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Comments

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Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

Firethorn Re:So it's like Colorado (198 comments)

They're still making money from marijuanna sales there. I could have told them they wouldn't make that much money, they were way too optimistic, and set the tax rates too high to properly compete with illegal sources.

Compounding that was a federal campaign against the financing and housing of legal dispensaries - they have a hard time getting the money to get the economy of scale necessary for profit. Leasing commercial property is also almost impossible.

41 minutes ago
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Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

Firethorn Strict enforcement...Good way change the law (198 comments)

There's an old saying that the best way to get a bad law changed is to strictly enforce it. Piss off enough people with either having to drive slow or pay the tickets, they'll instead elect anybody promising to fix the 'problem'.

47 minutes ago
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Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

Firethorn Re:Easy to solve - calibrate them to overestimate (198 comments)

If it still reduces accidents as well as red light running, does it matter if 'more' people run the yellow? The goal of traffic signals is safe intersections and driving, not a 'Simon Says' game.

Note: Link provided not for unbiased site, but because site does have links to reputable studies.

I DID read a biased FAQ by a red light company. Note how they pound the cost of accidents in life and property damage, citing studies. But when it comes to how red light cameras effect the crash rate? 'If red-light and speed safety cameras reduced by an additional 25%...'. Uncited supposition.

Fact is, the 'typical' fatal red-light running is a person going through an 'aged' red, at high speed, while drunk. Not the type to be worried about a camera at that point. Most accidents involving 'fresh' reds are minor, comparable to the rear-end collisions that increase due to the cameras(google should give studies easily).

  I apologize for not linking a study, but I have to head out.

about an hour ago
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An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

Firethorn Re: Agner Krarup Erlang - The telephone in 1909! (289 comments)

Good idea! They even make fancy ones that can bend to turn corners a bit and use the shape of the rollers to keep the product on them going the right direction and not falling off the conveyor.

A slight slope would be all that you'd need to keep the product moving without any further human assistance.

Depending, the ice truck should already have one available. Heck, worst case have a cart.

1 hour ago
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32 Cities Want To Challenge Big Telecom, Build Their Own Gigabit Networks

Firethorn Re:Hey Verizon, can you hear us NOW! (140 comments)

Indeed, I'm mostly a libertarian and I view this as not really any different than a neighborhood, town, or city getting together and forming a cooperative. My reaction is 'good on them! Fie on established businesses that are failing to meet demands'.

12 hours ago
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An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

Firethorn Re: Agner Krarup Erlang - The telephone in 1909! (289 comments)

If the line moves 4 times faster, for 1/4 the time, then you need 4 times the laborers... for 1/4 the time. You don't get to multiply people the same way you can speed.

Power vs Energy. ;)

He does actually point this out - his example was rather than needing 5 volunteers doing 1 hour shifts sequentially, they do it in parallel. Which raises the question of whether you HAVE 5 volunteers, or just 1 doing a 5 hour shift...

Still, one would have to ask how many bags a volunteer can carry - if he can carry 3 per trip, but ends up only carrying 1-2 much of the time, a caching system would be more efficient because he can just keep hauling 3 bags per trip rather than 1-2 if that's all the current customer is ordering.

12 hours ago
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An Algorithm to End the Lines for Ice at Burning Man

Firethorn Re: Agner Krarup Erlang - The telephone in 1909! (289 comments)

I've never accused Walmart of efficiency, and McDonald's did it's motion efficiency studies decades and decades ago, and hasn't kept up the work.

yesterday
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Facebook 'Safety Check' Lets Friends Know You're OK After a Major Disaster

Firethorn Re:phones during events (129 comments)

A) still calling B) trying to update a half dozen media sites and C) now facebook is going to auto spam you complete with graphics and ad's

Okay, in my experience with the military every time there was a major disaster somewhere in the world I had to tell my command that I was safe and that I didn't have any immediate family in the affected area. They eventually mostly automated this with a website I could use.

