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Comments

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UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

xaxa Re:A Progression of Complaints (184 comments)

I, for one, will NEVER ride in or own a vehicle that does not have a steering wheel, foot-actuated throttle pedal, foot-actuated brake pedal, foot-actuated clutch pedal (where applicable), gear selector lever, etc. and I know I'm not alone in this. I don't care HOW foolproof they make them. I will NEVER put my life in the hands of some programmer or team of programmers, not even if they're riding in the car with me.

Have you ever used a train, including a metro train? A good many are electronically controlled (rather than levers etc), and -- especially on metro systems -- many have no more input from a driver than a "ready to proceed" button. Some don't even need the driver to press the button -- usually when there's not a union in the way. Signalling systems have been electronic for ages.

(Yes, cars are a lot more complicated -- but automatic trains have been running since the 1980s.)

yesterday
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UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

xaxa Re:A Progression of Complaints (184 comments)

In fact, above 55 mph or so, the rates of injuries and fatalities in accidents mostly plateaus; that is to say, a wreck at 85 mph is not significantly more dangerous than one at 65.

Nonsense. Stopping distance at 55mph is 350ft, at 85mph it's 530ft.

190ft of the latter is "thinking distance", so at 85mph you'll hit close-ahead obstacles at full speed. (e.g. obstacle 200ft away, 85mph collision at 85mph, ~30mph (guessing) if you were at 55mph).

yesterday
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London Police Placing Anti-Piracy Warning Ads On Illegal Sites

xaxa Re:pre-crime (159 comments)

London ... it sucks the life (jobs, investment, infrastructure) out of the rest of the country, which is only partly compensated for by the large tax revenue it provides

Not really. Tax revenue from London subsidises the rest of the country. But, it's a load of bankers stealing money -- it would be more accurate to say they suck money out of the whole world. Perhaps the City of London should investigate the numerous tax-avoiding companies headquartered there...

2 days ago
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Dear Museums: Uploading Your Content To Wikimedia Commons Just Got Easier

xaxa Re:interesting split developing (24 comments)

3. Maximum dissemination. The museum digitizes its works and makes them available in as many places as possible under a permissive license: its own website, archival repositories run by nonprofits and state institutions, Wikimedia, archive.org, news agency file-photo catalogues, etc. The goal is to fulfill its public mission of dissemination/education as widely as possible, and perhaps also achieve some advertising for the museum's collections and the works/artists it conserves, by ensuring that its works are the ones most likely to be used as illustrative examples in Wikipedia articles, books, newspaper/magazine articles, etc.

This project seems to have come out of the Europeana project, which aims to make a single portal with images/sounds/videos of all European museum collection objects: http://europeana.eu/

I'd like to know what Wikimedia would think of the sheer volume of data that's there -- would they really want, say, 14 million high resolution photographs of beetles?

("Maximum lockdown" is often a result of cuts to other sources of funding, e.g. public subsidy.)

2 days ago
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The Least They Could Do: Amazon Charges 1 Cent To Meet French Free Shipping Ban

xaxa Re: Paid taxes (309 comments)

In that case, France would charge an import tax.

But what really happens is the book is printed in Germany, sold to Amazon in Luxembourg, sold to someone in France, and all the profit funneled through Netherlands and/or Ireland, where is somehow becomes no profit and hence no tax due.

about three weeks ago
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On 4th of July:

xaxa Re:Summertime fireworks (340 comments)

I don't know if 10:00 is particularly late when sunset is around 9:00. I can't imagine that small children would want to go to bed when it's still light out.

In northern latitudes they pretty much have to. I do myself sometimes, in June and July, and wake up well past sunrise, which tomorrow is at 4:50. Nautical morning twilight (when the sky starts to visibly change colour) is at 2:53. (This is London, 55N. Most of Northern Europe is further north.)

(There's no "night" tonight, only astronomical twilight. But that's a technical definition -- it's dark outside.)

about a month ago
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On 4th of July:

xaxa Re:Hello Americans (340 comments)

No, it just wasn't dark yet. Yeah, light pollution sucks, but you could tell it wasn't truly dark by the fact that it was noticeably darker after the fireworks were over than when they began. Just looked it up and "nautical twilight" began around 10:40, and "astronomical twilight" at 11:40 pm.

I'm surprised by that, as I live a good way north of most of the USA, in London.

I looked up Macinaw City (since I've been there): sunrise is 05:54, sunset 21:32, solar noon 13:43. Accounting for DST, that's 43 minutes "off".

In London, solar noon is at 13:05 (we are also on DST), sunrise 04:50, sunset 21:20. Almost an hour's extra daylight. (And no astronomical twilight at all until 22 July.)

The local Americans (quite a big group, there's an "international" school not far away) had their fireworks at 21:30, for some odd reason.

about a month ago
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Duolingo is a Free, Crowdsourced Language Learning App (Video)

xaxa Re:Example (75 comments)

I learnt German and French at school, so I know how to learn a language, particularly European ones. I don't recall being frustrated with not knowing why I was wrong. Screenshot of the app showing the same mistake: http://imgur.com/8YzOYof

I found the mobile app really useful for learning some Spanish before going on holiday to South America earlier this year. One press turns off the microphone exercises, either permanently or for the next hour.

about a month ago
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FAA's Ruling On Smartphones During Takeoff Has Had Little Impact

xaxa Re: Do people even know the ban has been lifted? (128 comments)

I think so. The safety briefing / video has been changed in Europe to explain when "small electronic devices" may be used etc.

about a month ago
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New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

xaxa Re:waste of time (380 comments)

I don't know the figures, so I don't know if it's just Americans that aren't used to them, but accidents on roundabouts are much less dangerous. That's a decent trade-off, even if there are more accidents.

about a month ago
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New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

xaxa Re:waste of time (380 comments)

Your software disagrees with reality.

I think it's even better than they show -- the roundabout was so efficient they sometimes run out of cars (there are sometimes entrances with no waiting car).

about a month ago
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New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

xaxa Re:waste of time (380 comments)

Block a roundabout with traffic going one way, and all ways come to a dead stop, probably backing that street up to clog up another roundabout and you get a chain reaction from intersection to intersection.

That's not the case. If most cars are going from the north to the south, the entrance from east to west isn't blocked. If there are cars going both N-S and S-N then it is blocked, but only until one car from N or S goes E or W.

The alternative is a crossroads with traffic lights, which will show red to the E and W roads for most of the time, and have to stop all the cars for a whole light sequence when one arrives.

about a month ago
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2 US Senators Propose 12-Cent Gas Tax Increase

xaxa Re:Index it to inflation (619 comments)

how about a bike and feet tax instead, they should pay their side of things...

Places for people to cycle and walk are so incredibly cheap compared to roads (and railways) that is really isn't worth bothering with a special tax to fund them.

I can't find the Dutch document I read recently, which said the highest quality cycle+pedestrian paths at the side of a new road added less than 10% to the cost.

about a month and a half ago
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US Wants To Build 'Internet of Postal Things'

xaxa Re:Reasons to use Snail Mail (113 comments)

When my father died, I reset the password on his email account (it was running on the family domain, which I administer) which made it easy to discover and close various online accounts, find contact details for people we thought should be invited to the funeral, and generally find out more about things we knew existed, but didn't know much about.

We didn't go through gigabytes of data, but searched (it's GMail).

I haven't thought to close the account, and I don't know if my mum still has reason to access it, but since it's costing me nothing and I never notice it it will probably be around for a while.

about a month and a half ago
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Code Spaces Hosting Shutting Down After Attacker Deletes All Data

xaxa Re:The cloud (387 comments)

Safest of all, a different geological area.

A different geological area? Does the type of rock under the building really impact backup safety? Safer still might be a different geographical area.

Maybe he's reminding us it would be unwise to put it elsewhere on the same floodplain, same faultline or under the same volcano?

about a month and a half ago
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I typically start my workday ...

xaxa Re:Customers in the east (141 comments)

I don't disagree with you. I'd rather go out of my way than inconvenience someone else. However, could it be that the bulk of the workforce was stationed around the pacific rim, thus it would be rude and arrogant to expect them all to change their habits for the handful of people off in the UK?

