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Comment Re:Forgetting something (Score 1) 89

As someone who works in the design industry doing daylighting studies, this isn't hard to account for... But even without that, if you're a smaller building being dwarfed by a larger one, you're probably not large enough to use this strategy. if you're a big enough building, then you might be bigger than those around you. problem solved without any math being done.

Comment Re:Strange limitations (Score 2) 105

Having seen this technology presented at DIVA Day last year, the difference is that this technology combines the well known annual insolation data with lidar data, so that you know "exactly" how much solar radiation is falling on a specific roof surface. It's a simple trick, but a clever one that no one has done so far. Google's data should help expand this database pretty quickly.

Comment Re:Lettuce should not be pink (Score 3, Informative) 39

I imagine you're joking, but for those who don't know - the lettuce in the picture is a shade of pink due to specific wavelengths of lighting that provides the plants with the ideal amount of "solar" energy, while avoiding providing any stressful wavelengths that require the plant to shed heat. In actuality, the plants often look almost black under that light, because they absorb most of it. Under regular sunlight, plants look green because that wavelength is reflected back, unused.

It may look unnatural, but it's surprisingly efficient.

Comment Re: It'll never happen (Score 1) 280

Haha, I wish. Last year I was on food stamps. Doing better this year but for the past three years I was living in an expensive city on 20k a year. I would kill for a proper car share to reduce the cost of taxis, to better recognize cyclists, and to keep texters from drifting between lanes

Comment Re:It'll never happen (Score 1) 280

I love that your response is that something wont work because of the idea that something pretty terrible is going to happen just about every time you're in it. Cabs have this stuff happen, and have had it happen from the beginning. There's nothing stopping you from pressing a button and having the automated cab return home for cleaning. In fact, it works even better, because to hail the cab, you'll likely need an account, and if you're known as someone who destroys the interior, you'd get charged and/or banned. False reports to ruin the system? Same thing. Something people don't seem to notice about each other is that, in general, we're not actually that bad to one another. Some assholes will fuck things up, but if we were as bad as you worry, we'd never be able to have cities.

Comment Re:Sure, I favor doing more of it (Score 1) 195

Just because something is unsafe, doesn't mean I want to stop doing it. Sometimes it's worth doing so long as it can be done more safely.

The problem is, it isn't being done safely. The industry routinely has spills which do lasting damage to the environment, and the industry has a death rate that is 7 times higher than all other industries ( This is beyond the day to day pollution caused by the oil being pumped out. I'm not saying we can avoid this, but it's a shame we continue to look the other way.

Comment Re:It's all about the routes, dummy (Score 1) 654

Routes are definitely one issue. I still find the bus routes to be completely incomprehensible unless you regularly ride one. Going someplace new is annoying

However, as for time tables, if you're lucky, your city might have a system in place that makes the bus far more bearable. When I moved to Seattle, I was introduced to OneBusAway ( it has real time info on the buses, and allows you to know when your next bus will arrive. It's really nice to know when you have to bolt out the door to make a bus, or when you can spend a few extra moments while waiting for the next one to arrive. It will take time for this to become the norm, but this made riding the bus in Seattle to be far more palatable. The city's Rapid Ride lines also do wonders for the transit, making it a relatively quick alternative to driving, since the traffic here sucks.

Comment Re:Wouldn't electric cars have the opposite effect (Score 1) 502

You would think, but the big issue with renewable energy is that when the power is flowing, you have to use it. Storage is not increasing at the rate of improvements in tech. But that's changing. With better batteries, electric cars plugged into the grid can act as a large storage system. The batteries can be both filled and drained by the grid, meaning that energy can be stored and pulled from the network of cars that are sitting idle. This (potentially) fixes the storage issue of renewables, and allows for a decentralized grid, which is far more resilient to damage. So, as Morgan Stanley suggests, the age of the centralized power source may soon be over.

Comment Re:I work IT in the taxi industry. (Score 1) 273

Part of what makes Uber (and the like) so attractive is that money is handled through the app itself. I cannot tell you what the company does to ensure that the driver is paid, but the payment is secured through the system itself. Once your ride is completed your card is charged through the system, eliminating the "I don't have enough cash" issue that cabs deal with currently (I've seen this happen unfortunately more than once just from riding with friends who don't carry cash). As the driver is paid through the company itself, there's a mechanism in place to ensure he can't be stiffed. This is assuming the company is proactive here, but that's the same with all companies.

As for the rating system, I've also seen the company - Lyft in this case - change a rating for both a driver and a passenger. The company quickly reverted an accidental low driver rating without issue, and the driver removed a flag on a passenger when there was a miscommunication on pick up location due to a gps error.

