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San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

dasunt Re:BS (288 comments)

A couple decades back, house prices and lot sizes were a lot smaller.

yesterday
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The Case For a Safer Smartphone

dasunt Re:Safer phones? Seriously? (180 comments)

Most Americans may "need" to drive to work. But most don't need to be on a cell phone while they are driving.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs?

dasunt Re:It's been bisected and confirmed (266 comments)

If that patch didn't exist, I'd recommend finding the mailing list or forum, then asking them. Else, check the package maintainer for your distribution, and email them directly.

about three weeks ago
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Solar-Powered Toilet Torches Waste For Public Health

dasunt Re: So, how does it smell? (126 comments)

Sounds like something straight out of the humanure book.

IIRC, the compost in a properly setup and maintained system will destroy pathogens, at least according to the tests the author did.

IMO, the technology/cost of this biochar system seems like it could, in most circumstances, be spent better elsewhere, since a humanure setup should cost less and be able to be built with mostly local materials.

about a month ago
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Google Chairman on WhatsApp: $19 Bn For 50 People? Good For Them!

dasunt Re:Looser immigration (303 comments)

That's just a recipe for waking up one day and finding a large ethnic enclave in an American city (oh wait, that's precisely what's happened in many areas because of this, silly me).

You say this like it's a problem.

When my grandmother's grandfather first came to this country, they lived in a section of the city that was so heavily associated with immigrants from their part of the world that the main boulevard was nicknamed after one of their more disgusting habits. The immigrants had their own churches, frequently with non-English records. They had their own newspapers, frequently in their native language. They kept their own food, their own culture. They even had their own colleges.

Now that section of the city is home to another large immigrant community, complete with their own newspapers, religious institutions, restaurants, etc. There's a different derogatory nickname for that same section of town, but the name is still a dig at the immigrants.

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

I see no cause for concern that the latest round of immigration will turn out any differently.

about a month ago
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Elon Musk Says Larger Batteries Might Be On the Way

dasunt Re:How to kill a market (191 comments)

If I could rent the same truck that I own, it would be worth at least considering. But it isn't an option, no one rents such vehicles, the people who would rent them, own them.

I can rent a 24 to 26' flatbed truck. I can rent a pickup, such as a Dakota or Quad Cab Ram 1500. This is all local.

What do you need that you can't rent?

about 2 months ago
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Bitcoin Plunges After Mt. Gox Exchange Halts Trades

dasunt Re:Gold has value in a working economy (249 comments)

Why were people willing to trade gold for food, but not, say, rocks for food?

Right now, I have a family member that trade rocks for food, although money is an intermediary store of value.

Some people want large rocks for landscaping, building retaining walls, whatnot. *shrugs*

They'll even truck rocks across the state so they have the right rock.

It's not too odd if you think about it. Gold is just a special form of rock, purified. It's rare enough to be valued, yet common enough to still be useful as a unit of exchange. But, like the common rocks, it doesn't have any innate value. Nor does any other precious metal. Tis is easy to demonstrate - if precious metals had a specific value, their prices wouldn't fluctuate in regards to each other.

about 2 months ago
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Cops With Google Glass: Horrible Idea, Or Good One?

dasunt Re:Good idea (192 comments)

I'm for this if it becomes a regular habit to the point that if there isn't a recording, the case is almost certainly to be dismissed.

If we can ensure that, then google glass should reduce bad cops and increase the number of good cops. If we can't, then it's just another tool for abuse.

about 2 months ago
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VC Likens Google Bus Backlash To Nazi Rampage

dasunt Re:A short list of things that are like the Holoca (683 comments)

0 dollars of income taxes are spent on the roads. 0%. Roads are maintained with the excise tax on gasoline.

Maybe that's the case in your country, but in the United States, road funding tends to come from a variety of sources.

Specifically, road funding tends to come from the general fund for state roads, and out of local funding sources for local roads - this includes stuff like income taxes and property taxes. Roughly speaking, road users are subsidized, for good or bad.

For the United States state spending, you can find a chart here for how much each state actually takes in via user fees, and pays out on roads. The best state is Delaware, where for every $1.00 spent on roads, about $0.60 comes from user fees. The worst state is Alaska or Wyoming - where for every $1.00 spent on roads, about $0.05 comes from user fees. The average is about $0.32 from user fees for every $1.00 spent.

