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Comment Re:invite more people in? (Score 1) 547

I've had African Muslim immigrant neighbors. As far as I can tell, they want a safe place to live, a decent job, and modern amenities.

Not really that much of a difference.

Everything is relative. The gap between WASPs (however mythological it may have been depending on the time period in the US) and less desirable immigrants from southern/eastern Europe seemed just as large to the people then as the gap between US and Muslim cultures to you. In 1,000 years or so, you're future doppleganger will probably be arguing that the difference between US/Muslim culture was nothing compared between the difference between US and Alpha Centaurian culture. After all, US citizens and Muslim immigrants have the same number of limbs. :p

Comment Re:Warmer. (Score 1) 138

Your argument, as stated, also applies to getting rid of fire departments. After all, why do people think they should defend houses?

It even applies to basic home maintenance and upkeep. Why reroof a home? You can always just move once the ceiling starts to leak and rot sets in.

A more nuanced view would look at the costs. What's the cost of defending cities versus the costs of relocating cities. What's the value of all the low-lying cities threatened by global warming? How much would it cost to move, rebuilding all of that infrastructure, versus the cost of mitigation?

Comment Re: Russians (Score 1) 206

The nice thing about a claim that Obama (or Bush or Clintob, etc) was the worst president ever is that one can safely ignore the claim and the speaker. We've had 43 people who were presidents since 1789. As rankings go, there are far better candidates for "worst president" than the current living contenders. Buchanan tends to do poorly when assessed by most historians, so I'd suggest him as a starting point for the "worst" president.

Comment Re:Robots (Score 1) 284

I've lived in Virginia. I now live in Washington, where the minimum wage is enormous. Funny, so are the prices. I can't afford anything in Washington. I wish I could move back to VA, where I had a better standard of living: my lower salary stretched much further. I had a gorgeous three bedroom apartment for 700 in Virginia; I have a shitty one bedroom apartment for 1000 here. Food was cheap in Virginia; I skip meals here in Washington to save money.

Are the two linked though? If you're in Washington DC, there's a limited amount of land, which should increase costs across the board.

Contrast with Washington State, which has a similar minimum wage. Yet if I look at rural Washington State Craigslist (Moses Lake, specifically - I presume that's rural enough but I'm not from the West Coast) - I find 2 & 3 bedrooms for under $700.

In my state, if I took what I paid for my small, modest house and went out into a rural area, I could get 4x the square footage for half the price! No minimum wage difference, but there is a difference in how populated each area is.

There is probably some link between minimum wage and higher prices - in both directions. A higher staff salary will bump up the prices slightly, but in an area where the COL is high, wages may be high enough already that there isn't a strong enough opposition to raising the minimum wage. The same holds true for areas with a low COL - wages may be low enough that businesses fight against raising the minimum wage.

Comment Re:Not Your Win 3.1 Solitaire. (Score 4, Informative) 296

PySol Fan Club Edition is free (GPL 3), installs easily, and has a lot of features.

From the webpage:

PySolFC is a collection of more than 1000 solitaire card games. It is a fork of PySol Solitaire.

There are games that use the 52 card International Pattern deck, games for the 78 card Tarock deck, eight and ten suit Ganjifa games, Hanafuda games, Matrix games, Mahjongg games, and games for an original hexadecimal-based deck.

Its features include modern look and feel (uses Ttk widget set), multiple cardsets and tableau backgrounds, sound, unlimited undo, player statistics, a hint system, demo games, a solitaire wizard, support for user written plug-ins, an integrated HTML help browser, and lots of documentation.

Comment Re:Concorde 2.0 (Score 1) 238

The speed limit here is 75mph about 120kmh and it's not uncommon for people to drive 90mph about 145kmh whether it is efficient or not is entirely dependent on the car's design and gearing.

I believe you are mistaken. Drag is the square of velocity, which means at high speeds, drag quickly adds up.

What you're likely thinking of are internal combustion engines (ICE) optimized for a specific RPM at a specific speed (since ICE's efficiencies vary by RPMs) . But regardless of this, drag starts to play a far larger role at higher speeds (depending on the automobile drag coefficient, of course), and thus even if you had a hypothetical gearing designed to run the engine at an efficient RPM at 90mph, the drag would likely more than eliminate any fuel efficiencies gained by the optimal RPM.

Comment Re:A rose by any other name (Score 2) 98

  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • Earth
  • Mars
  • Ceres
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Uranus
  • Neptune
  • Pluton & Charon (double planet)
  • Eris
  • Haumea
  • Makemake
  • 2007 OR10
  • Sedna
  • Quaoar
  • Orcus
  • (307261) 2002 MS4
  • 120347 Salacia
  • Varuna
  • Ixion
  • Chaos
  • Varda
  • +dozens of unnamed more

Now that isn't too hard to remember. But if we're going off planetary scientists, why not include satellites like Titan, which is a captured dwarf planet? Does a planet stop being a planet when it's captured by another?

And what about our own moon? It's far larger than the dwarf planets. It seems to have a similar internal composition to a planet. If earth had disappeared, it would orbit the sun.

What I'm getting at is that classifications are arbitrary. The dwarf planet/planet split is not a horrible division when it comes to classification.

Comment Re:the real admission is peak driving. (Score 1) 285

Depreciation is a way of accouting for the initial cost, not the cost of replacement. Counting both the initial expenditure and depreciation is double-counting.

Perhaps I'm using the wrong term, but there needs to be a budget for replacement cost down the road. This isn't the same as the initial cost.

But to a locality, a residential development is absolutely the most expensive. More residents mean more need for police, schools, and other amenities. Fire department too; a big dense apartment building is the worst. And it's these costs which eat up local budgets.

