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Slashback: Bankruptcy, SUVdiving, Singalongs 508

Slashback updates tonight on sky-diving cars, Microsoft's new code Glasnost (guess who's signed up to see the code?), the fate of the PCI-SIG list, the SCO and Linux licensing brouhaha, music royalties in Finland, and more. Read on for the details.

Not like that un-American GPL. agentZ writes "The first Microsoft government customer to buy access to the Windows source code is Russia according to this CNet story. Interesting to note FAPSI, one of their intelligence agencies, authorized the purchase. Perhaps they're looking for vulnerabilities in the U.S. Government's dependence on Microsoft?"

The difference between Chapter 11 and The End. prostoalex writes "In regards to a recent heated discussion on whether tech companies can make it out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, XO Communications, the telecom company of the dot-com era, seems to be doing quite well after filing Chapter 11. The article on Internet.com also mentions another company, Covad Communications, picking up customers and more business after filing for Chapter 11."

There's hope in PCI Land. Regarding the Slashdot post of a few days ago about the PCI-SIG ("The End of the Free PCI Device List"), PCI-SIG Chairman Tony Pierce writes

"YourVote.com Supporters:

Thank you for making us aware of your concerns regarding Jim Boemler's online Vendor and Device Lists for the PCI technology.

There has been a misunderstanding between PCI-SIG and Jim - PCI-SIG officers are currently working with Jim to resolve the issues as quickly as possible. We respect Jim Boemler's work and are committed to support the PCI specification efforts industry-wide. We are confident that we will come to an amicable resolution.

We are pleased to see the strong industry support for PCI technologies and value your response to the issues. We understand this site has been a very valuable tool and are working together to find a solution to make sure that the tool is available to the public in some way.

Thank you for your support over the years. We will be sure to keep you informed as we come to resolution in this situation."

This lowers Finland on my list of vacation spots. E-Tray writes "It seems that Finnish equivalents of American RIAA, Teosto, which represents songwriters and publishers, and Gramex, which represents music producers and artists, want to force Finnish day nurseries to pay royalties every time nursery staff sings along with kids. Previously Teosto enforced a law that taxi drivers have to pay royalties if they play music while a customer is in the backseat."

Would still rather see a statement signed in blood. Error27 writes "Earlier this week, Slashdot linked to a Maureen O'Gara article that claimed SCO was probably going to try charge Linux users $96 per CPU. More than one person thought SCO's denial was, "Awfully ambiguous". Hopefully this article clears up any doubts. Essentially, SCO will continue to charge IBM but not RedHat or SCO's UnitedLinux partners."

Perhaps I can volunteer my dad's Suburbans? Finally, joe jennings writes

"A few months ago you ran a story about the cars my team and I skydived with and crashed into the desert. This is a bit of an update.

Next month, we're going to blow up my Nissan Pathfinder. Its twisted remains will be welded to a steel beam and planted on a plot of land in the mojave desert. We're starting "suv ranch," a tribute to gas guzzlers, a dying trend (we hope).

I intend to thoroughly document the project and will post images and quicktime videos on gaspig.com."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: Bankruptcy, SUVdiving, Singalongs

Comments Filter:
  • by Quadrature ( 524139 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:05PM (#5122576)
    For those to lazy to type in 10 characters: Clicky [gaspig.com]
  • by WildThing ( 143539 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:06PM (#5122578)
    Ummm.... last time I checked you still couldn't export crypto outside the U.S. - won't this kinda kill the purchase ??? Sorry I couldn't add more but am already running late
  • Day care? (Score:4, Funny)

    by NickDngr ( 561211 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:06PM (#5122580) Journal
    Teosto, which represents songwriters and publishers, and Gramex, which represents music producers and artists, want to force Finnish day nurseries to pay royalties every time nursery staff sings along with kids.

    Yeah... that's going to be enforceable. What are they going to do, interview the kids as they come out of day care? We thought we had it bad with the RIAA. Sheesh!
  • Fair Use? (Score:3, Informative)

    by c0dedude ( 587568 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:06PM (#5122586)
    In finland, do they have Fair Use? Because Nursery Rymes and such would be the stereotypical fair use type deal, I mean, it should be argued that that's for educational purposes, which is generally covered under fair use. It's specifically menchioned as an exception here [utsystem.edu].
  • USSR (Score:3, Funny)

    by Junky191 ( 549088 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:06PM (#5122590)
    "The Soviet Union? I though you guys broke up?"

    "Yeees, thats what ve wanted ve wanted you to think! Ha ha, haa hahaha!"
  • This really just goes too far, I hope that every parent who has kids in Finland in day care sends them to the head office of this organisation. Thousands of screaming stinking kids should change their minds pretty quickly.
  • by TheAwfulTruth ( 325623 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:09PM (#5122607) Homepage
    "Essentially, SCO will continue to charge IBM but not RedHat or SCO's UnitedLinux partners."

    Isn't that called being discriminatory? Charging different people different amounts for the same thing? (Actually The entire Linux pricing issue skirts legality, but that's a different topic)

    Besides, their "word" on that convinces who? If/when Linux actually does take off on the desktop, and Red Hat starts raking in the billions, SCO will just stick to their word then? "United Linux" vs Red Hat? You don't think this won't heat up in the future?

    When monkeys fly out of my...
    • Discriminatory licensing is perfectly legal for patents.

      Also, IBM sells Unix (AIX). Linux is merely like Unix.

    • by mentin ( 202456 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:25PM (#5122758)
      Isn't that called being discriminatory?

      Discrimination is legal, as long as

      • It does not violate specific anti-discrimination laws (discrimination by sex, race, some others)
      • You are not a "court-certified" monopoly
    • by erat ( 2665 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:53PM (#5122952)
      First off, SCO is asking for a fee for the use of a few old UNIX ABI libraries. Last time I checked, no Linux vendor (at a Red Hat level) shipped them. IBM does ship them, so IBM pays. If Red Hat decides to ship them, I'm sure Red Hat will pay. If SCO decides to waive the fee for its UnitedLinux partners, that's perfectly fine. Differing charges enable you to buy a Western Digital hard drive from one vendor for $50 less than another vendor. Don't argue; you benefit from this practice whether you want to believe it or not. If SCO wants to add an incentive to cozying up with UnitedLinux, more power to 'em.

      (We'll forget about the fact that UnitedLinux based distros are extremely expensive already and don't need anything else to make them MORE expensive. Adding a SCO ABI library license fee to what you already have to pay for UnitedLinux distros does little more than make the system more expensive to buy.)

