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Plan C: The Cold War Plan Which Would Have Brought the US Under Martial Law

Firethorn Re:Martial law (306 comments)

In times of great danger, people band together and agree to be slaves in order to survive.

If you're comparing living under martial law to slavery, I think you do a disservice to slavery. It's bad if martial law lasted for a long time, but the goal of martial law should be to compensate for a failed/destroyed civil system. In which case you have martial law just long enough to rebuild the civilian structures.

It's more along the lines of 'things are bad right now, we all need to buckle down to survive'.

yesterday
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Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars

Firethorn Re:Your situation isn't everybody's. (90 comments)

And 10% savings with no changes to technology (apart from the platooning system of course) or driving is pretty good, isn't it?

Only on a closed track, and remember that my assertion isn't that the gas savings aren't there, it's that even with self-driving cars 8 meters isn't safe once you start trying to move it to production, especially when you'd have cars of different makes, and maintenance levels in the 'platoons'. It'd also be limited(mostly) to the highway systems, which doesn't do much for most commutes.

2 days ago
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Local Motors Looks To Disrupt the Auto Industry With 3D-Printed Car Bodies

Firethorn Re:Not just slashdot. (128 comments)

Just a nitpick, but most of the UTVs I'm talking about could easily be considered a "Mini Truck - (44)“Mini truck” means any four-wheeled, reduced-dimension truck that does not have a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration truck classification, with a top speed of 55 miles per hour, and which is equipped with headlamps, stop lamps, turn signal lamps, taillamps, reflex reflectors, parking brakes, rearview mirrors, windshields, and seat belts."

For example, one can point out that this does indeed have 4 wheels, isn't NTSA truck classified, I don't know about top speed, but with 22.8 hp it's probably NOT hitting 55, and it has lights & turn signals. All you'd need to do is mount mirrors.

You can get electric, as well.

For example, I can't think of any routes that you could safely use to get from downtown Tampa to downtown St. Petersburg.

That's kind of exceeding what I was targeting as well - the old farts in retirement communities moving around the neighborhood.

2 days ago
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Plan C: The Cold War Plan Which Would Have Brought the US Under Martial Law

Firethorn Re: Did anyone expect otherwise? (306 comments)

Yet such measures on a temporary basis would save many lives.

Sometimes its less about the form of government and more that one is present. Through much of history countries weren't democracies.

2 days ago
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Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars

Firethorn Re:Your situation isn't everybody's. (90 comments)

15 meters is the max they measured, you really need to be within 9 meters to realize 10% fuel savings.

That close you're looking at an impact by following vehicles if something happens to make the lead vehicle abruptly stop or slow.

Also, I wasn't considering dedicated 'lead' vehicles like trucks, but other cars, and computer driven by lots of different companies.

IE I don't trust their communications.

2 days ago
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Local Motors Looks To Disrupt the Auto Industry With 3D-Printed Car Bodies

Firethorn Not just slashdot. (128 comments)

True, golf carts aren't great if you have to go across town, but apparently they're quite popular in the retirement areas down in Florida. If you don't walk so well anymore, the weather's nice(though full cab versions exist), and all you want to do is go to the local convenience store or local community center they're great.

You also have UTVs (Utility Task Vehicles), which are golf-car like, but generally more powerful. They're popular in many industrial areas for zipping around while taking up less space than full size vehicles would need. Quicker to get in and out of as well.

Summary: I wouldn't underestimate their ability to sell and be useful in niche categories.

2 days ago
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Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars

Firethorn Re:Your situation isn't everybody's. (90 comments)

Research done has shown that for real mpg improvements you need to be closer than even a computer controlled car can compensate for, and you pay for it by needing to brake so often that you burn off any potential savings.

Computer controlled cars might be able to do it better, but do you trust the signals from the lead car?

3 days ago
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Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

Firethorn Re:No fuck off (461 comments)

Fixing that would make a great initiative petition. "Henceforth all ticket revenue will be rebated to the taxpayers directly on a quarterly basis".

Then you'd have all the taxpayers who haven't had a traffic ticket lately clamoring for more and more expensive tickets to be written. ;)

3 days ago
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Plan C: The Cold War Plan Which Would Have Brought the US Under Martial Law

Firethorn Re: There are still contingency plans (306 comments)

If you're bombing your own population you've already lost.

