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Comment: Re:Hmm... (Score 1) 1067

by smellsofbikes (#49732057) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

And the poor are more likely to put pretty much all their income back into the economy in their day-to-day living, whereas the rich don't.

I'm aware of the velocity of money and the perception that poor people pour money back into the economy rapidly while rich people don't (and it matches my personal biases, so I like the idea a lot) but -- I'm trying to figure out what the rich can do with money that actually takes it out of the economy. Unless they actually stick dollars in suitcases and store them in the wine cellar, almost anything else I can think of puts the money in someone else's pocket one way or another. Stuck in banks: used to back bank loans. Buying ferraris and Monets: money has gone to the previous owner. Investments, likewise. Taking money out of the country probably counts from a single country's economy standpoint, but not from a global standpoint. I'd be interested in hearing other people's thoughts on this.

Comment: Re:What? (Score 1) 126

by smellsofbikes (#49700227) Attached to: How SpaceX and the Quest For Mars Almost Sunk Tesla Motors

Are you mad? Do you know how many businesses struggle with payroll? Where owners take loans (or are late paying other bills) in order to cover payroll. This is SOOOOO fu*king common. Start a business and see how often it happens to you.

Large companies routinely get short-term loans to meet payroll. As far as I can tell, that was a major reason for the idea that banks were judged too big to fail: if a bunch of banks had all gone under, immediately thereafter a large number of fortune 500 companies would also have gone under because they needed those banks for day-to-day financial obligations.

Comment: Re:Inspections eventually become a boondoggle (Score 1) 395

by smellsofbikes (#49648979) Attached to: 25 Percent of Cars Cause 90 Percent of Air Pollution

Instead, place detection equipment like used in TFA on places where cars pass by single-file, like freeway on-ramps. This equipment would automatically measure the emissions of each passing car (or truck), and if a particular car was dirty it would snap a photo of the license plate. If a car was flagged repeatedly at multiple stations, the State could then issue the owner a notice requiring him to fix it.

In Colorado, this is exactly what's done. There are multiple fixed and mobile automatic emissions testing systems, and people generally know where they are. You drive through one, and if you pass, you get a card in the mail saying you're good for another year. If you don't pass, you get a card saying you have to go into the emissions testing station, where they do a rolling road test on your car and diagnose exactly what's going on. Importantly, it's widely believed that the automatic emissions testing systems are more lenient, so people have a strong incentive to try to go hit those and avoid having to spend the time and money on going to an emissions testing station. They save everyone money and time, massively reduce the number of cars that have to go through the full emissions test, and do a good job of making sure the only cars that do have to go there are the ones that need to. It's a great program, and as a result the state only has to fund a half dozen emissions testing stations in total, while having massively improved air quality in the heavily populated areas. (And by massively, I mean you can now routinely see mountains over 150km away, whereas I remember times in the 1970's where weeks would go by where we couldn't see the mountains 30km away even though the sky was clear: the smog was just too dense.)

Comment: Re:1st: Who Owns the 25% least well-tuned autos? (Score 3, Insightful) 395

by smellsofbikes (#49647401) Attached to: 25 Percent of Cars Cause 90 Percent of Air Pollution

The poorest drivers probably own the lion's share of them. Individuals are likely even aware of their vehicle's condition.

Hell, many of them probably wish they could afford to repair or replace the jalopies...sigh, fucking poor people are killing us again.

Some are, but some are also owned by wealthy people. I have a 1960's sportscar. I know a bunch of other people who do (coz we all belong to a british sportscar club.) I've added emissions control stuff to my car, and even then it has 10x the levels of emissions that my late-model daily driver has. Most of the other people in the club wouldn't even consider adding fuel injection, catalytic converter, and O2 sensors to their 1950's Jaguars, and when I'm walking around in the paddock at the track, it's pretty obvious that the best tuning they can do on their old carbs is still terrible.

Old cars and poor people are to some extent a self-solving problem: they can't afford to keep fixing them. When you see a car that's more than 40 years old, it's likely the driver has money and is keeping that car on the road by desire, not necessity.

Comment: Re:Mis-coding being perpitrated by doctors! (Score 1) 532

by smellsofbikes (#49634011) Attached to: The Medical Bill Mystery

Back in the 90's I did some IT consulting work for a lady that had a consulting practice that their whole gig was they went into doctors offices and showed them how they could use different CPT codes for for various procedures and make more money from it. So instead of using a code for say "blood sugar blood test" then would show them to use the code for a generic procedure that had a higher cost. They would do a "free" analysis of the doctors current billing's then show where they could make the doctor more money by going bill by bill to show them where they could make more money by using different CPT codes. When the doctor would hire her company (pay them $$$) they would then show which specific CPT codes to change on each bill. She still has this business and is making good money as well she is also now a lobbyist for the medical industry....

