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Comment Re:Easy to do when backed by the PRC (Score 1) 132

This is why my only China investments are tech stocks. China's internally-focused heavy industry is mostly a sham, and the huge manufacturing base outsourced there is being replaced by in-country automation, but the tech stocks there are real companies, with P/Es that are pretty normal for tech stocks. It's the one place where a 70P/E looks good.

Comment Re:Isn't it widely accepted... (Score 1) 110

A common theory to explain Venus' slow and backwards rotation is that it suffered a large impact similar to the one that formed the Earth's moon, only in a direction counter to it's original rotation, so much that it put the brakes on Venus so hard that it's now slowly spinning in reverse.

Also it's thought that Venus is simply too close to the Sun, there was a time when the Sun wasn't as bright and water may have been on the surface but as the sun matured the "goldilocks" zone shifted outwards and Venus got cooked.

The rotation idea doesn't really hold water. It would have needed to happen very early in planet formation, or the whole planet would still be molten today, plus the details of the impact bringing angular momentum to 0, which requires the pieces that escaped the collision to have just precisely the right parameters post-impact, are "finely tuned", which is the polite way scientists say "BS".

Keep in mind that, at least with Earth, the surface isn't rigidly coupled to the core. While the difference in rotation is only significant in geological terms, it means that you can't stop the core spinning just by smacking the crust around, and you can't really put enough energy into the crust to counterbalance the spin of the core. A single large impact just can't transfer enough momentum with a glancing blow - too much of the transferred energy ends up thermal, liquifying, even vaporizing, crust and magma. An impact while planets were still forming, or at least before the iron catastrophe might do it, but again the odds of the numbers working out exactly right to reach near-0 angular momentum are, well, astronomical.

Venus getting cooked goes beyond the oceans boiling - the vast majority of carbon is in a planet's crust, and you don't get an atmosphere like Venus's without melting all the crust. The atmosphere is a side-effect of the real mystery under the surface. The simplest assumption is that Venus's lack of rotation and repeated crust overturning are symptoms of the same weirdness, and we're unlikely to guess what that is from studying Earth geology.

Comment Re:Are not most prison inmates liberal arts majors (Score 1) 184

No, that's not how that works - false imprisonment is an actual crime, escaping it is not. Anyway, turns out here were fire doors the employees were told not to use. It's the fear of losing the job that keeps them there, not locking the doors. Locking the doors is just a braindead manager doing what they do best - making an ass of himself.

Comment Re:Are not most prison inmates liberal arts majors (Score 1) 184

Apparently these are people who fear losing their jobs. Probably they have themselves and family members to support and don't think that they can easily get another job if they lose the one they have.

Oh, that is certain. Which is why the "locking them in" is pointless (I've certainly had deeply stupid managers in my life as well, but still: pointless). Telling someone he can't leave will keep anyone who cares about his job, chaining a door adds nothing at all to that.

Comment Re:Just like Microsoft (Score 1) 304

But therein lies the catch; the bad managers take credit for the work and get themselves raises and promotions, while the good managers give their people the credit, keep their people productive and engaged, and have little to show on their "What -I- accomplished this year" list and end up demoted or fired

Only if the middle-managers are total failures. As a manger, you should get no credit for any hands-on work you do. That's actually a failure to manage. You get full credit for anything your people do. The worker gets credit for the work, the manager gets credit for managing the work, and there's no conflict.

If only fewer middle managers were useless tools.

Comment Re:That's not the answer! (Score 1) 219

We can realistically limit drones form flying over property too low simply by issuing hunting licenses. There'd be an instant market for drone-killer drones, and of course in rural areas they just get shot down already. (P.S. the everyday consumer has full access to firearms, perhaps moreso than lasers).

Comment Re:Just like Microsoft (Score 5, Insightful) 304

with the best leaders, when the work is done the people say "we did it ourselves"

That's really a great quote. Bad managers think management is about "telling people what to do", but really, that's the failure mode of management. If your team has good people (and that's the job: making that happen), you need only present to business goals and any broader vision, and let your people do their jobs.

My favorite quote is "you have a good leader when the people are doing what they should. He might be telling them to do that, he might be telling them nothing, he might be telling them the opposite so they'll do it just to spite him, that's all implementation details." But really that's only half the picture: you job is to balance discipline (people doing what they should) with morale. Any idiot can make a trade-off between those two in either direction, but it's the product of both that's the long-term productivity of the team, and raising both at once is the real trick.

Comment Just like Microsoft (Score 5, Informative) 304

Microsoft though this was a clever idea once as well, firing all the low-mid level managers in engineering (senior management was safe of course) and keeping just the engineering team leads. Today, first-level managers have the job title "Lead", and nothing else has changed. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

Zappos is part of Amazon, of course, so this could be a contained experiment to see how it goes before a larger scale move. I suspect it will go the same way as MS. First level people managers serve a vital role (whether the individuals in that role are competent is a different question) in preventing "drama", and hiring, training, and retaining the best. Mid-level managers may be mostly useless overhead promoted out of harm's way, but someone needs to decide what projects are worth funding, and what projects aren't worth continuing, from a business perspective. Those roles will be filled again eventually. "And their beards have all grown longer overnight."

Comment Re:It's not what Google wants.... (Score 1) 411

I do occasionally see web ads - hard to escape that without turning off JS entirely (though /. lets me disable them) - but I'd hardly count that as using a Google product. I don't listen to commercial radio; good public radio where I live, and I mostly listen to audiobooks anyhow. I don't have cable, haven't for 20 years. Netflix is fine for keeping something on my TV. I certainly don't watch any broadcast news, where my choices are the propaganda arm of the Democratic party, or Fox. No thanks. I seriously dislike commercials, as you may have gathered.

The one place Google still gets me from time to time is YouTube. I wish there was a better alternative there, but there's educational content on YouTube that just doesn't exists anywhere else. Fortunately the interstitial ads are pretty rare for the non-pop-culture stuff (and I'm sure I could block those too, if I got more active about it).

Comment Re:It's not what Google wants.... (Score 1) 411

I don't use Google products, because fuck being the product. I went elsewhere. Most people simply aren't aware of what Google does, just as most people think they're the customers for commercial TV.

Google still makes almost all of their money selling ad impressions. You are product. (Facebook too, of course.)

Comment So Quantum Computing is real now? (Score 4, Interesting) 91

This step forward makes "quantum computing" real to me. Up till now, it's all been so experimental that it was divorced from engineering, and for me the target of much skepticism. Now that it's being done in silicon, however, it's on its way to being a product. Finally we might get past the hype and see what can actually be delivered!

Your good nature will bring you unbounded happiness.