Besides, a B-52 is even more fuel hungry than the tank.

3 days ago
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Plan C: The Cold War Plan Which Would Have Brought the US Under Martial Law

Firethorn Martial law (306 comments)

I think this is why it managed to say 'secret' for so long. When you were briefed into the program you realized that:
1. The plan was incredibly unlikely to ever go 'live'
2. If the plan DID have to go 'live' things were so FUBAR that it was the best remaining option.

We need continuity in government. So long as the military command(majority of surviving government due to being designed to survive attack) gives command back over to civilians in a reasonable timeframe*, we're good.

*2-4 years? Enough for a new election cycle, at least.

3 days ago
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Plan C: The Cold War Plan Which Would Have Brought the US Under Martial Law

Firethorn Re:Urban legend? (306 comments)

No doubt filed between the plans for invading Cameroon and Cape Verde. Updated once every 5 years. It's one of the important ones. The two I mentioned are on a 20 year schedule.

3 days ago
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Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars

Firethorn Re:Still sounds like early flight... (90 comments)

I don't know, the world's 2 most ancient professions are still around... ;)

Actually, I'd imagine that truck drivers, especially long haul, would suffer before taxi drivers.

The taxi 'industry' would be fine, perhaps even invigorated by this. Fire all the nasty taxi drivers, have a computer do dispatch, etc...

Reduce costs enough and people will be less likely to buy a car rather than just renting one when they need it.

As you say - need a heavier vehicle, rent one, even over the phone. Heck, buy something and arrange for delivery. It'll drop the package wherever. Though delivery services at that short range are often cheap enough to be worth the human labor placing it in it's final location and hauling the old one away.

3 days ago
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Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

Firethorn Re:No fuck off (461 comments)

Sometimes they're sitting there between calls doing paperwork.

The problem with cutting their budget is that traffic enforcement(writing tickets) generates revenue, solving crimes doesn't. So you'd be forcing them to write even more tickets.

Even in areas where the police department doesn't get a cut of ticket revenues, generally the legislatures will alter funding - IE give the cops money to be able to afford to write tickets where the money from the tickets goes to the schools. If they don't write enough tickets, they'll be questioned by the budget committees.

3 days ago
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Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars

Firethorn Re:Still sounds like early flight... (90 comments)

You obviously spout misinformed nonsense - the only opponent with some national support was Langley.

You spout things you do not know. I never stated that they all had national support. I don't remember who, but Langley wasn't the only one with government support. Which is why I said 'some'.

3 days ago
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Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars

Firethorn Time value of money (90 comments)

Do you own a car? If so, do you change it's oil or take it to a place? Why?

Most people don't do it as explicitly as I did, but people still do it. It's one of the major reasons people drive rather than taking the bus. Sure, it's more expensive to drive, but they value their time highly enough that they'd rather spend $5 to get there in 1/3rd the time that the bus would take.

People especially do it when they hire a contractor to fix something in their home, mow their lawn, etc...

3 days ago
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Modular Smartphones Could Be Reused As Computer Clusters

Firethorn Re:Depends on use (82 comments)

At how much cost compared to salvaged cell phone CPUs? Secondly, the 'needs' you list rather depends on the task they're being asked to do. There are still lots of tasks out there that aren't particularly CPU dependent.

Oh, now that's an idea: Said CPUs tend to be fairly ruggedized. What if we're talking about micro-servers intended for use in neighborhood locations for whatever function?

As Kenh says, "maybe not your cellphone".

My cell phone is more powerful than the old domain controller at one of my previous jobs...

3 days ago
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Germany Plans Highway Test Track For Self-Driving Cars

Firethorn Re:what about liability? and maybe even criminal l (90 comments)

You are very far off from reality.

Since so much of what you said is the same thing as I said, doesn't that make you far from reality as well?

For example, you said: "If a pedestrian runs into your lane and the car does an automatic emergency break AND the car following you crashes into you because of that, the liability issues are clear."

Which is simply an expansion/different case on my "pedestrian considered at fault for darting into traffic."

You don't address my pointing out that the system maker could be held at fault, but I specified 'possibly' for a reason - that's reaching into politics. We all should know that what is 'right' is not always what happens.

