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Comment: Re:Kansas City Hyatt Regency Skywalk (Score 1) 145

by Ungrounded Lightning (#46797549) Attached to: The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

n this case it failed when there was a celebration in progress. The ground floor level was crammed with dancing people and the crowd had overflowed onto the skywalks. Pogo dancing was current at the time, and apparently the failure occurred when people on the bridges, synchronized by the live music, were jumping up and down in unison. (It's the inverse of the way soldiers are required NOT to march in step when crossing a bridge.)

Thus you can expect such structures to go when there are a lot of people around to get hurt.

(Interestingly, a crowd of people is MUCH more of a load, even without synchronized jumping, than vehicular traffic. San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge was reported to have had its greatest load ever during its anneversary, a few years back. The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic and the public invited to hike over it. Normally the bridge span has a substantial arc. This stretched the springy cables and broght the span down until it was flat.

During the planning the load on the bridge had been anticipated and computed to be safe. But there were plenty of boats standing by to try to save people if the deck DID collapse, and the people had been warned of the possibility and asked not to dance or walk in step.

Comment: Re:do they have a progressive view? (Score 1) 326

by evilviper (#46796359) Attached to: Detroit: America's Next Tech Boomtown

Yes, because conservative views have turned the tech industry off from flocking to Texas for jobs. There's a sarcasm tag embedded there.

Texas is a purple state, projected to go Blue in a few more years. Texas leans a little bit to the right, but California doesn't lean very heavily left, itself.

Comment: Re:It could happen (Score 1) 326

by evilviper (#46796297) Attached to: Detroit: America's Next Tech Boomtown

The obvious benefit is that the cost of living is much lower than California or similar.

That's an idiotic thing to say. California is a huge state. You might as well say the cost of living in "North America" or "On Earth" is too high.

I couldn't believe last time I was in CA to visit a friend that they had just paid almost a million dollars for a 3-bedroom house with no property.

I'm in CA, and I bought a 3br house on half an acre for $45k. I was paying $500/mo rent before that, for a 2br apartment.

Unlike rust-belt states, I pay almost nothing for heating and cooling. My electric bill goes up maybe $10/month in the summer, and my natural gas bill goes up maybe $10/month in the winter (water heater, mostly). The insane home heating costs in the rust-belt will eventually trump the lower property prices.

So your list of benefits is all imaginary.

Comment: Re:This needs to be Illegal (Score 1) 205

by evilviper (#46793447) Attached to: California Utility May Replace IT Workers with H-1B Workers

" Under no circumstances should any Utility in the US be allowed to Off-Shore IT operations"

They aren't. I know this from first-hand experience as a Sr Engineer for a major phone company, that is to remain nameless. I was responsible for the audit, after the DoJ specifically told us we needed to ensure anybody who wan't *physically* in the US at the time, would not have access to ANY production data.

Despite the idiotic headline, this has to be about H1Bs who reside in the US, NOT off-shoring. The Fed wouldn't allow a list of 5 power pole locations to leave the country.

Comment: Inflation and Cost-of-living (Score 1) 457

by evilviper (#46785821) Attached to: Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

"According to a recent survey of 1,000 U.S.-based software developers, 56 percent expect to become millionaires in their lifetime.

That's not difficult if you're earning 6-fixgures, aren't staying in a very expensive area, and are just good with money.
<Insert joke about nerds being single>

66 percent also said they expect to get raises in the next year, despite the current state of the economy.

I personally expect to get a raise every-single-year. Inflation stays around 3% every year. If my company doesn't give me AT-LEAST a 3% increase in salary each year, I consider it a slap-in-the-face. A pay cut by another name. And worse, a pay cut after a sterling annual review, and a year of hard work.

Inflation/cost-of-living year-over-year was only at zero for ONE year, during the depths of the recession. It's not an ongoing excuse to withhold annual raises.

