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Comment Needs and Wants (Score 0) 269

I don't know that I would call any of those things, "needs"

You may say, "semantics", but it's precisely this sort of cultural blindness to the idea that life could be any different than it is today, that prevents us from discussing solutions. Toilet paper and ranchland aren't needs, Hygiene is a need, and food is a need, but if we believe that the only way to fill those needs is to carry on what we've been doing for the last few decades, then we are dumb and deaf to any alternatives.

Comment Re:It all depends.... (Score 1) 285

If this hypothetical road is so important to the people living on it, they can always simply choose the free enterprise approach and maintain it themselves.

The point the Iowa DOT is making isn't that there must be less roads but that government built roads have gotten way out of whack and there is far more asphalt per person than we could ever hope to afford. Nothing stops a few industrious folks from stepping up and maintaining their own roads.

If the people living on a road can't afford to keep it upgraded, then it's a sign from the universe that they can't really afford the lifestyle they are trying to live and they have been subsidized for years. There are lots of options
- gravel roads cost a tiny fraction of hardtop roads
- hiking trails cost even less

Comment Re: What about a bus? (Score 1) 280

This is ludicrous. If your local bus company or transit agency has the authority to run like a business and run stick to profitable routes (higher density, straight lines) they will be plenty full and far more fuel - and most importantly - space efficient, than a car.

If your local agency has a mandate from voters to run like a social service, providing transportation to all, regardless of location or profitability, then they won't be full or efficient, but then that's not what you asked the agency to do in this scenario.

Studies like these are just sops to politicians and people living in areas where doing anything but driving is challenging, they convince them that 50 km grocery runs really aren't that ludicrous and hey, one day you'll fly 500 km to get your groceries and that will be more efficient thanks to "future tech"

Comment Privacy and Safety (Score 0) 73

I'm sure /. is all familiar with, âoeThey that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.â âThose Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.â and it's tempting to apply it here.

However I would disagree. The act of operating a 2 ton vehicle at fatal velocities is not unlike the act of pointing a loaded gun at people in public, but promising not to shoot anyone. Now imagine that hundreds of millions of people do this, and hundreds of thousands screw up every year and injure or kill someone, generating billions upon billions in insurance claims.

If we treated cars like guns, keeping them securely locked in the garage at all times except a life or death emergency, and on every usage got law enforcement involved to investigate, then you could argue that you have a right to privacy as a car owner, just as a gun owner might. But once you endanger the public, whether by waving your gun around, or waving your car around, I would argue you give up that right.

If you don't want anyone to care what you do with your vehicle, just choose a less dangerous vehicle. Like your feet, or a bike. Then no one will much care what you do, where you go, or how you operate it.

Comment Re:Large homes (Score 1) 220

Of course this is true.

However there is significant strain of, "more is better" in much of North America, and it leads people to mistake wants with needs. People have lived perfectly happy lives and raised great kids in far less space than many suburban North Americans believe is a bare minimum. It doesn't mean you have to accept this for yourself, just be aware that when your local politician/developer/journalist starts talking about "needs" they might really be talking about "wants"

Comment Words != Actions (Score 1) 544

Lots of people say.... ... They want to use less energy , but drive big SUV's ... They want to eat healthy, but stock up on sugary 'health' beverages

Just because your poll suggests a preference, does not necessarily mean actions will follow.

Product design and marketing has to focus on likely actions, not verbal intentions.

Comment Re:What's so Hard to Understand? (Score 3, Informative) 192

It's hard to understand because..

a) most people probably have little understanding of military awards outside of hollywood and might be forgiven for thinking they are all given for combat

b) most managers, whether in the military or not, seem woefully clueless about the impact of cumbersome poorly designed systems and the payback on well designed ones (or well designed hacks running on top of the poor system) So that someone even noticed he was more productive, didn't freak out because he did something different, didn't freak out because the different thing involved "programming" *AND* gave him a medal... seems pretty remarkable.

Comment Carrier Subsidy (Score 1) 291

I agree with this 100% but I hope everyone realizes that with no ability to force customers to stick around, there will be a dramatically reduced incentive for carriers to offer subsidies on fancy phones. I think this is fine but I wonder if there will be an uproar when $600 iPhones cost $600 instead of $200 + contract and/or lock.

Comment Re:what progress? (Score 1) 769

Boric acid is to stop the reaction, there is no indication the nuclear reaction is still ongoing. The issue is residual decay heat can be many megawatts and needs to be dissipated. If they can't dissipate it, mother nature will take of that but the results will not be pretty (molten core, possibly breaching reactor vessel, etc etc)

"Confound these ancestors.... They've stolen our best ideas!" - Ben Jonson