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Comment Re:Hmmm. (Score 2) 702

I grew up in the city and moved out to the suburbs. While local activists in my current town have marked a lot of bike lanes, I don't see them getting much use; if you go out on any particular day you might see one or two cyclists using them. But I took a detour through the old neighborhood recently, and was astonished the degree to which bicycling has caught on there. Driving over the course of about a mile I must have seen at least fifty cyclists using the sharrow lanes.

The point is, to get people in my current neighborhood using bikes instead of cars, you'd have to invest serious money; the pavement and traffic impact alone in my old urban neighborhood probably pays for the lane markings. But where would the money be spent? Probably where there are already a lot of cyclists. It needs to be spent, ironically, where people find cycling inconvenient or dangerous.

Not far from my house is eight miles of bike path that link five communities with about 200,000 population. But the path is fractured into four fragments; getting from one to the other is a tricky and dangerous; the gaps amount to maybe 150 yards in total. At the end of the bike path there's another bike path that leads to the town where I grew up, an industrial suburb where 80,000 people live and quite a few people from the five communities work. It's only 700 feet away as the crow flies, but getting there by bike takes three miles of riding along a major traffic artery. That city has an extensive bike trail network, and you can get anywhere easily on a combination of quiet side streets and rail-converted trails.

If every cyclist in these five communities paid $12, perhaps we could close that roughly 1000 feet of gap, creating a single trail network linking over a quarter million people. Thousands would potentially be able to bike to work across a path where there are currently no good direct mass transit connections. City dwellers would have easy bike access (granted after a ten mile ride) to the beach, and to a 2200 acre forest.

Comment Re: Good (Score 1) 702

30,000 pounds is on the high side for a modern bus. My local transit authority's buses weigh in at 27500, but then you do have to factor in the weight of passengers.

In fact transportation planners are quite aware of the pavement impact issue; it's one of several factors they have to balance. Increasing the number of passengers on the bus increases the pavement impact but decreases the air pollution impact; reducing the passenger load (e.g., with more frequent service) reduces the pavement impact and improves service, but increases air pollution.

Probably trackless trolleys are the champ here, with no fuel tanks, transmission, and a modest battery to travel short distances.

The local transit authority is introducing electric buses that are articulated, tri-axle affairs, probably because of the mass of battery involved. But possibly smaller, more frequent electric buses would be a better choice, at least from the pavement standpoint. Possibly when autonomous buses become practical.

Comment Re:Hmmm. (Score 2) 702

I'm happy to pay my $30 annual fishing license, which pays for conservation and access programs, as well as a fish stocking program I'm not particularly partial to but serves a purpose for young anglers. It costs less than the sport fishing conservation organizations I belong to, and probably does more.

I'd be happy to pony up $12 on a bike, but I do see some difficulties. Money spent on access or conservation anywhere in the state benefits me as a fisherman, but bicycle infrastructure spending largely benefits local cyclists. So it's quite possible that some people will be paying the tax and seeing no benefit out of it.

One thing that might be useful is driver education. Sharrows are appearing all over the place, but I don't think most drivers understand what they mean. There's also widespread misunderstanding about some basic things like how a motorist is supposed to make a right turn after a stop across a bike lane (you're supposed to move into the bike lane in most jurisdictions; that eliminates the possibility of cutting of the cyclist).

Comment Re:Sell! Sell! Sell! (Score 2) 116

However, new products are not an indicator for success. Sales is!

Not exactly; and sales does not necessarily equal good cash flow, although it contributes to it. You can nearly always generate more sales by spending more money on promotions -- more sales, more cash going in, but often even more cash going out.

What's more, sales and profit aren't necessarily the same thing; you can easily go bankrupt while profitable; you can also run a company that loses money for years on end if it has a cash cow.

What businesses need to keep going, day to day, is to meet current obligations (bills they have to pay right away). That's the significance of cash flow. Vendors will always accept cash for debt; getting them to accept a share of *Stranger Things* wouldn't work, although you can get bond holders, investors and banks to in effect do that, all at a price of course.

Having positive cash flow is always good; but burning cash, while always risky, is normal in certain circumstances (e.g. startups or companies acting like startups). So the big question isn't whether Netflix was cash negative, but whether cash flows are proceeding as planned.

If this is the cash flow situation Netflix expected, the CEO is right to point to things like the products they're developing. That shows that things are indeed proceeding as planned: they were always planning to burn cash over a number quarters to do stuff like that. However if cash inflows that were expected didn't materialize, or if cash outlays occurred that were unexpected, that's just bad. It's not necessarily fatal, however. As long as Netflix can keep paying the bills and is generating *value*, it's possible to engineer some kind of soft landing.

Comment Re:What is the target for these? (Score 1) 114

We're a tiny shop and one of our products is a compression product. Lots of data is processed, and it's worth it to our clients to have beefy hardware, as they run jobs that take hours to complete.

