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Comment Too cautious (Score 3, Interesting) 329

If I recall correctly, Consumer Reports was the same organization that demerited cars for having electric power windows because they said something to the effect that you'd be trapped in the event your car sank in a body of water.

It is sad that someone died while using Tesla's "autopilot" feature. But 1) evidence suggests the driver contributed to his own demise by ignoring or circumventing the warnings and safety features of the product 2) the product is only improved by the knowledge gained from this incident making future trips safer for everyone. 3) it is already evident that the rate of fatalities using this mode is already a 35% improvement over non-autopilot users. (1 fatality in 130 million miles driven vs. 1 in 96 million)

Comment Re:unions (Score 1) 1023

The real issue is "Living Wage". $15 an hour which is just starting to gain traction isn't even enough money to rent a family sized apartment in many cities. And $15 was a substantial amount over the current Federal minimum wage. When the minimum wage is hiked, the wages above it are also often hiked. The key is to get people closer to a Living Wage which is closer to $25/hour in some cities. As we've seen, the market failed to provide a living wage for a substantial portion of its citizens with more and more falling into the crevice of poverty.

Comment Karma (Score 1) 1023

I find it funny that these companies in the rush to automate exploited wage slaves out of their jobs forgets that the very product they sell depends on PEOPLE buying it. The more they push such people off of payrolls, the less number of people that will buy their product.

Fortunately, the current CEO of McDonalds has already discovered immediate increases in revenue and profits by increasing wages and benefits of their frontline workers.

http://www.politicususa.com/20...

Comment Re:Better Question (Score 1) 482

Under your proposed model, commodities would only be available for the short period of time after those farmers had harvested them. No storage, no long distance delivery. The rest of the year you do without.

The great value that our system of food distributorship in this country is that it provides a great abundance and variety of food commodities available for most of the year.

In the case of cars, the direct sales model would be preferable.

Comment Re:Not surprising (Score 1) 291

The US has benefited greatly from the existence and actions of the EPA. Air pollution standards have saved the lives or improved the health of millions, Water safety standards have done the same. But it is the corrupting of Government to forestall the effect of regulations by profit seeking corporations that is the root of the problem. CAFE standards were set more than 5 years ago. Why is Detroit playing their predictable behavior of doing nothing and when it comes time to implement, they whine and beg for delay or exceptions? Detroit even has free access to the intellectual property to effectively compete against Tesla and yet just wants to continue in its polluting ways.

Comment Re:I see theyre using the Step 2 profit model (Score 1) 188

Battery storage in houses, neighborhoods and at Grid substations will store Solar so that it is perfectly usable when the sun isn't shining.

Windmills in a large enough grid will always provide power. And when connected to Battery Storage, will always provide power when needed.

If modernizing the grid requires higher operating costs (or more correctly, capital recovery costs) then that is the cost of the externalities of using coal or other fossil fuels. e.g. it would be the correct cost to pay for electricity. If anything, if we fully account for the externalities of carbon and tax/price accordingly, then switching to renewables would likely save you money.

Comment Re:Raising questions about freedom of speech? (Score 1) 298

Innocent until PROVEN guilty. This person still has free speech rights as he is not (yet) a prisoner or even arrested. Just as Edward Snowden regularly interacts with conferences via telepresence so too should anyone else be extended that right.

If Chicago knows where he is (Slashdot seems to think they know where he lives) then they can issue a warrant and request extradition.

Comment Re:I see theyre using the Step 2 profit model (Score 1) 188

In case you haven't noticed, wind and solar spot rates are a fraction of oil and gas generated electricity and competitive with coal not counting coal's externalities which if fully accounted for would make using coal much more expensive.

To me, what is so interesting about Tesla's home/industrial battery offering (and other storage vendors) is the potential for off grid storage and creating micro-grids of neighbors. The ultimate F-you to the power companies that have refused to modernize their grids, refuse connecting solar panels to the grids and cling to fossil fuels.