So, at least theoretically facebook could dispense with the graphics and ads and send minimal amounts of data, even stuff like 'respond to this text with your status to auto-update', using a few kilobytes rather than megabytes. Done widely enough this would indeed help lower the strain on communication infrastructures during times of emergency while allowing more people to update their status.

3 days ago
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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Firethorn Re:Divergence (154 comments)

I still have no idea what actual information this is supposed to convey. Or is it more of a "rah rah, evolution!" reaction thing?

You need something to compare it to; it's right in the article: "For comparison, humans and chimpanzees split somewhere between 5 and 7 million years ago"

So mice and rats diverged somewhere between 12 and 24 million years ago, while the range is 5 to 7M for humans and chimps. Humans and Chimps are very different and we'd certainly not try to treat chimpanzees as 'small humans' in a lab setting. Yet we tried to do so with mice, treating them as small rats.

Just a linear comparison would tell you that rats and mice have had 3 times as long to diverge as humans, making it a good chance that they're more different than humans and chimps are, even excluding that a generation of rats/mice can be measured in months when it's decades for humans and chimps.

As for the huge range - "He left the highway somewhere in Nebraska" is an overly broad area to search for an escaped felon, but if it's the best the investigators can come up with at the moment, it's the best they can come up with. 'Specification' is already a vague line, and without DNA to compare, or even enough intact skeletal remains, it can be tough.

4 days ago
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PETA Is Not Happy That Google Used a Camel To Get a Desert "StreetView"

Firethorn Re:No. (367 comments)

The problem is that they still get money from normal people who don't realize their real agenda. It's a bit like smoking way back in the day - people didn't know it was harmful*, the tobacco companies were pushing untrue messages, etc...

PETA, the organization is a lot like that. They push a specific variation on their message to the world(be ethical about the treatment of animals!) that is non-offensive to the majority of people. As a result, pet owners will donate money to them, thinking that PETA is a bit like the old NRA(which put the money towards safety education, safe firing ranges, and such) - that their money would go towards animal shelters, education, fighting animal abuse, etc... They don't realize that their money is used to fund overpaid executives and push radical agendas.

As such, we need to scream it to the rafters until enough people know to give to their local animal shelter over PETA and PETA goes bankrupt.

*Well, many did, but it wasn't advertised, there were a lot of truly ignorant people.

about a week ago
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PETA Is Not Happy That Google Used a Camel To Get a Desert "StreetView"

Firethorn Re: And? (367 comments)

That was pretty much my thought. A camel that's truly pissed off isn't going to be helping you. They're big ornery creatures, after all. Meanwhile in getting the camera view the camel was provided with fodder, water, medical care, as well as all the other help that a domestic camel gets in exchange for walking around.

about a week ago
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Z Machine Makes Progress Toward Nuclear Fusion

Firethorn Re:Pulse generation - why? (151 comments)

Cost is about $15 billion. If there was real confidence it would work, the private sector would fund it.

What I think is telling is that at $15B you could have something like 5 GW sized fission plants. Even many research reactors have provisions to use utilize it's heat to produce electricity. Yet for all that money there are not only no provisions to produce electricity using ITER, but no provisions to even be able to install components to produce electricity.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Build a Home Network To Fully Utilize Google Fiber?

Firethorn Re:Man up (279 comments)

37 meters. In some single-story houses, you will be able to make it. But let's not forget, that there is rarely a straight path for each drop back to the utility entrance.

You don't actually have to have all the drops go back to the entrance. I didn't mention it in this post(or I edited it out and don't remember doing it), but putting your switch in a central location can help drastically. Though I agree, 37 meters wouldn't be enough in many cases, the extra 18 meters I mentioned can make all the difference in the world for making that one run.

But note that I recommended both running the best wire available and conduit to boot. Futureproofing is a thing.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Build a Home Network To Fully Utilize Google Fiber?

