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Comment Re:Sorry - People Hate It (Score 1) 609

It had a spooky feel when driving that they never could get used to.

It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that the friction-based CVT was limited to a small power-plant that limited its adoption.

No, it must have been the noise 100%.

Even though all hybrids run CVTs as well, and keep those engines at a constant RPM. But no, you're right, it's absolutely the noise, and not the fact that the CVTs are only effective on tiny engines.

Dumbass, people are more than willing to get used to something strange if it is clearly better. Tell someone they can go from 0-100 with completely smooth transitions, no lurching, and maximum acceleration and/or fuel economy (which is what this transmission would do, if it scales well) and that eerie humming will sound like a nice purr.

The reason the engine sound was eerie was because the smaller engines produced a higher pitched sound at those RPMs, and the sound wasn't well dampened. If the sound were more attractive and more of a background hum instead of a whine people wouldn't have a problem. Frankly, the noise problems of the CVTs were trivial, it was everything else about them that sucked, and kept them from gaining ground except in either very low power applications (like hybrids) where they actually perform well, or in high power applications (like tractors) where the larger non-friction CVTs can be used.

Comment Re:haha (Score 1) 1067

No way in your world nor mine is the Mac a BMW or Mercedes class. Where on earth did you come up with that? The Mac's internals are the freaking same as a PC. You strip that fucker down and one would question much of the design. The software core is open source. The GUI is custom design by Apple. Please, stop making it out like a BMW or Mercedes. I have seen far more powerful and advanced computers that are custom built that blow the pants off the quality and capabilities offered by Apple.

Comment Re:How to erode Copyright+patent law (Score 1) 244

As far as I can see, the best way to change this stuff is civil disobedience - breaking the law, asserting rights to use all human knowledge as a human right, and accusing the law of denying the rights to freedom of. . . knowledge and communication. . .

So what you're saying is that Nixon was standing up for our P2P rights with Watergate. He truly was a pioneer!

Comment Re:Yes, well ... (Score 1) 244

Fuck the RIAA, and fuck any federal court asshole judge that would force ISPs to become snitches..

Incrementalism. There are a lot of people in government that admire the way the East Germans went about matters, and would like the U.S. to work along similar lines. They can't do it all at once, of course, but they can lay the groundwork.

Comment The problem: bigger screens != better resolution (Score 1) 952

The author is right: as you buy bigger screens, you expect a higher pixel count. But this just isn't true anymore. In fact, pixel counts are down from what they were 20 years ago.

The premium 4x3 monitor from Dell: Dell UltraSharp 2007FP, 51 cm ( 20,1" ) has a resolution of 1600x1200.

Twenty years ago, I was running a 21" Viewsonic CRT 2560x1920. Now, their best 22" monitor (not TV, monitor) boasts only 1680x1050.

I understand that LCD-monitors and televions have overlapping markets. What I don't understand is that high resolution monitors are now almost unabtainable. Anyone who does any sort of development surely wants more pixels.

Comment Re:But Apple does not provide them (Score 1) 909

Correlation is not causation and all that


, but I see at least the correlation, here.

Maybe you do. I think you are stretching it a bit too far.

However, one of the points made were, that children have access to the App Store, and that Apple does not want to give them access to porn.

Don't get me wrong here, I don't support Apple in this case - I think they are totaly nuts.

But I do not agree with the statement, that if you are a gay-friendly company it has to mean, that you are more in favor of pornography.
It could (and should) just mean, that you support everybody's right to their personal sexuality.

Comment Re:Evidence of considerable cleverness... (Score 1) 205

Were it not for that, we would probably be fighting for our lives against the many-legged hordes of the deep.

How many legs do you think that an octopus has? Six of the appendages are used for manipulating objects, and the remaining two are used for propulsion. That give the octopus the same amount of legs as the standard-issue human.

Comment Victimized? (Score 1) 151

Yes, price fixing is bad, but seriously "victimized" consumers? Yeah, they overpaid for an LCD, but they -chose- to pay that amount for an LCD. No one made them choose an LCD monitor/TV, its possible to watch TV/use a computer without an LCD display (CRT, Plasma, etc) and such. Once patents expired (or if hopefully patents are either abolished or weakened) theres nothing stopping a full-on price war where the people price fixing will lose big time.

Comment Re:Republicans for Powerful Government!!! (Score 1) 316

Oh, I completely agree we can do better, and that civilized debate is unfortunately nowhere to be found. A large part of that is defining the problem in a reasonable fashion, and being honest about solutions.

We don't have a free market. We haven't since congress established our employer based health insurance system. We have a highly regulated industry where laws create essentially only 2-3 providers in each state. These providers sell primarily to businesses because of various tax laws. So most consumers of healthcare never see the real bill, and have no incentive to shop around or minimize the cost of procedures. When getting an x-ray or an MRI have the same deductible, which are you going to choose? People make decisions that they would not if they were paying the bills themselves, driving up the overall cost of insurance.

Adding to this, because most insurance is obtained with employment, increasing required benefits is seen as benefitting workers and normal people. This means in many states, insurance is required to pay for birth control, medications, and other procedures - this makes it more expensive (generally to the employer, so the cost is again hidden), but it also drives up costs for individuals who don't have employer-funded insurance. Most healthy young adults (the largest group who lacks insurance) can't buy a high-deductible, low-benefit plan that would only pay for catastrophic damage (similar to the minimum coverage car insurance many of them are also buying) because state law prevents it.