      As for your second to the last comment, I have no earthly idea where you get that "Red Hat's Success" == "SCO Rapes Red Hat for License Fees". If Red Hat doesn't ship SCO's ABI libraries, exactly what do you think they're going to use to suck money out of Red Hat? The UNIX trademark? If you read the article (or knew any UNIX history) you'd know that Ray Noorda gave the UNIX trademark to the Open Group back when Novell owned UNIX. SCO doesn't own the trademark: they license it, as does everyone else who wants the word "UNIX" associated with their OS.

      (Good grief, why do I bother responding to these posts?...)
    • by Xtifr ( 1323 )
      Uh, keep in mind, this is /., and the quote you're whining about comes from one of the /. editors, which means it has just about zero credibility.

      If you'd actually read the article, you'd see that this is all in reference to some old compatibility libraries that aren't included with your typical Linux distro. It goes on to say, "SCO is exploring the options of getting intellectual property payments from companies that use SCO licensed libraries [...] without paying for them," and goes on to say, "[c]ompanies like IBM have been, and are continuing to pay, SCO for the use of these and other licenses." (Emhasis mine.)

      As a lot of us expected, this whole thing really does seem to be a tempest in a teapot.
    • Are "Educationa Licenses" selling the same thing to different people for different prices?
    • Isn't that called being discriminatory?

      Isn't it nice not being a monopoly?

      Seriously. I can charge one customer $5 and another $50 for the same thing. It's ok. Really!

      It's only when you have a monopoly, where discriminatory pricing can lead to dumping - that's when it becomes illegal.

      Of course, you do that too much and you piss off the guy paying $50...

      (IANAL, etc)

  • by goofballs ( 585077 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:09PM (#5122612)
    umm, isn't the recreational use of airplanes- which use a lot of gas and pollute a lot more than the worse suv's- including to dump suv's out of them, a lot worse than the suv's themselves?
    • umm, isn't the recreational use of airplanes- which use a lot of gas and pollute a lot more than the worse suv's- including to dump suv's out of them, a lot worse than the suv's themselves?
      Not if, by that act, enough SUV drivers switch to more ecologically friendly vehicles to offset the amount of gas used and pollution created by the demonstration. Whether you can prove that it had that sum effect, of course, is the tricky (read: nigh impossible) part...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2003 @09:54PM (#5123396)
      if it helps you feel any better, we're riding to altitude in a c-123 that is "drop testing" other things to test parachutes and so on. the extra weight of the suv (biggest joke on 4 wheels) does burn fuel, lots of it so its not entirely wrong to label me a hypocrite. but suvs are a ripe target, they are just so big and goofy and top heavy. check out the suv warning label on the visor with the vehicle up on two wheels. and people buy them in the name of "safety", go figure. it's fashion, nothing more, like bell bottoms.

      then there's the basic stuff like oil dependence, global warming, smog, rollovers...

      we'll probably dump some suvs from planes cause ultimately it's art, and impact at terminal velocity will give us some great shapes to plant out in the desert! but next month, most likely, we'll use dynamite to blow up the gaspig mobile. just got a letter about maybe shooting some holes in it first. fun!

      i don't have an account yet so i'm an anonymous coward but please feel free to write to me: info@gaspig.com or come check out the website at http://www.gaspig.com !

      joe jennings
      the Pig
    • by tshak ( 173364 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @11:54PM (#5124098) Homepage
      The problem is not simply that SUV's guzzle gas. My friend has a F350 extended cab which, although get's better mileage than many SUV's, is still quite a guzzler compared to my Honda. However, he's constantly moving TONS of stuff around for his business. The problem with SUV's is that people use them for commuting to and from work, the store, and their friends house - all activities which could be done by burning a lot less fuel, taking less space on the road, and making the roads safer for all by driving a small to midsize car.

      So no, the one time (or even occasional) use of an airplane for recreational purposes is not hypocrital. Not all of us who are anti-SUV's drive hybrid's either. It's just that SUV's are generally such an extreme waste that something needs to be said.
    • My airplane (a Cessna 140, admittedly unable to haul an SUV into the sky) has better gas mileage than my old F-150 truck. My friend's Europa XS light aircraft gets similar MPG to a midsize car (120 ktas on 4 USG/hr = 30 nm/g or 34.5 statute mpg). But it's doing that at 120 knots (138 mph) rather than 55 mph. Throttle it back a bit and it can beat a Honda Civic.
  • The link should point to http://www.gaspig.com [gaspig.com]

    Or Check the Google Cache []
  • by LordNightwalker ( 256873 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:10PM (#5122623)

    We understand this site has been a very valuable tool and are working together to find a solution to make sure that the tool is available to the public in some way.

    And one can't but wonder why it hasn't occured to them that the best way to do it is not to send a cease & decist letter in the first place... What a load of hogwash. The tool was already available to the public in some way untill they started interfering, and now they're looking for a way to make sure that... *sigh*

    • They do it because the US legal system makes them. Look up "due dilligence" in regards to copyright. If you don't strictly enforce your copyrights and trademarks you can lose them. If a company knows that you're violating their IP rights and turns a blind eye then they may not be able to legally stop anyone else from using that IP in the future. This is to prevent a company from allowing a term to come into widespread use only to later start suing people who they've been implicitly allowing to use the term for damages.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      They asked him to cease and desist using their trademark. He responded by throwing a hissy fit and taking down the whole list, something they never asked him to do. They suggested that one way to keep the logos up would be to have the list be sponsored by his employer, but he could have avoided the whole mess by removing the logos, acknowledging the tradmark of the name when referring to the standard, making it clear that the site was unofficial, and telling the SIG he'd done so.
  • by puto ( 533470 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:13PM (#5122648) Homepage
    Well as much as I liked seeing skydiving vehicles in the odd James Bonf Flick and all I don't see this as an good way to protest SUV's.

    1. You need to gas the planes to get the cars up into the wild blue yonder. MORE POLLUTION.

    2. Crashing theme into the desert. I am sure that this does wonders for the native wildlife and natural look of the desert. Just cause it is empty space doesn't mean we have to throw trashed cars into it. Even if you remove all the hydrocarbons and glass, it's still junk.

    3. Then blowing up a Nissan Pathfinder. Hmmm, releasing smoke and debris and further polluting the enviroment. Could have recycled the metal into something else.

