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Comment On building permits (Score 1) 368

95% of all building permits in SF were denied last year

I'm not disagreeing with the theme of your post, but a question about the building permits: does that mean that 95% of applicants didn't build, or that 95% of applicants needed some kind of zoning relief or design review, and some fraction of that 95% did in fact build after a process that was more thorough, more expensive, more challenging, and more inclusive of the opinion of abutters? I'm not arguing good or bad, just curious about the facts. Where I live, most building permits are initially denied, but most of the applicants eventually build their structure anyway, albeit with closer oversight than they would have had they been able to build "by right."

Comment Re:Free Motorcycles (Score 1) 295

Like I said, one can fiddle with the numbers to swing the accounting a fair bit in one direction or the other. As you've demonstrated, if one makes optimistic assumptions about the age of the donor and maximizes the number of recipients by assuming a strict one-organ-per recipient (include just one lung at a time, and no multiple-organ transplants--bear in mind that the vast majority of pancreas transplants are actually pancreas-kidney, for example) and 100% organ recovery and transplantation, one can choose to make the math give you the result you're looking for.

It's very sticky if you want to score tissues that aren't necessarily lifesaving or for which artificial or animal alternative sources exist. (It's ethically problematic to suggest, for example, that more dead motorcyclists are a good thing because it will improve the supply of cadaveric ACL replacements, especially given that many patients could instead receive an autograft of their own tissue.)

It doesn't help that you're neglecting the last and most important part of my comment acknowledging that a very substantial fraction of potential organs won't be converted into actual transplants: helmetless motorcyclists who die too far from care or too quickly for their organs to be recovered; ones who have communicable diseases, malignancies, or other medical conditions that exclude them from donation; and so forth. (Going forward, helmet laws will only be suspended if you're over 40, free of hepatitis and HIV infection, have recently been screened for cancer, and are biking in an area with excellent ambulance service within 1 hour of a major transplant center. Hmmm...) Each dead motorcyclist is only "worth" 60 years multiplied by the fraction of viable organ recoveries--which probably comes out to well under 50%.

Finally, we're using "accounting" in a couple of different ways, here. I was using it purely to refer to life-years saved or lost. If we actually want to look at dollars and cents, it gets really ugly really fast. In the United States, the total billable costs for a heart transplant (including 30 days of pre-operative screening and prep, organ procurement, the transplant operation itself, and the subsequent 6-month period of recovery and rehab) comes out to about a million bucks. A single lung or a liver transplant are both well over half a million apiece. Kidneys are well clear of the quarter million mark.

From a purely financial perspective, it's waaaaay less costly to just let the motorcyclist survive and the potential transplant recipients die in a few months or a year, rather than let them be brutally expensive surgeries with steep and ongoing maintenance costs. Amortizing that heart transplant over the likely life of the recipient (or the transplanted organ) runs a hundred grand plus per year. Oh, and don't forget the cost of care and rehab for all those brain-damaged motorcyclists who don't manage to actually die from their head injuries....

Comment Re:Free Motorcycles (Score 1) 295

I've said for years that helmet laws probably costs lives.

Maybe, but not necessarily. It depends a lot on your accounting. A 20-year-old dumbass male might expect to have around 60 years ahead of him, most of which will be time spent in good health.

His kidneys will probably last about 10 years in each of their recipients, so count 20 years "saved" total.

The median survival time for heart transplant recipients is also about 10 years.

Liver transplants tend to do particularly well; the median survival is closer to 20 years.

Lungs are a lot pickier; the median is closer to 5 years, but is steadily improving.

Add that all up, and we're just shy of breaking even (55 life-years for the recipients, versus 60 life-years lost by the motorcyclist). On can fiddle with the parameters to swing things a bit either way. In some cases, the liver can be split into two lobes; the larger right lobe goes to an adult and the smaller left lobe to a child recipient. Some recipients only need a single-lung transplant, so one pair of lungs can go to two recipients. And we're getting better at keeping transplanted organs functional for longer. And, of course, some dead motorcyclists are 40-year-olds having a mid-life crisis.

