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Feds Confiscate Investigative Reporter's Confidential Files During Raid

Zebra_X Re:I donâ(TM)t suppose... (622 comments)

The information she had was not her own. The people who gave it to her signed documents saying that they would protect the information they gave her. Then she went and published accounts based on that information in a public forum. What constitutional right was violated when the TSA came knocking to recover what they rightfully "own"? I'm asking because I don't know...

about a year ago

Cab Hailing Service Uber Collected Just $9M of Fares During 15 Months In Boston

Zebra_X Re:It seems that (112 comments)

Uber is rather awesome, actually.

#1 - No money exchanges hands.

Boston cabbies are some of the rudest businessmen on the planet. Many times they pretend their card readers don't work or make their customers feel awkward for paying by credit. It is extremely frustrating and in today's world of connectedness there is no excuse for not being more "normal" in handling everyday business transactions. Outside of Boston many cabbies don't take cards at all (despite having a card reader in the cab). Personally, I don't carry cash and it is a bit of a hassle to "prepare" for a taxi ride.

If you ask a cabbie about this they will tell you that the cab company (the middle man you don't see) takes some 5-10% of their fare if you use a card.

#2 - Definite pickup time.

Calling a cab in Boston is a bit of a crap shoot. You call a dispatcher and you are told a cab is on its way and usually given a time estimate. The estimate is likely provided by a magic 8 ball based on actual vs. estimated.

#3 - Driver phone number.

Not provided by a traditional cab service as far as I know - Uber connects you directly with the driver. This is very helpful when trying to coordinate a street side pickup.

#4 - Professional

Some will value this more than others but all of the drivers are very professional.

I am in no way affiliated with Uber. I am just a pleased customer who is happy to finally have a reasonable alternative to the terrible Boston cab services.

about a year and a half ago

Aerial Video Footage of New York Taken By RC Plane

Zebra_X Re:F*(K the panic do something awesome (208 comments)

Corporations have agendas because they are run by people who have agendas. Corporations don't just run themselves, there are millions of the electorate walking into their doors every day furthering their agendas. Corporations are the electorate. The electorate is getting just what they want - food, security and a paycheck.

The issue I see is that not everyone wants what they are being given or the "protection" being offered. To deny the fact that we and our predecessors are collectively responsible for the current state of affairs is disingenuous.

more than 4 years ago

The End of Forgetting

Zebra_X History Books (329 comments)

Why don't we just get rid of them? I mean who really needs to remember what everyone did long ago. That's SO yesterday.

more than 4 years ago

FAA Adds a Study On Adding Drones To Commercial Aviation

Zebra_X Re:Drones in US airspace? (215 comments)

Pilots, if expensive and infallible would be great. However the reality is that they make mistakes. Lots of mistakes. Crashes are usually ~ 80% of the time a direct result of pilot error. Flying is not that complex, the parameters are very well understood and the technology for vector and approach is well established. With ADS-B mesh position reporting technology the "see and avoid" is not as necessary. Though I do fundamentally believe that the autonomous pilots should have the same navigational capabilities as a VFR pilot.

This is really only becoming a reality due to MEMS and GPS. It will take some time before the systems based on this technology prove themselves to be infallible (or not).

Ultimately we'll probably end up with a Human in the cockpit for show aiding in "basic" but complex tasks such as taxi, but the rest of the flight will be autonomous.

more than 4 years ago

A Call For an Open, Distributed Alternative To Facebook

Zebra_X Re:Seriously? (363 comments)

No I don't work for facebook. If I had a communicable disease facebook would be the last place I would sign up for "support". I just think most of this is ridiculous. Facebook's privacy settings really aren't "labyrinthine". They do seem to change often but quite frankly I don't care. Moreover, when people get upset, facebook does seem to respond, so that's at least a start.

"Facebook is being duplicitous and greedy" right well, Facebook is *FREE*? Are you paying for their server farm? Are you paying for their developers to improve the product? Is privacy from a free service a right? Yes. No. No. No.

Also, I have no sympathy for "tech-savvy" people. The computer is a tool just like any other tool. If you don't understand how it works, then shame on you for not taking the time to understand it. It takes time and effort to learn new things so take the time and the effort.

Privacy is a myth if you really want something to be private, don't write it down.

Finally ask yourself, would you pay money for advanced privacy settings? Money is really the only way that you can truly reconcile this privacy issue.

more than 4 years ago

A Call For an Open, Distributed Alternative To Facebook

Zebra_X Seriously? (363 comments)

First - usage of Facebook is not mandatory by any stretch of the imagination. However, this guy is seriously off his rocker...

Facebook (to me anyway) has always been about "friends". Right? That's why friends are labeled as "Friends".

So when he cries about "I'd like to have my profile visible only to my friends, not my boss. Cannot." I have little sympathy. If you want to social network with professionals there is always Linked in. Further he is not correct about this - you can do this by specifically excluding people from viewing your profile, it is under Account -> Privacy Settings -> Friends, Tags and Connections

Further when Ryan says something like "I'd like to support an anti-abortion group without my mother or the world knowing. Cannot." I think, well that's pretty lame. This is like hanging out with the Popular kids in public but secretly attending nerd club and asking all of the Nerds not to tell anyone you went. I personally have no desire to censor every aspect of my "life" on Facebook. Do you *really* want a screen to manage every SINGLE group you belong to and who can see it?

Ryan goes on to say "Setting up a decent system for controlling your privacy on a web service shouldn't be hard.". I'd disagree. It's tremendously difficult. Creating interfaces and a data model for managing these settings is very difficult. Implementing it is a pain as well. From a coder perspective, I find this kind of work the least rewarding around. And Ryan actually admits to this saying "the whole system is maddeningly complex.". I rather think Facebook did a decent job with the current set of options.