Fact is, I figure auto-drive accidents that are the fault of the car will be extremely rare, but still happen. That's where the limited liability becomes important.

3 days ago
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Modular Smartphones Could Be Reused As Computer Clusters

Firethorn Depends on use (82 comments)

That rather depends on the use you're putting them towards, doesn't it?

Cell phone processors might tend to be slow, but they're rather power efficient per operation. Always good in a data center, especially if the single powerful processor gets a lot fewer operations per watt.

I can see it being useful for highly parallelized tasks. Google searches, serving HTML pages and even video streams, re-compressing audio/video streams*, etc...

3 days ago
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Omand Warns of "Ethically Worse" Spying If Unbreakable Encryption Is Allowed

Firethorn Giving medals for botched raid (392 comments)

I'd say give the cops medals for NOT shooting the homeowner shooting at them thinking they're home invaders.

It's also yet another reason why I want to get a home security system that records. Including audio. Maybe I can set it up to forget the audio(and video) unless there's gunfire within an hour?

3 days ago
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Omand Warns of "Ethically Worse" Spying If Unbreakable Encryption Is Allowed

Firethorn Self defense (392 comments)

Possibly if they where really a life threat and you had a license or something.

Don't set a trap(Fails even in the USA), shoot them in the front, and have a 'legitimate' reason to express fear for your life. Them having weapons of their own(knives should work) would help.

If you DO end up shooting one in the back, being able to state that you were aiming for his buddy that hadn't turned yet might work. Or 'he turned as I pulled the trigger' while sobbing or something.

Remember, human reaction speed is something like 200ms. If you decide to pull the trigger a moment after he decides to turn, it's quite possible that you'll have pulled the trigger before you recognize that he's turning, too late to recall the 'pull trigger' impulses. And while guns fire fast, they still take time, giving him time to turn a little more.

3 days ago

Submissions

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Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Firethorn (177587) writes "From Decatur Daily
Shut down 22 years ago in 1985, the Tennessee Valley Authority has reactivated Unit 1 at Browns Ferry Nuclear plant in response to rising demand for electricity in North Alabama. It's the first reactor activated since 1996.

It's expected to produce 1,155 megawatts, power 650,000 homes, and employ an extra 100 workers at the plant.

Renovations cost $1.8 Billion, but they expect the payback to be done within 4-5 years, down from the 7-8 years estimated in 2002, mostly because of increased fuel costs for the alternatives."

Journals

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Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 6 years ago

You know, I found a story on fark leading to a postive spin on Walmart. Of course, the thread had all sorts of entries on how bad/evil Walmart is. While I certainly don't agree with everything in the article, neither do I believe that Walmart is worse than the devil. It's of only average evilness for a large corporation.

One points brought up was the 'liveable wage'. While Walmart does indeed have one of the lower wage medians, it's a retail store. It's wages are in line with the other 'mart' stores, grocery stores, and their ilk. If anything, a lower median wage indicates that they aren't top heavy with too many managers. 90% of their workers are covered by health insurance - and not government plans.

Here in the USA we have a messed up view of what a 'liveable wage' is. It's part of why we've lost so much of our manufacturing - cheaper laber outside the USA.

I'd rather have them have a job that might not pay enough for them to get that 60" Plasma, own two cars, not to mention such 'essentials' as cable, high speed internet, a thousand+ computer, etc, than NO JOB.

Essentially, I feel that it'd be a better situation to have welfare set up so that people are always better off working than not working. They're also always better off working the better paid job than the lesser**. As part of that, I'd get rid of the minimum wage.

IE we declare the minimum living income to be X. Really bad standard of living, barely covers the basics. Everybody gets X.
Joe gets a job making Y. His welfare payments are adjusted such that he gets Y + (X-Y/3). I use a divisor of 3 because there are costs associated with working, and a /2 is a bit too quick. Let's say X is the Poverty line. We'll go with a family of 4. $21,200. Ouch. Still, let's say they get job/s earning $30k. They'd 'lose' 10k in benefits, still obtaining $11.2k in benies. They now have an effective income of $41.2k, which while not great, is better than sitting completely on welfare. Meanwhile the single guy would be looking at $10.4k, and that $30k job would leave him with $400 in benefits. He's still better off getting that pay raise, though. I'm firmly of the belief that somebody working and contributing is better than not working.

