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Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

Jaime2 Re:Goal Should Be Zero Revenue (391 comments)

Red light cameras don't cost good people money

Red light violation ticket costs are way out of proportion with the potential damage done. For example: I go through about 40 traffic lights as part of my daily commute. If I sneak through only one of them every day, then I could potentially owe about $40,000 in fines each year. I'm certain the safety aspect of a few extra cars going through the end of a red doesn't constitute enough of a safety issue to warrant fines at that level.

People in cars have good intuition of what is right. If a rule is being ignored, then it's probably a bad rule. For example, if a right-turn lane forms on the shoulder of an intersection every day at rush hour, it means another lane is needed, not that an officer should be stationed there to beat the people into submission. If people habitually speed on a section of road, then the speed limit is probably set artificially low. If people in a congested city go at the end of a red, then it's probably best. What they're signaling is that the dead time between the two directions going is too long and their using that time productively.

Also, I assure you that a few extra cars getting through a red light doesn't promote gridlock at the next one. There's really no conceivable scenario where the next light wouldn't have the same capacity as the previous one, or that if there is a lack of capacity then a backup would form and people would eventually not be able to sneak through the red light. In the case of mismatched capacity, the backup is inevitable, so it wouldn't be caused by red light behavior. The state of traffic engineering is pretty dismal.

2 days ago
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Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

Jaime2 Re:Goal Should Be Zero Revenue (391 comments)

Your opinion that red light cameras would help with traffic flow is just a gut feeling, not data. Every time cameras have been added to a traffic problem, the result has been more problems, not less. I strongly suspect that adding a red light camera to an intersection would not allow more people to go through per hour. Even if it helped, a traffic circle would help more, so why bother with a solution that costs good people money and creates huge conflicts of interest when a simpler and better solution is available?

Policing should not be automated. Probably not ever, definitely not until there are new traffic rules written for the "surveillance age".

2 days ago
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Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

Jaime2 Re:Goal Should Be Zero Revenue (391 comments)

So you're against any real world implementation of red light cameras.

Running a light that is obviously red is very dangerous, so it is rarely done on purpose. When someone does it, they are usually in a big hurry and are very careful to make sure they aren't going to die. Having a camera there won't change the situation, it will just issue a fine. Running the beginning of a red light is actually not that dangerous and sometimes safer than stopping if the yellow is short or if you misestimated your ability to stop

This is supported by a large amount of data that show that accident rates either stayed flat or increased in almost every case. Here's the real question - why do people continue to push red light cameras for safety when there is real data that shows that red light cameras have no net positive effect on safety? This isn't a guess or common sense, it's data collected from real installations - installations that were supposedly put at the intersections that needed them the most. If they had the slightest bit of efficacy, they should have shown striking results at these cherry picked locations.

2 days ago
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Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected

Jaime2 Re:Easy to solve - calibrate them to overestimate (391 comments)

There is another possibility... The red light camera company installs cameras where they see the best money-making opportunity. If a single light in an area has a slightly lower than reasonable yellow light time already set, it will quickly stand out as a good candidate. So, cameras end up at short-timed intersections without anyone actually doing anything nefarious.

2 days ago
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JavaScript and the Netflix User Interface

Jaime2 Re:JavaScript is teh SUX!!11 (193 comments)

JavaScript has lots of good features. But, it also has automatic semicolon insertion, strange type coercion, eval, and no block scope variables. All of these features entice those who don't know any better to write really bad code. It's like pointers in C - not an inherently bad thing, but out of place in business code where reliability is more important than speed. Because of JavaScript's position as "the default language of the web", these features would be incredibly difficult to fix without losing that status.

3 days ago
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JavaScript and the Netflix User Interface

Jaime2 Re:In defense of Javascript (193 comments)

It pains me to say this, but Javascript is not that bad... I used to really hate it; but over the last year I've done a lot of node.js development. And if done right, it can be really nice.

That roughly translates to ...

"I used to think that JavaScript had a rough learning curve, with all the pitfalls that lure novices in, but now that I know the language it doesn't seem all that hard to pick up."

