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Comment: Re:So what exactly are they doing wrong? (Score 1) 146

by Frobnicator (#49826717) Attached to: FBI Is Behind Mysterious Flights Over US Cities

they're flying a fleet of 50 planes, doing dragnet surveillance by spoofing cell phone towers. Okay. When it comes to these people, benefit of the doubt is not something that should be extended.

But those planes are circling Mall of America, for and the article says they only "trick pinpointed devices", like the roughly 11,000 and roughly 100,000 shoppers.

I mean, probably maybe one of them is a terrorist, especially since organizations like PETA, Greenpeace, and other environmental activists have all been classified as terrorist organizations by the government. Anti-war organizations have also repeatedly been lumped under the terrorist umbrella.

So probably someone in the crowd of a tenth of a million people probably has some degree of support to those organizations, so they all need to be recorded. Just in case.

Comment: Re:Negotiating when desperate (Score 1) 567

Never accept counteroffers. NEVER.

Why?

A few seconds on Google can find very detailed answers to that question.

Essentially the relationship is critically altered.

The company that keeps you around knows you are a flight risk, often using the time to train your replacement and lay you off --and you won't have the job in hand that you did the first time. OR the company will give you the counter-offer by giving you the raise or promotion they should have given you earlier, and they won't give you anything for the next several promotion cycles no matter what you deserve.

And perhaps most critically, the fundamental reasons you wanted to leave are still there, unless the ONLY reason you wanted to leave was because of pay, and not because of any other dissatisfaction. A number I've read multiple times is that only about 10% of people who accept counteroffers remain at the company a year later. Most are laid off.

Comment: Re:1 thing, among others (Score 4, Interesting) 567

Also, it would have been great to know what 'stock options' were.

Simple enough, they are the hybrid offspring of lottery tickets crossed with artwork.

* Usually they're not worth the paper the offer is printed on.

* Occasionally they'll be worth a few bucks, enough for a nice dinner or entertaining night.

* In rare cases they'll be worth a notable amount of money.

* In extremely rare cases both the lottery aspect and the fine art aspect will conspire. The company succeeds in the lottery of business, and you will have kept them long enough for them to achieve some value and not sold them for a nice dinner or entertaining night. These extremely rare and extremely lucky individuals discover unexpectedly they can buy a mansion and retire early.

Comment: Re:1 thing (Score 5, Interesting) 567

How to negotiate for a better salary.

This.... because for some ridiculous reason, the salary for your next job is based upon the salary of your current or previous job.

That gets right back to how to negotiate for a better salary.

Many HR drones are taught their side of salary negotiation. Tactics like asking you right up front about your previous pay rates and what you expect to be paid for the new job -- all of that done BEFORE you have even discussed what the new job is to be. Before you have talked with them about the duties and responsibilities. Before you have decided if the company is a good fit for you, and before the interviewers have determined if you can be a good fit for them.

Most people are terrible at salary negotiation. Based on various studies with some degree of variance, overall they suggest about 55% of men do not negotiate their wages, and about 70% of women do not negotiate their wages. That is NO NEGOTIATION AT ALL. HR departments have learned that most people will accept whatever low-ball initial offer is made, and companies take advantage of that fact. Of those that do negotiate, most of them do a poor job of it, using the lowball offer as the starting point for negotiating.

Get yourself some salary negotiation books before changing jobs. Ask for more, and use it to negotiate rather than demand.

As someone who has done more negotiation than I'd like with a roughly 3-year layoff cycle in my industry, I've had more practice that I want at this. In one job that I took, there was the initial lowball offer, which I laughed off and said "No, really, we both know that is a low-ball value, try again". Their second offer was a bit better but still below prevailing wages. So then, using negotiation tactics, I reiterated all the things I had done, all the benefits they were likely to see from me, and suggested a much higher value, about 3.5x their initial lowball. After a few more back-and-forths, and we settled on a good wage. Later in leadership when I was in a position to see everyone's salary, I could see how many of the people in the company -- notably most of the non-confrontational people and mediocre performers -- had wages similar to the initial lowball offers. Most of those who were assertive or high producers tended to have much higher wages. I don't understand how they are related, but they are clearly correlated.

Learn to negotiate. It is an important life skill. It applies directly to salary negotiation, but also to many other facets like getting the good projects and pushing back on corporate demands, including for software development learning to negotiate features from a bad list of requirements to a good set of easily producible items.

