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Uber Pushing For Patent On Surge Pricing

demonlapin Re:Detect price gouging (188 comments)

I agree with you, but you're arguing with an AC who has a mindset that works very, very well in the sort of tribal environment in which our species evolved. Arguing with evolution may be satisfying, but it's rarely rewarding.

5 days ago
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Google Sues Mississippi Attorney General For Conspiring With Movie Industry

demonlapin Re:Isn't this how prosecution is supposed to work? (114 comments)

The MPAA most likely doesn't care about winning - they just want to get the case to proceed to discovery. Hood doesn't care about winning, because he will claim that the tort case he should file is too complex for the small staff of the state AG's office to try. He will then put the case in the hands of a big-time plaintiff's attorney, who will probably be able to find something in all that discovered material to force a big payout. The settlement will be reached, and the AG will have gotten 20% in the hands of someone who will undoubtedly hire him on after he leaves office.

That is exactly what happened with the last guy in that office.

about a week ago
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Google Sues Mississippi Attorney General For Conspiring With Movie Industry

demonlapin Re:Who cares? It's the state that time forgot. (114 comments)

At least they have the decency to go dormant when the temperature drops below 70 or so. Cf. Minnesota or Wisconsin.

about a week ago
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Google Sues Mississippi Attorney General For Conspiring With Movie Industry

demonlapin Re:The dude looks like a stereotypical redneck (114 comments)

The AG is a Democrat, and he is attempting to repeat the extraordinarily profitable strategy used by one of his predecessors to enrich friends and allies at the expense of a large business - in that case, the tobacco industry, here Google. He was funded by plaintiff's attorneys eager for a cut of a large settlement check, and elected by people who like to sue those with more money than themselves.

There are places in Mississippi that functioned as tort mills for a long time, although most of them are not populated with people who look like him.

about a week ago
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Schneier Explains How To Protect Yourself From Sony-Style Attacks (You Can't)

demonlapin Re:Sure... (340 comments)

Yes. If you could replace any of them with a lower-cost alternative that worked as well, or that saved you more than the cost differential, you would.

about a week ago
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Schneier Explains How To Protect Yourself From Sony-Style Attacks (You Can't)

demonlapin Re:Sure... (340 comments)

The people employed at that storefront to provide physical security for the goods might be necessary to enable the profit-making portions of the business to operate, but that doesn't mean they aren't a cost center.

about a week ago
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Schneier Explains How To Protect Yourself From Sony-Style Attacks (You Can't)

demonlapin Re:Sure... (340 comments)

They have to use it to report your income to the IRS so that you can be properly credited for your Social Security earnings and taxes withheld on your behalf. I'm all in favor of eliminating withholding and forcing everyone in the country to pay quarterly estimated taxes, but we all know that isn't going to happen.

about a week ago
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Geoengineered Climate Cooling With Microbubbles

demonlapin Re:What percentage... (114 comments)

One reason I saw mentioned for why Americans tended to be more skeptical of global climate change than Europeans is that the warming happened at different times of year (it's been years since I saw this, so the pattern may no longer hold, and may not have been valid in the first place, fwiw). Europe tended to see more warming in summer, and the lower percentage of homes with air conditioning meant that this was perceived as a worsening of the climate. OTOH, North America warmed more during winter, leading to a perception that the climate was becoming milder.

about a week ago
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NASA Video Shows What It's Like To Reenter the Earth's Atmosphere

demonlapin Re:Re-entry is done wrong (74 comments)

You don't really "bounce off the atmosphere" if you miss your angle. What happens is that you don't lose enough speed to deorbit. From low Earth orbit, you'll hit the atmosphere again after one more go around the big blue marble.

The problem with Apollo was that the command module had nothing like the supplies of consumables that would be needed for another spin around the Earth, and it was moving substantially faster than LEO speeds - it wouldn't be reentering in another ninety minutes. And the Apollo CM had a slightly asymmetric distribution of mass, allowing it to generate lift and steer itself (Apollo 11 extended its reentry path to avoid storms, e.g.).

about a week ago
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French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

demonlapin Re:is it cheaper? (295 comments)

In SF last year, I found Uber Black to be about 10% more expensive than regular cabs. They also let you book regular cabs for a small fee (about $2). Services vary by location, of course.

about two weeks ago
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French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

demonlapin Re:Finally some HONESTY (295 comments)

The premium is small (~10%) for Uber Black and nonexistent for UberX. If you only take short rides, the minimum charges would get you, but the improvement in the experience is well worth it to me.

