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Comment Re:Same with cars (Score 2) 225

As someone who works on cars and motorcycles as a hobby, I'd say yes and no.
1. Plugging into your car to find out where the faults are is fantastic. Emission laws have resulted in cars being much more complex. With all of the sensors all over the vehicle (MAF, MAP, O2, CPS, ABS, etc.) it's great having a computer tell you which one is sending voltage outside parameters. If there was no computer telling you where the problem was you'd spend quite a bit of time with a multimeter.

2. When someone says that something is harder on a new car than an old car, sometimes that's true. Smaller bodies, different collision requirements, etc. all result in less room. On the other hand, a ton of stuff is modular and easily swapped out. In fact, it's easier to swap out than in the past. The problem is, the swapping out is much more specific to the vehicle and manufacturer. If you aren't familiar with the car, it can be quite a pain. But...

3. Just about everything is on the internet these days. There's a video step-by-step for just about any procedure on any car. That's something you didn't have back in the day (although I suppose it was less necessary).

Comment Re:12G - that's all? (Score 1) 309

I agree. If you're in the PC gaming crowd you generally know you're in for the regular upgrade cycle. My gaming rig had 16GB years ago.

That's why I got out of PC gaming and moved to the console (sacrilege I know). I just found that I didn't enjoy constantly upgrading and tinkering with my machine. Don't get me wrong, I loved it for many years and learned a ton in the process. I just have other ways I'd rather spend my time and money these days. Now, if my kid ever gets into gaming...

Comment Re:What they really need (Score 1) 394

I came to say this same thing. Seattle growth is somewhat constrained by geography. Lake Washington, Lake Union, and Elliot Bay make it difficult to just "build out." Those same features, combined with a bunch of hills, make also make it difficult to get in and out. I commute to Downtown Seattle via bus on a regular basis. Since the carpool lanes are full the bus frequently doesn't move any faster than the rest of the traffic. It's not unheard of for the bus to take 90 minutes to cover the 20 miles of my commute.

As such, many want to live in the city to avoid that commute. There are quite a few well-to-do folk in Seattle and that means demand far outweighs supply - pushing prices through the roof. It doesn't help that the city makes it so difficult for developers that anything other than premium housing just isn't cost effective to build.

Light rail or some other form of mass transit would offer a form of transportation not subject to the awful traffic. This would be a huge improvement (when traffic is light my bus makes my trip in around 30 minutes). It would make a large number of people feel like they wouldn't be giving up three hours a day to a commute if they were to move farther away - farther away to areas better suited (geographically and politically) to deal with expansion.

Comment Re:Remarkable people (Score 1) 367

Correlation is not causation. You seem to think that the rise in atheism results in the problems. It could just as easily be argued that the rise in atheism in said situations was a natural response to seeing how the theists in power had brought society to a place where uprisings, armed revolts, etc. were the only logical outcomes.

Your statement is somewhat akin to saying : "Every time the leaves change color and fall off the trees it gets cold. Therefore, the leaves falling off the trees cause the change in temperature."

Comment Basic understanding doesn't equate to daily use (Score 4, Insightful) 255

The fact that a primary education provides a basic understanding of a thing doesn't mean that your're suddenly proficient to the point that you use it, in depth, in your daily life. Even if you could, it doesn't mean you'd want to.

Maybe I'm wrong.
People get a basic understanding of Biology so they don't need doctors.
People get a basic understanding of Chemistry so they just purchase elements and make their own chemical compounds (who buys soap when you can make it?).
People (might) get a basic understanding of music so they simply put on their own performances.

Comment Fossil can't speak for the Swiss industry (Score 1) 202

Fossil is a maker of cheap fashion watches. Stuff people tend to throw out or forget about when the battery dies. I'd imagine these would be easily replaceable by other watches worn to be trendy and with a relatively short expected lifespan (see smart watch). I'm not knocking Fossil by the way. They are a nice watch in their target market.

These watches are in an entirely different category from the heirloom Swiss watches. Watches with mechanical movements and top quality cases assembled by craftspeople with years of training. I don't think many people are forgoing their purchase of an Omega, Rolex, Patek, etc. because they are picking up a smart watch instead. These watches fill a special niche. They'll never thrive like they did before the quartz movement (when even non-luxury watches were spendy), but they won't be supplanted by wearables in the next few years.

