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Comment: Re:As with all space missions: (Score 2) 198

by RingDev (#48617227) Attached to: NASA Study Proposes Airships, Cloud Cities For Venus Exploration

75 C = 167 F.

"17 degrees" in this case means a 30 degree F jump. And while 138 F is survivable for short durations with a lot of hydration, 167 F would not be anything to attempt to live in.

We're not talking about an air ship where you can take a leisurely stroll on the pool deck admiring the Venetian sunset. We're talking about a space ship that is suspended in a convection stove.


Comment: Re:Simple (Score 1) 190

by bennetthaselton (#48604985) Attached to: Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work?
Initially of course many people would prefer a more expensive Uber ride that arrives sooner, but in an efficient marketplace, there should have been some people who would wait an extra 20 minutes to save $20, on, say, a ride to the airport. Then as the number of Sidecar drivers increased to meet that demand, the average wait time would be lower, thus roping in a few more potential customers who would be willing to wait 10 minutes, thus creating demand for more drivers, etc. The problem is that even among the people who are willing to wait, there's not enough awareness of the cheaper option, because the information marketplace is not efficient enough, so the ball never gets rolling.

Comment: Re:Simple (Score 2) 190

by bennetthaselton (#48603095) Attached to: Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work?
I'm sure that's true for most of them, but if only some of them were interested in competing on price, that ought to be enough to start a price war. Surely there must be some drivers out there who are willing to drive for 75% of what UberX drivers are making. If they're not able to grab the business though by undercutting on price, then that suggests the market is too inefficient.

Comment: Re:Simple (Score 2, Insightful) 190

by bennetthaselton (#48602389) Attached to: Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work?
Right, assuming that rider demand never switches over to a lower-priced option, it's obvious why drivers would prefer working for Lyft or Uber. The curiosity is why the marketplace is so inefficient that rider demand doesn't switch over to the lower-priced option.

We have a widget marketplace where widgets cost $1 to make, and Lyft and Uber are charging $10 each for widgets. Sidecar is trying to undercut them by selling widgets for somewhere between $1 and $9. In an efficient marketplace, a price war should result, driving prices down to somewhere between $1. Instead nobody's even heard of the new entrant, suggesting the marketplace is really inefficient, to the detriment of consumers and price-competitive suppliers.

Comment: Re:My first Bennett post. (Score 0) 162

by bennetthaselton (#48579157) Attached to: An Algorithm To Prevent Twitter Hashtag Degeneration
Well how do you think they're selected? Even if some subset of tweets show up in "top tweets" without having been tweeted by high-profile users or being retweeted many times, that doesn't mean the tweets got selected on the basis of appealing to the highest percentage of users. Maybe there's some randomness in the process and those users just got lucky.

One benefit of random-sample-voting is that if Twitter did use it, they could tell us. When you use random-sample-voting as your algorithm, you can be completely transparent about it, and it's still not possible for someone to game the system. The only way to "win" is to create something that will appeal to the highest percentage of people.

Comment: Re:Uh huh (Score 2) 207

by RingDev (#48577561) Attached to: In Iowa, a Phone App Could Serve As Driver's License

"Looking at your phone here it appears that you had a 5 minute call with the deceased on the night of the murder. Also, looking at your GPS log, it appears that you were in the vicinity of their apartment and then drove down some country roads near where we found the body."

Never mind the fact that you are a friend of the deceased, live a mile away from them, and take the country roads to avoid the congestion of the main drag at rush hour. You are now suspect #1.

Your phone's existence in today's digital age is in itself "important" when it comes to criminal investigations.


Comment: Re:My first Bennett post. (Score -1, Troll) 162

by bennetthaselton (#48569465) Attached to: An Algorithm To Prevent Twitter Hashtag Degeneration
Except my recommendation is not to push tweets to the top that are the most favorited or most recommended, because this favors people who (a) game the system by having friends or sockpuppets like or retweet their posts, or who (b) simply have lots of organic followers, but their posts might not be the most interesting in and of themselves. (If a person with 1,000,000 follows posts something that 50% of users would consider insightful, and another person with 1,000 followers posts something that 80% of users would consider insightful, then I'd rather see the latter post in my feed.) That's why I suggested the random-sample rating system instead.

So, you quoted something that I wrote, but you interpreted it as the opposite of what I actually said. Welcome to Bennett-commenting crowd, you'll fit right in!

Comment: Re:Creators wishing to control their creations... (Score 1) 268

Something has been taken from them in the same way that I have taken your ability to appear intelligent.

The only thing lost is theoretical profits. For which you can take someone to civil court over, prove damages, and get your money back.

I'm not opposed to the existence of IP in general. I am opposed to grossly vague patents, and copyrights that extend for more than 7-20 years. The point of IP is to drive the creation of inventions and art to further society. Not to create model within which people defend an idea from use for decades or prevent media from ever entering the public domain.


Comment: Re:But can you trust them? (Score 2) 33

by RingDev (#48558683) Attached to: The Rise of the Global Surveillance Profiteers

Funny story, Dick Cheney and the like don't make decisions at this level.

When it comes to actual implementation projects with open bidding, there is a selection committee that handles the decision making. With scoring criteria based on measurable metrics.

Those selection committees contain a variety of stake holders. Typically you have someone from the brass, a couple of middle managers from the primary departments involved, an engineer, a business area expert, and management from IT.

Do you really think Cheney came up with an idea for a secondary email system to allow the Bush administration to get around the open records laws? No, it was a group of middle managers, brown nosers, political hacks, and someone from IT.

Now, there are serious issues when you wind up with no-bid contracts where senior political figures side step process and implement crap without regard for the law. But there is a lot of heat and pressure that comes along with those moves (as my own Governor has discovered).

But in other cases, IT leadership in state governments has a lot of pull on implementations. So yes, I do have the ability to shape the direction of our ATMS selection.

So if you want to do something about it, get off your pessimistic duff and get involved in government. If you don't trust others to do it right, then do it yourself!


"Probably the best operating system in the world is the [operating system] made for the PDP-11 by Bell Laboratories." - Ted Nelson, October 1977