about two weeks ago
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French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

demonlapin Re:So basically.. (295 comments)

Can't speak to the early days of Uber, but I took it in SF last year and the surge pricing was very much apparent before you booked the ride. You can even get estimates prior to booking. Never went over the high end of the estimate. Drivers all seemed happy with the service as well - we asked. And they mostly spoke flawless English. That was Uber Black, the higher tier of service, but it ended up costing maybe 10% more than a regular cab on average. You did pay more at rush hour, but on the other hand, you got a car in ten minutes instead of waiting for an hour at a taxi stand.

about two weeks ago
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French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

demonlapin Re:So basically.. (295 comments)

How can you be sure that the taxi company (or any other business you patronize) properly pays its employees and taxes? You can't.

If you're worried about skills, require a commercial driver's license. Problem solved.

about two weeks ago
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Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

demonlapin Re:Can you say... (266 comments)

doctors have to swear this

No, we don't. Most medical schools do feature some form of the Hippocratic Oath as part of either their induction or graduation ceremonies, but it's purely symbolic. Hospitals have certain legal requirements to treat patients who show up, and members of the medical staff of that hospital may be required to treat those patients as long as they want to retain privileges to treat patients at that hospital, but there is no general obligation to treat anyone who shows up at your clinic door.

This is a terrible summary anyway. They are moving production from a twice-a-day formulation to a once-a-day formulation, because the patent on the latter has a little more life on it. Nothing is stopping doctors from prescribing the older formulation. It's just that generic drug makers can't start making the extended release (XR) form yet, and so any prescription for the XR will be filled with the brand name rather than a generic.

The idea that healthcare isn't a business is crazy. Even purely socialized medicine like the VA or the NHS has to be a responsible steward of the public's money.

about two weeks ago
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Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy: The Science of Misheard Song Lyrics

demonlapin Re:Like in the Family Guy theme? (244 comments)

You could pretend to be in your late thirties - I am,and remember when Laugh-In was shown on some network in reruns (Nickelodeon's Nick at Nite, maybe).

about two weeks ago
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Court Orders Uber To Shut Down In Spain

demonlapin Re:Greasing Palms. (280 comments)

There are - and have long been - car services that you can hire, for substantially less than the cost of a taxi, to drive you around. They're licensed, regulated, and insured, but they are not allowed to simply be hailed off the street. Only taxis can do that.

Uber Black and Uber SUV are based on that loophole - technically, you are requesting a car service to transport you from A to B, and the car service is then dispatching a vehicle to perform that service. It's perfectly legal to do if you make a phone call, but then you have the headaches of dispatching, seeing where all your cars are, getting the rider to identify where they are located accurately (often in an unfamiliar city), etc. Uber automates that process using smartphones.

If you want to complain about UberX, then by all means do so. It's definitely questionable activity. But the original service is substantially better than taxis for little or no price premium. Last time I was in SF, I took a taxi from the airport to my hotel. I took Uber Black back. For $5 more, I got to ride in a comfortable, well-maintained, clean vehicle driven by someone who spoke flawless English.

about three weeks ago
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Court Orders Uber To Shut Down In Spain

demonlapin Re:Unlicensed taxi broker (280 comments)

Show them the destination on your smartphone app. They'll know you're watching it. Since I started doing this, no more sightseeing.

about three weeks ago
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Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

demonlapin Re:60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda? (409 comments)

Murdoch's key insight (and Ted Turner's, for that matter) was that no matter what "campaign finance reform" laws are passed, there is one type of corporation that will always be allowed to put out its views unobstructed: a media corporation. Every time you see a news article supporting "CFR" or railing against Citizens United, remember that they're not opposed to corporate political speech - they just want a monopoly on it.

about three weeks ago

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How I choose my /. friends, or, Why did this idiot pick me?

demonlapin demonlapin writes  |  more than 10 years ago I'm reading through /. and, on any occasion that a political topic comes up, befriending people who oppose leftism. Doesn't mean I think you're a True Conservative (because I'm certainly not); doesn't mean I necessarily agree with you. It just means I think you're part of a badly underrepresented community here on the Dot, and I'm doing my little part to band some of us together. Think of it as a sort of net-only ProtestWarrior.

Anyway, look through my list of friends, and I'll look through yours. I don't plan to make any further posts to the Journal, so this will always be the top post. I'll check it once a week or so for comments.

Update: Heavy preponderance of low UID's here. Could be an interesting research project for someone - differences in political opinions based on when you first went online.

Funniest ever comment.

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