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Comment: Re:My prediction for the Apple Watch's success (Score 1) 145

by Moridineas (#49548703) Attached to: Apple Watch Launches

For one thing, you're forgetting that relatively few people (in the US and many other places) pay full price upfront for phones. They buy an iPhone for $99 / $199 / $299 / $399 / etc and then have a subsidized contract over two years. Sure, you could buy it outright, but with most of the US carriers you're not going to get a reduced monthly, so what's the point?

Comment: Re:Comcast and Time Warner, a match made in . . . (Score 4, Interesting) 109

by Moridineas (#49544727) Attached to: Comcast Officially Gives Up On TWC Merger

I know you're making a joke, but I just thought I should add--I've lived in Comcast, Cox, and Timewarner cable areas. I'm commenting solely on Internet service, but Timewarner has far and away been the best. They're rolling out their ridiculously named "Maxx" service in my area in the next month or two. 25/5 will be upgraded 100/10 or 200/20 (I'm not entirely clear which it is). It's no Google fiber, but it will do until Google rolls out next year... I'm overjoyed the merger is not going through.

Comment: Re:Well done! (Score 1) 536

by Moridineas (#49520937) Attached to: George Lucas Building Low-Income Housing Next Door To Millionaires

Dutch schools are funded per student, with extra budget for students with lower language proficiency and similar problems. There's also some extra funding for schools in small villages, monumental buildings, etc.

There are so many non-native English speakers that I think, in this particular case, it would be difficult to spread them evenly throughout the school district. Any calls to create a ELL (English as a Learned Language) "magnet" school are immediately met with cries of racism and "separate but (not) equal" -- attacks that resonate very deeply in America today.

Secondly, students are put in classes with kids of similar academic achievement (4-5 levels), to allow them to challenge each other. This also separates academic ability from background, although it's not perfect.

Again, anything like this is immediately met with cries of segregation, racism, and classism. If you group kids by academic achievement, what happens is that many of the white and Asian students get grouped together, and black and hispanics get grouped together on the low achieving end. It's "ok" if people move to self-segregate, but public schools doing this deliberately would be shot down immediately.

I don't know if there is a solution.

Comment: Re:Well done! (Score 1) 536

by Moridineas (#49519943) Attached to: George Lucas Building Low-Income Housing Next Door To Millionaires

That's where the bullshit starts. At least in Europe, immigrants are mostly healthy young people, that pay into but don't use the horribly expensive health care system, tend to save and live way below their means, and unlike the local poor, try to stay as much as possible out of any trouble (despite what hysterical racists want you to believe).

Not according to any statistics I have ever seen. Do you have any other data? I would like to see.

'Illegal immigration' is an artificial construct. Everybody should be free to live and work where he wants to. It's for a good reason that we got rid of Pales of Settlement, guilds that can be entered only through inheritance, serfs tied to land, etc. It's very obvious what the next step should be.

Everything is an artificial construct. Society is, of course, an artificial construct. Why don't I just come and live in your house? Why don't I just come and work in your office? Obviously that's an absurd example, but it shows that society is full of artificial constraints. Countries control their citizens (to varying degrees), for the most part with the stated goal of making life better for their citizens. Unless you are a far extreme libertarian, most people don't actually believe anything remotely like what you've stated.

Comment: Re:Well done! (Score 1) 536

No, I don't blame them at all.

Europe is running into this problem to an even greater degree (due to slower population growth and more generation welfare states) than the United States. Welfare states cannot support unlimited numbers of newcomers who do not pay in as much as they take out.

We have to balance that. I am in favor of allowing greater immigration, but eliminating (through enforcement, penalties against business, etc) illegal immigration.

Comment: Re:Help me out here a little... (Score 1) 533

by Moridineas (#49513217) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

I had a conversation a few months ago on slashdot on this topic.

If you are living in Germany, would you mind sharing your annual kilowatt usage, natural gas usage, and home size? I would be interested in a comparison.

Here's me:

I have a standalone house, that has two levels and a basement, with two HVAC systems: 2500 ft^2 (~230 m^2) and two hot water heaters. Heating is done through the potable hot water heaters.

Annual electric usage: 2014-02-01 through 2015-01-31: 10,067 kWh.
Annual gas usage: 2014-01-01 through 2014-12-31: 735 CCF (centum cubic feet). I'm not sure what you measure natural gas usage in--m^3? If so, approx 20.8 m^3.

Comment: Re:Well done! (Score 5, Insightful) 536

You're right about what happens, of course, but vastly over simplifying.

I live in Raleigh, NC. My wife and I have two kids, one of whom will be starting kindergarten next year.

