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Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Board 141

Posted by Soulskill
from the retirement!-retirement!-retirement! dept.
jones_supa writes: After leaving his position as CEO of Microsoft a year ago, Steve Ballmer has still held a position as a member of the board of directors for the company. Now, he is leaving the board, explaining why in a letter to fresh Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. "I have become very busy," Ballmer explains. "I see a combination of Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking up a lot of time." Despite his departure, the former-CEO is still invested in the company's success, and he spent most of the letter encouraging Nadella and giving advice. Nadella shot back a supportive, equally optimistic response, promising that Microsoft will thrive in "the mobile-first, cloud-first world."

Comment: Re:Gini coefficient (Score 1) 254

by Jesrad (#47669089) Attached to: The Benefits of Inequality

Thanks for the reference, this is all interesting. It seems to confirm that equality has a lot to do with the level of dissemination of information (and other forms of capital). The 'heavy handed" approaches concentrate it, and thus reinforce hierarchies, whereas the "light handed" approaches disseminate it around which dissolves hierarchies.

Comment: Misleading summary (Score 2) 254

by Jesrad (#47669041) Attached to: The Benefits of Inequality

I went and examined the paper, and damn right the /. summary is misleading.

First one, the researchers don't use the vague term "social inequality". Second, they are merely reporting on the results of a computer model, and not on some new archeological findings. From the abstract:

We model the coevolution of individual preferences for hierarchy alongside the degree of despotism of leaders, and the dispersal preferences of followers. We show that voluntary leadership without coercion can evolve in small groups, when leaders help to solve coordination problems related to resource production.

They did a computer simulation of the classic Coase argument about transaction costs affecting market structure (and its consequences on asymetry of information which equate to inequalities of human capital), applying it to individuals undergoing the agricultural revolution (food surpluses but with delayed returns and higher need for coordination). Well, yeah, a hierarchy emerges in this situation, because the rapid change in productivity is not uniformly distributed and depends on information that is costly to disseminate. That idea's been around at least since Hayek's works on spontaneous order. It's kinda nice to see it verified in a computer model, but it doesn't teach us anything new.

Comment: Re:Change management fail (Score 3, Insightful) 162

by Jesrad (#47579985) Attached to: Passport Database Outage Leaves Thousands Stranded

Sounds like your IT has been outsourced to India

Not necessarily. I've seen this exact kind of madness happen just as easily with locals, here in France. Like that time the local, on-site support team from our vendor rebooted the production server instead of the test platform, because woops wrong terminal window in the foreground.

Or when they covertly rolled out a "shame-bug fix" remotely on the production platform during a week-end night, again instead of targetting the test platform, then noticed their mistake, and wiped-out months of production data by reverting to a long-expired backup.

Or when the local datacenter people managed to botch our fully-automatized install+deploy+configure solution by messing up on the one thing they had to do right - that is, upload it and launch it on the correct machine of the cluster.

Don't think hiring local people for more money protects you from such cringe-worthy nonsense. The moment you outsource anything, and I do mean *anything*, no matter how far and how expensive and what nationality: if you base your expectations on anything but an actual track-record of reliability and dependability, you're exposing yourself to long hours of hair-pulling and yelling into phones.

Comment: Decentralizing FEMA one step at a time (Score 2) 55

by Jesrad (#47563995) Attached to: Airbnb Partners With Cities For Disaster Preparedness

This is awesome on many levels for anyone with a keen understanding of transaction costs, and the effect of the internet on these costs.

Will they partner with Uber and set up special-case emergency pickup and relocation of disaster victims too ? It would be amazing I could take a complementary insurance to cover for that.

+ - Privately-funded study to test coconut oil as treatment for Alzheimer's->

Submitted by Jesrad
Jesrad (716567) writes "Following the growing viral popularity of Dr Mary Newport's reported success in treating her Alzheimer's Disease-stricken husband with coconut oil, and some positive results of in-vitro tests, come news of a clinical trial of coconut oil as a potential treatment for halting and reversing symptoms of the neuron-destroying disease."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Classic game theory ? (Score 1) 619

by Jesrad (#47506037) Attached to: Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More

I don't think there is much to see here.

Soviet communism, and marxist communism in general, operate (wrongly) under assumptions of the economy being a zero-sum game, so it's not really a surprise it has an effect on the ethics of its 'players'. Quoting straight from the Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism:

whatever the capitalists take from the workers in the form of open or concealed profits, the workers lose completely. And this is the very definition of a zero-sum situation.

In a zero-sum game people tend to resort to unethical strategies more often, as in the classic Prisoner's dilemma.

Successful and fortunate crime is called virtue. - Seneca