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Comment: Re:Except for not being true (Score 1) 263

by An dochasac (#48868099) Attached to: The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

Sure, there are large layoffs in the tech industry, but big layoffs are not a new thing.

Two of the largest layoffs in US history occurred in 1993. 60K employees at IBM and 50K employees at Sears/KMart.

Big layoffs are a result of other business conditions, including.

An actual need to cut expenses -- bloated, slow-moving companies find themselves in the condition of declining sales, and big losses.

Or cutting product lines because they only make a few percent in profit or a decent percentage profit but not enough revenue to make a dent in a goliath company's portfolio. This leaves gaps in the market which can be filled by small companies which is a good thing. If government weren't so entangled with the goliath companies, the corporate ecosystem would be much more weighted towards start-ups and we'd have a much more inventive and agile economy.

A desire to increase profit margins, often linked to increased stock prices -- CEO's can get lots of bonus compensation in this form

When SEC reporting rules punished companies with a business plan extending beyond 90 days "in order to prevent fraud", they allowed a kind of fraud where hiring, layoffs and inventive accounting are regularly used to game the 90 day reporting cycle.

Comment: Re:Fear the Asian carp (Score 2) 118

by An dochasac (#48548243) Attached to: How One Man Changed the Ecology of the Great Lakes With Salmon

Even if the canal were closed, it is a just a matter of time until someone with an evil bent or an adolescent sense of humor deliberately introduces a few carp into the lake -- that's all that's needed.

To those who still claim that humans are far too small to effect the environment, the Great Lakes are a great counterexample. Three times in my lifetime I've watched the biological ecosystem of these lakes change dramatically. The 70s Alewife invasions made hundreds of miles of beaches unbearable, the zebra mussels cleared the water but gave small fish no place to hide and allowed sunlight through to cause the huge blue-green algae blooms that shutdown Toledo's water supply this summer. The Asian carp carp invasion of the Great Lakes is a foregone conclusion. Their DNA is already in Lake Michigan and more exotic species such as the Yangzee river freshwater jellyfish are already found in tiny isolated inland lakes in the Wisconsin north woords. There isn't enough law enforcement to check all of the jet skis, kayaks, ski-boats, sailboats, fishing boats and prevent deliberate introduction. It's already too late, sustainability is impossible. Resilience and/or recovery are our only options.

Comment: Job migration vs worker migration vs robots (Score 1) 111

by An dochasac (#48414387) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Malcolm Gladwell a Question
Jobs face little friction as they migrate towards the places where the cost of labor is lowest. Workers, however, face considerable friction when attempting to follow those jobs. What affect will this imbalance have on the average worker? Will the affect be greater than or less than the affect of robots?

Comment: The future of Nomadistan? (Score 1) 111

by An dochasac (#48414365) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Malcolm Gladwell a Question
According to the world bank, 215 million people live outside of the country of their birth. If counted separately, this "Nomadistan" would be the 4th largest nation in the world, ahead of Pakistan, Brazil, Japan, Mexico and all of the countries of Europe, Africa and South America. The people of Nomadistan don't have the same rights as natives of their adopted home. They face xenophobia, political scapegoating, economic hardship, workplace discrimination, racial profiling and harassement and very few have the right to vote in their new home. Facing barriers to full integration, many will chose to align their alliegence along political, religious or ethnic dimensions rather than by geography. With global communication replacing the the geographically cohesive forces of religion, television and radio-- the people of Nomadistan ever be accepted into their geographic melting pot. How can we prevent wars between the colocated nations of Nomadistan and Proxima Xenophobica?

Comment: Long term effects of filter bubbles/silos (Score 4, Interesting) 111

by An dochasac (#48412015) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Malcolm Gladwell a Question
There is a positive feedback between human confirmation bias and reliance on information sources which increasingly give us what we want (e.g. Google/Facebook "filter bubbles", Amazon "if you like this... you'll like that." Do you expect this to create more social balkanization and extremism or other social effects? Is there anything we can do to stop or slow this process?

Comment: Re:"...moving east." (Score 1) 69

by An dochasac (#48406389) Attached to: Fascinating Rosetta Image Captures Philae's Comet Bounce

... except on Discworld where:

"Cardinal directions within the Discworld are not given as North, South, East and West, but rather as directions relating to the disc itself: Hubward (towards the centre), Rimward (away from the centre) and to a lesser extent, turnwise (direction of the disc's rotation) and widdershins."

Comment: Re:"Science data" (Score 1) 337

by An dochasac (#48394311) Attached to: Philae's Batteries Have Drained; Comet Lander Sleeps

ESA (who launched this probe) and NASA (who once had an interplanetary space program) probably use the same terminology. Suppose you have a probe to earth bandwidth of between 7 bits per second and 28 kbps. How do you use this bandwidth?

  • Telemetry indicating health of space probe (e.g. whether or not the harpoons fired?)
  • Navigational telemetry (including position of various movable parts)
  • Scientific data collected from planned experiments (e.g. photograph, spectrographs, audio...
  • Non-scientific data to help inspire humans (Vger's pale blue dot photo fits into this category)

Comment: Take 2:That's one small step for _A_ man, one g... (Score 2) 275

by An dochasac (#47969043) Attached to: Nvidia Sinks Moon Landing Hoax Using Virtual Light

Moon landing take 2: Ok Neil, but this time you need to say, "One step for A man... one giant leap for mankind." Don't flub your line or "One small step fur man" will be in the history books.

