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Author Topic: Monopoly being torn down by Free Market  (Read 3132 times)

Alchemist

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Monopoly being torn down by Free Market
« on: October 15, 2015, 08:39:59 am »

q
« Last Edit: November 06, 2015, 11:17:14 am by Alchemist »
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RVM45

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Re: Monopoly being torn down by Free Market
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2015, 11:03:56 am »

What does Uber and Lyft have to do with the declining popularity of the Milton and Bradley Board Game???

EE…???



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MamaLiberty

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Re: Monopoly being torn down by Free Market
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2015, 11:58:36 am »

What does Uber and Lyft have to do with the declining popularity of the Milton and Bradley Board Game???

Not that monopoly.  ^_^
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Silver

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Re: Monopoly being torn down by Free Market
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2015, 12:13:03 pm »

I'm pleased to see the taxi cartel being smashed, and politician's wallets shrink.

I've avoided Uber even though my travel often involves taxi rides.

I like the idea of Uber and Lyft, but I detest their ethics.

Uber's creepy blog post about the walk of shame (they renamed it rides of glory) is one example.  They defined a "ride of glory" as
Quote
anyone who took a ride between 10pm and 4am on a Friday or Saturday night, and then took a second ride from within 1/10th of a mile of the previous nights’ drop-off point 4-6 hours later

In other words, one night stands. 

I don't mind that Uber does research to determine how to best position their drivers and plan for better serving customers.  I don't even mind that someone inside Uber took the time to develop this particular search.

But I very much mind their publicizing this work.  It has no legitimate purpose beyond internal planning.  Putting it out there for public consumption and prurient interest shows a profound lack of ethics and sensitivity.

Put another way, if Uber is willing to search and identify people having sex on Friday and Saturday nights, what do you think they will do when some thug waves a piece of paper with government letterhead on it and demands a record of every ride you ever took?  Do you think Uber will say "come back with a warrant" or will they hand it over without complaint, because it is so easy for them to do so?

But it didn't stop there.  In response to multiple attacks from the MSM, Uber's Senior VP for Business, Emil Michael,  suggested that the company should consider hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on its critics in the media — and specifically to spread details of the personal life of a female journalist who has criticized the company.

I agree with Mr. Michael that most if not all of the MSM coverage of Uber is hostile and sensationalistic.   I think the female journalist at issue is a ninny who thinks feminism is about denying choice and free agency to women who make choices she doesn't like. Tough nuggies.  Uber is taking on a well entrenched, very powerful and rich monopoly.  Attacks from presstitutes and politicians are part of the turf.  If Uber didn't think about that and plan for it, they are stupid and deserve every brickbat.

There are many thoughtful, intelligent, creative, and even funny things Uber could say and do when attacked.  Making credible threats to ruin the lives of their critics isn't one of them. 

I don't do business with scum who make threats and treat my private life as a source of entertainment.  Uber's off my list for 5 years.  By that time, perhaps an ethical company with a clue about their market, their customers, and their competition will have arisen to take the place of Uber.  I hope so.  I would like an alternative to the taxi monopoly, but I don't want it so badly that I will support a new group of thugs to spite the old thugs.

Peace,

Silver
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mi6a2lm

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Re: Monopoly being torn down by Free Market
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2015, 05:42:27 pm »

Silver, I think you're making mountains out of molehills.  In your first link I saw an innocent wannabe-amusing post.  No personal info, no HIPPA violations etc.  On the second point I saw Uber talking self-defense.  The presstitutes are advocating gov't force.  Unethical?  I would call it unprofessional (that it got out). 

Now, here's my Uber take:

1.  You may need a smartphone.  D/L the free app.  You have to enter in debit/cc/banking info. As far as I know, no cash is exchanged.  You click on app and it brings up a Google map.  On that map it shows little Uber cars driving around.  You don't have to have entered in banking info at this point.  You enter in your location and destination and it picks the car nearest to you.  Then you get to see that car turn around and start making its way toward you.  It shows a little selfie of your driver and what make/model vehicle it is. 

2.  The app also counts down the minutes (!0 min. away ... 7 min. away ...).  Driver arrives you get in.  Driver hits something on his app and you're away.  At dropoff driver punches something on app and funds are transferred.  My two drivers said they get the $ in about a week.  Both driver and passenger get emails detailing transaction (see below).  Additionally, both driver and passenger get a 'rate your driver/passenger' popup.  Five stars is highest and you can enter in text.  Transaction shows up on bank statement.