Comment: Re:Does this mean... (Score 4, Informative) 144

Ignorance of the law is an excuse?

No. Lack of intent is an excuse, and is part of the law for which ignorance is not an excuse.

It is trickier than that. The normal legal term is "mens rea", a Latin term for "guilty mind", which is more commonly called "intent". There is a spectrum within the law for things that require intent to be considered criminal all the way through strict liability that do not care about intent.

Many laws, especially older criminal laws, either directly or indirectly address intent. Some laws require the prosecutors show bad intent. Others will modify penalties based on intent. Still others do not take intent into account. Sadly many new laws have been written that should have considered intent, but do not.

For example, selling alcohol to minors has strict liability. It doesn't matter what your intent was. It doesn't matter if you didn't know the law. If cops are doing a sting on the store and someone sells alcohol to a minor, they are liable.

Sadly criminal law is all over the map when it comes to rules about intent. Sometimes two seemingly identical situations can result in one case being dismissed for lack of showing intent, the other can have no intent considered. One currently popular example is officers saying "I feared for my safety and the safety of others", which seems to be the magic incantation to get out of major crimes including murder, where on the other hand "the girl told me she was 18 and even showed me her driver's license with the age" will see no mercy as statutory rape generally has strict liability rules.

Comment: Re:How about import duties? (Score 1) 411

I know it isn't a personal checkbook, but that does not mean money can be printed with impunity.

While in the short term it pays the bill, it does so by deflating the currency, reducing international purchasing power, harming businesses that rely on international trade (which is almost everyone these days), triggering money market changes. In practice countries who attempt that type of manipulation for significant values quickly approach currency collapse. Short term it may seem like a strategy, but long term even a small amount of that destabilizes governments. Small adjustments cause nasty ripple effects through global currency markets and exchange rates, and anything more than tiny adjustments leads to a death spiral. It can take decades to fully recover.

When the US played that game nineteen months ago, not only were global currency markets disrupted and the US buying power significantly decreased by far more money than the debts adjusted, it also resulted in the nation's credit ratings dropping and the rates paid on short-term money increased.

If the congress critters and federal reserve attempt it again this decade we probably would see an even larger drop in global parity. So while they COULD authorize and generate some "trillion dollar coins" to resolve it, the results would be disastrous for both the national and the global economy.

Comment: Re:How about import duties? (Score 1) 411

Debts and budgets are not contradictory. You can have debt AND have a balanced budget.

Organizations, businesses, individuals, even governments do it. They take on debt, get loans or bonds or other money, and have a budget to pay the principle and interest in a certain period of time. Many states even have balanced budget provisions in their state constitutions and routinely get some debt for capital funds to build new schools, zoos, parks, and more; then they make payments and after a few years fulfill the debt obligations. They have debt and a balanced budget.

What groups cannot do is survive in the long term with a budget deficit. When your expenses exceed your income for enough time, eventually your resources will dwindle and fail. That applies to individuals, to businesses, and to governments.

Deficit spending works for a while when you have money in the bank, and it works when you have other resources available to offset the money. You can have debt but still afford to make payments on the loan. But in the long term eventually the groups will reach the critical point where they cannot afford the debt payments, and the US is rapidly reaching the critical tipping point.

Comment: Love how headlines have evolved over the day... (Score 1) 67

by Frobnicator (#49796575) Attached to: Live Anthrax Shipped Accidentally To S Korea and US Labs

I absolutely love the example of how news reports represent things.

This morning they started out "Live anthrax shipped to nine labs and Korea". The quotes talk about an abundance of caution and that spores were "detected". Since I happen to have read about it before, I already knew live anthrax is already shipped around the world in sheep and other livestock. So I wondered why the media would be on this so much.

Later in the day, different headlines "Live anthrax detected in possibly ten labs".

Now at the end of the day, different headlines, "Live anthrax detected in a single shipment, others under investigation", with details "the containers were properly packed and there is no risk of exposure to anyone but those on the base; all military personnel are given anthrax vaccinations when they join the service..."

The latest news stories have the base commander saying procedures were followed and the CDC saying it was only one sample that was mostly, but not completely, sanitized by irradiation, so the few live spores continued to grow.

