User:Traal

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Nuvola apps display.png This user is a software engineer.
Flag of Arizona.svg
en This user is a native speaker of English.
ja-3 この利用者は上級日本語ができます。
enm-1 This led knoweth sumhwet of Englyssh.
Ix This user is not able sat­isfactorily to explain what a Hrung is, nor why it should choose to collapse on Betelgeuse Seven.

My name is Traal, after that other Traal. I've had this handle since roughly 1990 on Phoenix-area Galacticomm BBSes.

People I Admire[edit]

Userboxes I've Created[edit]

Feel free to add the following userbox to your own user page:


Code Result
{{User:Traal/Template:ix-hrung}}
Ix This user is not able sat­isfactorily to explain what a Hrung is, nor why it should choose to collapse on Betelgeuse Seven.

Originally it was the global userbox {{user ix-hrung}}, but it got deleted 10 minutes after I created it because nobody was using it at the time except me. (Go figure.) Once enough people are using it, the global one can be reinstated.


Arizona[edit]

Arizona is famous for:

Semiconductor fabs and R&D locations in Arizona

Other things I like about Arizona

Arizona is infamous for:

  • The heat (in the summer)
  • The illegal immigration controversy
  • Hit-and-runs (see the map here)
  • Road rage[1][2]
  • Really bad public transportation
  • Poor standardized test scores[3]
  • Urban sprawl (almost as bad as Los Angeles) and the urban heat island effect
  • Phoenix's brown cloud, a layer of pollution containing smog and dust, which frequently violates EPA air pollution standards[4]
  • Tap water. Phoenix came in dead last in Men's Health Magazine's March 2007 ratings of the water in 100 cities[5]. I can't stand the taste, so I drink only RO or bottled water as even carbon filtering isn't good enough. And the tap water is cold in the winter and warm in the summer.
  • High incidence of auto thefts.[1]
  • Expensive commutes. [2]
  • Pedestrian fatalities. [3][4]
  • Bicycle fatalities (#9 in the nation for bicyclist fatalities per 1 million of population according to NHTSA) [5]
  • Lack of after dark activities (#23 out of 25 cities in the USA), culture (#24), food/dining (#24), and interesting people (#24), according to Travel+Lesure Magazine's America's Favorite Cities 2007.
  • Unwalkability. Phoenix ranks #26 out of 30 metropolitan areas in walkability.[6]
  • Kidnappings. [7]
  • Lack of traffic safety laws[8]

Things to do in Phoenix

San Diego[edit]

Likes[edit]

  • Diversity
  • Walkability (in some areas)
  • The weather (for the most part)

Neutral[edit]

  • The high cost of gas (good for hybrids and alternate forms of transportation)

Dislikes[edit]

  • Crime (in some neighborhoods such as City Heights, Clairemont Mesa)
  • Cost of housing (especially buying instead of renting, especially Mello-Roos) in proportion to income
  • Freeway congestion (especially the I-5)[9]
  • Bad schools (allegedly, in some areas)
  • Political corruption[6][7][8][9][10]
  • All the potholes[11]
  • May Gray and June Gloom
  • Poor support for bicycling according to The League of American Bicyclists
  • "San Diego ranks third in the nation in the percentage of traffic fatalities that are pedestrians (22.5%). The region is also among the highest in the state in the percentage of pedestrian crashes (20%) involving hit-and-run drivers."[12]
  • Scary public transportation: "I took the orange line from El Cajon to downtown one day and it was the most terrifying, disgusting experience of my life. It was full of drunk homeless people urinating on themselves & unemployed thugs arranging drug deals by phone. Never again." [10]
  • Unsynchronized traffic lights
  • Urban sprawl in Mission Valley and northwards
  • Poor traffic signage: missing freeway exit numbers, signs approaching freeway onramps don't indicate compass directions or the lane you need to be in in order to get onto the freeway in that direction
  • Not a global city

Yearly Events[edit]

How to Choose a Country to which to Immigrate[edit]

Keyboard[edit]

These days, computer keyboards need the following additional keys/buttons:

  • Multiple select (on Windows, the CTRL key is used for multiple select; in MacOS, the apple/⌘ button is used)
  • Block select (because SHIFT isn't self-explanatory)
  • Copy (Windows is CTRL-C; MacOS is ⌘-C)
  • Paste (Windows is CTRL-P; MacOS is ⌘-P)
  • (optional) Cut (Windows is CTRL-X; MacOS is ⌘-X)
  • Degree sign (°)
  • Sleep
  • Lock workstation (Windows-L)
  • Minimize current window
  • Go to next/previous window (Alt-Tab and Alt-Shift-Tab)
  • Go to the next/previous field in a form (to replace Tab/Shift Tab)
  • Left and right double and single quotes
  • Something to make entering latin characters easy
  • Several reprogrammable buttons for things like the euro symbol
  • Mdash (—)

Some keys can be removed:

  • Only one of ENTER or RETURN are needed
  • Pipe (|) - this can be moved to one of the reprogrammable keys
  • Carot (^) - who uses this, other than programmers?
  • Curly braces ({ and })
  • Scroll lock
  • SysRq
  • Prnt Scrn

My Politics[edit]

I advocate:

  • States' rights (move more power from the federal government back to the individual states)
  • Self-sufficiency of the states: end Federal money to the states[12].
  • Consensus over compromise
  • Currency reform:
    • Eliminate the penny and nickel
    • Replace the quarter with a 20¢ coin
    • Round all transactions to the nearest 10¢ ($0.1)
    • Eliminate the dollar bill
    • Make the half dollar coin smaller
    • Replace the $2 bill with a coin
    • Make the rest of the paper money easy for the blind to distinguish
  • Government finance reform:
    • Make fees collected by the government proportional to the cost to the government.
    • Eliminate subsidies in favor of user pays.
    • Make tariffs on an item proportional to how many of that item are imported into the country as a ratio of the total number consumed, and make tariffs adjust themselves periodically, automatically.
    • Eliminate protectionistic policies, except where absolutely necessary.
    • Eliminate the "throwing money at the problem" style of disaster relief (like the handling of Hurricane Katrina).
    • Eliminate financing of local projects. Help the states plan and finance interstate roads themselves.
  • Immigration reform:
    • First, streamline the green card approval process.
    • Neither expel nor grant green cards to all current illegal immigrants. It would take too many resources to do either one. Require that all illegal aliens register with the INS, and either participate in a guest worker program, apply for a green card, or leave the country.
    • Illegal immigrant kids who have spent so much time in the U.S. that they have been culturally assimilated and would feel alien in their home countries should be granted citizenship or permanent residency.
    • Scale back the H-1B visa program. Instead, prioritize technology workers for green cards if we need to.
  • Welfare and social security reform:
    • Replace the minimum wage and H-2A Visa program with government-paid moving expenses, to encourage workforce mobility.
    • Stop giving away money to the poor and to disaster victims. Instead, provide life's necessities (housing, clothing, food, medical care, mailing address, telephone, internet access) directly in boarding school style housing. People under this program would pay a percentage of any money they make to the program.
    • Abolish the social security retirement benefits, but keep the disability benefits. People who haven't saved properly can move into the boarding school welfare program (see above).
  • Election reform:
    • Eliminate plurality election methods.
    • Provide receipts with unique, anonymous ballot IDs to each voter, and publish all ballot IDs along with the way the person voted. Then anyone would be able to verify that their ballot was counted, how it was counted, and even do a complete recount of all the returned ballots.
    • Replace manual districting with algorithmic districting.
    • À la carte propositions. Lumping provisions together into a single bill when they could be split out into separate bills (in other words, riders) restricts voter choice and is therefore anti-democratic.
  • Labor reform:
    • Union-busting by turning employees into contractors (and not renewing contracts of bad employees). I I respect the right of people to form unions, but I also agree with right-to-work laws (people shouldn't be forced to join unions).
    • Replace right-to-work laws with busting of worker monopolies.
  • Energy policy reform:
    • Energy independence
    • Eliminate the 54¢/gallon ethanol tariff on Brazilian ethanol
    • Eliminate subsidies on automobile transportation[13]
  • Bank-style queues instead of supermarket-style queues
  • Rather than restricting supply of something "bad", encourage demand for the "good" alternative. For example, fuel economy standards restrict supplies of gas-guzzlers (bad), while a carbon tax would encourage demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles (good).
  • Toll roads (with tolls proportional to income) instead of freeways
  • Public safety service reform.[14]
  • Prevent caller ID spoofing by making telephone companies verify that caller ID on outgoing calls matches the owner of the telephone line.
  • Rather than abolishing payday loan stores, cities should provide free household finance classes, and perhaps make attendance a prerequisite for taking out payday loans.
  • Federal relocation assistance for poor people who wish to move somewhere else.
  • Governments should save like crazy during booms, and wait for recessions before starting expensive projects. Warren Buffett said, "...be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful."
  • Pigovian taxes:
    • Raise taxes on anything a state is a net importer of (e.g. energy)
  • The weight-mile tax, so that truckers pay for the road wear they cause. (It's a well-known fact that a truck does 9,600 times as much damage to the roads than a car, but do you think they pay 9,600 times as much in taxes?) Then the rest of us won't have to pay so much in taxes to fix the roads, saving us money (savings #1). Faced with higher costs to ship by road, companies will move more freight by rail to save money, and those savings will also get passed on to the consumer (savings #2). Moving more freight by rail will also reduce traffic congestion, saving us money on gas (savings #3) and freeway widening (savings #4). Subsidies to the trucking industry distort the market for freight transportation, preventing the market from efficiently allocating resources.
  • Neither the electric company nor the cable company should be allowed to own the wires. Both should have to compete for your business.
  • Driver licensing reform
    • A required test for road rage in order to get a driver license.
    • A new driver license class for SUVs

