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Comment Re:Why should? (Score 1) 231

More like it is so rare AND so many people die that the news organizations play it over and over and Over and OVER and OVER!!!

It isn't because it is so rare, it is because an airplane "disaster" is almost always a case of people dying, or being in grave danger, who were not in control of their fate and were required to "trust the system" that pilot training and standards, and aircraft maintenance, were being upheld.

Yes, they can "control their fate" in the gross sense of "don't fly", but once you decide to fly you are in the hands of a pilot you have most likely never met. You hope the company is obeying airworthiness directives. Did everyone who is shipping cargo on that plane obey the prohibitions on unflyable cargo, and was it stowed properly?

From that view, airplane crashes are "failures of the system" and that makes them news. You almost never hear about an airplane crash that involves a private pilot, outside the local news where the pilot used to live, unless there is a "failure of the system" that creates other fatalities, or chances of same. Otherwise, the "failure" involved is the one person who made his own choices and failed because of his own failure.

That's how most car accidents are today. Someone failed under their own steam. Joe Idiot fell asleep and ran into a tree. It's news when Joe Idiot takes out innocent bystander, because bystander was trusting in the system.

Fast forward to when the system is autonomous. Today, autonomous failures are not reported often because big companies are spending big money on keeping them quiet. When the freeways are filled with these things, any crash will become a failure of the system and it won't be kept quiet for long.

Comment Re:So the taxes were collected from salaries inste (Score 1) 244

Sure there is, because someone would do it, raising wages for all. It becomes a competitive environment.

The company that does it has no incentive to do so, unless they have opening they cannot fill. If they do, then they have incentive to pay more irrespective of the change in tax costs, and they would already be doing so.

Once that company fills all it's openings, the other companies have no incentive to raise wages because they're the only ones hiring -- if they are.

If altruism were economic law, the US Labor Relations Board would not exists.

While true, the question becomes, what kind of world do we wish to live in?

A realistic one.

Do we really want the majority of the capital held by very few people with everyone else a virtual slave to that capital?

I'm sorry, what? I'm talking about a very specific issue of whether an employer has incentive to pass a savings on employee cost onto the employee or back to the people who invested their money in the company. Leaping from that to a statement about "everyone" is silly.

I hope you're wrong, because with that worldview you have no incentive to do the right thing.

I'm sorry, again? Losing customers because you have poor service is incentive to provide better service. Paying people above market rates doesn't do anything for the customer except increase costs, and thus prices.

If people or companies can't change and become better to earn your goodwill back, then why bother changing? What incentive does McDonalds have to make better food if you won't give them another try?

You changed it from Walmart to McDonalds, but I'll play along. When did it become my job to make sure McDonalds makes "better food"? Why should I care what McDonalds produces if I am not going to buy anything from them? Are you saying I should continue to buy things from a company I think is ethically bankrupt? What incentive do they have to change if I just keep shopping there as if nothing happened?

I did my part. I told them what was wrong and why they weren't seeing me again. The incentive to change is that they won't do the same thing to current customers and lose them, too.

Comment Re:So the taxes were collected from salaries inste (Score 1) 244

They don't have to do it, they do it because they know that treating employees well is good business.

I assume you were already treating them well. Well enough that they chose to work for you, at the wages you were paying. Weren't you? If suddenly the cost of an employee dropped by $5/hr each, there is no incentive to give that to the employee and not return it to the stockholders or investors.

If Walmart tomorrow decided to raise the base pay there to $15/hr, two things would happen. A whole lot of people would suddenly have a different view of Walmart, and they'd get a million applications the next day.

Obviously Wal-mart does not need a million more applications for the jobs they have, or they'd be paying more in an attempt at attracting them. If you can't get the employees you need at the current rate of pay, that is incentive to raise the rate of pay.

I dare say that Wal-mart has enough applications for the positions they need to fill. And that if an employee is not performing they have little incentive to keep them on, they'll just hire a replacement. Yes, a replacement costs money, but so does giving every employee a raise just because the cost of the employees has gone down.

They would be able to hire and retain good employees who care about the company and their corporate imagine would instantly improve by a mile.

That you think people would have their opinions of Walmart bought by handing out money, well. People are fickle, and buying goodwill is a losing proposition in the long run. Some people might change their mind about the elephant in the room that shoves local businesses out of town and cuts quality of every product it sells by forcing suppliers to cut their prices to the bone, but I don't think many people would.