What's a bigger cost? 100 residents in an apartment building? Or 50 residents spread out among 40 houses? Now obviously those houses collectively have a higher property value (and thus more revenue) than apartments, but once density drops enough, the increased value doesn't make up for the increased costs.

Comment Re:the real admission is peak driving. (Score 1) 285

intractable recession: The US, in general, is a declining superpower and its starting to show. our skin-and-bones transportation budget, crumbling bridges, and pothole ridden highways are so common as to be a feature. A decade of intentional federal gridlock by republicans clammouring for austerity measures in the face of a housing market crisis and educational loan crisis didnt help. and a decade prior our zeal to fight the war without end amen depleated a lot of our reserves from the clinton adminstration that could have been used to shore up what 60 years ago was a mark of american achievement...namely our highway infrastructure.

Actually, the problem isn't so much recession as it is a lack of economic growth. Just being out of a recession isn't enough. We can't afford the roads we're building unless the economy (and the tax revenues) grow at a good rate.

It's a dirty little secret, but our transportation budgets aren't adding up. To oversimplify: Every time we extend infrastructure, we add two drains on budgets. The first is depreciation - basically a way of budgeting for the cost of replacement years down the road. The second is maintenance - budgeting to repair the infrastructure. It's easy to ignore depreciation and kick the can down the road. And it's easy to skimp on maintenance (especially if the results won't be too bad before the next election cycle). Which means we end up building infrastructure where the tax revenues can't adequately fund the ongoing costs of the infrastructure once we remove the other necessary ongoing costs of an expansion (city services such as police & fire, etc).

What's worse is our ongoing style of expansion is frequently fault intolerant. Say you put in a big box store such as Walmart. Big box stores, as a general rule, aren't the best producers of tax revenue per square foot. You're frequently better off with a dense commercial or residential development instead - a tall apartment building, or a bunch of small stores. So already, when you add a big box store, it's not the best bang for the buck. And those big box stores tend to require their own infrastructure - new intersections, sometimes new roads, etc - since they are frequently built on the edge of development. But what's worse is if the big box store goes under - it's hard to find another tenant due to the size of the structure.

If you want to read more about this, I'd recommend either the Strong Towns website, or the American Conservative. The latter may seem odd, since walkable, liveable communities is frequently seen as a liberal idea, but there's a strong fiscal argument for New Urbanism.

Comment Re:Still too expensive (Score 1) 249

Only if you define hauling 4x8 sheets as the purpose. In my area they're used more for hauling trailers, firewood, trash, and numerous other things that are more flexible in their dimensions.

If that's what they are used for in your area, that's the exception rather than the rule in my experience.

The average truck I see isn't hauling anything around. As I said, they are bought not because of utility, but because of a "lifestyle".

Comment Re:Nothing wrong... (Score 1) 371

There is absolutely nothing wrong with "social media". It is the Progressive thought that prevails the Western Culture. Political Correctness places style over substance. Or, speech over actions. Pulling words out of context and the twisting of meaning to suit one's purpose is a long and effective tactic.

Conservative counterexample: The red scare.

Comment Re:Still too expensive (Score 1) 249

The Ranger's not sold in the US because Ford closed the Minnesota plant where they built them and decided not to sell them in the US and the market for small pickups has tanked. Has nothing to do with "rules".

I always figured that pickups in the US was an entirely screwed up market anyways.

Look at an old pickup truck - full size bed and a regular cab. It was a great vehicle for its intended purpose - hauling supplies and gear. The bed was long enough (8') and wide enough (4' between the wheel wells) for 4x8 sheets. The regular cab kept the length down to something manageable.

Now look at what the pickup truck has become - extended and crew cabs are the norm, at the cost of bed space. They aren't about function, but about a lifestyle. Because they are about a lifestyle, they no longer function like a truck.

Comment Re:US South (Score 1) 187

So much for theory of gun states having less crime.

When I looked at the estimated per-capita gun ownership rates by state, and the per-capita homicide rates per state, I didn't find a clear correlation.

Interestingly, it does appear that states with a higher gun homicide rates also have a correlation with higher non-gun homicide rates.

Comment Re:Herbivores dying out? Not cows I hope! (Score 5, Interesting) 146

Though they never explain how every planet in our solar system is warming if it is humans who are causing climate change

Credible citation needed. This claims otherwise:

The basis of this argument is that the sun must be causing global warming and in fact, warming throughout the solar system. There are several flaws in this line of thought. Firstly, the characterisation that the whole solar system is warming is erroneous. Around 6 planets or moons out of the more than 100 bodies in the solar system have been observed to be warming. On the other hand, Uranus is cooling (Young 2001).

Secondly, the theory that a brightening sun is causing global warming falls apart when you consider the sun has shown little to no trend since the 1950s. A variety of independent measurements of solar activity including satellite data, sunspot numbers, UV levels and solar magnetograms all paint a consistent picture. Over the last 35 years of global warming, sun and climate have been moving in opposite directions.

Comment Re:She has a point. (Score 1) 628


I'm seeing the context of the "Lena" image as being a standard test for image processing.

As for art, a lot of it appears to have a sexualized component when it was created (some of it very explicit), but in the context of a class, it's being studied for its place in art history.

So what am I missing? Tell me how a cropped Lena picture is any worse than (say) Goya's The Nude Maja, which Wikipedia notes was probably created to hang in a private collection, and whose subject, just like the Lena photograph, looks directly at the viewer (and unlike the Lena photograph, "Nude Maja" tends not to be cropped).

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