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Comment Re:Just Moral Panic: They're taking our jobs!!! (Score 1) 331

Don't normally reply to ACs, but here goes.

What you complain about as "bigotry" (I've noticed your ilk love the "moral panic" caused by that word) is actually just simple self interest.

I find it ironic that a nice left winger...

There's nothing that self-identifies a bigot quite like the use of phrases like "your ilk" and labeling anyone that says something they don't want to hear as a "left winger". it in our nation's best interests to bring in workers who will take high paying jobs from US citizens?

LOL - AC, you can't even logic! This assumes that H-1Bs ARE taking "high paying jobs from US citizens". I argued this is not the case, and gave my reasons. You can't show the opposite by simply assuming the conclusion - that's circular reasoning!

You offer more and more money so that people languishing in dead-end but comfy jobs will change jobs...

Right, and then who's going to fill those now vacant jobs?

By your "logic" we can double our food supply by just cutting it in half!

If there are only a dozen eggs available - but you need *two* dozen - you can offer $1 million per egg but you're still only going to be able to buy a dozen.

Comment Re:Just Moral Panic: They're taking our jobs!!! (Score 1) 331

... and it's also perfectly reasonable for those senior devs to command a high salary. should it be any other way?

No, it shouldn't be any other way. However, we ARE offering the kind of salaries that should attract qualified senior devs. (better even!)

The problem isn't that we aren't offering good enough pay to attract applicants - we get plenty of applicants. The problem also isn't that we're not attracting senior or experienced devs - we get plenty of applicants with tons of experience "on paper".

The problem is that they're failing the interviews - it turns that unemployed "experienced" devs are generally unemployed for good reason. We have people show up with 10-20yrs "experience" on their resume who are useless at some truly basic shit: like they can't tell the difference between a linked list and an array, between pointers and references, between thread and processes, between mutexes and semaphores etc etc etc... don't know what boxing/unboxing is, can't define latency, ping and jitter and can't hash out an algorithm in pseudo-code on paper to save their lives.

Comment Re:Just Moral Panic: They're taking our jobs!!! (Score 1) 331

I have never had a developer "fall in my lap"...

LOL - that's pretty much how my company found me! They've been lamenting ever since that they haven't been able to find anyone else that way...

...we have trained each one that was successful ...

That's what I'd be doing if I was in charge of hiring/HR

It generally takes a year but anyone that is going to stick around adds value equal to the starting pay inside a month or two.

Provided they actually DO stick around! Many shops are quite reluctant to "hire & train" because of the potential wasted investment if they leave...

Comment Re:Just Moral Panic: They're taking our jobs!!! (Score 1) 331

I'm a Canadian programmer in my 40s.


There's a huge number of Canadians in the USA that could be lured back to Canada if you were willing to match their pay.

We actually pay slightly *above* the US market rate, so where are these people?

(I also call BS on the no qualified people responding to job postings - Post how much you will pay. As an Embedded C programmer I'm not going to waste my time applying to a job that likely pays under $120K)

Hey, look, I'm not in HR and I don't know if I'm allowed to publicize our actual pay scales, so uhm yeah, I'm NOT going to risk that.

Suffice it to say though, that even though we don't do Embedded C in my specific shop, if we were looking for Embedded C devs, it *wouldn't* be a waste of your time to apply.

Comment Re:Just Moral Panic: They're taking our jobs!!! (Score 1) 331

Is possibly because people don't want to sink tens of thousand of debt financed dollars into something the might not succeed at like Computer Science and instead choose to major in business where they can be assured of graduation on time and being somewhat employable?

Could be, but this just supports my point: whatever the reason, there aren't enough qualified people. The scenario you presented here is:

"not enough qualified people because govt is underfunding education"

Which is an *entirely* different narrative than:

"there are plenty of qualified people out there who nobody will hire because of H-1B workers"

Is it because companies no longer want to develop talent and as you say refuse to higher anyone that does not already have a job and exactly the right specialist education?