JavaScript isn't bad because you can't do something right, it's bad because it's so easy to do something wrong. Being successful using it only shows that you have developed the habits and tools to navigate it's minefields, not that it doesn't have tons of minefields. JavaScript is one of those languages that you can pick up in an hour, but still be clueless about how it works a year later.

3 days ago
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Making Best Use of Data Center Space: Density Vs. Isolation

Jaime2 Re:Blade servers blow (56 comments)

HP Blades put a 2U server in 1.6U or a 1U server in 0.8U. The only downside is that there is very little room for local storage. If you are virtualizing, SAN storage is inevitable anyways. The power backplane is just a hunk of copper, and all the intelligent stuff is duplicated, so there isn't really a single point of failure - but I wouldn't go blades unless I was at the scale of needing at least three blade chassis so it would be possible to shut one down and not interrupt production. The most legitimate complaint about blades is that they're too dense. A rack that consumes 56 kilowatts is a challenge to cool.

I've found that two fiber modules - at $6K each - are cheaper than two fiber cards in each of 16 individual servers. Don't buy the embedded switches, use the ones that act as a rear mounted ethernet port, along with your switches of choice. If you do want switching on the chassis, get the ones with 10G uplinks so you can drastically reduce the amount of wiring you need.

As for configuration complexity - don't use blades if you are a shop where every server is different. Their ideal use case is one where you need 100 or more of the same configuration - like a VM farm.

5 days ago
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US Says It Can Hack Foreign Servers Without Warrants

Jaime2 Re:So what they are saying... (335 comments)

What special treatment? When the Chinese hack American servers, we don't ask if they had a Chinese warrant to do it. Why would anyone expect any other country to care if the US did or did not have a warrant. This isn't a license to hack international servers with impunity, it's a license to attack international servers with being punished by the US government. That's a pretty weak license.

So, what this boils down to is: If China hacks our servers and they didn't do the right Chinese paperwork, then they're in trouble with the Chinese government. If they did do the right paperwork, then they're not. But, the US will be pissed either way.

about two weeks ago
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US Says It Can Hack Foreign Servers Without Warrants

Jaime2 What Court? (335 comments)

What court would grant a warrant for an action outside that court's jurisdiction? They don't need a warrant because there is no "do something in Iceland" warrant that can be obtained from a US court, at least not one that the local authorities would recognize.

about two weeks ago
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Complain About Comcast, Get Fired From Your Job

Jaime2 Re:So, it has come to this. (742 comments)

If you take it to court, the judge (or jury depending on what court) is going to listen to the employer's explanation of why the person was fired. If it makes sense, the employer wins. If it doesn't make sense, then it's assumed that the employer is covering up for one of the illegal reasons. They will also look for consistency. If the person was fired for being rude and the employer has a history of not firing people who are rude, then there is an alternate explanation.

This is why people are always so careful to document firings of people who belong to a protected class. If you don't have your ducks in a row, the courts will just ignore your story and believe whatever the former employee says.

about two weeks ago
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Physicists Observe the Majorana Fermion, Which Is Its Own Antiparticle

Jaime2 Re:Well that's random (99 comments)

From the article: "Importantly, Kitaev also outlined how such a particle could be harnessed as a qubit, the basis of a quantum computer, which added significant impetus to the search."

about three weeks ago
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Senators Threaten To Rescind NFL Antitrust Exemption

Jaime2 Re:I wish McCain would retire (242 comments)

I went to a Monday night Buffalo Bills game with the company's tickets a few years ago. They were decent seats on the goal line, with a bar that was private to the two thousand fans in the section. The tickets cost $275 each..... for a Bills game.

about three weeks ago
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Grooveshark Found Guilty of Massive Copyright Infringement

Jaime2 Re:Some content should be avoided... (171 comments)

You have admitted to a copyright violation that, according to the precedent set in Sony BMG v. Tenenbaum, carries a penalty of $21,774 per song shared. Please stand against the wall over there along with 50% of the population of the planet that has violated IP enough IP laws to generate more money in fines than they will ever make in their lifetime.

about three weeks ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

Jaime2 Re:Oh good (907 comments)

Even if a major repair is covered by warranty that doesn't mean you won't be without a car for the time required to fix it, or at least a significant fraction of that time.