911 Conspiracy take 2: The first take was Ok but we need to swap out the Saudis and Egyptian hijackers. You guys are supposed to be our allies. Can we get at least one Iranian, Iraqi or Afghani hijackers? How the heck are we gonna start a war? How about a North Korean?

Comment: cause:War, slavery, railroads effect:Lyme disease (Score 1) 108

by An dochasac (#47806815) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction
The genocide of the native American Indian population was thought to have contributed to passenger pigeon's emergence as an outbreak species at populations which proved to be unsustainable. It is possible that during this time, the birds evolved their one egg per year, clustering and other behaviors which eventually contributed to their demise. One effect of the passenger pigeon's extinction is the spread of Lyme disease, another is the preservation of the American Bison.

Comment: Useful old tools I'll keep until... (Score 1) 635

by An dochasac (#47791349) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

Tools don't obey the laws of fashion and planned-obsolecense. A tool remains useful until it wears out or is replaced with something that replaces a tool in all of its use-cases without adding additional practical or economic downsides. So we use manual screwdrivers for some jobs where electric screwdrivers would either break things or wouldn't fit into a tight space. Artists still use paint and pencil where these allow more efficient expression than digital photographs and photoshop. Here are some technologies I'd love to replace if a replacement were available:

  • "Dumb" old cell phone. I have an indestructible Nokia "phone only" phone. I recently charged it because I like to put it in a zip-lock and take it windsurfing or kayaking-- but after nearly a year off the charger, it was still fully charged. It's water resistant, lasts for days on a battery, has good signal range and sound quality. My slightly newer QWERTY Nokia is useful when I'm writing. I've heard other writers use Psion or other old QWERTY PDAs but 2006 was a sweet spot for these "slightly smart" phones.
  • Musical instruments. Forget the fact that you'd spend $3000 on an electric piano with the sound and key-action of a $500 used upright and forget that guitars and most other stringed and woodwind instruments have no digital equivalent, even older electronic instruments are difficult to find modern equivalents. I'd love to replace my late 1980s consumer level samping keyboards with a modern sampler with high sampling rate, thousands of sample storage, effects... but no such consumer device exists. So I'm stuck with something with about the same S/N ration and frequency range as a mellotron.
  • Solar powered scientific calculator. You call that a smart phone? The pocket calculator's built into the iPhone and most androids is a joke. Many of these can't even count up to the US national debt-- which might explain a few things.
  • Solar and wind-powered clothes dryer. I don't get the US. Land of the free and yet there are multiple levels of regulations for everything. Uzis and AK-47s seem to be legal anywhere beyond a stone's throw from a school, but try to use a clothespin to hang your clothes from a line and you're likely to get in trouble with some authority. Yeah it's old technology, but it works and is used in almost every other country. Update it with supermagnet clothespins and you could probably make it convenient. But I don't mind the inconvenience. I meet my neighbors, spend some time in the sun and save an average of about $2 per load in electricity.
  • Transistor radio. Given the poor quality and high cost of US oligopoly cell phone service, you shouldn't stray far from Wifi if you want to stream music. But some of us have a life, sailing, hiking, camping... outside of Wifi's range. Yeah podcasts and downloaded music are fun but they lack the regional immediacy of radio. Compared to most bland streaming stations, clear-channel is that stoner running a pirate station from his dorm. Seriously, when they ask what the $*&# happened to good music, point to your iPod and sing, "The day the music died."

Comment: Arduino TVout + upcycled analog TV+ATmega328 ~$10 (Score 1) 172

by An dochasac (#47233083) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: PC-Based Oscilloscopes On a Microbudget?
I used this Oscilloscope based on an Arduino and ATMega328 running with a 16MHz crystal. It's more of a toy/demo scope, not even great for audio frequencies and for lower scales you probably want to add an instrumentation amp front end. The thing I like about it is that it reuses/upcycles all of those pocket NTSC (or PAL) analog TVs obsoleted by the FCC a couple of years ago.

Comment: FPAA (ANALOG ARRAYS) (Score 2) 236

by An dochasac (#47230413) Attached to: Are the Glory Days of Analog Engineering Over?

A few years ago when there was a concern that not enough analog engineers were being trained to meet demand, lecturers at Georgia Tech and others suggested the use of Field Programmable Analog Arrays (FPAA) in order to let students get their hands dirty with real analogue electronics with some of the convenience of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs.) While purists might believe that analog without the mess of breadboards, wire-wraps and soldering isn't analog, it fills a real-world need.

Unfortunately it seems that interest in FPAAs peaked too early-- before the Maker and openhardware movement might have driven up demand and driven down costs.Anadigm does have some products I'd love to see packged as an Arduino shield. Who wouldn't want a pocket Moog Synthesizer?

Comment: I try to be cynical but... (Score 1) 153

I try to become more cynical every day, but lately I just can't keep up. -- Lily Tomlin (She's only 74 but sharp as ever. YMMV)

Well, here's one possible effect and cause scenario that occurred to me.

Start with a healthy person who has a generally positive view of humanity.

Above the threshold reached at the age of reason (mental age ~7) when we begin to see the flaws in ourselves and others, I think it takes more mental energy to have a generally positive view of humanity than to fall back on cynicism. I agree with others that we may be seeing an indicator of pre-dementia rather than a cause of dementia.

I've lived over fifty years in this country and cynicism is at an all-time high. But strangely enough, so is credulity.

You've lived for fifty years in Finland?

We've become a nation of cynical suckers.

Oh, you're American. I'm sorry. Does anyone know why Slashdot's lameness filter can't handle my SARCASM tags?

Everybody likes a kidder, but nobody lends him money. -- Arthur Miller