Could be. Certainly my company prefers to hire experienced devs rather than hire & train, but this seems like it has more to do with not wanting to lose the investment they make in a worker by having them go elsewhere after they're trained.

Do they do that precisely because they have the option of importing that talent from some where else rather than having to invest in developing it? I think so.

Possibly for other companies, but definitely not mine. We don't hire foreign workers for general IT positions (tried it once - it was a disaster). We've had positions lie vacant for months on end because we can't find good local talent, and won't use foreign workers.

If it was used to bring in a handful of PHD level people with very specific expertise, doing mostly blue sky research this would be a non issue.

This is the only scenario where we've hired from overseas, and in those cases it was like "well, there's only 2 people in the world with this skill set, and neither live here"

Comment Re:Just Moral Panic: They're taking our jobs!!! (Score 1) 331

Major economics fail here.


...if you doubled or quintupled the salary for those positions, you still would not be able to find people capable of doing them? Good qualified engineers would not happily leave their other jobs...

And that solves the overall issue of not enough qualified people how? You can't make a blanket longer by cutting 2 feet off the top and sewing it onto the bottom. Those companies losing people are then going to need to fill those jobs somehow...

...for a 5x bump in salary I'd probably be happy to buy a few extra layers of clothing and move up north.

For a 5x bump in my salary, I'd move to the bloody moon, but it's not going to happen. There's just no way a business is going to pay it's employees 2-5x what competitors are without hemorrhaging money.

What I'm seeing you say here is "We don't want to pay the market price for this labor."

Again, nope. We pay slightly *above* market rates...

What I'm seeing you say here is: "I refuse to work unless I get paid more than the CEO, but I hate brown people so it's their fault"

Comment Re:Just Moral Panic: They're taking our jobs!!! (Score 1) 331

They are out there, you just don't want to pay for them

1. Increase the offered pay until you get the qualified people you need. This is the best option when you don't have time for training and development.

Nope. We offer slightly better than market rates, and have various other incentive programs to attract talent.

2. Pick the best of those your now rejecting and train them. Many of them would be willing to work for below market rates while in training.

I've actually suggested this to management, and I think it's a good idea, but they don't want to make the investment just to have them leave for somewhere else once they're trained.

They're really only willing to hire senior devs who already know what they're doing.

If established developers are losing their jobs to H-1Bs/TFWs, then there should be enough out there that fit management's bill for us to hire, right? Doesn't seem to be the case though...

Comment Re:Just Moral Panic: They're taking our jobs!!! (Score 1) 331

First off, Canada doesn't have an H1-B program. We have the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Thus the reason for my caveat.

Dozens of employees at Canada’s largest bank are losing their jobs to temporary foreign workers, who are in Canada to take over the work of their department.

If that was actually true then either those laid off IT workers AREN'T looking for jobs, or they were replaced because they're not actually competent enough to do the job.

maybe it's because ... we get completely out of the field. Change career paths. Retire. Whatever.

In that case then, you're not actually *losing* jobs to temporary foreign workers, are you? Where do you expect businesses to find talent if the only competent, qualified local people out there have decided to leave the field?

...if you're getting people who think that knowing Dreamweaver and Photoshop makes them qualified, then you (or your HR department) obviously have a problem spelling out minimum requirements...

Nope. We don't use recruiting agencies, and our job requirements are anal retentively clear. We still get these people applying anyway. It's not like they actually make it to the interview though...

Comment Re:Just Moral Panic: They're taking our jobs!!! (Score 1) 331

he correct response would be a massive crackdown on employers who violate the labor laws. Daily raids, random inspections and audits, harsh prison sentences for executives and severe financial penalties...

Yeah, I guess this will "create" jobs for law enforcement, but it's also going to jack the price of fruit at the supermarket and drastically reduce it's availability.

Good if you are fond of fruitless police states, I suppose.

