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Comment Look for warrant canaries (Score 3, Interesting) 86

Yes, kids, you too can try this at home.

Actual transcription from a "conversation" between me and Alexa:

"Alexa, do you work for the CIA?"
"Hmmm. I can't find the answer to the question I heard."
"Alexa, do you work for the FBI?"
"No, I'm not employed by them. I'm made by Amazon."
"Alexa, do you work for the NSA?"
(no voice -- descending 5th musical tone)

Comment Re:Do bats really control mosquitoes? (Score 1) 115

You're probably right about the bats not getting too many dragonflies.

I think the article I read was conflating bats and purple martins as "stupid things people do thinking they will reduce mosquitoes."

In any case, I have found a source that claims that dragonflies do eat mosquitoes (adult dragonflies eat adult mosquitoes and larval dragonflies eat larval mosquitoes). I can easily believe this -- at least around here, they are both active in the dusk and morning.

Also a source that claims that purple martins eat dragonflies, but very few, if any mosquitoes.

So the bats don't eat mosquitoes, but do carry rabies, and the purple martins don't eat mosquitoes, but do eat mosquito predators.

Comment Do bats really control mosquitoes? (Score 4, Interesting) 115

According to

Recently the public has shown increased interest in the value of insectivorous species of bats in controlling mosquitoes. Although untested lately, this is not a new idea. During the 1920's several bat towers were constructed near San Antonio, Texas, in order to help control malarial mosquitoes. Mosquito populations were not affected and the project was discontinued. Bats in temperate areas of the world are almost exclusively insectivorous. Food items identified in their diet are primarily beetles, wasps, and moths. Mosquitoes have comprised less than 1% of gut contents of wild caught bats in all studies to date. Bats tend to be opportunistic feeders. They do not appear to specialize on particular types of insects, but will feed on whatever food source presents itself. Large, concentrated populations of mosquitoes could provide adequate nutrition in the absence of alternative food. However, a moth provides much more nutritional value per capture than a mosquito.

They talk about other opinions, but most of those seem to be either anecdotal or from data taken in laboratories.

I also read that, not only do bats (and purple martins) not eat that many mosquitoes, they also eat other insects that would themselves eat mosquitoes, such as dragonflies.

Comment Re:I dont understand what the problem is (Score 1) 335

Sure. I could go either way on the fingerprinting. OTOH, if a lot of places do it but a few places don't, you know where the criminals are going to congregate.

In any case (despite all the protestations I see) it doesn't make sense to do fingerprinting for cabs and pedicabs and not Uber drivers. If you want to fix it, fix it all around. Don't make an ordinance specific to "ridesharing" and toss in a bunch of other garbage (like being able to stop anywhere on a whim).

And all the false information in some of the threads here about how the city never did this for cabs and pedicabs is, intentionally or not, completely wrong. For that many people to be that misinformed, somebody had to be actively lying.

Which is, IMO, why Uber lost -- reams and reams of mails and phone calls with active, malicious lies in them.

Comment Gross misinformation like this is why y'all lost (Score 1) 335

"Current taxi drivers did not have to submit to fingerprints either."

This hasn't been true in a very long time. The only new thing is the prints are now going to be checked nationally, not statewide.

Hell, my daughter drove a pedicab starting in 2010 and had to get fingerprinted.

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