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Comment: There is a difference. (Score 4, Interesting) 586

by Chirs (#48622049) Attached to: Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

A "real and present threat" on a specific mall is a very different thing from a random threat.

There are 5300 movie theaters in the USA. If half of them show the movie, that's 2650 showings. If the terrorists attack *ten* showings (likely an overestimate), that's still less than half a percent chance of being impacted.

I'd take those odds.

The alternative is that random groups start making threats against everything they don't like while carrying through on just enough of them to keep people scared, and the population lives in fear.

Comment: I question your numbers. (Score 1) 681

by Chirs (#48618277) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Taking your "2 weeks" literally, currently according to Google you could fly American leaving Dec 31 and returning Jan 7 for $250.

If you drive, its 1140 miles each way. At roughly 60 cents/mile operating costs, that's $1370 in fuel and wear-and-tear on a typical vehicle, plus about 36hrs of driving time.

Comment: no-fault isn't the problem (Score 1) 681

by Chirs (#48618171) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

Around here we have mostly no-fault for the purposes of insurance payout (so you don't have to sue to get reimbursed) , but if you're considered to be at fault then your insurance costs go up. So stupid drivers do end up paying a penalty for their behaviour. And if you have too many incidents you can get your license pulled.

Comment: it's amazing how cheaply you can live (Score 2) 681

by Chirs (#48617437) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

If we really wanted to, I bet you and I could live on a quarter of our incomes.

The reason why people come from other countries to work in places like England/Canada/USA for not-great wages are that they *don't plan on staying here forever*. So they can come, work for ten years while saving every penny they can, then go back home and retire.

I lived in Africa for a few years. The average annual income where I lived was $200 USD. Take a typical first-world retirement savings and you could live reasonably well in a third-world country. But you'd have to be prepared to give up a lot of what you're used to.

Comment: not quite (Score 3, Insightful) 175

by Chirs (#48617341) Attached to: Researchers Accidentally Discover How To Turn Off Skin Aging Gene

We gain and lose traits when they affect our ability to reproduce... and at no other time.

This isn't quite accurate. We can gain/lose traits randomly and if they don't impede our ability to reproduce they could get passed on. Also, some traits are genetically linked to more desirable traits, so they get dragged along by the other traits even if they're not necessarily desirable in and of themselves.

Comment: might not be as good as you think (Score 1) 173

by Chirs (#48602485) Attached to: The GPLv2 Goes To Court

I take it you've never seen people arguing about what exactly the C standard means about how "volatile" should behave, or whether the defined memory model is sufficient to reason formally about visibility of variables given specific types of assembly operations, or what optimizations a compiler can legally make (as opposed to what optimizations it would actually make *sense* for it to make).

Even a reasonably-well-defined language like C can still end up in the weeds once you start looking at edge cases...

Comment: Rather not have a union, thanks (Score 1) 122

by Chirs (#48591451) Attached to: Canada Waives Own Rules, Helps Microsoft Avoid US Visa Problems

Maybe a professional organization, like the Engineers have here in Canada.

I had friends working for a union building pipelines. It was all about seniority, not skill. My mom worked as part of a union, and they didn't represent her interests. My friend worked for a union and they made here go on strike due to issues that some other people in a totally different job had on the other side of the country.

Meanwhile I've worked for three different companies over the past decade and a half, I've gotten along with every manager I've ever had, I've been reasonably happy with my work, I've gotten more money than I ever expected. I don't see how being part of a union would have helped.

I respect that unions can do good things, but they have issues as well.

Comment: Not the only difference. (Score 1) 219

by Chirs (#48590267) Attached to: Seagate Bulks Up With New 8 Terabyte 'Archive' Hard Drive

Drives intended to go in RAID arrays have different firmware and handle errors differently.

They may also get different testing. I worked for a telecom equipment vendor and there were specific drives that had been tested for behaviour under high/low temperatures, high/low humidity, vibration, etc.

If you're a big enough company then drive manufacturers will actually work with you to resolve drive firmware issues and/or answer questions about specific behaviours on their enterprise drives.

Lastly, at least in the SSD space at least some of the "Enterprise" drives have much better handling of power outages, with sufficient capacitors to handle writing out data.

It's not always worth buying "enterprise", but sometimes it makes sense.

Comment: you're missing the technical issues (Score 4, Interesting) 461

by Chirs (#48532663) Attached to: Why Elon Musk's Batteries Frighten Electric Companies

Just randomly connecting to the grid and backfeeding power causes real problems (i.e. your generator electronics get fried, you can electrocute the guy trying to fix a power outage, etc.). You need special equipment to make sure there are no phase mismatches, it needs to detach itself from the grid if the grid-side drops in a power outage, and you need a new meter.

Comment: electronics can be a cause (Score 4, Informative) 312

by Chirs (#48532521) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Electronics-Induced Inattentiveness?

Smartphone apps are intentionally designed to grab your attention. The human brain actually triggers the reward center each time you get a new text, or email, or social media message. The more you do those things the more your brain is trained to react instantly to a new event, thus breaking your concentration on whatever you were doing.

If you want to really focus on something, it's probably best to disable your notifications so that only emergency events get through. (Or even turn the thing off completely if you can.)

Comment: Concentration is like a muscle... (Score 4, Informative) 312

by Chirs (#48532493) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Electronics-Induced Inattentiveness?

If you don't actually concentrate on doing things for extended periods of time, you're going to lose your ability to do it.

So when you have some spare time instead of flipping through slashdot or reddit why not try actually doing something for an extended period of time? Read a book, do a hobby, go for a walk, take a bike ride for fun, go to a coffee shop and casually read a big newspaper, do the crossword puzzle. I read a lot of novels and do some woodworking on the side. A quiet evening in the shop with hand tools and the radio in the background is a great way to decompress.

Comment: There is no single "fair" value. (Score 5, Insightful) 602

by Chirs (#48514765) Attached to: UK Announces 'Google Tax'

How much is "fair" depends on the culture the company and government are operating in.

You could have a libertarian society with minimal government involvement and minimal taxation, but where every individual has to pay for everything they do. (Roads, fire protection, ambulance, medical, police, education, utilities, garbage collection, etc.)

On the other hand, you could have a more socialist society with high taxation and high government involvement, but where most of the services are paid for by the government.

Both are viable solutions, with different tradeoffs.

Comment: Why not abolish corporate taxes entirely? (Score 4, Insightful) 602

by Chirs (#48514729) Attached to: UK Announces 'Google Tax'

The basic idea is that a corporation is nothing but a bunch of people owning it, so instead of taxing the corporation you shift the tax to the individual owners (owners, shareholders, etc.) instead. Since corporations wouldn't be paying taxes, you could then get rid of all of the tax breaks/writeoffs for corporations, which would significantly simplify corporate accounting and reduce the incentive for large corporations to shift money around to avoid tax.

Keep your boss's boss off your boss's back.