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Comment: Re:Plastic socket wrench? (Score 2) 152

by profplump (#48646251) Attached to: NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

"Pound" is a unit of force equal to exactly 4.4482216152605 Newtons as per ISO 80000 (and related standards) which defines G as 9.80665 m/s^2 regardless of the local value. Neither the local effective acceleration nor the system of units have any impact on the ability to make meaningful and reproducible measurements of force.

There are reasons to use the same units across the board but "works in space" is not one of them.

Comment: Re:I don't get it (Score 0) 47

by profplump (#48554053) Attached to: Bluetooth Gains Direct Internet Access, Security Enhancements

My toaster does not need to be online. But neither does your phone, or even your home or office for that matter. If we're going to limit ourselves to "need" as the basis for which technology we build you're gonna have to give up a lot of things.

No one is going to make you put your toaster online if you don't want to. But just because you can't think of anything to do with that technology doesn't mean that no one else can, and whining that other people want to try is just sad and selfish.

Comment: Re:Urban performance worse than a human driver (Score 1) 257

by profplump (#48497347) Attached to: The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

Or you could just decide as a member of the public to hold driverless cars to the same standards as human drivers and allow them to potentially hit a pedestrian in the same situation. And remember the give them the bonus from the thousands of deaths related to simply driver error.

Comment: Re:Stress (Score 1) 257

by profplump (#48497237) Attached to: The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

Obviously we can't all live within 6 blocks of our offices (though probably a lot fewer people could go to offices in the first place if we cared). But some of the people telling you to "live close to where you work" just mean "don't live in the suburbs" which is typically possible even when meeting the conditions you note above. It's also advise that's well-supported by research demonstrating that people wildly undervalue the cost of long commutes compared to the benefits of a larger house or whatever they're buy with that commute time.

Comment: Re:Or Just Maybe... (Score 1) 257

by profplump (#48497217) Attached to: The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

People are far too attached to the decisions they've made, the systems they know, and the arbitrary distinctions used to define them to consider that in the future things could work differently. I'd guess there's at least one generation that has to die before we can really get into transforming transportation, even if the technology was 100% ready tomorrow (which it can't be in part because the people who control the capital required can't understand how they'd make money on the new system).

Comment: Re: Buses are already better. (Score 1) 257

by profplump (#48497187) Attached to: The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

"Freedom" is inherently selfish because individual freedoms are inherently contradictory. Your freedom to murder me interferes with my freedom to live.

And of course you should remember that most people who are alive today, and almost everyone born more than a few decades ago, can't "retain the freedom of just hitting the road and seeing the things you want to see" because they never had it in the first place.

We're all selfish, and it isn't necessarily terrible. But it is important to recognize when it's happening if you want to be able to keep your life in balance and avoid hurting others.

Comment: Re:Buses are already better. (Score 1) 257

by profplump (#48497141) Attached to: The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

Or instead of regulating 100% one way or the other -- because to be clear, not funding buses means there are no buses, not that people have a choice to take a bus or buy a car -- we could simply ensure that both bus users and car users pay their fair share of the infrastructure costs and other externalities not currently represented in the cost of gas or bus fare. Then people could make an informed decision that is aligned with their values instead of being forced into one or other depending on who happens to be in power.

But that almost certainly means taking more money from individual car drivers, which is super unpopular (and somewhat technically complicated to account), so we can't implement that solution. So currently we "subsidize" bus service with general taxes. If you have a better solution in mind I for one would love to hear it.

Comment: Re:Eliminating the bus driver is Pareto-stupid (Score 1) 257

by profplump (#48496983) Attached to: The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

If your question is "how does the economy work when there is no demand for everyone to be employed for 40 hours/week" that's a reasonable question. We should definitely talk about that.

But to assert that the only solution to that problem is to stop increasing labor productivity -- or by some other means to stabilize the relative value of labor -- ignores both long and short term history. The amount of time people have spent working -- and the proportion of people that were in the workforce -- has varied greatly over time, and not with any fixed relationship to productivity. Within bounds many such changes can be accommodated without fundamental changes to the economy, as we have seen in the past. And if we exceed those bounds we can restructure the economy to suit us, again, just as we have in the past.

Comment: Re:Eliminating the bus driver is Pareto-stupid (Score 1) 257

by profplump (#48496879) Attached to: The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

There are already a bunch of driverless transit systems in use around the world. And in many larger transit vehicles with a human driver the driver is isolated from the passengers and not in a position to "restore order" or even notice that such restoration is necessary. These systems carry millions of people every day, including women at night. Is there some reason you think driverless buses would be different?

Comment: Re:I disagree (Score 1) 257

by profplump (#48496795) Attached to: The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

"Bus route" ceases to be a useful concept if you allow passengers to "book" travel. You could tell the bus where you are, where you are going and it would reply with a time and place for pickup and drop off. During heavy travel times it's easy enough to bundle people with similar sources and destinations -- it doesn't have to be perfect, just good enough to keep the bus fairly full and total trip times reasonable -- and during low-volume times efficiency is not very important as there are lots of vehicles available. You could even allow people to pay more if they want priority routing (to eliminate waiting/transfers) or service to a specific address (to eliminate walking) or pay less if they are more flexible, all on the same physical vehicles.

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll invite himself over for dinner. - Calvin Keegan

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