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Comment: Convenience in place of Caution (Score 1) 242

by div_2n (#47432495) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Unattended Maintenance Windows?

You're trading caution for convenience.

I have automated some things such as patch installation overnight only to wake up to a broken server despite the patches being heavily tested and known to work in 100% of the cases before only to not have them work when nobody was watching.

I urge you to only consider unattended automation overnight when it's for a system that can reasonably incur unexpected downtime without jeopardizing your job and/or the organization. If it's critical -- DO NOT AUTOMATE.

You've been warned.

Comment: Re:Communism (Score 1) 404

by David Jao (#47312485) Attached to: San Francisco Bans Parking Spot Auctioning App

The other two examples, however.. even if I don't personally agree with them, why shouldn't they be allowed? I think those are perfect examples of good free market. Someone should be able to sell something they make for whatever they want.

Monopoly power leads to deadweight loss and suboptimal consumer surplus. This is economics 101. The theory is very well known. I wouldn't expect members of the general public to know basic economics, but on slashdot, it's fair game.

There are other obvious examples of free market failure. Do you let factories pollute the oceans? What about overfishing and tragedy of the commons? How about photocopying books at cost -- do you prevent this (via copyright) even though it's obviously market interference?

Comment: Re:It depends on the field (Score 1) 538

by David Jao (#47292807) Attached to: Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job
We're talking about two different things. Yes, a school like Harvard pays top dollar for a full professor that they really want. Those positions are not underpaid. Harvard will outbid Ohio State and anyone else for the cream of the crop. But when it comes to untenured assistant professors, Harvard absolutely does underpay, and so does every other elite math department. For example, BPs at Harvard make $60600 per year. That's low even compared to the national average, never mind compared to what you would expect at a top institution.

Continuing with the Harvard theme, if you google Benjamin Pierce assistant professor, the first page of Google results links to the following former BPs: Lauren Williams, Pavel Etingof, Danny Calegari, Nathan Dunfield, and Xinwen Zhu. These people, obviously, landed on their feet and got hired in other universities, quite prestigious universities in fact. And I am sure if you did a comprehensive survey of all former BPs, you'd find the majority working in R1 universities and on the tenure-track. Similar remarks would apply to the untenured named instructorships at any other elite math department, e.g. Dickson Instructor, C.L.E. Moore Instructor, Veblen Research Instructorship, and so on. They're all slightly underpaid. They're all hugely prestigious. And few people have trouble landing a job afterwards.

If you get denied tenure at a lower-ranked school, then yes, that is a disaster. Those schools are set up to give you every opportunity to pass the tenure review. If you fail to do so, then that's on you, and as you say, you'll be an outcast.

Comment: Re:It depends on the field (Score 1) 538

by David Jao (#47291285) Attached to: Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job
I addressed this issue in the last sentence of the paragraph that you quoted (or misquoted, as the case may be, by omitting that critical last sentence). The GP was talking about "professors in technical areas" which I interpret to mean areas such as computer science or engineering as opposed to mathematics, in other words the "TE" part of "STEM". Salaries in these fields are quite a bit higher than in mathematics.

Comment: Mary Margaret Vojtko (Score 2) 538

by David Jao (#47291163) Attached to: Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job

When Mary Margaret Vojtko died last September—penniless and virtually homeless and eighty-three years old, having been referred to Adult Protective Services because the effects of living in poverty made it seem to some that she was incapable of caring for herself—it made the news because she was a professor.

The story of Mary Margaret Vojtko is more complicated than it seems on first glance. Vojtko was a hoarder who rebuffed numerous attempts by others to reach out and help. Among other things, she refused to let a repairman fix her boiler because she didn't want anyone disturbing her house. Yes, she was paid poorly and had no benefits, but there were other factors at work.

Comment: Re:It depends on the field (Score 2) 538

by David Jao (#47291143) Attached to: Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job
Well, that's the trade-off of working at a top university. The top universities have no problems attracting top talent, and they can get away with underpaying their professors. People will still compete for those jobs because of the prestige. As a rule, the phenomenon of associate professors without tenure exists only at a few elite universities. Even if you get denied tenure at these places, it still looks good on your CV. The mathematics community understands that you can be extremely strong and still not meet the standards for tenure at these places.

