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'Google Buses' Are Bad For Cities, Says New York MTA Official

Ma'at Do any of you actually live in cities? (606 comments)

The comments so far seem ludicrous. This isn't about a government shakedown or some other Libertarian fever dream, it is about putting people's workplaces near where they live, which saves time, energy, and money and generally makes people happier. The problem with Google, Apple, and the other Bay Area tech companies is that their employees live in the urban core, but they work out in the suburbs. This drives up property values downtown, but deprives the city of the tax revenue that it needs to support the tech workers living environment. If Google and Apple were downtown in high-rises instead of sprawing suburban campuses, more employees could bike or walk to work, spend their lunch breaks in the city they live in, and the rest could get to work on existing public transit instead of having to run two sets of buses on the same streets. Suburban campuses are great for companies whose employees live in the suburbs, but it makes more sense for urban employees to have urban employers.

about 7 months ago
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Flight 4590 Didn't Kill the Concorde; Costs Did

Ma'at Re:Oh Boeing... (403 comments)

You could hear concorde's shockwave from 60 miles. Given that concorde traveled at 53,000 ft (ten miles), well you do the math.

I grew up in southern RI, just north of the spot where the Concorde went supersonic. Every day during dinner, all the plates would rattle in the cabinets from the shock wave of the 5:00 flight. At that distance the boom wasn't audible, but there was still enough subsonic energy to shake the house.

more than 2 years ago
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Symantec: Religious Sites "Riskier Than Porn For Viruses"

Ma'at Re:I'll take that dare (343 comments)

... Er, ah ... no. As I already said - and I will now paraphrase using your terms so you can feel comfortable - in the real world almost all Christian religions pass a basket. In the real world almost no Buddhist sects pass one.

Hi! Practicing Buddhist here. There is a box by the door of our Zendo (meditation room) that says "Dana" on it (Sanskrit for "Generosity"). We are regularly and gently encouraged to toss a few bucks in. Our practice group rents the space we sit in; and rent, heating, cushions, incense, etc. all cost money. The teachers do not take any salary and all have day jobs, but we all chip in what we can to support our practice.

more than 2 years ago
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Expect Mandatory 'Big Brother' Black Boxes In All New Cars From 2015

Ma'at Re:slippery slope (628 comments)

That fetus didn't sneak in there when the mother wasn't looking. The very definition of responsibility is caring for those affected by your choices, whether the outcome was intentional or not.

Except in the case of rape, which Republicans don't think is an acceptable reason for abortion either. They also are against abortion to save the life of the mother, because a dead woman and a dead baby is OK if it's an act of god, but a live woman and a dead zygote is a worse outcome in their eyes. I think the reality here is the reasons for abortion are complex and difficult, and the decision should be up to the mother, with input from her doctor, pastor, family, etc. or whoever else she trusts.

more than 2 years ago
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Pirate Party Leader: Copyright Laws Ridiculous

Ma'at Re:He seems to confuse the purpose of copyright (543 comments)

You are upset because the expenses of releasing a record are charged against the record sales before there is any "profit" to distribute? How is this unfair? Is there any other business sector in which the founders inject no cash, yet expect to take home a large slice of sales before the investors have even received their investment back? And in what sense do record labels demand 100% ownership? The band still has the right to royalties, don't they?

That's not how it works, though. The label gets their cut of profit out of the very first copy sold. After that, all running expenses (pressing, distribution, promotion, 'breakage') also get taken out of each copy sold. Out of what's left, the artist's share, nothing gets distributed until the advance is paid back. Because of this, almost nobody makes any money off of record sales. However, they do get songwriting royalties, which can be a good amount of money if you are getting a lot of radio play. (This is why Pete Townshend is the only super-wealth member of The Who, because he wrote all the songs.)

more than 2 years ago
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Pirate Party Leader: Copyright Laws Ridiculous

Ma'at Re:He seems to confuse the purpose of copyright (543 comments)

Who do you think ultimately pays for the advertising, the studio time, the costs of live shows, etc.?

As someone who worked in a recording studio for many years, I can say that very often it's the artist who pays for a lot of that stuff. The days of the 80s and label-funded month-long coke-binge-cum-recording-sessions are long, long gone. Any artist who isn't established enough to be a near-certain money maker for the label is probably paying for studio time, production, and tour costs out of pocket. Even mid-tier artists will only get an advance on the order of $10,000 to $20,000 which doesn't go very far when there are four of five people in the band who need to eat and sleep somewhere on top of hiring a studio.