My best friend in college was the child of a physician who was convicted of fraud for doing this, and that was fifteen years ago. I'd be wanting to know about their long-term success rate before buying their services.

Comment: Re:Subs as aircraft carriers (Score 2) 75

You look at things like the Heinkel 162 and think "yeah, if they had 10,000 of those, they could really have made a difference" -- and they did have a lot of really amazing tech.
But the thing is, so did the Allies. The Vampire and the Shooting Star would have been comparable to any of the German jet fighters, and were actively being developed and tested.
I'm no expert, but it looks to me like the only way you can say "oh, man, German tech COULD have won the war" is if everything they tried worked and nothing the Allies tried worked. Even at equal development success, the Allies could still out-tech the Axis because they had more people working on it and more resources -- the final proof of which was Hiroshima/Nagasaki. No matter how good your tech, once the other side has nukes and you don't, and there doesn't seem to be any credible information that the Axis nuclear weapons program was within even five years of developing that tech, one successful high-flying night bomber and everything's over.
That's why I think the German fetishization of tech saving them was borne of necessity, not of realism.

Comment: Re:Subs as aircraft carriers (Score 5, Insightful) 75

The germans had great engineering, but between this, the Bismarck, and the Tiger tanks (with engines/transmissions that broke down frequently and couldn't handle the load), they had major failings too in the economy department of bang for your buck [reichsmark]. Leadership was mostly to blame.

As the war dragged on, Hitler became increasingly convinced that technology would turn the tide for the Germans. The V-series rockets, the ME-262, the Tiger/King Tiger, all were intended to make up for the fact that they were increasingly sending young boys and old men onto the front lines. Numerous advisors and ranking members of teh military (at least claimed to have) attempted to persuade Hitler that these programs were a waste of resources but he was adamant in his support of them. I wonder if a lot of it was due to he increasingly deteriorated mental state as the combination of stress, drugs, and mental diseases (Parkinsons and possibly syphyllis if I am not mistaken ) took their toll.

I think part of it was that winning by tech was their only option: any rational analysis said they were outgunned and outproduced, so tech was their Hail Mary. They simply had to believe in it. Conveniently, it aligned with their sense of superiority.

Comment: I'm confused: aren't these common already? (Score 1) 36

by smellsofbikes (#49581613) Attached to: World-First Remote Air Traffic Control System Lands In Sweden

Whenever I fly using ATC (in my case, flight following, unless I'm flying instrument) I'm talking to an air route traffic control center based in a town 50 km away from the nearest towered airport, and it's what everyone flying instrument from nontowered airports uses, throughout the whole state.
They don't do approach or ground control, which is done at towered fields where someone's actually looking at the airplanes in question, but they handle everything outside the class b/c/d airspace.
Obviously this is different. How?

Comment: Ventilation for that 3d printer (Score 1) 167

Someone will want to print ABS and that stuff stinks. You'll need something to pull fumes from the vicinity. You could just supply PLA, but even so, ventilation would be helpful.
Consider a sewing machine.
Workbench with a vise, and several panavise-like or third-hand-like holders.

Comment: We have prototypes of these, working (Score 5, Interesting) 125

by smellsofbikes (#49563433) Attached to: Smart Headlights Adjust To Aid Drivers In Difficult Conditions

I did a bunch of work recently on a headlight that automatically dims just the area around a detected oncoming car, so you can drive with your brights on all the time and it'll automatically filter out detected oncoming traffic so they don't get blinded.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?...
(Sucks to be a pedestrian in this world, though...)
It uses steering wheel position, input from a webcam, and gps and map data to determine where the beam distribution is directed. This specific implementation only works on red cars, but we have some good ideas about how to generalize this.
Current car lights are already optimized somewhat to illuminate further and higher on the outside side of the car compared to the inside, to reduce glare for oncoming drivers. Doing this automatically, over a wider area, will be a nice stopgap until autonomous vehicles render this whole focus irrelevant.

Comment: Re:Mandation of vaccines is not okay (Score 5, Insightful) 616

by smellsofbikes (#49532567) Attached to: Bill To Require Vaccination of Children Advances In California

Stop signs are great. I won't dispute that. I stop at stop signs, but I have followed a different schedule than the one recommended and I reserve the right to refuse specific stop signs (Because who really needs that stop sign in a construction area where there aren't any other cars? Crashes at stop signs are also hardly ever fatal for that matter)
It is up to drivers to decide what is right for their own car with regard to stop signs. Driving decisions are difficult and not always cut and dry. I refuse to give up the right of anyone deciding what is appropriate for their car in this regard, because bad driving decisions live with you forever.
So if a driver doesn't want to have to stop at stop signs, that's a-okay with me. I stop at stop signs, so I've done everything that I personally can do to protect myself. I can't protect everyone from everything and I don't expect other drivers to protect me either. I can only do what I can, and the rest is up to chance in the end.

