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Comment Re:Uhmmmm (Score 1) 618 618

The walls and roof provide important environmental protection for the more modern (and thus more delicate) technology we also use. (They also provide a rudimentary defense against theft and sabotage.) The clothes are admittedly entirely optional (from a technical perspective.)

Comment Re:He was much more than that (Score 5, Informative) 96 96

For those who don't want to follow the link:

Sir Christopher Lee:

He was Dracula
He was a Bond Villain.
He was Sherlock _and_ Mycroft Holmes.
He was Death.
He was Lucifer.
He was Count Dooku.
He was Saruman.
He was Lord Summerisle.
He recorded a heavy metal concept album about Charlemagne.
He hunted Nazis during WWII.
He was part of a secret agent unit called The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.
When told be Peter Jackson to imagine how a man being stabbed in the back sounds, he told him he didn't have to imagine it.
He's fluent in English, Italian, French, German, and Spanish; "moderately proficient" in Swedish, Russian, and Greek; and "conversational" in Mandarin.Chinese.

Now, let's see Check Norris top that.

Comment A little ironic (Score 1) 176 176

Since Google has started disabling the old version of Maps i have seen people suggest Yahoo Maps as a good choice to move to for those who thing the new Google Maps is too slow and painful. That probably wouldn't add enough new users for them to justify keeping it, but it's still a little sad for anyone who just recently decided that Yahoo was the right place to move to for maps.

(I didn't go that route myself because i dislike having the entire browser window covered with the map, so i'm thinking of moving to Bing instead.)

Comment Re:Mental health workers? (Score 1) 385 385

Funny that you said my examples from the industrial revolution were irrelevant, but when i then named (somewhat theoretical) examples from the information revolution you suddenly _really_ want to talk about the smithing thing.

More importantly, you're changing the goalposts. Your original claim was:

"I could go on... the fears of everyone losing their jobs to robots are ill founded. They're actually going to save us from having to do jobs we hate. Name a job a computer does that you'd actually want to do? There aren't any."

I disagreed with that last point, and i think i've proven it rather well. Many jobs have been eliminated, mostly by the industrial revolution so far but some by the information revolution, and even more are going to be eliminated despite the fact that there are people would like to do them, at least as they originally existed.

At no point did i argue that those jobs _shouldn't_ have been replaced, so your arguments above are invalid.

Yes, i'm moderately lucky as a programmer, but i'm not completely safe, and i have plenty of friends and acquaintances in jobs that are even more at risk.

People are going to lose jobs that they like or that they at least can tolerate. Some of them are going to get stuck with jobs they don't like as much, and some of them are going to be unable to find new employment at all. Your dismissal of their circumstances, saying "nobody wanted to do those jobs anyway" is either arrogant or ignorant, but in either case it's certainly cruel. People want a job they enjoy more than they want a job they don't, and they want a job they don't enjoy more than they want to be homeless and starving.

You say people should do the things they enjoy as a hobby. That's a great theory. However people ought to have work they find meaningful as well. A hobby shouldn't have to be a way to de-stress from a job you hate. And having hobbies is difficult if you're working multiple minimum-wage jobs just to support yourself and possibly a family as well, or if you're literally starving because you can't get a job.

"As our society gets richer, we'll have even more wealth so you can have your hobby."

If you're saying there should be a guaranteed minimum income or some other system to allow everyone to enjoy the prosperity that automation creates, i agree with you 100%. But that's not what's happening. We are becoming (on average) individually more productive, but we're neither getting to work less hours for the same pay nor getting paid fairly for the increased production. Instead we work the same (or more) hours while most of the benefits go to those who are already rich.


Comment Re:Mental health workers? (Score 1) 385 385

I don't _know_ what jobs are being taken away that people would want to do because they haven't been taken away yet. My argument was based on the fact that people said the same kind of thing about jobs eliminated by mechanical automation, that they were crappy jobs that people wouldn't want to do, and i don't think it's entirely unreasonable to think that the path of automating mental labor may by similar to the path of automating physical labor.

However if you want me to guess. Lawyers. The lower levels are already starting to get hit by automation and it's only going to get worse. Librarians, especially research librarians. Booksellers. Medical billers. Web developers. In fact there's probably a lot of very basic programming/IT work that could be more automated than it currently is. I could do some research and find some more examples, but i think that's enough to prove the point.

In none of those cases do i expect the entire job market to disappear (certainly not immediately at least) but more and more there will be a few experts at the head of a bunch of automation that's happening behind the scene. In fact in most of those cases that process has been going on for awhile, but the growth in the amount of work that needs to be done has, to some degree, kept pace with the increased productivity that automation has allowed. But as the rate at which automation is developed increases that equation could easily change, in which case people with mediocre skills will find themselves squeezed out as competition for the remaining jobs increases.

I work as a programmer, and i'm a pretty mediocre one. However i do like my job, and for the moment it's okay to be average. There's enough work in the industry that even average people are needed. Yes it would be awesome if i were smart enough to become a star programmer who could have his pick of the really cool jobs, but intelligence and skill operates on a bell curve, and the reality is that most of us are going to be clustered around the middle. It would be great to be John Carmack, but i'm okay with being Code Monkey #37.

The stuff i do isn't particularly easy to automate, at least not yet, but if a bunch of the simpler stuff gets automated there will be more programmers competing for the the remaining jobs, and it's possible that i will get pushed out by people more skilled than me. If you wish you can argue that if can't compete i don't deserve the job, but you can't say that i don't _want_ to do the job.

