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Comment Backfire (Score 4, Interesting) 105

However, the protest seems to have massively backfired, with Uber reporting a colossal 850 per cent rise in the number of people who had downloaded the company's app in wake of the protest.

I wonder how much of this is attributable to the Streisand Effect. I expect that with the generic name Uber it didn't stand out as meaning anything to most non-tech consumers (or even many tech-types for that matter) but the protests made the news and made taxi service harder to come by, planting the name in consumers' minds and giving them a reason to use it.

The smartest thing that the cabbies could have done was to step up their game as far as their service, doing as good a job as possible to show why they're professionals and deserve to be paid as such, compared to any-random-driver that Uber could deliver. Unfortunately hindsight is 20/20...

Comment Re:Useless (Score 1) 235

Well, his bike is also a kludged-together e-bike with motors, fenders, and above all else, speed. He's able to keep up with traffic on small neighborhood streets and if he pedals (and based on how it's geared pedalling would actually contribute something) he can almost keep up with the speed limit on some of the slower arteries.

So in his instance the bicycle is bigger than normal and going faster than normal too.

Comment Re:Useless (Score 4, Interesting) 235

You know what apparently does work, based on a friend's experiences?

Putting a pair of amber lights out to the sides of your red center light, and having a sufficiently bright headlamp in front that illuminates a good chunk of road.

Those work because drivers assume that you're a motorcycle, and if you're a motorcycle then you're a lot heavier, and more likely to cause damage to their car.

With modern battery technology and modern, super-efficient lighting, it should be easy to fake a bicycle to light up like a motorcycle well enough to fool drivers at night.

Comment Re:Interessting in any case (Score 4, Insightful) 109

While I also doubt that this is possible today, I am sure the NSA is looking at placing the respective sensors. Then we will have to do "analog routing" and mix in mains hum form several places to obscure where and when things have been recorded. Maybe we should start to offer recordings of local grid noise. Would not be that difficult to do.

It's not even that complicated.

Many power lines have optical fiber strung in the middle of them, it's called optical power ground wire (OPGW) (scroll down a bit). That fiber is used as Internet backbone, as telecom voice, and as diagnostic for when there are power grid problems. If a line goes down then they can use an OTDR to determine the distance to the break instead of having to hunt for it.

All that they'd have to do would be to put devices at termination points and use dark strands. Sure, the equipment to transceive on single-mode fiber at those distances would be pricey, but it's completely within the technology that we have right now.

Comment Re:It'll come down to an opinion (Score 1) 255

Being black is what one is, not what one does.

Now, it's unfortunately common that participating in thug culture is interpreted as "being black". If someone is aspiring to thug culture in their mannerisms and how they attire and adorn themselves then yes, they will be judged based on their appearance, even if they've never committed a crime, and they will be scrutinized.

Every racial group has their own form of thug culture, and sometimes they overlap in style, or someone of a different ethnicity will participate in a different group's thug culture entirely, with varying degrees of success.

Comment Re:It'll come down to an opinion (Score 1) 255

No, because payphones started out being used for general-purpose.

If Irridium or any of the then-new satellite phone systems had been adopted by primarily a criminal or terrorist user base then they probably would be shut down or heavily modified to make it more difficult to use such a service in those circumstances for very long.

Comment Re:It'll come down to an opinion (Score 1) 255

The United States discontinued the regular thousand dollar bill with that exact reasoning. There are a few large-denomination bills, but they're not for regular transactions and probably couldn't be redeemed at printed value for smaller bills without going through official channels, making them close to useless if you're not part of the Federal Reserve system.

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