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goobster's profile

Writer by trade. I makes da words purdy.

My #meetHubski interview is here.

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Hey man... THANK YOU. That's a truly generous thing to say, and I appreciate it.

I haven't logged into Hubski all weekend because I was fully expecting to be either blocked (again), or have some real nastiness to address when I got here. I didn't want to argue any more, and didn't know how to unwind where we had gotten to...

Thanks for getting BOTH of us out of this unpleasantness, with grace and style. I really appreciate it.

Very true. Having just driven an Audi A4 for two weeks straight around the British Isles, I got to deeply immerse myself in another country's driving culture for a while.

The brits don't bother with speed limit signs and speed traps and cops hiding with radar guns. People drive according to the conditions, and - if they don't - they crash. THEN the police show up, call you a tit for driving like an ass, and scrape your body off the pavement.

One-lane country roads, to B roads, A roads, and M routes, everyone behaved like they owned rear view mirrors and didn't want to unnecessarily impede other traffic.

Except in London, and it's surrounding area within the M1. Everyone driving there drove like a typical American road-hog dick.

It's been interesting to come back to America and see the entitled shittiness we impose on our fellow citizens just because we are sitting behind a steering wheel...

goobster  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: What are you playing?

I haven't yet because I'm not willing to shell out $500 for a new box to run ONE game that I really don't have enough time to play.

I'll definitely play it some day. Probably when some friend is upgrading to the XBox Infinity and they give me their old XBox One and FO4 for free.

But I will still love it MADLY when I do get to play it. Building a city?!? In FALLOUT?!? That's the game for me. No doubt.

goobster  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: What are you playing?

I actually used to be in a Halo clan (Team XE, the Extreme Elites) and play organized battles against other teams, etc. We were pretty goddamn good.

But there were the kids with various hacks and patches, who would come in and "play" with all their hacks installed. It was annoying. Turned me off of any PvP playing.

Gimme a world to explore, and some things to shoot or build now and then, and I'm good. (I figure I'd really like No Man's Sky, but I'm not about to buy a gaming console to pay one game that I don't have the time to play.)

Destiny, Skyrim, and PubG all seem like they would be fun, but getting started is just going to be hours and days of frustration to get up to a basic level of capability... and that makes me tired, just thinking about it.

goobster  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: What are you playing?

I had planned to spin up the ole XBox 360 and see if it still works, and start another Fallout: New Vegas campaign. But I spent too much time in my workshop building my new whisky bar. (I only play Fallout NV and 3, and Borderlands 2 on my XBox. That's all I use it for.)

Then I saw a deal on the new XBox One for $299... but didn't get it, because it won't buy me the extra hours in the day that I need to play it, as well. :-)

So I stick with WordsWithFriends. I have 11 games going right now. (Usually have between 9 and 15 going at any one time.)

Over Thanksgiving I know I will play a LOT of the card game "13" with my family. A LOT.


One more case with so many "easy" answers that turn out to be hard.

Sentencing is particularly lenient in this case, I think. Shouldn't the dude that sold the gun get more than a year? Would other sellers be so cavalier about not following procedure, if this guy went away for 10 years, minimum?

And transferring it illegally to another person gets you a year in jail? Is that all? Why not accessory to murder? (Yeah... I know why... because you can only prosecute cases you can WIN, and Accessory is hard to win.)

The blunt instrument of the law is inefficient and weak against this type of activity. It'd be nice to see prosecutors given some greater leeway, and sentences be MUCH heavier.

Sure. Sentencing won't stop those who are gonna do it anyway. But at least we can pull them off the street and out of public for a decade or more. That's gotta count for something...

Lots of conversation around this unveiling, here at work today. The Slack channel is full of discussion!

Big picture: Good. It's about time people rethought the semi truck driver experience and stepped out of the "safe" designs we have been stuck with for years.

360-degree view of the vehicle at all times? Good.

Windows are... odd? How do you reach over and hand your paperwork to the receiver in their little booth at the gate of the delivery location? That center seating position helps eliminate blind spots, but is going to introduce some practical kinks... like re-learning how to back up to a loading dock. A lot of that is gut, not visibility. Getting drivers to rely on screens for backing up (as long as a bug splat hasn't obscured a key camera's view) is going to be like switching from a keyboard to a PlayStation controller... slow and error-prone at first, before it becomes learned and second-nature.

Anti-jackknifing is the thing that has us most in a tizzy, though.

With two separate motors on each wheel, I expect there are some very clever algorithms that the computer can rely on to modify the power/drag generated by each wheel, to mitigate the trailer coming around the cab and jackknifing.

I think this is going to be FASCINATING to watch, in practice, on a skid pad...

Holy crap. 75% of the vehicles on the road in America are consistently running in excess of the speed limit.

There's a lot to unpack in that one statistic right there.

The sense of entitlement we are raised with from birth - American exceptionalism - manifests is such shitty, rude, and inconsiderate adults.

Man, I love ya, but your lack of intellectual precision in your arguments is just exhausting to have to rebut every single time, and these diversions do nothing to move our conversation forward.

    "...The vehicles might be bigger and need more material, but if they hold more people, you get more for your resources. In a very simple way, a miata that gets thirty miles per gallon and seats two people is effectively less efficient than an SUV that can seat six people and gets fifteen miles per gallon. There comes a point in the resource scale where bigger is better..."

How can you, with any intellectual honesty, conflate those two completely different resource streams into one measure of value?!

The manufacturer pays for the metal, plastic, wiring, FMCSA testing, and designs the vehicle to meet the regulations appropriate to the vehicle in question. They sell the vehicle, and recoup their expenditures, plus profit.

The buyer pays for fuel, oil, maintenance, expendables, all the other operating expenses, and the depreciation in value of the vehicle itself as it gets used.