Comment Just Moral Panic: They're taking our jobs!!! (Score 2, Interesting) 331

Caveat: I'm Canadian.

I don't get it. This whole "H1-B is an evil scam!" moral panic seems to me to be just another aspect of the virulent anti-immigration bigotry that has republicans screaming: "They're taking our jobs!" (as if *any* USian is going to pick fruit for less than minimum wage!)

I'm a software engineer at a large multinational, and we've been trying to find qualified candidates for software positions, but we're having a REALLY hard time. There just aren't any qualified people available. This idea that there are competent, qualified STEM people out there who are being denied jobs by the H1-B program just doesn't seem to jive with reality.

Everytime we post job openings, we get *swamped* by applications, so yeah, there are tons of people out there *looking* for STEM jobs. The problem is that the unemployed people applying are deservedly unemployed!. For the most part, it's because they're bloody incompetent - the vast majority fail the interviews despite appearing qualified on their resume. The rest are people who have fundamental misunderstandings of what constitutes "software development": I can't tell you how many people we've had apply for web development jobs who think that knowing DreamWeaver and Photoshop makes them qualified!

For the most part, our new hires are already employed developers making a lateral move from their current employer (for whatever reason).

With respect to other software developers who I know personally, any that I would be comfortable hiring are *already* employed, with good reason. Those software developers who I know personally that are unemployed I wouldn't allow to work on ANY project I was associated with even if they paid me for the privilege!

If H1-Bs are "Taking our jobs!", then *WHERE* in the hell are all the unemployed, competent, software developers this would create? Their absence is suspicious - they just don't seem to be out there.

Comment Re:These people are nuts.... (Score 1) 85

Except it costs five times as much to build a fission power plant than to build enough wind turbines to produce the same amount of energy. Indeed, the wind turbines will only operate 30% of the time. But means the wind turbines cost 3 / 5 times as much as the fission plant. And that's precisely why everyone is building wind turbines and practically no one is building fission plants...

Except that the fission power industry is more mature and has more in place infrastructure than wind. Even at a slightly higher cost we could build more capacity in a shorter time by building fission reactors rather than wind turbines, simply because of the pre-existing infrastructure investment.

Over the last 25 years we've installed under 100 GW of fission, a period in which we installed 370 GW of wind,

Right, for a combined capacity of 470GW, which would be *higher* had we been building as many fission reactors as we could, instead of irrationally pissing our collective pants over nuclear FUD.

In the long term, renewables are the way to go, but short term? The quickest way to end our fossil fuel dependance is to go nuclear, it's the only way to be sure.

Comment Re:No, No, No, No..... This will not work (Score 1) 120

Big and heavy are the two things which are very difficult and thus expensive when you want to throw them into space, even in LEO. The amount of energy required to lift this stuff into orbit will exceed what it can return as power.

...and completely ignoring the idea of building using materials already outside the gravity well, or development of alternative lift methods that are more efficient. Rockets are at best like 70% efficient for lifting loads into orbit (under ideal circumstances, in practice it's lower). You're saying it's *impossible* to *ever* do better? I won't deny it might be difficult to do better, but claiming it's impossible is short-sighted.

Big is irrelevant, heavy is the issue. If you think it will NEVER be possible to build a structure of the appropriate size using less material or lighter material, then we'll just have to disagree. Personally, I think you're ignoring the fact that we can build much larger structures in micro-gravity with much less material because they are under a lot less stress. Just look at how thin and light solar sails are, they cover huge areas with a tiny amount of material.

Physics dictate the size of this thing. Physics will dictate how much power it can transfer, how much it will loose and how much it will have to collect. Physics will dictate how much solar collection area you will need, engineering may be able to approach that someday. Physics will mandate how much energy it will take to get everything necessary into the proper locations.

I don't dispute any of this. I agree.

You will be able to engineer lighter structures, but not smaller ones.

