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Comment Re:This Is A Bad Idea (Score 1) 516

You say the police will nail you for 35 in a 25, this implies they will let you off for 34.

Laurel, Delaware gave me a ticket for 30 in a 25. I was talking in terms of certainty. I wouldn't put it past my own town's police to give me a ticket for less than 10 over. I generally try to drive SLOWER than the speed limit when I know they're around. (Particularly when they're stuck behind me. Yeah, I'm that guy.)

Also, your use of percentages is kinda pointless here. If I set a speed limit of 2 and you're going 4, that's 200% of the maximum speed, but kinda irrelevant from a safety perspective. (Unless you're driving the crawler-transporter at Kennedy Space Center...)

Now 55 vs 80, that's a different matter altogether.

Comment Re:The difference (Score 1) 516

My point about "the number or the needle position" still stands: a (usually) two digit number is a lot faster to register than text. Your altimeter says "5.8", not "five point eight"

Usually, perhaps. Not for me. Again; it's the way my brain works. Digital clocks since like age 11. Trust me, I put a lot of thought into it. When you're losing 1,000 feet per 6 seconds, it's important to chose your instrumentation wisely. :)

More to your point about the GPS, I'm generally not reading text. I'm looking at a 3D graphical representation of the road, and occasionally an arrow with a number indicating which direction I will turn at what distance. At least for me, it's pretty easy to perceive useful information from it relatively quickly.

As to your other point: you could slow down to the point where you can keep your eyes on the road ...

We're entering circular argument territory here, but I'll re-iterate: When you're legally compelled to operate your vehicle at or below a specific speed, you are obligated to be very aware of the actual speed at which you are operating it. Guesswork isn't acceptable at that point. That means keeping an eye on the speedometer. No, not staring at it. But consulting it periodically. (Apropos to the subject, I usually just glance over at the digital readout on my window-mounted GPS. For me, it's much safer and easier that way.) Personally, I'd far prefer to just be able to operate the vehicle at a reasonable speed and ignore the speedometer, and often that's exactly what I do. But when there's heavy enforcement, I'll comply with their demands, even if it means decreasing my safety margin a little bit by diverting my attention. *shrug*

The point being, there are all sorts of distractions related to operating the vehicle. Navigation (GPS-based or otherwise) is one of them. Dashboard gauges are another. It's just something that must be accepted as a part of driving.

Bottom line is that GPS helps make me safer. Risk trade-off, yes; it's a slight distraction. But it also helps me avoid having to do crazy "oh, crap, I need to turn left here" lane changes by giving me plenty of warning about where I need to be, it keeps me from having to look at a map or try to read my handwriting on a post-it note, and even gives me my vehicle's speed without having to look down at the dash. Relative risk.

I'm going to bed now. :)

Comment Re:The difference (Score 1) 516

You can (or at least should) register the number or needle position in a few milliseconds.

Nope. I'm exactly the opposite. For instance, I'm a skydiver who actually switched to a digital altimeter because I would find myself staring at a needle trying to figure out what the pointy thing was telling me about my altitude. Glancing at my altimeter now I see "5.8" and know what it means immediately. Otherwise, I need to scan the face, determine what numbers the needles is near, get a sense of how close it is to the number, etc. etc. It's just the way my brain works.

Also: if you can't avoid unconsciously accelerating while driving through residential neighborhoods, I'd worry about more than speeding tickets. Try learning to drive manual; you end up being much more aware of what your car is doing.

Eh. Two out of 3 of my vehicles are manuals. It's hilly around there, it's tough to maintain a constant speed, and I don't trust my own assessment of my current speed (especially when I switch between a sport bike and an F-250.) I find it humorous the number of folks who have replied to my post essentially telling me that I shouldn't be looking at my speedometer, but instead should just "feel" how fast I'm going. IME that doesn't work so well in court; the judges don't take kindly to the "I didn't THINK I was going that fast" defense. And somehow *I* am the bad driver for not overestimating my ability to maintain at or below a specific speed. *chuckle*

Comment Re:Yeah... except at 35,000ft it's pressurized to (Score 1) 388

If you use a heat exchanger to warm incoming air with outgoing air,

My understanding is that exactly the opposite happens. Because of adiabatic heating, the air being compressed into an aircraft cabin actually needs to be cooled (it's bled off of compressors for the jet engine). At least, that's what I've been told by a few people.

Comment Re:This Is A Bad Idea (Score 5, Insightful) 516

It should be illegal for any screen of any type to be visible to the driver of the vehicle.

