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Member since: Tue Jun 16, 2009, 03:09 PM
Number of posts: 2,431

Journal Archives

Uber And Lyft Jacked Up Prices As People Fled The New York Subway Shooting

Rideshare apps Uber and Lyft have been accused of severely increasing the prices for rides shortly following a mass shooting on the New York subway system that left at least 13 people injured and many more fleeing in terror. Screenshots from people’s phones showing fares as high as $145 to get away from the area of the shooting have been going around Twitter as people express outrage over the grimmest bit of price gouging seen since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“@Uber turn off surges in sunset park,” wrote one local woman. “People are scared, let them get out safely.”

Both Uber and Lyft use an automatic system that detects areas of high demand and implements “surge” pricing, increasing the prices of their services based on how many people in the area are requesting them. You can see how this could at times create horrifying dystopian nightmare situations, and yet both companies continue to rely on it.

Patrick Henry High School's honors courses controversy fails to address issue of access


San Diego’s largest high school caused a stir with its latest effort to address education equity, and its approach certainly prompts more than a few questions.

On Sunday the U-T’s Kristen Taketa reported that Patrick Henry High in San Carlos, a school that teaches 2,500 students, removed several honors, advanced and gifted education courses without informing parents or seeking their input. Some of the courses included classes for advanced English, advanced history and advanced biology.


From the jump, the school could not have communicated this change more poorly. Even if you weren’t interested in incorporating feedback from parents, the school owed all its families the courtesy of transparent communication about what was occurring.

Instead it seems that the school chose to keep parents in the dark, and in turn parents are understandably confused, angry and concerned about what the implications will be for their children.

Putting that aside, the idea of trying to mix classes to lift all students has merit. Although, it’s fair to wonder if this is really the best approach the school could apply.

I graduated from Henry in 1988 and I am still in touch with many friends from that time. Many of them have kids currently attending Henry and they are PISSED OFF. They all hate the principal anyway, whose on-campus visibility is on-par with the Once-Ler's. Many suspect she is trying to cut operating costs—teachers who teach advanced classes get paid more —and using "equity" as a smoke-screen.


MIT: New algorithm computes how to find those lost at sea

Researchers at MIT, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and Virginia Tech recently announced the first successful trials of their new “TRAPS” system, a system they hope will provide faster, more accurate insights into the floating locations of missing objects and people by identifying the watery “traps” into which they’re likely to be attracted. The team’s TRAPS research is published in the journal Nature Communications.

According to Thomas Peacock, professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, “This new tool we’ve provided can be run on various models to see where these traps are predicted to be, and thus the most likely locations for a stranded vessel or missing person.” He adds that, “This method uses data in a way that it hasn’t been used before, so it provides first responders with a new perspective.”

The TRAPS acronym stands for “TRansient Attracting Profiles.” It’s an algorithm based on a Eulerian mathematical system developed by lead study author Mattia Serra and corresponding author George Haller of ETH Zurich. It’s designed to discover hidden attracting fluidic structures in an onrush of changing data.

The traps the researchers seek are regions of water that temporarily converge and pull in objects or people. “The key thing is,” says Peacock, “the traps may not have any signature in the ocean current field. If you do this processing for the traps, they might pop up in very different places from where you’re seeing the ocean current projecting where you might go. So you have to do this other level of processing to pull out these structures. They’re not immediately visible.”

AGGGHH! Thanks to TFG's bogus 2020 census, Katie Porter will no longer be my rep!

Instead, I'll have to vote against Michelle Steel. The only Dem running is Jay Chen. There are 8 Republicans running against Steel as well.


Republicans Go Berserk on House Floor after Rep. Calls out Their Racist Arguments on D.C. Statehood

"I have had enough of my colleagues' racist insinuations that somehow the people of Washington, D.C. are incapable or even unworthy of our democracy. One Senate Republican said that D.C. wouldn't be a 'well-rounded working class state.' I had no idea there were so many syllables in the word 'white.'"