Once you get below the very top, the GP is basically right, all the way down to at least liberal arts institutions (at community colleges, the situation is again different). I'm an associate professor of mathematics at a very good but not absolute top university (Waterloo). All associate professors here have tenure. I make north of 10k gross per month, although perhaps not well north. I'm very happy where I am. I could make more money in private industry, but tenure is worth more to me than the salary difference. In more technical fields than mathematics (such as computer science or engineering), the salaries are higher, as they have to be, to compete with Google and engineering firms.

All of the above applies to tenure-track professors only. Contingent faculty positions are much more financially precarious.

Comment: Re:And another on the ban pile (Score 1) 289

The company will (temporarily) make some extra profit, which is good for management bonuses. And after a few years the manager moves to another company... Rinse, repeat!

Another option is that it is just a manufacturing hack (because of component shortage) without properly thinking about the consequences.

Comment: Re:Key Point Missing (Score 2) 34

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#47234405) Attached to: Appeals Court Finds Scanning To Be Fair Use

The summary misses a key point. Yes they scan and store the entire book, but they are _NOT_ making the entire book available to everyone. For the most part they are just making it searchable.

Agreed that it's not in the summary, but as you correctly note, it's just a "summary". Anyone who reads the underlying blog post will read this among the facts on which the court based its opinion: "The public was allowed to search by keyword. The search results showed only the page numbers for the search term and the number of times it appeared; none of the text was visible."

So those readers who RTFA will be in the know.

+ - Appeals Court finds scanning to be fair use in Authors Guild v Hathitrust

Submitted by NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) writes "In Authors Guild v Hathitrust, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has found that scanning whole books and making them searchable for research use is a fair use. In reaching its conclusion, the 3-judge panel reasoned, in its 34-page opinion (PDF), that the creation of a searchable, full text database is a "quintessentially transformative use", that it was "reasonably necessary" to make use of the entire works, that maintaining maintain 4 copies of the database was reasonably necessary as well, and that the research library did not impair the market for the originals. Needless to say, this ruling augurs well for Google in Authors Guild v. Google, which likewise involves full text scanning of whole books for research."

Comment: Re:Wow (Score 1) 224

by Bruce Perens (#47232659) Attached to: Interviews: Bruce Perens Answers Your Questions
It actually is a bit different for the Republicans, in that they are caught in an internal party schism of a scale we've not seen on either side since desegregation, if even then. It's difficult for the less right to look good to the more right, undirected pushing against the Democrats is one of the few ways they have to do it.

Comment: Re:Wow (Score 1) 224

by Bruce Perens (#47232465) Attached to: Interviews: Bruce Perens Answers Your Questions

Do not forget that ObamaCare was rammed through without a single Republican vote in the House or Senate.

It's the unfortunate case that Republicans don't generally support Democratic bills. Witness the recent student loan bill. There is not much question that a better educated populance means a better economy and a stronger nation. It's a truism that we could just pay for college education in a number of fields and reap economic benefits of many times the spending. Indeed, we used to do more of that and the country was stronger when we did.

Comment: Re:I really dig the Obamacare comments Bruce made (Score 1) 224

by Bruce Perens (#47231747) Attached to: Interviews: Bruce Perens Answers Your Questions

You meant "you wouldn't approve" rather than "you wouldn't understand".

Positioned correctly, it isn't all that socially reprehensible to state the sentiment that you don't believe you should pay for people who drive their motorcycle without helmets, people who self-administer addictive and destructive drugs, people who engage in unprotected sex with prostitutes or unprotected casual sex with strangers, and people who go climbing without using all of the safety equipment they could.

You don't really even need to get into whether you hold human life sacred, etc., to get that argument across. It's mostly just an economic argument, you believe yourself to be sensible and don't want to pay for people who aren't.

The ironic thing about this is that it translates to "I don't want to pay for the self-inflicted downfall of the people who exercise the libertarian rights I deeply believe they should have."

OK, not a bad position as far as it goes. Now, tell me how we should judge each case, once these people present themselves for medical care, and what we should do if they don't meet the standard.

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel's behind. -- Edgar R. Fiedler