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Comment: For wealthy gadabouts perhaps (Score 5, Interesting) 129

by spasm (#48702837) Attached to: Peter Diamandis: Technology Is Dissolving National Borders

"Working remotely is now widespread, and will only become moreso once telepresence robots become ubiquitous."

Telecommuting (much discussed on slashdot over the past decade) is fairly common, but still hardly 'widepread' - only 2.6% of the U.S. employee workforce 'considers the home their primary workplace', and the single largest group of telecommuters are federal employees (3.3%), ahead of private for-profit sector workers (2.6%) (http://globalworkplaceanalytics.com/telecommuting-statistics). And even among those (like myself) who would say my home is my primary workplace (I live about 3 hours drive from my employer) still need to go in to the office once a month or so. Which might work in some parts of Europe, but for most fo the world is unreasonably complicated and expensive. And I suspect the vast vast majority of those of us who telecommute or work remotely are still doing so within national boundaries.

"Translation services, both for written and spoken language are approaching sci-fi-level capabilities."

Bullshit. Well, so far anyway. The linked slashdot story contained a bunch of comments from people saying the skype translation was just about good enough for scheduling another meeting time, but you couldn't use it to do actual work.

"The rise of cryptocurrencies is providing a method for people worldwide to move away from national currencies."

Right up until you need to buy groceries or pay rent.

Of course, all these things will change. Machine translation will definitely get better. Telepresence might get beyond novelty and/or uncanny valley and genuinely make 'going for a beer with the boss' on another continent work. And my landlord might even start accepting bitcoin. But with the possible exception of machine translation, the rest of it will remain the province of fairly well off people for a long time. Well off people like Peter Diamandis.

Comment: Re:What the hell is wrong with Millennials?! (Score 1) 465

by spasm (#48592085) Attached to: Peru Indignant After Greenpeace Damages Ancient Nazca Site

"I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint".
(Hesiod, 8th century BC)

Comment: Re: Go California! (Score 1) 139

by spasm (#48584043) Attached to: California Sues Uber Over Practices

Oh, I'm not a libertarian :) In a 'libertarian paradise' pesky 'regulations' which establish things like renter's rights (probably the single largest use of small claims court is by renters trying to recover their deposit when leaving a rental and the landlord claims the money is now theirs because [insert minor wear and tear here]) don't exist. Because 'the market' will somehow stop all that from happening..

I think the precise details of how easy small claims is to use varies from state to state. I've only had experience with it in California (and only once at that), and in CA the court doesn't give multiple opportunities to appear unless the defendant files paperwork each time giving a documented (and reasonable) reason they can't appear. And neither party is allowed to bring a lawyer with them. But yes, working out how to collect is up to you, and how easy that is varies wildly depending on the situation. Landlords tend to be easy to collect from because, by definition, they have fixed assets. Uber drivers, maybe not so much.

Comment: Megan's law for the unvaccinated (Score 1) 1051

by spasm (#48583921) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

We need a Megan's Law equivalent for people who refuse to be vaccinated. Sure, you can refuse to vaccinate yourself or your child because your skyfairy says so, or for any other reason you like, but you have to be registered like a sex offender and banned from living or going within a thousand feet of any school.

Comment: Re: Go California! (Score 1) 139

by spasm (#48573777) Attached to: California Sues Uber Over Practices

Yes, but it happens less often when 'government regulations' prevent people with known histories of raping and assaulting people from driving taxis.

Whereas you seem to be arguing that the inconvenience of running a background check on someone before letting them drive a taxi is so onerous that it's worth letting known rapists drive taxis just to avoid the burden on the taxi industry of 'all that government red tape'.

Comment: Re: Go California! (Score 2) 139

by spasm (#48573711) Attached to: California Sues Uber Over Practices

"if I take it to small claims court ... you probably won't show up"

In which case you automatically win.

"and even if I got the judgment you'd just stiff me anyway"

In which case the court will help you garnish their wages, order their bank to pay you from any funds they have in the bank, suspend their professional license and/or drivers license until they pay you, and a range of other things that will make their life a complete misery (http://www.courts.ca.gov/1179.htm).

But yeah, it does take time. But laying all this out to them in a demand-for-payment letter so they see that you know how the system works and are willing to grind through those steps is usually sufficient to get people to stop bluffing and pay you if you're clearly in the right.

Comment: Avoiding the police (Score 1) 481

by spasm (#48449903) Attached to: Cops 101: NYC High School Teaches How To Behave During Stop-and-Frisk

"It's unlikely that a high school student would come away with any other conclusion than the police are a fearful group to be avoided at all costs," says Eugene O'Donnell, a former police officer and professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice

That's probably because the police *are* a fearful group to be avoided at all costs..

Comment: Re:Flawed, 'cos... (Score 1) 454

by spasm (#48446855) Attached to: In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

"3. Personalization and customization."

Scan a barcode on the dash with your phone as soon as you get in; your phone syncs with the car & the car changes all the radio station presets change according to the preference file your phone sent it. Ditto climate control preferences, seat position, throttle responsiveness, basically anything that can be controlled electronically.

The other three points I more or less agree with you on though.

Comment: Re:who cares? (Score 1) 942

by spasm (#48040145) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

Dealing with non-metric units isn't that daunting for people raised on metric either - I grew up in Australia and moved to the US in my 30s. I'm a scientist, so in my day-to-day worklife nothing changed at all. The conversions needed for daily shopping are rudimentary (a pound of fish is half a kilo of fish) and you quickly stop needing to even make the conversion. Inches for woodworking are sometimes actually an improvement (12 inches is divisible by 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 12, which makes for a lot of easy mental arithmetic when dividing a length of wood into halves, third, quarters etc; 10 cm is only divisible by 1, 2, 5, and 10). Miles per hour is just a number on a sign which needs to be related to the same number on your speedometer - there's no need to convert at all. Temperature took longer to adjust to - it's really a matter of recalibrating your sense of which number matches to which relative feeling, and that took 4 or 5 years. The only thing I still struggle with is wrench sizes - quick, which is bigger, a 5/8 wrench or a 3/4 wrench? Quick, which is bigger, a 10mm wrench or a 12mm wrench? I just tried a 5/8 wrench on a bolt and it was slightly too small - quick, what's the next size up to try? etc.

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn

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