On the flip side, some recipients may need multiple organs (heart-lung, heart-liver, etc.).

More important, not all organs will be viable--not every helmet-less fatality leads to a full complement of usable donor organs. For reasons of underlying disease or quirks of the donor's physiology, it may not be possible to transplant some organs. The fatal motorcycle accident may damage some other organs beyond repair. The accident may even occur in a location or under circumstances where none of the organs can be recovered for donation. That is going to tip the scales a long way against the "benefit" of more brain-dead motorcyclists.

Frankly, we have more than enough cadavers now; what we need is for more of them to donate their organs. Presumed consent (an opt-out rather than opt-in) system would be far more effective than suspending helmet laws.

Comment Bush and Trump? (Score 1) 131

Trump got roughly 4.6 million votes in Florida. There are just shy of 20M Floridians. The typical Floridian didn't vote at all.

But even if we restrict ourselves to people who voted in at least 2000 or 2016 in Florida, I suspect that there are few Floridians who voted for both Bush and Trump.
  1. 1. Loads of Bush voters are no longer alive 16 years later.
  2. 2. Similar to (1), loads of Trump voters weren't yet 18 years old sixteen years ago.
  3. 3. Plenty of Floridians were 18+ for both elections, but didn't vote for Bush and Trump, or failed to vote in one election or the other.

I'd be surprised if 10 percent of Floridians (2M out of 20M) voted for both Bush and Trump.

Comment Re:We already have one. (Score 1) 635

That argument makes no sense. This planet cannot sustain 7 billion people, especially as more and more try to mimic Western lifestyles. It doesn't matter a whit if the population isn't going to double again. It doesn't matter a whit if the population doesn't grow at all. Seven billion is too many. Four billion is too many if we want everyone to enjoy a Western standard of living.

Comment A la carte please (Score 3, Interesting) 77

I don't want a year or a month of MLB. I want to buy by the game. Charge me a buck or two for a single ball game. No monthly or annual fee (above the Amazon Prime fee), and let me just watch what I want, when I want, and pay for just that. Hell, I'll throw in an extra buck per game if you fill the "ad space" time with a single Amazon ad and then run sports highlights during the teevee timeouts.

Comment TMTOWTDI (Score 1) 137

What needs to be done is build more newer cities and job opportunities in them (cheaper outsourcing anyone?) so the infrastructure in the bigger cities gets a chance to catch up.

That's one way to do it. Another is to look at what's causing the emissions upwind and curb them. Could be power plants. Could be dirt roads. Could be the burning of all the litter/household trash. Could be two stroke engines. Now do two things: 1. implement (stricter) standards on pollutants for new equipment, and 2. work on retrofitting existing equipment to tighter emissions standards.

You don't need a new city to require motorcycles that pollute less or to improve the electric grid to burn less coal in central steam plants and less diesel fuel at local gensets.

Comment Cost to operate (Score 1) 344

That's helpful, but you've failed to include fixed operations and maintenance (O&M), fuel, variable O&M, and, most important perhaps for nuclear, ongoing capital expenditures (capex) necessary to keep the thing running. We're seeing nuclear units retiring in America right now because the $30/MWh they make on the energy market isn't enough to cover their per-unit-energy ongoing costs. When you include the ongoing costs to keep them running, it's far less obvious that new nuclear power plants will be money makers. Even less obvious is that they will make more money than a combined cycle gas plant, a wind farm, or a solar farm.

Comment Who's average? (Score 1) 115

Where do you think the power for that electric car comes from? 75% of that power on average comes from burning coal.

Who's average? The percentage of electricity generation fueled by coal in 2015 was 38%. (EIA source, with trend) Even regionally, electricity generation from coal sources exceeded 50% in only one region in 2015 -- the Northern Plans, which represent an area defined in the north by North Dakota to Wisconsin, by the south from Kansas to Illinois (excluding Chicago Land), and less than 10% of total generation in tUSA. And even in the Northern Plains, it was less than 75%. Please show up with data and facts, not horse apples.