3.  Drivers choose when they want to be 'on' and where they want to be near.  There's no punching the clock or dispatch or anything like that.  Now, when you're 'on' , Uber wants you to accept 80% of the requested transports.  Additionally, the driver gets 75-80% of sale.  [I asked a bunch of questions during my rides]

4.  I accidentally used UberXL for my first two rides.  UberXL is like if you a nice SUV or something.  More expensive.  If you want the cheapest option choose UberX.

5.  Tips:  I suppose you could tip cash or something - there's a controversy (yawn) about tipping through the app that resulted in a 'strike' here.  Phoenix Uber drivers strike for more pay, tipping option  Occasionally (I didn't tip with Uber) I run into a 'Oh, we're not allowed to accept tips.'  'What?  I'm not tipping.  I just found this on the ground.  It's not mine so here.'  (Smiling, waving while walking away) 
     There's also a controversy about Uber and Sky Harbor airport.  PHX wants fingerprint clearance checks in addition to Uber's standard background check.  But guess what?  Uber cars aren't marked or anything - it's just your car.

Two emailed Uber receipts (click image for larger, first is 97KB, second is 55KB):

Uber XL:


UberX:


Now, for drivers:

i.  4 steps.  Take pictures of Drivers License, ins. card and registration - upload to Uber.  Give personal info for background check.  Get car inspected.  Inspection is 19-pt inspection (brakes, tires etc.).  Some places are free, others about $20.  Uber website has list of participating stores.  Inspection checklist can be found with web search, PDF.

ii.  Link your bank acct. and ... that's as far as I've gone.  Just doing it for a lark.

Notes & Caveats to all of the above:

     Uber is mostly urban like taxis.  If you d/l the app you can zoom to any location in the states and watch if Uber cars are in your area.  For example, they're all over PHX metro like ants whereas I zoom over to a small mining town (pop. ~30,000) 60 miles east there are no Uber cars.  Now maybe a person there could request a ride but when I zoom over there it says 'no UberX available'.
     Uber doesn't allow drivers to carry guns.  I wonder, though, if a passenger was carrying .... ?
     You choose when you're 'on' and where you want to be.  For example, if/when I decide to finalize everything I might try hanging out a bit west nearer to a higher population.  Not sure if I want to do the late night bar scene at ASU or Old Town Scottsdale.  Right now in the middle of the day I have 3 Uber cars ant-ing around within 6 mi.
     Now, if you're like Silver and choose not to associate there is Lyft*, regular taxi, bus, light-rail if you got it, a friend, hitchiking and Craigslist Rideshare.    C-list Rideshare I use only for long-distance.  For example, dropped patient off in San Fran from Tucson, made a posting going back from SF to PHX.  Price:  A tank of gas (~$65 or about 400 mi.).  Picked up guy in east bay area and he was going back to a place about two miles from where we were heading back to!  I suppose you could hook something up on a regular basis though.

*  Work for Uber and Lyft?  How To Drive For Uber And Lyft At The Same Time
« Last Edit: October 21, 2015, 05:52:28 pm by mi6a2lm »
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mi6a2lm

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Re: Monopoly being torn down by Free Market
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2015, 07:44:31 pm »

UberX:


With the above, for 10min. time and 6.3mi the driver made about $7.  So assume maybe 3 of those an hour -> ~$21/hr.  Assume each ttl run about 20mi -> 60mi or in my vehicle less than or equal to 2 gal of fuel.  I assumed a lot but in the KPHO article above about the 'strike' -

---
"I've gone home after working for eight hours with $20 in my pocket, and I've gone home after four hours and made $300, so it just depends,"
---

"working" might mean you tap your phone that you're 'on' and continue doing what you're doing.  For example, whenever I'm awake I'm 'on'  [Edit:  Most of the time.  I try to keep refusal rate, especially for contracts/regulars at 0%.  However, very infrequently I lose a transport due to various factors.]  I might get a wheelchair pickup from a hospital going home 2mi.  For that it's $45 base rate pickup + $3/mi  = $51.  Base rate is in there to factor in distance/equipment costs.  For example, if I have to drive an hour to pick you up to take you down the street I charge base rate.  If patient will be on board for an hour or so it's just mileage.  So, at one certain nearby hospital to a certain care center I contract out with it's a flat $190 for a little over 60 mi transport (wheelchair or stretcher + I don't charge for O2 ... yet.  If I have to refill my tanks a lot more frequent ...).  But for that same care center to 2 mi down the street I charge base rate.  120mi round trip for me ~ $15 in gas. 
« Last Edit: October 21, 2015, 08:00:20 pm by mi6a2lm »
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mi6a2lm