At the risk of repeating myself, size is irrelevant in space. You have all the room you need. Between size and weight, the only relevant issue here is weight, and you've just agreed that we can likely engineer lighter structures.

There is a lower limit on the weight of this structure, regardless of the properties of the materials we can engineer.

Agreed, but neither you nor I are in any position to say what that lower limit is, or assert that that lower limit is absolutely too high to ever be practical.

You might be able to engineer cheaper ways of getting something into orbit, but you cannot change the minimum energy required by physics.

Obviously. I've never claimed you could change the energy requirements for a given mass, but like I've said already, there are ways around that. Like using material which is already up the well, using lighter materials or better construction that uses less material. Using better lift efficiencies, lighter or less material, or eliminating the need to lift stuff out of the well altogether could all go a long way to making it more practical. I'm not saying it IS possible, even with these improvements it might not be; but I AM saying that declaring it impossible now and forever is unwarranted.

Physics is your problem. It defines a system that is so massive that there is no way it ever gets to be cost effective to build...

No, physics is not the problem, it's just one of the constraints on the problem. You can't possibly *know* that the lower limit on mass is too massive to be practical. Unless you can predict the future, new developments in material science could change that in a heartbeat.

...because by my calculations, it will take more energy to create and operate this thing than you can ever hope to recover. That makes it uneconomical too.

Calculations which are based on the constraints of current materials, structural engineering techniques, lift efficiency and the necessity of lifting resources out of a gravity well. Change any one of those things and your calculations are no longer valid. You seem mighty confident that it's impossible to change ANY of them. Me, I'm not so much of an absolutist.

With respect to it taking more energy to create and operate than you can hope to recover, that all depends on how much we can reduce construction and operating costs, and how long we can prolong operational lifetime. Reducing construction and operation costs and extending operational lifetimes, are the very *definition* of "engineering problem". When photovoltaics were first invented, they were so expensive to make, and had such short lifetimes that we needed much more energy to make the things than we would recover over their operational lifetime. However with recent developments, PV devices now return between 15x-60x their construction energy over their operating lifetime. I see no reason to believe that the same isn't possible for microwave transmission systems.

Personally I think there are much better uses for our time and resources spent on developing new energy sources. Things which are way more cost effective and promising than this nutty idea of throwing solar panels into space and beaming the energy home. Can we say fusion? That's a much better and more effective way to produce energy that we know is theoretically possible too. The remaining engineering problems of fusion are close to workable solutions and the physics, while daunting, do not mandate that we build engineering solutions which are massive in size and complexity.

I agree completely with all of this (except the size contention - it doesn't matter in space). I never said orbital microwave energy transmission was the best solution to our energy problems, or that there weren't better alternatives. I just take issue with your claim that it will never, ever be a practical approach because of the limitations of physics. I agree that it is not practical now, but the major obstacles are ones of engineering. At this point we simply don't know enough about what the physical limitations even are, to be able to confidently declare the endeavour absolutely impractical.

Seems very likely to me we can master these problems and if we did, there would be no need for your pet energy solution where the laws of physics demand massive structures in very harsh environments and equally massive development and deployment costs.

Orbital transmission of energy via microwaves is not my "pet energy solution" - I have no investment in it other than to say that declaring it impossible or impractical forever, due to unknown limits of physics, is quite premature.

If you want to talk actual, currently practical, energy solutions, we don't even need to bother speculating about fusion reactors - we should just be building more fission reactors. The issues of metldowns and containment of radioactive byproducts are already quite well understood, and we already have workable engineering solutions to them. In the event of failure, modern reactor designs wind down instead of causing a chain-reaction meltdown. Storing radioactive byproducts is a mature field of engineering, with advances being made all the time. Any leaks are localized, less harmful and much easier to deal with than the global issue of fossil fuel byproducts just being released into the air.

Fusion can wait, the only practical way forward to meet our energy needs in the short term without causing massive environmental problems is to build more fission reactors.

I like work; it fascinates me; I can sit and look at it for hours.