Comment Re:Really? Why? (Score 1) 867

lobbyists that prevent Tesla from selling in Michigan without going through dealerships

Lobbyists have no such power. Legislators have that power. Lobbyists advocate positions on areas of public policy, legislators write the laws and the governor (in the case of state government) signs or vetoes. Also, Schoolhouse Rocks.

lobbyists caused a town to lose it's working gigibit fibre internet

Again, lobbyists have no such power. legislators write laws, departments with heads appointed by the executive branch draft and execute regulations, and judicial or quasi-judicial agencies determine adherence. See: Rocks, Schoolhouse.

note that the democrats put up a billboard of Trump kissing Cruz

Nope. That billboard was put up by PlantingPeace.org, "a global nonprofit organization founded for the purpose of spreading peace in a hurting world." They may have ideas that align with the Democratic Party, and members and donors may be Democrats, but the billboard was decidedly not "put up [by] democrats[sic]."

note that the democrats put up... naked statues of Trump in several cities

Did you read your article? From TFA, "The work is signed Indecline, the name of an anonymous anarchist street art collective" By definition, anarchists are not Democrats. If, as you say, you "really want to know," I suggest you learn a little bit about American civics and read the articles you post. Or, maybe, just maybe, you're really just a shitposter yourself.

Comment the equivalent of about 300 miles? (Score -1, Troll) 128

...a half-hour travel time between Stockholm and Helsinki, which is the equivalent of about 300 miles.

"The equivalent of about 300 miles"? What does that mean?

Oh, it means "about 300 miles". Or even "a distance of about 300 miles". Right. But this is a 'technical' topic, so we need to use more and bigger words. The best words.

Unless there's some sort of weird space-time physical equivalence principle the authors are alluding to, in which case a half hour is actually 300 miles long.

Comment Re:What is the turnover/new hire rate? (Score 1) 200

Are you suggesting that the headcount at Facebook has been static? Facebook has grown from 4k to 12k employees in the past 3 years. In your example, if Facebook had hired 50% females in 2013 and 2014, and nobody ever left, it would have gone from 33% to 44% over those two years without putting a thumb on the scale at all. I'm not arguing that this is what Facebook should have done. I am arguing that your example, while perhaps applicable to other companies, absolutely does not apply to a company with the tremendous headcount growth that Facebook has had.

Comment Re:Hyperbole (Score 1) 175

But regarding their testing, it was certainly a small scale test of known technology, but you underestimate the value of such tests. There's massive amounts of theoretical aspects they have to plow through first, move gradually to small scale live tests and finally piece it all together in one big PoC. After the small pieces are theorized and tested, it takes exponentially less time to piece them all together in the end.

I wouldn't say I underestimate the value of small-scale tests so much as I would say that Musk and company have been deliberately obscure about exactly what they were testing, and have been downright misleading about the distance between where they are now and what they claim they will be able to deliver. We were shown a dog-and-pony show constructed to meet an artificial publicity deadline, not a well-explained demonstration as part of a clearly-elucidated development roadmap.

When I read comments like yours, it reminds me of anti-innovation corporate voices I have to battle against on a daily basis.

Hmm. Do you misrepresent your progress and conceal the nature of your accomplishments to your corporate masters too, then? That could be your problem.

Look, I'm a scientist in an academic setting, but with private-sector collaborators. I do both "pure" and "applied" research. I contribute to both peer-reviewed papers and patent applications. I can tell the difference between healthy skepticism and blind anti-innovation. The problem with Musk's Hyperloop demo isn't the idea, or the technology, or the dream--it's that he doesn't tell us what the demo is actually doing. It's like writing a scientific paper that starts with the usual Abstract and Introduction, then jumps straight to a one-liner Conclusion and a big Discussion about the implications of the work and all the cool stuff that's going to happen in the future. He just skipped over the Materials & Methods and the detailed Results. We aren't told what we're actually looking at or what it can really do, just to take on faith that it's awesome. That's my issue.

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