    I am all about making a statement about SUV's and pollution. But you doing things like driving a small car, riding a bike, using the bus. But spending money, resources, and then further polluting the air with a Jack Ass like stunt. Just don't make much sense to me.

    • Normally, I would agree. But it's not just about the explosion. It's about getting front page on slashdot, and perhaps CNN. It's about supporting an anti-SUV movement. Then, as a footnote, at the end of a news broadcast, the program lists some statistic about the environmental impact of SUV's. Which might encourage someone not to buy/to get rid of an SUV.

      It's not about destroying one SUV. It's about encouraging the prevention of pollution from larger numbers of SUV's through the media and public attention and education. It's the same reason why peaceful demonstrations turn to riots. To get on TV. Right or wrong, this is the fact of the matter.
      • by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:54PM (#5122965) Journal
        Just in case anyone DIDNT know, one of the major reasons Americans *BUY* SUVs in the first place is because they can then buy a Luxury Vehicle and get a tax break .

        Read more about the loop-hole that NEEDS to get plugged here [commondreams.org]

        The good news? This loophole costs the American Tresury close 1 Billion per year (source [detroitproject.com])

        • by Desert Raven ( 52125 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @09:39PM (#5123299)
          Just in case anyone DIDNT know, one of the major reasons Americans *BUY* SUVs in the first place is because they can then buy a Luxury Vehicle and get a tax break .

          Interesting statement, since I own a large SUV, and had no idea such a tax law existed.

          I bought my Suburban because I do a lot of volunteer work for a couple of animal rescues, and need a vehicle that can transport several large dogs, plus any equipment/supplies I need for awareness events etc... plus tow a large trailer. I've had as many as six greyhounds plus supplies in the truck for a single run. For my part, I keep it in as good of tune as possible, and only drive it when there's no better choice.

          Personally, I'm getting pretty pissed off at every bleeding heart that gives me a dirty look for having it. Or better yet, those who harangue me into defending my need for it. More and more I don't bother to explain, I just tell 'em to f-off.

          As for these whack-jobs dropping vehicles into the desert, they should be prosecuted for environmental crimes. I live in the desert, it's a highly fragile ecosystem that just doesn't need any more abuse by mental midgets with weak justifications for blowing up things. The desert's already littered with tens of thousands of things that people took out to shoot up or blow up. Plus, you're just not going to get me to believe that they completely sanitized these vehicles by removing every last millileter of fuel, oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, engine coolant, freon, etc from the vehicle. I won't even get into the by-products from burning the vehicle that will saturate the ground for a couple hundred feet around the burn site.
          • by chriso11 ( 254041 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @10:29PM (#5123646) Journal
            Everyone always has a reason why they need an SUV. "I have to tow horses" or "I need to go into the mountains" or "I carry food and blankets for the poor homeless people".

            But you know, 90% of the time, I see one person in a 3 ton vehicle, commuting 30miles, or driving over speed bumps in the mall. And I bet that most people could RENT one for those occasions where an SUV was really needed. But that's not the American way.

            And SUVs are light trucks, so they don't have the same emissions requirements as cars. They aren't safer, either.

            Last, I don't EVER want to hear anyone driving a fat gas hog complaining about gasoline prices.

        • According to the article the break only applies to a business. The break is what the business is able to depreciate from thier gross income. This in no way effects the lawyer who buys a cadallac SUV (unless it is a business purchase and not used for personal use). If the vehicle is bought for personal use then you are taxed out the wazoo for purchasing a gass guzzler.

          In case some here have never ran a business or know much about small business economics this is why it is done. First the vehicle has to be used demonstrativly by the business (shown at an audit, if not you are levied a HUGE fine). So if this is the case it needs to be deducted. For example, my parents business grosses something aroun 250 thousand a year, I make slightly over 30k a year. In take home usable money (money to pay bills, buy "stuff", eat, etc..) I make more than they do simply becuase the business costs a HUGE amount to run. They require the use of several large offroad type vehicles with large carrying capacity - either a pickup truck or an SUV. They place something along the lines of 50-75 thousand miles per year on each vehicle, under continuous load. Tax write offs such as this keep them making some profit (even the article says this was meant for farmers). And becuase the larger trucks/SUV's cost a singifigant amount more than a smaller one this really helps.

          Not to mention the the money is deductable from your income, not money that is given to you. Big difference between the govt allowing a 24000 dollar deduction over 3 years and them handing a person 24000 dollars.

          Do some poeple abuse this? Of course. But how many small businesses legitamtly need this deduction - are you willing to run many of them into the ground because someone is abusing it? For many of the complaints people post, yea the abuse they show is not right, but there are MANY other uses (and in my parents case required) of deductions such as this.

          And my last pet peeve (and a large one): This loophole costs the American Tresury close 1 Billion per year. No, it doesn't cost them anything. The govt didn't make as much as they could. By that reasoning just imagine the amount they are loosing by not increasing the tax rate by another 2%, or a new special tax on softdrinks, or any other thing they could conceivable raise/add taxes on (anything). That is some of the shittiest logic I ever see bandied about. It assumes the govt owns all my money and I only have money by thier good will, anything I keep on my own that I do not have an absolute need for is costing the taxpayers through the nose. Just like me copying a song I would never have bought in the first place costs the RIAA 15 dollars for the CD: FUCK NO!
    • That's a completely ridiculous statement. The pollution caused here is negligible compared to the symbolic value and publicity stunt. Besides, welding the remains will create a Burning Man-like art form in the middle of the desert, which i think is the coolest thing.

      You have a serious problem with sorting priorities.

    • "we're going to blow up my Nissan Pathfinder." "a tribute to gas guzzlers, a dying trend (we hope)"

      Emphasis mine. So he's basically protesting his own SUV, maybe even after putting 100k miles on it in just three years. Talk about hypocrisy.

      The people protesting gas guzzlers should also protest people that don't move closer to work to reduce their long daily commutes. The "M" in MPG stands for miles you know...

      Plus why all the focus on SUVs as a whole? Let's look at the facts: Sure, there are some SUVs out there that are plain rediculous, but there are a lot of Sport sedans [edmunds.com], minivans [edmunds.com] and pickup trucks too [edmunds.com] that are bigger gas guzzlers than many compact [edmunds.com] SUVs [edmunds.com].

      That is just shortsightedness.
    • Much like those is Hollywood that are funding thost anti-suv ads while they ride around in limos and live in 9,000 SF homes, it is not about THEM saving the environment, it is about control the rest of us. Otherwise they would lead by example.

