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Comment Traffic Calming (Score 1) 582

There is well established precedent on how to reduce speeds on highly used residential roads. It's called "Traffic Calming". Essentially, you redesign the road so that it is narrower, curvier and gives better access to pedestrians and bikers. The basics of Traffic Calming can be found here:

Generally, urban roads that have traffic where it's even possible to move at 50 mph are straight, wide and flat. That is definitely the case with Locust Ave, as seen below.,-78.4694989,3a,75y,173.55h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sLC2p-2vz-idXmvJ1TaBg7w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Some suggestions for slowing traffic on this street might include:

- Put curb extensions at the sidewalks to reduce the distance that pedestrians have to walk to cross the street. This also makes the intersections tighter for cars, requiring them to slow down.

- Currently, parking is only on the left side of the street. About every half a block alternate parking between the left and the right sides causing the traffic to have to curve back and forth. This will slow down the traffic.

- Mark the parking with stripes, making the traffic lanes look smaller.

- If there is room, add another bicycle lane to the left side of the street.

Here is an example of traffic calming.,-71.0988748,3a,75y,14.17h,59.59t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1ssPfDs88GgNpRJgOTW2Z7mA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Although this street is in a more dense urban area (Cambridge, MA) than Locust, it used to look similar to it. All parking was on one side, and there were no curb extensions. Now you can see the tightened intersections and the curvy traffic lanes. Speeds have dropped significantly on this road. It's worth a try.

Comment Re:How your fitness is related to your heatlh (Score 1) 134

You are correct that we already know that healthier people have a smaller chance of dying. How do you quantify "healthy", however? How do you go beyond, "He kind of ran on a treadmill for a while, so I guess he won't die soon?"

If this research proves correct, then it gives people a powerful new metric for interpreting the results of Cardiac Stress Tests. We already know that heart rate, METs, age and gender are individual predictors or heart health. This research, however, indicates that the relationship between these four may be a more precise predictor of overall heart health than any one of those factors alone. It may also provide non-physicians a way of identifying people with heart problems that need medical attention.

For example, let's say that you go to the gym for the first time, and a personal trainer there routinely gives you a stress test to determine your health fitness prior to determining your exercise plan. By calculating this score, she may be able to quickly determine that you are high-risk for a cardiac event in the next five years. If that's the case, then your personal trainer can recommend that you go to a doctor and get further evaluation. This would be a huge benefit to people with undiagnosed cardiac disease.

Comment Re:So.... (Score 1) 134

The results are calculated following an official medical study called a Cardiac Stress Test. It consists of attaching an ECG machine to a patient and then having them exercise in a very precise, repeatable way. Typically, for patients who can walk or run to their personal maximum heart rate this is done on a treadmill. Some patients cannot run, but they can bike. In that case the test would be performed on a stationary bicycle. If the patient can neither run nor bike, an arm cycle (i.e. bicycle pedals that you twirl with your arms) is used.

The typical treadmill version of the test is called a Bruce Protocol, and it proceeds as follows. The patient walks and then runs on the treadmill as it progresses through several 3 minute intervals. For each successive interval, the speed of the treadmill is increased, and the slope of the ramp is increased (making the patient walk or run up a steeper hill). Based on this speed and slope, we can calculate the METs achieved. The protocol for increasing the difficulty of the exercise is as follows:

Minutes 0-3: 1.7 mph / 10% grade
Minutes 3-6: 2.5 mph / 12 % grade
Minutes 6-9: 3.4 mph / 14% grade
Minutes 9-12: 4.2 mph / 16% grade
Minutes 12-15: 5 mph / 18% grade
Minutes 15-18: 5.5 mph / 20% grade
Minutes 18-21: 6 mph / 22% grade

Only an athlete will be able to finish all seven intervals, as the final interval means that you are running 10 minute miles up a very steep hill. The vast majority of people will stop before the end of the final interval. The test is officially stopped for one of the following reasons:

(a) The patients says that they are exhausted and cannot proceed any longer.
(b) The patient experiences chest pain or shortness of breath.
(c) The patient's ECG changes in such a way that the physiologist running the test determines that it is unsafe to continue.

If you do not perform the test in this way (or some other medically approved way), then you will not get accurate results. For example, if you immediately start with Stage 7, you may be able to sprint for 1 minute, and achieve your maximum heart rate. Unfortunately, you will be overestimating your METs, because during a normal test, you may have had to stop during Stage 3 or Stage 4 with the same heart rate, but at a lower METs rate.

It is also important to note that unless you consider yourself to be completely healthy, it is best to perform this test with an ECG machine and under the supervision of a licensed physiologist. They will stop you, if you have a serious change in your ECG.

Comment Re:Still Evil (Score 1) 195

1) Find car you'd like to steal or strip.

2) Social engineer the car to be a part of this "rental agreement".

3) "rent" car using the usual fake ID stuff (or just tell them you're an illegal and they're not allowed to discriminate against you).

4) Drive to steel walled warehouse or just strip the parts you want, after all they have fake ID.