Attributes of a Responsible Health Insurance Plan[edit]

Criteria Private Health Insurance Health Savings Account Single-Payer
Affordable premiums fails for the poor passes passes
Affordable copays fails for people who are both poor and chronically sick fails for the poor and the chronically sick passes
Timely healthcare passes passes fails (at least in Canada; problem might be implementation-specific)
Encourages competition among healthcare providers to provide the best service at the lowest price fails passes fails
Avoids the classic conflict of interest where insurance companies decline reimbursement in order to boost their own bottom lines fails fails for catastrophic and chronic medical conditions passes
Encourages people to take care of themselves fails for the rich passes passes (but only when health care isn't timely)
Discourages a brain drain passes passes fails
Is farsighted (will pay for expensive procedures in order to save health care costs in the long term) fails fails passes

List of new zip codes[edit]

Based on postal bulletins. Type in "establish a new zip" (with the quotes) and select the years you want.

Favorite Software Development Topics[edit]

Web Form Test[edit]

HTML Test for any web form that supposedly allows plaintext. If you copy and paste the following text into a web form, it should come back out looking exactly as it did going in:

Ampersand (and entity reference open delimiter): [&]
Escaped ampersand: [&]
Angle brackets (tag delimiters in HTML): [< >]
Escaped angle brackets: [&lt; &gt;]
Script tag: [<script>]
Custom XML tag: [<hello>]

Note that Wikipedia is buggy in this regard (see [15]). Notice how for example the ampersand and escaped ampersand are rendered the same:

Ampersand (and entity reference open delimiter): [&]
Escaped ampersand: [&]
Angle brackets (tag delimiters in HTML): [< >]
Escaped angle brackets: [< >]
Script tag: [<script>]
Custom XML tag: [<hello>]

See [16] for a Wikimedia bugzilla entry related to this.

Things I'm looking forward to[edit]

Ways to get rid of non-recyclable plastic[edit]

Fixed and incremental costs of car ownership[edit]

  • Fixed: loan servicing, insurance, parking, registration, the opportunity cost
  • Incremental: depreciation, gas, maintenance, parking
  • Other: parking tickets, moving violations, the cost to one's health of a sedentary lifestyle, environmental damage, the cost to our health of the air pollution caused by driving, the urban heat island effect, pro-automobile legislation such as minimum parking requirements

Reasons to index the gas tax to inflation[edit]

  • It isn't a raise any more than a cost of living adjustment is a raise.
  • While it will raise retail prices, it will lower the need to raise other taxes, so in the end it's a wash.
  • The gas tax is less regressive than sales taxes, because people too poor to own a car don't have to pay gas taxes, but everyone has to pay sales taxes.
  • An artificially low gas tax distorts the market for transportation.
  • Because of Peak Oil, the sooner we rid ourselves of our oil addiction, the sooner we can rebuild our cities around more efficient ways of getting around.

Suggestions for City Budgets[edit]

  • City income tax for top wage earners.

Market-Rate Parking[edit]

Parking is poorly managed. A parking lot that's completely full is a sign that the rate is too low. The city loses money not only from the parking revenue, but people who have trouble finding parking may just give up and shop somewhere else.

A parking lot that's empty is a sign that the rate is too high, and again the city loses money on parking revenue.

