Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment Re:Some spokes would help... (Score 1) 1385

Why is everything replace. Getting rid of the Fort Lauderdale -> Tampa and Orlando flights would free up airports for more long haul flights, where air travel excels. Intercity travel isn't a bit problem, but it's part of your sprawl problem. To fix sprawl, you need mass transit, which only really works in a hub and spoke model. When everyone worked downtown, mass transit worked to get people there, as we built cities around the car, we move out of expensive downtown areas, which broke mass transit, and brought us sprawl.

Intercity travel helps regional business, making it more practical to conduct with easy travel. Because trains are inside the city, that enhances the downtown (downtown Miami is now connected to Fort Lauderdale through West Palm via Tri Rail, plus Orlando, Tampa and other cities via high speed rail. That enhances the Miami downtown, which helps make mass transit MORE viable by making downtown office space more valuable. The more you enhance the hub, the more valuable it is to be on a spoke.

If 50% of Dade County worked in downtown Miami, mass transit is an easy solution. When people are spread out, you can't really do mass transit, just buses, and buses suck (slower than car because of stops, stuck with traffic with cars). Enhance the downtown cities and you will see more businesses there.

Older suburbs were established around a downtown with a train station into the major city. Modern suburbs become sprawling exurbs, where people don't enter the city.

If you want suburb -> city commutes resolved, you need to get the businesses back into a downtown area, which this helps. It's an extra reason to be in Miami if you are easy to reach for business if you can quickly come in from Naples/Tampa/Orlando.

Comment Some spokes would help... (Score 1) 1385

Look, South Florida is a weird exception because it's economically tied to the Northeast Corridor while geographically isolated. However, even in Florida, a bunch of areas would work. We used to drive to Orlando (4 hours @ 55 MPH), instead of fly (1 hr) because by the time you got to the airport, boarded, flew, landed, and got a rental car, it was a wash. Replace that with a high speed rail line that you arrive at 20 minutes early, not an hour, and you have a 2.5 hour trip by rail that ought to be cheaper than flying. Combined with shuttles to the Theme Parks (like all the hotels run in Vegas) or cabs, and you could take a bunch of vacation travel off the turn pike.

How about a Fort Lauderdale -> Naples high speed line, connected to Miami-West Palm Beach via Tri-rail. I live 10 minutes from 595 and it took me two hours to get to the business park district outside of town. We've done plenty of meetings in Naples where a quick rail line into downtown and back would save time, gas, and aggravation... you can't do anything while driving, you can read a book, work, etc., on a plane.

South Florida is only connectable via Rail to Naples/Fort Meyers/Sarasota and Key West (if we wanted to modernize the keys economically, they need a real connection, I don't know that we do, however), and Orlando/Gainsville. Maybe a line up to Jacksonville and Tallahassee would be helpful as well. You're never going to beat air travel to go from South Florida to the rest of the country, but we are WAY more connected to the rest of Florida than we were 30 years ago.

There are concentrated hubs where city-to-city travel makes sense. The old NYC-Boston shuttle (pre 9/11) rocked because you showed up 3 minutes before your flight... there was a flight every hour. 9/11 security didn't destroy the shuttle, but it made it WAY less convenient and isolated Boston from a major city... A Boston->NYC high speed rail that could take you from downtown Boston to downtown NYC in two hours would really re-connect Boston to NYC... since getting to Logan, the 1 hour shuttle, plus getting downtown from Laguardia was about 2 hours anyway. You could also connect Hartford to both cities, etc.

Those are plenty of routes that get frequent business travel that might move from driving to the train, since two hours on the train can include 90 minutes of billable work, and you could include high speed internet on the train... that compares favorable to driving and possibly air travel.

The Interstate system created TREMENDOUS economic growth in the US... these are the types of infrastructure projects that can produce wealth... Far better than bigger and bigger Amtrak subsidies that do nothing but indirectly subsidize the shipping companies that own the rail.

