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Comment Please, it's Frivilous Regulation (Score 2) 49

Sack up and deal with it Airbnb

So a company should comply with any regulation at all without complaint?

That other companies should be able to impose regulations in order to capture the industry by excluding any possible competition?

My take on it - any proposed regulation should identify a problem or opportunity*. There should be fairly solid numbers on the problem - IE X amount of criminal calls, complaints, accidents, and such per year. The regulation should identify how much it's expected to cost. There should be a metric to identify whether the regulation is fulfilling it's purpose adequately.

If the regulation turns out to be more expensive than anticipated or doesn't solve the problem in line with it's costs, it should be eliminated.

*And no, 'government makes more money' isn't an opportunity.

Comment Re:News at 5... (Score 1) 429

That's definitely *not* always the case. If you are going at 50 km/h you have around 10 meters braking distance before you get to a full stop (ignoring reaction time). This means that if your obstacle is at 5 meters you will hit it, but if the obstacle is relatively narrow, 5 meters could be well enough to completely dodge it.

First, your scenario is unrealistic because Self-driving cars have sight distances longer than 10 meters, including that they shouldn't be running at 50km/hour on streets where somebody stepping into the road is likely.

Second, have you tried to see how far you can dodge at 50 km/h in 'only' 5 meters? Remember that, compared to applying the brakes, it takes time to turn the tires.

As others have mentioned - more people have been killed dodging deer than hitting them. The severity of a turn necessary to avoid an obstacle at short distances combined with high speeds often results in a loss of control and leaving the road.

Comment Re:The 'real' software (Score 4, Insightful) 219

Why don't they use the fundamentals used in developing the algorithm to identify and eliminate the root causes of crime (through rehabilitation/counseling) and thus reduce crime in highly prone areas?

Honestly enough they should, there are pushes to do so, it's just that funding is an issue, as always. Funny thing is, though, it's supposed to actually save money!

Okay, up here in Alaska low oil prices have resulted in a government crisis - the government's income has dropped drastically. One of the reforms being put in place, finally, is 'community corrections', which has been shown to save money by actually preventing repeat criminal occurrences. As they mentioned, locking people up for long periods actually increases the chance they'll reoffend, especially if you don't provide support after they get out.

So rather than locking somebody up for 12 years, you lock them up for, say, 4. You take the money for the next 4 years of prison and put it into rehabilitating the criminal, which is enough to cover extended services in prison, as well as at least 4 years outside, because, surprise, it's cheaper than keeping them in prison. The last 4 years of prison sentence avoided is pure savings, though they mentioned that they're putting half the money into what you mentioned - addressing the core situations causing criminality in the first place.

As for the op -

His attorneys claim that the code is "full of holes," including secret criteria and generic decisions that aren't as individually tailored as they have to be. For instance, they'll skew predictions based on your gender or age -- how does that reflect the actual offender...?

Secret criteria is a problem, but gender and age have clear differences on how likely you are to re-offend. If you're a first time offender at 40 odds are something very strange happened, and if you fix that problem the person is unlikely to offend again, while being a first time offender at 15 is a bad sign that it might become a habit.

Comment Braking is complicated. (Score 1) 357

There's lots of problem with the parking brake as an emergency brake. While on some models, yes, they'll lock up the rear tires, on others they won't, and a secondary problem is heating causing brake fade.

As they're not intended for use while driving, they're pretty much all or nothing. You can't apply them partially with an acceptable amount of control.

Thus, my labeling it as a parking brake, not an emergency brake. I've never used it in an emergency, but as a driver of a manual transmission, setting it is part of my parking ritual.

Comment Re:News at 5... (Score 4, Informative) 429

Come back to me when you have *realistic* scenarios.

Indeed. One of the things that was covered in my motorcycle safety class was the concept of 'traction management'.

To keep it simple, depending on the type and condition of the road and your tires, you only have so much traction. It takes traction capability to do anything - speed up, slow down, or turn. It was part of them teaching us that you are not to brake in a turn on a motorcycle. Cars can get away with that, bikes(pushed to limit) can't. You brake, then turn. If you need to stop during a turn, you straighten and brake.

Anyways, to get back to the point - it takes traction to turn. For motorcycles and cars, they covered that it's better to brake than to dodge for any substantial obstacle - if you have the luxury of dodging it, you could have braked to stop hitting it.

So, in the situations mentioned, they're stuck using trains, which have stopping distances that no car maker would be allowed to release a vehicle with. Short of the langoliers being behind you eating everything, braking is pretty much the universal solution.

Comment Mechanical failure (Score 1) 357

That way the weight of the car is being supported by the parking brake and not the engine (or something... I'm not a car guy), which would be used as a back up in case the parking brake fails.

Indeed That's the reason I mentioned using the parking brake - on a slope, if you put it in park AND set the brake, you have 2 redundant systems that should stop the car from rolling. If you do the third thing - properly angling your tires, you're either creating a 3rd backup with a curb or at least limiting the damage.

It's the same reason we mirror drives and such - If you have two 99% effective systems that are completely redundant, you reduce the failure rate from 1% to .01%.

Comment Re:Because the people in charge are idiots (Score 1) 109

Once you are embedded with the cheapest vendor, you are locked in forever because the contract never demands open hardware or software and thus once the install is done, the vendor disappears and the sub-par it staff has no clue what to do to make anything work besides just opening the entire thing up.

That and they're buying equipment to be used for 10-20 years, and the computer systems of even 10 years ago were barely planned to be connected to a network, much less the internet.

Meanwhile, the computer systems connected and integrated into such devices are considered medical equipment, and certification was on the basis of 'as installed', IE no patches, no upgrades. It's only in the last few years that the FDA changed this to that in order to remain certified that the computers need to be patched or kept up to date. Add in weird legacy interfaces, and you have a real hassle.