I would not, for one. The day they tried charging me for the free reusable shopping bag they had given me just two weeks before, and neither the manager who was watching my discussion with the clerk nor the corporate ethics office cared, they lost my custom forever. I would not change my opinion of the company just because they started paying the greeter $50/hr. My opinion isn't for sale.

The point is, you personally might think it is a good idea to start paying your employees more were you to get a $5/hr discount on their benefits, but most employers would realize it is not a justifiable cost. In any case, the taxes paid "on behalf of" an employee are not taxes paid by the employee.

Comment Re:Democrats, not the "Electoral System" (Score 1) 227

If they are private groups, then why do my tax dollars fund their internal popularity contests (aka primary elections)?

Because poll taxes were deemed unconstitutional a long time ago, and you can't force someone to pay for the right to vote.

And it isn't an entirely internal affair when you are forced to let anyone who chooses to do so vote in your election. Now, if registering temporarily as a Republican so you can vote in the "private internal Republican primary" had any lasting, or even ANY, consequences, there might be an argument. But there are too many Democrats I have heard brag about registering as a Republican so they can "help" the Republicans "pick a better candidate" to ever believe there is anything "internal" or "private" about any primary.

Comment Re:Whoops! (Score 1) 227

That way a lot of people will start to wonder why their favorite candidate doesn't get to debate the D and R nominees on TV.

It is ridiculous to believe that an independent candidate will be allowed into a Democrat or Republican candidate debate. Such debates are not intended to be open-ended first-come first-podiumed affairs. They are the debates for the party nomination process, not the overall election.

When it comes time for the general debates between all the candidates, that is when you should be calling for an all-inclusive process. That's the only time when people should be wondering why "their" candidate doesn't get to debate the "D and R" nominees. Before that, the floor is open for the Ds to debate the Ds and the Rs to debate the Rs, and if the Is want to debate Is they can put that debate together themselves.

Now, if the question is "should the Rs be mandated to seat all R candidates in every R debate (and Ds likewise)" then I'd still answer "no". There needs to be a line somewhere. I understand that if your candidate is on the wrong side of the line you're unhappy, but the line has to be and someone will always be on the wrong side of it. I also understand the attractiveness of someone like Bernie Sanders to some people, but when someone campaigns using the slogan "because fuck this shit" he has put himself where he wants to be.

Comment Re:Whoops! (Score 2, Insightful) 227

Parties are only allowed one nomination for Primary, and primaries are completely (non-partisan) open.

The PURPOSE and REASON for a primary is for the parties to select the candidate they put forward for the general election. Limit the primaries to one candidate for each party, and allow everyone to vote for anyone, and you need to explain how this differs from the general election. If you want to eliminate primaries altogether, just say so.

And that doesn't answer the question "why should Democrats be allowed to select the Republican candidate and vice versa?" Why should people who deliberately choose no party affiliation have ANY say in what candidates the parties put forward?

This means that the party must present its best candidate (and only one) at the primary.

And that candidate is selected specifically how? By the party leadership? Is that better than allowing the party members to select from the several options? I suggest that it is not, simply because it will result in people voting for the lesser of two evils where they consider even the lesser evil to be needlessly moreso than the candidate that would have won the primary -- had there been one.

Why should the American voter be forced to pay for a partisan election?

I agree. Reinstate the poll tax, and only those people who want to vote will be required to pay for it. In this case it isn't a way of keeping people from voting, it's how the election itself is funded. And then people who live in more affluent areas can choose to pay a higher poll tax to pay for more efficient voting systems while those in poorer areas get the voting system they choose to pay for. Really?

Comment Re:So the taxes were collected from salaries inste (Score 1) 244

If I could, I'd give the whole $20/hr to the employee,

Very altruistic, but illogical and unnecessary. If your employee is willing to work for you for $15/hr, why would you pay him $20/hr? Just because you have the money? You might. I don't know. But a rational businessman would see that his costs for labor have dropped and he can cut prices and increase sales, or maintain prices and return the profit to the investors and shareholders. In a big company, it isn't your money to just hand out as you wish, it's the company's money and there has to be a reason to spend it.

That's not cynical, that's good business.