Ultimately, if you are not comfortable with the information that Facebook is sharing, then don't share it. Of course you could go and build your own site that has the greatest privacy controls world has ever seen. But that would be awfully difficult wouldn't it?

more than 4 years ago

Toyota Accelerator Data Skewed Toward Elderly

Zebra_X Re:Correlation != causation (776 comments)

Possibly, but that should be easy to answer. We need the data for ages for all owners of the affected cars.

more than 4 years ago

Amazon Caves To Publishers On eBook Pricing

Zebra_X Amazon is the only one that can fix this (236 comments)

The kindle and Amazon's eBook sails channel is one of the most mature. Amazon has a ton of pricing data for these sales, much more than Apple. As Amazon is forced to raise prices they will be able to see if the higher prices lead to lower profits. Hopefully the higher prices do depress the sales and result in the book companies rethinking their pricing strategy.

more than 4 years ago

Are All Bugs Shallow? Questioning Linus's Law

Zebra_X Re:Bugs are an error in the... (596 comments)

But then again, you get what you pay for so... oh wait

more than 4 years ago

Oh, What a Lovely Standards War

Zebra_X Two Words (400 comments)

Hardware Offload.

Without you are just another video codec.

more than 4 years ago

Murdoch Says E-Book Prices Will Kill Paper Books

Zebra_X I don't understand (538 comments)

This must have been what it was like when the library was created. All the publishers were upset no one would go and buy their books. In fact I imagine that the very concept if it didn't already exist, of the library would cause an unimaginable shit storm now.

I bring this up because the library in direct competition with publishers desires to sell more books. However, people still buy books. People still have bookshelves - and people still want to put books on those shelves.

eBooks are a new medium - they compete in a way with paper books. However nothing will replace the paper book and the book shelves at home, at least not for my generation.

I don't really understand how the publishing companies can't increase their profit margins on eBooks - there is a whole physical plant that can be done away with if they would just embrace the eBook. If amazon and apple are taking too much profit for doing very little - then the publishing companies should kick em' where it hurts.

more than 4 years ago

A Hybrid Approach For SSD Speed From Your 2TB HDD

Zebra_X Re:For those that didn't RTFA (194 comments)

"Microsoft has a rocket launcher pointed at their feet and they think they can rocket jump."

Well, it worked in Marathon...

more than 4 years ago

Getting Company Owners To Follow Their Own Rules?

Zebra_X Rule Number One (387 comments)

There are no rules.

about 5 years ago

Designing the Computer UIs In Movies

Zebra_X Re:Just keep him away from any real UI! (371 comments)

In all seriousness, do you know where to get one of these? I was looking for one a couple days ago...

about 5 years ago

Massive Solar Updraft Towers Planned For Arizona

Zebra_X Re:physics FAIL (572 comments)

This thing does not ADD any energy to the atmosphere. It EXTRACTS energy from it.

You can't make something out of nothing. As a number of people have already written. It converts solar radiation (i.e. Light) into thermal energy. In a place such as Arizona - most of that solar radiation is reflected back into the atmosphere due to the coloring of the soil. Normally, this solar energy would not be absorbed.

To test, simply paint 1 square meter of your backyard black, and one square meter of your backyard white. Measure the temperature at the middle of each square, during the day and at dusk. Black wins. The black patch has just succeeded in adding more thermal energy (as opposed to adding light) to the atmosphere which takes longer to dissipate due to the increased amount of "green house" gasses.

Enter the tower, a place where we are now on a very large scale maximizing the thermal conversion of solar radiation into thermal energy (as opposed to simply reflecting back into space as solar radiation). The tower would be a very large stack in the air that would basically pump hott(er) air out of the top of it. I have not done the math but I suspect that you will find that the exit temperature of the top of the tower and the ambient atmosphere will be warmer.

It is almost required for this to be the case too. For the air to flow upwards it must be warmer OR of a higher pressure than the air below it. The exit is a little more difficult to clearly define as there are air turbines in the tower that will extract some of the energy from the air stream. There will presumably be thermal transfer from the walls of the tower to the ambient atmosphere as well. However, to keep the flow moving the air must have some velocity at the exit of the tower. The only way this will happen is by the exit air mass having a higher pressure or higher temperature. It is likely to have both because you have taken an enclosed space, taken ground level air, and moved it up 2,400 ft.

So the net is that you dump thermal energy into the atmosphere at an altitude and in a manner that is not part of the natural climate cycle. And then what happens? If you drive a single car down the road it is not an issue. If you drive millions of them you have global climate change.

Build these towers everywhere - and you've now modified the climate further in a way that contributes to our existing problem. This is basically my issue with this particular idea.

about 5 years ago

Massive Solar Updraft Towers Planned For Arizona

Zebra_X Yeah! (572 comments)

Just what we need! More thermal energy in the atmosphere.

We should be trying to extract the thermal energy we already have - not creating more. Wind mills on mountains are a good start.

about 5 years ago

INTERPOL Granted Diplomatic Immunity In the US

Zebra_X Re:Easy come.... easy go.... (450 comments)

I was mistaken regarding the mission of INTERPOL. However, it is only because the INTERPOL constitution specifically prohibits "undertak(ing) any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character (...)" that this is a non-issue. The act does grant judicial immunity to people carrying out their "job" under this act.


about 5 years ago

INTERPOL Granted Diplomatic Immunity In the US

Zebra_X Re:Interpol has no "agents" (450 comments)

"Agent" was meant as "employee" not in the CIA sense as their constitution indicates that they do not have those sorts of people on staff...

about 5 years ago


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