"One of my House Republican colleagues said that D.C. shouldn't be a state because the district doesn't have a landfill. My goodness, with all the racist trash my colleagues have brought to this debate, I can see why they're worried about having a place to put it."
At this, Republican House members vocally erupted, demanding the Speaker Pro Tempore intervene.

"The truth is, there is no good faith argument for disenfranchising over 700 thousand people, Mr. Speaker. Most of whom are people of color."

-- Representative Mondaire Jones (D-NY)

Republicans like Louie Gohmert of Texas urged the Speaker to strike Jones' words from the record, to which Jones acquiesced before continuing:

"These desperate objections are about fear. Fear that in D.C., their white supremacist politics will no longer play. Fear that, soon enough, white supremacist politics won't work anywhere in America. Fear that if they don't rig our democracy, they will not win. Today, Democrats are standing up for a multiracial democracy. To democratize all 51 states in this country. I yield back."


New Bill Scraps Mandate Forcing USPS to Prefund Pensions Decades in Advance


The USPS Fairness Act, an earlier version of which cleared the House last February, would “repeal the requirement that the United States Postal Service prepay future retirement benefits,” a rollback supported by the 200,000-member American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and other organizations representing mail carriers.

“The bipartisan USPS Fairness Act is one of the first steps toward returning the Postal Service to solid financial footing, and I urge Congress to quickly pass this critical legislation,” said APWU president Mark Dimondstein.

Approved by a Republican-controlled Congress and signed into law by former President George W. Bush in 2006, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act “required the Postal Service to create a $72 billion fund that would pay for its employees’ retirement health benefits for more than 50 years into the future,” NBC News explained Tuesday.

“This is not required [of] any other federal agency,” NBC noted.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), the lead House sponsor of the USPS Fairness Act, said in a statement Monday that “the unreasonable prefunding mandate has threatened the survival of the USPS and placed at risk vital services for the millions who rely on it.”

More at Link... https://truthout.org/articles/new-bill-scraps-mandate-forcing-usps-to-prefund-pensions-decades-in-advance

Scientists develop transparent wood that is stronger and lighter than glass


Wood is made of two basic ingredients: cellulose, which are tiny fibres, and lignin, which bonds those fibres together to give it strength.

Early attempts to make transparent wood involved removing the lignin, but this involved hazardous chemicals, high temperatures and a lot of time, making the product expensive and somewhat brittle. The new technique is so cheap and easy it could literally be done in a backyard.

More (+ photos) at link...

Charter Waves the White Flag on Data Caps as Trump Leaves the Building


Mere days before Donald Trump’s helicopter shrank into the skies, we got a promising early indication that telecom companies’ hog-wild joyride under Trump’s FCC is coming to an end. Last week, Charter Communications, the company behind Spectrum, withdrew its petition to impose data caps: basically its attempt to restrict customers’ internet usage in order to force them to spend more money. The FCC announced yesterday that Charter had withdrawn its petition, which it filed in June, just a few months into the pandemic.


In a statement emailed to Gizmodo, Charter explained that the timing had only to do with the pandemic. “In light of the ongoing severity of the global pandemic and its effects on our customers, we want to offer them the assurance that they will continue to benefit from unlimited access to broadband and the accompanying financial certainty it provides during these trying times,” it said, “and therefore have withdrawn our petition.”

This is a heel-turn from Charter’s previous position that the pandemic should have no bearing on a decision to allow it to impose data caps, namely because Charter has waived fees and increased pay for front line workers. An FCC filing literally included the header: “Charter Has Provided Substantial Assistance to Subscribers During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Which Provides No Justification for Continuing the Conditions.”

It’s all but certain that Charter would’ve had a better shot at getting data caps under Chairman Pai, who summed himself up early in his term as Chairman with a casual crack about himself as a “Verizon puppet” and then he lived up to the legend.

Bernie's Greatest Hits!

I don't play golf, but...

I don't feel left out; I picked up my Presidential Medal of Freedom at the 99-cent store down the street. It actually cost $2.49, but I figured what the hell. You only live once.

Trump to honor retired pro golfers with Medal of Freedom.
President Donald Trump is honoring a pair of retired pro golfers with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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