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This isn't entirely a trivial absurdity. One of the biggest things I hear about traveling in China (and Japan) is that you're expected to carry your own toilet paper everywhere.

An analogy would be – someone from a non-tipping country complains about the fact that some restaurants in the US have a "compulsory gratuity" of 20% for larger parties. Sure, somewhat outrageous, but less so if you consider that tipping 15-20% is the norm in the US anyway.


I lived in Japan for 2 years, and only came across no TP three or four times. I've heard that it used to be like that 10 or 20 years ago, but now even in more rural areas it is provided. There are often toilets equipped with bidets... Was a bit of a shock when my first day there I used a toilet in a 7-11, went to flush, and accidentally hit the bidet controls...


As an aside: Toilet paper is an ancient, inefficient, and doubtfully hygienic way of cleaning your backside in the modern world.

Start using bidets instead of this nonsense. The TP can still be used for drying purposes.


I have bidets/washlets installed in my home, and the only problem has been that I now can't go back. Whenever I travel I now have to carry around wet wipes or I don't feel clean. But wet wipes are apparently horrible for the environment.

I can't win.


The problem with wet wipes is mostly that they should never, absolutely never, be flushed. Wet wipes combine with fat in the sewers, and form the basis of an ever growing deposit of solid mass that will inevitably block the sewer (or pipes if you are unlucky and the stuff builds up at an earlier point).

When these deposits grow in size they are known as fatbergs. In London they have had to remove fatbergs the size of double-decker buses, but it's a global problem.

If you use wet wipes, the rule is simple: deposit them in the trash can — just like period products and nappies.

Don't bother believing the 'flushable' wipes lie: all wipes are flushable for sure, but they all contribute to the problem, and none disintegrate before they mix with fat to become a potentially very expensive problem.


Maybe plumbing needs a general upgrade from being simply gravity assisted, to something like this

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garbage_disposal_unit

which shreds anything to tiny pieces, which then again can flow freely, instead of being stuck somewhere?

What is more expensive? Cleaning out fatbergs, or have something like this installed at whichever 'layer' in the plumbing, or making bidets mandatory?

(Err...1st world problems while elsewhere many peoply shit who knows where...)


> if you use wet wipes, the rule is simple: deposit them in the trash can — just like period products and nappies.

In most of south asia you are not even supposed to flush normal toilet paper, the waste systems there just cannot handle it.


I don’t actually like bidets or similar solutions, as they don’t clean as thoroughly as wet wipes IMO.

Personally I just always carry wet wipes, and always use them, and always have. Can’t live without them, and can’t imagine how others can tbh.


> as they don’t clean as thoroughly as wet wipes IMO

Once you have a bidet, your regular TP is equivalent to a wet wipe.

If you're using the ones that are almost cloth-like strength, those really shouldn't be flushed down most sewage systems, even if they're marked as supposedly "flushable": https://www.today.com/series/one-small-thing/are-flushable-w...


> If you're using the ones that are almost cloth-like strength, those really shouldn't be flushed down most sewage systems, even if they're marked as supposedly "flushable"

I have a kind of wet-wipes which are almost cloth-like strength, but dissolve into just a milky jelly liquid if they are in water for a few minutes (I’ve checked products tests first before choosing this specific brand, they even dissolve fast enough to work in train toilets without clogging them up, if you wait a bit before flushing).

NDR Markt has tested different brands available at German stores in 2016, and showed quite extreme differences, while some products had already mostly dissolved after 10 minutes, others were after 3 hours still without any change: https://www.ndr.de/ratgeber/verbraucher/Wie-Feuchttuecher-di...


I had considered getting a bidet until I read this article from UC Berkeley. I’d love to hear some counterpoints to their arguments though!

https://www.berkeleywellness.com/self-care/preventive-care/a...


That article doesn't say not to get a bidet.

It outlines two specific cases of when not to use it but that's about it.


The counter-arguments listed in that article are shallow to say the least.


I can't even pass as white, and I'm still excluded from most diversity programs because my race (South Asian) is overrepresented in tech.

However, overrepresentation in tech in Silicon Valley does not necessary translate into societal privilege, or even extend to all places in the US. Like sure, Google's CEO is Indian, but the entire upper layer of management at the company I work at (and a lot of other companies in Middle America) is 100% golf-playing white males with no way to break in. So I'm kinda SOL both in the diversity programs in Silicon Valley / more progressive tech places as well as the golf-and-whisky club at work.

