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Comment Re:Verizon is going to get in trouble (Score 1) 120

I am sitting next to him at the bar. His phone explodes, I have burns now. Does he have enough to cover all that? He is aware that now he is liable for everything, right?
He forgot it at a friends house. The house burns down. They find the phone and it looks as if that might have been the cause. Paytime.
He is alone in his car. It burst into flames. He pulls at the steering wheel and drives over a kid. Nice one.

Comment Re:Why not name him? (Score 1) 110

In Belgium the employer can ask if you have a clean slate. What they will get is a yes or no. After a while these will be removed depending the type of crime. You also see the time it happened.
It is only in very specific places where I was responsible for customers money that this was actually asked. If you are a desk jockey, most likely nobody will ask.

Comment Re:Why not name him? (Score 1) 110

Innocent until proven guilty. Also the way Europe thinks about privacy is different from how the US thinks about it.
In Europe everything is private unless it is public.
In the US everything is public unless it is private.

And this is for all people, not just for a selected group. This thus includes people who are in prison. It is not that they suddenly are perceived as sub-human. They are still part of our society.

Comment Another study? (Score 2) 114

I don't remember exactly, and maybe someone will remember and have a link handy, but I think there was a recent study (in the past few years) that suggested that mild forms of synaesthesia might be extremely common, and in fact simply part of how human intelligence works.

I think the suggestion was that there are various ways that we connect sense information naturally, and unavoidably. Red is hot. Blue is cold. Red tastes like cherries and green like sour apple. Odd numbers might seem sharp to you, while evens seem rounded. Someone yelling angrily at a certain pitch might conjure the feeling of running your hand the wrong way on a cheese grater. You might feel a tactile sense of pain when hearing finger nails on a chalkboard.

Now someone is going to come forward and point out that many of these things might just be learned associations, which is true. I think the argument was that the ability to make these associations, as well as the ability to form and understand metaphors like "His voice was like rubbing your hand the wrong way on a cheese grater," implies that your brain is already capable of tying different kinds of sensory information together. Visual information can have a sound. Sounds can have colors. Colors can have tastes. What we call "synaesthesia" may just be an amplified version of this very common phenomenon.

Comment Re:Infrastructure vs Independence (Score 1) 455

That's actually the real point. Transmitting electricity is horribly inefficient, compared to transporting portable fuel. The energy required to send a car 500 kilometers is approximately 50 litres of gasolene. Transporting 50 litres of gasolene to a fuel station by truck costs no more than the truck expense, and the truck's fuel expense, and the road wear and tear. And the larger the truck, the less it costs per litre.

But for the electricity, not only is there transmission loss, but there's also repeaters, lines, equipment along the way, the maintenance of that equipment, accessing that equipment, oh it's horrible. Maintaining infrastructure is a horrible horrible game when you're outside of a major city's orbit.

Think of a mountain range, with 10'000 miles of road. No cities at all. You can build wires, and repeaters, and blast mountains, and fix ice storms, or you can just drive the fuel to the stations.

Electricity is only useful within city limits -- like just about all infrastructure systems.

City limits (3.5% of the land area) hosts over 60% of the American population (the majority of which have commute times less than 2 hours.) The majority who drive cannot afford to travel the way you do that frequently anyways, so energy policy should be catering to them, not you.

Comment Re:It's about landmass (Score 1) 455

But as soon as you get out of one of those urban center, you probably need to drive 2~4 hours to get to another urban center.

Hybrids are a solution. Plus, most people do not drive (regularly) outside of their urban centers, and purely electric motors would run supreme for public transportation within a urban center.

Comment Re:It's about landmass (Score 1) 455

I'm all for electric vehicles, but the US has much lower population density. An electric vehicle only works as a primary vehicle if you rarely leave a major metro area. Unless they become cheap enough that it can be a second or even third household vehicle, it's simply not feasible for a lot of Americans.

80% of the US population lives in urban areas, with 3.5% of the land area hosting 62.7% of Americans. Yes, the country is one big vast subcontinent, but we seem to forget we have big-ass metropolises. Some of them rival in size to Japan's Kanto region.

