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Comment: Re:CA requires commercial licenses for pickup truc (Score 2) 202

IMO, the *real* reason for commercial licenses was the concept that commercial drivers are driving much larger vehicles that require special training/skills to operate safely on the roadways.

I'm pretty sure the real reason is to make more money from licensing people who are in turn making a profit from that license. The gov't could just issue a straight vehicle license and leave it up to the owner of a vehicle to get whatever training is required to operate it safely, but they don't because there's more money to be had from fees on commercial enterprises.

If Uber or Lyft drivers are getting paid to drive passengers around then they should have to follow the same rules as other commercial drivers. Maybe those rules should be changed. Maybe regulations on cab companies are unduly restrictive to limit competition and that should be fixed. But, I don't think a "cab" company that just happens to allow its passengers to find rides using the internet should get a pass on the rules that cab companies with proper dispatchers and fleets have to follow.

If the rules are useless or harmful, change the rules. Don't grant exemptions just because the internet is involved.

Comment: Re:Imagine all the people (Score 1) 508

by Gavrielkay (#48881499) Attached to: Senator Who Calls STEM Shortage a Hoax Appointed To Head Immigration
H1B isn't about being treated equally and assessed solely on qualifications though. If tech companies and the government really wanted that, they would expedite proper green cards to tech workers and have them compete on equal terms with Americans. If there were truly a shortage then they'd be paying higher salaries; instead wages are down. But they're still whining about a shortage. It's pretty transparent.

Comment: Re:Why is lack of male nurses not an issue? (Score 2) 479

by Gavrielkay (#48835103) Attached to: Fighting Tech's Diversity Issues Without Burning Down the System
My guess is that men who show an interest in medicine are pushed to become doctors rather than nurses. Personally, I think more male nurses is great, and more female doctors is great. But I don't think there are fewer male nurses because men are discouraged from the medical field entirely. It is the reverse of women being told that if they insist on wanting to do work in an office they should be a secretary rather than a manager/programmer/network specialist etc. I could also imagine that men who show an interest in education are pushed to become professors rather than say elementary school teachers.

It isn't so much that men are discouraged from fields but made to feel bad if they don't pursue the apex of the chosen field rather than something along the path. Certainly in my own education, I remember the ratio of male teachers increasing as I went through school. Almost no male el-ed teachers, more middle school/high school (esp. in the sciences) and then in college it was predominantly male professors.

Comment: Re:Right Problem, Wrong "Solution" (Score 1) 479

by Gavrielkay (#48834781) Attached to: Fighting Tech's Diversity Issues Without Burning Down the System
I agree with your sentiment. However, I'd fix that particular problem by very noisily firing anyone that I heard say that or act as if they felt that. Yeah yeah, harder than it sounds and all that, but I don't think quotas fix the problem. They mask the issue and give ammunition to idiots who can then tell themselves the woman is only there due to the quota. I'd prefer to make sure that anyone in a hiring position who was caught showing a sexist (agist, racist etc) bias was either fired or removed from the decision making process on new hires. There should be no room for that shit these days.

As a woman in the industry, I don't want anyone looking at me and wondering if I only got my job because someone had to check off a percentage.

Comment: Re:What diversity issue? (Score 1) 479

by Gavrielkay (#48834619) Attached to: Fighting Tech's Diversity Issues Without Burning Down the System
There are many levels where women can be discouraged long before they make it to the interview seat. I was lucky that my parents always told me to do what I liked doing and never tried to steer me into traditional paths, but it does still happen. Teachers and professors may do the same, directly or subtly nudging female students away from STEM studies. Once through school, there really are still plenty of hiring managers that shy away from hiring women - thankfully it's not a high percentage, but I encountered a few.

It isn't a problem just because the ratio isn't 50/50. But it is fair to ask if we are making sure women of all ages know they can and should pursue interests in the STEM fields if they wish to. I feel the same way about encouraging men to follow their hearts into non-traditional fields for them as well. I see no reason why men should ever be discouraged from being teachers or nurses.

