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Electric Bicycles Surging In Popularity 533

gollum123 writes "An accidental transportation upheaval began in China, where an estimated 120 million electric bicycles now hum along the roads, up from a few thousand in the 1990s. They are replacing traditional bikes and motorcycles at a rapid clip and, in many cases, allowing people to put off the switch to cars. The booming Chinese electric-bike industry is spurring worldwide interest and impressive sales in India, Europe, and the US. China is exporting many bikes, and Western manufacturers are also copying the Chinese trend to produce models of their own. From virtually nothing a decade ago, electric bikes have become an $11 billion global industry. In the Netherlands, a third of the money spent on bicycles last year went to electric-powered models. Industry experts predict similar growth elsewhere in Europe, especially in Germany, France, and Italy, as rising interest in cycling coincides with an aging population. India had virtually no sales until two years ago, but its nascent market is fast expanding and could eclipse Europe's in the next year. In China, electric bicycles have evolved into bigger machines that resemble Vespa scooters. These larger models are causing headaches for global transportation planners. They cannot decide whether to embrace them as a green form of transportation, or ban them as a safety hazard. Some cities are studying the halfway measure of banning them from bicycle lanes while permitting them on streets."

Comment Re:Who wants to update?? (Score 2, Insightful) 1012

If you want to specify what I can do with a copy of your software, write a contract and make me sign it.

If you're selling me a box (with a computer and a copy of the software inside it), then that's a sale. Maybe if your website said "click here to buy a computer and enter into a license agreement regarding a piece of software", you'd have an argument.

If you're calling it a sale, then it's a sale, and first-sale doctrine should apply. That means I own the copy of the software that you sold to me. I can do whatever I want with it.

Unless you're new here, you must have heard this argument against EULAs before.

Comment Re:Explained by a Simple Formula (Score 1) 944

Your argument against net neutrality would only make sense if the ISPs competed in a free market, which they don't. Like you said, they have been granted regional monopolies by governments. People can't ditch Comcast for Google if the local telco also blocks Google.

In an already-heavily-regulated market, net neutrality legislation is actually a deregulation. Pairs of ISPs are given ultimate control over entire regions through regulation; net neutrality would undo some of that regulation by restricting the power of the ISPs.

Your solution for us who are indeed stuck with only two available ISPs is to be screwed until technology advances or regulations disappear (good luck on that second one). That's not really good enough. Net neutrality is regulation, but it benefits individuals at the expense of government-assisted corporations. Your libertarian principles should tell you to be in favor of that.

Comment Re:Wireless technology (Score 1) 300

You're assuming that devices are limited to omnidirectional transmission. What if they were all fitted with tiny phased arrays? It's conceivable that they could keep the beam pointed toward a single base station, and interfere very little with the space around them.

I don't even know if this is a plausible solution to your problem, but it's the first thing that came to mind. I'm not prepared to predict that innovation will stop.

Comment Re:Cool (Score 2, Insightful) 376

And new installations of $app don't work either because users are never told they need $bar. This is a fairly obvious bug that gets noticed, and an update for $app adds the dependency to $bar.

Sure, I'm assuming that someone will fix it, but you're assuming that someone will goof up in the first place. Seems fair.

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