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Comment Re:Overcomplicated solution. (Score 1) 1184

I didn't give any references since I've heard that figure often enough to consider it well-known. (A quick google gives me the somewhat dated, concluding that European passenger car fuel economy is 47% better than that of the US - sorry about those 3%.)

And you are quite right in that this is in part, but not completely, caused by differences in size. But are you really saying that SUVs are mainly driven off-road? According to studies, they are not. (see Automobile Politics by Pateron). If your big car has actually tasted mud, it should count itself lucky.

I live in the country-side of Sweden, where road salt is illegal for environmental reasons, and we have more than our fair share of snow. Seeing that Americans have ~420% higher death rates in traffic than we do (2.9 per 100,000 in Sweden, 12.3 in the U.S, see, I'd say our "european-style" cars are handling it quite nicely, thank you.

Comment Re:Overcomplicated solution. (Score 2) 1184

"Oh wait" what? The gas consumption for the average european car _is_ about half of the average american car, so, yeah, it sort of has worked.
You can also see the development of fuel efficiency of american cars during the 70s oil crisis - the cars suddenly got a lot more efficient, and then became less efficient again as prices went down (which they of course did through a more adventurous foreign policy and generous distribution of bombs). You can read about this in Auto Opium: A Social History of American Automobile Design by David Gartman, and realize that the only efficiency that the automobile industry has even tried to achieve has been the rapidity of the obsolescence. (Which they, I would argue, have in common with a lot of industries. I don't really know from where the perception comes that companies would optimize anything else than their own profits - read Democratizing Innovation, by von Hippel.)

Subsidies for something that is killing our communities (Jane Jacobs wrote about this nicely in the 60s, in Life and Death of the Great American Cities), our environment and people (the leading cause of death among 18-24 y.o) is just as bizarre as the EU subsidies for fossil coal based energy production.

It's really time to start seeing the structural effects of automobility - there's a reason for the shitty public transit in the U.S. and that walking is no longer a valid option. Did you know that L.A used to have one of the best public transit systems in the world? Having trying to get around L.A. by bus, the best thing I can say about it is that you do meet a lot of... eh, interesting people.
But having lived in old cities in Sweden, Italy and Spain, built before the introduction of the automobile - I've never owned a car and never felt the need to.
Living in Venice for a year or so really teaches you what a life without the automobile could be like - you can smell flowers in the city and hear the children playing in the streets from a block away.

Comment Larger picture (Score 1) 359

I find the idea that electric cars would solve the sustainability problems we're seeing naive, at best. Most of the electricity production comes from fossil fuels anyway. Wind and solar won't be able to step in to replace this energy production, we simply don't have enough material to produce that many wind/solar farms. Nuclear, you say? If we were to replace all fossil fuels with nuclear, the uranium would last about 20-50 years, just postponing the problem while adding a shitload of radioactive waste to it.

The only reasonable thing is to step away from the entire automotive regime. This is the only solution that will reclaim the cities to their citizens and stop the killing of 1.3 million people per year (and that's just in direct traffic accidents, not counting indirect deaths through e.g. air pollution).

Technical "progress" in the current system of innovation won't be able to do anything about the fact that the material basis of our existence is quite finite.

(Sorry about not posting sources, I work in this field and generally would - but I'm on vacation!)

Comment Sweden is way ahead of you (Score 1) 208

In Sweden, we've had this law (in Sweden called Lagen om Elektronisk Kommunikation, LEK, the Law of Electronic Communication) for almost 9 years, more specifically since 25th of July 2003. When it was introduced, neither the government nor the police met the demands set by the law, and they were immediately facetiously reported to the police for it by a number of "concerned citizens", but they weren't charged. After a couple of months they'd implemented the necessary information on their web sites. I haven't heard of anyone having problems with the law (nor of anyone actually following it except the very large web sites), so probably the case law is quite reasonable.

