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Comment Re:Aw, Poor Trent... (Score 1) 428

I'm getting old too, just a couple years behind Mr. Reznor, but over time I've become not less, but more, supportive of basic human rights, including the right to possess and use large numbers (which is what any digital "content" really is - just very, very large numbers) with an absolute minimum of corporate or government interference. I fully admit that if we started with the presumption of freedom and innocence, as I advocate, some problems and issues might result. I am confident, though, that those issues could be addressed through means far less onerous than attempting to control the possession or use of large numbers. The younger me believed that "society" had the right to make whatever rules it wished, so long as it followed the rules, such as the Constitution, that were already in place. The older me understands that individual rights are non-negotiable, and trump any so-called "rules" that would pretend to violate those rights.

Comment Re:Save money (Score 1) 474

I wish that were the case, but if you Google "farebox recovery," I think you will find that no U.S. system achieves even close to 100% (the break-even point, where operating costs are fully covered by fares) although some systems elsewhere do. BART is actually one of the better U.S. systems in that regard, recovering about 68% of operating expenses through fares. Bigger systems like Chicago, NYC and Washington recover 40-60%. Systems like Detroit, Dallas, and Austin barely recover any. And these numbers are exclusive of capital costs.

Comment Re:isn't it time for it to fall apart? (Score 1) 474

As others have noted, new construction projects are popular and "sexy." Long-term maintenance is not. Our political systems are set up to reward the one, and not the other, and, therefore, yes, maintenance tends to be postponed, and/or done poorly, throughout most of the U.S. (There are notable exceptions; I think NYC does a decent job for instance, but then they have a budget comparable to Iceland's entire GDP.)

Comment Re:Save money (Score 1) 474

Most systems, even very dense ones like NYC or London, don't have the ability to automatically route trains onto different lines to work around obstacles, so you're probably limited to using the wrong-way track, and there are SUBSTANTIAL safety reasons why you don't want to do this without clearing a minimum of several kilometers of track in all directions, and, thus, causing very substantial delays. Even on some of NYC's busiest lines, an obstacle on the track means long delays, as service on that track must be stopped until the obstacle is cleared. (Those lines that have 3 or 4 track express service generally lack excess capacity, so you can't just route local trains onto the express track, without making the delays even worse.)

Comment Re:Save money (Score 1) 474

I promise you that it is 90% or more politics, not technology, why operators can't be automated away. Sensors can do an acceptable (if not superior) job of detecting potential obstacles, especially on a fully grade-separated ROW. Self-driving automobiles post vastly greater technical challenges, but those challenges are being addressed, and they are more or less a superset of those that would face a fully automated metro system. BTW, a number of such metro lines exist around the world, though, generally, only individual lines, not entire systems.

Comment Re:No such thing as wide lane ... (Score 1) 410

It has been common for my city to try to narrow 4 and 5 lane roads in my area into 2, for "traffic calming" purposes. One of the first things they typically do is to remove the lane markings except for the double yellow line. The road remains, de facto, two or more lanes in each direction, but it is no longer marked as such. Drivers will typically continue to form multiple lanes. This is of course much more dangerous, but unavoidable; trying to occupy both lanes is *also* illegal and dangerous. (What you're supposed to do is what I do; see below.) Eventually they will paint a "bike lane" too narrow to be safe, and separate it from the side of the road *just* enough to prevent parking or a second lane of vehicular traffic. This lane will also zig-zag, again encouraging collisions. Sometimes it will abruptly end without warning, and reappear without warning, seemingly just to make it as dangerous as possible. Still, cars, especially in snowy or icy conditions when the lane markings can't be seen anyway, will treat it as it always was and rightfully still should be: a multi-lane road. There is no safe option anymore. What I typically do during the "no marking" or "invisible marking" stage is to obey common law: stay as far to the right as possible unless passing, and maintain sufficient stopping distance in case a bike, pedestrian, parked car, or other obstruction should suddenly appear. The tendency is for cops to ticket the faster and/or more reckless drivers, and/or those who risk or cause accidents; that is as it should be in those conditions, and since I try to optimize for safety, I am rarely among those who get those particular tickets. (I get plenty on the open road, where safety requires staying with traffic and thus exceeding the artificially low posted limits.)

Comment Re:Yeah, they may have their social media, so what (Score 1) 54

I value the lives of all people, including those who choose to be part of the self-styled LGBTQ community, but also including the many, many more who do not. Those who would imprison or murder people for being a part of that community are wrong, but so are those who would allow the destruction of an entire civilization at that community's behest. Civilized societies have found a way to find a balance somewhere between those two extremes.

