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Comment Almost there, but not quite. (Score 2) 990

I would love to switch to an electric vehicle, but the reality is that after moving into the city, I might go weeks at a time without touching my car. Also, I tend to make 8 or 10 long-haul trips a year, which wouldn't be feasible in even the best electric vehicles. Yes, I could rent a vehicle for those trips, but then in my situation, I'm renting the vehicle just to drive 500km, park it for a week, then drive the 500km home.

If I wound up in a family situation where we became a two car family, absolutely, an electric vehicle would make sense for one of them. On the other hand, my car (a 10 year old Jetta TDI) is still extremely reliable, and very cheap to operate, and still one of the more efficient vehicles on the road.

Comment Re: Eminent domain (Score 2) 160

Have the city maintain a key piece of your internet connection?

It works pretty well in Douglas and Chelan counties in Washington State. There, the PUD maintains a fiber infrastructure that covers nearly all the homes and businesses in all the various communities. They themselves do not provide the service (be it TV, Internet, etc...). As a customer, you have the choice of 8 or 10 different ISPs who all have access to the fiber. If you're a business you can also get transit through Level 3 or Zayo.

As far as repairs go, the PUDs are just almost as quick to repair any fiber breaks as they are to repair issues with the power grid.

It actually works really, really well.

Comment Re:not happening. (Score 5, Informative) 279

Take the choice of election technology, ballot design, and security out of the hands of 5,000 different jurisdictions, and replace it with well-designed, thought-out, and implemented hardware+software that a dedicated, concerned group of experts is responsible for -- that's what this would take. And is impossible.

Or, you know, do what Canada does. Keep the voting process pencil and paper and count ballots by hand. Canada typically has the results in from a general election within 4 or 5 hours of the polls closing, and recounts rarely change the results by more than one or two ballots. Every ballot is counted at the polling station, and every candidate has the right to have scrutineers present to witness that counting.

Yes, Canada has 1/10th the population of the US, but on the other hand this is a problem that scales linearly. You have 10x the population, so you have 10x the polling stations, 10x the returning officers, scrutineers, etc... It works, it's reliable, and is pretty resistant to any kind of interference. Any "attack" (in the computational sense) would have to be carried out on a widely distributed basis.

Comment Re:Start with the census (Score 2) 104

They would have lost in court. had several legal defenses prepared, one being that it was statistically possible to identify individuals in randomized data by making repeated queries and varying the area covered

Clearly you've never actually worked with the census data. As part of one of my university courses, I queried the data set for information related to national origin and religion for a particular neighbourhood. You can not define the area arbitrarily, it's broken up into minimum sized zones to prevent the kinds of attacks that you are talking about.

The folks at Stats Canada are smart. You, clearly, aren't as smart as you think you are.

Comment Re:What's the big problem? (Score 1) 675

Often a 9600 baud modem, but defaults to the slowest speed: 1200 baud

Transactions are such small amounts of data, that 9600 (and 1200) are actually faster than say 33.6 or 56k. The training time for 1200 (and 9600) are significantly quicker than 33.6). I'm showing my age here, but back int he day when I ran a BBS, I actually had my mail relay setup to push outbound echomail at 2400 rather than 33.6 as it saved probably 10 seconds or more per email.

Comment Re:Passcode? (Score 2) 319

If you are going through the border, they can refuse you entry if you don't comply.

They can only refuse you entry if you are not a citizen. To the best of my knowledge, all civilized countries, including the US, have an absolute right of return. If you are a citizen of that country, you can not be denied entry into it. They can deny your stuff, and make your life miserable, but they can not refuse to let you in.

Comment Re:Passcode? (Score 1) 319

What good would having the phone do, unless it's unlocked?

Depends on what they wanted it for. The more likely thing is they took it back and swabbed it for drugs. The phone was just a frequently handled item that would likely contain narcotics residue if it was being handled by someone who was running drugs or similar. The phone doesn't need to be unlocked to swab it.

Comment Re:Easy (Score 5, Interesting) 319

Actually, the most likely thing they wanted to do was swab it for drugs. My sister was a Canadian border guard, and if they had any suspicion that you might be carrying drugs or similar, they'd take an item of yours (ID, phone, etc...) into the back room and swab it to check for the presence of an elevated amount of narcotics. If they found it, that would cause them to do a more thorough search.

Comment Re:Limiting providers fine - kickbacks no (Score 1) 173

But in-building coax won't work with two cable ISPs unless you lay down two parallel coax networks.

No reason why you couldn't have different cable ISPs on different frequencies on the one cable. This is just another reason why the content and internet service should be completely severed from the company operating the physical plant. Yeah, your physical plant (either twisted pair, coax, or fiber) is a natural monopoly. There's no reason why the content and/or internet service has to be.

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