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Comment: Re:Does this make sense? (Score 1) 268

This car had been purchased with the "Find and Acquire Parking Space" (FAPS) option which, upon activation, locates any open parking space nearby and seeks to claim it as quickly as possible. The car simply noticed a space a couple hundred feet away and dove for it.

In other unrelated news, Volvo lawyers are recommending to the marketing department that the FAPS option only be available in conjunction with the Pedestrian Detection option.

Comment: Re:Let's not lose the plot (Score 1) 826

by uncqual (#49738907) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

You are proposing taxing people who can't afford to buy an electric car or live in a situation (such as an apartment) or work in a situation (any workplace that doesn't provide any, or enough, chargers) which make charging inpractical if they did buy. This in order to subsidize wealthy folks who can afford to buy and maintain a new electric car. Blatantly regressive taxes are often not very politically popular.

Electric cars still generate green house gases unless the power they use is derived from renewable or nuclear sources.

So, let's think a bit more boldly and use tax policy to really change behavior if that's our goal. Better might be to just put a very high tax, increasing each year, on all vehicles -- force people into dense cities and onto mass transit which we can optimize via government expenditures insuring proper maintenance and reducing the waste of each person having their own vehicle. These taxes will be spent to build mass transit. When the tax hits about $20K/year per vehicle, most people will be incented to move into the projects. As well, we can then turn the millions of now abandoned homes into farm land in many areas to produce food locally (the government can buy the land real cheap as the market value of single family homes would plummet and then resell it to agri-business Kelo style).

Comment: Re:wow, that makes me feel good (Score 4, Insightful) 384

by uncqual (#49737667) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Solve a Unique Networking Issue?

Although, perhaps the original submitter called them "pumps" rather than "dispenser control heads" because they assumed that was what most /. readers would understand. Generally it's best to communicate in the language your audience understands unless it confuses others -- and you, allegedly knowing how these things work, seem pretty confident that you understood what the submitter meant. Mission accomplished.

Comment: Re:Stupid tax is stupid (Score 1) 826

by uncqual (#49736113) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

What about electric cars which are likely to only increase in market share? Do we put a tax on electricity to cover road maintenance so people who don't own or drive cars pay for roads every time they turn on a light? That doesn't seem fair.

The per mile (perhaps adjusted by a weight factor and/or a congestion factor) tax seems to make the most sense. The problems are in the details of implementation (privacy concerns, out of state drivers if the program is implemented at the state level, enforcement of the tax, ...).

Comment: Re:This is backward! (Score 1) 826

by uncqual (#49736041) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

An explicit per mile tax might discourage excessive driving and therefore be more eco-friendly in the long term. People tend to ignore "bundled pricing" which is what the gas tax is. Making the tax explicit - you drive one mile, you pay 1.5 cents - is much more direct and likely to influence people's behavior more in the form of reducing their driving slightly.

Paying by distance does not "penalize" someone driving efficiently. It just ends the unfair practice of quietly redistributing the expense of maintaining the roads to others.

Although, if OR is so green, soon all the cars on the road will be electric and with just a gas tax there will be little money to maintain roads and they will, over time, become impassible. That would dramatically reduce the miles driven and the GHG released (including by fire engines and police cars that couldn't respond to your call for help) to near zero.

Comment: Re:Government Intrusion (Score 5, Insightful) 826

by uncqual (#49735919) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax

If weight fees make sense at all (for example, because of the fact that heavy vehicles cause more wear and tear on the roads and perhaps require building roads/bridges more robustly), they would make the same sense regardless of if the weight comes from batteries or lots of seats.

Comment: Re:the question is (Score 1) 284

by uncqual (#49686461) Attached to: Bill Gates Still Trying To Buy Some Common Core Testing Love

If "humans" are that incompetent (I assume you are referring to the "average" humans rather than particularly well informed humans?), then they are not suited for democracy. In that case, perhaps we should give up on this "democracy" thing and be ruled by the most effective gang/dictator.

Perhaps I have greater faith in humans than you do.