Comment Freedom sometimes hinders justice: deal with it (Score 5, Insightful) 392

Lots of things "hinder" justice. The fact that we don't all wear trackers that inform the government of where we are at all times hinders justice. The fact that all financial transactions aren't conducted electronically hinders justice. The fact I can go wherever I want without first obtaining permission from the government hinders justice.

The fact that I don't have to submit to those intrusions is part of my freedom. I appreciate my freedom and am willing to forgo or more efficient justice system in order to maintain my freedom - especially given the fact that once freedom is sufficiently curtailed those doing the curtailing tend to lose their concern for justice.

Comment Re:HAHAHAHA! (Score 2) 231

Look up your state department of insurance (if you're in the US). Personal auto insurance is heavily regulated. When they establish premiums, insurance companies have to provide loss triangles, expense info and more, in detail, to the state DOI. There are teams of actuaries that put these filings together. The DOI has their own actuaries that carefully examine this data and check for a number of things including, but not limited to:
1. Is the insurance company charging enough to remain solvent in both likely and catastrophe scenarios?
2. Is the insurance company treating people fairly?
3. Is the insurance company making conservative underwriting profits?

Trust me, many many rate filings are rejected by the insurance departments. So much so that many insurance companies target a 4% underwriting profit. Yes, 4%. Compare that to software operating margins that can run around 40-50%.

Were the industry not heavily regulated you might have a point. The states seem to do a pretty decent job making sure that auto insurers don't take advantage of the fact that auto insurance is (typically) mandatory.

Comment Re:It's not a dodge. (Score 1) 161

Read this article linked to from the article in the summary:

It indicates that Microsoft's dodge very likely was illegal. State law at the time indicated that royalty taxes should be paid where your operations reside - not where you book the income. This was never pursued by the state department of revenue. Why? The author notes that the WA dept of revenue was run by a former Microsoft exec. Whether that's really the reason we don't really know, but it certainly is enough to arouse suspicions (and make me want to request some emails from the State gov).

The law was then changed so that the dodge would be explicitly legal (by another former Microsoft exec in the state legislature). Also written into the law was an amnesty provisions for any corporations who likely owed back taxes under the old version of the law. I wonder why the amnesty portion was so important? What corporations could have been flaunting the old version of the law?

Comment Re:A long time coming... (Score 1) 364

The Fed "printed" more money via QE (weak assets from banks), but it also took a huge volume of money out of the economy. Check out the new reserve requirements on all the big banks. They got a bunch of cash in lieu of weak assets, but that cash didn't go anywhere. It's still sitting, under bank control, invested in highly secure, long-term assets (as required by...The Fed). Money that used to be loaned out and used several more times throughout the economy is now sitting in long-term assets. It's not moving through the economy.

In the end, I think it's safe to say that the net effect of all that "extra" money is a lot less than you thought - as borne out by the current international value of the dollar.

Comment Re:Why is a robot different from any other machine (Score 1) 342

I think stories like this are gaining traction because:
1) People see a robot as a relatively new, advanced, and expensive technology and
2) People feel that relatively new, advanced, and expensive technologies should be built in such a way so that these types of things don't happen

How much extra $ would it have taken to install a set of sensors that would make sure the robot wouldn't perform if a human was in the way? Relative to the cost of the robot, probably not all that much. At least, that's probably what people are thinking. Whether they're right, I can't say. Still, it isn't an unreasonable thought.

They don't think this about old or inexpensive tech because they are familiar with the dangers and/or realize it isn't necessary cost-effective to change it. For example, a kitchen knife that wouldn't cut a person, but was still very effective at kitchen tasks probably would be cost prohibitive.

Comment Pneumatic bug launcher for the win! (Score 4, Interesting) 117

First of all - where do I pick up one of these guns:
"To test these materials in the lab, researchers developed a pneumatic launcher to fire living bugs at a sample coating. They first used crickets as ammunition, but a physicist colleague urged them to switch to fruit flies, which would be more representative of what planes hit during takeoff and landing."

Second - I hope they develop a clear coating as I would like it on my motorcycle visor.

Hotels are tired of getting ripped off. I checked into a hotel and they had towels from my house. -- Mark Guido