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Re: Monopoly being torn down by Free Market
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2015, 08:16:09 pm »

Screenshot of when I click on Uber app - I moved pickup location to middle of Mesa.  Each square is one square mile.  You can see the Uber ants moving around.  Edit:  I kept moving my pickup point away from the drivers - it said 'NO uberX AVAILABLE' right after '14min' so that seems to be the limit.
And Wrigley Field Chicago (click for lrgr)
« Last Edit: October 21, 2015, 08:33:04 pm by mi6a2lm »
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DiabloLoco

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Re: Monopoly being torn down by Free Market
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2015, 08:50:28 pm »

Umm....Why not drive your own vehicle? Safer. Cheaper.
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mi6a2lm

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Re: Monopoly being torn down by Free Market
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2015, 09:20:37 pm »

Umm....Why not drive your own vehicle? Safer. Cheaper.

Totally agree.  Only reason I used it: dropped off car to get ... Uber inspection!  Needed ride to care home to see about possible patient transport.  Patient already had husband set for transport - the previous time I transported her I noticed she was getting more ambulatory so I mentioned that she could get help from both ends (care home / doctor's office) w/husband as driver.  Then Uber home to be near vans if medical transport comes up.  Car needed alignment and tires.  Got phone call later to pick up and UberX'd there.

Other reasons:  At bar want to go home.  Or home round trip to bar.  Elderly/frail but not needing medical transport - want to go to CVS/Walgreens/Wal-Mart.  Don't have license and don't want to chance it.  Car getting repaired - need to be someplace else - don't have a ride.

It's mostly for urban areas.  Downtown Chicago?  Wanna drive?  Fuggedaboutit.  I think it's $10/hr. just to park on the friggin' street there.*  And that's if you can find a parking spot after sitting in traffic going 10 mi/hr.  Constant honking.  NYC?  Screw 'dat.
*Oops. But still ...
---
Inside the Loop (Area bounded by Lake Michigan to the East, Wacker Drive to the North and West, and Congress Parkway to the South), rates are $6.50 per hour from 8AM - 9PM and the same rate for two hours from 9PM - 8AM.
---
« Last Edit: October 21, 2015, 09:49:12 pm by mi6a2lm »
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“This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end - which you can never afford to lose - with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.” - ADM James Stockdale

Silver

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Re: Monopoly being torn down by Free Market
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2015, 09:44:12 pm »

Silver, I think you're making mountains out of molehills. 

Maybe.  In any case I appreciate that you followed the links and commented on what I wrote.

But that's what makes a market.  I don't condone that type of behavior, and I have a choice, so I make it.  Maybe I'll try Lyft.  Maybe more Uber execs will lose their jobs (like some did today) and the company will evolve.  Maybe the competition that is making many of the early Uber drivers so unhappy will make things better, or worse.

There are many other things I don't like about Uber and the general business model they use.

I don't like smartphones - they are spyphones, and thinly disguised vehicles to sell data plans.  I can buy a $99 GPS for my car that will take me anywhere on the continent, no stinking internet necessary. But my $1000 NSA tracking device goes into fetal mode and can't find a dead fish in a phone booth without a 3G data plan or wifi.  But I can't really use Uber without a smartphone (I tried, it was a mess) and that's a big strike against them.

I can make a call with my dumb, anonymous tracfone, or wave my arm in most cities, hop into a monopoly yellow cab, tell the driver where I want to go, pay him in cash when I leave, and that's it.  There's no record of who I am or where I went.

Not so with Uber; every time I touch the app the data collection starts, and it is kept forever.  The stunt with mining for one night stands is far from the worst thing creepy kids can do with that data.

Anyone want to place bets about when the first divorce lawyers start hitting Uber with subpoenas?  Or when Uber offers employers and other interested parties some sort of background check service? For a fee they'll tell you if job candidate x or student applicant y has been doing one-night stands, or getting late night rides home from bars, or not going to the gym or doctor or dentist like he/she claimed.

You don't think Uber would do that?  Based on what evidence?

I also have to give these creeps access to my credit card.  Sure I can contest a fake charge, and it might even get reversed someday, but when the inevitable hack hits Uber several million people are going to have a really bad month.

You not only rate the Uber driver - they rate you.  eBay learned the hard way that letting sellers rate buyers leads to retaliation and a lot of other unpleasant (and unprofitable) behavior.  The general cluelessness of Uber and their inability to learn from past history is another warning sign.

So I'm voting with my wallet.  Uber doesn't get my money, and Uber's competitors do.  It's a double hit every time I spend a dollar on someone else. 