Comment Massachusetts Law (Score 2, Informative) 1079

I graduated in 2001, so this MAY have changed, but back then, the law was:
Campus Police have municipal powers in buildings owned by the college/university. So that covered the buildings, but not the public roads. To get around this, the CPs were deputized by the County they were in as Sheriff Deputies, which gave them legal authority throughout the county, with a tacit agreement with the normal police to only use it on the campus, or related buildings (basically the Fraternity houses were privately owned, this gave them responsibility). During the city harassment of MIT fraternities (a pledge at one died, the licensing board started threatening licenses of all the independent houses over minor infractions, pretty much continued until 9/11 when people forgot about it), the MIT CPs had a problem...

The had municipal authority in dorms... they had Sheriff powers in Cambridge Fraternities as Middlesex Sheriff Deputies. But they couldn't do anything in the Boston fraternities. After heavy lobbying, they also were deputized in Suffolk County, so they could patrol there. As fraternity risk manager, this was a GREAT thing, because while the city was harassing us, the school nominally supported us (they did a poor job, but tried), so we'd call the CPs at the first sign of trouble, and usually Boston PD wouldn't bother us because the CPs were on the scene.

The utter irony... neither Middlesex County nor Suffolk County really exist anymore... they counties exist as regional designation, there is no county-level government, everything is either unified with the city or administered by the state. So while they were deputized as Sheriff's deputies, I'm pretty sure we didn't have a Sheriff or a Sheriff's department... all of Suffolk County Sheriff Deputies appeared to be CPs of Boston schools.

Comment Dual car families (Score 1) 652

Most families with children have two cars. One spouse drives the family car, one has a car for commuting... the latter is frequently the husband with a small coupe or sedan, while the former is a mini-van, SUV, or large sedan, sizes depend on family size.

If we simply got those commuter cars replaced with electric cars, we'd get a lot of carbon emissions off the road, since frequently the larger car is driven fewer miles on a daily basis, plus long hauls.

I see driveways with Corvettes and Escalades all day... swap out the Vette with a Tesla car, and you've done something... the Vette isn't driving more than 200 miles/day.

Comment South lost do to lack of early coordination on gun (Score 1) 398

The North won the war of attrition by dragging out the conflict until their superior manufacturing gave them more guns. They also held the Navy, which provided the ability to blockade and keep the South from fully trading with Europe and arming itself.

The South started with more soldiers, officers, and munitions, because southerners were disproportionately represented in the military then to (when the "standing army" was basically an officer corp that you conscripted soldiers for).

Each southern state confiscated the Federal weapons caches in their territory, and held it for their defense. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia did most of the fighting, with the deep south states providing limited troops to the border. Had Lee had all the munitions and troops at his disposal and went on the offensive, the war would have ended quickly with a southern victory. If DC and Maryland fell to CSA control, Tennessee held, and Kentucky captured, you'd have likely had a quick resolution.

Instead the south hoped that the north would grow tired of its war of conquest, and in time, the superior population and manufacturing base gave the northern army the ability to persevere.

Comment What about a little sanity in this? (Score 1) 1306

Parents teaching children their beliefs is a fundamental right of parents. Evolution, taught properly, doesn't conflict with most religions in this country. However, telling 2nd grades that they are descended from monkeys interferes with parents explaining their views to their children, which is normally more nuanced that a literal read of the Bible (note, two creation stories are given, and much of that part of the Bible only makes sense non-literally)

Could we NOT teach evolution until middle school or high school? Could we take a more nuanced approach in middle school?

"Evolution is FACT" is dogma, and science-ism, and only slightly more helpful than fundamentalists wanting to teach creationism?

The MOST important thing in science, in my opinion, is the scientific method, and understanding how we verify data and theories. Once you start pounding the podium and demanding that an idea you don't like NOT be taught, you aren't conducting science (research, formulate hypothesis, conduct experiment, gather data, reach conclusion), you're transmitting dogma. For those NOT pursuing a field in the sciences, understanding the scientific method IS CRITICAL... how many managers don't understand the need to test something before committing it, and therefore don't understand how you verify a theory... a process that is the SAME in the science classroom as testing a marketing strategy.

