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Comment Re:Riiiiight (Score 1) 144

Forget about teaching your children not to do it, we`ll just create another useless device to offset parenting skills and common sense.

If your plan requires a large number of people to have parenting skills or common sense, or any other virtue, your plan will fail. If it requires people to be vile, stupid animals, you'll probably get get much better results. If it only requires that people breathe from time to time, it's a very good plan.

9.6 / 10 people suck. You know that if you've ever been in traffic. It's not fixable, and it never will be. Work around it.

(This is not an endorsement of this article's stupid system. It's stupid.)

Comment Re:Too little competition is also bad ... (Score 1) 626

I'm sure that's great for the people receiving money they didn't earn. Why is that worthwhile to Rovio? Or for anyone who actually earns his paycheck?

When Rovio Ireland realizes that contracting Rovio Finland is more expensive than contracting Rovio Pakistan, the former employees from Finland will think it was very worthwhile.

But that's only the healthy ones. The ones who were lazy enough to get sick were already pretty much fine with it.

Comment Re:To fund prevention of misbehavior (Score 1) 897

The problem here isn't transport energy costs as much as zoning regulations that ban home gardening.

That's absolutely ridiculous. You want 3 million people in Chicago, in addition to having 1 or 2 full time jobs, to also grow their own food. And be good enough at it to survive. In their 3 foot by 2 foot patch of dirt. OK, those 4 cucumbers ought to sustain them for lunch on August 6th. 364 days to figure out.

Comment Re:Already seen in practice (Score 3, Interesting) 130

Nissan Altimas have the MPG meter, and I notice I do try to keep it as high as I can when I have it on (though I rarely do. There's more important info screens on there, and for some reason they decided to make the fonts on each one huge so you can't put them all on at once).

But I just wish we could get an accurate gas gauge. If people (me, at least) could tell that this trip used 2.168 gallons, they'd know it also cost $8 and they might think about doing things differently. For now, all you know is that your last ten trips used something like 3/8ths of a tank. And a tank in this car is, uh... 18.3 gallons? Maybe? Times 3/8ths is, uh... Fuck it. If I need gas I'll get gas.

A real-time meter that says your flooring it and slamming on the brakes every 10 seconds just cost you 0.2 gallons over 30 seconds (or whatever) might make people a little more conservative.

Comment Re:Data corruption? (Score 2) 191

Obviously I have no idea what happened in your case, but it gave me an interesting thought. If you have thousands of stolen credit cards (or even just one) but are afraid of getting caught using them, making thousands of other people unknowingly use stolen credit cards by changing their stored data would make for some fantastic plausible deniability.

Comment Re:What the hell? (Score 3, Insightful) 274

Hitting the disk every 10m incurs a performance penalty.

Not necessarily. If nothing else is using the disk and you spawn a thread to do nothing but sleep 10ms, seek to a semi-random spot on the disk, and write "Hey, hard drive, what's up?" you will have no noticeable performance problems until something else needs the drive.

You could do nonsense math in a loop in a background thread, which in a multi-core system would heat the processor up good and toasty without any real performance hit as long as the other 3 cores are idle.

Neither of those would actually ever happen, but functionally equivalent operations implemented by incompetent boobs could do something similar. To a lesser extent, even a competent programmer, knowing that normally there's a ton of computational power to spare, might not give a dang that his function is sucking up 20% more CPU than it needs to.

Comment Re:awful, awful awful awful (Score 1) 293

Everyone assumes the speed limit will be exceeded by 5 - 10 mph, including those who set it. Its main purpose is to generate municipal funding through what is essentially a random tax, and to ensure that traffic doesn't go much more than 5 - 10 over the number posted on the side of the road, 'cause that number plus 10 is usually about what's actually safe.

Adhering to the speed limit as though it's set by God is not virtuous, it's just annoying. Please move over for people that want to get past you. If they're creating a life-threatening situation, you'll know it no matter what the sign on the side of the road says. Feel free to call 911.

Comment Annoying as hell (Score 1) 395

The first thing I do when a phone operator robot asks me to say "English" for English or "Espanol" for Espanol, I push all the buttons to see if I can get to a number-based menu, or at least hurt the robot's ears. Saying "English" and waiting for it to confirm that I said English is not faster or more convenient than hitting 1. It's not scary, but it's a computer, and I'm not going to pretend it's not.

Saying, "Open a command prompt," is in no way more convenient, faster, or easier than slamming the mouse to the lower left, clicking, and typing cmd.exe. Having it say, "OK, here's a command prompt," afterward would just be annoying.

Maybe I'm just not picturing the right use case.

Comment Re:Tone-deaf President (Score 4, Insightful) 1026

If spent properly, $16 billion will come back as tax income directly (by spent properly, I mean "if you have a bank account in Ireland, there's no need to apply for the funds, contractor). After contractor profits and material cost, probably $10-ish billion of that will go to guys actually doing work. Those people will no longer be unemployed, making a significant dent in the unemployment rate.

On top of than that, since this money goes largely to people without money, that money will get spent quickly, meaning products will be bought, businesses will be kept afloat by those sales, and those businesses will lay fewer people off by the truckload. Hopefully someone can convince them to spend it on things with a Made In America stamp.

The investment will likely mostly pay for itself when the lines are leased to private companies to run the lines after they're built.

The American people benefit by the additional infrastructure.

This is exactly how government should spend money. But obviously that's a huge amount of money and its application should be careful, thoughtful, and efficient. That's usually where these things go awry; they let private business tell them "what they need" instead of hiring an insanely over-qualified team to actually manage the job with Uncle Sam's interests in mind.

Comment Re:could it be scaled up (Score 1) 170

20km is 140km short of low earth orbit. Though you'd have to talk to someone with more structural engineering knowledge than I have to know how impractical a 20km tall tower is this week. And someone with more rocket science knowledge to tell you if this scheme of whatever quantity of fuel this would offload is of any benefit at all.

As for nanotubes, it's my understanding that they have excellent tensile strength but poor compressive strength, making them useful for a "hanging" space elevator but useless for a very tall tower.

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