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Comment: Re:Let's look at inflation adjusted costs. (Score 1) 635

by undefinedreference (#46010979) Attached to: U.S. Teenagers Are Driving Much Less: 4 Theories About Why

Combine this with a long-stagnant minimum wage and societal factors (we're slowly going the way of countries in Europe and the Middle East with high youth unemployment and ever-extending quasi-adult periods), it should keep going down in younger drivers. Outside of North America it isn't uncommon to encounter people well into their 30s or beyond that never learned to drive.

When and where I started driving, gas was often below $1 in the late 90s. With today's average prices they'd need to make $15 an hour and get their cars for half the price (the inflation in used car prices is absolutely staggering, many don't even lose a quarter of their value in 5 years, whereas at the time you could get them for less than half their new price, and it went down even more for older cars). There is no denying that the barrier to entry is far higher today.

Personally, I drive less than I did from my teens through my mid-20s because I can now control where I live, refuse to live far from work, and hate traffic. However, I drive more now than I did last year because I moved to a more isolated semi-rural area that allows me to endure less traffic outside of commuting. In all, the miles traveled in my household are down in spite of this, simply because we no longer do the extreme commutes that were necessary in SoCal.

Comment: Re:Lithium batteries are dangerous (Score 1) 375

by undefinedreference (#45366573) Attached to: Third Tesla Fire Means Feds To Begin Review

While they may not have a steel plate, they never place the fuel tank that low. In the vast majority of cars the tank is surrounded in steel and in a position where a collision with a road hazard will not touch it.

To expand on my original point with your thought: Lithium polymer battery use in surface R/C vehicles is already in the second generation. They had distinctly more fires when everyone first started using them because the only ones available were soft-case aircraft batteries. The sanctioning body quickly codified a hard case rule and now even casual bashers use hard-case batteries. This doesn't negate any of my observations, though. I'm not knocking the Model S (I'd love to have one), but the battery position is clearly primarily for performance and not safety.

Comment: Lithium batteries are dangerous (Score 2, Interesting) 375

by undefinedreference (#45362945) Attached to: Third Tesla Fire Means Feds To Begin Review

Just ask anyone that races R/C. You must treat them with respect, charge them carefully, and never puncture them. Once you break any of these rules, they catch on fire. In spite of this, you only rarely see a lithium battery fire in R/C racing because most racers know how to maintain them properly and when to dispose of them (properly).

Then again, Tesla, in their drive for performance, built these cars with their batteries mere inches from the surface of the road. No gasoline car has their tank that low and even R/C cars have them higher in the chassis and more protected from the surface.

Comment: Re:Nitrogen reacts with stuff? (Score 1) 297

by undefinedreference (#45330787) Attached to: 6TB Helium-Filled Hard Drives Take Flight

Actually, my comment was 95% joke. Their fuel that is "nitrogen enriched" does not contain additional volatile molecules. It's actually a marketing scheme for their detergent blend. Even though I'm sure it's similar to other detergents, the marketing also turns me off because NO2 is also a harmful pollutant (I suspect you were thinking of N2O when you typed that).

Comment: Re:Nitrogen reacts with stuff? (Score 1) 297

by undefinedreference (#45329065) Attached to: 6TB Helium-Filled Hard Drives Take Flight

Which is the very reason I question the marketing effort behind "nitrogen-enriched" fuel. I don't want the most common diatomic molecule in the atmosphere displacing good, energy-rich, hydrocarbon chains in the fuel I'm buying. It's like selling me gasoline with some percentage of ethanol blended in for the same price as gasoline or charging me more for pure ethanol (I will, however, make exceptions for pure ethanol made from a single grain type containing adulterants from being rested for an extended period in a barrel), that is, dishonesty in labeling.

Comment: Re:I question the value (Score 1) 35

by undefinedreference (#45319981) Attached to: Mind Control In Virtual Reality, Circa 2013

This is exactly what I'm saying: You move as if moving your body. The same signals that would go to your limbs through your nervous system could simply be intercepted and interpreted by a computer.

Our bodies are not terribly different from a basic electronic circuit, wiring in a car, a bus in a computer, or even a network, aside from the mechanism of signalling (which is not actually that different). I wouldn't be surprised if nanotechnology reached a level where this would be possible within the next century.

Comment: I question the value (Score 3, Interesting) 35

by undefinedreference (#45318651) Attached to: Mind Control In Virtual Reality, Circa 2013

For better immersion, we'd be better off if we could somehow intercept nerve signals to the body. Thinking "move forward" isn't the same as "getting up, balancing, and walking", which could theoretically be done completely virtually if we could intercept signals from the brain to the body.

If we did that, we could also feed the body movement commands separate from the brain. Imagine playing a video game for a couple hours while our body rides an exercise bicycle through computer control (at varying intensities based on lactic acid feedback). You could play a video game or work in a virtual environment while your body is essentially at the gym.

Comment: Re:Great... (Score 1) 520

by undefinedreference (#45309109) Attached to: Gunman Opens Fire At LAX

"Assault rifles" are, by definition, automatic at some level (fire more than one shot with a single trigger pull). It's improbable that this person had any type of automatic weapon or assault rifle. Semi-auto isn't unreasonable to expect, in which case it was probably simply a "rifle", which might not sound as menacing, but that's exactly what it was. This doesn't make it less deadly. In fact, curiously, automatic weapons in the hands of untrained people tend to be less effective because the shooters waste more ammunition and can't control them as well. Semi-automatic weapons are much easier to get accurate hits with, while burst-fire weapons are far easier to kill with (especially with small-caliber ammunition, like modern assault rifles used by American forces).

To describe the weapon as an "assault rifle" is absolutely incorrect usage and pure sensationalism.

Comment: Re:Boeing employee here (Score 1) 82

by undefinedreference (#45295223) Attached to: Phone Calls More Dangerous Than Malware To Companies

There's a difference between them being generated and sent in an email (which is not exceptionally dangerous because it should be temporal (that is, you force a change when they log in and only allow it to be used within a brief window of time) and sending you an email with a stored password on request. Don't mistake the two. Again, the implication that they're storing your password with no more than a basic reversible cipher is very troubling.

A penny saved is a penny to squander. -- Ambrose Bierce

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