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Comment Re:we eat insects already (Score 1) 381

I tried some insects, from a company in England that sells them. (Possibly )

Ants tasted particularly bacony. I was a bit disappointed that almost everything we bought was really small and dried -- I'd have liked to try something with a decent amount of meat on it (at least as much meat as a prawn).

It made for a somewhat different dinner party, anyway. It was hosted by a vegan friend, who was vegan for environmental reasons, so felt that insects were OK.

Comment Re:Then what are they going to do with the extra t (Score 1) 242

Product placement has been going on for years. Who remembers I, Robot?

In 2005, there was an invited speaker at university who had a startup which could change the placed product. He played a scene from a soap, then played it again with all the actors t-shirts showing a brand, the logo on the fridge, groceries, etc -- all changed with a little video processing.

This way the production company can use a different sponsor for the DVD release, or the rerun in 10 years time, or whatever, without having to re-shoot the scene.

Comment Re:The farther left you go, the more you lose (Score 2) 284

The UK one is here:

Broadly, it's
- who lives here, and how are they related?
- how big is the house, and is it owned or rented?
- what is your age, ethnicity, education, origin, religion?
- are you healthy, do you have a job and what kind?
- how do you travel to work?

They don't ask for income, or any identity numbers.

Knowing how many bathrooms are in the house is useful for planning water usage, and tracking poverty or overcrowding (no / shared bathroom).

Comment Re:Using your advertised space != Abuse (Score 2) 330

That's quite a long paragraph for a good system of consumer protection laws! Although the problem sounds like enforcement.

EU countries tend to have an official regulator (either an industry group or the government). The regulator can handle complaints made to them, or perhaps act without a complaint.

I know the UK best, so I'll give two examples.

"Trading Standards" (local government) will challenge businesses with false measurements, inaccurate ingredients on food etc. This can end in court or jail for a wilful or repeat offender. I think they also ensure the minimum "fit for use" periods are upheld -- a TV should last several years, no matter what the manufacturer's warranty said.

The Advertising Standards Authority (industry body) will decide whether a magazine advert is misleading. The result is the advert won't be printed again, and the company responsible will probably get some bad press.

Comment Re:Welcome to Europe (Score 1) 259

Personal cars have a high external cost (accidents, pollution, traffic, obesity), and I don't see the correlation with wealth. Countries richer than the USA — including the one I choose to live in — have good public transport.

It's obviously not the only factor, but it is *a* factor.

Western Ukraine is somewhere I'd like to visit. I've only briefly been to Kiev but the country looks beautiful. I've also been to Atlanta. It's a city ruined by traffic. There's a beautiful park near the centre, but it was deserted, perhaps because it's inconvenient to walk to it. The downtown was empty of pedestrians, there didn't seem to be any places to eat or relax. It's a shame. No-one who lived there seemed to realise the city is named after the Atlantic Railroad, and is important because it's at the junction of two major railroads.

I'd pick Kiev over Houston or Atlanta for, say, a 6-month contract. I wouldn't want to live in any of them permanently. (I'm not sure about Seattle.)

Comment Re:Welcome to Europe (Score 2) 259

In this case the per capita statistic is the wrong one, but it's still useful. It shows that for a American, there's a higher risk of being injured in a road accident — yes, that's because they drive more. But that's because the country is organised around driving more, which means there's little choice but to take that risk.

Given a job offer in the US and another somewhere in Europe, I could choose the one in Europe and face less chance of dying in a road accident.

Comment Re:Ridiculous claim in summary (Score 1) 342

I don't think hurting London would help anyone. Huge numbers of people are attracted to London, and some then move out and bring skills to the rest of the UK. London is one of the best cities in the world for this.

Start suggesting Leeds instead, and you're competing with every average city of similar size in Europe, and Leeds doesn't stand out.

(I'm an ex-Londoner, and a recent ex-resident of the UK. Most people I meet ask where I'm from, none are interested in the midlands [where I was born], most think London is an attractive place.)

Comment Re:Ridiculous claim in summary (Score 1) 342

That said, it arguably should not have been built and the money should have been spent in the North instead:

That's the problem with the UK: north vs south.

If both projects make economic sense, build both! Crossrail 2 is being planned at the moment. Crossrail 3 is an idea.

Comment Re:They don't always come if you build it (Score 3, Insightful) 342

I found the schedule:

That's a joke of a service. Fewer than one train an hour and a huge gap during the day — I'm not surprised hardly anyone uses it. The top speed is 79mph, so presumably (including stops) it's slower or similar to driving. Europeans wouldn't use a service like this, and I think we're often used as a comparison for projects like this.

If they want people to use it, make it at least every 30 minutes (preferably 20), throughout the day. Then you don't need to worry about missing a train, and aren't stuck if plans change.

Drilling for oil is boring.