  • by Ryu2 ( 89645 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:14PM (#5122657) Homepage Journal
    Bloomberg says it's just a chance to LOOK at the code (by visiting Redmond perhaps or having them visit you?) But News.com reports that MS will let governments BUILD their own custom versions (doesn't say whether by MS or by themselves). Which is it? There's a big difference there.

    And also is it access to ALL the source code, or just the security-related bits?
  • by dybdahl ( 80720 ) <info@dybdTEAahl.dk minus caffeine> on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:15PM (#5122670) Homepage Journal
    Within a couple of years, non-democratic governments will have a copy of the source code of Windows, and some governments, that have been cooperating with local companies to do industrial espionage, will also have it.

    The old argument that Linux is less secure because evil hackers can see the source code now also applies to Windows. Except that the good guys can't see the Windows source code. I wonder what they're hiding.

    Lars Dybdahl.
    • Within a couple of years, non-democratic governments will have a copy of the source code of Windows, and some governments, that have been cooperating with local companies to do industrial espionage, will also have it.

      Expand a little bit further. I am not sure what MS' source code license says in this case but, how can Microsoft enforce the agreement?

      1. Russia is, obviously, a huge country with huge political power. Why can't they, one day, break their license agreement and, say, release their own version of Windows and sell it in Russia? Or sell or release source code to others? What remedy does MS have, other than UN and some meaningless treaties?

      2. What happens if or when political power shifts within Russia? In a lot of these cases, new government may bail out, or simply ignore some of their previous agreements. And I don't think they will promptly erase all the source code that was provided to them.

      3. How long until at least some of the code is leaked, and what can MS do in that case?

      Save this article for the next time MS brings in National Security when courts ask them to show some of their source code.
    • A couple of years? Heck, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Windows source code available for download on the p2p networks by next month...
    • Don't you see how brilliantly evil this is on Microsoft's part?

      Say the Russians buy the source, or view it, or whatever. Now the US has to buy it to check for backdoors that Microsoft might have missed but the Russians know about! The US Gov't is running all these computers and Rusia has the source, but the US doesn't! HA HA HA! In [post-]Soviet Russia, all your source are belong to us!

      As soon as the Israelis get it, the Palestinians need it. As soon as the Pakistanis get it, the Indians need it! Soon, everyone needs to see this source code!


  • by chundo ( 587998 ) <jeremy@@@jongsma...org> on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:16PM (#5122675)
    It seems that Finnish equivalents of American RIAA, Teosto, which represents songwriters and publishers, and Gramex, which represents music producers and artists, want to force Finnish day nurseries to pay royalties every time nursery staff sings along with kids.
    ...but since it has proved too hard to enforce, they are trying plan B - sending children to these day nurseries who just repeatedly sing the choruses for five minutes.

    • It seems that Finnish equivalents of American RIAA, Teosto, which represents songwriters and publishers, and Gramex, which represents music producers and artists, want to force Finnish day nurseries to pay royalties every time nursery staff sings along with kids.

      Doesn't matter one bit. They are violating the copyright anyway, even when kids are asleep. [slashdot.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    source code looks at YOU!
  • by edrugtrader ( 442064 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:16PM (#5122679) Homepage
    north korea has nukes and russia has the windows source code.

    i don't know which is worse. seriously.
    • Nuclear weapons require a separate, expensive, delivery mechanism. Software attacks can be accomplished from the comfort of the living room couch (or government office) by anybody with a cheap PC and some skillz.
      • Er...

        A nuclear weapon can level a city. No people, no bodies, just a few square miles of wasteland--and outside that, death and destruction that would be "biological warfare" if it was contagious and not just fallout.

        Windows source code, OTOH, is almost nothing more than a chance to attack an insecure system--secure systems don't bare windows to the world, generally--and they're attacked anyway by reverse-engingeering crackers.

    • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @09:44PM (#5123336) Homepage
      > ...russia has the windows source code.
      > i don't know which is worse.

      It's not that bad. The russians are tough. They survived WWII and 70 years of communism. They'll survive looking at Windows source.
  • SUVs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Airneil ( 43790 )
    You know, there are some valid reasons for owning a small SUV, like the Pathfinder, or a Ford Explorer.

    I carry a family, go camping, and occasionally pull a trailer with my Explorer. I guarantee you that I can't do some of these things in a Geo Metro.

    What good is 45 mpg if you have to make four round trips to get your stuff there, that you can do in one with an Explorer?
    • Mini-vans generally have better gas mileage, larger cargo areas, a better ride, and similar towing capacities to SUVs.

      When was the last time you NEEDED four-wheel drive?

      • Minivans do not have the towing capacity of a comparable SUV.
        Minivans tend to handle better, have more cargo volume, get better gas mileage, and are more safe.

        AWD is available for many minivans, there are also SUVs with only 2WD.
      • Sometimes I launch my sailboat off the beach instead of a launch ramp. Okay, I don't need 4WD to *launch* it, but more than once it's helped me get the boat *back on* the trailer -- not only on beaches but on steep or unmaintained launch ramps.

        I also take my photographer/artist wife to scenic places it's hard and/or impossible to go with a street car (or minivan). Yes, I know *you* would pack in the equipment because you're tough and strong, but we're 50 years old and I'm not in good health. My days of being an active member of the Sierra Club 100 Peaks Section are over, sorry.

        Now the funny part: I didn't buy an "SUV." I bought a modest, 6-cylinder, 4X4 Jeep Cherokee with a heavy-duty suspension and tow rig back before every suburban mommy needed a giant vehicle to go to the grocery store. Then one day I woke up and instead of having a 4X4 used primarly for outdoor actvities (and not for commuting; I work at home), suddenly I owned an EVIL SUV!

        In other words, I had my Jeep before all those giant Cadillac and Lincoln SUVs clogged the roads, and since it only has 152,000 miles on it and I don't drive more than 10,000 miles per year in it these days, I'll probably still have it after most of the "fad" SUVs have been sold overseas or scrapped. And if I'm still alive when my Jeep wears out or some idjit (probably driving a minivan -- or worse, a Volvo) runs into it and messes it up too badly to fix, I'll go buy another Jeep (Wrangler or Cherokee) because, in my outdoor-oriented life, 4WD is good to have. :)

        - Robin

    • Re:SUVs (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cliveholloway ( 132299 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:27PM (#5122775) Homepage Journal
      If you need 4 trips in a regular car to transport all your crap, you're hardly "camping" now, are you?