That would help with our outsourcing problem, while wages would drop, it would help make us competitive on the global workforce market again.

On another topic - U.S. homes lose $2 trillion in value in '08

Is this necessarily a bad thing? For a while there people were treating their homes as investments - well, a home IS an investment, but they were treating theirs like something they could buy then sell when their retired for enough money to retire on. Easy credit allowed people and speculators to buy far more home than they needed, or even could afford, putting a crunch on housing and raising prices to the point of unaffordability. Personally, I'd like to remain able to afford a decent home with a 30 year fixed, on no more than 30% of my income, not some fancy loan that I ultimately can't afford.

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Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 9 years ago

What with the flooding, I feel that New Orleans should be renamed to 'New Venice'. I have many thoughts on this.

For one, it's just stupid to build a standard city below sea level, on the coast, especially in an area subject to hurricanes.

My idea, since the area's natural tendency is to be flooded anyways, we go along with it and build like in venice. It'd remain a tourist attraction, and would be far more resistant to hurricanes with proper construction. My idea is floating homes. Tie them in location with rails so they stay level. Give then around 3-4 meters of travel. You could reduce this by actually artificially raising the level of water, then when a hurricane comes, pump the water out to keep it level. It's hard to flood an artificially raised lake. You break a levy, the water level drops.

Then instead of levees, you build tide breakers, to moderate the tide and any breakers. Build 'sacrifice buildings' closest to the gulf, that can be used to break the tide even further. Then large buildings that won't float, but sit on a solid foundation, will use their first floors for nothing critical, and reinforce the ocean side to withstand the hurricanes, at least better. They're also to protect the homes behind.

Great tourist attraction, unique, pretty much floodproof.

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Why do people keep calling me a republican?

Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Disclaimer: This is intented to be a summery. There are all sorts of jinks and kinks in my beliefs. This is mearly a summery.

People keep calling me a republican on this board. If I am one, I must be an awfully strange one, seeing as how I'm pro choice, pro drug legalization, at least somewhat pro gay rights, and am an agnostic with atheist tendencies.

I believe in seperation of church and state, but I don't think that means that the state can supress people's freedom of religion. As in if a kid wants to read the bible or pray in school, they can (as long as it's not disruptive to class).

I think that school vouchers are a good idea. Private schools and parents have been doing more education with less than public schools for years.

I think that the government should run a balanced budget. I also think that the fairtax guys have a good idea, but that there are a number of kinks to work out.

The war on terror, war in Iraq? I think that we're taking the wrong direction at the airports. I think that all the violations of our rights are wrong. As for the war in Iraq, well, we're committed. We have to finish it, lest it turn into another Afghanistan. I can only hope the upcoming elections go reasonably well.

I am a strong supporter of the first amendment. I feel that if I'm not uncomfortable with at least some of what is being said, speech isn't free enough.

I am also a strong supporter of the second amendment. And yes, I believe that that covers machine guns. NBC weapons are a bit much even for me however. If it's not something that a single soldier can be expected to haul and use somewhat discriminatorily, it's not a personal arm.

I think that it's a major crime that the government can confiscate property without trial.

I think that our government spends too much money on various welfare and pork barrel projects. If we must have welfare, I think that people should have to work for it.

I'm a libertarion, not a republican.

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First Entry...

Firethorn Firethorn writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Well, I usually mess something up in my posts, so if something seems odd, it might just be.

I'm certainly not average.
I'm pro-choice... And Pro-Death penalty
I'm for a strong military...but I'd let gays join
I'm for closing the border...but I'd let legal immigration be easy.
I'm for legalizing drugs...And serious prison time for DUI's.
I consider myself for a clean enviroment...but I'd do this closing all hydrocarbon powerplants and replacing them with nuclear.
I'm a strict constitutionalist.
I believe that if we must engage in war, we should wage it offensivly. Under modern technology, offense is what wins battles.
I'd eliminate welfare and the minimum wage, replacing it with a 'work-fare' program, where you have to work at something for forty hours a week (even if only picking trash up from the side of the road). Benefits would be mostly concrete, not cash. You'd eat at a dining facility, live in a provided apartment, etc...

I certainly have other views, but this should cover most of the issues.

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