Facts are important, and evolution is a critical component of our understanding of the world. But at the impressionable ages that parents are concerned about, they aren't learning "science" with evolution, they are being told "we're from monkeys, the Preist/Preacher/Iman/Rabbi is a liar."

Evolution is a theory... it is our currently best theory to describe life, but who knows what tomorrow will bring. When you start codifying science into law, you lose the purity of science and enter the same realm of politics. When you outlaw questioning evolution, as some have done, you're dogmatically enforcing a theory, who knows, maybe someone will develop a new one and you've outlawed questioning. Same problem when you talk of scientific consensus. If 1 million scientists "believe" one thing, and one rogue scientists proves otherwise, science requires that we follow the correct rogue, not stay loyal to "consensus." Science is determined via scientific method, not polls and surveys.

It's more important that we preserve the method of science than if we teach particular information to children. Much of what I learned in school is oversimplified, or simply superseded by newer knowledge. We can teach in biology about antiviral medicine, not cling to dogma that antibiotics treat bacteria, you have to "get over" a virus.

Comment The problem is growth... (Score 1) 267

Non-normalized databases are fine, and might be faster, for small sites, but when things scale, the sloppy databases (or worse, sloppy frameworks like Ruby's Active Record) just cause problems.

A scalable, normalized database means consistent data, when you have multiple applications hitting it.

For a web forum, sure, a relational database may be the wrong tool, because all you care about is speed on new stuff, the archive can crawl, etc.

However, what happens when your web forum adds some actual data, and then a few years down the road, you need new tools to talk to that data? You can abstract everything through code, and post into your webserver and let Perl/PHP manage it, but then that's a new piece of legacy code to maintain.

I keep all my stuff in a PostgreSQL database, and build Schemas with Views for web apps, etc. So when a new piece of functionality is needed, it's kept segmented off. So you can Prototype a Ruby app, maintain a PHP Web App, and even build custom tools in VB or other environments that talks directly to the database for manipulation. The spreadsheet guys ALWAYS loved when I could setup an ODBC connection, and they could pull real time data into Excel, instead of needing to go through a web interface and grab CSV pulls. Hell, I had a simple Excel spreadsheet that went out to my PostgreSQL database, got the necessary data, prepped it (all in Excel), and then stuck the data into Quickbooks via the SDK (using VBA of all technologies) to prevent needing to double enter.

If you were on a real GL powered with DB2 or Oracle, you could do even fancier things.

RDBMS skills are a good thing to develop. The overhead is pretty minor for starting off, and it gives you great flexibility down the road.

Now, if you have a technology REASON to want a non-relational database, go nuts, new tech can do new things. But if it's a refusal to learn relational theory, pick up a good book and learn the mathematics behind it.

Alex

Comment Re:Saturn V Urban Legend (Score 1) 922

I hope you're not referring to the "we lost the blueprints to the Saturn V" urban legend.

According to a friend that did a stint in high level strategy at NASA, that's not really an urban legend. When the project was shelved, the documents were more or less destroyed.

Well, frankly, your friend is full of shit. If the documents were destroyed, then how are current space historians retrieving them from the archives and studying them?

Honestly, I wouldn't know... but given that his work there led to his entering his PhD program, I presume he isn't full of shit. This was a brief comment over beers, not a detailed explanation of NASA's inner workings. You sir, are a rude person, for no reason. You intentionally took a pedandic interpretation of my comments and wrote them in an insulting manner, for what purpose?

As I said, the plans are archived. It's all the intermediate documents that are gone. There is a world of difference between getting the archived prints and all the memos and notes that would help you make decisions. You can't go out and buy COTS 1060s part (maybe the Aspestos flame retardation), and you need to substitute it, but you don't have the intermediate notes for the spec, so you have to recreate the work.

