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Comment Re:No smiles in Ohio (Score 1) 265

Interesting, I had not heard of that, and I have an Ohio license (and research these issues quite closely.)

The thing that bugs me is that this is an unnecessary public relations problem for motor vehicle agencies. Ok, so your software sucks and can't do facial recognition on facial expressions.

Take one photographs of a neutral expression for the database.

Take another photograph, if the person wants, where they can have whatever smile they want to print on the license card.

Comment Re:Never rely on a single authentication method. (Score 1) 122

The best authentication has three components:

This is an old mantra that I don't think is believed anymore (except by companies that sell biometric systems of course. :)

Numbers 2 and 3 are essentially the same...they are both something you have. The idea that number 3 is somehow different from number 2 stems from the assumption that biometrics does something special, like it's uncopyable. It's not magical though and it really is just something you have.

Comment Re:Motivation (Score 1) 575

is an exceptionally powerful psychological motivational force

I would have to disagree. After all, go to an urban school district and see how powerful that motivational force is for the students there. Even if you visit a lot of good school districts, you'll find that a lot of the students are motivated to play the game and make their masters happy, more than they are actually sincerely learning.

Comment Re:And the unions are pissed... (Score 1) 575

Teachers do get good benefits, government jobs are like that, they get actual pension plans, which is more an indication that everyone else is getting fucked than one that teachers are getting an unfairly awesome deal

There is some evidence to suggest that, economically speaking, the idea that a significant percentage of the population can just stop working when healthy and live off of savings for ten years is simply unworkable in the big scheme of things. You either need people to save a huge amount during your working life, or you need a huge cohort of young people who are productive to pay for the retirees to live.

This problem hit the private sector earlier, but it is beginning to hit the public sector. Public sector pensions are severely underfunded (particularly since 8% growth has been assumed, which is nothing shortly of ridiculous in this day and age.)

Comment Re:It's around everywhere else, too... (Score 1) 374

You can but I'd argue that is a mistake.

Here's an example: we know that women take the trait of masculinity into account when seeking a partner. Studies have shown that the amount of masculinity is correlated with the health care quality of the country they grew up in. A Jamaican woman is more likely to select a man with masculine features--hoping to pass on nice strong genes to her child to survive the many problems of Jamaica. However a Swedish woman will be more likely to take a less masculine more androgynous man. The androgynous man may not pass on the strongest genes, but that doesn't matter in Sweden. What does matter is that the less masculine man is more likely to be a caring, dependable father, which is a nice boon for young Sven.

Without context, the Swedish woman's decision seems to be a step backward. (It certainly would seem that way from the Jamaican woman's point of view.) But in the context of modern Sweden, it's a movement forward.

Comment Re:It's around everywhere else, too... (Score 1) 374

Any trip to Walmart will convince you that the situation today seems less clear, and obtaining children seems entirely disassociated with the ability to attract a mate.

Perhaps actually Walmart shows the opposite--that evolution is quite alive and well.

If we're saying that there is a group of people who are disadvantaged in some way (I guess the thesis on the table is that the Walmart people are less intelligent than others) then perhaps it makes sense for them to start buying lottery tickets--having lots of children--knowing that any one child of theirs probably won't have great genes (and that because of their lifestyle there is no advantage to that one child if they have no siblings) and may not pass them on, but a bunch of children may pass them on, and besides, there may be a bright child in the bunch.

Comment no frills vehicles are uneconomic (Score 1) 652

Actually I suspect that there would be healthy sales of such a vehicle, it's just that the financials work out poorly. There is just a certain minimum cost for the design and manufacture of a vehicle, and the price of such a vehicle gets too close to larger better equipped vehicles. (The TATA Nano has this problem in India--for just a bit more you get a much better car.) In the US the Nissan Versa is the cheapest car but for a bit more you can get a lot more car.

It's a slice of the market that automakers rather just leave alone.

Comment Re:News to me (Score 1) 672

GM continually sank money into it

And at the same time, they also didn't. They didn't put enough money into designing new models, so in a relatively short period of time the cars were outclassed by rivals. And then GM did the GM thing of going the cheap route, rebadging other GM cars as Saturns. (Some of which were ok, others which you note were crap, but all of which destroyed the brand.)

Comment Re:ask a mechanic (Score 1) 672

First generation of the Odyssey was a terrible POS.

But Mercedes? Really? I know they have improved from the craptastic vehicles they put together in the 2000s, but from the horror stories of new ones I read I'd be terrified to own one.

Keep in mind it's all relative of course. I am a Saab guy and I have found them inexpensive to own and repair, though it requires knowing the right people and where to get parts from.

Comment Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (Score 1) 624

it's a Canadian official, not a US official, that checks your passport. The passport is to help you get permission from the Canadians to enter their country, not to get permission from the US to leave.

This is actually a rather complex example, and your statement requires revision.

The United States unilaterally decided that a passport would be required for land crossings. Canada did not and doesn't give a damn. They'd be happy to let you in with a birth certificate. However because the US now requires a passport to enter the US, Canada has to ensure you have one so that you don't get stuck in Canada for an extended period of time.

Comment Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (Score 1) 624

A driving license is a privilege and can be taken away. ...Ish. The best and truest example of a state privilege is something like a license for a company to mine in a particular area. The state could revoke that willy-nilly.

The state is much more limited on the revocation of a driver's license. They couldn't deny you a license simply because you're fat, or black, or a woman, or because you've had an abortion. Because of that, there is indeed some type of limited right to apply for and hold a license.

Comment Re:Great concept except for .... (Score 1) 488

either Japan nor any Japanese company has the financial solvency to undertake such an effort

Japan is a weird country financially. Government debt is high, however many large companies are sitting on cash and the people of Japan have ridiculously large piles of the stuff even if it's not earning any interest.

Japan probably has $3-4 trillion which needs a home.

Comment Re:Some Context from a Redditor (Score 1) 722

This reminds me of the show Californication. (I'm at the end of season 1.)

During season 1, we see the main character have sex with a girl (whom we can see naked on top of him) and is later revealed to be 16.

The main character is shocked and while he is a womanizer he says that sleeping with a 16 year old is wrong. It's an exercise to the reader if he really believes that or just chooses not to (the show is at best indifferent--because we got to see a "sixteen year old's" breasts bouncing up and down as they were having sex.) We later encounter another character who truly is bad--he takes underaged students to his house and drugs them up (though it appears that they do so voluntarily.)

The point here is that context I guess is important. But moreover, the show is hypocritical if it's trying to make us dislike the guy who drugs up underaged girls for sex, if it's also trying to titillate us with sex with 16 year olds anyway.

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