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Comment The most important part (Score 1) 64

The signs are mostly a gimmick. The important part is to identify other vehicles to avoid dazzling them while keeping everything else well lit by main beams.

Hundreds of millions of people with reduced night vision that cannot (or should not) drive at night will be able to do it safely.

Comment Re:Goes conservative on gun control (Score 1) 385

Like every country, the US has issues which contributes to violence, etc. To assert that US gun culture is not a significant factor in gun-related violence seems rather ignorant.

Not if you actually study the statistics. Legally owned guns aren't used in crime either in the US (with liberal gun laws) nor Sweden (with very strict gun laws), but if I, for example, correlate the number of firearms related deaths with the number of known (criminal) gang members, I easily get very close.

We're in a recent spat of shootings here in Sweden at the moment, and like the US it's all perpetrated by criminal gang members (the rest are an anomaly). It's just that we have fewer gang members...

So the deciding factor is how easy it is for criminals to acquire guns. (Far too easy with the EU's open borders is the answer in Sweden at the moment.)

Comment Re:Sigh. Way too old for a career change. (Score 1) 90

...and damned if she's not making as much as an associate professor.

Well, judging by the contents of my (virtual) salary envelope they're probably underpaying her then... :-) (I have recent bachelor's and master's making more than I do).

Just saying that "associate professor" may not be setting the bar very high when it comes to payment for services rendered. (Depending on lots, and lots of factors of course, including field and where in the world etc., to on a more serious note).

Me, I wish I'd learned HVAC. People will always need ducts in their houses, and heat and cooling. And there's very little math, which is good.

I remember when I was a PhD student doing "the grind" and how we all used to say that we should have gone in to fine carpentry instead. However, even though I'm not precisely over the hill just yet, and having gone back and forth between academia and industry a couple of times, I've come to the conclusion that while the grass often looks decidedly greener from this side the fence, I almost never actually is, once you've crossed. So even though a man can (and must) dream, little is usually lost in not acting on them.

Comment I was born with the microprocessor (Score 3, Interesting) 74

I was born one the same date (... 4 digit slashdot id checks out...). I have been using microcomputers since I was 10. I have never worked at anything other than software and hardware development.

Our contemporary computing ecosystem has evolved from the microcomputers I was born with. They actually have some architectural details that can be traced to the 4004's successor, the 8008.

Our computers are not descendants of the mainframes that came before them. By now, they have acquired many of the advanced features of mainframes. Implemented badly, several decades later. It is fascinating to learn about the history of mainframes. It is also somewhat depressing.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do learn are doomed to watch everyone else repeat it.

Comment Re:What Hollande says (Score 1) 328

Yes, well, the Germans aim to fix their problems with load balancing by leaning on the rest of us. Which isn't really solving the problem. They could have been well on their way.

And of course nuclear becomes "expensive" when you let solar and wind eat their lunch when it suits them (i.e. when the sun is out, and the wind is blowing just right) and then throw up your arms in the air when it doesn't.

Taking availability into account then of course nuclear is still dirt cheap. The only competition is hydroelectric (limited by environmental concerns and geographical limitations). And with political stability and production then of course the price would come down substantially, the ones you mention are one-offs. Even so, Swedish official calculations put nuclear at the same price as large scale biomass, and slightly more expensive than wind. (Sun is of course a fools errand for us). But that's not taking the low availability of wind into account (power output is the cube of wind speed, so optimal conditions are very rare).

So, my prediction. basically, we'll lose what industry we have left, and electricity prices will triple. Today, we release about half as much CO2 per capita (less when scaled for industry output) than German. But that'll change as well as we'll switch more and more from our 99% clean electricity to more and more fossil fuel. Just like they do in Germany. When the greens are done, we'll have damaged our economy and substantially increased our CO2 emissions...

Comment Re:Never Got It (Score 1) 227

Well, with your literary background I think you'll enjoy a writer that finally takes literary crime seriously! :-) (Our heroine of course being an officer of a the police organisation that polices crimes against literature.) That said, while they are in the general tradition of "The Hitch-hikers guide...", they're perhaps not quite up to that standard in execution. So don't get your expectations up too high. But a very enjoyable read, still.