Finally, because voters are concerned about insurance companies bypassing the laws they have made about minimum insurance (which, again, make some sense when you see insurance as part of a benefits package from employers, not as something bought by the individual) they don't want insurance companies to be able to cross state lines. This preserves state's individual mandates for extended coverage, but reduces competition and overall increases prices.

The proposed solution for a public "option" attempts to solve the problem of availability and price for those without employer insurance without solving any of the other major issues contributing to the rising costs of medical care. Ignoring any argument about the proper role of government, there is a very hard problem here of how to run a government backed system that is simultaneously more efficient than private efforts (who have a very good reason to be efficient, as they lose money if they aren't) while not undercutting private industry to the point of driving it out of business. It is very hard for a private industry to compete with a government corporation who can mandate that people buy its product, or what prices its clients can charge. Two very likely (or at least very concerning) outcomes of this are that the public option fails to be more effective and becomes a bloated, inefficient arm of government that requires ever higher taxes and fees to administer, or that it succeeds and in doing so drives private industry out of business. Any government-backed company is not playing on a level field with its opposition. It is either operating under legislative mandates which hamstring it as a successful business, or with a government windfall that removes impetus for better management and hides the real costs of poor decisions.

Given all that, we have three groups of people who need to be served by healthcare:
Those who have or can pay for "normal" insurance.
Those who can't pay for normal insurance.
Those who have an existing issue that prevents them from getting normal insurance.

The first group aren't really the problem at all - they pay for a good that they can afford, get some use out of, and are generally happy with. Few people are arguing that US healthcare is actively (or at least significantly) worse for those who do have insurance.

The second people can be fixed at least partially by lowering the cost of insurance, but many of them will still never carry it. Short of actively charging or imprisoning people not looking after their own health (which sounds like a really bad idea, from a civil liberties standpoint) there doesn't seem to be much one can do aside from everyone having basic emergency coverage from the government. For the most part, these people can end up handled by medicaid.

Finally, we have the people for whom the insurance model completely fails. They are going to consume more medical resources than they will pay for to be able to continue living comfortably. My question is - why are we still looking at this part of the problem as an insurance problem? At this point, they are a charity problem. They haven't bought into their whatever % of their chance to get something bad to make the insurance gamble work. It becomes a straight question of how much money is a person "entitled" to to allow them to live. When you consider that someone with a bad disease, or in a coma, can easily run up medical bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. When they themselves can't pay for it, we have to consider what makes them entitled to that much money, and as with all charity, weigh the good of helping them over what else could be done with those resources. People hate to talk about rationing healthcare, but we ration every single other essential item that is provided as societal charity. Why should someone with cancer be given enough resources to survive when those same resources could have saved twenty people who were injured in car crashes and uninsured.

Studies have shown that humans are emotionally irrational when it comes to healthcare. They will pay thousands to remain on life support for an extra day but never go to the gym or pay to live somewhere cleaner, activities that will (on average) extend their lives by years. I argue that governments cannot afford to be, or at least, that if we should acknowledge it and place limits on it. If we decide that everyone dying of cancer is entitled to charity money to save them, how much are they entitled to, and why should that same program cover normal single-case emergencies that they *should* have been able to have insurance for ahead of time, or have taken out loans to pay. That's part of the argument I want to see - "healthcare" is too broad a topic for the simplified debate we end up with.

Comment Re:Put him away... (Score 1) 1079

Slashdot assumption of Watts innocents all the while going on the usual OMG FACISIM rant reminds me of how the the whole Hans Reisen fiasco unfolded. I'm with you, I want to hear the whole story here.

If everyone assumes that all is as it should be or everyone just passively waits for all the facts to be presented to the public, how likely is it that all the facts will ever find their way into the public domain? The only way to compel authority to justify their actions is to assume authority was abused, get angry and demand an explanation.

Comment Re:So what if it did? (Score 1) 320

Risk is the price of freedom, and the sooner people learn this, the sooner we can move on to improving our civilization.

Taking on certain risks is indeed a price of freedom, but that doesn't mean one shouldn't reduce certain risks as much as possible and then accept the rest. Not reducing those risks that can be reduced without much negative impact on the desired outcome is simply irresponsible. However, the opposite extreme, never doing anything in order to minimize risk is indeed a problem. It's just not the whole problem. Choosing appropriately what risks to accept and which to avoid or reduce is the name of the game. Risk management is the formal study of it and for the most part people are bad at it. By natural human tendencies we underestimate familiar risks like car crashes and over estimate unfamiliar or extreme risks like dying in a plane crash.

In fact a good argument has been made that all progress of civilization boils down to reducing risk. A much lower percentage of the worlds population is at risk of starving to death or even not having enough food each day than perhaps any time in history. In the developed world few people spend much time worrying whether the lights will come on when they flip the switch and whether they will be able to get to work. This reduction of risk where the basics are continually taken care of to a greater degree so that less and less critical things can be focused on is essential to progress. In fact, it basically means more people can spend more time on arts, science, mathematics, or whatever else productive they want that is enabled by the reduced risk of having basic and even not so basic necessities like food and energy.

"Help Mr. Wizard!" -- Tennessee Tuxedo