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Comment: Re:Not all bad (Score 1) 318

by wired_parrot (#49727499) Attached to: Battle To Regulate Ridesharing Moves Through States

The summary makes it sound like all of the bills are AGAINST ride sharing... but that's not the case. For instance, in Massachusetts(which is highlighted in the summary) Uber is actively campaigning FOR the regulation bill.

Why?

Because the bill states once and for all that ride sharing is a legal activity. Yes, it puts some protections in place: but not much beyond what Uber already provides.

As someone that uses Uber quite a bit (2-3 times per month) I welcome the new legislation as long as it allows Uber to continue to operate. Regulation is not all bad, as long as it is fair and reasonable.

There already exists taxi regulations that cover Uber, which in every respect is taxi company. However, you're dead right as to why Uber is pushing for these changes - it allows them to operate and claim legitimacy, while providing a framework of regulation that is a "light" version of what real taxi companies have to deal with, addressing only the most egregious flouting of commercial taxi operations such as commercial insurance and background checks. These so-called ridesharing regulations appear to completely ignore allowable fare increases (Uber's surge pricing), who they can or cannot pick up, handicap access, amongst others. They are a way for Uber to legitimize into law their competitive advantage.

Comment: Great - suburbs are becoming urbanized (Score 5, Insightful) 296

People have to live somewhere. As Seattle grows, if not from Amazon's expansion from other economic growth, the people moving in will need places to live. Placing those people in townhouses replacing low-rise bungalows is a good thing, in my opinion. The alternative is to expand the city ever outward, creating more suburbs. Instead what seems to be happening is that previously suburban neighbourhoods are becoming urbanized. Increased densification of these neighbourhoods makes public transport more viable, and will likely increase local commerce, making it a more walkable neighbourhood. I might have chosen a different architectural style for those townhouses, but overall I don't see how this is anything but a positive direction of urban development.

Comment: Re:let me weigh in on this (Score 2) 144

The current fascination with smart watches reminds me when I was in high school in the 80s and there was a brief fad of full feature electronic watches. Calculator watches were in the geek must have list, but there were also kids with watches featuring radios or mini-LCD screen games. There was even a rumour of a someone in school with a tv watch, which as it turns out wasn't so far from the truth.

None of these watches were very successful, for the simple reason that the watch as a form factor was never well suited for these tasks. Trying to use a calculator in a watch was slow and frustrating. It seems that the people trying to cram features into watches nowadays have forgotten how much of failure this was when it was attempted in the 80s

Comment: Re:It is an ad. (Score 1) 216

by wired_parrot (#49578071) Attached to: How Google Searches Are Promoting Genocide Denial

So Turkish nationalists are buying Google adwords. What's the problem with that? It's an exercise of free speech (for a position that I disagree with)

Free speech applies to your interactions with the government - it does not apply to a private company. If Google did not wish to publish an ad that may damage their brand and business, that would be their own decision to make. Print publications already have policies on what is acceptable advertising, and will readily reject any ads seen as offensive and racist. Ad space is always limited - there is no reason they have to publish this ad over another less offensive ad.

+ - Faulty iPad app grounds dozens of airplanes->

Submitted by wired_parrot
wired_parrot writes: Having completely converted from using paper charts and manuals to an electronic flight bag, American Airline pilots faced a glitch on the iPad application used by pilots which forced it to ground dozens of flights. Some airplanes were forced to return to the terminal to print out paper copies of the flight charts needed.
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Media's role (Score 1) 256

by wired_parrot (#49539299) Attached to: Wellness App Author Lied About Cancer Diagnosis

When faced with incredible claims of medical cure, the Catholic Church has rigorous processes in place to verify that claim, which includes the testimonial of medical experts and independent confirmation.

When a medieval religious institution can be considered a model of fact-checking and skepticism compared to the media, the state of current journalism is in deep trouble.

Comment: Re:Media's role (Score 1) 256

by wired_parrot (#49537999) Attached to: Wellness App Author Lied About Cancer Diagnosis

Medical records are confidential. It is likely that a journalist could not fact-check this.

