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Comment Re:A case study in overexpansion (Score 1) 319

"By that definition many of the cities in which Uber is currently deployed are "monopoly cities". It doesn't mean they can't operate, it means that they're vulnerable to fines, their drivers are sometimes ticketed, and they might even get court orders against them. But they often still find ways to operate."

Yes, this is Uber's current business model. The problem is that, although it builds the brand over large areas, it also causes most of the company's resources to be dissipated fighting lawsuits and paying fines, rather than paying the drivers.

Comment Re:A case study in overexpansion (Score 1) 319

"The risk with that strategy is every city you ignore is going to start its own Uber clones, clones that are going to get favourable treatment from local regulators and be the favourites of local consumers."

Monopoly cities are by definition cities in which it's illegal to compete with taxi companies that have been granted status. Therefore no local startups, but if a major company like Uber can become well-liked by both customers and drivers elsewhere, voters in monopoly cities will demand change.

Comment A case study in overexpansion (Score 5, Insightful) 319

If I were running Uber, I would have had it concentrate on an assortment of US cities that are friendly to open-market taxi service, rather than blowing its budget fighting City Hall in every monopoly city in the world. By being profitable and having the capital to treat its drivers well in the short term while getting ready for self-driving cars in the long term, it would eventually expand into monopoly cities because the customers would demand it.

Comment Re:Effective solution (Score 2) 142

One hour of instruction is definitely going to be effective in teaching a programming language. Why in the world have I spent my entire life perfecting my art.

You're totally missing the point of this I program. One hour of code tells students how a computer does what it does, and meanwhile will tell the lucky few whether they would have any interest in going in for a lifetime of code.

Comment Re:Left and right (Score 1) 154

"I can't figure out WTF you're talking about in AZ, in fact it looks like astronomers there are winning victories to fight light pollution. The thing in HI is not left vs. science. To the extent that any of the people involved are lefties (which sure, some of them are) they have been whipped into a froth by right-wing politicians. And the battle ties into a fight for the land which the Hawaiian natives, frankly, have not given up fighting. Remember, it's not like they simply chose to join an empire."

You may not have been in Arizona long enough to have known what I was talking about, but protesters working for an outfit called Deep Green Resistance spent years filing fatuous lawsuits against the building of several large telescopes on Mt. Graham in the southeastern part of the state. The first excuse they used was critical habitat for red squirrels living on the mountain. When that fell flat, red squirrels being both common and not endangered by this particular type of human activity, Deep Green switched its attack to a claim that the site was sacred to the San Carlos Apache, a tribe which lives nowhere near the mountain and never evinced particular interest in it. During Clinton's second term construction was finally accomplished, years late and far over budget. That's the Greens' whole strategy - keep throwing groundless legal objections at the wall until even if nothing sticks, the target project becomes too expensive to finish. One argument that the Greens actually used in Arizona was "Build in Hawaii instead, because it's an even better site for astronomy!"

Having been unsuccessful in Arizona, Deep Green moved its attack to Hawaii, where they have been delaying the Thirty Meter Telescope by whipping up a native rights controversy. That is what is wending its way through the court system now.

This is Deep Green's manifesto against astronomy:
The author of this piece, Will Falk, has been all over Mauna Kea, egging on the protesters.

Comment Re:Drop iTunes requirement (Score 1) 114

If the device management and synchronization functions in iTunes were split into a separate application, the iTunes interface for music and video could be made more usable again for that specific purpose. There's nothing like having to keep relogging into iTunes Store when I just want to send a set of slideshow photos up to my iPad. And for s real exercise in frustration, just try exporting a set of albums from your iTunes library as MP3s on an SD card for playing in your car.

Comment Re:Left and right (Score 1) 154

In the '80s the right was pro-science and technology, and the left (or at least the stereotype of the left) was anti-technology.

Since the Reagan era, though the right has completely swung around and is now anti-science, while the left has only weakly shifted over and embraced science.

I don't see any such change, unless you're counting skepticism on the right about the hard-to-pin-down effect of carbon on weather, even when we observe warming (are we all going to die of thirst, or are we going to drown?) I don't hear much from creationists these days either.

Meanwhile the left hates technology just as much as it did in the Seventies, and has even started hacking away against pure research itself, as evidenced by their crusade against astronomy - a discipline whose vested interest is in a totally clean environment - first in Arizona, and more recently in Hawaii. If Trump accomplishes just one thing, let him find a way of locking these little weasels out of the court system so we can get human progress moving again.

Comment A lot of negativism is totally gratuitous (Score 4, Informative) 154

Right now the lead article on Ars Technica is a highly positive review of the current state of VASIMR rocket engine technology:

But the author seems to be a frustrated SJW who couldn't resist a totally irrelevant slam at current US immigration policy, even though nobody has ever accused VASIMR developer Franklin Chang-Díaz of having sneaked across the border on foot.

Comment Re:Reduce tomato sauce wastage (Score 1) 178

The upside-down bottle is still apt to drip extra product when dispensing condiments. Though this would not be a problem with shampoo, I have curiously not seen a single example of a shampoo bottle which is upside down by design. In fact, most shampoo seems to be specifically designed to fall over if propped in the inverted position. I suspect this is a conspiracy by Big Foot, the podiatry lobby.

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