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Comments

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Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

spasm Re:Maybe, but how about solving it with late event (273 comments)

The 'holding some event after the time poeple are leaving so some people stick around longer' is sort of what happened - in the early days everyone used to leave on sunday (the man was tourched on saturday night) then the group who build a structure called the temple each year started burning that on sunday night, so for a couple of years departure was spread across sunday and monday as half the attendees continued to leave on sunday and the other half stuck around to watch the temple burn then left late sunday night or on monday. But the temple burn is now so popular most of the attendees stay for it, and everyone is trying to get out somewhere between sunday night and monday. Maybe we need some niche events for monday which would only appeal to 1/3-1/2 of attendees :)

about two weeks ago
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How Airports Became Ground Zero In the Battle For Peer-to-Peer Car Rentals

spasm Re:We are becoming Third World (66 comments)

I moved to the US 14 years ago from another developed nation, but had spent a lot of my childhood in developing nations; I quickly found that anything that baffled me in the US abruptly made a *lot* more sense when viewed as if the US is a third world nation.

about two weeks ago
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If Ridesharing Is Banned, What About Ride-Trading?

spasm Re:Right to regulate (353 comments)

"It is a common error, but an error nonetheless, to talk of 'ninth amendment rights.' The ninth amendment is not a source of rights as such; it is simply a rule about how to read the Constitution." Laurence H. Tribe, American Constitutional Law 776 n. 14 (2nd ed. 1998).

about two weeks ago
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If Ridesharing Is Banned, What About Ride-Trading?

spasm Re:Right to regulate (353 comments)

I think the wholepoint of regulating ride sharing is it *does* impact someone else - taxi drivers and taxi owners. And it impacts them because you're imposing different regulatory burdens (and hence cost, since regulatory burdens always have at least some complance cost) on two groups of people engaged in the same activity - providing transport in exchange for something of value. The argument the taxi folks are making is the regulatory burden should be equal for people engaged in what's essentially the same activity, and so far that's looking convincing to regulators in Seattle (among other places). Your idea for 'payment' in what's essentially a microcurrency which can only be used to purchase one thing does shift things a bit, and that might help convince city government that it should be regulated differently, but my guess is the number of people willing to drive strangers around town in exchange for a microcurrency which can only be used for purchasing rides from other strangers will be far far fewer than the number of people willing to drive strangers around town in exchange for a currency which can be used for any purpose, and the whole thing will collapse because every time you log in to the app to get a ride, no-one will be close by ready to offer you one, so people will stop using the app. But that's just my cynical opinion.

With respect to politics, I completely agree that the interests of the general public are diffuse compared to the interests of a given industry, and this often has a perverting effect on lobbying. But as someone who has done lobbying at city, state, and county level, I have to tell you that representatives are usually extremely jaded about paid industry lobbyists, and while they'll happily go along with them if there appears to be no non-industry opposition to something, the second you get 10 or 20 obviously fired up regular citizens in front of them, you have their complete attention, because they *know* that those 10 or 20 people who are fired up enough to take the day off work and go to try and meet with their elected representatives are representative of much much larger numbers of people who will be voting at the next election. So if you think there's a case to be made that rideshare systems should be regulated differently than taxis, get together two or three people from each council district together, call every counciller's office and make an appointment, and go and talk to them (or more likely one of their staffers, but it'll still get back to them). Believe me, this works like nothing else does.

about three weeks ago
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If Ridesharing Is Banned, What About Ride-Trading?

spasm Re:Right to regulate (353 comments)

I didn't say it was acceptable, but yeah, that's how democracy usually works. I say 'usually' because most democracies also have courts and executive branches in an attempt to moderate the excesses of mob rule - to try and enact the priciple that democracy *should* implement the will of the majority without infringing the rights of the minority.

about three weeks ago
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If Ridesharing Is Banned, What About Ride-Trading?

spasm Right to regulate (353 comments)

"but as long as money is changing hands, (1) the city will certainly view it as within their rights to regulate the ridesharing industry"

I hate to point this out to you, but the fact "money is changing hands" is not even remotely a required precondition for a city or other government to regulate an activity. No money changes hands for you to take your kid to the playground in the local park, but cities can and do regulate safety standards for playground equipment in public parks. No money changes hands when my neighbors decide noisy leafblowers are the best way to remove fallen leaves from their lawns, but cities can and do write regulations limiting or banning their use.

There's absolutely nothing stopping a city regulating any form of ridesharing, including the informal deal myself and my neighbor have to take turns driving so we can use the HOV lane (itself another example of regulation where no money changes hands if they really wanted to.

Or rather, the one and only thing that either prevents or requires a city government to regulate something is the fact that city governments are representative democracies, and if the people a city councilmember represents effectively communicate that they want something regulated (eg leafblowers) or do not want something regulaed (eg ridesharing), and are convincing in arguing that they are communicating a widely held desire, city councilmembers will fall over themselves to act accordingly, or will expect to be challenged in the next election. So if you really want ridesharing to be unregulated but taxis to be regulated,communicate this to your local representatives and stop whining.

about three weeks ago
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Jimmy Wales To 'Holistic Healers': Prove Your Claims the Old-Fashioned Way

spasm Re:You know what they call alternative medicine... (517 comments)

Your mention of 'unconscious cues' made me wonder if some aspects of acupuncture could be tested by putting patients under general anasthesia, then having acupuncture delivered either at recommended acupuncture points vs randomly selected points. Or even having acupuncture vs no acupuncture (I've never had acupuncture so don't know if it's noticable an hour or so later). Either way, might help eliminate cue bias from patients experience of symptom relief (or whatever the trial is investigating).

