INSPIRATIONAL: California Legalizes Self Driving Cars

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/12/09/26/1621200/california-legalizes-self-driving-cars

California Legalizes Self Driving Cars
Posted by Unknown Lamer on Wednesday September 26, @12:36PM
from the third-place-leaders-of-the-free-world dept.

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Hugh Pickens writes writes “The Seattle PI reports that California has become the third state to explicitly legalize driverless vehicles, setting the stage for computers to take the wheel along the state’s highways and roads … ‘Today we’re looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow’s reality,’ said Gov. Brown. ‘This self-driving car is another step forward in this long, march of California pioneering the future and leading not just the country, but the whole world.’ The law immediately allows for testing of the vehicles on public roadways, so long as properly licensed drivers are seated at the wheel and able to take over. It also lays out a roadmap for manufacturers to seek permits from the DMV to build and sell driverless cars to consumers. Bryant Walker Smith, a fellow at Stanford’s Center for Automotive Research points to a statistical basis for safety that the DMV might consider as it begins to develop standards: ‘Google’s cars would need to drive themselves (by themselves) more than 725,000 representative miles without incident for us to say with 99 percent confidence that they crash less frequently than conventional cars. If we look only at fatal crashes, this minimum skyrockets to 300 million miles. To my knowledge, Google has yet to reach these milestones.'”

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I’d buy one of those if they are available for sale here!

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POLITICAL: California may cap future retirement checks

Friday, September 7, 2012

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-28/california-lawmakers-set-vote-to-limit-retiree-pensions.html

California Lawmakers Set Vote to Limit Retiree Pensions
By Michael B. Marois – Aug 28, 2012 2:32 PM ET

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New state employees in California would face a cap on the size of their retirement checks, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said yesterday. They would also have to put in more time on the job than current workers before they collect, he said.

Brown, 74, wants to cut pension benefits and curb abuses before he asks voters in November to raise income and sales taxes. A weak recovery from the longest recession since the 1930s, reducing job prospects and retirement benefits for most nongovernment workers, has churned up a backlash against the pay and benefits of public employees nationwide.

“If voters think that legislators have made a serious policy change, then the chances for the tax increase improve,” said Jack Pitney, who teaches politics at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California. “But if they think it is nothing but window dressing, then chances get a lot worse.”

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He also wanted to raise the retirement age to 67 from 55 for most new state employees.

Rising retiree obligations are straining the budgets of states such as California and cities across the U.S. still grappling with income- and sales-tax revenue slammed by the recession.

California’s state pensions in 2010 had about 81 percent of what they needed to cover the benefits they promised, down from 87 percent in the preceding year, according to an annual study by Bloomberg Rankings. The median for all states was 75 percent, the data show.

Steinberg said the pension changes would save the state “tens of billions of dollars” over the next 20 to 30 years, though he later added that an analysis of the cost savings had yet to be done.

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Sorry, but Gooferment pensions are a vestige of “golden watch” thinking.

No pensions for ordinary people; why should the political class get them.

It a terrible abuse of the taxpayer.

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