I think it's fair to presume that there are a lot of average lawyers and librarians and web developers and people in other at-risk occupations who feel the same way.

Comment Re:Mental health workers? (Score 1) 385 385

"Name a job a computer does that you'd actually want to do? There aren't any."

Speaking abstractly, i know a lot of people in the SCA, so i could probably name a dozen of them if i spent some time thinking about it. Smithing comes to mind immediately as a job that a lot of people would like to do if they could actually make a reasonable living at it. There are a few people who actually do make a living at it, but it requires a lot of skill (and thus a lot of time to learn) and there's not a huge demand for it. I also know a lot of people who knit or spin or weave as a hobby. Those all used to be valid jobs, but making a living off of any of those skills these days is now _very_ difficult.

As someone mentioned above all these jobs went through a similar pattern. Originally they were highly skilled jobs and people who could do them well were highly regarded. Then mechanization (and later computerization) made these jobs easier until any line worker could carry them out. And then the need for a line worker was eliminated in 99.99% of the cases. Sure, towards the end of that process no one wanted to be the person who welded bolt #128 to component A7, or the person who ran the mechanical loom, both of whom worked 8+ hours days doing repetitive tasks for a minimum wage (or an even more minimal wage before the idea of a minimum was created.) However that just means that being a cog in a process that's already been mostly mechanized isn't an enviable position. It doesn't mean that people didn't like doing the original job before it started getting replaced by machines.

(So just to double-check my assumption: Farmer/gardener, smith, carpenter, bowyer, fletcher, knitter, spinner, weaver, paper-maker, illuminater, glass blower, tanner, potter, and that's more than a dozen so i'll stop now. Admittedly there are a lot of people who still farm and/or garden, but the ones who try to do it professionally are under huge pressure from mechanization and computerization, and the number has declined precipitously from where it used to be.)

Comment Slashdotness (Score 5, Funny) 155 155

Minus: You failed to use an obscure unit of measurement. I propose Congresses. This heat wave has killed 2.056 Congresses of people.

Plus: You used a decimal comma instead of a decimal point, allowing people to respond saying that you're adhering to a regionally specific custom that differs from their own regionally specific custom, and therefore are clearly doing it wrong.

Overall i rate your slashdotness at 77.3%, by means of an obscure personal rating system which i can't describe succinctly but will argue about endlessly if anyone disagrees with my conclusion.

Comment Re:nature will breed it out (Score 1) 950 950

"I am slightly confused as well, though. As a self-defined feminist dater, I'd assume you are somewhat left-leaning, and I swear I have never met (Note that word, I don't care about philosophers or authors, those are XX age relics) a Westerner who was left-leaning and had ANYTHING good to say about military."

I'm sorry to have damaged your stark black and white view of the world. But what's really going to bake your noodle is that i have multiple left-leaning friends who used to be or currently are in the military. One of them is even a female feminist! WHOA!

Not that this should really surprise you. There was a big deal awhile about about whether or not gays and lesbians could openly be in the military. Although certainly not all gays and lesbians are left-leaning, did you really thing every single gay and lesbian soldier was a conservative?

"Why don't they join the army then? As always, girly mentality - it's so cool, but I don't wanna cuz iffy."

Oh right, because every single guy who enjoys action movies signs up for the military. No civilians ever go to see movies like that. As mentioned above, some of them do. But most girls, like most guys, don't feel the need to actually participate in military action in order to enjoy a good fight in the cinemas. Is that a failing of human nature? Perhaps. But it's far from unique to the females of the species.

"You have her, you're happy - great, gl, keep on truckin'! Not my business tho."

If you didn't want to hear about my sex life then why did you not so subtly bring the subject up? (And i'm still not sure why you think that not having sex is such a big insult. In the past i have gone for years without having sex at times. I wasn't ashamed to admit it either then or now.) I was honestly confused as to why you want to stereotype an entire group of people, and i proposed two possible, although not definitive reasons.

You say you definitely have sex with people. That's great, good for you! I don't see any reason not to believe you, even though i obviously disagree with you on some issues. See? That wasn't hard!

But you are opting for the second option, while declaring that you don't wear a tinfoil hat. You're already admitted surprise that people who disagree with you don't all subscribe to some kind of monolithic groupthink, yet still maintain that all the guys who are dating feminists aren't getting any sex, to the extent that you're nonchalantly calling me a liar to my (virtual) face. I'll just leave that here and let everyone else decide what to think about that kind of... extreme viewpoint.

Comment Re:Math (Score 2) 236 236

I think you may be placing too much faith in the human race. Yes some humans would undoubtedly survive anything but the worst asteroid strike. However if 90-99% of the human race was wiped out and the environment was (even more) wrecked, then i would not be surprised if humans died off within a couple centuries after that. Which would (reasonably) still be chalked up as part of the same extinction event by any theoretical future paleontologist-equivalents.

Comment Re:At one of the poles? (Score 1) 496 496

Well that's close to the right answer. It can be the north pole, or any point one mile north of a line of latitude that is 1/[integer] miles in circumference, all of which are (very) near the south pole. Meaning that you would walk a mile south, circle the planet (at that line of latitude) exactly [integer] times, and then return one mile north to your starting point.

1000 pains = 1 Megahertz