There's little that pisses me off more than hearing that "company policy" limits raises to no more than 3% (or 2%, or 1%). That's institutionalizing yearly pay-cuts for all employees, including top-performers. Even when I make a stink and get more than that, it makes me look at that company with utter disgust, as they show how much they HATE and want to be at war with their (good, long-term reliable) employees. Nothing makes a company better than the few long-timers, who have everything about the company and all the systems in their head. "Company policy" that punishes them for staying instead of job-hopping is the most utterly moronic thing I could imagine... But this rant is getting off the rails, quickly...

84 percent said they believe they are paid what they're worth, 95 percent report they feel they are 'one of the most valued employees at their organization,'

Well, obviously people don't stay at a company where they feel ignored and undervalued (see above). And when your work will determine whether the company hits or misses a deadline, you speak to CxOs on a regular basis, or you're responsible for many millions of dollars of equipment, it's easy to feel highly valued, even if perhaps you are not.

I know I've occasionally been the highest paid person in some medium-sized companies. With the higher contractor rates, and overhead of contracting firms, it's not too difficult to end up costing the company more than the CEO's salary, even if not all of it goes into your pocket, and some of it is government taxes/fees/programs that get stuffed into salary for contractors but not regular staff.

Comment: Re:Dunno (Score 1) 238

by evilviper (#46785751) Attached to: I expect to retire ...

I should have enough by mid 60s, assuming Congress doesn't raid my 401K, Social Security still exists, and the entire economy hasn't collapsed. Hmm, now I'm depressed. :(

Hell, my retirement plan DEPENDS on the world economy collapsing!

I'm stocking up on shotgun shells, shiny bits of metal, and cans of pork & beans.

Comment: Re:Government picking favorites (Score 1) 91

Nope, others and I were able to watch and hear unclear pictures OTA on TV compared to digital.

This misconception comes from broadcasters making changes to their transmissions at the same time they switched to digital. Broadcasters on VHF channels 2-6 switched to UHF channel, which obviously aren't received by VHF antennas. Some chose to cut their broadcast power to save power, and more. It even goes as far as some HDTV manufactures including weak and noisy POS tuners. I've seen this with lesser-known brands all the time.

Side-by-side, digital is FAR better. I can get digital stations with no breakup from 130mi away, with regular consumer level antennas... The low-power analog stations from 10 miles away look like crap.

You don't need to take my word for it. Look at something like, and see how they sort DIGITAL stations higher than ANALOG stations, even when they have up to 10dBm lower signal levels than the analog versions. I've been watching OTA on the fringes in various cities since long before the switchover, and I've seen first-hand how things have vastly improved.

Comment: What a mess (Score 0) 91

The previous spectrum auction made sense.. Cut of channels 52-69 and sell them off. Broadcasters were required to have two channels during the DTV transition, so if one of them was on a terminated frequency, they'd just have to use the other on a permanent basis.

But this one is psychotic... Everybody, everywhere, has to put their entire operation up for bids. The FCC gets to evaluate on a massive scale how to build a contiguous and nation-wide band out of the cheapest broadcasters on offer, with the real possibility they will end up with a patchwork of frequencies in different areas used for cell phone traffic, but still TV (and radio) in others.

This is the most complex mess I've ever seen, and worse, it reeks of devaluing, and largely throwing away nearly a century of public infrastructure, in exchange for some short-term cash, from companies who are simply doing a piss-poor job of spectrum-reuse because old TV frequencies are going for *cheap*. Honestly, this is blatant big-money lobbying against public interest, almost as bad as LightSquared, trying to leagalize their misuse of frequencies that would knock out GPS, and later trying to trade their frequencies for military channels that have never been on offer for any companies to use.

Comment: Re:Government picking favorites (Score 4, Interesting) 91

You're quite wrong about broadcast television. With the switch to digital, it has gotten vastly more useful and practical.

