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Comment Re:More likely they will pull out (Score 4, Insightful) 130

I don't think it really matters, it costs almost nothing to defend these cases for Uber. They're just trying to defer spinning up a big HR division between now and in five years when Uber replaces most of their human drivers with driverless cars. People keep treating Uber as if they're going to be this massive, massive employer -- they won't. Ideally in 10 years most everything will live in the cloud run by a team of 300 engineers, with local service centers to swap out batteries and electric drive units for the cars. Human drivers will only work in areas that don't have enough ride share demand to deserve a dedicated service center.
 
Worrying about driver's benefits is a very short sighted goal and really is a waste of everyone's time.

Comment Re:Too quiet?? (Score 2) 382

The electric buses in SF are plenty loud, tire noise, old creaky suspension, flexing frame etc etc you can hear them coming, especially as they accelerate up the hills we have out here. They're not as loud as the shitty diesels that they have running around the flatter areas (electric buses are superior from a torque standpoint going up hills) but they're loud enough.

Comment Re:first (Score 1) 382

It's remarkably easy to buy renewable-only power from renewable sources. It all feeds in to the same grid, but the bill comes from the renewable sources. Since there's a limited supply of renewable power that companies and people are trying to buy from it tends to cost 1-5% more than normal electricity, but you're using only green sources of power.
 
When I lived in Dallas for 7 years I got my power from Green Mountain energy and cost about 4% more than regular energy, but my house was 100% renewable powered.
 
It's not much of a stretch to assume that the buses will be recharged with renewable power as well. Something like 70% of the power for washington state comes from Hydro as it is.

Comment Re:Square of the distance... (Score 2) 79

I bought three charging pads for my Nexus 5, one bedside, one at my home office PC, and one at my office PC. It basically stayed charged 100% of the time unless I was on a road trip or some such.
 
Doesn't matter where the pad is, you just need the charging pads where you use the phone the most. A dedicated charging pad in the car, one by your bed and one at the office cover 90% of use cases for probably 80% of the population. If apple got behind wireless charging, you would probably see charging pads appear in BMW and Mercedes first, followed by Lexus, Acura and then Honda/Toyota and eventually american manufacturers. We just need a standard that we're going to stick with. I'm ok with a Qi/USB Type-C world.

Comment Radium Water (Score 1) 59

Look it up... People used to drink water from ceramic coolers laced with radium, they thought the irradiated water would help improve their health in the 1920s-1940s. People bought glass infused with uranium that would glow faintly at night or under a blacklight.... If it sounds stupid and dangerous... it probably is.

Comment Re:And yet. . . (Score 1) 61

They've raised ~$100 billion and have a net loss rate of ~$1 to $2 billion a quarter. They already have self driving cars on the roads and will probably have truly driverless self driving cars in 2-3 years at which point they'll be totally vertically integrated and costs will drop, service areas will explode and service quality will go through the roof.
 
If they didn't even have a self driving car prototype I would be concerned about their long term business plan, but they're executing on it, the economies of scale are clear, this is a slam dunk home run investment on a proven business strategy.
 
You're crazy, man.

Comment Re:My public school system is great (Score 1) 386

Prop 13 effectively shrinks the budget by 2% per year while the price of goods and services (nationally) grows by 4%. Over five years it's fairly minimal, but in the last 10 years alone the population has increased by over 10% while the tax base has moved by less than 5%. You can either cut services to that remaining 5% or degrade services to everyone, or dip in to debt, but how are you going to pay off a permanent 5% deficit? And it will just continue to grow as population continues to boom and taxes keep being reduced against inflation. It's totally, completely unsustainable for another 40 years.

Comment Re:Fewer children per capita? (Score 2) 386

It's very common for people working in the global economy (in this case, the tech portion) to want to live in urban areas. Silicon Valley is a great place to raise a family, the ultimate string of bedroom communities flanked by other bedroom communities. But people ages 25-35 really want to live in urban areas, and besides Seattle, San Francisco is the only place on the US west coast that has that combination of high density and high paying jobs to lure them there. The dating scene in Silicon Valley is sad at best which pushes a lot of singles in to the city.
 
I don't feel like posting a second time in this thread so I'll say it here, as someone who hasn't started a family yet, I love the city, but once we have children and they're big enough to need their own space, we're going to have to move out of the city. We both have really fantastic jobs, but can only afford a 1 bedroom here, a two or even three bedroom apartment would bankrupt us. Adding a 30 minute commute each way moves us from a 1 bedroom apartment to a 3 or even 4 bedroom house with some semblance of a backyard. I just got back from a ski trip with six other couples, those who still lived in the city and had one child (under 2 years) were looking to move out, the rest already had children and had moved out of the city, or had already fled the city to find housing where they could comfortably raise a family. We're not talking about junior level developers, these were all people in their early to mid 30s, comfortably midway through their careers with household incomes in the $250,000 to $300,000 range. We all want to live here, but we can't find space in good neighborhoods, and we're all looking at ways to keep them out of the SF public school system. SF is on par with 2017 Manhattan prices, but on par with 1977 Manhattan crime and schools. San Francisco is a great place to live, but an awful one to raise a family in.

Comment Re:I've been saying for a long time about autonomu (Score 1) 94

About 40-60% of the Dallas Texas DART light rail system is above grade, except for where it's already on existing railroad grades, or the brief ~1 mile subway section under the dense suburban area just north of downtown. It works really well, there's almost 0 at grade crossings in the most densely populated areas.

Comment Re:I've never been able to wrap my head around thi (Score 1) 313

I once bought a bus ticket from Iguazu, Brazil to Rio De Janiro for about $250, went to go see the falls that morning (they're amazing by the way, twice as wide and twice as high and twice as much water as Niagra falls), and the bus driver that takes us back in to town slept through lunch and I got back an hour later than I expected. Worse, I thought the bus started from the Argentinian side, so I had to get an international taxi for $80 to the bus terminal. Got my passport stamped sitting in the back of a ratty hundai taxi. Had they waited an extra 5 minutes to scrutinize my brazilian visa, I'd have been screwed and missed New Years in Rio.

Comment Re:I've never been able to wrap my head around thi (Score 1) 313

Another flight home from Cartagena, I was too hung over in the morning and nearly missed my flight home, but thank god, they held the flight for me by ~15 minutes as I didn't have any checked luggage and Spirit Airlines patiently waited for me to be expedited through security/customs.
 
Thursday, I nearly missed my flight from SFO to Dallas because I thought my flight was at 5:45 but really it was 5:25 and also I didn't count on SF traffic to the airport. Thanks to the miracle of online checkin I was able to make that flight.

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