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I see it as a story of success of an old idea through tech-evolution. The idea is so obvious. It is horrible that I have to lock my bike. I would much prefer not to! And I would be happy to share my bike with others. I could even tolerate some low loss rate. I love to bike, and I love when other people bike. But because people, you cannot simply buy 1.000 bikes and spread them all over the city. People will abuse every system, if it is too easy to abuse. So you need some kind of control. And this control came with GPS, mobile internet, mobile cellphones and magnetic cards. I don't even know if the bikes in our Hamburg sharing system are GPS-monitored. But it's possible. And sure, I could find a way to register with fake data - but there would be some chance to get caught. This feeling of everything-is-connected, everything-is-monitorable is a strong force to make antisocial behavior less likely. I realize that sounds somehow dystopian, but on the other hand, we now have bike sharing.

Wow. Yay NSA because, bike sharing.

Anyway, I doubt the utility of bike sharing because there can never be enough bikes. Lots of traffic is modal at times of the day (heading to work; going shopping; heading home) so bikes end up clumped. You can't depend upon there being a bike available, so you have to be prepared to walk. That's workable in dense cities only.


I know what you mean re: reliability, but you also can't doubt that utility to all those riders that took the bikes and left the rack empty!

Matching the supply of bikes to demand is an interesting problem. The good systems try to address clumping by "re-balancing." In DC, they'd have vans that would move bikes to keep up with demand patterns.[1]

Also, as you've said, integrating bike shares with alternatives (like walking or transit) mitigates the reliability issue somewhat.

[1] See https://www.capitalbikeshare.com/news/2015/04/02/the-system-...


I don't deny the utility of bikes. But does 'sharing' just become 'giving bikes away to early commuters'? Because essentially the same people are getting the neighborhood bikes every day.

Why can't there be enough bikes to cover the spikes as well?

Because the total capital cost would be very high and the marginal benefit of extra bikes very low. The same reason we don't produce larger numbers of other capital goods.

That would be, one bike per person. SO then what would be the point? We are no longer 'sharing' bikes.

Just because there are spikes, doesn't mean that no sharing can occur; e.g. people commuting from east to west at 0800, while someone else might commute in the opposite direction at 0900.

Also, the commuting bikes would be available at the city centre for most of the day, allowing people who need to move around during the day to reuse them.


While I agree with what you say, you might under-appreciate the value of cool pictures. Yeah, they are doing cool science stuff up there, but a good part of the value of these missions is to get people excited about space, kids interested in technology, and to give humans some perspective of their place in the universe. A high-resolution selfie of this kind-of-cute robot is as important as the results of their drilling experiments, IMHO.

This is one of the aspects that gets me excited for airborne drones which can operate in the Martian atmosphere. Not only for the potential offered by longer range, but also the possibility for some great photos of any ground based vehicles whose mission zone overlaps.

Great photos can inspire and help fund great science.


How much would Mars's thin atmosphere interfere with that plan? Would you be able to lift any significant amount of weight?

Impacts it a lot, but there are teams working on it: http://www.space.com/30155-nasa-drones-on-mars-video.html

In Hamburg we now have an IKEA in a shopping street, where most customers come without cars. It sure is possible to build car free cities. Yes, you have to allow transporters and garbage collection and buses, but that still is an significant reduction of car traffic, changing the air, atmosphere and sound of the city. Germany has prepared infrastructure to disallow old cars from city centers - maybe just eCars in some years?

It's easy if you try :P


I just rediscovered it after it was recommended to me by a professor some years ago. Still relevant after 20 years, concerning the relationship of technology and people.

Who invested in companies that were happy to have any profit at all, back in the days? I mean, we are talking about days when inflation was >4% ...

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For me, back in the day, means since mankind does business not when MBAs were released into the world.

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Is that some kind of game? Adding the letters MBA to every comment?

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Even if MBAs were the worst thing that happened to mankind, this has nothing to do with them. It is simple arithmetic. Relax and get rid of that chip on your shoulder.

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I hope when you grow up and become more mature, you revisit this thread and laugh at how ignorant your thoughts were at one point of time.

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Funny enough, eggs are the example used to discuss the impact of TTIP. In the US eggs at the supermarket are very clean. In Europe, it's forbidden to clean the eggs in any way. Often enough, you will have feathers and feces on eggs bought in the supermarket.