They wouldn't have needed to go through her medical records to expose her claims. As soon as they called the doctors and hospitals she claimed to have been treated at, and had been told that they had no records of such a patient, that should have been their first obvious clue. Had the media that hyped her story bothered to place a single call her story would've been easily exposed as an obvious sham. This wasn't an elaborate lie - it was full of inconsistencies, contradictions, and the most fundamental facts about it were unsupported by any evidence whatsoever.

+ - Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks writes: Two stories appear today which feature close up photos of young African men surrounded by scrap metal in the city of Accra. The headlines state that this is where our computers go to die (Wired). The Daily Mail puts it in even starker terms, alleging "millions of tons" are dumped in Agbogbloshie.

The stories appear the same day as a press release by investigators who returned this week from 3 weeks at the site. The release claims that Agbogbloshie's depiction as the worlds "largest ewaste dump site" to be a hoax. It is a scrap automobile yard which accounts for nothing more than local scrap from Accra. Three Dagbani language speaking electronics technicians, three reporters, Ghana customs officials and yours truly visited the site, interviewed workers about the origins of the material, and assessed volumes. About 27 young men burn wire, mostly from automobile scrap harnesses. The electronics — 20 to 50 items per day — are collected from Accra businesses and households. The majority of Accra (population 5M) have had televisions since the 1990s, according to World Bank metadata (over 80% by 2003).

The investigation did confirm that most of the scrap was originally imported used, and that work conditions were poor. However, the equipment being recycled had been repaired and maintained, typically for a decade (longer than the original OECD owner). It is a fact that used goods will, one day, eventually become e-waste. Does that support a ban on the trade in used goods to Africa? Or, as the World Bank reports, is the affordable used product essential to establish a critical mass of users so that investment in highways, phone towers, and internet cable can find necessary consumers?

Link to Original Source

Comment: Media's role (Score 3, Insightful) 256

by wired_parrot (#49536705) Attached to: Wellness App Author Lied About Cancer Diagnosis

That there are people who are willing to lie, even if their lies cause suffering to others, does not surprise me in the list.

What concerns me is the media's role in all this, who for the most part accepted her story without any questions or fact checking. There were so many inconsistencies in her story that even the most basic background check should have exposed her. I'm shocked that no one tried to even talk to her doctors to follow up on her medical claims, for example. Or a quick phone call to the charities she claimed to be supporting would have also exposed her charitable claims.

Her claims should never have been allowed to stand as long they did.

Comment: Re:Write your Congresscritters (Score 2) 209

by wired_parrot (#49530575) Attached to: McConnell Introduces Bill To Extend NSA Surveillance

Writing a strongly worded email may feel good, but it will just get re-directed to a spam filter and deleted. Plus, mountains of emails are mostly invisible to the national media.

If Americans really believe in this issue and want things to change, you need more than armchair protesting by letter-writing. You need large-scale protests in the street. Get a million people out in the streets of major cities, and those types of crowds won't be able to be ignored by the media or your elected representatives.

Comment: Re:America (Score 2) 120

by wired_parrot (#49511643) Attached to: Pull-Top Can Tabs, At 50, Reach Historic Archaeological Status

It's not about the can tabs per se. The can tabs have changed often enough in design that the can tab design can be used to date sites from recent history. Their historical artifact status also makes them a useful proxy to protect sites like campgrounds or festival sites that otherwise have little in the way of artifacts. Both of these properties make them useful in dealing with recent historical sites from the last 50 years in both North America and Europe.

Comment: Re:It does get more drivers on the road (Score 1, Insightful) 96

by wired_parrot (#49507001) Attached to: How Uber Surge Pricing Really Works

The problem is, as the article noted, is that the surge pricing is fluctuating too much for it to be predictable and for drivers to adapt their habits accordingly. When the surge price is fluctuating from 1x to 2.5x the price and back to 1x in the span of a few minutes, as noted in the article, it's not predictable enough for one to add more cars to the road. The best one can do as a driver is take advantage of those surges by taking the most expensive fares possible - which means those with short routes and inexpensive fares are actually seeing their wait time increase despite an increase in surge pricing.

If Uber tweaked its algorithm so that the surge pricing was based less on instantaneous demand, and more on long term trends - so that for example at rush hour prices reliably rose every week - then you might see more drivers getting to the road at those times to take advantage of it.

Committees have become so important nowadays that subcommittees have to be appointed to do the work.

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