Again, I can't say how your country funds roads, but in the United States, a strong argument can be made that income taxes, as well as other sources, funds roads.

about 3 months ago
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VC Likens Google Bus Backlash To Nazi Rampage

dasunt Re:A short list of things that are like the Holoca (683 comments)

Every dollar paid in taxes is the dollar not paid in salary. Just saying.

Every dollar not paid on road work ends up being delays, increased healthcare costs, and suspension problems for drivers. Just saying.

about 3 months ago
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Global-Warming Skepticism Hits 6-Year High

dasunt Re:People are tired of the endless guilt trip. (846 comments)

We do want to do good, however there are so many tradeoffs we need to think about, and with science showing us more, it overwhelms us, and in essence paralyzes us. So we choose what science we choose to follow and what we choose to disregard as a coping mechanism. It is emotional, it isn't about being stupid, of ill informed, it is just about being emotional on your choice.

I'm going with being stupid, emotional, and ill informed, plus I'm throwing in lazy. Look at your examples - grocery bags: Use the reusable ones, wash the damn produce once you take it out of the bag, and use reusable containers for other food. Grab the small car. Last time we used a van, it was for camping a year ago with friends, and they supplied a van they rarely used. Last time we needed a truck, we borrowed it, for yard work. We could have just as easily rented them, and it would be easier than trying to convince ourselves that we need a car, a van, and a truck. And cheaper! That large tree? If it needs to come down, it needs to come down. If not, it can stay. As for food, some of the best food for us tends to be food we make from scratch - which tends to take up less space, weigh less, and is easier to transport and store than eating out all the time or buying premade food. And don't give us the BS about time - there's plenty of easy one pot meals that only require a bare hint of foresight and setting a timer on the stove once it starts cooking.

People are stuck in their habits, and they are trying to justify those habits, for the most part. It's amazing. Frugality and being environmental often goes hand in hand. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Arrange your life in such a way that trips can by done by foot, bike or bus. Preplan a bit. It's a time saver, cheaper, and healthier.

So, personal story time: We live in a small house, ridiculously small by American standards. It's cheaper to live there (and less CO2!). Plus, the yard is just big enough for our hobbies, and nothing more, so we can get by with just a shovel and a manual push mower - which gives us more exercise, while being cheaper (and less CO2 than a gasoline mower and a snowblower). We're on bus lines, which means we don't need two vehicles. Ideally, we'd need zero and rent an hour car when needed - I think we're close to that point now. We're now both on bus routes to work - one bus each, no transfers. Pretty damn nice. The house is small enough that we don't have the urge to pack it with junk, which is, once again, cheaper. And since we don't have a house packed with toys, we have the urge to head out more (ideally on foot or bike), which contributes to our health. Oh, and we tend to cook from scratch which is, once again, cheaper.

We've upped our income significantly quite recently since my better half got her second degree, and a job, and someone told her that we now could now afford to buy a larger home. The idea caused us to laugh. We already could afford more, but we're already saving money, and we'd rather save more for better things down the road (and early retirement). Why get caught up in the rat race where everyone is convincing everyone else that their wasteful lifestyles are needed? We figured it out - we have the good life. And unlike so many people, our debt is minimal, gets quickly paid off for the most part, and we aren't living from paycheck to paycheck. If we need something, we can get it without worrying too much about the price. But we both realize that we don't need a lot of things. And that's benefiting us while benefiting the environment as well.

about 3 months ago
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U.S. Teenagers Are Driving Much Less: 4 Theories About Why

dasunt Re:Murica Fuck yea! (635 comments)

So, by "harder to repair", you mean a good metric set of sockets, a good SAE set of sockets, and perhaps a code reader (if you can't borrow one from an auto parts store?

I get sick of the "new cars are harder to repair" meme. IMO, it's due to a bunch of people who never updated their skills. They are automobiles, not some black box. Understand how it works, and you can repair it.

about 3 months ago
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US Government To Convert Silk Road Bitcoins To USD

dasunt Re:I use cash (408 comments)

It's exceedingly difficult to trace.