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Fastest, Cheapest Path To a Bachelor's Degree?

spasm Move out of the US (370 comments)

Just about every developed country other than the US provides highly subsidized tertiary education, making it much much cheaper than the US (in some cases free). So move to another country then enroll. Downside is you may have to marry a local or do something similarly complicated to get residency. :)

about three weeks ago
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Measles Outbreak In NYC

spasm Re:Obvious Answer (747 comments)

My dog is definitely more important than your kids.

about a month ago
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The $100,000 Device That Could Have Solved Missing Plane Mystery

spasm Cost per use (461 comments)

Ok, according to the FAA there's ~3,739 U.S. registered passenger jets which carry more than 90 passengers (http://atwonline.com/aircraft-amp-engines/faa-us-commercial-aircraft-fleet-shrank-2011). Cost to fit just U.S. registered aircraft with this device would therefore be just under $374 million.

Number of U.S. registered passenger jets which can carry > 90 passengers that have crashed with any fatalities since 2000 is maybe 5 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_accidents_and_incidents_involving_commercial_aircraft#2000), and the number of those where it wasn't immediately obvious where the wreckage was was zero.

So in the US alone, we're talking close to $374 million dollars to fit out just aircraft that carry more than 90 people, for a return of nothing. I couldn't find a reliable estimate of the number of commercial passenger aircraft currently flying and capable of carrying > 90 passengers globally, but I did see a number of guestimates in the 15,000-20,000 range. Assuming there's only 10,000 currently active passenger planes in the world capable of carrying >90, that's $1,000,000,000 to fit them with this gadget. The number of planes since 2000 which went down with passengers on board which couldn't be immediately located is what? Two? The Malaysian Airlines one now and the Air France one a few years back?

So if every passenger plane in the world capable of carrying more than 90 people had been fitted with this gadget since 2000 we'd currently be running at half a billion dollars per actual use. I can think of a *lot* of uses for half a billion dollars which would actually save tens of thousands of lives. There isn't a single case in the last 20 years where this gadget would have saved a single life - all it can do, at best, is provide slightly faster confirmation to grieving families that their loved ones were indeed dead and here's how it happened. Which is not trivial - I don't mean to invalidate what such news might mean to someone with a loved one who was on that flight - but oh, my, that's a staggering bill to just provide speedy confirmation of a loved one's death for a few hundred people.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Linux For Grandma?

spasm Re:ChromeOS (287 comments)

In fact that's about all it's good for :)

about a month and a half ago
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Walmart Unveils Turbine-Powered WAVE Concept Truck

spasm Re:Why so many trucks? Why not railroads (242 comments)

Self driving vehicles will put truck drivers out of a job within a generation anyway.

about a month and a half ago
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The Mammoth Cometh: Revive & Restore Tackles De-Extinction

spasm Covering all the options (168 comments)

"it's going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad."

Well, I think that covers pretty much all the options..

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Sort?

spasm Sorting by bin? (195 comments)

A slightly different question: how do you optimize 'bins' to sort things into? There's a pile of paper on your desk, some of it clearly belongs to one of the multiple projects you're working on, but some belongs to multiple projects. Some are in the pile because they seemed "interesting" or "revelant" in some way to things you're thinking about, but not in ways that are clear or straightforward.

How do you take a random pile of paper and *quickly* come up with the smallest set of categories with at least one member which will encompass everything in the pile?

about a month and a half ago
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Free (Gratis) Version of Windows Could Be a Reality Soon

spasm Re:I could use it (392 comments)

Oh, I'm with you that wine is better for multiple reasons, but on a clean install of linux+wine installing a current version of office still isn't quite as easy as 'right clicking on the exe and selecting install with wine' (or wasn't for me last time I tried, about three months ago). Playonlinux, for all its limitations, does make installing that particular mess of software a simple clickthrough operation for newbies. And I definitely agree with you that being locked in to office or any other software that only runs on a proprietary OS is shooting yourself in the foot.

about a month and a half ago
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Free (Gratis) Version of Windows Could Be a Reality Soon

spasm Re:I could use it (392 comments)

I occasionally need office too to deal with bizzaro formatting in docx (and libreoffice nearly always makes a mess of both ppt and pptx), but installing playonlinux then installing office from the original iso took about 10 minutes and worked just fine for me. And yes, the iso was paid for - this is a work computer. Needing office hardly means you have to run windows or mac.

Having said that, I have no idea whether the other software you list runs under playonlinux/wine, so maybe for you windows really is the only option. Just don't mistake needing office for needing windows..

about a month and a half ago
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Indian Space Agency Prototypes Its First Crew Capsule

spasm Re:Priorities (48 comments)

Most Americans (58.5%) will spend at least one year below the poverty line at some point between ages 25 and 75. (Hacker, J. S. (2006). The great risk shift: The new insecurity and the decline of the American dream. New York: Oxford University Press (USA).)

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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US Army migrating all servers to linux

spasm spasm writes  |  more than 6 years ago

spasm writes "The Register (among others) are reporting the the US Army is doing prep work to migrate to linux, with RHEL expected to be a bridge system to allow interoperability between existing Windows-based systems and planned linux systems."
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