Posts by Rich of Observationz

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Well, Russia refrained from trying to infiltrate Austria (and after the 1950s, NATO refrained from trying to infiltrate the Warsaw Pact - before that they did, but all their attempts were betrayed by Philby).

    But then, Khrushchev and Brezhnev (not to mention Eisenhower and Nixon) were relatively sane and responsible politicians.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5392 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to Russell Brown,

    True. But actually, I'd incline to the view that Europe would be more secure if the Baltics and Poland were neutral and secure by treaty (like Austria after 1955) and there was a demilitarised buffer between Russian and NATO forces.

    The rush by NATO to move its frontiers up to and beyond the limits of the former Soviet Union does not seem, in retrospect, to have been sensible realpolitik.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5392 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to Luke Williamson,

    USA has never been invaded

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812

    Also, Japanese forces occupied the furthermost Aleutian Islands in WW2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleutian_Islands_Campaign.

    Not to mention the Pig War.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5392 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years,

    What's the worst that could happen?

    China and the US face off, the yuan becomes non-convertible, exports to China dry up, mortgage funding follows, Auckland house prices drop by 80%, all the banks crash under the weight of bad debts, people can no longer get paid or buy food.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5392 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…,

    It's a well known problem. I've written algorithms that attempt to solve it without doing a full Dijkstra walk through the road network for each location pair.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5392 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Shenzen's hire-bike explosion, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    You can take them inside, if it isn't jammed with cruise ship tourists off to do the "look at a town with water next to it from quite high up" for the 19th time on their fun-packed holiday.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5392 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Obscuring the News,

    I'm fairly sure that Hitler actually escaped from Germany, and via Argentina, moved to Springfield, where he murdered Marge Simpson and tried (with some success) to pin the blame on OJ. Also he's Barts dad.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5392 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to BenWilson,

    Well, no. My current car costs maybe 40c a km to operate. A real taxi is $3-4. Plus, I can taxi into the city easily enough, but suppose I want to go out to the Rimutakas and go hiking - it'll cost a fortune and getting a ride back is going to be an issue. For most people, anything with a human driver is not going to be an economic alternative to owning a car.

    Fast forward a few years and I get a shiny new autonomous car. It costs me more, maybe $2 a km. If I'm using it in town, I'll need to pay either parking or a few extra kms for it to drive out on its own to someplace with free parks.

    Or I can send it off to earn a living - or use somebody else's car. Reducing the cost, maybe by half.

    The problem is the puke factor. What percentage of passengers will mess up cars? If they do, the car goes off to be cleaned and enforcement robots pop around to the miscreants residence for a cup of tea and their kneecaps.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5392 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to BenWilson,

    I don't think the point is replacing human driven taxis by manual ones for taxi journeys.

    It's more that:
    - a huge number of people currently own a car
    - self-driving cars will eventually happen
    - if I take my self-driving car into town, I probably won't leave it in a park while I'm there, I'll want to send it home, or to somewhere I don't have to pay for parking
    - or I could have it earn money transporting somebody else
    - or I don't own a car at all, and just send for one when I need it

    The latter is what Uber want to own - not all the people riding in taxis, but all the people riding in their own cars.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5392 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Public Address founder…,

    I'd be interested to know of any modern instances where a benchtop experiment (as opposed to a high-energy accelerator or cosmological observation) has produced results that don't agree with accepted physics and it hasn't been shown to be experimental error or deliberate fraud. I can't think of any.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5392 posts Report Reply

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