While anthrax is potentially deadly, so are diseases like influenza. Anthrax is common in lots of animals, including livestock around the world. It is only when the bacteria is weaponized into an aerosol that it becomes extremely deadly. And this stuff wasn't.

Lots of hype about a virtually non-issue. End result is the protocol gets adjusted, run it through the irradiation machine three times.

Comment: Re:Love it (Score 5, Informative) 316

by Frobnicator (#49785479) Attached to: Adblock Plus Victorious Again In Court

As this is the forth lawsuit, it may just be Eyeo that goes out of business due to the lawyer fees.

Germany is one of several nations that adopted a "loser pays" civil litigation model. I think they recovered all legal costs in another case, but don't recall which one and don't feel like looking it up.

The ruling likely specifies that ProSiebenSat1 and IP Deutschland are liable for all or nearly all of the costs in this case, and Eyeo is likely have only the cost of their time.

Comment: Re:not the real question (Score 1) 200

The in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems receive navigation data from the flight deck computers so they can display the moving maps and other stuff on the entertainment displays, for those passengers who want to know "where am I", "are we there yet", "is it time to reset my watch because we've crossed a time zone and I'm trying to adjust my body clock".

I would be shocked to learn that Boeing allowed the IFE to put ANY kind of data into the flight deck computers. I'd actually expect Boeing to use a one-way interface, one that transmits but does not receive: think RS-232 with one of the pins removed. I'd be almost as shocked to learn that Airbus did something like that. However, Airbus's comment about "firewalls" does not exactly inspire me to confidence in their airplanes.

That is the concerning part.

Are the systems accessible in the cabin physically and electrically isolated from all other systems from the plane? I don't think so. I think they are connected. And I think they are more connected that the companies prefer to admit.

First, are the systems physically connected? My money is on 'yes', because of the very reasons you listed. The IFEs are able to get data from SOMEWHERE, the question is where that is coming from. In computer hardware it is extremely rare to make a unidirectional connection. If nothing else you want to acknowledge receipt. They get data about the flight, they have connections for the phones for those who pay for it, they have connections for the expensive wifi connections. Do the companies really provide two duplicate sets of radios, one for the passenger data, a second duplicate set for operations data? Seems the opposite of every business I've worked with that wants to save cost.

Assuming they are connected, how are they connected? Since companies want commodity and standard equipment, I would not be shocked to see Ethernet. And if it was Ethernet, the comment that the seat boxes use a "modified Ethernet cable" is not too surprising, since the RJ45-style jacks are easily damaged. There are many more standardized sockets and jacks available, including plain old pin and head units.

That is the question whose answer I don't trust: considering how IFE systems get data about the flight, and how they like share external communication systems, it seems almost certain the systems are attached, even if it is "behind firewalls". If data can flow somehow, there is a way to communicate.

Comment: Re:Yeah good luck with that! (Score 2) 333

Drug cartels make money because drugs are illegal

No, drugs are regulated.

After a whole bunch of deaths, addictions, permanent damage, and otherwise destroyed lives, laws regulating medicine were established to help protect people both from scammers and also from their own ignorance. Back in the late 1800's morphine was available to anyone and was widely abused, then in 1895 Bayer launched heroin as a less addictive substitute sold directly to the public, only to have it lead to even more drug abuse problems. Drug stores were not regulated and would frequently swap out relatively expensive drugs with other compounds. Many drugs were sold as tinctures, which the store could heavily dilute with alcohol.

Too many "snake oil salesmen", too many drug abuses, too many fake drugs, too many overdoses, and over time people demanded rules and regulations.

Today there are regulations in most nations.

Chemicals that had a significant reaction are regulated, not illegal. In the US that means five different classifications of drugs, from Schedule 1 (no accepted clinical use, limited research use only), through Schedule 5 over-the-counter (readily available preparations including OTC drugs). Potentially dangerous or addictive preparations require a physician's direction. Drug stores are required to meet strict standards to ensure the exact prescribed medicine is given out rather than diluted or fake products. That is a GOOD THING. That is how you know your heart medication or allergy pill is not a sugar pill, or insulin wasn't replaced with saline, or your child's antibiotic for pneumonia wasn't swapped out with bubblegum flavored liquor.

In this case of morphine-producing yeast, that would fall under a Schedule 2 product, same as morphine, and require the same oversight to help reduce abuse and misuse of the highly addictive compounds.