Now, putting-up an antenna is the best picture quality you can get. Most stations have 2+ subchannels, so instead of 7 channels, you get 21+, and hence a proliferation of minor networks... "AntennaTV" "THIS" "MeTV" and more come to mind. And they have a far greater signal-to-noise ratio than cable channels, due to limited space and the demands of a massive broadcast audience. In some secondary (ie. old UHF-only) markets, major networks were entirely missing, due to limited space, but are now able to be carried as sub-channels on competitor's broadcast towers.

OTA broadcast viewership is increasing, mainly with young households opting for an antenna rather than cable/satellite, ssince those have lost their technical edge, and the price is hard to justify. And OTA is critical for TV-related companies... Those TV-tuners for computers wouldn't have a. big enough market without it, and no reason to exist. DVR companies also probably wouldn't be able to make it without the OTA crowd. Startups like Aereo would be gone, with no possibly legal source of content.

And tell me this... Where can you find daily national/world news with the same quality as the approx. 4am newscasts on CBS/NBC/ABC? BBC World Service looks like crap by comparison, though easily better than CNN/MSNBC/FauxNews of course. How about educational content like the broadcast networks are required to air for children? We absolutely do get a hell of a lot from broadcast OTA TV.

Comment: The courts are a different branch and not elected. (Score 1) 803

by Ungrounded Lightning (#46776465) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

then why the recent decision ... that allowed individuals to contribute directly to *all* candidates, with no overall cap on contributions?

Because it'a a SUPREME COURT decision. We have three branches of government and only two are elected.

The supremes are appointed, for life (subject only to impeachment for high crimes, like the president). They have no re-election issues and can vote their mind without affecting their own tenure.

The court has repeatedly struck down campaign spending restrictions, because they're limits, not just on free speech, but on the POLITICAL speech that is the reason it is an enumerated right in the first place.

But it takes a while for a law to produce enough damage to give someone standing to challenge it, and to bring it to the supremes, and then they rule narrowly. Then, once a piece is struck down, Congress just turns around and does another version of it to evade the details of that decision, and the cycle starts over.

There are under 700 people that hit the max last time around, do you seriously think that decision will benefit the grass roots? Sounds to me like it's aimed squarely at giving the oligarchs more influence.

Of course it's the rich are the first who are bit and who have the resources to bring the suit. That's part of why the limits end up off the rich (like Soros) first, while they're still hobbling everybody else.

It isn't just the limits themselves that are an issue. There's all the reporting requirements, publication requirements, time limits, and maze of details that make compliance hard.

It's hard for candidates: They need a substantial political machine right off the bat. Getting dinged for campaign finance violations is costly, may involve jail time, DOES involve court time, and produces publicity that tarnishes the candidate's image and hurts his chances in future elections. This gives the professional politicians, especially incumbents with the machine in place, a massive advantage over any grass-roots upstarts trying to replace them.

And it can bring on reprisals against donors - including carreer-killing or physical retaliation. Who contributed to what political campaigns is public record and searchable online. This is an invitation to people with opposing views to exert social pressure or take revenge. (Within the last couple weeks we saw the CEO of Netscape forced to resign by just such pressure, as a result of the McCain-Feingold reporting of a past political contribution to a "politically-incorrect" campaign.)

It's the exact opposite of a secret ballot, which is secret to prevent such reprisals so the vote can be cast in safety. Why should financial support be any different? Why would publishing the amount and beneficiary of each contributor's political contributions be any less of a bias on the political system than publishing the way each voter voted?

Further, risking a job is far more of a hardship for a little guy living hand-to-mouth than a rich executive with millions in the bank and a golden parachute. So it's another force to suppress grass-roots opinion in favor of those who are independently wealthy or well-off.

Comment: Re:Are you kidding (Score 1) 803

by ChristTrekker (#46771875) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy
Couldn't agree more. I've said for some time that if you're not voting third party (at least considering the candidates based on their merits), you're not paying attention. We need to implement a Condorcet voting system, too. And proportional representation in one chamber of bicameral state legislatures would probably be a good idea.

At these prices, I lose money -- but I make it up in volume. -- Peter G. Alaquon