting the payment outright and freezing the card, text message my phone IMMEDIATELY and I can read a 6 digit code to the cashier to allow the transaction. It isn't perfect, but that one simple step would make it about 90 percent better, more secure, and cut down on false positives. I swear this would increase customer satisfaction and increase the amount of money the credit cards make because they would then accept a higher number of legitimate transactions. What is wrong with that industry?

They'll never implement 2 factor auth because all the mouth breathing idiots will complain about it. Look at how many whinged when they talk about switching from signature to PIN (this has already happened in my country but the laggards still have a big cry about it). Its just too inconvenient.

I think the big players already have tried this (IIRC: Verified by Visa was the product name for Visa) but I haven't seen it in years because no-one wanted to use it.

The second issue with this is, if you make people jump through hoops to buy things, people will make fewer impulse purchases. A lot of the credit addled will go back to using cash because their bank has made it "too hard" as well.

You're right that 2 factor auth would kill 99.5% of credit card fraud, however it would kill a percentage of purchases and that cant be allowed. Right now it's cheaper to eat the costs of fraud than to lose a percentage of their fees. That is what is wrong with the industry.

Comment Re:Uber is at least as good (Score 1) 207

What I have read in the independant studies is that Uber drivers with their little GPS systems are just as good cost wise and in most cases drivewise as a full on London Cabbie who has studied "The Knowledge".

My personal experience tells me otherwise.

GPS knows nothing about shortcuts. longcuts, traffic patterns and driver habits that taxi drivers accumulate as part of their jobs.

For the most part, 95% plus of all drivers dont pick up these skills. Uber has been a demonstration of this. The last time I used Uber I used followed the GPS. It was my usual trip from work to home, I normally drive but had been drinking that day. As I knew the route I expressly told him not to take the freeway because the freeway is always jammed at 4:30 PM, I told him to take Wanneroo rd. The idiot took the Freeway because the GPS told him to. I ended up stuck in traffic for over an hour on a trip that usually takes me 45 minutes because I take Wanneroo rd. This is an example of a "long cut" because technically it's slower and longer, but in reality due to traffic patterns (meaning every idiot is on the freeway) its faster. Often I'll take a route that is 5-10 KM more if it avoids heavy traffic. Many such routes have been taught to me by Perth's taxi drivers (including a nice, low traffic exit from the international airport). A Perth taxi driver who doesn't know to avoid the freeway at peak hour doesn't stay a taxi driver for long.

Perth has a similar "knowledge" test as part of getting your taxi license. Its nowhere near as tough as The Knowledge but its enough to teach them how to avoid obvious traffic hot spots. The Perth taxi driver assessment also ensures they know how to deal with customers. A sat nav is no replacement for this and everyone who's relied on a sat nav over experience has demonstrated this perfectly.

Personally I've never used a sat nav system in my own city. In fact I've never had to use one in Australia at all. I've only used one when navigating foreign cities, even then only for long trips. After about 3 hours of sat naving around Las Vegas, I turned it off because I'd learned the lay of the streets (LV is a very straightforward city to navigate). I preferred not to navigate via sat nav as they usually forced me into situations I didn't like or preferred to avoid like an uncontrolled turn across traffic. When having to turn left across traffic I'd rather go up a street and back down again so I could take a right turn, this meant I wasn't stopping in the passing lane whist I waited for a gap in traffic.

If you need a sat nav to get around your own city, you're not a good enough driver to be a taxi (legal or otherwise).

Comment Re:Government monopolies are not fair competition (Score 4, Insightful) 207

Untill plane with 300 people crashes into ocean like Malasian one did, then everybody screams "regulation!"

This is pretty much how we ended up with taxi regulations.

With unregulated taxi services you quickly reach the problem of oversupply. There are only really two ways of dealing with oversupply, 1) regulation or; 2) violence. Having lived in both a well regulated developed, western city (in Australia) and a developing, unregulated city (in both Thailand and the Philippines) I can say that regulation with all its prices and pitfalls are better than armed taxi gangs enforcing their turf.