      The SUV is simply the icon of the overconsumerist society that we've become.

      Consume, consume, consume and fuck the rest of the world. That seems to be the American way these days.

      Damn sheeple...


      cLive ;-)

    • I make it a point to pass any SUV in front of me, blocking my view of the road ahead. Bring back the gas guzzler tax! The Explorer isn't really that bad, anyone driving an empty Expedition should be charged double tolls on the turnpike, and anyone caught solo in an unloaded Excursion should be arrested as a road hog. The only Humvees on the road should be painted olive drag. If you NEED the cargo hauling space fine, but to commute to work leave the SUV in the garage and take the civic! In case you didn't hear, oil production will peak in about
      3-5 years and decline after that. The days of excess are over.
      • Re:SUVs (Score:4, Insightful)

        by technos ( 73414 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @09:39PM (#5123300) Homepage Journal
        Oh come now. The Humvee may be bad compared to a Metro, but I bet it still gets better gas mileage and lower emissions out of the Chevy 350 it has under the hood than any of the millions of 60's,70's and early 80's vehicles on the road. Cripes, there are probably a thousand times as many high-school and college student tweaked Camaros and Mustangs on the road than Hummers, each getting much worse mileage and belching emissions like a nut, not to mention the fact they all leak something.
    • A friend and I were discussing the sad state of the world when so many men (who usually like fast cars and enjoy driving) are stuck behind the wheel of such unpleasant beasts. Just because you aren't in an suv doesn't mean you have to drive a geo metro.

      You could drive my car [elepent.com], for example. To be honest doesn't get 45mpg. But its gets 27, which I think is mediocre to bad, globally speaking, but its way better than an SUV. And really good for a car with this kind of power. Way more fun to drive, has all the advantages (powerful engine, 4wd, lots of cargo room). It also costs a little less than an suv. And you can smoke almost anyone on the road. And win autocross races.
    • Re:SUVs (Score:3, Informative)

      by spanky555 ( 148893 )
      http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID= 14839

      Bumper Mentality

      By Stephanie Mencimer, Washington Monthly
      December 20, 2002

      Have you ever wondered why sport utility vehicle drivers seem like such assholes? Surely it's no coincidence that Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, tours Washington in one of the biggest SUVs on the market, the Cadillac Escalade, or that Jesse Ventura loves the Lincoln Navigator.

      Well, according to New York Times reporter Keith Bradsher's new book, "High and Mighty," the connection between the two isn't a coincidence. Unlike any other vehicle before it, the SUV is the car of choice for the nation's most self-centered people; and the bigger the SUV, the more of a jerk its driver is likely to be.

      According to market research conducted by the country's leading automakers, Bradsher reports, SUV buyers tend to be "insecure and vain. They are frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors and communities. They are more restless, more sybaritic, and less social than most Americans are. They tend to like fine restaurants a lot more than off-road driving, seldom go to church and have limited interest in doing volunteer work to help others."

      He says, too, that SUV drivers generally don't care about anyone else's kids but their own, are very concerned with how other people see them rather than with what's practical, and they tend to want to control or have control over the people around them. David Bostwick, Chrysler's market research director, tells Bradsher, "If you have a sport utility, you can have the smoked windows, put the children in the back and pretend you're still single."

      Armed with such research, automakers have, over the past decade, ramped up their SUV designs to appeal even more to the "reptilian" instincts of the many Americans who are attracted to SUVs not because of their perceived safety, but for their obvious aggressiveness. Automakers have intentionally designed the latest models to resemble ferocious animals. The Dodge Durango, for instance, was built to resemble a savage jungle cat, with vertical bars across the grille to represent teeth and big jaw-like fenders. Bradsher quotes a former Ford market researcher who says the SUV craze is "about not letting anything get in your way, and at the extreme, about intimidating others to get out of your way."

      Not surprisingly, most SUV customers over the past decade hail from a group that is the embodiment of American narcissism: baby boomers. Affluent and often socially liberal, baby boomers have embraced the four-wheel-drive SUV as a symbol of their ability to defy the conventions of old age, of their independence and "outdoorsiness," making the off-road vehicle a force to be reckoned with on the American blacktop.

      But as Bradsher declares in his title, this baby boomer fetish is considerably more harmful than the mere annoyance of yet another Rolling Stones tour or the endless commercials for Propecia. In their attempt to appear youthful and hip, SUV owners have filled the American highways with vehicles that exact a distinctly human cost, frequently killing innocent drivers who would have survived a collision with a lesser vehicle. Bradsher quotes auto execs who concede that the self-centered lifestyle of SUV buyers is apparent in "their willingness to endanger other motorists so as to achieve small improvements in their personal safety."

      After covering the auto industry for six years, Bradsher is an unabashed critic of sport-utility vehicles and the automakers that continue to churn them out knowing full well the dangers they pose. He doesn't equivocate in his feeling that driving an SUV is a deeply immoral act that places the driver's own ego above the health and safety of those around him, not to mention the health of the environment. Ironically, and though most supposedly safety-conscious owners don't realize it, SUVs even imperil those who drive them.

      Road Rodeo

      Ask a typical SUV driver why he drives such a formidable vehicle, and he'll invariably insist that it's for safety reasons - the kids, you know - not because he's too vain to get behind the wheel of a sissy Ford Windstar. Automakers themselves know otherwise - their own market research tells them so.

      But Bradsher makes painfully clear that the belief in SUV safety is a delusion. For decades, automakers seeking to avoid tougher fuel economy standards have invoked the fiction that the bigger the car, the safer the passenger. As a result, most Americans take it on faith that the only way to be safe on the highway is to be driving a tank (or the next best thing, a Hummer). Bradsher shatters this myth and highlights the strange disconnect between the perception and the reality of SUVs.

      The occupant death rate in SUVs is 6 percent higher than it is for cars - 8 percent higher in the largest SUVs. The main reason is that SUVs carry a high risk of rollover; 62 percent of SUV deaths in 2000 occurred in rollover accidents. SUVs don't handle well, so drivers can't respond quickly when the car hits a stretch of uneven pavement or "trips" by scraping a guardrail. Even a small bump in the road is enough to flip an SUV traveling at high speed. On top of that, SUV roofs are not reinforced to protect the occupants against rollover; nor does the government require them to be.