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> In the US eggs at the supermarket are very clean. In Europe, it's forbidden to clean the eggs in any way. Often enough, you will have feathers and feces on eggs bought in the supermarket.

Cleaning them removes a natural antibacterial layer that protects the eggs, which is why the US has to refridgerate theirs and Europe leaves them out at room temp. http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/09/11/336330502/why...

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It becomes mainstream. We are at a point where we get less content, because revenue for content-creators is impacted by blocking.

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Even if you got the car for free, because the manufacturer wants people to see you driving it? Sounds unethical to me.

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That's quite a bit different - there's probably a contractual (legal) obligation there.

I use my bandwidth to retrieve the web page, and my CPU/GPU time to render it. Arguably, my computer is doing some of the work for the "content creator" in any case. If we're going the Car Analogy Route, then I think the situation is more like you've bought some blueprints and chunks of metal. You machined the chunks of metal into parts, and then assembled a car. Does Ford or VW or GM get to demand that you put their badges/plates/etc on it?

This is to point out that physical analogies are slippery at best.

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The assembly / bandwidth / cpu / etc argument really shines for limited platforms. E.g. if you're on metered internet, loading ads costs you money. If you're on a small device, playing ads costs you power, meaning you have to find a charger sooner.

Computer ads aren't free for the people subjected to them, since we're the ones that have to do the work of displaying them. Compare that to paper / magazine ads add a few grams of weight and a bit of volume, but rarely in noticeable amounts, and billboard ads that don't cost the recipient any resources by being there (except maybe having to step around them).

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> paper / magazine ads add a few grams of weight and a bit of volume, but rarely in noticeable amounts

Have you even seen dead-tree magazines in the lase ~decade? They are often half (or more!) ads. I hardly call >50% of the volume/mass to be "rarely noticeable".

I'm sure there are counterexamples of saner magazines, but they are certainly not the common experience.

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How many car manufacturers do you know that give away cars for free - which are build pre-packaged with advertising - without fist getting you to sign a contract that stipulates the terms of that arrangement? Only with that contract can they prevent you from modifying the product they gave you.

That is the entire point of the "first-sale doctrine"[1]. You can only control your product up until the point you hand it over to the first customer, and what they do with it after that point - provided[2] they stay within the law - is up to them.

The big problem with "blocking ads is unethical" is that it presumes that the relationship between the website and client is covered by some sort of contract. It absolutely is not. Far too many people think they can unilaterally generate a contract of adhesion[3] and then proceed as if it was agreed to simply because they wish it was so or they listed some fine print in the ToS/etc.

Bonus: I don't think the people who push this kind of "pseudo-contract by ultimatum" have really thought about the full mutually-assured-destruction consequences of this kind of scam becoming acceptable to society. Imagine this HTTP header, which has the advantage of being presented before the transaction has been completed, which leaves the server free to decline the offer:

    X-CLIENT-ADVIEW-PRICES: each_image=0.05@USD each_video=5.00@USD:max_time=2m30s
    X-CLIENT-ADVIEW-PAYMENTS: some_type_of_payment_routing_number
Would the "content producers" like it if that was enforcable? How about the reverse: mandating zero-cost for a subscription site? If you think this is ridiculous: good - it is ridiculous. Just like when the advertisers do it.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine

[2] Other laws like copyright are, of course, still apply.

[3] https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/adhesion_contract_contract_o...

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But isn't it obvious why people might benefit from such a right? If you are uncomfortable with something in your past (not all too uncommon), baam, you benefit. The only interesting question is, if this right should stand above free speech, free trade, etc. There are good arguments for both views.

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Still this wasn't an answer :) And no it's not that obvious to me. While some people certainly would benefit, it doesn't mean that all of them should get this benefit, and some other people would lose on that.

In a nutshell - if someone gains a "right to be forgotten", you're losing the "right to remember".

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In Western European societies: YES! Something like a public register of sex offenders is UNTHINKABLE in Germany. You get a sentence for your assault, but public shaming is not part of the punishment. That's not inherently worse or better then the American approach, it's just what most people here consider right and just. We consider people who break the law as human beings and citizens, and we strive to make them functioning members of the society.

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Public shaming is distinct from hiding all the evidence of someone's past actions.

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