I may change my mind, and/or Uber might grow up and learn to treat their customers like the valuable assets they are.  Right now, it seems to me that Uber doesn't care much about their customers, because there are so many people shouting "shut up and take my money."  It's a great business while it lasts, but it never, ever lasts.

Peace,

Silver

« Last Edit: October 21, 2015, 09:50:16 pm by Silver »
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Silver

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Re: Monopoly being torn down by Free Market
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2015, 09:28:13 am »

A friend asked me to help them get their first ride on Uber.  We talked a bit about privacy and such but they really don't care about that (yet).  So I walked them through installing the app and using it to get their first ride.

A trip that would have cost at least $80 in a taxi cost $26 after the first ride discount. The driver showed up when promised, and my friend was pleased with watching the app show the car approaching.

I have an email promising me a $20 credit for referring someone else who takes a ride.  I did receive a credit: $15. 

Surely there is something in the fine print that says Uber's promise of $20 really wasn't a promise, and couldn't be enforced, could be revoked by Uber at any time, and basically meant nothing.  I don't need to read the lawyerspeak to grasp the gist: Uber's promises mean nothing. They don't honor their contracts. Maybe I'll use that credit someday.  It's possible, perhaps likely that they'll decide to take it away because they can. 

Contracts and promises mean a lot to me.  They don't mean anything to Uber.  That's another reason why I'm not using Uber.

Peace,

Silver
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RVM45

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Re: Monopoly being torn down by Free Market
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2015, 12:31:22 pm »

Silver,

I was interested to read "Contracts and Promises mean a lot to to me…"

It is refreshing to hear that someone is "A Man of His Word" in modern society.

I'm sure that if the question had arisen I could have guessed you'd have said that, but I hadn't considered the question.

I admire your calm ability to reason and your civility a great deal—but not to the point that I ask myself "What Would Silver Do…" {I'd insert some sort of Smiley here—but ever since updating the browser trying to add a smiley on this Forum results in me being kicked out of "Safari".}


….RVM45
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There are only Two Types of People in the World:

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mi6a2lm

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Re: Monopoly being torn down by Free Market
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2015, 02:14:00 am »

Tried to reply on smartphone - this comp needs needs new fan assembly - using sparingly 'til new fan assembly comes.  Replying with Samsung Galaxy S5 hitting 'post' brings me back to homepage - no big deal, I've still got my library card if I anything important to post.  Just imagine your radiator fan in your car starting to sound like the old days with playing cards against the bicycle spokes.

Will reply in greater detail to above posts but so far:

(reading off smartphone post - text mesg)
---
UBER:  Hey, 'my first name', you account has been active for 7 days but you haven't taken a trip.  Take your first trip this weekend or your account will be at risk of deactivation! - t.uber.com/drive-now
---

:-)

Registered Corolla but traded that in for Jetta TDI - got inspection for TDI and uploaded that but there's a problem with getting inspection form linked to TDI so that's why I haven't tested it yet.  They need registration, inspection and ins. card.  Humans do reply to queries within a few hours so there's that.  Back and forth etc.

Look on the bright side.  Computer fan hasn't sounded like a B-17 going down in the old WWII movies during the time I've been typing this.

Power down now.
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“This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end - which you can never afford to lose - with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.” - ADM James Stockdale

mi6a2lm

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Re: Monopoly being torn down by Free Market
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2016, 07:41:31 am »

$ from Jan 1, 2016 - some people apparently make a living off Uber-type stuff.  When I do it it's usually at the worst times, for example Sunday morning at 0600.  The first one was about 50 mi. to Fiesta Bowl (college football) - rnd. trip about 100 mi.  $ goes into separate acct. - maybe XMas gift acct.

If you want to map it:  Apache Junction -> Gilbert -> Glendale -> Phoenix-> Scottsdale -> back home

Click on image for larger

« Last Edit: January 04, 2016, 07:46:49 am by mi6a2lm »
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Re: Monopoly being torn down by Free Market
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2016, 11:13:36 am »

mi6a2lm:

Turn off the computer after you figure out which fan is making the noise.  Blow it out with compressed air.  The actual fan housing, not the blades and blade guard.  See if the noise returns.  Might help.

Thanks for the walkthrough on how to setup Uber.


Silver and everyone else:

First off, I agree that the stuff they did was thoughtless and apparently creepy.  It will help make my argument I use about "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."  I usually reply with "then you won't mind someone installing an always-on webcam into your wife's shower and bedroom *for safety reasons, of course*."  The response is always something angry.  Uber just helped make my case for me, thanks for the info, dude.