      Because of their vehicles' size and four-wheel drive, SUV drivers tend to overestimate their own security, which prompts many to drive like maniacs, particularly in inclement weather. And SUV drivers - ever image-conscious and overconfident - seem to hate seat belts as much as they love talking on their cell phones while driving. Bradsher reports that four-fifths of those killed in roll-overs were not belted in, even though 75 percent of the general driving population now buckles up regularly.

      While failing to protect their occupants, SUVs have also made the roads more dangerous for others. The "kill rate," as Bradsher calls it, for SUVs is simply jaw-dropping. For every one life saved by driving an SUV, five others will be taken. Government researchers have found that a behemoth like the four-ton Chevy Tahoe kills 122 people for every 1 million models on the road; by comparison, the Honda Accord only kills 21. Injuries in SUV-related accidents are likewise more severe.

      Part of the reason for the high kill rate is that cars offer very little protection against an SUV hitting them from the side - not because of the weight, but because of the design. When a car is hit from the side by another car, the victim is 6.6 times as likely to die as the aggressor. But if the aggressor is an SUV, the car driver's relative chance of dying rises to 30 to 1, because the hood of an SUV is so high off the ground. Rather than hitting the reinforced doors of a car with its bumper, an SUV will slam into more vulnerable areas and strike a car driver in the head or chest, where injuries are more life-threatening.

      But before you get an SUV just for defensive purposes, think again. Any safety gains that might accrue are cancelled out by the high risk of rollover deaths, which usually don't involve other cars.

      Ironically, SUVs are particularly dangerous for children, whose safety is often the rationale for buying them in the first place. Because these beasts are so big and hard to see around (and often equipped with dark-tinted glass that's illegal in cars), SUV drivers have a troubling tendency to run over their own kids. Just recently, in October, a wealthy Long Island doctor made headlines after he ran over and killed his 2-year-old in the driveway with his BMW X5. He told police he thought he'd hit the curb.

      To illustrate the kind of selfishness that marks some SUV drivers, Bradsher finds people who rave about how they've survived accidents with barely a scratch, yet neglected to mention that the people in the other car were all killed. (One such woman confesses rather chillingly to Bradsher that her first response after killing another driver was to go out and get an even bigger SUV.)

      The tragedy of SUVs is that highway fatalities were actually in decline before SUVs came into vogue, even though Americans were driving farther. This is true largely for one simple reason: the seatbelt. Seatbelt usage rose from 14 percent in 1984 to 73 percent in 2001. But seatbelts aren't much help if you're sideswiped by an Escalade, a prospect that looms yet more ominously as SUVs enter the used-car market. Not surprisingly, last year, for the first time in a decade, the number of highway deaths actually rose.

      No Roads Scholars Here

      Bradsher blames government for failing to adequately regulate SUVs, but doesn't fully acknowledge the degree to which it has encouraged SUV production by becoming a major consumer of them. Law enforcement and public safety agencies in particular seem enamored of the menacing vehicles, a fact on proud display when officers finally apprehended the alleged snipers in the Washington, D.C., area and transported them to the federal courthouse in a parade of black Ford Explorers and Expeditions.

      Judging from the number of official SUVs on the road today, law enforcement officials - those most likely to know firsthand the grisly effects of a rollover - are enthusiastic customers. Like the rest of America, police departments seem to believe that replacing safe, sturdy cars with SUVs is a good idea, though it's hard to imagine a more dangerous vehicle for an officer conducting a high-speed chase.

      Government's taste for SUVs isn't limited to cops and firemen. There's hardly a city in America where the mayor's chauffeured Lincoln Town Car hasn't been replaced by an SUV. In Virginia, where state officials recently discovered that SUVs were wrecking their efforts to meet clean-air regulations, a few noted sheepishly that perhaps local governments should sell their own fleets, which had ballooned to 250 in Fairfax County alone. (A Fairfax County official told The Washington Post that public safety officials needed four-wheel drive and large cargo spaces to transport extra people and emergency equipment through snow or heavy rain - proof that even law enforcement officials misunderstand SUV safety records.)

      As Bradsher details, because of their weight, shoddy brakes, and off-road tires, SUVs handle poorly in bad weather and have trouble stopping on slick roads. What's more, they're generally so poorly designed as not to be capable of carrying much cargo, despite the space. A contributing factor in the Ford Explorer-Firestone tire debacle was that drivers weren't told that their Explorers shouldn't carry any more weight than a Ford Taurus. The extra weight routinely piled in these big cars stressed the tires in a way that made them fall apart faster and contributed to the spate of rollover deaths.

      I have a hunch that government officials' justification for buying SUVs is mostly a ruse for their real motivation, which is the same as any other SUV owner's: image. Officials can safely load up their fleets with leather-seated SUVs, whereas using taxpayer dollars to buy themselves, say, a fleet of BMW coupes would get them crucified (even though Detroit considers SUVs luxury vehicles and designs them accordingly). Police departments may claim that they need an SUV to accommodate SWAT teams or canine units, but there is no reason that Sparky the drug dog wouldn't be just as comfortable in the back of a nice safe Chevy Astrovan.

      The same is true for nearly everyone who drives an SUV today. Of course, not every SUV owner is gripped by insecurity and a death wish - plenty of otherwise reasonable people seem to get seduced by power and size (see sidebar).

      But if soccer moms and office-park dads really need to ferry a lot of people around, they could simply get a large car or a minivan, which Bradsher hails as a great innovation for its fuel efficiency, safety, and lower pollution. (And minivans don't have a disproportionately high kill rate for motorists or pedestrians when they get into accidents.) According to industry market research, minivan drivers also tend to be very nice people. Minivans are favored by senior citizens and others (male and female, equally) who volunteer for their churches and carpool with other people's kids. But that's the problem. SUV owners buy them precisely because they don't want the "soccer mom" stigma associated with minivans.

      While Bradsher does a magnificent job of shattering the myths about SUVs, he has a difficult time proposing a solution. Sport utility vehicles have become like guns: Everyone knows they're dangerous, but you can't exactly force millions of Americans to give them up overnight. And because the SUV is single-handedly responsible for revitalizing the once-depressed American auto industry, the economy is now so dependent on their production that it would be nearly impossible to get them off the road.

      Bradsher suggests regulating SUVs like cars rather than as light trucks, so that they would be forced to comply with fuel-efficiency standards and safety regulations. He also proposes that the insurance industry stop shifting the high costs of the SUV dangers onto car owners by raising premium prices for SUVs to reflect the amount of damage they cause. But these ideas, commendable though they are, fall short of a perfect answer.

