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Comment: Re:In other words... (Score 1) 257

Increasing automation isn't going to erode our quality of life so much as it is going to take all the fun out of his. He might as well be collecting leaves for all the good his extra money is going to do for him.

He makes this point himself - I recall he talks about buying maybe 2 or 3 pairs of "work pants" a year.

  I don't get how a guy who stands up, and says "Hey, things are pretty unequal, and maybe we should do something about that or there will be some unpleasant civil unrest - seriously, how many more pairs of pants do I need?" is coming off as actually being all "Waaah, the proles are having a better life and that makes my life less enjoyable."

All that stuff you talked about? Nice groceries, tech goods, better healthcare? That's stuff for the middle classes. That's for people with good jobs that pay a lot more than minimum wage. But the more automation we have, the less middle class we'll have that can afford them. The reason there is a squeezed middle is because on one side, we have robots, and the other, we have foreign workers who'll work for less.

Well, here's the thing. The cheap foreign labour is now being replaced. Initially, by even more desperate poor brown people. But increasingly, by robots. Companies like Foxconn, not noted for their enlightened policy on worker welfare, are now replacing their workers with robots.

Productivity, on the upswing for over 5 decades, is now dropping. Not because the actual labour a single worker can do is less, but because the amount that's needed is less - because people can't afford the fruits of that labour. Like you said, how much can one rich guy consume?

The guy who took a pay cut from $1M to $70k, so he could pay his staff $70k minimum wage gets it. He's a surfer dude. $70k buys him all the knarly waves he can hang 10 on, and then some. Paying his workers a decent wage gets him 2 things - a workforce with great loyalty and no worries getting in the way of increasing the value of his business, and a feeling of doing the right thing that $930k dollars just can't buy you (in your own bank account).

The answer is to look at that million bucks and not to think "How much happiness can it buy me?", but "How much happiness can this buy?"

Comment: Stop bottling it then... (Score 1, Insightful) 672

by Dr_Barnowl (#49509787) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

Well, someone will bring this up

Nestlé bottling water in California

But the first thing I thought when I saw the story (in a campaign email) was "I bet it's a small fraction of the total water usage".

I can't believe that it takes over a gallon of water to grow a single almond. Maybe they should look at ways of improving that.

And of legislating that people should be given a sound thwack around the head for buying bottled water. It's a wasteful, stupid, con.

Comment: Re:manure pit (Score 2) 590

We do have the O2 reflex, it's just not the primary one and not active in most humans.

In individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the O2 reflex takes over - which makes it dangerous to give them high flow oxygen, because they will build up an excess of CO2 (because they don't breathe enough to expel it all). This reveals why CO2 is the usual trigger - normal air has enough oxygen in it, and our lungs are normally very efficient at absorbing it.

Comment: Re:Stupid (Score 3, Informative) 590

No, there is documentary evidence that the incumbent members of the justice administration consider it too humane.

How to kill a human being is a documentary where a prominent British politician investigates the commonly used methods of execution.

He concludes that the nitrogen method, used in abattoirs to kill pigs humanely, is ideal for human execution too. All the other methods have drawbacks. In particular, lethal injection is noted to be quite painful. In a country who's constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment, this seems odd.

Several members of the incumbent correctional organizations express the opinion that nitrogen asphyxiation isn't cruel enough because asphyxia induces a brief, mild, state of euphoria before the victim loses consciousness. They also seem of the opinion that the execution should make the target suffer before death to provide a sense of justice to the family of their victim.

If the killers ... go out with a euphoric high, that is not justice [1]

(and it's rumoured that Oklahoma is actually taking up nitrogen as an execution method after seeing this documentary).

Comment: Re: I thought we were trying to end sexism? (Score 2) 599

It's more that boys take failure differently. We're presumed to be behind to start with (because by now everyone knows that boys are outperformed academically by girls).

Therefore we have more tolerance for failure.

Girls are always special and beautiful and awesome. So when they run into something hard they don't do well at right off the bat, they get turned off and move to something which is judged by less objective standards that you can fail "soft" at. It's a problem with prejudice alright, just the positive kind.

Comment: Re:How much is his investment in the company makin (Score 1) 482

by Dr_Barnowl (#49485933) Attached to: Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries

He isn't negatively affected at all - sure, his bank account might not be as full (and there's the increased equity from a more motivated business to consider).

His chosen lifestyle is paid for, in full, by the $70k salary. He's winning.

Now his staff are too. And he feels good about that. That's something that putting more money in his own pocket wouldn't have bought him.

Maybe the problem is CEOs who look at that pile of money in their account, and say "What the hell can I do with all this?!?" and their answer is what benefits one man.

Comment: Re:Decent (Score 1) 482

by Dr_Barnowl (#49485887) Attached to: Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries

It's not just the people, it's the way they are treated.

Most people with no worries are nice pleasant folks. People who have to regard life as a constant battle are likely to be hostile.

Are you more likely to be of pleasant demeanour, if you know that after a work day in one hour you are

a) Going home to a nicely appointed white-picket-fence home where your wife, who can afford not to work full time, has a good home-cooked meal waiting for you


b) Going to your next job as fry cook in the McDonalds. You'll probably eat the free food there again, because you're trying to save money because you're behind on the rent. The bus journey there will eat about a fifth of your wage packet for the day.

Comment: Re:Decent (Score 5, Insightful) 482

by Dr_Barnowl (#49485197) Attached to: Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries

Decent *and* sensible.

He might draw a much smaller salary - but as he notes, a $1M salary had low marginal value for him.

What he just did was remove all money worries from his staff. Now all their focus can go on increasing the value of his business.

Good for them, good for him. Good morals, and good sense.

Comment: Re:HTTP.SYS? (Score 4, Insightful) 119

by Dr_Barnowl (#49478431) Attached to: Remote Code Execution Vulnerability Found In Windows HTTP Stack

And they're fucking stupid reasons.

HTTP requests are raw user input. You don't want raw user input anywhere near a kernel module.

Kernel-mode caching. Requests for cached responses are served without switching to user mode.

If you hadn't put an HTTP handler in the kernel, you wouldn't need a switch of context.

Kernel-mode request queuing. Requests cause less overhead in context switching, because the kernel forwards requests directly to the correct worker process. If no worker process is available to accept a request, the kernel-mode request queue holds the request until a worker process picks it up.

You could do that in a user process.

When a worker process fails, service is not interrupted; the failure is undetectable by the user because the kernel queues the requests while the WWW service starts a new worker process for that application pool.

You could do that in a user process too.

Requests are processed faster because they are routed directly from the kernel to the appropriate user-mode worker process instead of being routed between two user-mode processes.

And there's the real reason it's done - it should say "IPC sucks real bad in Windows, so we made this stupid, stupid, idiotic hack to try and compete with that other OS we're not mentioning."

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"