Out top test machine is an Ivy Bridge -era 2 socket workstation that we had Puget Systems custom build for us -. 2x Xeon E7-4650v2 CPUs - 20 cores / 40 threads. Spent over $7K on the CPUs alone.

We're needing a couple more high thread count boxes for our newest product. We're waiting a couple months to see what ThreadRipper systems look like, but almost certainly we're getting one. or two...

Comment Re:Cash used to be dangerous (Score 2) 660

If you do carry a wad of cash, here's a tip from an old-timer: keep the small denominations on the outside. If you have a fat wad of cash with a $20 on the outside, if someone sees you handling it they'll think it's a wad of $20s.

Also, keeping a sacrificial wad is a good idea: all ones with a $20 on the outside. If you're mugged you throw it and run the other way.

Comment Re:My my (Score 2) 221

It happens all the time that the role you play with respect to someone changes what you can do with or to them. For example by default you can have sex with anyone who is willing, but if you're their psychotherapist that's grounds for malpractice and having your licensed revoked.

You can by default gossip about people; any information that came into your hands legally is fair game for passing on. Unless you are that person's lawyer.

Saying that as an employer or prospective employer you're restricted in the ways you can poke around in an employee's private life isn't problematic in principle. The problem it presents is practical: you can only catch people if they're stupid and blab about it. In general as a hiring manager you should never discuss the reason you didn't hire a candidate with that candidate, if you don't want your justification challenged in a court of law (or even public opinions). If asked, you give the candidate a vague, non-negatable justification, e.g., "We felt there were other candidates who were a better fit."

So what a law like this does is enables foolish employers to hire foolish employees.

Comment Re:Ultimately this failure belongs to science (Score 4, Insightful) 247

The failure in this case isn't science. There is no scientific question about getting to Mars with SLS and Orion. The failure here is engineering.

Cost is an integral part of engineering. Many, many unfeasible engineering projects are physically possible. The art of engineering is finding approaches to achieve goals given the resources available, counting time as a resource of course.

So what they've been doing, while technically impressive, is just bad engineering: spending resources on an approach which won't achieve the objective within the given constraints, based on the wishful thinking that people will suddenly want to spend lots more money on the project in the future.

Sometimes when you can't achieve an objective, the smart thing is to find an alternative objective that's worth doing in itself and also leaves you better positioned to work on the original objective.

Comment Re:Maybe... (Score 1) 165

This may be true, but the evidence for coffee's statistical association with liver health and plausible mechanisms of action have been well-established for years now. You can even measure the dose-related effects of coffee consumption on markers of liver function in small-scale experiments. What's unclear is the clinical significance of those effects; but any attempt to determine that is bound to run afoul of some counfounding factors, but in context those factors aren't all that likely to be significant.

Evidence has to be interpreted in the context of other evidence; evidence forms a kind of network -- specifically a Bayesian network. A priori probabilities always inform the interpretation of any study.

Comment Re:It is your job (Score 4, Insightful) 287

I agree that making employees feel good isn't an end in itself -- particularly making them feel good all the time. There are times when you,as boss, have to make certain employees feel bad. "Leadership" is just another word for "emotional manipulation".

That said, working under competent and effective leadership tends to lead to success and that tends to be rewarding for people. If everyone around you is worthless, the problem is almost certainly you.

After decades in business, I am heartily sick of put-upon managers. It's almost like bragging: despite my good-for-nothing employees, look at how I'm muddling through! And I always think, "why not hire better employees?" It's not that hard: pay a little more, choose a little more carefully, treat the good performers with respect and regularly clear out the deadwood. And yet, while I've met countless put-upon managers in my career, I can count on one hand the ones who made any kind of concerted, systematic effort to hire and retain the best people, and all of them were very successful.

The only conclusion I can make is that those armies of put-upon managers are actually more comfortable with dysfunction and mediocrity. Most bosses are their own worst enemies; which means as a group they're exactly like most other people, just in a better position to force their personal emotional drama on others.

Comment Re:Why is this a dumb idea really?? (Score 1) 389

Why would it not be a good idea for both countries to share information as to potential ongoing attacks, and even have a similar kind of hotline akin to the Red Phone to have a dedicated 24x7 contact to ask if one country was really under attack from another, as it might appear...

Sure, but that's not what was being proposed. You've rationalized the President's notion into something a lot more reasonable sounding. The president was talking about enlisting Russian aid in developing an impenetrable barrier (I laughed out loud when I heard that) to foreign election meddling. Making the Russians an equal partner to that would be be like making the Mafia a partner in your anti-organized crime effort. In fact the FBI did something very much like that in Boston with Whitey Bulger.

It's not that we Americans are innocent of meddling in other peoples' elections; but if we want to secure our own making the Russians our partner in that is just plain stupid. They are the number one meddler in their own elections. There is no mutual interest here to be secured. At least not between Americans as a whole and the Russian regime.

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