Would like to hear solutions or experiences from other brown South Asians working outside Silicon Valley.


Blockbuster and Netflix did not sell perishable goods.

Now I could buy the argument that the supermarket chains just won't be able to attract the appropriate talent to deliver an experience rivaling that of Blue Apron (or Amazon, if they decided to get into this market tomorrow via Whole Foods).


> I would happily pay 80% taxes if I knew that when I needed it most the welfare state would have my back, but I know that it won't.

This crucial point of yours seems to have been missed by the author of the article. I wonder if that has something to do with them being from the UK, which has nationalized healthcare and some sort of a welfare state.


Also these places aren't good at the things they (sometimes) claim to specialize in. The wings at Buffalo Wild Wings are not better than the wings at a random bar.

Maybe millenials care about these things because we want value for our money and don't want to spend it solely on the basis of Super Bowl advertisements?


They're worse. They get in the lowest grade wings possible (sometimes they're the size of pigeon wings) and cook as industrial as possible.

I only wish chains like Subway, Dominos and Papa Johns would go under as well. No chance of course because a) they spend billions on advertising and b) people don't know good sandwiches or pizza any longer


With coupons, you can get a large pizza from Domino's or Pizza Hutt for $7-9 including tax.

"good" pizza (In LA at least) often starts above $20 excluding tax and tip.

There are many times I want to order, say, Milo & Olive. But do I really want to spend $30 just to eat some properly baked dough with a few dollar's worth of toppings? No thanks.


I used to be a heavy user of delivery pizza until those delivery fees started going up. I could be completely over blowing this issue, but somehow that tacking on of that fee on the end really gets to me. If you're trying to hide the cost of increasing the price of the pizzas, just increase the price already. Are used to be a heavy user of delivery pizza until those delivery fees started going up. I could be completely over blowing this issue, but somehow that tacking on of that fee on the end really gets to me. If you're trying to hide the cost of increasing the price of the pizzas, just increase the price already. That three dollar fee I don't mind if it's part of the pizza, it's the fact that it's an extra fee that feels wrong and disrespectful to me as the customer. That three dollar fee I don't mind if it's part of the pizza, it's the fact that it's an extra fee that feels wrong and disrespectful to me as the customer


EDIT: My comment completely missed that there were 100 lines of identical code noticed as well. Leaving below for context.

-------

Does anyone else find the example cited in the article rather flimsy? Out of 450, two students incorrectly used the inverse of a Boolean for a conditional – an error I have seen tens, if not hundreds of times.

Perhaps they used better ways of detecting cheating (some are covered later in the article) for uncovering the collusion in this specific case. If not, this “veteran computer science professor” is going on unnecessary witch hunts.


The two students also shared "nearly 100 identical lines of code". The `!done` was the icing on the cake.


Good point! I missed that and focused on the emphasized Boolean test, which is the first time I have seen any code in the NYTimes.


Trivia point: One of the co-authors of the piece, Jeremy Merrill, is a programmer-journalist at the Times (and previously at ProPublica); I imagine he helped with the code:

https://www.propublica.org/nerds/item/upton-a-web-scraping-f...

http://jeremybmerrill.com/blog/2016/01/flyover.html

http://jeremybmerrill.com/clips/2013/05/updating-dollars-for...


Oddly, it's not the `!done` that is the problem, it's the `boolean done = true`. Which should be `false`


The article implies that the cited instance of text is verbatim identical, which is unusual.


Yeah but the students confessed, and it turns out the professor/administration was right. What do you have to say about that?


> In 2015, regulators realized that diesel Volkswagens and Audis were emitting several times the legal limit of nitrogen oxides (NOx) during real-world driving tests.

This means that they can detect emissions levels during real world driving tests. What's wrong with just making those tests the actual regulatory ones? So whatever ingenuity automakers can use will be put to minimizing emissions in the exact same scenarios that will be used in real life.


> What's wrong with just making those tests the actual regulatory ones?

Nothing. But Germany has a strong position in the EU and to a large degree does what VW/BMW/Mercedes want and they wanted to avoid stronger or better tests. This topic is quite often in the news here and it's clear that there is no political will to establish real word tests.

