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Comment Re:Population/Area has to be a factor (Score 1) 278

I mean, 30 years ago, whenst last I drove through the downtown of actual SF, there was a 5-lane honking freeway slicing thru the heart of it.

If you mean the Embarcadero Freeway, they tore that down after the Loma Prieta earthquake in '89. (And there was much rejoicing. Visit the rejuvenated Ferry Building and there are markers where the supports for the freeway once stood, and plaques gloating over its demise. The Embarcadero Freeway was widely despised.)

Park Presidio Drive is technically part of US Highway 1, but is more like an urban boulevard for the part that is within city limits. There is no longer any freeway through San Francisco.

Comment Re:California investigating THEY BETTER BE (Score 2) 471

The car's clean enough not to make the person driving it sick. If everyone drove cars that cheated on emission standards, then sure, pollution would be a lot worse. But as a percentage of cars on the road, this model is a drop in the ocean. The more serious issue if you own this car is that it could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to make it street legal in California. If it can be made street legal at all.

Comment Re:Google fiber fears? (Score 3, Interesting) 253

PS, It has long been my opinion that Google wants its customers to have gigabit fiber, but they would rather some other company provide it. The purpose of Google Fiber is to goad Comcast and TWC into doing it. Like any for-profit enterprise, Google doesn't want to be in the business of providing universal access to high quality Internet. That's providing a commodity, and Google wants high profit margins.

On the bright-side, they're well aware of TWC's and Comcast's vaporware ploys and are unlikely to be deterred by that.

Comment Re:Google fiber fears? (Score 1) 253

Which brings me to my point: If this rollout by Comcast is true, is someone finally getting out IN FRONT of Google Fiber, not just being a reactionary twit?

VAPORWARE (n) - A product that does not yet exist, but is sure to blow any competing products out of the water. Promoted by market-dominating companies to forestall potential competitors.

Comment Talk about reinventing the wheel... (Score 1) 280

Do you know what else doesn't need to park? A normal taxi. A bus or a subway car. The extent that suburban Americans will go to avoid taking public transit is nothing short of amazing. Yes, let's spend trillions to develop a network of driverless cars so suburbanites can enjoy city life without coming into contact with any of the city's grubby inhabitants.

Comment Re:The goal of 1st world countries (Score 3, Insightful) 401

And about, oh, at least half of the global population isn't well suited for creative jobs since they are (by definition) below average intelligence.

I wouldn't equate falling below the 50th percentile in IQ with inability to do anything but the most menial work. First, because I don't think intelligence should be defined that narrowly, and second, because it's fucking insulting. The vast majority of workers displaced by technology are not incapable of doing other work. They just lost a game of musical chairs, and there are huge obstacles for anyone trying to get back in the game.

Comment How does Amazon have a monopoly on ebooks? (Score 1) 405

The Amazon store certainly makes it easy to buy an ebook, and it has an advantage in that it's built into the Kindle. However, it is certainly possible to get ebooks from other sources. What is stopping the publishers from simply refusing to sell through Amazon? It's not *that* hard to install a book from somewhere other than Amazon on a Kindle. I mean, things are tough all over for mid-list authors, and have been for a long time. But if George RR Martin were to sell his next book exclusively through his web site, I'm sure his fans would jump through whatever minor hoops they needed to to get his book.

Comment There is a reason we don't have powdered alcohol (Score 2) 176

This will be approved when the powder has a weight, volume, and alcohol content comparable to the liquid forms currently on the market. Which kind of defeats the purpose.

On a tangent, there is no technical reason for rubbing alcohol to be made of isopropyl alcohol (not fit for human consumption), rather than ethanol (basically the same thing as vodka.) There is no technical reason that vodka should cost so much more than rubbing alcohol. This is all due to government regulation. Powdered alcohol will not be allowed to fit through the cracks.

Comment Re:I know this is Slashdot, but... (Score 1) 529

To add to my previous comment re: raising the average, the liberal arts, and democracy: Korea, Taiwan, Singapore. These are all nominally democracies, but they are also much more authoritarian than the western democracies. And that is what a concentration of resources at the top of the academic pyramid facilitates. Authoritarians need a small coterie of highly trained people to manage their societies. They don't need the masses that think they have a place in governance. It isn't surprising that America's business elites find this authoritarian model appealing--American businesses are not democracies. But if I were to find myself anywhere in the bottom 90 percent of society (Come to think of it, that is where I find myself!) I'd much rather live in, say, Denmark, than Taiwan. Maybe that is where we should look for models: the egalitarian West, rather than the authoritarian East.

Comment I know this is Slashdot, but... (Score 3, Interesting) 529

Let me pose a counter argument.

In many fields, we already have more PhDs than we know what to do with. There aren't enough university positions for all of them. Their salaries end up not being commensurate with all those years spent in school, and they live miserable frustrating lives trying to raise funding for their research.

On the other hand, in the USA the public debate still revolves around things like supply-side economics, climate change, and what God thinks about abortion. Issues that are settled among educated people who aren't demagoguing an issue for personal gain.

I would posit that we are already doing enough for the gifted in our society. What we really need to do is *raise the average*. If that means we end up with plumbers who speak three languages and have a B.S. in chemistry, so be it. We are better off as a society when the average person is equipped with the skillset of a university graduate. If you look at the Nordic countries, they're pretty much already there, and better for it.

This was the reason people like Thomas Jefferson supported public education. Not as job training, but as a prerequisite of citizenship. For democracy to succeed, the average person must possess the "ars liberalis"--the liberal arts--literally, the arts and skills of being a free person.

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