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Comment Re:It's a lot more simple than that (Score 1) 369

Indeed, but it's not really "low-balling" since the final figure would be incredibly hard to guess.
With something like a rail line it's not going to be minor but instead land is going to be a very significant part of the cost.

Nothing new there, it was old, old news in the 1960s when the Japanese put in their high speed rail line, spent a shitload on property and paid for a major chunk of it by renting out some of the property they had acquired for retail etc. It turned out that they could charge a lot of rent for shops close to popular railway stations.

Comment Re:I get this... (Score 2) 223

but I still cannot get over how you are somehow not allowed to USE YOUR BRAIN to count cards in order to win in a casino

Sadly the rule "only the house is allowed to get ahead because they pay shitloads in taxes and you rubes don't" is enforced by the governments that get money this way. Breaking that rule by using your brain to take advantage of an edge case violates that rule.
Unfair, but deep down did you every really think it was supposed to be fair?

Comment Re:It's a lot more simple than that (Score 1) 369

a significant part of the project cost the fluctuating cost of that land

If this were the real reason, then those fluctuations would be as likely to go down as up, and, on average, would net to zero. Yet public works projects almost always miss their budget in the same direction ... by going WAY over.

I appear to have gotten you at a bad time. Here is a little reminder about what you already know about the trend over time. Note the New York graph, which is not as extreme but still tends to rise, if you want to consider the general case and not buying stupidly expensive land for the final miles of a track between SF and LA.
http://www.doctorhousingbubble...
Perhaps a little thought before posting would save you from such embarrassment.

Comment Re:Few that received it have deserved it- weird aw (Score 1) 469

If so, the committee was incredibly stupid

You could think that way or you could consider that the prize actually doesn't mean what you (and most people) think it means and the committee have different aims to what you think they are.
It's more of a political statement by the committee, about what the committee likes, than rewarding anything that has actually been done yet.
I thought pointing out that Arafat got the award should make it more clear. Surely you are old enough to have heard of Arafat? Do you really think he deserved something called a "peace prize" if it really was actually a "peace prize"? The perceived irony of a warmonger winning the "peace prize" happens probably around every three to five years.

It's just a sideshow to the real awards for Physics etc anyway.

Comment Re:Use an average FFS or it's just noise (Score 1) 513

First you seemed to think the salary was a max.

Yes I made a mistake based on partial reading of that article.

Salary data is everywhere

Then how about choosing something representative instead of doing something that is completely indistinguishable from cherrypicking to push an agenda?

If I told students that they could expect to get the salaries you are going on about as if they are normal they would see me as an utter prick when they graduate and find that those salaries are not for them.

Comment Re: So, not really in Vegas... (Score 1) 54

Actually, the "click-thru" agreement you have to accept to activate the Tesla "almost-automatic" mode makes clear that you're expected to stay fully alert and ready to slam on the brakes despite the car being completely oblivious to an impending disaster. (i.e. it's like an airplane autopilot - barely enough good judgment to avoid driving off the road on its own)

And on this front I have to say I consider Musk an irresponsible asshole - human nature pretty much guarantees that almost no one will be able to maintain the state of sustained passive situational awareness necessary to safely operate a Tesla in autopilot mode, so making it available is willful reckless endangerment that allows him to accelerate his development of a fully autonomous system at the price of the lives lost in utterly predictable accidents.

Comment Re: So, not really in Vegas... (Score 1) 54

But what's in it for the driver? They're the person who has to foot the bill, and it seems unlikely that there will be a significant reduction in insurance rates since there's a relatively small percentage of scenarios where such a warning system will prevent accidents. It may even make things worse as drivers come to rely on the warning system rather than their own good judgment.

Plus there's going to be considerable lag between when the warning is issued and when the driver responds. At best, if the driver is constantly poised to slam on the brakes the instant they hear the warning, there will be 1/8th of a second or so of lag as the reaction signals propagate down their slow, slow nerves to activate the necessary muscles. In a more realistic case it's going to take another sizable fraction of a second, possibly even several seconds, for the driver to recognize the relatively unfamiliar sound, decide that they trust the car over their own senses, and decide exactly how to respond.

Comment Re:It's a lot more simple than that (Score 1) 369

Do you truly believe this was totally unforeseeable?

In terms of hard numbers? Of course.
Do you really think you can put a dollar value within 5% on what a bit of land is going for next year? Spin it out to five years, and where a 2% mistake really stings your budget and you'll get an idea that it's not going to be as simple as you seem to think it is.

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