Comment: Re:the question is (Score 1) 284

by uncqual (#49686445) Attached to: Bill Gates Still Trying To Buy Some Common Core Testing Love

In the large state I live in, anyone can vote by mail permanently (I filed for "permanent vote by mail" status once, many years ago, and have never set foot in a polling place since) or in person on at least one weekend before the election (albeit at a few locations only). Our voter turnout sucks anyway - which is okay with me, anyone who can't be bothered to vote isn't going to be an informed voter anyway.

Comment: Re:the question is (Score 2) 284

by uncqual (#49681549) Attached to: Bill Gates Still Trying To Buy Some Common Core Testing Love

The rich and poor alike get exactly one vote each. That is the cornerstone of a democracy. Of course, almost all political matters in the US are decided not via a democracy but via a representative democracy (most notable exceptions being initiatives in those jurisdictions that have them).

If the poor choose not to vote or understand who/what they are voting for, that's hardly the fault of successful people.

If a voter is swayed by political advertising (which, generally, does cost money, some of which comes from the "super rich"), they are an uninformed voter. Would they be more informed if the U.S. could figure out how to ban all political advertising? I don't think so since no one is forced to view, listen to, or read political ads any more than they are forced to view, listen to, or read ads for iPhones (and, in the case of TV and radio, the political ads seem to simply replace ads for consumer bling during "high season") - thus, political ads don't take away the opportunity for voters to inform themselves.

Comment: Re:Except they just turn the power off (Score 1) 288

by uncqual (#49623517) Attached to: USBKill Transforms a Thumb Drive Into an "Anti-Forensic" Device

I've wondered why those who care don't wire up a motion sensors inside their servers/desktops as well as sensors to detect obvious case opening and start wiping memory (and perhaps some of the disk as desired to wipe encrypted keys - obviously the file system would be encrypted in these cases) followed by a system reset to make this Law Enforcement attack less successful. Generally, Law Enforcement will move the computer to another site and detecting the exact nature of the sensors and disabling them without tripping the motion sensors could raise the cost/time a lot.

Of course, one doesn't want make the motion sensors too sensitive if one lives in California!

Comment: Simple solution to H-1B concerns. (Score 1) 395

by uncqual (#49604151) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

We just need to make H1-B's expensive to employers. That will insure that corporations who are looking for motivated well educated foreigners instead of lazy "special snowflake" domestic employees will have to decide that the foreign workers are worth the extra money.

First, enforce "comparable wages/jobs" rules. Second, impose a 20% to 30% tax on wages payable by the employer of an H1-B employee. Third, remove the cap entirely. This would result in it being impossible to hire foreign engineers to save money, but they would still be hired if they were at least 30% or so more effective than domestic talent. In reality, this wouldn't help save the jobs of those whining about H-1B employees, but it would force the whiners to recognize that employers won't give them a job but will happily shell out a LOT more money to get a more qualified H-1B employee -- i.e., it has little do do with money.

I've never hired an H-1B to save money -- in fact, they cost me more money than a domestic employee. However, I'd rather have five well educated motivated developers than 15 lazy uneducated bums with degrees from "respected" U.S. universities.

Comment: Steel strength calcs differ by gender? (Score 1) 634

by uncqual (#49571501) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers

It's been quite some time since I looked at the methods for calculating load bearing strength of steel, concrete, and timber structural members but I don't recall there being a 'estrogen' factor with a nonzero coefficient in any of the formulas nor do I recall any such factors for "societally meaningful".

Has something changed in the past couple decades?

Comment: Re:Fast track (Score 1) 355

by uncqual (#49571371) Attached to: University Overrules Professor Who Failed Entire Management Class

Not respecting a professor is NO excuse for cheating in his/her class. It is also not an excuse for disrupting class.

However, the professor also should have handled each student's grades individually. Perhaps he should have set up tests and assignments in such a way that they would catch cheating to expose more of it. But, he admits that '[...] that "a few" students had not engaged in misbehavior, and he said that those students were also the best academic performers' -- he should not have walked out on these students or attempted to fail them.

Factorials were someone's attempt to make math LOOK exciting.

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