These are anecdotal, but show that the system can be and has been purged of improper records. As with all jobs, the driver is ultimately punished by the company that hires him, which means that his reputation inside the company will likely be weighed against any complaints.

Comment Re:Nostalgia (Score 1) 240

I can't deny this, although the stuff coming out from the darkroom I learned in was decent quality, probably just because it's a college darkroom. But is this a bad thing? You have an opportunity to both teach the students something and create a lasting impression. If they enjoy coming to school for this reason, could that have an effect on their other classes?

Comment Devil's Advocate (Score 1) 240

There have been a lot of posts talking about the negatives of the dark room. In light of my own photography instructor passing away this week, I feel obligated to talk about the benefits. Here's what I learned:

A physical photography class is a lesson in both physics and chemistry. It's not as in depth as a physics class or a straight chemistry class, but a basic understanding of lenses and chemical processes used to take and develop film offer up applicability for both of those classes, which is often beneficial for students. In the same way, you could digitize physics and chemistry, but nothing takes the place of a good physical experiment.

Physical photography does not allow you to take five hundred shots and hope for a good one. This is great for beginning students, as it forces them to think about each shot that they take. This gets them into the habit of composing shots to show exactly what is intended, as opposed to lucking into a good picture.

A physical photo does not allow you to put on digital filters. Any modification of the picture must come from an understanding of the tools used to modify the photo. Understanding how to dodge and burn a photo in real life will help when moving to digital.

There is a nostalgic element to developing film, but what film provides is a solid, tangible object. You can print digital photos, but unless you're using photo paper, the tactile nature is different. Also, the digital shot is limited by the printer. This isn't as much of an issue these days, but it's something to be aware of.

My photography instructor admittedly shot nothing but digital in his own work. You're right, there are too many benefits in the professional world. But there are benefits to learning the old tools as well.

Comment Re:$30,000 per year (Score 5, Interesting) 1040

I'm currently in Seattle, living as a graduate student. I'm employed in a school associated research lab as a graduate researcher, making the maximum the lab can pay me, per school guidelines, at $15/ hour. This glorious number is set to be the new minimum wage. So let's talk about what it's like to be on minimum wage. Or at least what it will be like.

Should I find a better job? The job I have is a fantastic for when I leave school, providing an exceptional network and excellent experience. I'm doing research to reduce energy use in the construction sector, which benefits society as a whole. Leaving this job would be short sighted. Admittedly, when the minimum wage increases, not all low paying jobs will be like this, but many good jobs still are.

Should I live elsewhere? Rent in the area is high and going higher, so I live with 3 other people. My location is in the city, but in the cheaper areas, not trendy at all and less safe overall, but it works. I live in this city because this is where the jobs are. I could move to the suburbs, but that would require both car payments and gas payments, neither of which are cheap, especially given >$4 gas. Public transportation is an alternative, but it costs both money (2.50 or so a ride) and time (an hour each way, so that's 30 dollars of lost productivity per day). That may not seem like much, but on $15 an hour, it's tough. So I currently bike when I can.

Eating out here is quite expensive, with most non-fast food places providing meals that start at 12-13 dollars and quickly rising from there (and that's the going rate for a burger, the most pedestrian of foods), so I eat in. Can't waste an hours worth of work to have a meal out, after all. It's not terrible, because I can cook quite well, and I've shifted to a primarily vegetarian life style, as meat is expensive.

So at the end of the day, my paycheck goes to food and shelter, both of which are kept as cheap as possible. What little extra I have is saved and used for emergency funds, which can be wiped out pretty quickly in some unforeseen event. God help me if I'm hit by a car, or come down with the flu. Being out of commission for a week is not an option. All in all, I feel I'm doing a good job pushing my future forward. But my present is a fragile system that could be wiped out given a large enough hit.

So what am I saying? Your simplistic idea of "you're an idiot and you should move" completely ignores what life is like on a tight paycheck. There are bright people on a low paycheck, and it's quite the trap. Life on a slim budget has no room for error, and when your entire system revolves around survival, it takes extra work to plan for a future.

What should be more frightening to you is that you are surrounded by people who live like this. The people who take your cash at the starbucks, the people who clean your trash out from your desk. You rely on these people, and yet you look down on them and mock them. You're lucky you are where you are at, because what you do not have to do is pull yourself up from nothing. And if you are the person who came from the mean streets and a poor family, congratulations, you've done something amazing. But if you are, you're an amazing jerk to all those who are trying to do the same thing you did.

Comment Re:Surface: the only Hope (Score 1) 379

It's a mix. Partially due to it being an architecture school, there's a need for the cad drafting programs (autocad, revit, rhinoceros), but even during times where rendering, layout, and diagramming (using adobe suite products that used to be the mac's bread and butter), no one bothers to change to the mac side.

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist