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Comments

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Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

xaxa Re: Pen (635 comments)

I use a fountain pen (or three, with black, blue and some other colour).

I find it much more comfortable to write with, compared to a ballpoint pen.

about three weeks ago
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Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

xaxa Re:About things "accidentally breaking" (455 comments)

Crowd-Source the auditing. All footage to be audited by the public, anything flagged goes to IA.

No -- that's very bad for protecting victims and witnesses. The main argument agaist the cameras is innocent victims and witnesses end up being recorded.

Here (PDF) http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/sto... is a report from using the cameras in the UK, way back in 2007. Here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-2... says video is deleted after 30 days, unless it's part of an investigation.

about three weeks ago
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Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK

xaxa Re:EIGHT weeks??? Nukes need to be more modular. (120 comments)

Taking that many GW-hrs of production offline for that length of time is a serious outage.

It's still summer here, so there's probably lots of space capacity elsewhere. Few homes have air conditioning, the outside temperature tomorrow is forecast to peak at 21C in London. August is the month with the lowest demand.

There are some graphs and dials here: http://www.gridwatch.templar.c...

I'm surprised nuclear power varies over the year -- does anyone know why?

about a month and a half ago
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I'd most like to (personally) explore:

xaxa Re:Jungles, but I'm too scared (246 comments)

I assume you're correct, with local knowledge, but what I said was true from what I saw -- though I can't prove it.

I've not been anywhere else in South America, so I only have Europe, the US and Canada, and some of East Asia to compare to. Ecuador is bottom of that list, but not that far behind the US.

The people in Ecuador with the worst stories were born there, so maybe they're remembering the old times.

about a month and a half ago
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I'd most like to (personally) explore:

xaxa Re:Jungles, but I'm too scared (246 comments)

Earlier this year I went to the Cuyabana reserve in Ecuador. There wasn't really any reason to be scared of the jungle.

You wouldn't know where to go on your own, and organising transport would be a hassle anyway, so book an organised tour. I was travelling round Ecuador alone, and there were five others on my tour. A 12 hour bus journey to Lago Agrio, a 2.5 hour car drive east, then a 2.5 hour motor canoe journey and we were very much in the jungle.

(I only spent four nights in the jungle, you can obviously do a lot more.)

I will add some photos to Wikivoyage later this evening.

(Ecuador felt like the most dangerous place I've ever been, but not because of the animals. In the cities there's relatively high crime -- on one occassion a little girl warned me that I was about to walk into a slum, where I'd get robbed at best, and possibly killed. Many shops and all banks had armed guards. But, outside the cities it seems to be fine. If this puts you off, try South East Asia instead.)

about a month and a half ago
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Driverless Buses Ruled Out For London, For Now

xaxa Re: Trains sound like a good idea. (84 comments)

I'm on a driverless train right now, the Docklands Light Railway on London. It's been running without a driver since 1987, the one accident was minor, and under manual override.

A Wikipedia list was posted above of similar systems.

about 1 month ago
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Driverless Buses Ruled Out For London, For Now

xaxa Re: Trains sound like a good idea. (84 comments)

In London it's not necessary to talk to bus drivers. The fare is a flat rate (£1.45) regardless of distance and cash isn't accepted, only smartcard, credit card and some other prepayment method.

about 1 month ago
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UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

xaxa Re:A Progression of Complaints (190 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.)

about 2 months ago
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UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

xaxa Re:A Progression of Complaints (190 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).

about 2 months ago
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London Police Placing Anti-Piracy Warning Ads On Illegal Sites

xaxa Re:pre-crime (160 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...

about 2 months 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.)

about 2 months 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 2 months 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 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months 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 3 months 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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