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Comment Re:Dumbest idea ever (Score 1) 202

Why not? These are connected to the electrical system; why can't they pull electricity and convert it to heat to avoid ice in the first place? It doesn't solve the other potential issues with these things, but as plausibility goes it seems more likely than others to this layman.

Or they can incorporate something like this.

Comment Re:Hillary will say anything to get elected (Score 1) 355

I was discussing with someone online about her changing what she supports based on popular support. The person I was discussing with said that this showed someone who was "politically savvy".

I responded that someone who is that "politically savvy" would support interment camps if the public was scared enough. While I want my President or Representative to at listen to my concerns and, ideally, act on them, I don't want someone who outright kowtows to public opinion because, unfortunately, public opinion is too often wrong. Pretty much every bad policy or action this country has taken had public support at some point.

Comment Re:Frivilous Law Suit (Score 1) 242

Same thing is happening in Boulder, CO. Any land put up for sale that is close to downtown and/or university is quickly sold, whatever is on it demolished, and apartments built in its place.

I just wish more of it was mixed use (e.g. bottom floor for stores, 2nd/3rd floor offices, then residential above that.)

Comment Re:No take backs!! (Score 1) 634

I already suspected regarding Trump voters' "we're voting for him to punish the establishment" mentality.

I know for certain that this is the view of at least one person. An old acquaintance of mine plans to vote for Trump now that Sanders is essentially out of the race, precisely to spit in the eye of the establishment. He even thinks it's a positive thing if Trump completely burns down the country, that we'll somehow rebuild from the ashes.

I can get behind "fuck the establishment", but I'm not going to make a deal with the devil to do so.

Comment Re:How ages voted (Score 1) 1592

It makes me wonder how much more damage they can do before they die off.

Their damage is done; they might do more, yet, but short of WWIII I doubt they can dig much deeper (he says, knocking on wood.) Instead, I'm more concerned about how we keep the younger generations from filling the gap they leave behind.

"Kids these days" has been a meme for almost as long as written history. "Old people ruin everything" appears to have a stronger historical backing. Unless we make some heavy inroads into... honestly, I'm not even sure what would need to be changed, but something must be or the younger generation of today will, in 30-40 years, be the old codgers who vote selfishly based on empty promises and fear-mongering.

The only major difference for this (our?) generation is that they began life already able to reach the furthest corners of the world thanks to the Internet. Could that be enough to break the cycle and allow them to continue voting with educated empathy? Is there even such a possibility?

Comment Re:I wonder (Score 1) 180


I had Comcast at a short-term apartment, three months. (It was known to be short term, there was no contract.) I accidentally paid for a fourth month. When I realized it, I called them up and asked if I could get a refund ($40 was a lot for me at the time). The helpful customer service person said that they could pro-rate me until my service was terminated (it was a few days over three months) and cut a check to me for the remainder. I gave them my new address and the call ended on a high note. I quickly forgot about the refund.

Six months later, living at a third address (my university was weird), I received a package from a friend at the second address of the mail I had received there. Included in this package was a Notice of Collections: Comcast had sent me to collections over the pro-rated amount they owed me . To Comcast's credit, I was able to get someone on the phone on Christmas Day and get the debt removed, but that was when I decided to never use Comcast again (I would use dial-up, I would try two tin cans and a string for internet before I signed up for Comcast). I never did get my pro-rated refund.

Related to me:
My office mate recently dropped Comcast for CenturyLink*. He wanted to get a refund on something (I think an extra modem rental fee? Can't quite remember) and Comcast said they would be happy to refund him but could not do so unless the line was hooked back up first. He would have to pay a sum of $300 in fees to have the line re-connected, the refund given (all of like $30), and then the line disconnected. Needless to say, but he wrote off the amount he was trying to get back.

* CenturyLink is also really bad with customer service, but not as bad as Comcast and still cheaper

Comment Re:Money from people who want to sell? (Score 1) 241

Checks still have valid, limited uses:
1) Private transfers of money over almost every electronic method are either cumbersome, incur a fee, or both
2) Even ignoring 1, transactions are not always concluded (money changes hands) where electricity or cell phone reception is available (if your bank even has a deposit-by-phone option)
3) Checks are useful where currency would be cumbersome (e.g. much easier to hand my landlord a check than $X in cash)
4) Checks can be used to pay for something when funds won't be available for a day or two[1][2]

But paying for (say) groceries with a check, especially if you don't pull out the checkbook until after all items are scanned? There's a special circle of hell for those people.

[1] Not as useful these days because a lot of places will use their POS to scan the check, use it as an ACH debit, and hand the check right back; in these case the system can sometimes tell when funds aren't available
[2] I've done this once or twice (needed groceries over the weekend, but paycheck wasn't be "available" until Monday) but it's something I heavily discourage because it's so easy to be screwed over by the act, even if you're doing so "smartly"

Comment Re:Stahp (Score 1) 299

due to people sharing, etc.

