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Comment Re:Trains (Score 1) 136

Their website (skytran.net) says they got a new CEO recently, with Jerry Sanders staying on the board, and last I heard they were building a demo track in Tel Aviv but that was supposed to be done at least a year or two ago and apparently isn't yet. The WIkipedia page says Israel Aerospace Industries contracted with them (Unimodal) to build a 4-500 meter test track, and if successful IAI will build a commercial SkyTran network in Tel Aviv, Herzliya, and Netanya.

Comment Re: Trains (Score 1) 136

It also has an absurdly high cost of living. The public transit doesn't make up for that, and (not being a Londoner or UKer I'm speculating) many people who work there probably don't live near a public transit station. There's also the time cost: even if you're riding a train, sitting on it for hours and hours every day to go back and forth to work is a massive waste of your time and your life. This isn't much different from some places here in the US, such as NYC.

Comment Re:Trains (Score 1) 136

The US trains only work for shorter distances. Even going from DC to Boston is just too far: it's cheaper, and MUCH faster to go by plane (1.5 hours vs. 8 hours). So yeah, going from DC to Baltimore by train is OK (if you don't need a car on either end), or even DC to NYC, but that's about it, unless you have a lot of time. And Amtrak prices aren't cheap either.

Musk's scheme makes little sense because of the high cost of tunneling. It would make far more sense to embrace SkyTran PRT: it's cheap to build, it uses utility towers and suspends rails from it (instead of tunneling), the rails can be built alongside existing roads, using existing rights-of-way, and you're only moving people and lightweight little pod-cars, not thousands of pounds of metal.

Comment Re:Trains (Score 4, Informative) 136

Ok, so you get in a train that drops you off in the middle of LA. Now, how do you get to where you're going from there? LA is hundreds of square miles of urban area, all spread out so there's no way any train will take you to all parts of it. You'll need a car to drive yourself to your destination. Now you're looking at spending a bunch of time and money dealing with a rental car agency, instead of just using your own car to get you there.

Trains are just like planes, only a lot slower. Planes are great for getting a medium number of people between two points all at once, in a short amount of time (except for TSA groping). But they don't help you much in getting from the airport to your final destination. Trains are worse because they're so slow, it ends up not being sensible to use them too much because if the distance is short, you might as well drive, and if it's longer, you're better off flying. If you happen to live in an urban downtown and want to travel to another urban downtown not too far away, trains make a lot of sense. That's about it though.

What would make a lot more sense is if they'd build SkyTran, but no one believes that'll possibly work so we can't have it.

Comment Re:Company's Fault (Score 1) 261

What kind of "mistreatment"?

Personally, I feel mistreated at my current job, and at many of my previous ones too. But the "mistreatment" wasn't (and still isn't) people saying mean things to me, but rather the horrible office environment, which I consider a form of mistreatment. It's within the employer's power to provide a comfortable, quiet office environment that is conducive to knowledge work. So when an employer refuses to do that (citing whatever bullshit excuses), that is tantamount to mistreatment. It's little different from having poor safety standards for factory workers, except the consequences aren't as short-term or severe, but the mentality is the same.

Comment Re:Literally in the Summary (Score 1) 261

Booth? I've never seen a company, big or small, bother with this. They're already too cheap to provide a proper amount of regular bathroom space for everyone, or any kind of decent break room space.

I can certainly see why any woman who can afford it would want to just stay at home. I'd rather stay at home too! I absolutely *hate* going to work. It's not the work, or even the coworkers, it's the environment: the shitty, smelly, and overcrowded bathrooms (probably not so much of a problem for women since there's so few women in tech); the horrible, inhumane, noisy, distracting open-plan office setups; the shitty HVAC units that are noisy and always have the temperature wrong no matter the time of year; the lousy parking; etc.

I don't have any of these problems at home, and even with today's inflated residential real estate values it's not hard to have a decent work setup at home, with 1) a reasonably clean, private bathroom (and if it gets smelly you can either turn on a bathroom fan or open the window, since bathrooms in houses frequently have windows), 2) a private office space without people walking by and talking loudly, 3) a fully-stocked kitchen nearby in case you want to make a snack or meal, 4) an internet connection that has good speed and doesn't have random failures as often (even if you're using something shitty like Comcast, it's not nearly as bad as a corporate IT department), 5) a computer that isn't hobbled by all kinds of bullshit security software, and can be running Linux too instead of shitty Windows 8/10, 6) the company of your pets.

The only thing that sucks about working at home is the lack of socialization can get to you after a while, but that's so much better than being forced into a noisy open-office environment where you eventually grow to absolutely hate all of humanity.

Comment Re:Abolish NASA, and deregulate aerospace. (Score 1) 156

not quite the average toddler's level of understanding.

Project much?

Spoken like one with no clue at all of NASA's decades of hostility to private enterprise in space. Google for "OTRAG" for one example of a potential competitor that they pulled out all the stops to kill off.

-jcr

Comment Re:Scoff at me all you want (Score 1) 156

The problem here is that you can't expect much rational and intelligent discourse on Slashdot these days, so that comment calling you paranoid is no surprise at all. Remember, this site is chock-full of far right-wing nationalists and objectivist libertarians, like much of the tech industry only much more concentrated here.

Comment Re:It's pretty simple (Score 1) 272

I happen to like cold water, at least in the summertime.

However, I really don't like icemakers in freezers. 1) They take up a lot of space, and 2) they use tap water, which is nasty. There doesn't seem to be a way to easily plumb them to use the RO water I buy, so the icemaker in my freezer just sits unused, wasting space. And no, those crappy filters they put in fridges these days are not a proper substitute. 1) They're not reverse osmosis, they're just shitty charcoal filters, and 2) they're horribly expensive to replace.

They should make icemakers easily removable. I'm perfectly capable of making ice myself with trays, which lets me use the water I prefer and not the nasty tap crap.

Comment Re: God no (Score 2) 207

Um, I don't know about you, but while I do admittedly charge my phone on the bedside table, the phone is sitting usually face-up. That means the main camera is pointed at the table surface directly below it so it's useless, and the front-view camera is pointed at the ceiling. The only thing that front-view camera is ever going to see in that position is the belly of one of my cats when they decide to walk over it. (Sometimes the phone is face-down, but this isn't really any different, except that hackers will now have a higher-resolution view of my cat's underside.) The mic is definitely an issue though.

The devices that come to mind immediately as a real danger in this way are these new "smart TVs", since on these any camera is pointing directly at the users in their normal TV-viewing positions. If the TV is in a bedroom, that means it's probably pointed at the bed and has an excellent view of whatever activity happens there. And why a TV could possibly need a camera and microphone, I have no idea. If we ever get to the point where we're Skyping people over TV screens, I can see the use, but we've had Skype-like technology for ages now and it's only rarely used for video chat it seems, and never on a TV that I've ever seen or heard of.

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