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Comment: Re:Federal law has an effect, too (Score 4, Informative) 314

by KermodeBear (#48478555) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

From Redrawing the Lines (just a site I found with a quick Google search, no special reason to pick it other than it is what I found):

Are states permitted to create new majority- minority districts?

States are permitted and sometimes required to create new majority-minority districts under the Voting Rights Act to avoid diluting minority voting strength during redistricting. States with significant minority population growth over the course of the last decade, for instance, may need to create new majority-minority districts to ensure that redistricting plans comply with the requirements of Section 2 of the Act. Plans that dilute minority voting strength by failing to create feasible majority-minority districts may be quickly challenged following adoption. Since Section 2 litigation can be both costly and time- consuming, officials in many states set out to draw plans that fairly reflect minority voting strength at the beginning of the redistricting process. The need to comply with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act to avoid minority vote dilution can serve as a compelling justification for both preserving and creating new majority-minority districts, which helps protect these districts from constitutional attack.

From Cornell University, we have:

Vote Dilution

Section 2 of the VRA, codified at 42 U.S.C. 1973, prohibits drawing election districts in ways that improperly dilute minorities’ voting power. This prohibition applies to states, counties, cities, school districts, and any other governmental unit that holds elections. Two typical forms of vote dilution involve “cracking” a minority community between several election districts, and “submerging” minority communities in multi-member districts. Cracking occurs when election officials split a single minority community into enough different election districts that even if the community voted as a bloc, it could not influence any single districts’ elections. Alternately, election officials might dilute a minority community’s voting power by submerging it in a multi-member district with enough non-minority voters to routinely defeat the minority community’s chosen candidates. See Gerrymandering.

Personally, I find it all to be a bunch of bullcrap. Have you seen those voting districts that are along, squiggly lines that wander all over the place? Give me big squares, randomly generated with approval from a set of judges or something like that, and get the god damned legislators out of the district drawing business. I don't care who it "hurts" or "helps", it is ridiculous to have some of the districts that we do.

Comment: Re:from the Institute of the Blindingly Obvious (Score 1) 437

by KermodeBear (#48457101) Attached to: Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist

My company hired a kid right out of a local college. He is smart, eager to learn, and really enjoys getting into complex problems and trying to figure it all out. Unfortunately, a few months after he was hired, my company's new CEO laid off about 20% of the company. Our new kid was unfortunately cut.

That about four or five months ago. I've kept in touch with this person because he's super nice and I want to be available as a professional reference in case he needs one. He's still out of work. He wants to work, he is very capable, but he is having problems getting a spot. Not because jobs are rare - we know they're not - but because there's so many applicants.

The worker shortage has been a scam from the very beginning.

Comment: Re:my takeaway (Score 1) 222

by KermodeBear (#48426051) Attached to: Lessons Learned From Google's Green Energy Bust

If the cost of stopping the sea level rising is a million deaths worldwide [...] is that better or worse than even abandoning countries and low-lying areas entirely? I have no idea. And unfortunately, it always seems that no-one else does either.

Not only do these people not know, but even worse, they do not care. They just go ahead and do it anyway.

Comment: Re:Simple (Score 1) 222

by KermodeBear (#48426009) Attached to: Lessons Learned From Google's Green Energy Bust

Why is the parent modded down as a troll?

The post is entirely correct. These other sources of energy are not efficient and reliable enough to be financially viable right now. This may change in ten or twenty years, but right now, solar and wind just aren't where they need to be.

Slashdot itself is becoming less and less a site for geeks and nerds. It has been infected by dogmatic brats who cannot tolerate discussion. This is just one example of many - I'm sure you'll find more as the comments flow in.

Comment: Fantastic. (Score 5, Insightful) 212

by KermodeBear (#48412905) Attached to: Launching 2015: a New Certificate Authority To Encrypt the Entire Web

This is a fantastic effort that will help people such as myself. I run sites across a dozen or so hosts, but they don't generate income and I really don't want to drop all that money into certificates. If I can get free certificates from a good CA then I'll gladly bump all my sites over to HTTPS.

Thank you!