Comment: Re:More US workers == offshoring?? (Score 1) 482

by Gavrielkay (#48817111) Attached to: IEEE: New H-1B Bill Will "Help Destroy" US Tech Workforce
The workers may want a green card, but frequently, the businesses that employ them have no intention of sponsoring them. There are businesses that specialize in having Indian workers come here, spend a few years working on an H1B and then go back home to India where they can be employed as "offshored" workers. They have learned our practices and bettered their communication skills and therefore provide cheap but prepared labor in their home country.

If companies really just wanted more tech workers, and not cheaper labor, they'd push for fast tracking them on proper green cards so they could stay indefinitely. The H1B is a means to cycle people through as indentured servants.

I'm sure there are exceptions. I'm sure there are well paid, well qualified H1B workers in this country. But think about it, do you really think companies and our gov't would have concocted the program if what they really wanted was a bunch of permanent tech workers to fix a shortage? Permanent residency would have allowed that already, no new program with a time limit and direct tie to employment was necessary.

Comment: Re:Poor policy, as usual ... (Score 1) 73

I disagree that we send representatives specifically to act out our will. I think more we are supposed to elect people who will make decisions that are good for the whole - at whatever level they are elected to - by devoting their time to learning what is best. No regular citizen with a job and family can be expected to keep track of more than minor issues in their locality. The kinds of decisions that should be made at the federal level for example are more than most people can wrap their heads around. You're supposed to vote for someone you trust to do what you would do if you had all the information available and the time to study it.

What we actually do is vote for whoever tells the most pleasing lies, has the most ad money, follows some arbitrary political party etc. Voter turnout is crap, so all election issues are boiled down to just the hot buttons that can motivate the crazies to go vote. And we end up with a gov't run by people who have no reason to care about good solutions because they'll get re-elected by the same TV consuming wing-nuts who put them in office in the first place.

Comment: Re:Besides the blantant bloodshed... (Score 1) 490

by Gavrielkay (#48776803) Attached to: In Paris, Terrorists Kill 2 More, Take At Least 7 Hostages
Well, it is news. And as a nerd, I am also curious what other nerds think of the matter. The one thing I don't get from other news outlets is a bunch of comments from my fellow nerdy types on what they think of matters in the world. I'm curious how it benefits Slashdot or your fellow nerds to complain about a story showing up here. Surely you'd be better off just not commenting and letting a story die. If you really hate seeing these stories, a complete lack of response would serve better to deter more of them.

But personally, I like to see these here because the commenting is higher quality (the bar isn't very high) than other outlets. Nerds aren't only interested in computers.

Comment: Re:Because... (Score 1) 556

My contradiction to this is that many religions make claims about reality that can be tested. Take the old testament flood for example. Were such an event to have occurred, there would be evidence of it in the landscape, fossil record, DNA bottle-necking for thousands of species etc. It's all well and good to say that science cannot make any determinations about the concept of religion or a deity, but I think you'll find there are testable claims in many holy books.

Comment: Re:noooo (Score 1) 560

by Gavrielkay (#48721139) Attached to: 2014: Hottest Year On Record
Those questions are certainly being asked. The problem is that they are also being answered in ways that still point to humans burning fossil fuels as the big culprit. Do you really think that you have questions that thousands of climate scientists haven't come up with?

In any case, even if the thousands of scientists are completely wrong and there's nothing humans did or can do to the overall global climate, we STILL need to accept that the planet is warming. The oceans are acidifying. Methane stores are at risk for release causing even faster change etc. Whether humans are responsible or not does not change the fact that vast amounts of money are going to be spent on mitigation and doing nothing to reduce our environmental impact now only increases those costs for future generations.

Moving millions of people from coastal cities, islands and flood plains is expensive. Finding new fertile land for farming and getting rid of whatever might currently be on it is going to be expensive. Figuring out alternative food supplies when the ocean ecosystems collapse is going to be expensive - if it's even possible. We can hope it'll be settled diplomatically, but wars could break out.