1960s prints + 1960s parts + 1960s machinery would get your a Saturn V.
Looking today, and making the appropriate substitutes would be impossibe without reverse engineering the process which is more work than designing anew, so they are designing anew.

Also, engineers of today don't have the same skill sets as back then. I never learned drafting, the core of engineering then.

Presumably you learned CAD then - which is the core of engineering today. (Not to mention the thousands of Boeing engineers are their CAD workstations just a few dozen miles from me would debate you as well.)

I picked that as an example because that was the one the profs used to laugh about... mostly that none of us could draft anything on paper.

My point is, what was focused on in the 60s isn't focused on now, and I wouldn't assume that a modern engineer would have an easy time recreating what was done 40 years ago. Plenty of "difficult" math might be recorded (easily whipped up in Excel today, let alone real software), while thoughts and processes that are obvious to an engineer of that era might not be documented.

Comment Saturn V Urban Legend (Score 3, Informative) 922

I hope you're not referring to the "we lost the blueprints to the Saturn V" urban legend.

According to a friend that did a stint in high level strategy at NASA, that's not really an urban legend. When the project was shelved, the documents were more or less destroyed. Our Shuttle launch capacity isn't the same as then, and we really don't have the capacity to just "put err up." It's not that the blueprints are gone, one presumes that a certain level of that was archived, and reverse engineering the rest of the tech wouldn't be the issue, but you are right about the industrial base.

Also, changing environmental and work conditions would prevent just throwing together the Saturn V. Also, engineers of today don't have the same skill sets as back then. I never learned drafting, the core of engineering then. The archived records would presumably let skilled engineers recreate the project, but we don't have the same skills. Reorienting NASA for the Mars mission was a complete reorg of most of the agency, and a LOT of the work is recreating our technology from the space race with modern techniques and materials, because the old stuff doesn't exist.

Same reason you can't buy a 57 Chevy new... it's not that GM couldn't make a similar truck, but with modern environmental and CAFE standards, you couldn't recreate the classics, even if all the plans were there, and the guys working the lines are trained for robotic factories, you couldn't just recreate the 57 lines.

Comment It may help... (Score 1) 740

In the past year, I've bought two new cars (well, one new, and one 7500 mile used car)... the cars we unloaded were 10 years old and falling apart. The first one was sold to basically be chopped for parts when the dealership offered $500 on a trade in, and the second one was traded in for $750... cars depreciate towards 0 within 8-10 years, despite a life span of 15 - 20 years... in those back years, used car dealerships make a lot of money, because you can buy for $500 and sell for $1200 - $2000.

Getting these credits in there will clobber that part of the used car market... except most of the customers are teenagers/immigrants buying their first car. This could get people to buy newer cars... get trade ins from those of us that normally run our cars into the ground (a one time opportunity to get $2500 + the trade in value prompts people to move) and might help get cars sold.

Given the pathetic business models of the big 3 on cars, particularly fuel efficient ones (they lose money there, make it on luxury sedans and SUVs), and I'm not sure how getting people to buy fuel efficient cars HELPS the big 3... but at least this plan HELPS ordinary, low income tax payers (and eccentric upper income tax payers) and indirectly helps the Big 3, instead of the other way around.

Comment Hamas doesn't even need to be peaceful (Score 1) 951

Hamas doesn't even need to pick a peaceful means of resolving disputes, they can continue to be a militant resistance. They just can't act like crazed lunatics.

Israel has chosen a violent solution to their problem: Hamas Rockets. They didn't ask, bribe, etc., they are bombing. Violence is acceptable in international disputes.

The problem with Hamas is that they are crazed thugs. They used to "retaliate." If Israel took out one of their important people, they launched a wave of crap at Israel, and the tit-for-tat system caused a someone uneasy truce... Israel would occasionally take out a major Hamas person, and Hamas would blow up a pizza shop/disco hall... or Hamas would see a target of convenience and hit Israel, who would counter attack. That lasted for years.