The public school we were zoned for is ~75% African American and Hispanic. I'm ok with this, I grew up in the area and went to a "majority minority" school (though there were not many Hispanics in the area back then) as well. This school also has over 50% of the students who score lowly on the English proficiency charts. 60% of the students are on free lunch. The end of grade test scores are...abysmal. When visiting the school, the teachers were just overwhelmed with having to deal with so many non-English and other remedial students.

I want my kids to be happy at school and get something positive out of it. I just could not see sending my kids to that school. This was a very hard decision, but we moved from our 150k house to a 250k house 8 miles north. The new school is still very diverse--about 35% African American and Hispanic, but has much better test scores, an actual PTA with engaged parents, etc.

It's easy to criticize those 1%%er fat cats and their slutty wives, but really, everybody wants the best for their kid. You can't blame parents for doing whatever they can--moving, paying an arm and a leg for private school, etc--to help their children out. It's really just human nature.

Comment: Re:I wonder (Score 1) 258

by Moridineas (#49460981) Attached to: A Robo-Car Just Drove Across the Country

Governments don't exist by taxing, they exist because we as humans have figured out that a central power working on behalf of the population works better than the alternatives. Tax simply is how we fund this enterprise.

So, I take it since you have neither disputed the point I was made nor answered the question, you're not really interested in the discussion and just want to internet argue. Fine with me, but I'm not going to take you up on it. If you're looking for low-quality political flames, I might suggest a different forum.

Comment: Re:I wonder (Score 1) 258

by Moridineas (#49414875) Attached to: A Robo-Car Just Drove Across the Country

And they keep your taxes in a gingerbread house in the woods and they eat little children. Fucking taxes...

I don't understand your response. The GP talked about lost revenue. I suggested the way in which revenue will, without a doubt, be made up. Governments exist by taxing human activity. Do you disagree that in the near future there will be special taxes on driverless cars?

Comment: Re:I wonder (Score 2) 258

by Moridineas (#49408025) Attached to: A Robo-Car Just Drove Across the Country

America is criss-crossed by a lot of Interstate highways. If any state drags their feet too long, the trucks will be routed elsewhere, and that state will lose revenue and jobs.

What revenue and jobs? I thought that was kind of the point of driverless trucks?

Besides, with no need for humans in the cab, the fundamentals of trucks can be redesigned. No need for bunk space, windshield, driver seat, etc. Change the design of the cab to dramatically increase aerodynamics. Program convoys of 3–4 (so as not to be a nuisance) trucks to draft off of each other going down the highway to dramatically increase mileage. I'm betting driverless trucks can be a lot more fuel efficient than your average driver by method too, so gas tax revenue from trucking may not be as high.

But, the real answer to your question is what governments do with ANYTHING new--tax it.

Comment: Re:If no deal, then Iran *will* get nukes (Score 1) 383

From the second the GW Bush made his crazy ill-advised "Axis of Evil" speech and then proceeded to invade one of those Axis members, it was pretty much guaranteed that Iran and North Korea would pursue nukes (and NK has already succeeded). They're not stupid. They know nukes are the only way to assure you won't be invaded or overthrown by the U.S.

North Korea has had a nuclear weapons program for decades. Literally, decades. North Korea joined, and then withdrew from, the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1993, followed by years of haggling, back and forths, industrial espionage (with Pakistan amongst others), and broken agreements. It's very disingenuous to claim that North Korea wanted and got nuclear weapons because of Bush.

Likewise, Iran has had a nuclear program for decades. US obsession with Iranian nukes goes back decades. See, e.g., Operation Merlin. Again, very disingenuous--or at the very least misinformed--to attempt to blame Bush.

Comment: Re:What does this actually solve? (Score 3, Insightful) 187

by Moridineas (#49389859) Attached to: Amazon Moves "Buy Now" Into the Physical World, With the Dash Button

I don't like Amazon as a company. I don't like the way they deal with vendors. I really don't like the way they deal with their own employees, down to the recent non-complete agreements for warehouse laborers! As a consumer, I love Amazon, though I do try to not support them.

Why do I want this button?

We keep paper towels and toilet paper in the garage. When we're getting down to one (or no!) rolls left, either I or my wife will say "Oh, we only have one more roll of paper tolls left--let's make sure to get more next time we go to the store." Of course, sometimes that doesn't happen. Sometimes we forget to add paper towels to the list. Sometimes our beloved family cat will decide to spray rancid piss down the hallway, and we exceed our EPTU (estimated paper towel usage). If we had a button in the garage next to our paper towels, and every time we were getting remotely low we just tapped a button and didn't think about it again...that's brilliant.

I would normally never buy this kind of product from Amazon as the local store prices are _always_ better (especially if you keep an eye out for coupons, sales, etc--but even without that). The button might change my mind.

This is seriously one of those ideas that's so simple and yet so brilliant at the same time.

365 Days of drinking Lo-Cal beer. = 1 Lite-year