The future is not rosy, and pretending there's nothing to be done because you're not convinced that thousands of scientists have asked every single question possible about alternative reasons for warming is going to be little help to future generations just trying to deal with the effects. Yes, the planet has been this warm before, but humans didn't have civilization then, and sometimes I wonder if we still will when it gets that warm again.

Comment: Re:Why do they care what he thinks? (Score 1) 681

by Gavrielkay (#48690883) Attached to: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains His Christmas Tweet
On the other hand, several billion people around the world were already celebrating that fact. So a tweet or two about something else that happened on that day that was significant to the world and interesting to anyone who isn't so wrapped up in their own beliefs that they can't see straight certainly could be allowed to pass by without a ruckus, right?

Comment: Re:He must enjoy preaching to the choir. (Score 1) 681

by Gavrielkay (#48690787) Attached to: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains His Christmas Tweet
He didn't alienate anyone who wasn't already. Anyone who can't handle being told that something else happened on their precious holiday wasn't going to listen to him on other topics. And for those who are willing to deal with the reality that they don't have the sole claim to any particular day on the calendar, they might have learned something new.

We have to get away from the idea that religion can't be criticized, examined, prodded and gently picked on. If someone's belief can't stand up to a bit of gentle teasing that's their problem.

Comment: Re:Interesting. I'd think the opposite (Score 1) 208

by Gavrielkay (#48667833) Attached to: The World Is Not Falling Apart

Conservatives are hesitant to change things, so they don't screw things up.

That might be true of conservative individuals. I think most Americans if you just sit them down for a nice chat are reasonable people. We tend to understand that there is room for improvement and solutions might not be simple or comfortable for everyone.

Politics is a whole 'nother thing though. Politics in America is about nothing more than hot-button issues and campaign posters now. No one wants an actual solution to any problem in Congress. Why? Because if something gets solved, it can't be used as a wedge issue for the next election. Or worse, the "other side' might get the credit for solving something. No one in our government wants solutions and they aren't working towards any.

Until the 80% of Americans who are reasonable people wanting real solutions get up and get involved, things will continue to deteriorate. With voter turnout of 40% or less, we're letting the extremists make the decisions and we're getting exactly the government we deserve.

Comment: Re:Argument from authority (Score 1) 323

by Gavrielkay (#48656261) Attached to: Putting Time Out In Time Out: The Science of Discipline
My guess is they mean more sending your kid to sit in their room and supposedly think deep thoughts on whatever they did that led to being stuck in their room and how to act better next time.

Generally, I don't think the child is devoting any time to any such thing and it's more to inconvenience the child. Much like spanking, it's about hoping the child does what you want in order to avoid you doing something to them that they don't like. I'd call time-outs a step above physical violence (spanking) but I think every parent should be willing to listen to and evaluate research that suggests there are even better ways of teaching children how to behave.

I definitely agree that teaching kids not to act out in anger without giving themselves time to calm down and think rationally is a good lesson. But I'm not sure that's the exact thing the paper refers to as a "time out."

Comment: Re:Wrong way of thinking. (Score 1) 628

by Gavrielkay (#48643159) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?
The problem with your unregulated utopia is that psychopaths exist who would quickly corrupt it and turn it to their own benefit. Human nature will ruin any attempt at a pure "free" market. We've already seen the effects of businesses being able to do whatever they want in the pursuit of profit. The Cuyahoga river caught on fire 13 times.

The happiest countries in the world today have governments that put social safety nets in place so that the psychopaths who get rich off the labors of others can't grind them into the dirt too. Restrictions exist to level the playing field between those who will do anything for wealth and power and those who just aren't cut-throat by nature. Personally, I'm not interested in seeing the end result of your "free" market.

A threshold of x number of deaths per hour indeed. As if profit seeking should ever be more important than life.

The number of UNIX installations has grown to 10, with more expected. -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June 1972

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