The problem is that Hamas decided that they were not interest in generally tranquil relations with the occasional period of innocent deaths, they needed a real war with Israel, so they adopted a policy of continual rocket attacks. Instead of waves of attacks when they had some invented cause, they would rocket daily. Eventually they would strike a nerve with Israel, Israel would attack, and they would get the war they needed. They needed a war because they wanted to be the big bad resistance, a crown that Hezbolah grabbed in 2006.

But Hamas has become the crazy thugs of the area, just attacking daily. They aren't looking for anything other than death and destruction, or there would be some sort of meaningful methodology to what is going on.

Comment Elections have consequences, they will get a law (Score 2, Insightful) 230

The entertainment industry was an extremely enthusiastic and early backer of Barack Obama. When he needed large masses of money to make abandoning the finance system smart, they were ponying up millions for him, in a single night, so he didn't have to do multiple big fundraisers. The Democratic Party has been a heavy recipient of financial support from them. Unions supplied the GOTV manpower for the party, even if Senator Obama built his own network as well, and the entertainment industry, trial lawyers, and other big money components like Wall Street (Wall Street has been 2:1 Democrat since the Party and Street realized under Clinton that a careful tax and regulation policy can snuff out competition, raising stock prices, even if you have to pay more in taxes).

There are many positive aspects to Sen. Obama's election and becoming President in 11 days. There may be some positive aspects of the enlarged Democratic majority in Congress (I hate large majorities in Congress, because if you don't need moderates in both parties, the wing nuts are in charge).

But don't pretend that pro Entertainment legislation, laws that make more things civil torts as enforcement, and business regulations that somehow entrench the oligopolies that most of the S&P 500 firms operate in, and protect the existing financial sector players at the expense of smaller competition isn't part of the equation.

When the GOP gets power, the religious right gets bones on a bunch of abortion related policies (funding orgs, etc.), the military industrial complex gets Fed, defense contractors get big contracts, etc.

But, if you expect the new administration and Congress to be supportive of the anti-copyright ideals of Slashdot, you are simply ignoring who butters the Democratic Parties bread.

Comment Re:-1, flamebait (Score 1) 951

The ONLY reason that isreal hasnt just simply walked into and wiped gaza off the map to build their own stuff is simply the fact that hamas is there.

Really? Hamas dates back to 1982, Israel has held the greater Gaza City area since 1967... in those 15 years, were the Palestinians wiped off the map?

Settlement in Gaza wasn't really popular, because it's in the middle of nowhere. The "strategic" settlements have always been a small minority of the settlements, people really committed to greater Israel, and mostly a religious zionist population looking for cheap land for large families and the ability to work the land.

Most of the Israeli population centers in the disputed territories are in a small ring around Jerusalem... because people commute from there to the nation's capital.

If the Palestinians wanted a state, and came out and set, "We offer peaceful living, we want Gaza, and the land on the West Bank of the Jordan except major population centers around Jerusalem, to replace Jordan's control of Muslim religious sites in Jerusalem, and will agree to small Jewish section of Hebron in return for a small Palestinian controlled section of Jerusalem, and the right of return is the right to return to Palestinian areas," you'd have peace tomorrow. That's not so far off from what is possible, and Israel could agree to it in a heart beat.

Instead, it's all about "resistance." They don't even know what they are resisting anymore, but they've raised generations of their people on hate and death worship, and they don't even have reasonable goals. Israel has spent 17 years getting the people ready for a two state solution, the Palestinian leadership still claims all of Mandate Palestine west of the Jordan river.

Comment Re:Fighting Cultures, Not Religions (Score 0, Flamebait) 951

Israel is clearly violating the firm international law against collective punishment. It is killing and intimidating an entire population to punish it for the crimes of a few. If you think that this type of behaviour is acceptable, then I presume you also think that September 11 was acceptable insofar as the US has not exactly been an angel in its activities in the Middle East and therefore it was acceptable for a group from that region to exact revenge on defenceless US civilians? No? How odd.

