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Comment Re:Don't agree with the conclusion .... (Score 1) 223

If we committed to gradually raising taxes on fossil fuels in a predictable way, we would encourage the purchase of more energy efficient vehicles. Even prices half of what they have in Europe would go a long way towards this. If you knew that in 10 years the minimum price per gallon would be $4-5, and that taxes would be going up ~$.25 a year until then, your next car purchase might be a smaller one than otherwise.
Opting for electric cars, while obviously a nice idea, is currently even harder for poor people than raising fuel prices. A Volt will be $30k after tax credits; a Corolla is less than half that.

Comment Re:Mobile Data and WiFI (Score 1) 222

You should look at Cricket. I have their basic plan, $35/mo on autopay; unlimited talk and text, and 2.5GB of 4G data over AT&T towers. Now, that data is limited to something like 8Mbps I think, which is plenty fast for me, and if I ever hit the limit (I never have, but my kids have on theirs) I'll be throttled to 128kbps which is still enough to stream Pandora or run Waze. I know exactly how much I'm going to be paying each month, I can use whatever unlocked GSM phone I want, and i can switch at the drop of a hat if something better comes along.

Comment Re:what a load of shit (Score 1) 233

Sure, but Uber will be testing in Pittsburgh this winter, Volvo is doubtless working on it in Sweden, etc. Sure, maybe when the first models come out they may not have mapped every back alley, but I bet within 10 years they'll be able to handle any situation as well as an average driver, and most situations a hell of a lot better.
You still may want to put snow tires on in the winter though.

Comment Re:wrong measurement (Score 1) 233

I bet the tipping point will be way less than that. Even 50% of the vehicles keeping a proper gap, not randomly braking, not piling into the vehicle in front would be a big improvement. If the cars behind are aware of an event ahead and can slow down to give it time to clear, all the non-aware traffic around will also be helped by the smoother flow.

Comment Re:what a load of shit (Score 1) 233

People seem to think that self driving cars are driving like people and that they will freak out when they can't see the lane markings. 360 degree sensors of all different types, tied to a 3d map of the area, means that they should be way better at staying on the road in those types of situations. See this article for just one example:
Sure, they need to figure out ways to keep the sensors clear etc, but that can be done pretty easily. And at some point, if the weather gets too bad, maybe having your car say "I'm not going out there" isn't the worst thing. Way too many people around me overestimate what they and their all-weather radials can handle and end up blocking the roads when they get stuck.

Comment Re:What the hell are mooncakes? (Score 1) 85

They're not unheard of in the US - I got a box at Costco last year, just to try them out and because the box looked cool. I brought it into work and the consensus was that it's Chinese fruitcake - something everyone has to buy and give, but that no one really likes.

I guess back in the day it was actually a good gift to get because it seems like about the most calorie dense food you can get. To a peasant farmer that's going to be manna, but for modern affluent folks, it's just too rich.

Comment Re:Great! (Score 2) 192

You have a driver sitting in the thing, with a big red button to hit or an easy way to take back control by moving the wheel or tapping the brakes. That doesn't seem to be putting human lives at much more risk than anyone else out on the road. And the payoff of this testing is that every mistake, in theory, should only be made once.

Comment Great! (Score 3, Interesting) 192

It's good to see more real world testing of these systems in a challenging environment. It will be interesting to see how they handle Pittsburgh's winter. I was hoping that they'd be ready by now, since my kid is about to get a driver's license, but at least I should be able to buy one in 5 or 6 years.

Comment TFA (Score 5, Informative) 243

TFA says that since they had already determined that the driver was dead, they were extra cautious. They do have protocols for dealing with electric cars, and would doubtless have acted quicker if there had been a chance to save the driver. As it was, they waited for an expert to come and give it a once over, which seems prudent.

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I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.