My layman prediction is that what are currently auto insurance firms will become auto membership clubs. It works like this:

1) Most people don't need to actually own a car, they just have their daily commute, shopping, and incidentals
2) If someone doesn't need to use their car while they're working or sleeping, they can rent it out for others to use (Uber => UberMech, which matches need to capacity minus the driver)
3) If someone is satisfied renting the cars of others, they likely won't own one at all (all but guaranteed for those who live in large cities, many of whom just rely on taxis for the moment)

Insurance companies will want to get in on renting out the vehicle, one part extra cash and one part liability concerns. They offer to manage renting out a member's car to other members needing extra capacity (eg. a larger family who only has one or two vehicles) to get the member some extra cash (the company's cut covers profit+extra liability). Eventually, most of their customers will only use them for the car-usage service, and as private ownership drops away the insurance companies start buying and maintaining their own fleet, perhaps outright purchasing existing car rental companies (who have been undergoing similar transformations during this time). "Micro-term" auto rentals (that is, use of a vehicle for under an hour at a time, likely 20 minutes a time) become the mainstay of the company and insurance is a minor product they offer for the minority of people who desire personal vehicles.

As automatic buses become standard, bus routes will increase because smaller, driver-less buses will have better access to residential areas. (They could act as track-less trollies, perhaps not even stopping completely in some areas and just having a long on/off zone at 5 MPH.) This will further drive down private ownership, but people will still like the idea of having a vehicle available for their convenience.

Comment Re:Well, that sounded extremely patronizing. (Score 1) 317

Agreed. The book Mountains Beyond Mountains, about Dr. Paul Farmer and his work (primarily concerning Haiti, but also tuberculosis and infectious diseases in general) makes mention of construction/farming equipment that was provided to some of the Haitian people as economic boon... and most of them are abandoned now. Without also providing continuous fuel or other materials, the machines were worthless.

(It's been a while since I've read it, so the account may be incorrect. Regardless, it was one of the few assigned-reading books I ever truly enjoyed during any time in my education and recommend it to everyone.)

Comment Re:Apples-Oranges (Score 1) 760

I question if you've ever actually met any of these people.

Well, I haven't met many, but I was one. I graduated, with a Bachelor's in Computer Science, in 2008 right as the recession kicked off and had no money or job. Spent ~10 months and 2 states trying to find a job but, with student loans coming due, I got desperate and entered the military.

And Knightman is right.

Higher education is viewed negatively and if followed, will make you "not one of them any more."

"Them"? Do away with the tiptoeing and just directly say what you mean: "black people are poor and lazy". (Which is wrong.)

Comment Re:Luddites? (Score 1) 1052

If you have better ideas for how to deal with masses of unemployed people, feel free to suggest them.

Test subjects.

This is highly "dystopian future", of course, but an excess glut of humans makes for a useful assortment to test various drugs, treatments, and theories on. The "haves" will always want to live longer, stay trimmer, completely avoid cancer, etc., but mice and monkey trials can only go so far. So a human test subject dies? Great, a job opening! If a test subject is lucky they'll come out a trial relatively unscathed; a scant few might actually benefit from them. Most will gain some sort of disfiguration and/or malady, at which point their potential for being a future test subject diminishes. Ethics panels and human-experimentation laws? Crony politicians will quickly do away with them. (And the oligarchs will just ignore them until such time.)

This isn't necessarily a "what if". There are already a small group of people who make a career out of being test subjects.

Comment Re:Luddites? (Score 1) 1052

Having and working at a job just gets you more, simply and without bureaucracy, which is the point.

It also upends the employer-employee relationship. Under UBI, a lot of people will tell their employer to fuck off because they find their workplace depressing/hostile and have only stayed there for the paycheck. Unions would still exist, but not be nearly as necessary because entire departments can walk off the job knowing they'll still survive without it. MBAs and CEOs would get their shit straight really quick, because the company could collapse due to understaffing otherwise.

This also has benefits on the employer side:
- No minimum wage (which, combined with employee freedom, means that that pay rates will be far more related to market forces)
- No unemployment payments (for the states that would have them)

Comment Re:Does the submitter even read Slashdot? (Score 1) 982

The start menu has a search feature that SEARCHES THE WEB. We freaked out about this with Ubuntu once; we ignore it when Chrome and Firefox do it.

...considering that Chrome and FireFox are primarily web browsers (though in the last few years they've tried to be much more), I don't know why anyone would have a problem with them searching the web.

Comment Re:You have to know how to secure a Windows 10 PC (Score 1) 982

You can turn suggested apps off

for now.

That's what makes me cling to Win7. Even if you can disable most of the spying and ads, and hobble the rest at the router, that only fixes the problem at the moment. Microsoft has shown that they are more than willing to work around the user's preference (e.g. trying various schemes to get people to upgrade to Win10, ignoring HOSTS as they please on Win10 itself), so I completely expect them to put out an update to disable the option to disable Suggested Apps, turn it back on for everyone, and then add three or four more ad tiles because sure why not.

There will be a Win10 update that changes the URL/IP that their "telemetry" uses to work around blocks at the router before the year's end or I will eat my hat.

At least with Win7 (and 8.1) you can turn off automatic updates and very selectively install updates.

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