Ironically, it's far harder than bitcoin to trace, since it doesn't have a transaction log.

about 3 months ago
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The Mystery/Myth of the $3 Million Google Engineer

dasunt Re:My Jeff Dean story (173 comments)

When we were planning our breakfast, he was staying St. Paul because a charity his wife is involved with was having a board meeting. He wanted to pick a place he could WALK to, which is kind of challenge if you're in downtown St. Paul. I was thinking "Walk? You don't have a town car? A rental? Or a self-driving car?"

  • The Saint Paul Hotel - 350 N Market St, St Paul, MN âZ
  • Crowne Plaza St. Paul - Riverfront Hotel - 11 Kellogg Blvd E, St Paul, MN
  • Embassy Suites St. Paul - Downtown - 175 E 10th St, St Paul, Minnesota âZ

I could go on. As much as I love dissing on Shelbyville, it does have hotels downtown.

about 3 months ago
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Building a Better Bike Helmet Out of Paper

dasunt Re:Bike helmet? (317 comments)

Agreed.

Helmets are destroyed in accidents in order to absorb the energy of impact. It's similar to cars - very few educated people complain that a vehicle in a serious accident is destroyed, since we know vehicles are designed with crumple zones in order to absorb the energy of a crash.

So why should we trust an inventor who doesn't understand bike helmets are designed to be destroyed in a crash in order to absorb energy?

about 3 months ago
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A Rebuttal To Charles Stross About Bitcoin

dasunt Re:History of Fiat (396 comments)

In the 100 years since the formation of the Federal Reserve, the US dollar has fallen in value by a factor of 23 as measured by the consumer price index ( ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/cpi/cpiai.txt ) , an average rate of -3.2% per year.

You state this like it's a problem. Why is that?

about 3 months ago
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A Rebuttal To Charles Stross About Bitcoin

dasunt Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (396 comments)

As far as I can tell, Stross's argument about Bitcoin being the tool of those seeking to avoid state control is the complete opposite of what BTC is.

BTC may not be government run, but it relies on pseudo-anonymity. BTC, in it's own words, has a "shared public ledger on which the entire Bitcoin network relies" and "all confirmed transactions are included in the block chain".

What gives BTC its pseudoanonymity is the presumed difficulty of linking wallets to individuals. This may be somewhat difficult for the average member of Joe Q Public, but should be easily achievable by groups that regularly mine big data.

I'd say that BTC would be a way to increase government control, not decrease it.

As for the deflationary aspect (one of Stross's other arguments), he seems to be on sound economic ground here. Its rare to find an economist that says supply side monetary deflation is a good idea.

I generally agree with Feynman (he's a smart dude), but BTC ends up being deflationary in the long run. We have real-life experience with deflationary currencies, and it correlates well with negative effects.

about 3 months ago
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Ancient Egyptian Brewer's Tomb Found

dasunt Re:Any yeast found ? (66 comments)

You can make what's called "country wine" very easily with that technique.

For the curious, try googling "wild fermentation" and "wine".

about 3 months ago
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Anti-GMO Activists Win Victory On Hawaiian Island

dasunt Re:going after GMO is like banning screwdrivers (510 comments)

Here's a protip for you: If there is transparency in the way GMO is used in food, it's likely in the former. If there's an effort to fight the simple labeling of such foods as being GMOs, then it's almost certainly the latter. People with noble goals don't usually try their best to hide what they're doing.

Although with things people fear, it's not uncommon to hide the process or technique. Look at how little it's publicized that mutagens were commonly used to make new strains of food in the 20th century. From Wikipedia:

Mutation breeding is the process of exposing seeds to chemicals or radiation in order to generate mutants with desirable traits to be bred with other cultivars. Plants created using mutagenesis are sometimes called mutagenic plants or mutagenic seeds. From 1930-2007 more than 2540 mutagenic plant varietals have been released[1] that have been derived either as direct mutants (70%) or from their progeny (30%).[2] Crop plants account for 75% of released mutagenic species with the remaining 25% ornamentals or decorative plants.[3] However, it is unclear how many of these varieties are currently used in agriculture or horticulture around the world, as these seeds are not always identified or labeled as being mutagenic or having a mutagenic provenance.

Another, non-food example would be MRIs - which dropped the "nuclear" part of the name (it's technically " nuclear magnetic resonance imaging") due to fears that the public would misunderstand the word "nuclear".

about 3 months ago

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