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Comment: Re:About things "accidentally breaking" (Score 4, Insightful) 455

by xaxa (#47773393) Attached to: Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

Crowd-Source the auditing. All footage to be audited by the public, anything flagged goes to IA.

No -- that's very bad for protecting victims and witnesses. The main argument agaist the cameras is innocent victims and witnesses end up being recorded.

Here (PDF) is a report from using the cameras in the UK, way back in 2007. Here: says video is deleted after 30 days, unless it's part of an investigation.

Comment: Re:EIGHT weeks??? Nukes need to be more modular. (Score 2) 120

by xaxa (#47651545) Attached to: Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK

Taking that many GW-hrs of production offline for that length of time is a serious outage.

It's still summer here, so there's probably lots of space capacity elsewhere. Few homes have air conditioning, the outside temperature tomorrow is forecast to peak at 21C in London. August is the month with the lowest demand.

There are some graphs and dials here: http://www.gridwatch.templar.c...

I'm surprised nuclear power varies over the year -- does anyone know why?

Comment: Re:Jungles, but I'm too scared (Score 1) 246

by xaxa (#47648999) Attached to: I'd most like to (personally) explore:

I assume you're correct, with local knowledge, but what I said was true from what I saw -- though I can't prove it.

I've not been anywhere else in South America, so I only have Europe, the US and Canada, and some of East Asia to compare to. Ecuador is bottom of that list, but not that far behind the US.

The people in Ecuador with the worst stories were born there, so maybe they're remembering the old times.

Comment: Re:Jungles, but I'm too scared (Score 2) 246

by xaxa (#47643399) Attached to: I'd most like to (personally) explore:

Earlier this year I went to the Cuyabana reserve in Ecuador. There wasn't really any reason to be scared of the jungle.

You wouldn't know where to go on your own, and organising transport would be a hassle anyway, so book an organised tour. I was travelling round Ecuador alone, and there were five others on my tour. A 12 hour bus journey to Lago Agrio, a 2.5 hour car drive east, then a 2.5 hour motor canoe journey and we were very much in the jungle.

(I only spent four nights in the jungle, you can obviously do a lot more.)

I will add some photos to Wikivoyage later this evening.

(Ecuador felt like the most dangerous place I've ever been, but not because of the animals. In the cities there's relatively high crime -- on one occassion a little girl warned me that I was about to walk into a slum, where I'd get robbed at best, and possibly killed. Many shops and all banks had armed guards. But, outside the cities it seems to be fine. If this puts you off, try South East Asia instead.)

Comment: Re:A Progression of Complaints (Score 3, Interesting) 190

by xaxa (#47570101) Attached to: UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

I, for one, will NEVER ride in or own a vehicle that does not have a steering wheel, foot-actuated throttle pedal, foot-actuated brake pedal, foot-actuated clutch pedal (where applicable), gear selector lever, etc. and I know I'm not alone in this. I don't care HOW foolproof they make them. I will NEVER put my life in the hands of some programmer or team of programmers, not even if they're riding in the car with me.

Have you ever used a train, including a metro train? A good many are electronically controlled (rather than levers etc), and -- especially on metro systems -- many have no more input from a driver than a "ready to proceed" button. Some don't even need the driver to press the button -- usually when there's not a union in the way. Signalling systems have been electronic for ages.

(Yes, cars are a lot more complicated -- but automatic trains have been running since the 1980s.)

Comment: Re:A Progression of Complaints (Score 1) 190

by xaxa (#47568733) Attached to: UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

In fact, above 55 mph or so, the rates of injuries and fatalities in accidents mostly plateaus; that is to say, a wreck at 85 mph is not significantly more dangerous than one at 65.

Nonsense. Stopping distance at 55mph is 350ft, at 85mph it's 530ft.

190ft of the latter is "thinking distance", so at 85mph you'll hit close-ahead obstacles at full speed. (e.g. obstacle 200ft away, 85mph collision at 85mph, ~30mph (guessing) if you were at 55mph).