And yes. It was mostly pulp. I suspect it's not so much a question of sci-fi getting worse, as it is of us getting older and remembering the experiences of our youth with the perennial rose-tinted glasses.

Comment Re:What Hollande says (Score 2) 328

Because the argument is always that "nuclear doesn't pay". And you did bring that up. That's not that interesting/persuasive an argument if it turns out that pretty much all the alternative don't pay either. Hydro-electric here in Sweden doesn't pay either. If one of those dams went, that would be it. (The fund that's supposed to pay would try up very quickly). But since they're (mostly) government owned, that wouldn't be a problem. Or rather that wouldn't be the problem.

And while France may be moving away from coal, Germany most certainly isn't. They'll keep polluting and polluting due to their "green" Energiwende for decades to come. When in fact, with their increase in renewables they could have gotten rid of all coal by now instead. Something that would have been worthwhile, rather than the mess they seem to prefer.

Comment Re:What Hollande says (Score 1) 328

But the same is true of coal in spades. They also don't pay their cost in full. Not even close. So if we allow coal on the government's dime, there's no reason to allow nuclear on the government's dime.

More importantly in France (as in much of the rest of Europe) the government also owns and operates the plants. So you could well say that they're insured in full, the same way that governments insure everything else it owns. I.e. they don't. If you own the press printing the money, taking out insurance from an external insurance company makes no sense whatsoever. (Here in Sweden it is in fact illegal for me as a government employee to do so.)

Comment Re:Blah blah blah (Score 1) 667

You had "C" for a system like that?! Kids and their newfangled toys. :-) I remember writing hand assembled machine language for that level of architecture, and it didn't have any "operating system" or crap like that.

Was fun though. You were in complete control and could pretty much know everything about the system. Down to tracing undocumented patch wires on the board (only two layer, so visual inspection was all you needed).

Comment Re:Never Got It (Score 1) 227

Yes, I'm keeping my fingers crossed. (Then again, they'll probably mess it up completely. They usually do.)

And I was also captured by Heinlein in my teens, "Space Cadet" may have been the first SF I ever read (remember grabbing it in the school library in middle school). "Have spacesuit", "Wagon train", and then later "Moon" were great reads.

And I did enjoy "Windup girl", but otherwise I'm into lighter reading these days (to alleviate the stress), so I'm currently reading Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels. Perhaps not particularly for adults as much as "children of all ages". :-)

Comment Bad Science + Bad Legislation (Score 1) 361

The NHTSA traffic study that inspired this legislation and (also a related recommendation from an advocacy group for the blind) was unbelievably bad science.

They did not adjust their findings for the (well documented) geographic distribution of EVs and PZEVs. They compared national averages for gas cars with national averages for EVs - this is invalid methodology, because EVs are predominant in urban environments where pedestrian/car accidents are very much more common than rural environments where there isn't sufficient charging infrastructure to support EVs. When adjustments are applied, there is no difference between the rate of gas car and EV pedestrian/car accidents. Then, the study fantasizes an unsupported conclusion - having falsely concluded that EVs are more likely to run down pedestrians (they aren't) the NHTSA report authors then completely invent a rationale to explain this, with *no data to support that rationale*. It's just "EVs are quiet therefore the problem is EVs are quiet". Literally no falsing or experimentation whatsoever, just guesswork. Bad science.

As I understand this legislation, it purports to help the blind avoid quiet cars, but does not do that. It actually just penalizes the makers of EVs and PZEVs while allowing diesel and gasoline cars to be as silent as they wish, up to and including total silence.

However, there's nothing wrong with having noisemakers on EVs and PZEVs. It's just unfair to exempt pollutionmobiles from audio requirements, that's all. It's blatant market manipulation in favor of the Petroleum industry, targeted at Tesla, the only EV that doesn't already have a noisemaker.

Comment Re:alternative approach (Score 1) 1081

In a popular vote, California, a strong democrat state, would have much less power to influence the election than they do in the electoral system, especially with it no longer counting as a winner take all approach. Granted, it is still powerful, but its weight is reduced.

And why wouldn't that be a good idea?

Isn't the idea that the system should be as good as possible, not a tit-for-tat partisan quagmire?

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