Comment: Re:Allow me to fix your typo (Score 1) 258

by KermodeBear (#48393103) Attached to: Comcast Kisses-Up To Obama, Publicly Agrees On Net Neutrality

Many of these things are, in fact, progressive policies - but we must ensure that we're talking about the same progressivism. In American politics, a progressive is someone who believes in a large, power government that has a strong control over the economy and societal norms under the guise of "reform" and "progress."

An example of historical progressive policy would be Prohibition. But don't take my word for it; Last Call is a fantastic book that covers some of this material. If you're the anti-book type, Wikipedia mentions it as well.

So:
Largest corporate handout in history? Progressive.
Expansion of the military-industrial complex? Progressive.
More laws at the state and federal level? Progressive.
Raising taxes on people? The concept of an income tax is a progressive policy.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by clout in STEM work, so I'm not sure how to place it, but many of the things you listed are, in fact, big government progressive ideals. These are the things that FDR, Teddy, Wilson, and others loved. You know what the worst part is? This is a little secret the politicians won't tell you...

The (R) and the (D) are both progressive. The (R) are less progressive, but they're still progressive. They, too, enjoy increased spending, government handouts, boondoggles, choosing winners and losers in the marketplace, and using the law to enforce their own personal moral viewpoints. So remember, when you vote for that (R) or the (D), you're ultimately getting the same thing.

Comment: Re:Window Dressing. (Score 1) 258

by KermodeBear (#48393049) Attached to: Comcast Kisses-Up To Obama, Publicly Agrees On Net Neutrality

I would like you, and everyone else, to remember something about the office of the president. This is very important:

The president does not write laws.

So when someone running for the office of president says, "I will do X," you need to ask yourself if the president is really capable of doing that.

Yes; the president can have some influence on how laws are written and which ones to write, but laws must be passed by congress first, and then approved by the president. That's how it is supposed to work. So next time some president comes along and promises "I will make dancing naked down the street covered in mustard while singing show tunes at midnight legal across the nation," you have to call him out and let him know that no, that office cannot make something legal or illegal.

The current day question, it seems, is if the office of the president has the right to outright ignore certain laws and choose not to enforce them. One can argue that the law hasn't changed, a legal or illegal act remains legal or illegal, only the enforcement of the law has changed, but to me that is a dangerous road to go down. We're supposed to live in a nation of laws, and if the president can choose to enforce or not enforce on a whim, then the laws stop mattering. To me, this is no different than unilaterally rescinding a law, as if the law never existed, a de facto change of the law.

We'll see what the Supreme Court says about this soon, I think; Obama is threatening to do just that, and I imagine there will be a challenge to his decision, and I can't imagine that it won't go all the way to the Supreme Court.

Should one decide to support (or not support) his actions, I would like to to think about what you would feel if "the other guy" was in charge and had the exact same capabilities. Don't support it because "your guy" is in office now, and then stop supporting it because "the other guy" is in office later. If it isn't right for person A to do it, then it isn't right for person B either.

I think this country would be in better shape if people focused more on principals and less on making sure that "my guy wins."

+ - Google and NRG File For $540m Bailout on Under-Performing Solar Installation->

Submitted by KermodeBear
KermodeBear (738243) writes "After taking out a 1.6 billion dollar federal loan through the Department of Energy to build a new solar power facility, NRG and Google have now applied for a 540 million dollar bailout to help pay off the loan. The reason? The solar plant isn't producing as much energy as they predicted — and now they want the American tax payer to cover for their mistake."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:H1B applicants are people too (Score 1) 190

by KermodeBear (#48271253) Attached to: Labor Department To Destroy H-1B Records

I could be totally wrong, but I'm going to guess that the paper applications have no real value; the real data is stored in a database file. It's easy to remove personally identifiable fields from the tables and leave the non-personal data for analysis. Shred the paper, anonymize the digital data, keep it around and release it to the public perhaps.

That kind of data could be very useful in some kind of complex economic modelling software, or perhaps the data over time can use used as an economic or some other indicator, or perhaps an unusual change in the normal pattern could indicate something. I don't know what the actual data is specifically, but if it is stripped of personally identifiable bits then I'm sure someone would find it very valuable. Given how easy it should be to provide, why not?

Blessed be those who initiate lively discussions with the hopelessly mute, for they shall be known as Dentists.

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