I certainly know artists who don't want their work shared for free, and I think that copyright of a reasonable term is important to protect their preference, but the system we have now is pretty much built to let corporations steal from the commons and then sell their taking back to the public for ever.

more than 2 years ago
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How X-Ray Scanners Became Mandatory In US Airports

Ma'at Re:Broken window fallacy (264 comments)

The problem is you get people who are radical Keynesians (not people from Kenya!) who believe spending on something, anything will always be a net benefit.

Well, the point that Keynesians make is that during a demand slump, spending on something, anything will be a net benefit, they don't say that it will ALWAYS be a net benefit. In the current economy, where consumers can't spend because they are debt-constrained, and industry won't spend because there are no customers buying, then government should step in and spend to fill the demand gap and cut taxes to give consumers and industry more spare cash to spend. The corollary to this is during good times, you raise taxes and pay off the debts accrued during the bad times which we were actually doing a great job of until the Bush tax cuts. Since we went into this recession with very low tax rates, further tax cuts have little benefit and it would be, under these specific economic conditions, a net benefit for the government to spend money to put people to work doing almost anything, since they will turn around and spend that money and create further economic activity.

more than 2 years ago
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Fatty Foods May Cause Cocaine-Like Addiction

Ma'at Re:It is only a matter of time... (507 comments)

So here is the thing. Government policy in the United States is designed to promote obesity by socializing the costs of obesity. The first cost is the food itself, which the government pays for in the forms of, to name two, food stamps and the earned income tax credit. Everyone in the United States is required, by law, to pay for food to feed fat people. Really. The second cost of obesity, greatly increased medical care, is now socialized as well. Those costs could be reflected immediately to the individual in the price of insurance when the insurance market is deregulated and insurers are permitted to charge fatties more. If all those fatties had to pay for their food and pay more for health insurance then their would be a lot fewer fatties. Instead, now, a person who eats responsibly and exercises and who will require far less medical treatment as a result will pay the same amount for medical insurance as they guy who eats two dozen doughnuts for breakfast.

You do realize that the countries you mention at the beginning of you post (Sweden, Japan, and Uraguay) all have socialized medicine and provide food-stamp like programs for the poor? Nobody wants to be fat and sick. If I told you that if you moved into the projects and quit your job, you could eat Twinkies until you went into a diabetic coma, would you? If you want to look at government causes for obesity look at subsides for grain and sugar farmers, not the fact that now some poor people will get the same medical care as the rich.

more than 4 years ago
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Is the Line-in Jack On the Verge of Extinction?

Ma'at How fancy do you want? (411 comments)

Hard to beat this: http://www.vintageking.com/Prism-Sound-Orpheus?sc=18&category=388

There are tons of sound input devices marketed for music recording, and pretty much every price point you'd care to hit. The Prism is pretty top-of-the-line, but I'm sure there is something that would fit your needs if you just want to back up LPs here:

http://www.sweetwater.com/c695--USB_Audio_Interfaces

more than 4 years ago
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Ads To Offset Cost of Unlocked Google Phone?

Ma'at Re:It's cheaper to buy straight from manufacturer (161 comments)

The problem is that if you bring your own phone to a US carrier, you don't get a discounted rate. Effectively, any wireless plan you buy will include a 2-year lock-in and the extra cost for a phone subsidy, wether you use the subsidy or not. There are a few small carriers that don't have long term contracts with built in subsidies, but there is no cost benefit to bringing your own phone to any of the national carriers.

more than 4 years ago
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Japan Launches 'Buddha Phone'

Ma'at Re:Depends on your kind of Buddhism (212 comments)

You posted links to two stories of people who claim to be Buddhists being assholes. The asshole monk was defrocked, the article about the asshole businessmen points out repeatedly that their assholeness was extremely un-Buddhist. How does either of those examples even begin to prove your assertion that 'Buddhism is just as exploitative as any other religious cult'?

more than 5 years ago
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Avoiding Wasted Time With Prince of Persia

Ma'at Re:missing the point (507 comments)

The DS does have this feature. You can just close the DS and it goes into standby mode at any time and in any game. It's not exactly "powering off", but I've had a battery charge last a week in standby (the game I was playing last Wednesday was still up and waiting for me when I went back to work yesterday).

However, neither situation will fix having to start over if you die in a dungeon that disallows saving.

more than 5 years ago
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Hello MEMS, Goodbye Monitors

Ma'at Not quite accurate. (268 comments)

A DLP system uses three mirrors per pixel of resolution. (Three arrays of mirrors, one each for red, green, and blue.) A MEMS system would use one mirror for the entire image.

-Maat

more than 12 years ago

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