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Comment: Re:They aren't really bicycles. (Score 1) 164

by xaxa (#46339257) Attached to: Electric Bikes Get More Elegant Every Year (Video)

I think those figures are average speeds. My top speed (on the way to work) is about 30km/h, which is just under 20mph. I don't attain that speed for long before I need to slow to turn or stop at lights, so my average is much less.

The British recommendation is, "As a general rule, if you want to cycle quickly, say in excess of 18 mph/30 kph, then you should be riding on the road." (that seems a bit fast to me, but I'm not sure what kind of non-road they mean.)

Comment: Re:Still ugly (Score 1) 164

by xaxa (#46339131) Attached to: Electric Bikes Get More Elegant Every Year (Video)

I don't get why all these electric bikes have you sitting in such an upright position.

The racing position is favoured by people who race bikes. Those people wouldn't want an electric bike.

The upright position is preferred by most people going to work, school etc by bicycle -- there's a better view, and it's more comfortable. Most people aren't bothered by the slight inefficiency, especially if the motor is helping.

Comment: Re:Ain't no body got time for that (Score 1) 606

by xaxa (#46337955) Attached to: 'Google Buses' Are Bad For Cities, Says New York MTA Official

Worse still, because of the "peaky" nature of commuter traffic, you have to spec your mass-transit systems to handle the peaks and accept that they'll be pulling around mostly fresh air for at least 18 hours every day.

This is equally true for roads.

It's actually better for railways: off-peak tickets can be priced cheaply, to make better use of the capacity and reduce road congestion / pollution etc.

(London's Congestion Charge Zone means it costs ~£8 to drive in the centre between 7am-7pm, but not many cities do that. The time when peak transport fares apply is much shorter, 7-9 and 16-19h, I think.)

Comment: Re:Ain't no body got time for that (Score 1) 606

by xaxa (#46337899) Attached to: 'Google Buses' Are Bad For Cities, Says New York MTA Official

London is a terrible example. Population density is far higher in the centre. Employment density is also relatively even -- London's businesses are spread over many large areas.

Except for finance, London does have "small-to-medium sized business conglomerations around a city". And the bankers can afford to live close to the City / Canary Wharf anyway.

Comment: Re:B.A.R. Lab (Score 1) 118

by xaxa (#46284335) Attached to: Fake Pub Studies Drinking Habits

I don't understand the need for excuses. In Belgium if we want to drink/sell beers on the campus, we just do it.

Obviously, the excuse is only needed in the US.

Like all (or almost all?) universities, London South Bank University already has a proper pub within the student union. It might have one not run by the student union, but that's probably less likely, since there will be hundreds of normal pubs within a few minutes walk.

Comment: Re:Old-School (Score 1) 76

by xaxa (#46281391) Attached to: A Primer on Data Backup for Small- to Medium-Sized Companies (Video)

I don't think a set figure makes any sense. You'd need to identify the risks places have in common and work from there.

I live in a metropolis, not too far from the river. Flooding seems like the only disaster that could also affect buildings further than, say, 1km from here, and only if they're also near the river.

So, I think I'd be fine so long as the backups are >1km from here, and perhaps not on on below ground level.

(Within 100-1000m I still can't think of many risks two buildings have in common. Arson after a riot?)

Comment: Re:Your Boss (Score 1) 717

by xaxa (#46260907) Attached to: Your 60-Hour Work Week Is Not a Badge of Honor

My manager has never asked me to do overtime, although I think we have a similar arrangement.

However, sometimes I work late, particularly if I have no plans for the evenings, the office is quiet, and I'm busy concentrating on something. I leave early later that week, or if there are enough hours (like if the weather is really bad), take an afternoon or day.

I'm not sure what would happen if I didn't take my holiday. I think nothing, so long as I've taken the legal minimum (20 days in the UK, though I get 32).

(Inequality in the UK isn't that much better than in the US: http://inequalitybriefing.org/... )

Comment: Re:When I hear "I work 60 hours a week"... (Score 1) 717

by xaxa (#46260769) Attached to: Your 60-Hour Work Week Is Not a Badge of Honor

But other fields like law, medicine, finance? The common perception is that when you're starting out as an intern or assistant, the way you get ahead is working 12 hours days or weekends or whatnot.

An "intern" (not a very British word) at a bank in London died recently, perhaps from overwork after working 72 hours straight.

http://www.theguardian.com/bus...

(Respect for the banking industry has fallen so far, I'm not sure there was much sympathy...)

Comment: Re:When I hear "I work 60 hours a week"... (Score 2) 717

by xaxa (#46258869) Attached to: Your 60-Hour Work Week Is Not a Badge of Honor

You aren't going back enough.

Before the industrial revolution, "according to Oxford Professor James E. Thorold Rogers, the medieval workday was not more than eight hours".

"Detailed accounts of artisans' workdays are available. Knoop and jones' figures for the fourteenth century work out to a yearly average of 9 hours (exclusive of meals and breaktimes)[3]. Brown, Colwin and Taylor's figures for masons suggest an average workday of 8.6 hours[4]. "

Comment: Re:You southerns are a bunch of wimps. (Score 1) 290

by xaxa (#46241811) Attached to: Massive Storm Buries US East Coast In Snow and Ice

You missed the point: this was southern Britain, where most cities can keep all the salt/grit they need in a few heaps somewhere. It might snow once or twice, maybe 1-5cm. It hasn't snowed so far this winter.

When it snowed for two weeks, across the whole island, every city, town and village wanted more grit, and there wasn't enough available. Why would the grit-selling company have a 5 year supply on hand?

(Colleagues described the weather today is "bloody freezing". It was 10C. YMMV.)

Comment: Re:Peace and quiet. (Score 2) 290

by xaxa (#46241685) Attached to: Massive Storm Buries US East Coast In Snow and Ice

I've only ever lived in neighbourhoods that have had all-buried utilities for decades and decades, and none of it has ever exploded. I can't remember a power cut lasting longer than a couple of hours; normally there's a brief interruption (seconds to ~10 minutes) every two-three years or less.

However, I don't live in the US, and probably pay 2-3x what you do for electricity.

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