5) Profit!

I am virtually certain GM is not prepared for the security implications of this.

It seems that you don't have a very good idea of how the program works.

First of all, you can't provide fake ID, because to participate as a renter you must present a driver's license to RelayRides. They check with your state's DMV to determine if the license is up to date and if you have a relatively clean driving record before they agree to insure you. Only then will you be able to go on-line and rent someone else's car. It would be very difficult to "fake" this.

GM is simply making OnStar anti-theft protection standard on all of their cars. One feature of this is that the owner can use a smart phone app to unlock the car. So, you must have a valid smartphone account for this to work, again identifying you as the culprit.

If the car is stolen, OnStar's GPS tracking features will be a huge help in locating the car.

I'm not saying that there's no way to spoof the app and make it look like someone else stole the car. I'm just saying, it would take a much more sophisticated approach than you mention.

Comment USA has HIPAA Privacy Laws (Score 1) 1307

In the United States, the hospital as a whole is legally responsible for maintaining the privacy of all patient records. You are asking to open a port that has a very high probability of transmitting patient records (for example patient names, appointment schedule time and exam type) to hand-held devices that are taken off hospital premises and frequently lost, stolen or casually discarded when upgraded. iPhones do not have passwords or encryption turned on by default. Calendars are frequently shared between multiple calendar services like Google and Yahoo.

I think it is completely inappropriate for you to provide this service outside of the enterprise environment in the first place. I believe that your IT group is being excessively lenient allowing you to do it at all.

Comment Re:Why worry? (Score 1) 353

Because if people can't agree on what a word means, it leads to potential for misunderstandings and fraud. I don't think anyone can define "App" in the way that agrees with how Apple, Google and everyone else is using the word.

Let's try this definition: App is short for "Any computer code that, when applied to a general purpose information system, results in a more specialized application of said system." There, an app is any computer program -- big or small -- single hardware platform or multi-tier.

Comment Re:Don't Let Avatar Influence Your Statements So M (Score 5, Insightful) 782

A shame that Cameron didn't take a more original story and risk it like Star Wars.

I find it interesting that you should mention this, because I found the parallel between Avatar and Star Wars to be striking. Unlike you, I don't find the plot of the 1977 Star Wars movie to be original at all. It was simply that a farm-boy found a message from a princess who was captured by an evil knight and imprisoned in a dark fortress. With the help of a good knight and a pirate, he frees the princess and destroys the fortress before the dark knight can destroy the village.

That's about the most unoriginal story ever. It's been done over and over again since the middle ages. That's not why I loved Star Wars, however. I loved it because the visual spectacle at the time it was created was unlike anything that I had seen before. (I was only 9 years old in 1977, but still ...) Fighting with laser swords is cool! Fast moving spaceships with rapid fire lasers are cool! It had never been done before. The feeling was electric.

As I was watching Avatar at age 41, I got that same feeling. I felt like I was 9 years old again and seeing something absolutely amazing for the first time. The 3D effects were awkward for about the first 15 minutes of the movie, and then I stopped noticing them. The simply became the experience. The computer animation sequences were ridiculously good -- fantastically detailed. I think you can tell, I loved the movie.

Movies don't always have to be story-telling masterpieces. Sometimes they can just take you out of life for a while and put you on a visual roller-coaster ride. This movie did that more successfully than anything that I've seen in a long, long time.

Comment Re:ParkMagic and the smart meters are stealing you (Score 1) 863

Yeah, the ParkMagic is a joke. They could just as easily set up the system so that you park, enter your parking space number and press a big red button on the front of the box and a timer starts indicating how long you've parked. You put it in your windshield to let the parking enforcers know that you're paying. When you get back, you press the red button again and only get charged for the amount of time that you were in the space.

If the spot is two-hour parking and your meter reads 2:05, then you get a passing parking enforcer can write you a ticket. If you enter the wrong number for someplace where the parking is cheaper, you can get a ticket. Otherwise, you only pay for what you use.

Instead they make you guess how long you'll be there, knowing that you're either going to guess too much or get a ticket. Come on ... cut us a break.

Comment Re:Tariffs: enough for 125 years (Score 1) 913

The USA initially ran for a long time (from 1790s thru WWI) without any taxes on citizens, picking up what little money it needed from tariffs.

The USA initially ran for a long time with the following, too:

- Slave labor, non-union labor and child labor. No need for welfare, if people are forced to work for outrageous hours in sub-human conditions to survive.

- Lots of "free" land to the west. No need for welfare, education or unemployment insurance when poor people just leave to go west.

- Isolationist policies and ocean borders with no air travel. No need for an expensive technologically advanced, global military.

- A complete lack of health care. Nothing to spend our health care money on. And no need to spend lots of money on the elderly, because they died 15 years earlier than they do now.

So, once we eliminate the need for a giant miltary (not necessary against Native Americans and Mexicans), social security (people died young), health care (didn't exist), public education and welfare (not necessary, if poor people go west or are exploited by industry), and debt service ... well I guess you really can live off of tariffs only.

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