Not being able to tolerate being without a car is reason to buy decent insurance. Most "without a car time" is caused by collisions, not defects. Very few mechanical car problems cause you to be without a car, almost all collisions cause you to be without a car. Also, two cheap cars is a far better way to guarantee transportation than one high-quality car, yet almost no one considers that as an option.

I buy new cars every four or five years. However, I'm honest enough with myself to know that I do it because I simply want to drive a different car. Most people who buy new cars seem to honestly believe the stories they tell themselves - "I need a reliable car" is the most common. As you said, a five or ten year old car is reliable enough that a new car isn't really a measurable step up. "I don't want any unexpected expenses" is another. The unexpected expenses of an out-of-warranty car aren't enough to justify the expected expense a new cars adds over a used car - a comparable used car is literally hundreds of dollars per month cheaper than a new car. If a used car blew an engine every year, it would still probably be cheaper than a new car.

about a month ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

Jaime2 Re:Oh good (907 comments)

For me, the advantage of a new car is the lack of unexpected expenses. I added 4 years to the manufacturer's warranty for $750 (rolled into the $40K), so for 7 years, I have bumper-to-bumper coverage.

That's the most common reason people give for buying a new car. However, that "lack of unexpected expenses" is an expensive feature. The profit in auto warranties is typically around 50%, so a cheaper warranty just signifies that the likelihood of an expense is very low. The most expensive things that can go wrong with a car are usually around $4K, and if anything worse happens to a paid-off car, you always have the option of selling the broken car and at least getting enough for your next down payment out of it. So, your expense ceiling isn't really all that high. This isn't your health or your home.

Strangely, I often see people looking to reduce expense both shopping for a reliable car and buying extended warranties. Once you have a warranty, reliability is someone else's problem. Even stranger, they often choose the car brand first (for reliability) and don't even shop for the warranty. So, the thing that actually affects their pocketbook (the warranty) is purchased at retail and the thing that no longer matters to them (whether the car breaks) is a primary factor in making the purchase. There is not much rational thinking in car dealerships, on either side of the sales desk.

about a month ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

Jaime2 Re:Oh good (907 comments)

..... and always pay cash. You wind up paying less over the long run, the salesman suddenly wants to kiss your ass, and you get a better deal overall.

I agree that you should drive a car for as long as you can, but cash up front isn't usually a great idea. You can get a car financed for a rate lower than inflation if you shop around, so it's technically cheaper to finance. You also can get the car you want (or need) right away without going through cycles of driving bad cars while saving. Also, with today's trend of newer cars getting better fuel economy, trading in more often might actually pay back.

As for the salesman kissing your ass for paying cash - it doesn't make any difference to him if you write him a check or if you run down to the Credit Union, pick up a check, and hand it to him.

about a month ago
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To Fight $5.2B In Identity Theft, IRS May Need To Change the Way You File Taxes

Jaime2 Re:Corporate taxes (410 comments)

Rich people spend less of their money and save more of it than poor people, simply because there's more left over after paying for the necessities. A flat sales tax only plan would significantly raise tax rates for the poor (who currently pay no income tax). So, it would be even more regressive than the current system.

about a month ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

Jaime2 Re:Atheism offers no values - you have to add them (937 comments)

And of course the excesses of the church pale into insignificance compared with the horrors of Stalin and Mao - which is not to argue we Christians haven't committed some appalling crimes, but that all need to be given the right to condemn some of those flying the same flag.

OK, so ambition is the #1 evil in the world and religious zealotry #2. That does not diminish the horror of killing someone who believes in a different invisible man. Stalin and Mao didn't kill to advance the cause of Atheism.

about a month ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

Jaime2 Re:Golf logic (937 comments)

I don't believe in god because I see no evidence.

If you need evidence, then it isn't belief, it's research. Most people that believe in god don't claim to have any evidence, just faith.

about a month ago
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Direct Sales OK Baked Into Nevada's $1.3 Billion Incentive Deal With Tesla

Jaime2 Re:A Billion Dollars? (149 comments)

Unemployment benefits are paid from a pool that is funded by employers.

Getting a few thousand people off Medicaid is going to save them money, but a billion dollars is a huge amount of money. Show me some math that shows they will even come close to that.

about a month ago

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