Firethorn Re:no, there isn't. F'n 1% er buys a house with fi (279 comments)

Read what the parent wrote- " the poor penetration of 5 GHz". Meaning it does not go through walls or other obstacles very well. Which is true. And a problem with deploying 5Ghz networks.

You know, I've read his post 3 times and all I get is "saturated wireless spectrum (both 2.4 and 5)"? even CTRL-F doesn't find 'poor penetration' within it. I think you meant the GP.

Personally, I haven't had any problems with 5Ghz, it's a lifesaver in areas like apartments/dorms where congestion is a bigger problem than range.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Build a Home Network To Fully Utilize Google Fiber?

Firethorn Re:no, there isn't. F'n 1% er buys a house with fi (279 comments)

I've grown very tired of my apartment complex's saturated wireless spectrum (both 2.4 and 5) because everyone is right on top of each other and every apartment has one of three routers from the different ISP options.

Interesting. I didn't know that it was really possible to saturate the 5Ghz spectrum. 2.4 is easy with only having 3 non-overlapping channels, but 5Ghz has over twenty, and by default none of the channels overlap.

Last time I was in a dormitory I found over 20 networks within scanning range of the guy's room, but there was only ONE other network on the 5Ghz spectrum.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Build a Home Network To Fully Utilize Google Fiber?

Firethorn Re:Man up (279 comments)

"Very Short" in this case is still 55 meters, which will more than cover 'most' houses, especially if you put the patch panel in a central location.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Build a Home Network To Fully Utilize Google Fiber?

Firethorn Re:Man up (279 comments)

Cat6 can't go over 1000-megabits

Citation? Per Wiki it says that cat6 can do 10Gb, just at a max of 55 meters. Cat6a can do 100M at that speed.

Given that my house is ~60x30 feet, you could darn near run the entire perimeter and still be under 55 meters.

Still, remember that typically speaking the largest cost for running wire is the labor; it's cheaper to run the 'good stuff' in the first place.

One odd thought - running conduit might not be a bad idea. Higher expense up front, but if you ever need to upgrade, such as to fiber, it'll be much easier.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Would You Build a Home Network To Fully Utilize Google Fiber?

Firethorn Re:Man up (279 comments)

Thing is, the quantity discount for a larger quantity of cat6 cable will probably make it cheaper to buy a roll of cat6 than a partial roll each of 6 and 5e. For anything but the most excessive of McMansions a single roll should more than service a home.

What you probably want is plenum/riser grade cable.

Also, I'd spend the money to put jacks & a patch panel in.

about two weeks ago
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Michigan Builds Driverless Town For Testing Autonomous Cars

Firethorn Re:Busy construction crews? (86 comments)

Depends on the task and area. Having watched some construction efforts over time, I don't see many people idle 'long term' in my local area. The latest had a guy standing around much of the time looking idle - but every 4 minutes or so he was busy for 30 seconds directing the latest truck where to dump it's fill dirt. You also had a couple flaggers working to ensure that the truck was able to get back on the road to head back for more dirt.

After that, well, you're going to have a safety monitor who's job is solely to look for and manage dangerous situations. It doesn't take many prevented injuries to pay for him. Construction manager/foreman, who's job is to coordinate with everybody else(mostly by jaw-jacking). Since it's often heavy work, regular breaks are needed.

Or maybe you work in an area where the unions have gone nuts...

about two weeks ago
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Michigan Builds Driverless Town For Testing Autonomous Cars

Firethorn Re:Abandoned America (86 comments)

Aren't there any towns hit hard enough to be willing to sell themselves out for this purpose such that building a fake town isn't necessary?

There's a number of abandoned military bases that are used on a routine basis. Both Mythbusters and Top Gear have used them.

The 'problem' is that such areas are normally laid out in logical ways. It specifically mentions that this fake town will have nasty traffic patterns and intersections.

Pick some of the worst designed intersections in the USA, they'll be in the town.

about two weeks 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 5 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 9 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 9 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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