And yet, you devise a completely fictional "resource scale" that takes ALL of the expenditures by the company AND the owner - while still ignoring the environmental cost of the vehicle and its use - and try to measure the vehicle's value against this "resource scale". That doesn't exist. That drives neither the manufacturer or the owner, and never enters into their thinking or balance sheets.

Am I supposed to read this, walk-back my previous post, and say, "Oh! Yes, rd95! You are right! This completely arbitrarily-sized yardstick proves that my experience in the fleet vehicle industry, that I work in every single day, and have to know inside-out is entirely wrong!

My day job is in the telematics industry, dealing specifically with how to maintain and track the value of fleets of vehicles. I know the industry inside and out. And no, there is never a point where a large vehicle is less expensive than a small one. It may SEEM like it pencils out, but it doesn't.

However, I get where you are going with your thinking.

It's called the "triple bottom line", and we tried to get companies to adopt these principles back in the 1980's.

It failed. Companies only look at raw material costs. They do not measure the cost of mitigating the shit that comes out of their smokestacks, or they they pour into streams.

    "...most cities already have buses and bus routes. To service a lot of the new demand, it's as simple as adding more buses..."

This is just wrong. This is not how buses, schedules, or routes work. At all.

Is there a stigma against buses? Maybe there still is. But that's only because promotion of that viewpoint is funded by those who would lose from transportation infrastructure improvements.

Public transit works. Period. Europe. South America. Asia. Parts of Africa. England. Everywhere you go outside of America, public transit works, and is used heavily by people of every class and social standing.

Americans are not genetically different, so it can work here, too.

The problem we face that is fairly unique to us, is SPACE. We are really widely spread out. Lack of density over the majority of the US makes it REALLY HARD for any public transportation infrastructure to get funding from the Government. It needs to be funded using local funds.

And once you build public transit? Well you now have less money coming in from the government for roads and highways.

So yeah. What WILL happen, and is already happening, and has happened thousands of times before with any new technology, is that the rich will get it first. Then it will expand to accommodate more and more people.

My dad had a phone in his car in the 1970's. My friend's 9-year old now has more power in the iPhone in her pocket, than all of NASA possessed throughout the organization when they sent men to walk on the Moon.

That's 40 years.

You REALLY think we won't be making most of our utility trips in automated vehicles in under 20 years?

goobster  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 15, 2017

Ah. We had another Russian here on Hubski who disappeared a little while ago. I thought you might be him returning under another username.

Welcome! Dobradosli! (Not Russian, I know, but I spent more time in Serbia than Russia...)

Exhibit A/B - Regulation is far more lax when you have two people in a vehicle. So if you are building a prototype AV network, you build small ones, and only get to the bigger vehicles later when the economies of scale pencil out.

Because when you transport a bunch of people, regulation changes significantly, and drives prices into the sky. There are also practical concerns... it takes less metal, ABS, wiring, and physical space to build a 2-seater than a 20-seater.

Today, there are hundreds of thousands of buses sold every single year (many sold by my parent company DTNA, under the name Thomas-Built Buses) by a variety of manufacturers, and the prices are stable. There is rich competition in the market, and prices for these vehicles are established. (True for municipal buses, school buses, and even tour buses.)

Finally, large vehicles can only drive on specific roads, and through specific intersections. There are physical and regulatory barriers to the bus getting close to most houses where people live. But an autonomous SmartCar can even drive down my private street; legally, and practically. The bus drops people off 5 blocks away. And I don't know about you, but I'm not walking 5 blocks with bags of groceries, to ride in an overheated vehicle with non-opening windows, to sit next to insane/smelly/wonderful/tired/happy/unhappy people.

Exhibit C - Pick up at 6:30 at my house, and take me 10.6 miles to work. Pick me up at work at 3:45 and take me back home.

I'd pay $30/day for that.

Does it pencil out, financially speaking? Maybe? Car payment, insurance, depreciation, APR, tires, oil changes, windshield wipers, door dings, bumper scrapes, car wash/wax/detail once a month, etc.

Honestly, I don't care. If I do not have to deal with the assholes on the road every day, then I am HAPPY to pay $30/day for that service.

And in the summer I'll ride my motorcycle, and will have FEWER shitheads driving badly to worry about. In fact, I'll pay $15/month for the little broadcasting device that reaches out to the AVs around me to alert them to my presence, so they are SURE to see me with their LiDAR, and let me in when I need to change lanes, and not freakout when I share a lane with them at the traffic light.

And ya know what? I get a credit of $15/mo on my AV membership fees because I now have a parking place in front of my house that I am not using, so I let AVs stage themselves there overnight.

But all this is irrelevant, in the end.

The simple fact is that the technology is already here, just not widely dispersed. There are oodles of ways to make money in AV services, and - in the big picture - fewer people die.

By the time I am 70 (20 years), we will laugh about how we used to own utility vehicles. The only vehicles people will own will be motorcycles, RVs, and sports cars, because they WANT a toy to play with.

Will AVs be prominent in rural areas? No. They are not work vehicles. They are people-movers. People don't move in rural areas, STUFF moves. That's why they have tractors and trucks and gators... to move STUFF.

But the 600,000 people "commuting" into a city at 8:AM and out at 5:PM? The only ones driving will be the ones driving for fun.

goobster  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 15, 2017

Sorry. Text-based medium.

I agree that the car should not have spun. I also know the reputation of Porsche better than I know the cars themselves. (Hence my equivocation.)

And you and I both know that 99.999999% of all books written don't get published, and work done for free is always treated poorly by those we do it for. We know both these things, and yet we still do them.

The fact that you started at the 75-meter line in a 100-meter race, and were still eaten by a tiger before you crossed the finish line is just the world sticking in a final fuck you for good measure.

And that sucks.

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