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Comment Re:This says two things to me (Score 1) 150

Suppose Congress decided that all ISPs should be taxed at a 95% rate. Are you really going to claim that they would be better off (as a group) buying routers than lobbying against that?

All industries lobby, usually through trade associations. Would Congress pass a totally unrealistic taxation bill like you describe or aggressively pursue the industry for heavy regulation, you'd be right that lobbying would (if it worked out) be more beneficial than R&D or some other form of business investment.

But if you imagine a competitive market with 10 sellers of goods, none of which has more than a 20% market share, it's more sensible to spend money on business investments which make you more competitive. Say Company A from that market decided to lobby for some special tax break instead of upgrading their plant or R&D, there's all kinds of risks they will get *nothing* for their money and their products or systems fall behind their competitors.

Comment Re:A stronger signal? (Score 1) 168

Do they actually relay transmit radio broadcasts from other radio broadcasts anymore? Like picking up a distant 92.5 station and retransmitting it locally on 101.3 or something? I would think they would have a microwave uplink or a terrestrial data link these days to any transmitter, and not rely on the signal from a distant broadcast.

Comment Re:This Just In! (Score 1) 247

Point being - half the kids in college are just there because that's what they were supposed to do next - they're not trying to better themselves,

That's the big problem -- college is just a stop on life's course where you collect the signal flag of a degree that says you should be hired for a job. Most people, even the "serious" students with professional degree destinations like medicine, dentistry or law, are just there for the vocational path and not because they care about learning anything.

If we had some other way of providing vocational training to students for white collar jobs besides "college", we could probably cut out the people just sleepwalking through to get a corporate job.

I'd like to see a college outright ban laptops in classes in favor of good old notebooks and pens. I think there's a cognitive reinforcement that comes from actually handwriting notes, more so than typing them -- I learned more from lectures and note taking than almost any other source in college.

And there's also the cost reduction angle -- if the University doesn't do laptops in classrooms, then it doesn't need to spend a zillion dollars blanketing every classroom with enough wifi to satisfy 150 people or remodeling lecture halls to make them laptop friendly.

Comment Re:Messenger- why? (Score 3, Insightful) 71

They've made it increasingly hard on mobile to read messenger messages without the dumb app. I don't get very many and I usually just delete them and contact the person in another medium. The people who insist on using it, I just delete their messages and when they get annoyed about why I'm not responding them I tell them I don't use it.

I don't actually understand why it has to be a separate app, probably just another part of the global domination game I guess.

Comment Re:Glad (Score 1) 233

I think Apple's big breakthrough was that it was all screen. Until that point every PDA Phone was half keyboard, half screen and on the iPhone you had a "giant" screen which seemed even bigger and more useful with pinch zoom and scrolling.

Comment Re:Uh, what? (Score 1) 75

I'd guess this is some kind of a management layer that enables portability for Hyper-V workloads between Azure and on-site Hyper-V at a minimum, but maybe it's also some collection of VMs that will also run other Azure services and allows them to migrate to Azure, too.

I think this is probably a pretty decent idea, personal feelings about Microsoft software not withstanding. I think a lot of people are looking for easy portability of Windows VMs and Microsoft software services between on-premise and cloud.

Comment Re:How many "new" smokers are there? (Score 1) 410

It's funny, but yes. I agree the changes in laws have been effective, so effective that at this point I don't think more of them will accomplish any meaningful further improvement in smoking reduction.

I also think that advocacy groups with money don't like to decide they have achieved victory, they have to keep fighting the fight or they lose money and disappear. So you have non-smoking groups looking to perpetuate stop smoking movements not because there's an increase in smoking but because the organization needs its enemy to exist.

Comment How many "new" smokers are there? (Score 4, Interesting) 410

The attitude towards smoking has changed so much in my lifetime. When I was in high school (80-85), the area around the door to the student parking lot was the semi-official smoking area. Students could openly smoke without any problems. The teacher lounges were a haze of smoke. The only real restrictions on smoking were restaurants had to offer a "non-smoking" section, bars could be all smoking. Private offices were often OK for smoking, even the downtown office building I worked in circa 1993 still had some accommodation for smoking (smoking lounge, departments could set their own smoking policy -- most banned it totally, but two allowed it, and a couple more allowed it after hours).

