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Comment Re:problems (Score 1) 85

You know that Bill Gates isn't one guy doing all the work all by himself right?

Really? No, that's a total surprise to me.

The point is not who does the work. The point is who decides which path to take. And from what I've seen so far, Bill is anything but a hands-off manager. His education project is the way he thinks it should be done, and his malaria foundation does business with pharmacy companies that he holds stock in.

It might just be that he listens to his experts and then goes on stage selling their proposals as his ideas, but given his history with Microsoft and Windows and DOS, I doubt it.

Comment Re:Two words (Score 1) 325

No, they are not island countries.
Hence they have enough fresh water.
Desalination with electric power makes sense for ... hm, I can only think about one single country ... you might have more ideas. 90% of the world does not need this, they have rain, melting glaciers, snow in the winter and melting snow in the summer.
No idea where you live that you obviously need desalination plants.

Comment Re:Two words (Score 1) 325

Two words: Desalination plant.
Extremely useful in Germany, or the Netherlands, or *cough* *cough* Switzerland.

If only those countries had neighboring countries into which to sell excess power, or to which to sell water. Sadly, they are island nations, right?

Comment Re:Time to invest in hard hats (Score 1) 168

No, we don't have airports in city centers because airports are enormous and noisy.

For years Edmonton had a municipal airport close to the downtown used mostly by small planes, even with the small planes there were height restrictions on the buildings in the downtown. Now this is much more a concern with landing and takeoff rather than flying at altitude, but landing and takeoff are dangerous and that's a factor they consider.

As usual, the whole "drones will fall on my head" thing is luddite horseshit based on little to no evidence from the real world.

I'm not even sure how to respond to this, I offered specific reasoning based on economics and the reality of hardware failures and you just called it "luddite horseshit based on little to no evidence from the real world". You didn't even offer me an actual point to counter.

Did you mean the part where there will be lots of drones in the sky above cities? That's a question of economics and how the usages develop, I don't think assuming a big market is "luddite horseshit".

What about thinking that some will fall out of the sky? Surely the drones in Amazon's fleet won't last forever, how do you expect them to be pulled from service and recycled? Don't you think there's going to be companies looking at the slightly less reliable drones and thinking "rather than buying a new one I'll accept a 0.1% this drone will spontaneously fall out of the sky in the next month".

Or maybe you think the actual falling won't be a problem. If it's a low population suburb you're probably fine. If it's a downtown during rushhour, it might be pretty hard to find a safe place to drop a 20kg object.

If you're going to call something "luddite horseshit" then please be specific about what the actual horseshit is.

Comment Right to bargain as a union (Score 1) 78

The statement about contractors not having a right to bargain as a union isn't quite the full story. What contractors don't have is a right to have a union as the sole bargaining unit for all contractors. With employees, the union bargains on behalf of all employees whether they're members of the union or not. Contractors have every right to form a union and have it bargain on their behalf, but it can only bargain on behalf of those contractors who're members. If you aren't a member, you negotiate your own terms. And the company can't refuse to negotiate with the union because they aren't negotiating with the union, they're negotiating with you with the union acting as your agent. They can of course refuse to negotiate with you, but they could do that anyway (and frankly any sane contractor has an attorney involved in contract negotiations to make sure there aren't any hidden loopholes or gotchas in the contract, so refusing to deal with a representative would be a red flag that these aren't negotiations) and the basic idea behind a union is that refusing to deal with the union cuts the company off from so many contractors that they can't afford to do that.

The thing to be wary of is joining a union or other organization where the management has the right to overrule the membership. That's when things always go badly.

Comment Re:I thought the secondary payload (Score 1) 51

And of course, no one is inspired by the idea of building autonomous robots to explore an alien world. That stuff is just mundane.

Once the robot is built, your job is done.

You don't build autonomous robots in order that you may explore an alien world, you build autonomous robots in order that the autonomous robots may explore an alien world.

Once you launch the things into space, you might as well be watching "Duck Dynasty" or some other form of reality television.

Comment I really wonder how other employers/employees... (Score 1) 78

I really wonder how other employers/employees are going to take this.

The Seattle areas top ten employers all make heavy use of contractors:

1. Boeing
2. Microsoft
3. University of Washington
4. Amazon
5. Weyerhaueser
6. Group Health Cooperative
7. Fred Meyer
8. Bank of America
9. Qwest Communications
10. Nordstrom

Good luck with the lawsuits guys! You're going to be getting it from both side, if this passes!

Side A: The employers who provide all your jobs, and don't want to have to give up contract workers
Side B: The contract workers for those employers, who wonder why Uber contractors deserve your intervention, but they don't

Comment You *do* realize, right... (Score 1) 78

And Workman's compensation suffers an economic loss when employees are falsely called independent contractors.

You *do* realize, right... Workman's Comp is not supposed to be a profit center for the state, and that because contractors who do not pay into it can not make claims against it, you're only counting a lack of revenue from taxes as them suffering a loss, and they aren't suffering an actual loss in terms of having to pay out funds that they did not collect in the first place?

I know that many states treat it as a slush fund they can borrow against, and (effectively) never pay back what they;ve borrowed out of it, in the same way the federal government borrows from the social security trust fund. But it's not actually *supposed* to work that way.

Comment Re:Time to invest in hard hats (Score 1) 168

Same is true of airplanes and the same objections were raised when they were new.

And we don't have major airports in the downtown core of major cities for partly that reason.

But even the cheapest airplanes are extremely expensive and contain at least one pilot who really doesn't want to die. If your plane is getting to the state where it might fall out of the sky you repair or retire it.

But say you have a fleet of 5 year old drones. You'll probably get another 3-4 years out of most before they fail completely so it's a waste of money to throw them out and buy new ones. Instead you'll just run them into the ground until they die, sure the threat of lawsuits might keep them well maintained but that's not the same guarantee as airplanes.

Comment Time to invest in hard hats (Score 1) 168

Hardware fails, drones will fall from the sky, and no one seems to be discussing this. If they fly over the roads they'll fall in traffic and cause accidents, if they fly over the sidewalks they'll hit pedestrians and cause serious injury. I'm sure the hardware is reliable but I don't think people will have a lot of tolerance for drone related injuries, is the tech really so reliable that they could be deployed large-scale without falling drones becoming a concern?

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]