Comment Notion Ink Adam (Score 1) 254

I have recently bought a Notion Ink Adam for exactly the same reason. The nice thing with it is that it has a Pixel Qi screen, which makes it possible to read outdoors/in direct sunlight, but also a normal back-light mode, to read indoors. I find it absolutely wonderful to read papers/scientific books on. I previously used the Kindle, but I found the refresh time of the screen to be really annoying, as I like to skim large numbers of papers. And that it isn't possible to take notes on a Kindle in a reasonable way really made it rather useless for my purposes. (And then I sat down on it and broke it, making it even more useless.) The Adam is great to skim-read on. I have also bought a small portable USB-keyboard, so I can write longer comments on papers I read, or even write on articles when outdoors. Plus, I can read/write emails, surf and so on. But I must mention that the Adam has a lots of downsides: you pretty much need to have a geekish vain, since the original OS is complete crap ( has a nice pretty stable Honeycomb for Adam, which is great). Moreover, the reflective mode of the Adam really sucks compared to e.g. Kindle, you pretty much have to be in sunlight to see anything. It's quite similar to a Game Boy from 1990. Moreover, Notion Ink REALLY don't want you to buy things from them. Expect ordering time of at least a couple of months, and lots of issues. But I'm really happy with reading scientific literature on mine. Now I only need to buy a waterproof case for it, so I can read while in the bathtub. :-)

Survey Shows That Fox News Makes You Less Informed 1352

A survey of American voters by World Public Opinion shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. One of the most interesting questions was about President Obama's birthplace. 63 percent of Fox viewers believe Obama was not born in the US (or that it is unclear). In 2003 a similar study about the Iraq war showed that Fox viewers were once again less knowledgeable on the subject than average. Let the flame war begin!

Submission + - Can open source save democracy?

An anonymous reader writes: Political discussions frequently conclude that democracy is at best a symbol. It is widely understood that lawmakers and politicians generally serve special interests more than they serve the people. This is no secret: everyone knows about lobbyists, campaign contributions, kickbacks, pork, earmarks, and the classic "smoke filled room" where political deals are made in secret. All of these problems can be summed up in the simple phrase, "power corrupts," and empowered individuals are a necessary component of representation-style democracy. We have never had another means of instituting democracy as a broad and general system of governance because it has simply been impractical. But social internet tools change everything. There are now scores of projects building creative and diverse systems meant to apply the principles of open source to the procedures of lawmaking. Can we eventually create real democracy, instead of the cheap imitations we have had to date? Or will we forever be reliant on empowered leaders to guide and protect us?

Comment There are a couple of misunderstandings here (Score 5, Informative) 529

1) Molestation ("ofredande") is NOT a sexual offense, but "sexual molestation" ("sexuell ofredande") is. These are two separate things and there is a big difference in punishment: sexual molestation often puts you in jail, molestation will usually only result in a small fine (but theoretically up to a year in prison, but that never happens). The legal distinction between the two is that in sexual molestation, the person committing the crime has to be sexually motivated, which is of course often very difficult to judge. Also note that in Sweden, neither sexual molestation or molestation has anything to do with the age of the victim.

2) The charges on molestation was never completely dropped. The attorney was still arguing for the charge to be rape of two persons, while the case was still classified as "molestation" (note: not sexual molestation). The judge was to decide whether to re-open the rape charges, as requested by the attorney. This was to be decided yesterday, but since new information came up, it was delayed until today. And obviously it was decided that the rape charges should be reopened. The submitter claims that "case has been reopened to investigate 'molestation charges'", this is therefore only partially true, since the charge now is:
rape ("våldtäkt"), sexual forcing ("sexuellt tvång") and sexual molestation ("sexuellt ofredande"). This is A LOT worse for mr Assange than only "molestation".
It is probable that Assange will be taken into custody (to prevent him from attacking more swedes)... (Google translate with more on this.)

3) Yes, Sweden has less macho culture than most other countries. Yes, women in Sweden more often dare to report rapes/sexual offences to the police. Yes, the police usually actually listens to them. And no, this is not a bad thing.

Submission + - Assange still suspected on lesser charges (

pEBDr writes: A preliminary investigation has been initiated in Sweden against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange over molestation. The initial suspicion regarding rape was written off last Saturday and the charge of sexual molestation a few days later. Now only a charge over molestation remains. In Sweden, there are namely two types of molestation: molestation and sexual molestation. The alderman Nils Petter Ekdahl explains that the difference between these two is often not obvious, but that the punishment for molestation is usually fine but maximally a year in prison, while sexual molestation is punished significantly harder. The legal distinction between the two is whether the assailant is assumed to be sexually motivated or or not.
Here's a Google translate version of the Swedish article.

I'm having a hard time seeing Pentagons involvement in this and an easier time seeing a pattern of males in powerful positions preferring strange sex.

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