Comment Re:Easiest things to do. (Score 1) 1839

That is a very U.S./Eurocentric point of view (and I am a USian myself). ISO 8859-1 and -15 work only for Latin alphabets. The other parts add support for Cyrillic, Thai, Arabic, Celtic and a few others, but still fail to support Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and many others. In addition, processing ISO 8859 text is very painful compared to, say, UTF-8. Just go to UTF, and sanitize out any characters that may cause injection or other issues.

Comment Re:maybe because it's not (Score 1) 832

I can't stand Trump either, and you can think what you wish regarding my brain or lack thereof, but I can assure you that many of my socially conservative friends - and I am socially conservative myself (but politically libertarian) - firmly and unwaveringly believe that most if not all Mexicans, most if not all Muslims, most if not all Black people, are eeeevil and seek nothing less than the destruction of "White civilization." Propaganda can create its own reality, and hatred, like any other evil, can and frequently does metastatize. Twitter, being a private company, has the right to give Mr. Trump a platform, or not to, but I would strongly suggest that they should not, and I would also insist that if they knowingly choose to do so, then they are partly responsible, at least morally and ethically and perhaps legally also (18 USC 242-243), for what results. Freedom implies responsibility. I strongly believe in it, but I recognize that even in theory, the one is not possible without the other.

Comment Re:Because that would be unimaginable CENSORSHIP? (Score 1) 832

Sooner or later, whatever replaces this pus-oozing carcass of a "culture" will come to understand that peaceful coexistence on one hand, and the advocacy of things like organized theft, enslavement, or murder on the other, are mutually exclusive. Only one will prevail. Those who do advocate such things ought never be given a platform by any decent or civilized individual, ought never to be paid attention by any decent or civilized individual, and must never be allowed anywhere near the reigns of power. Not even a voting booth. No one is ever entitled to vote away the rights of another.

Comment Re:Hardly surprising (Score 1) 256

The "right-anarchist" viewpoint, which I hold, is that true Libertarians are, or eventually become as I did, what you describe as "right-anarchists," once they come to understand that the existence of monopolistic governments is inherently antithetical to liberty and to the nonaggression principle. We believe in other means of defining and enforcing contracts and property rights, not necessarily drastically different from the systems of laws and courts we have now, except they would be voluntary, decentralized, and competitive. Murray Rothbard is perhaps the best known author to have covered this topic extensively, though there are many others.

Comment Re:And a cure for world overpopulation...? (Score 1) 385

I'm well aware that the "overpopulation" myth is BS and that the limits to earth's carrying capacity, if there even are such limits, have yet to be seriously explored. I'd quibble with a couple things though.

Yes, IMO, we do need "nature," because (a) that is most of what generates much of our oxygen, and (b) it is the most sensible use for much of the land in even a very densely populated world. That some of the most densely populated cities in the world (New York, Paris, Hong Kong, probably others) also find space for beautiful park systems seems to me a strong argument that we need not eliminate "nature" in order to achieve a vastly higher population or population density than we have today.

The problem of pollution will need to be addressed in a sustainable fashion. A large part of that solution will be technology. The U.S. manufactures almost as much as China today, by some measures more, yet it does so far more cleanly, because today, we can afford cleaner methods of production, while China can't. That is not a function of the number of people there, but simply their as-yet lower level of development. When they are as wealthy as we are, they'll be able to afford to produce more cleanly, and they will.

I do not believe that humans have much understanding of climate, frankly, much less that they have much influence over it on a global level. Sufficiently large cities, however, do become heat islands. We will have to use technology, and probably energy (hopefully cleanly and sustainably produced) to deal with this, especially in the parts of the world which are already hot and/or humid. Again, increasing development and hence wealth should help. If the global climate does become significantly warmer, some adjustments will be necessary, of course, but it should actually be an overall help to humanity, not a hindrance, because it will open up vast regions in the world to agriculture that cannot be done in those regions today. (It will of course reduce production in some places as well, but the net effect will be not a loss of total land suitable for agriculture but a huge, huge gain.)

One challenge we will have to tackle: the near-universal human obsession with big governments, nation-states, collectivism, and war. All of those things in their current form are incompatible with life, even life as we know it today, much less the life that could exist on a wealthier, more densely populated, more civilized planet. In fact, IMO, those things constitute the chief impediment to becoming such a world.

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