Now, it's totally different. No smoking in any restaurant or bar, most buildings ban smoking with a large distance of their doors, pretty much any public place has no smoking at all. Even the parks have banned "tobacco use" (which IMHO is kind of ridiculous, but OK, less litter and the picnic table zone is smoke free). Unless you want to smoke in your own home (most rentals are no-smoking) or in your own car, you're pretty much out luck for smoking.

So I'm kind of curious how many new smokers there are given how inconvenient it is to smoke, especially if you're under 21 or a teenager. Plus there are all the vaping options, which seem like they would be way more attractive (good flavors, little odor so you can get away with it in places you could never smoke). And let's not forget the cost, with all the new taxes, a pack of cigarettes is like $8.

I would think that the rate of adoption for cigarettes would be low enough at this point that new enforcement measures would mostly be for show or a waste of effort. I also wonder if some of the new laws aren't an effort by "stop smoking" organizations looking for fresh PR to keep funding going when it already seems like they could just close shop and declare victory.

Comment Re:Braess' paradox Another possible reason (Score 1) 245

I watch this. Every. Single. Day. And the person who wants to pass never gets very far, not because some slow driver is in their way, but because the traffic is beyond the road capacity. Passing one arbitrary slower driver simply presents them with another driver in front of them, probably who wants to go as fast or faster than they do, ad infinitum.

The traffic level is simply beyond the capacity of *both* lanes. You couldn't maintain the "passing" lane free for passing because if it was empty enough to pass, people would do just that -- pass, and keep passing without merging back. And technically they would have an argument for staying in that lane because they would indeed be passing all the traffic in the right lane. The net result is you'd eventually have done what happens organically, filled both lanes to the road's capacity to carry them.

There's only a passing lane to the extent that the roadway can carry all the cars in the right lane(s) without slowing down. Once the right lane slows beyond some level, people do start passing, eventually half of them -- until the roadway is full.

Comment Re:Braess' paradox Another possible reason (Score 1) 245

The problem around here seems to be that a safe stopping distance between you and the car in front of you is invitation to a weaver to change lanes, and usually results in an unsafe following distance, requiring everyone to slow down.

IMHO, you shouldn't change lanes unless the gap you're merging into is some multiple of the safe following distance of the cars you're merging between. This prevents the rear car from braking to slow down to re-create the safe following distance.

I also think that safe following distances create buffers that reduce the need for braking to maintain following distances. If all you have to do is slow slightly (ie, reduce accelerator pressure) without braking, it seems to create less chain reaction braking.

Comment Re:False Scarcity (Score 1) 245

That's how demand pricing works and that's how it works here, too.

As demand increases, the price is supposed to increase to cut demand. The higher prices should force people for whom the additional dollars aren't worth the additional speed to not use the express lane.

Knowing what I do about Atlanta roads, my guess is the congestion is so bad that the price ceiling for a lot of drivers is very high and they are willing to pay a large sum to stay in that lane.

There's also the question of casual users. In Minnesota, there's no user fee to participate in the FastPass program. I have a FastPass but seldom use the lanes, so my long-term cost is pretty low over time. But when I do use it, I generally disregard the spot price of using it as it doesn't really affect my long-term costs and I judge it worth the $10 or $20 (although I have seldom seen the price get that high).

If the system is free to use, then casual users may be more inclined to accept high occasional fees, undermining the effectiveness of demand pricing.

Comment Re:Braess' paradox Another possible reason (Score 1) 245

Still, you can't avoid the problem that during periods of congestion all the lanes end up full. Keeping one lane mostly empty wouldn't seem to accomplish much but reduce total capacity and push congestion back.

And it does nothing for situations where the entire freeway splits in two to go different directions, in many cases if you're not in that half of the freeway a half-mile or more before the split, you're not easily getting into that half.

I will say that the passing lane concept should be followed fairly religiously on rural portions of the highway where congestion isn't an issue. It's urban areas with dubious designs and high congestion where it seems problematic.

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