Comment: Re:Complexity is a feature, not a bug (Score 2) 626

How could the language be made as easy as possible to learn coming from any linguistic background? How could interest in the language be fostered in as many people as possible?

The problem is, people don't want language to work that way. It's not specifically that they want it to be hard to learn, but they want a language with nuance and ambiguity. We like puns and plays on words.

There's also an argument made by some rhetoricians that ambiguity in language (and other places) allows people to break prisoner's dilemma-type games, and we do so constantly as lubrication for our interactions. A simple example: you get a speeding ticket. You can pay the ticket, you can attempt to bribe the officer to not give you a ticket, at tremendous risk if it fails, or you can make an ambiguous statement like "is there some way I can just pay the fine right now and get on my way?" that an honest cop will answer 'no' and you end up having to pay the ticket, but there isn't sufficient information there to successfully accuse you of bribery, whereas a dishonest cop will take the offer. You reduce your risk/reward ratio through ambiguity. The same strategy when applied to relationships is even more successful because they're iterative.
Our communication is inextricably interwoven with ambiguity, so we will invent it out of need if we don't have it.

Comment: Re: Easy grammar (Score 1) 626

Irregular verbs exist for a reason... they're the verbs that get used the most, and the irregularities are how people either eliminate redundancy or add additional shades of meaning that most normal verbs can live without.

Ditto, for "silent letters" in English. They're how we disambiguate homonyms (ex: to/too/two).

If English had official "tones" like Mandarin, we could distinguish between meanings of "fuck" used as a verb in writing, to visually indicate things like sarcasm. Actually, in a way, English *does* have an informal "system" of indicating the equivalent of _tones_ -- quotation marks, underlines, italics, boldface, and wikitext markup.

Any conlang that *really* gets used by **real** people as their "real" language will quickly mutate and become as irregular as English or Spanish.

Japanese only has two irregular verbs that are used often, and another eight or so that are used rarely, and it's an _old_ language spoken by a lot of people. Likewise, Finnish and Chinese both have under five irregular verbs, and Turkish (I'm told) has zero. There are lots of other ways to increase information density per unit of written information to reduce ambiguity. I think that's important for an actual used language, but it doesn't have to be accomplished via irregular verbs. Word location and order, for instance, does a great job of displaying subject/object relationships.
I agree with your point that things like sarcasm, satire, humor, will be expressed by bending language rules, in any actual used language. I just don't think irregular verbs are a necessary emergent property of used languages.

Comment: Hardware easter eggs are still common (Score 1) 290

by smellsofbikes (#49407587) Attached to: Is This the Death of the Easter Egg?

We just finished a chip that has a coworker's picture cut into the top three metal layers, because he died suddenly and we wanted some sort of commemoration. Since it's a flipchip, if you have an unmounted chip you can actually see it without having to decap it. We regularly put stuff in the gutters that our voltage rules require for insulation between the chip and the leadframe. Why not? It takes ten minutes to put into the artwork, at the very end of tapeout, and it costs nothing since it's on useless silicon.

My dad left an easter egg in one of the function generators he designed, that played a fugue in four-part harmony. It became a sales demo that sold a lot of units, because it showed off the machine's arbitrary waveform generation capabilities so spectacularly at trade shows. A good easter egg can be a better advertisement for something than the official demos because it shows an unexpected use, and the designers can do a better job of demonstrating the system's ability than a marketing person who is setting up some demo on a piece of equipment that s/he only knows enough about to sell.

Comment: Re:Ummmm ... duh? (Score 1) 385

by smellsofbikes (#49357965) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

Would it help much? A rogue pilot has the advantage of surprise. They get the first punch - and with a little luck and some practice, one punch is enough. Lock door, punch unsuspecting attendant in the face, pummel them unconscious before they recover.

Or, as I've posted elsewhere, don't even bother with a physical flight. In the US, where two people are required on the flight deck, all flight personnel are automatically eligible to be Federal Flight Deck Officers, meaning that after taking some amount of training they can carry firearms on the plane with them, and other flight officers/staff are prohibited from asking or knowing that they're carrying weapons. If pilots want to crash a plane, it's not going to be difficult for them to succeed.

Money can't buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you're being miserable. -- C.B. Luce

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