As you say - the vender has to release or at least approve of the patches, and they'd much rather sell you new equipment.

Comment Re:We need a penalty for retarded judges (Score 5, Insightful) 307

It should be pretty simple: Would it be illegal for an ordinary citizen to do something? If the answer is yes, you need a warrant.

So, if an investigation involves going to somebody's webpage, that doesn't require a warrant. If the investigation involves compromising a computer - brute force password crack, sneaking in and installing a keylogger, utilizing a zero day exploit - you need a warrant.

Comment Re:Odd definitions of success... (Score 1) 211

It is a decision by middle-class people that they could get better, cheaper housing if they pay an additional $2,500 a year in taxes and $2,500 a year in rent to the City than they could if they pay $10,000 a year to a landlord.

False dilemma. Like I said earlier, you adjust the rules so that any landlord trying to charge $10k/year simply won't be able to rent their overpriced real estate because he has competitors.

And you're not really proposing, I think, that the extra $2.5k in taxes would make up the difference in house prices going from $2.5k/year in rent if the 'natural' price is $10k. That would mean that they'd be making up $7.5k from OTHER sources in order to provide that housing. To me that indicates that people like free money, which is 'duh?'.

It's like a decision for single-payer health care. The Canadian and other governments can provide health care for $5,000 a year or less. The free market in private insurance provides health care for $10,000 a year. Why would a consumer choose to spend $10,000 when the people across the border are getting the same thing for $5,000?

Only if the $10k has some unstated benefits - no year long waiting list, better success rate, etc...

Personally, I think that the health care argument is a false one as well - the US healthcare system is a careful combination of the worst aspects of public regulation and private industry. It is far, far, from a free market. Indeed, it's so bad that while I don't consider a single-payer system the greatest 'ideal' for providing healthcare, I feel that it's far better than our current system. It's also probably more easily reached than my solution would be.

Comment Re:Odd definitions of success... (Score 1) 211

They're in great demand. They're not meeting the demand because the government agencies are no longer building public housing to meet the demand. The Republicans in Congress cut off funding with for example the Faircloth Amendment https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] which forbid federal money for new public housing construction (while they tore down the old public housing). They've got money for war, prisons and the war on drugs but not for housing.

You're surprised that free or subsidized housing is in great demand? You drop the price of steak down to $1/pound from the ~$10/pound it tends to be here and I'd eat a lot more of it!

As for the money for prisons and the war on drugs, that's running out...

A lot of the schools, police stations, post offices, libraries, parks, and other public works that we still use today in New York City were built during the depression by the Works Projects Administration. A well-managed government can do just as well as private industry, and sometimes better.

I have no objections to the government building government buildings.

When have you actually been in public housing in New York City? They were mixed-income housing, mostly middle-class families, particularly civil servants such as police, firemen, teachers, postmen, etc., and other typical middle-class workers such as salesmen, mechanics, restaurant workers, etc. The benefit of mixed-income housing is that the middle-class residents helped the newcomers to find better jobs and get better education. There are special public housing projects like Westbeth for artists.

Middle class people shouldn't need public subsidized housing.

There was a time when the real estate industry wasn't quite so greedy, and even accepted public housing, but now they want to squeeze out every dollar. There's a lot of corruption in local politics, but when we had well-managed city agencies, with strong political watchdog groups, we had good public housing.

You're indicating here that it's a government problem. More government is supposed to fix this? I was thinking more along the lines of clearing out complicated regulations that limit the number of developers in the area. Some new players and the existing ones would have to be more efficient or accept less profit.

I'm looking out my window right now. We're getting plenty of housing built. I see 40-story apartment buildings going up around me. The problem is that apartments rent for $3,000 or more and sell for $1 million or more. In some buidings, half the apartments are empty, owned by absentee landlords in Russia, Qatar or someplace, as investment properties. We just don't have housing that middle-class people can afford.

Well, it sounds like the problems are solving themselves, at least slowly. encourage even more housing - and if you have so many absentee landlords not even bothering to rent places out, I'd consider raising the property taxes on the area.

By which I mean, for example, raise property taxes 100%. Offer a 50% 'homestead' discount for people who it's their primary residence. Use the excess money to fund 'free' public transportation, other perks for the people actually living there. ;)

Or raise it and lower the local sales tax, in a sort of opposite approach from tourist areas where they'll raise the sales tax to soak the non-locals more before raising property taxes.

If the non-locals are buying property and leaving it empty without showing up, tax what they're buying more. Soak them.

I know Milton Friedman's solution: move where housing is cheaper, which would be in Western Pennsylvania or Texas. Well, I don't want to move to Western Pennsylvania or Texas. This is my City and I helped build it. I don't see why some billionaire from Qatar or Russia should be able to kick me out and take over.

Then work to be able to afford to live there. That includes voting the corrupt and incompetent out of office - at all levels of government.

Comment Odd definitions of success... (Score 2) 211

most of which have been very successful and have long waiting lists.

Wouldn't 'long waiting lists' mean that they're actually unsuccessful, in that they're not meeting demand? Not to mention that "the projects" have a long history of extreme violent crime rates and other criminal activities?

When you look at the actual numbers, public housing is quite efficient and provides good housing for less cost than developers do in the free market.

You mean, quite efficient at continuing the chain of poverty, because an employer sees an address in the project and looks elsewhere? Sad, but true.

Look, I'm not going to say that public housing is all bad, or that it can't be the most fiscally sound decision. What I am going to say is that I believe that the real way to ensure sufficient housing is to allow developers to make money. If they can make money building housing, they'll build housing. I'm not saying that you have to enable them to make a killing, but well, if you're not getting enough housing built despite sky-high prices, maybe there's a reason that can be adjusted?

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