      Clearly, the best solution would be for Americans to realize the danger of SUVs and simply stop buying them. Social pressure can be a powerful determinant on car choices, as seen in Japan, the one country where SUVs have not caught on because of cultural checks that emphasize the good of the community over that of the individual. There are signs that perhaps public sentiment is beginning to shift against SUV drivers here, too, as activists have begun to leave nasty flyers on SUV windshields berating drivers for fouling the environment and other offenses.

      But for a true reckoning to take place, image-obsessed Americans will need to fully understand the SUV's true dangers - including to themselves - before they will willingly abandon it to the junkyard. Spreading that message against the nation's biggest advertiser - the auto industry - will be tough work. Drivers can only hope that Bradsher's book will cut through the chatter.

  • Back-Slashback (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wowbagger ( 69688 )
    XO doing well - Well of course they are doing well - they have been going nuts signing up major spamhausen, and protecting the ones they already have. Easy to make more money when you are able to charge 3X the going rate to insure your spammer customers don't have to suffer the pain of disconnection.

    PCI spec - Translation - "BOY OH BOY did we step in it! Jeez who'd'a thunk that this would piss so many people off! OK, we are making nice now, stop flaming our servers!"

    Finnish Nannys Question - if they sing a song for which copyright has expired, do they have to pay? "All right kids, from the top: There's a nice wee lass, her name's Mary Mack..."

    SCO charges IBM, not RH or others... OK, so screwing some people is OK, so long as it isn't me?!?! It would be funny if IBM bought SCO and then freed the IP...

    Crashing cars into the desert So, we are going to protest wastefulness by wasting vehicles.... ???

  • by Powercntrl ( 458442 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:26PM (#5122759)
    I'd take these people more seriously if they did something productive like starting a petition for building of dedicated low-speed traffic lanes for mopeds, Segways and scooters. The people that would be willing to travel on energy efficient single-passenger vehicles would more than make up for the pollution of those that persist on driving SUVs.

    When you're on a bicycle or a moped and someone is about to pass you at 55MPH, whether he's in a Honda Civic or a Ford Excursion, if either one of them hits you, it's going to be just as lethal.
    • Do you think another dedicated traffic lane will solve the problem? I don't. People need to change their attitudes about driving. Many people will drive their cars to work even when a public transportation alternative is available that is both less expensive, and quicker.
  • by jaxle ( 193331 )
    i remember gettin dsl from covad and what a great deal it was... or so it would seem

    i never got back the $200 dollar rebate for installation :(

    be careful with those things, $200 dollars may not be a lot to some but it really screwed me over
  • "Perhaps they're looking for vulnerabilities in the U.S. Government's dependence on Microsoft?"

    That's a bit redundant no?
  • You mean in post-Soviet Russia Windows is open source?
  • Gas Guzzlers... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jgdobak ( 119142 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @08:59PM (#5123001)
    Why is it that when the gas guzzler discussion comes up, SUVs always take the hit, as opposed to Mercedes V8s, high-end BMWs, sports cars, et al?
    • Re:Gas Guzzlers... (Score:4, Informative)

      by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @09:47PM (#5123351)
      First, the Mercedes and the BMWs have much better emissions systems than SUVs (because they have to meet car emissions requirements). Second, very few of these high end cars on the road, while the (much cheaper) SUVs are selling in droves. Third, the high end cars pay a gas guzzler tax, while SUVs don't. Lastly, a 2WD (4WD is worse) Ford Explorer gets slightly worse gas mileage than an XK8 (15/20 vs 17/24) and a 2WD Ford Expedition gets much worse (14/17). Mainstream sports cars, like the 4WD Subaru WRX (23/30) or the 2WD Acura RSX (24/31) get even better gas mileage.
  • by IdleTime ( 561841 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @09:01PM (#5123017) Journal
    Thank heaven for Russia!

    In a short while, the source code for Windows will be all over the net! I can't wait.

    You think I'm kidding, right? I'm not. Let's say 2-3 months and all the source will be spread all over the net.

    Microsoft can just as well publish the source under GPL now!

    • In a short while, the source code for Windows will be all over the net! I can't wait.
      You think I'm kidding, right? I'm not. Let's say 2-3 months and all the source will be spread all over the net.
      I wonder if this might be the intended outcome.

      There was some worry earlier about SAMBA folks being polluted by a view at the code in MS's first "Shared Source" initiative. If this code leaks, and is inevitably widely reposted in places where Open Source coders are known to hang out, MS may end up with leverage against projects by claiming they have incorporated MS IP.

  • ...Government looks for vulnerabilities in Microsoft.
  • day nurseries (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oliverthered ( 187439 ) <oliverthered@h[ ]ail.com ['otm' in gap]> on Monday January 20, 2003 @09:02PM (#5123023) Journal
    Well when I was that age we got,
    'Oh Christmas tree'
    'Ride a cock horse'
    'here we go round the mulbry bush'

    Who are they paying royalties too, anon?
  • I am wondering how well protected the source code will be. If the history (such as Moscow police "white pages" database with all the unlisted numbers included quickly leaking out) is any indication, we might soon see CDs with full Windows sources being sold for a few bugs on every corner in Moscow...

    In fact, we might see a variant of an "open-source windows" movement actaully happening there!

  • Finnish RIAA? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Wouter Van Hemel ( 411877 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @09:08PM (#5123082) Homepage
    E-Tray writes "It seems that Finnish equivalents of American RIAA, Teosto, which represents songwriters and publishers, and Gramex, which represents music producers and artists, want to force Finnish day nurseries to pay royalties every time nursery staff sings along with kids. Previously Teosto enforced a law that taxi drivers have to pay royalties if they play music while a customer is in the backseat."

    This is absolutely ridiculous and non-enforcable. It even screams for civil disobedience, if something like this gets passed. Nobody will take the law serious anymore, if too many crazy laws are made. Even people I know who don't know anything about mp3s and P-t-P software, are becoming more and more pissed off at things like copyright protection and excessive prices for music that tends to get worse (cfr. bland, faceless, uninspired, synthethical pre-fab pop 'sensations' that are pushed and hyped everywhere these days).

    It also goes to show (again) that many people involved in the music business are in it rather for the love of money than the love of music.

    (Which is -in a horrible way- understandable when you make and sell 'artists' as 'products').