Look at LA or NY metropolitan areas, or the North Eastern corridor. Or Dallas/Ft. Worth. Or look at South Florida (where I'm currently living), 6 million people in an urban area that spans three counties, 100km long by no more than 20km wide.

Electric cars could totally work in these areas where, as I said, host 60% of Americans.

Comment This amazes me (Score 1) 104

I live in Belgium and everybody (or at least every adult) can join a union if they want to. You have a selection of unions where you can go to, regardless where or if you work. There are some that are more specialized. e.g. for train staff, for white color, for management (yes, they can join a union as well), military and there will be several that will be specialized.

I just am with one that is close to where I live, because that is what was important to me.

So I just join the union and that is about it. None of the companies I worked for cared, except one, because they paid the contribution. When people are hired, nobody will ask if you are union or not, because nobody cares. I can imagine you are not even allowed to ask, but it is not important.

Also if the company has more than 50 employees, you have to have social elections that will vote for union representatives that will have monthly meetings with management.

So we have the choice and in reality every company with more than 50 people is unionized. All of them. By law.

The advantage is that it keeps the companies in check a bit. I get my 35 days vacation. I get several weeks payment minimal when they fire me (unless I did something illegal) and if there are major cuts in staffing, they will negotiate a much better deal than I ever could. e.g. 7 months pay after working somewhere for 2 years for me. Minimum was 3.5 months for somebody who was there for 1 month and others who worked there longer it was a lot more.

So yeah, I think it is strange that anybody could forbid me to join a union or even decide that I MUST join a union, or I can not get the job. (See, works both ways)
From what I see, the US has guilds not unions. A guild is something that protects the profession. A union protects its members. At least that is the difference to me.

Comment Re:News from other countries... (Score 2) 37

Well, when it comes to space budgets....

NASA: $19,3B
ESA: $5,8B
Roscosmos: ~$2B/yr
JAXA: $2,0B
CNSA: $0,5B official / $1,3B est.
ISRO: $1,2B

It's not just US bias that leads to most stories coming from NASA. NASA really does spend the most on space research and exploration, by large margins.

Still, the public perception is that NASA's budget is far more than it actually is.

Comment Re:Don't realize who the robber barons are, do you (Score 1) 104

Why do you think so many unions make it MANDATORY for workers to become members?

Because if they didn't, they'd have freeloaders who receive the benefits of union protection of their jobs without paying the dues.

And BTW, nowadays, it's a very fortunate union that can negotiate a "closed shop" (mandatory membership) contract.

If a union was useful to a worker, workers would be eager to join instead of being forced to. Being forced to pay for an organization that provides no goods or services to you is the LITERAL DEFINITION of robbery.

First of all, unions do provide goods and services to their members. You may not like what they do, or want what they provide, or be cynical about them in general. But you cannot claim that they don't provide goods and services.

I'm forced to pay taxes. I may not agree with what my government does with the money. But I don't question the fairness of paying my share of taxes.

Comment Re: Note that what's large... (Score 4, Informative) 82

Venus has multiple "tropopauses" and "stratospheres", depending on how you define them. The atmosphere is like a layer cake with multiple convection zones (like Earth's troposphere) separated by areas of dynamic stability (like Earth's stratosphere). And again, ~50-70km is an awfullly long way from the surface, and surface winds are weak. But, there's a lot about Venus that we don't understand.

Comment Re:It's about landmass (Score 1) 455

I do not live the the US. I do not even own a car, so take this with a lot of salt.
When I see something like this I always see why it is not possible to do in the US, because it is so big. This would mean that you don't do anything, unless everybody is able to get it. Are you a communist?

What you could do is to see who IS living in the major metro area and who IS able to us an electric car and you will get to a much higher number.

The real reason is that fuel is cheap in the US compared to Europe. So in Europe Electric will be interesting much faster. If you would pay double or triple for your fuel, you would buy smaller cars and you would go to electric much faster.

I have seen this with ADSL where Belgium was one of the first in Europe to go to ADSL. Not because people where so advanced, but because of the high cost for calls. More than 1 hour of Internet per day and ADSL was more interesting. I other countries that was 3 hours.

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