Comment: Re:Assuming you are not just trolling..... (Score 2) 150

It is very difficult to 'shoot something into the sun'. You first need to get it out of the Earth's gravity, and then you need to decelerate it by 20 km/sec. This is, frankly, impossible. You might be able to put a small payload to the sun if you used a very big rocket, and did a Venus fly-by. This way you could dispose of a few kilograms at a cost of a few hundred billion dollars.

ok i'll bite, not being physicist I am curious what decelerating something by 20km/sec has to do with shooting something to the sun.

Because we orbit the Sun.

It would actually take less fuel to launch it to a distant star than to hit the nearby Sun.

We are orbiting the Sun. Anything we launch out of our orbit is also going to continue in the same path, similarly orbiting the Sun, and because it is small, drift away from the Sun. That can be leveraged to hit another star with minimum fuel consumption, although the journey would be long. Think along the lines of the Voyager probes or various other launches to locations beyond the planet.

If you want to hit the Sun you need to change its velocity so it is no longer in orbit of our star (slowing it down relative to Sun), and also push it firmly toward the Sun strong enough that it goes in. The star is not like a drain hole sucking things in, stellar winds and constant ejections push things out. It is not enough to get it outside Earth's orbit with a rail gun or other accelerator. Aiming for the Sun requires an enormous amount of energy, more than any single accelerator has made in human history.

Comment: Dislike for SJW tag (Score 1) 214

by Frobnicator (#49703887) Attached to: Harry Shearer Walks Away From "The Simpsons," and $14 Million

I have a dislike for many SJW causes... I feel it's a disservice to associate what he's doing, which I think is a good cause, with the SJW tag.

So wait ... because you personally dislike some other social causes, you want to rename the term when it applies to causes you do like?

A bit of cognitive dissonance there. That's what the term is, so it applies. People are fighting for a cause they believe makes society better. You may or may not support that specific cause, but that doesn't change what they are doing. You may think the term SJW is a good thing or a bad thing, but it is what it is: they are fighting for social justice.

That reminds me of people who use the ACLU fighting for something is a bad thing if they dislike the issue, but a good thing if it is an issue they support; when they start talking about the ACLU you never can be sure if that is a cause they support or a cause they reject.

Comment: Re: Ungreatful Cunt (Score 1) 214

by Frobnicator (#49695541) Attached to: Harry Shearer Walks Away From "The Simpsons," and $14 Million

I'm pretty sure this is not about the money. The guy is 71 years old and has is own TV show and his own radio show, plus multiple books. I seriously doubt the money is the problem.

He has accomplished all the above while he was under the oppressive yoke of his Simpsons contract - how much more freedom did he want/need?

The production company said it offered Shearer the same contract as it offered all the other cast members, but Shearer turned it down.

Shearer says he simply wanted what he always had - the freedom to work on other projects.

How can you reconcile the above?

You seem to misread.

The OLD contracts allowed all cast members to work on other projects. This is what he is fighting to keep.

The NEW contracts with cast members are more modern corporate evil, presumably requiring that everything they do in life be given to the company to profit from.

Likely given his position in life and power at the company, his specific contract was rewritten to allow him to keep working on other projects, I'm assuming he was fighting for ALL the cast members to be given the freedom present in older contracts to work on other side projects without ownership going to the corporate overlords.

Comment: Re:Ungreatful Cunt (Score 1) 214

by Frobnicator (#49694001) Attached to: Harry Shearer Walks Away From "The Simpsons," and $14 Million

But he was only getting $300,000 per episode before he quit. Over $7M per year.

I'm pretty sure this is not about the money. The guy is 71 years old and has is own TV show and his own radio show, plus multiple books. I seriously doubt the money is the problem.

Look at what he talks about and writes about. Even read TFA about this. His comments are about the contract terms being able to do whatever other work they want on the side.

As has been commented elsewhere, basically he is in a position to become a Social Justice Warrior on the contracts. Corporate contracts likely demand that all cast members -- except a few people in special bargaining positions -- cannot work on any other projects, or that everything they do becomes owned by the company. That is increasingly common from our corporate taskmasters who demand the opportunity to profit from anything you do outside of work, no matter how unrelated it is to the workplace.

My guess is that he wasn't negotiating just for himself, but that all the cast members be freed to work on side projects as well.

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