What's the difference between a screen displaying operational data (like navigation) or any of the various gauges that you use to operate the vehicle?

For instance, I find myself very distracted by constantly looking down to my speedometer when going through some of the areas around my home where the local police will nail you for 35 in a 25. I'm so (necessarily) fixated on the speedometer, I can't actually *drive*.

GPS devices are FAR safer than the alternatives. I don't know if you remember what the world was like pre-GPS, but it wasn't at all uncommon to have a map unfolded on a seat next to you that you consult from time to time when navigating through unfamiliar territory. A quick glance at a GPS which shows me a 3D representation of the route I need to take hands-down beats several seconds of scanning a map to figure out where I am and where I need to be.

Comment Metcalf's Law (Score 1) 310

What Facebook has over all of the other players is the network effect. Metcalf's Law tells us that everyone is on Facebook because... well, everyone is on Facebook. Yes, when Facebook upset its user base back in September, lots of people created Google+ accounts which are now dormant. BUT... those people now have Google+ accounts. They're not going away. Every time Facebook does something to irritate its user base, more people will create Google+ accounts out of frustration and a desire to "stick it" to Facebook. This has the potential (but is in in no way guaranteed) to iterate enough times that it could reach a tipping point. I don't think it would tip without two things happening: 1.) Google+ changing its experience to make Facebookers feel more at home, and 2.) Facebook doing something boneheaded that infuriates lots of people to vocally switch (after the critical mass has been assembled on Google+).

I think it's very possible, albeit not terribly likely, for us a few years down the road to say: "Facebook who?" Who would have thought that Myspace would have been unseated?

Comment Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (Score 0) 624

Oh, but you really do.

No, you really don't. Your vote won't put Obama in office OR keep him out. So use your one vote to vote for someone who both believes as you do, and has the credibility and history to back it up. (Not to sound like a broken record, but this is a large part of the reason I'm a Paul supporter -- he actually has a long voting history that almost invariably matches his rhetoric.)

Comment Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (Score 3, Funny) 624

And then you still get screwed when the 6 people who voted for the fringe guy are outnumbered by the 100 million who elect SantRomObama.

Are you people not reading what I write? Oh right; of course not. I forgot this is Slashdot... Silly me. Let me respond to your statement by quoting what you replied to:

None of them have a good chance of winning, but that's OK, your vote is so infinitesimally likely to make a difference in the race between the two parties anyway. Vote your conscience, that's the only way to be hold your head high and mutter "I told you so" in 2014. :)

Comment Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (Score 4, Informative) 624

As I said, there will be plenty of candidates out there besides the nominees of the two major parties.

To help you get started, the venerable Wikipedia has a list of some of them:,_2012

Some of them are screwballs, some of them look fairly compelling, particularly for single-issue voters. None of them have a good chance of winning, but that's OK, your vote is so infinitesimally likely to make a difference in the race between the two parties anyway. Vote your conscience, that's the only way to be hold your head high and mutter "I told you so" in 2014. :)

Comment Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (Score 3, Interesting) 624

American Airlines used to be my favorite airline

Why, oh WHY on earth? Maybe it's because my experience with American is largely limited to flying into Haiti and coast-to-coast, but it's invariably a horrendous experience. Especially when compared to carriers like Southwest, who actually "gets" customer service.

In fact, I flew American back in January, and my Facebook status briefly said: "I am not in any way surprised that American Airlines is in bankruptcy."

Comment Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (Score 5, Interesting) 624

Don't blame me - I voted the best that I knew how to try to correct egregious wrongs - blame the politicians.

I'm sorry, but if you were foolish enough in 2008 to see him as anything but what he is -- yet another (Chicago, even!) politician, you're kinda gullible (or, at least, insufficiently cynical.) (Don't worry, I fell for Bush 2000 myself, so I'm right there with you in the gullible camp.)

How am I supposed to vote?!?!?

Well, you could start by figuring out how to vote in the Republican primaries and voting for Paul. If Paul isn't palatable for you, there are plenty of other parties and candidates; chances are very good that you can find someone that you pretty well agree with out there somewhere.

To the sibling poster who claims that you "need to vote for him the next time, too", that's patently ridiculous. There are plenty of candidates for president who actually make a *credible* claim that they'll fight to restore our constitutionally-enshrined rights. Yes, they aren't likely to win, but I swear I'll go all medieval on you if you claim that I am throwing away my vote by voting for someone who believes as I do instead of voting for someone who I disagree slightly less with but is more likely to win.

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