Comment: Re:pre-crime (Score 2) 160

by xaxa (#47556877) Attached to: London Police Placing Anti-Piracy Warning Ads On Illegal Sites

London ... it sucks the life (jobs, investment, infrastructure) out of the rest of the country, which is only partly compensated for by the large tax revenue it provides

Not really. Tax revenue from London subsidises the rest of the country. But, it's a load of bankers stealing money -- it would be more accurate to say they suck money out of the whole world. Perhaps the City of London should investigate the numerous tax-avoiding companies headquartered there...

Comment: Re:interesting split developing (Score 4, Interesting) 24

3. Maximum dissemination. The museum digitizes its works and makes them available in as many places as possible under a permissive license: its own website, archival repositories run by nonprofits and state institutions, Wikimedia,, news agency file-photo catalogues, etc. The goal is to fulfill its public mission of dissemination/education as widely as possible, and perhaps also achieve some advertising for the museum's collections and the works/artists it conserves, by ensuring that its works are the ones most likely to be used as illustrative examples in Wikipedia articles, books, newspaper/magazine articles, etc.

This project seems to have come out of the Europeana project, which aims to make a single portal with images/sounds/videos of all European museum collection objects:

I'd like to know what Wikimedia would think of the sheer volume of data that's there -- would they really want, say, 14 million high resolution photographs of beetles?

("Maximum lockdown" is often a result of cuts to other sources of funding, e.g. public subsidy.)

Comment: Re: Paid taxes (Score 1) 309

In that case, France would charge an import tax.

But what really happens is the book is printed in Germany, sold to Amazon in Luxembourg, sold to someone in France, and all the profit funneled through Netherlands and/or Ireland, where is somehow becomes no profit and hence no tax due.

Comment: Re:Summertime fireworks (Score 1) 340

by xaxa (#47385753) Attached to: On 4th of July:

I don't know if 10:00 is particularly late when sunset is around 9:00. I can't imagine that small children would want to go to bed when it's still light out.

In northern latitudes they pretty much have to. I do myself sometimes, in June and July, and wake up well past sunrise, which tomorrow is at 4:50. Nautical morning twilight (when the sky starts to visibly change colour) is at 2:53. (This is London, 55N. Most of Northern Europe is further north.)

(There's no "night" tonight, only astronomical twilight. But that's a technical definition -- it's dark outside.)

Comment: Re:Hello Americans (Score 1) 340

by xaxa (#47385705) Attached to: On 4th of July:

No, it just wasn't dark yet. Yeah, light pollution sucks, but you could tell it wasn't truly dark by the fact that it was noticeably darker after the fireworks were over than when they began. Just looked it up and "nautical twilight" began around 10:40, and "astronomical twilight" at 11:40 pm.

I'm surprised by that, as I live a good way north of most of the USA, in London.

I looked up Macinaw City (since I've been there): sunrise is 05:54, sunset 21:32, solar noon 13:43. Accounting for DST, that's 43 minutes "off".

In London, solar noon is at 13:05 (we are also on DST), sunrise 04:50, sunset 21:20. Almost an hour's extra daylight. (And no astronomical twilight at all until 22 July.)

The local Americans (quite a big group, there's an "international" school not far away) had their fireworks at 21:30, for some odd reason.

Comment: Re:Example (Score 2) 75

by xaxa (#47380089) Attached to: Duolingo is a Free, Crowdsourced Language Learning App (Video)

I learnt German and French at school, so I know how to learn a language, particularly European ones. I don't recall being frustrated with not knowing why I was wrong. Screenshot of the app showing the same mistake:

I found the mobile app really useful for learning some Spanish before going on holiday to South America earlier this year. One press turns off the microphone exercises, either permanently or for the next hour.

Everyone can be taught to sculpt: Michelangelo would have had to be taught how not to. So it is with the great programmers.