Submission + - Why the ruling against NSAs phone records program could have huge implicatitions (washingtonpost.com)

Errorcod3 writes: A federal appeals court ruling that the National Security Agency's collection of millions of Americans’ phone records is illegal could undercut more than just that program.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the phone records program violated the law used to authorize it, the USA Patriot Act. The program had been approved by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and was first reported on by USA Today in 2006, but documents from former government contractor Edward Snowden revealed the program continued under President Obama.

The government argued that the huge volume of phone records were relevant to counterterrorism investigations because searching through them later might help discern links to terrorism suspects. But the court didn't buy it, ruling that such an interpretation of "relevance" was "unprecedented and unwarranted." The government's argument, the judges said, boiled down to "the proposition that essentially all telephone records are relevant to essentially all international terrorism investigations.”

Knocking down that interpretation could have consequences that go beyond the program and even the part of the USA Patriot Act used to authorized it, Section 215.

First, it could mean a blow to other programs relying on the same part of the USA Patriot Act, experts said — for example, a potentially ongoing program tracking international money transfers that includes millions of Americans' financial and personal data that was revealed by the Wall Street Journal last year.

And because many laws rely on very similar relevance language, the decision should bring new scrutiny to other programs, experts said. "As I understand it, this ruling should have implications for several surveillance statutes," said Harley Geiger, advocacy director and senior counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology..

Why? Basically that's due to a bit of congressional laziness, said Jonathan Mayer, a lawyer and computer scientist affiliated with Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society. "Most surveillance statutes are copy and paste," he said. "There's certain relevance language that is replicated everywhere."

The court itself noted as much, citing the example of two bills that use the same language to compel the production of information relevant to authorized terrorism investigations — one about telephone tollbilling and another about educational records. (Those bills did not appear to be used for or intended to authorize bulk surveillance.)

But other programs that collected massive amounts of data on Americans relied on similar relevance language. A program that collected information about e-mails until 2011, for example, was set up under a set of legal authorities known as "pen register/trap and trace." And a Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration program that harvested records of international calls by Americans to as many as 116 countries for more than two decades since 1992 relied on an administrative subpoena power that required that the information gathered be "relevant or material" to an investigation, USA Today reported.

The court's rejection of the broad interpretation of relevance in this case could make it nearly impossible for the government to argue in favor of domestic bulk collection programs such as these without it being explicitly spelled out in the law, according to Mayer.

That could have significant weight in the legislative debate over the phone records program. Section 215 is set to expire on June 1, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is pushing for a bill that would renew it. But for the phone program to continue after passage, the government would have to convince the Supreme Court to reverse the 2nd Circuit's decision.

And a bill to modify the law so that, supporters argue, the NSA can get access to records while still protecting Americans’ data — called the USA Freedom Acct — has split privacy advocates. One coalition of privacy advocates argues that the bill essentially legalizes mass surveillance and could "eviscerate numerous court challenges" — presumably, challenges like the one just won in the 2nd Circuit.

But one of the key arguments from privacy advocates who support the bill is that it reins in bulk collection by the government, which may have continued under other authorities even if Section 215 is sunset. That argument may be less compelling to some now. "The 2nd Circuit just did a big piece of USA Freedom," Mayer said.

Some members of Congress are already citing the decision as a reason to reject the current version of the USA Freedom Act, including Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who led a campaign to defund the phone records program in 2013.

But supporters of the bill say that other aspects of the legislation, including transparency provisions, still make it worthwhile. "The problem is without the transparency requirements in USA Freedom, we won't know how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court responds to the ruling," said Cato Institute senior fellow Julian Sanchez.

And USA Freedom would not undermine the relevance restrictions included in the 2nd Circuit decision, Geiger argues. Rather, he said, it would build on them by giving more specific parameters for what is relevant and "provide the certainty that both the intelligence community and the Americans concerned about civil liberties deserve."

The 2nd Circuit also declined to place a preliminary injunction on the case due to the current debate and could still be overturned, Sanchez said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the NSA's phone record program was first revealed by Edward Snowden. In fact, it was first revealed by USA Today in 2006 and the Snowden documents showed the program continued under President Obama. We regret the error.

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