  • by porkface ( 562081 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @09:10PM (#5123091) Journal
    If 10 people drove SUV's once a week as part of a publicity stunt, it wouldn't be the environmental problem it is.

    And pollution is just one of the arguments against SUVs.

    The pollution problem is a cumulative effect. The most effective way to cut pollution is to pollute less on our twice daily commutes by driving more efficient vehicles more often. It's not by out and out banning any one type of vehicle. California made great progress over the last 10 years, and their system should be copied. However, it's clear that it was only a first step, and it now needs to be taken farther through more widespread adoption, and more stringent efficiency regulations.

  • FAPSI (Score:3, Informative)

    by 21mhz ( 443080 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @09:16PM (#5123132) Journal
    Actually, FAPSI (AKA FAGCI) is the Russian counterpart of NSA, with little to no foreign intelligence duties (as declared, that is). They are known as having good cryptoanalysts and computer security staff.

    As for the dangers of showing off the s3kr1t code running "sensitive" tasks to shady foreign agencies, we all know at which point the mistake has been made, don't we?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2003 @09:17PM (#5123145)
    In spring of 99 there were a few programmers from Russia hanging out at Novell, looking through code to make sure that there weren't any "back doors" in the code that could potentially give the US government access to Russian servers. I was told this was a requirement before they would buy certain Novell software. I would think that previously they would have imposed similar requirements on Microsoft as well.
  • Giving Out Source (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shylock0 ( 561559 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @09:28PM (#5123221)
    This whole new policy of Microsoft's makes me really wonder how much they value their source code. They're not so stupid in Redmond to think that there won't be leaks if they start offering the code for free to any government that asks.

    I know some fairly well-placed programmers who have worked on XP and Win2k, and even they didn't have access to the complete source code the way governments will.

    So we should ask ourselves what Microsoft gains from an unofficial general release of their code. I think there's a lot of speculation that can be done here, and it becomes very paranoid very quickly. In the reasonable realm, I think two things are possible:

    1) Microsoft cries "uncle" when their source is plastered all over the net. They start lawyers and a few bots looking through thousands of lines of GPLed code looking for similarities. They then sue the writers of the code for stealing MS code and using it in GPL software (which would be very, very clearly against the law).

    2) They use the illicitly released code as an experiment. They know it can't start showing up in applications, because they haven't released it legally, and nobody wants to be sued (for an essentially legitimate reason) by a company with billions and billions in the bank. So they see how often code like it shows up. How much people mimic their code. How people try to stretch the limits of the law to use some of MS's techniques. Or if people are simply uninterested. Letting it be released illegally seems to be a great way to test the waters for a legal release of protected source code, Apple-style.

    3) The third possibility is that Microsoft knows that their code will be stolen, but that doesn't scare them quite as much as the prospect of losing tens of thousands of government computers to OSS.

    For our sake, I hope that it's 2 or 3...


    Comments and questions welcome. Flames ignored.

    • Re:Giving Out Source (Score:3, Interesting)

      by iggymanz ( 596061 )
      This would be fun:

      4. Sections of stolen uncredited GPL & BSD & SCO IP are found in the Microsoft source code...SCO, Stallman & the Regents of University of California Berkely sues Microsoft & make $$$$.
    • Re:Giving Out Source (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jc42 ( 318812 )
      They know it can't start showing up in applications, because they haven't released it legally

      It seems to me that if pieces of my GPL'd code show up in Microsoft applications, when I've had no access to their source, the obvious inference is that they've stolen my code. If they don't give me credit, they've violated the GPL.

      Unless they've bribed the judge, any court will see this as much more likely than the possibility that I copied code which I had no access to.

      I wonder if I could get venture funding to challenge MS's infringement of my IP?

  • by jcsehak ( 559709 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @09:33PM (#5123259) Homepage
    You can keep me from teaching and singing songs to people by cutting my throat. Failing that, stay the fuck out of my way.

    Music is an Art form, not a business. It comes from and belongs to the people. Your greed is one step less than that of the money-changers that Christ threw out of the temple. I am not alone. Our numbers are growing. Enjoy your yachts and cocaine now, because we have you in our sights and mark my words, we will take you down.
  • big cars (Score:3, Interesting)

    by man_ls ( 248470 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @10:08PM (#5123496)
    There's something to be said for "big cars" just being cooler than small ones.

    I was given a car for my 16th birthday because I commute to school 54 miles/day round trip. My parents were tired of driving me there and didn't want me to take the bus, so it was worth $15,000 to get rid of that responsibility.

    I was told I could pick any car I wanted from what was available used...Choices ranging from civics, mustangs, escourts, kias, some light pickups and smaller SUVs.

    I opted for the Honda Civic sedan. It gets 22/29 MPG; about double what most SUVs get and about 1.4 what my friend's mustang gets. I spend $25/week on gas and I'm good to go; my best friend probably spends $30-40.

    I would *much* prefer something like a Dodge Durango to the Civic. It's bigger, it sits higher above ground so I feel more "in control", it has a bigger engine, and it's got a decent stock sound system. And it's *not* one of the gas guzzlers (although it's not anything like my civic.)

    Big cars are just nicer for people to have...you can fit more friends, more stuff, stretch your legs, have more room with a girl, whatever it is you're doing, you have more room for it.

    Economy cars cost less; bigger cars cost more. It's a tradeoff.
  • by gonerill ( 139660 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @10:14PM (#5123548) Homepage
    It needs perestroika.

    (Or is everyone on Slashdot too young to get that joke?)

  • XO Communications... (Score:5, Informative)

    by wolf- ( 54587 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @10:59PM (#5123807) Homepage
    I'll comment on XO Communications...

    They have been billing our company roughly $54 a month, for 3 years for services we never ordered and do not desire. Namely, web hosting space.

    Then, after multiple letters to their billing, then legal offices, they have the nerve to stick a collecter on us.

    Last time I talked to the collector, I said, you want the money, sue us! Because the counter claim will include a federal charge of "false billing by mail" and other collection violations under Georgia law.

    He said, "they won't sue you, they just hope you are dumb enough to pay."

    Hrm, I wonder just how many "bad debts" they have been writing off each year on the books. Or how much they have in "accounts receivable".

  • by cornice ( 9801 ) on Monday January 20, 2003 @11:37PM (#5124013)
    After that just to protest the use of foreign oil and it's damaging effects on the environment, we're going to crash this fully loaded oil tanker. Oh wait...

Were there fewer fools, knaves would starve. - Anonymous