A parking lot with efficiently priced (market rate) parking that still doesn't take in enough revenue to pay for maintenance and amortization is a sign that there's too much available parking.

A parking lot not at 85% utilization is one that's losing money. Taxpayers deserve a good return on their investment.

Fire Services[edit]

In 2007, only 6% of emergency calls to fire departments nationwide were actual fires.[22] Rapid-response SUVs are able to arrive at alarm scenes more quickly than fire engines and cost less than 1/3 to operate ($292,676 per year versus $936,104).[23]

Difficult to Pronounce Names[edit]

  • Siobhan (shi-VAWN)
  • Joachim

HSR[edit]

The Four Stages of HSR Profitability[edit]

  1. Requires operating subsidies (no HSR systems currently)
  2. Operating at a profit, but falling behind on the construction loan (Taiwan)
  3. Making progress at paying off the construction loan (most HSR systems)
  4. Paid off the construction loan (Japan, France)

Price Estimate History[edit]

  • $45 billion (2006$) - all 800 miles [24]
  • $33 billion (2008$) - San Francisco to Anaheim [25]
  • $35.7 billion (2009$) or $42.6 billion (YOE$) - San Francisco to Anaheim [26]
  • $65.4~74.5 billion (2010$) or $98.5 billion (YOE$) - San Francisco to Anaheim
  • $53.4 billion (2011$) or $68.4 billion (YOE$) - Phase 1 Blended[27]
  • (2012) $91.4 billion (YOE$) - full Phase 1[28]

Parking[edit]

If a surface parking space costs its owner $68 per month[13], then a high school with 900 parking spaces pays over $700,000 per year for all that parking. How many teachers could a school afford to retain for $700k per year?

Suggested Law Changes[edit]

  • Prohibit right turn on red with a red right arrow when the pedestrian Walk or flashing Don't Walk phase is active. At other times, right turn on red is permitted (red ball or flashing red right arrow).
  • Make traffic fines proportional to the kinetic energy at the time of the infraction/collision.
  • Prohibit passing at another vehicle at a difference in speed greater than 3 mph for every foot of separation. With 6 feet wide cars in 10 feet wide lanes (so the difference between cars is 4 feet), the difference in speed could therefore be no greater than: 4 \text{ feet} \times \frac{3 \text{ mph}}{1 \text{ foot}} = 12 \text{ mph}
  • Change FRAP law to "...as practicable and safe" like in Maryland.
  • Prohibit motorists from entering a crosswalk when a pedestrian signals that he/she is about to enter the crosswalk. Prohibit motorists from passing a bicyclist when the bicyclist signals that he/she is about to enter the adjacent lane.
  • Require a license to operate a bicycle above 10 mph.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Road Rage Survey Reveals Best, Worst Cities". 2006-05-16. Retrieved 2007-03-01. 
  2. ^ "In the Driver's Seat: 2007 AutoVantage Road Rage Survey". 
  3. ^ Kossan, Pat (2007-03-01). "Arizona gets mostly Ds in U.S. education report". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2007-03-01. 
  4. ^ Bahr, Sandy (2007-10-14). "Sandy Bahr: Politics pollute cleanup efforts". East Valley Tribune. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  5. ^ "How clean is your drinking water?". Men's Health Magazine. 2007-03. Retrieved 2007-03-01.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ McCarthy, Terry (2005-04-17). "Dick Murphy / San Diego". Time Inc. Retrieved 2007-05-01. 
  7. ^ Hall, Matthew T. (2007-05-01). "Council member calls report on city practices 'devastating'". Union-Tribune Publishing Co. Retrieved 2007-05-01. 
  8. ^ Vigil, Jennifer (2007-06-04). "City issues second financial statement". Union-Tribune Publishing Co. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  9. ^ Lee, Mike (2007-06-06). "City pays $1.59 million water bill late". Union-Tribune Publishing Co. Retrieved 2007-06-06. 
  10. ^ "City's Crime Rate Based On Inaccurate Stats?". 10News.com. 2004. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 
  11. ^ Hall, Matthew, T. (2007-05-02). "City: 37 percent of streets in acceptable driving condition". Union-Tribune Publishing Co. Retrieved 2007-05-03. 
  12. ^ "Pedestrian tragedy hits close to home" (PDF). Footnotes. Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  13. ^ Table 5.4.4-3 at: http://www.vtpi.org/tca/tca0504.pdf