Second, and more seriously, anyone who speaks of privacy after going into a big city best be leery about sounding just plain wrong.  First off, as an example, I sell certain fist sized, vandal resistant security cameras which can recognize faces at over 120 ft!!!!  I can calibrate them for 2 ft to 250 ft in daylight, and they have heavy duty infrared illuminators to 120 ft of full clear daylight style vision, not those weak little red LED stuff you see on home security cameras that barely illuminate 12 feet in front of the cam in clear, steady indoor conditions.  I sell those nifty security cameras for a three figures and change to clients, mostly in bigger towns where the various shops value their security.  We run both computer based POE/IP based DVR's based on fully (as much as can be done) secured computing platforms as well as the usual DVR solutions, which may or may not be hackable depending on which OS and firmware is running on them and how their networks are configured.

Now, with that said.  The government throws much more expensive and high grade (so they say, though the price difference could just be due to the graft and bulletproof enclosures for similar) cameras into those cities.  You're telling me you're worried about your cab service tracking you, and it is a valid concern.  Don't abandon it.  However, you should well know by now that your face is a far more damning piece of evidence than any cab ride.  Cell phones can be stolen, lost, misplaced, used by unauthorized people in those scenarios (unless you take naughty pictures during your tryst, which means its your courtroom funeral if you did that.)  But faces?  Well, there was that one movie, Face Off, and Jeepers Creepers, but that's the extent of possible facial replacement operations (unless you count Buffalo Bill and Hannibal Lecter and their respective movies.)  So unless you wander about with a stick-on face with self heated jelly pads to falsify your facial bone structure as well as your facial appearance, I'd say your face is your single worst nemesis if government investigators are trying to prove you shagged someone without government special hall pass.  Now, Uber might provide early evidence during a preliminary hearing to decide if a case could even go ahead, but if they REALLY are out to get you, and you regularly "lose" your plan phone, Uber's data mining should barely be a faint blip on your threat assessment map.  If you got access to stuff like false faces with false bone structures and the training to not mind the discomfort, you should have access to all the other goodies at the spy shop... just that your credit limit might be a bit lower than the official spooks.  Spoofing your cab or cell phone records with access to those kinds of goodies should be a relatively easy thing to do.  Of course, to the more street savvy operator, every single prepaid service now carries "smart phones."  About 40 or 50 bucks will get you a disposable "smart phone" with all the features, and the full disposability of those particular services.  They're actually cheap enough to operate, that if you don't talk 24/7 on a cellphone, you should probably look into replacing Verizon and the other offspring of Ma'Bell anyways just because most of the prepaid services I've tried, have better pricing than the big boys and aren't nearly as big brotherish.  The one you use for business you can refill or prepay with a credit card, get better rates and deduct from taxes, and the one you use to get laid, you turn off while at work and keep stashed in your specially hand crafted foil pack cellphone wallet... right?

Seriously, the only possible reason you should have to retain a verizon or AT&T or main carrier cell phone is because you can't use Square to take credit cards unless you have a vendor locked cellphone.  You can't use your unlocked verizon phone to take cards with Square's software anymore than you can use your tracfone/straighttalk/cingular/verizon-prepaid/virgin-prepaid smartphone either.  I wouldn't be surprised if Square has a deal with the big carriers to lock out the little ones.  Though it does partly make sense.  Vendor locked phones cannot be properly bios/firmware updated by the user, they can only be firmware updated by the company which has them locked, and therefore the idea is that they cannot be tampered with from the user's side.

Also, you can trick such services and even feed them false info deliberately (a crafty bad guy or falsely accused man could use Lyft and Uber or a cab company to deliberately create a false alibi or a false trail to throw enemies off his tracks), which is basic fieldcraft for anyone trained in urban escape and evasion, and I am not referring to just government or mafia training of their respective agents.  Pretty much anyone with even remotely controversial views should realize that they may well better disappear in a big city than a small town or rural wilderness.  Drones can pick up your face while you enjoy Condition White sunbathing in Appalachia and Hellfire the shit out of you.  But they won't pick you up using proper city evasion fieldcraft in NYC.  :P

What's really bothersome is that this kind of stuff is even having to be discussed, and I thank you for opening this discussion.  Thankfully, for every problem, there is always a solution.  Hopefully the concerns I've raised, helps whoever needs to get laid privately without big brother following them and reporting on their naughty "unapproved" habits.  As always use protection and avoid spreading disease or unwanted babies.
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