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Comment There are much better ways to resolve conflicts... (Score 4, Insightful) 74

Trying to track down where in Africa minerals are mined will require massive spending on auditors and lawyers. Bribery and corruption is rife. A much more effective approach is to support refugees, wherever they may end up. Furthermore, population growth and AIDS are larger problems than the African civil wars. Rwanda's population is already larger that what is was before the genocide there.

Comment Re:openstreetmap.org (Score 1) 141

OpenStreetMap has an acceptable use policy, as opposed to limits. The sysadmins implement limits on an ad hoc basis to ensure that the servers are not overload.

The number of services from osm.org is however quite limited. For example no routing.

If you are serious about reducing fuel consumption and other forms of waste, it really makes sense to pay for the best service, be it Google Maps, OSM, NT or TA. Computing the best route between two points 20 kilometers apart is a fraction of a cent, even with the worst possible algorithm. The savings can however be many dollars.

Comment Good antenna: Yes, Getting it deployed: Maybe (Score 4, Informative) 38

Getting the antenna deployed is another matter. For example ICASA has serious corporate governance problems.

I live in South Africa and I regularly pick up high power WLANs in my neighbourhood. And I suspect many of them are used to carry CCTV signals or to bypass the expensive telecoms operators. The public is sympathetic to these cause. So compliance with government regulations will not be very high.

Comment Online Judges are useful up to a point (Score 1) 329

On sites like spoj.pl there are plenty of easy questions. It's a good way to learn the basics, like sorting, input and output, because the judge will test your program for all the possible newbie mistakes.

Unfortunately, there are very few judges that will force you to use certain libraries (STL, boost, etc) APIs or language features (e.g. inheritance).

Comment Re:To unclear (Score 1) 556

I wonder if all those people who helped OpenStreetMap are aware that OpenStreetMap knows the exact location where they were when they collected the data.

On a few rare occasions I investigated a few OSM user names. For example Googling it and looking at where the first edits were made. Rarely is it possible to determine the residential or work address with any kind of accuracy. Even the nationality of some contributors cannot be determined accurately, considering global im/emigration. And I doubt the sys admins will bother to mine the extra data they have access to.

So OSM cannot go nearly as far as Google or Appel, even if they wanted to.

Personally I don't mind telling the world where I've been, but I'm not too keen to tell them where I'm going. http://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Nic%20Roets/traces

Comment Re:Assen (Score 1) 314

Isn't it a bit misleading to say that Assen has a density of 2000 per square mile ? That's measured over 32 square miles. But if you look at a map, you will see that most of the population lives in an area of 2.5 miles by 3.5 miles. And my guess is that that area is quite flat, making it ideal for cycling.

Comment Re:I had no idea there was democracy in Zimbabwe (Score 1) 669

No, there is at least some level of democracy. The MDC did gain many seats during the last election, as well as the position of prime minister. Furthermore, if Mugabe goes too far (for example by banning the MDC), he will loose support from South Africa. Part of the reason why democracy has not produced results in Zimbabwe is because the disillusioned section of the population has been voting with their feet, i.e. immigrating to South Africa.

Comment Micromanagement of traffic will have a big impact (Score 1) 109

Firstly, the infrastructure to measure traffic flow patterns is being created as we speak. Every smartphone with a GPS can act as a sensor.

The political will is there, largely due to the desire to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Authorities should try to disincentive drivers to drive when peaks are predicted. It may take the form of toll charges being continually adjusted or it may take the form of free parking. But even without them, a mere warning from their smartphone will lead some drivers to reschedule or reroute.

Comment Carl Sagan on interpreting images (Score 3, Funny) 53

"Strikingly, the images resemble one taken by Hubble of the star Fomalhaut." Be careful in drawing conclusions from the above statement. In 'Cosmos', Carl Sagan summarizes one of the flawed arguments he came across : "Looking at Venus, what do you see? Just clouds. Not a single thing. Conclusion? Dinosaurs"

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