There are also a lot of other cheats in this firmware:

- Below 14°C? Just blast the emissions out. It's not like these cars are driven in the winter.

- Autobahn? Go blast out the emissions!

- and so on...

This should be a far bigger scandal than it is now.


Extensive PDF from the Umwaltbundesamt (comparable to the EPA - it's an independent agency) - http://www.umweltbundesamt.de/sites/default/files/medien/254...


> Below 14°C? [...] in the winter

It doesn't take winter for temperatures to drop below 14 °C (57.2 °F). The morning commute takes place between 6 and 9 AM. Even in the summer, temperatures are probably below 14 °C more often than above it at these times.


Indeed the Umweltbundesamt PDF (see my other comment) states that it's at least 50% of the time the case! 50%!


Are the tests that the hidden code is supposed to defeat performed only a few times on specific cars by regulators, or are they the regular smog checks that everyone has to pass each time they renew their registration [1]? If the latter, then all those smog check shops will have to get new mobile equipment (how much more does that cost?) and drive each car around town for a long time. [2]

This article [3] has a mention and photo of "A portable emissions measurement system at the Engine and Emissions Research Laboratory at West Virginia University."

"Mr. Carder and his team drew on their experience testing trucks when they got the contract to test cars in 2013. One challenge was to fit what amounts to a mobile laboratory in the car. At the time, the equipment available for such emissions testing had enough battery power only for short trips.

To make long hauls possible, the West Virginia University researchers bought portable gasoline generators at regular hardware stores and bolted them to the rear ends of the test cars. The generators made a terrible racket and frequently broke down because they were not designed to be bumped around."

[1] http://www.dmv.org/ca-california/smog-check.php

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZmCp7NocMA

[2] Researchers Who Exposed VW Gain Little Reward From Success: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/25/business/vw-wvu-diesel-vo...


-One problem with that approach is that it would make testing for compliance much, much more expensive.

One thing would be all the equipment and manpower every test facility would need to invest in (as DonHopkins points out below) - but also, in order to gain initial approval, you couldn't just rely on one or even a few random drives - in order for the numbers to make any sense, you'd need a large sample size - lots of different drivers, driving the cars under different conditions - until you had enough data points to come up with a meaningful figure.


So in order to get a model on the market, you need to first get in on the market, right?


Can you make those real world tests repeatable without increasing the costs by several orders of magnitude?

Back up real world tests are a very good idea, but the legal limits need to be defined under standardized, laboratory conditions.


>What's wrong with just making those tests the actual regulatory ones?

It's easier for automakers to throw resources at lobbying.


SF-isms (I understand NIMBY is also used outside SF) don't map perfectly across oceans.

Suffice it to say that people living in slums in India can have a lot of political clout. For example, once a large slum pops up in an urban area, literally no one dares to lawfully remove it, for fear of losing the next local election.


Brushing aside the elite paternalism typical of HN, spare a thought for these people would go through were they not as organized.


Indeed! There was an instance in Bangalore not so long ago where the muncipality swooped in and destroyed a few houses with ~10 minutes notice[1]. In the atomized world that is the Indian middle class, no one really gave a fk.

Perhaps the Indian society can't find commonalities to organize beyond tribes (aka 'jati' 'caste'). Of course it's not really 'caste' since the grouping is voluntary, but who are you going to shout at about etymology (the epistemology of an Indian means exactly nothing just so you know).

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/070816/b...

[1] Conveniently those belonging to public figures (politicians, actors..) were given a pass.


> Hospitals have to work with proprietary devices -- for example, retinal scanners etc, many of which only have Windows drivers.

Then the tenders for buying those devices should state "Devices that work with $YOUR_FAVORITE_DISTRO will be given preference.". If it's a reasonable one, they will make a driver for it. Customer demand always generates product; and the NHS is about the biggest customer there is.


Exactly, the NHS spends an absolute fortune each year and if they put out a tender somebody will support it no matter the specifications. Sure, some of the larger Vendors will get their noses bent out of shape but who cares?

I mean we are talking about large multinational pharmaceutical, medical equipment and software companies buying something from the largest employer in the world with a tech budget of roughly £1 billion a year (I think).

If the NHS stuck to it's guns, somebody would provide the goods.


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