Western nations experienced the problems with taxi gangs many generations ago, this is why we have regulations and people who've never lived in place like Phuket have no idea how bad it gets. Thailand manages to do public transportation very well, from the highly organised system of Bangkok to the ad-hoc Baht buses prevalent in smaller cities and towns, however in Phuket there is practically no public transport because whenever the government attempts to set up any municipal buses. the taxi gangs (AKA tuk tuk mafia) stop them, pull them over and beats the shit out of the drivers (if they're lucky, it ends at a beating). This is the kind of system that exists without regulation.

Having experienced both, I'd definitely prefer an over-regulated system to a non-regulated system.

Uber however is a self correcting issue. In a place like Australia all we have to do is wait for them to have an accident. Regulations protect taxi companies from being bankrupted by insurance claims by limiting their liabilities, the government will extend no such courtesy to Uber as they have chosen to ignore regulations. So as soon as they have 1 serious accident in a place like Australia, England or Germany the insurance companies will tear Uber to shreds. Their war chest might be enough to survive one such encounter, but two will kill them.

Comment Re: Gun-free zone? (Score 1) 1145

You'd be a complete fool to try and return fire against a target that you have not identified in a crowd. You're just as likely to add to the problem as to solve it, and even might end up being mistaken for the active shooter yourself.

And this is why arming everyone will only result in more shootings and more deaths when they happen.

Bob loses his nut and shoots someone, Frank and Steve pull out guns, Steve sees an armed Frank but not bob, so Steve shoots Frank, Bob shoots another. In the confusion Ian saw Steve shoot frank, so he shoots Steve. Bob then shoots Ian.

The precession can only be described as a bloodbath and anyone who wants to create chaos and a body count only needs 1 shot to do it.

Arming teachers is an even worse idea. Teaching is a very stressful profession and it's not unusual for a teacher to go over the edge. Most teachers do it quietly and privately but there are some who will have an outburst in class. Usually this will involve shouting, every now and then one might strike a student. In fact given the media attention that a teacher hitting an unruly little shit generates, imagine what would happen if they shot them.

The irony is, the teacher is likely to shoot the biggest shit in the class. This will improve things for other students but because the biggest shit is usually the most popular jock (therefore honoured in American society) it'll be a huge sob story in the media and no-one will talk about how much of an arsehole they were. But I digress. Beyond this, what if a student finds their teachers gun and shoots themselves. You may not remember high school but I do and there was little you could keep hidden or secured from a bunch of bored 15 year old boys.

I own and carry guns responsibly, I am not "Rambo", and real life is NOT a movie.

This x 1,000,000

Some may not believe this, but I'm not against gun ownership in the slightest. However there should be rules to do it safely because they are dangerous (just like driving, so just like driving it can be done in a safe manner) and I dont believe guns are in any way, useful for defence. If you believe you can justify having a gun for defence, you're living in the wrong area.

Comment Re:Gun-free zone? (Score 4, Insightful) 1145

Israel has very low rates of gun violence too, but many people are packing. And soldiers always carry their rifles — even when going to beach for R&R — with two magazines each. It is not uncommon to see a girl in a bikini guarding a gun-pyramid, while her girlfriends are swimming, for example...

Whatever the reasons for lower gun-violence in Japan or Israel or what have you, the ban on weapons is certainly not the only reason. Whether it is even a contributing factor is not at all obvious.

Israel is in an active war zone, this tends to change things a lot.

Japan, Australia, the UK and other countries with sane gun laws have murders, but almost no mass killings. The reason for this is the lack of firearms, whether you like to admit it or not, the abundance of guns is directly correlated with a high number of shootings. This is true for a lot of countries where guns are abundant (whether they're legal or not).

It's not hard to admit errors that are [only] cosmetically wrong. -- J.K. Galbraith