No, collective punishment is when a militant hides in a city, and rather than risking troops to flush them out, you carpet bomb the city. "Intimidating the population," "crimes of the few," the government of Gaza is Hamas... defacto since they ousted the PA, and quasi-legally since Hamas's legislative electoral victory was based on dominating (70%+) the votes in Gaza. The blockade is legal because Israel is in a state of belligerency with Hamas run Gaza.

Until Israel removes all illegal settlements and withdraws to its original borders, it will not have the moral high ground in this debate. If it does that and is subsequently attacked, then it will have my full sympathy and will be justified in limited and properly targeted retaliation.

What is magical about the 1966 borders? What makes them legitimate? Or do you want to go back to 1948 (Egypt and Israel did a small land swap between the wars, which Hamas originally claimed that the Gaza withdrawal was incomplete. Or do you mean the UN Partition plan, rejected by the Arab side? Israel has NEVER had a recognized eastern border... the 1948 armistice line was an armistice demarkation, NOT a legal boder... and with the withdrawal from Gaza, Israel IS within it's pre-1967 borders in the disputed area.

Whenever Israel gives up land to "get the moral high ground," they get attacked from that land, and critics conveniently forget that they gave up that land. Israel retreated from Gaza, and rockets rained down ever since, so why on earth should they withdraw from land where rockets could hit major population and economic centers like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Take a trip to Israel one time, IT ISN'T THAT big, without passage through Judea and Samaria (which you really don't have), the country has a choke point where it is too narrow to be safe. Israel, grabbing Gaza, cut it in half. When Jordan last launched an attack (1967), they tried to split the country in two. That's a dangerous situation without a reason to believe that it will be peaceful.

Comment Re:Coherent plan vs. terrorism (Score 3, Insightful) 951

There are things intrinsic in the Jewish and Islamic religions that make it difficult to tolerate the existence of the other. For the orthodox Jew, something like a mosque on top of the temple mount is going to be pretty annoying, wouldn't you say? Furthermore, in the Old Testament, the Jews were commanded to not allow any false religion in their lands, no other gods, etc.

Correct, however, Islam isn't a problem. RAMBAM ruled that Islam wasn't worshiping of false gods or idolatry, and therefore a valid Noachide faith. While Ashkenazi law doesn't really deal with Islam, Sephardic law generally follows RAMBAM, and in theory for land based issues, Sephardic law governs Israel because it's in the Sephardic area. Ashkenazi customs don't dispute RAMBAM's ruling, so there is ZERO problem, under Orthodox Judaism, for Muslims to live and dwell within the land referred to as Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel, basically Jewish lands).

The Mosque on top of the Temple Mount is a separate issue, mostly because it's inconveniently located where the Third Temple will stand. However, without an unblemished red heffer, you can't purify people to enter the holiest areas, so under Orthodox law, Jews can't enter there. So while Orthodox Jewish law may prohibit the Dome of the Rock, nobody can really do anything about it, so it's an academic issue.

Regarding Christianity, there is no issue with non-Jews worshiping Jesus as messiah. There is a question of whether the worship of the trinity, statues of saints (in Catholic Churches), renders Christianity idolatry... but no ruling that it is... the the rule of thumb is not to enter a Church, in case it IS idolatry, but that the non Jewish Christians inside it aren't necessarily engaged in idolatry so the rules regarding idolatry don't apply either.

Now I have ZERO clue what the law says regarding a Hindu Temple setting up shop in Israel, but that's WAY above my pay grade. If you want real explanations, and not a very lay explanation on Slashdot, consult your local Orthodox Rabbi.

Any issues that lay Jews have with Christianity isn't theological in nature, but rather a series of rulings during centuries of Christian persecution, which likely colored the judgment of the Ashkenazi Rabbis.

Slashdot Top Deals

They laughed at Einstein. They laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown. -- Carl Sagan

Working...