I understand that to a point, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to ask that the staff in California (no matter how many there are in each location) are present at work at the normal American time of 9am.

about a month and a half ago
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Canadian Court Orders Google To Remove Websites From Its Global Index

xaxa Re:Overreach as a bug, not a feature (248 comments)

She continues (I'll quote a lot, my emphasis at the end):

[141] Google gives as an example of such jurisdictional difficulties the case of Yahoo! Inc. v. La Ligue Contre Le Racism et L’Antisemitisme [Yahoo]. In 2000 two French anti-racism groups filed a suit in France against Yahoo alleging that Yahoo violated a French law prohibiting the display of Nazi paraphernalia by permitting users of its internet auction services to display and sell such artifacts. The plaintiffs demanded that Yahoo’s French subsidiary, Yahoo.fr, remove all hyperlinks to the parent website (Yahoo.com) containing the offending content. As in this case, Yahoo argued that the French Court lacked jurisdiction over the matter because its servers were located in the United States. The French Court held that it could properly assert jurisdiction because the damage was suffered in France and required Yahoo to “take all necessary measures” to “dissuade and render impossible” all access via yahoo.com by internet users in France to the Yahoo! internet auction service displaying Nazi artifacts, as well as to block internet users in France from accessing other online Nazi material: 145 F Supp 2d 1168 (ND Cal 2001) at 1172.

[142] Yahoo claimed that implementing the order would violate its First Amendment rights to freedom of expression and therefore could not be enforced in the United States. The French Court did not accept that submission. Yahoo initiated a suit in California against the French plaintiffs, and obtained a declaratory judgment that the French orders were constitutionally unenforceable in the United States, contrary to the first amendment. Addressing the issue of international comity, the Court reasoned that United States Courts will generally recognize and enforce foreign judgments but could not do so on the facts of that case because enforcement of the French orders would violate Yahoo’s constitutional rights to free speech: 169 F Supp 2d 1181 (ND Cal 2001) at 1192-1193. This decision was ultimately reversed on different grounds: 379 F 3d 1120 (9th Cir 2004), reheard in 433 F 3d 1199 (9th Cir 2006).

[143] Yahoo provides a cautionary note. As with Mareva injunctions, courts must be cognizant of potentially compelling a non-party to take action in a foreign jurisdiction that would breach the law in that jurisdiction. That concern can be addressed in appropriate cases, as it is for Mareva injunctions, by inserting a Baltic type proviso, which would excuse the non-party from compliance with the order if to do so would breach local laws.

[144] In the present case, Google is before this Court and does not suggest that an order requiring it to block the defendants’ websites would offend California law, or indeed the law of any state or country from which a search could be conducted. Google acknowledges that most countries will likely recognize intellectual property rights and view the selling of pirated products as a legal wrong.

about a month and a half ago
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Canadian Court Orders Google To Remove Websites From Its Global Index

xaxa Re:Doesn't this already happen? (248 comments)

That's the point the judge made.

He noted that an order from a French court to remove Nazi symbols from Yahoo.com failed, as the California court overturned it. But, he granted this order because he considers removing links to these websites (infringing "intellectual property", it doesn't say what kind) would be valid in most countries.

about a month and a half ago
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I typically start my workday ...

xaxa Re:Customers in the east (141 comments)

I have a few friends working at multinationals here in the UK, who sometimes have to stay at work very late because developers in California refuse to come in to work before 10:00, or to have meetings before 12:00 (20:00 here). I thought it was rude and arrogant, and couldn't understand why it was tolerated.

about a month and a half ago
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I typically start my workday ...

xaxa Re:Peter Gibbons (141 comments)

Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late. I use the side door, that way Lumbergh can't see me. Uh, and after that, I just sorta space out for about an hour.

I tried that. Then my manager scheduled a meeting for 9:07, "because that's when you come in". Ah.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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New UK government to reverse erosion of liberties

xaxa xaxa writes  |  more than 4 years ago

xaxa writes "In the UK, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have formed a coalition government. They have released an agreement document outlining their joint policies. In section 10 (Civil Liberties) the parties "agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour Government and roll back state intrusion", including "A Freedom or Great Repeal Bill.", "The scrapping of ID card scheme, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point Database." "Outlawing the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission", "Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database.", "The review of libel laws to protect freedom of speech.", "Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation", "Further regulation of CCTV.", "Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason. (and others)."
Link to Original Source
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Rural areas overtake towns for broadband in the UK

xaxa xaxa writes  |  more than 6 years ago

xaxa (988988) writes "According to a report from OFCOM, the UK's independent communications regulator, for the first time rural households are now more likely to have a broadband connection than residents of towns. This could be the result of a drive to bring broadband to sparsely populated areas, enabling people to work from home. Overall, 57% of households have broadband Internet access. OFCOM also report that 20% of households now rely solely on mobile phones, 85% have digital television, 30% of adults have watched TV online, 20% have accessed the internet on a mobile phone.
Of the people without these services, most didn't want them or thought they were too expensive. Just 1% of consumers wanted them but found they were not available in their location.
The full report is available."

Link to Original Source

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