Comment Re:So the taxes were collected from salaries inste (Score 1) 244

So as to not make "pay no taxes" a *complete* lie.

No, they realize that there is a context when talking about what people pay in income taxes so that the statement "pay no taxes" means "pay no income taxes". They aren't talking about sales taxes, for example, when they say "pay no taxes", nor do they expect you to jump up and down and say "but they pay property taxes and gas taxes and ...". Nor are people who complain that "the rich" don't pay "their fair share" talking about gasoline or sales taxes. They're talking about income tax. The context is important.

But then you point out another bit of truth: "the company pays on your behalf". So that tax is not paid by the employee, it is paid by the company on the behalf of the employee. Not the same as the employee paying it. Even if you consider that whatever the company pays on the behalf of or because of the employee could be paid to the employee in wages. Were the social security and other taxes paid by the company to be eliminated, it is unlikely the employee would be paid more. Why would he? He's working for the money he's getting now, why would there be an automatic raise?

Comment Re:This guy should be a lawyer (Score 1) 203

No, your duty is to drive a safe speed and pay attention.

I'm doing that.

And yes, to continue following the safety rules. What you don't seem to get is that in reality swerving kills somebody that should have lived,

You speak in such absolutes. "Swerving kills somebody". No, it doesn't necessarily kill anyone. If I swerve over into an empty oncoming lane, I've killed NOBODY. There is no magic "action at a distance" where somebody dies just because I've broken a relatively minor traffic law.

and doesn't save anybody because stopping is more effective.

If you are physically able to stop in time, yes. If you aren't, then swerving is more effective. That's why a blanket "never swerve" is inappropriate.

It isn't "save a child" vs "dent a fender," it is "do what you're supposed to do that is known to reduce fatalities"

You to think that general probabilities rule the world, and then when faced with a specific situation that requires a specific decision to be made, you should ignore all the other factors and stick with the table of probabilities. Do you also refuse to use an umbrella while walking in a rain storm because the morning weather report said there was only a 20% chance of rain?

And no, if you could "see and keep track of vehicles coming my way in the other lane" you would have "seen and kept track of" the child

You have never driven in the real world. Your arguments are based on probabilities and wishful thinking about a perfect world. The world where computers will make the correct choice 100% of the time and have perfect ability to carry them out.

Any time that you have time to "swerve" safely, you would have time instead to make a legal lane change if that will solve the problem,

A legal lane change requires a relatively long period of signalling the intent ("failure to signal a lane change" is a traffic violation in most places, rarely ticketed on its own but a traffic rule nonetheless), and would be prohibited in many cases by local limitations such as "do not pass" or simply a solid white line separating two adjoining lanes. Swerving safely can be done "now"; changing lanes has to wait until you've obeyed the signalling requirement and may not be allowed by law even then.

You're not allowed to drive faster than you can react to things in your lane,

Uhh, what a strange planet you live on. On Earth there is no such law. There is "too fast for conditions" which involves consideration of the general condition of the roadway, but it would be impossible to go anywhere at all if the law required that you must not drive faster than you can react to the sudden appearance of an obstacle three feet in front of you without hitting it. And if you don't know that this can happen, then you don't have sufficient experience driving to be discussing it.

What will happen is, you'll swerve and hit a vehicle,

Not always, and never when I have done it. There simply was nothing there to hit other than the obstacle, and I didn't hit it. I would have had I followed your admonition to "NEVER SWERVE, STAY IN YOUR LANE AND STOP".

Your absolutism combined with lack of real world experience makes you dangerous.

Comment Re:This guy should be a lawyer (Score 1) 203

Odd that you go so crazy in trying to create a situation where it is morally justified to swerve you had to presume that the person swerving is such an immoral asshole that if he hits a pedestrian who dove in front of his vehicle, he'll just drive off.

Actually, the person who DID NOT swerve is the immoral asshole who chose to run over an innocent child instead of swerve into an empty oncoming lane of traffic, and the one who did NOT swerve is the one who DID have the accident and must stop. He's the only one I talked about having to stop to maintain perfect adherence to the almighty traffic rules. That you didn't realize who I was talking about tells me you didn't read, or didn't comprehend, the hypothetical situation.

The moral, decent guy who chose to break a minor traffic law to save a life doesn't need to stop because there was no accident. The "hit and run" laws don't include "miss and run".

If you had time to swerve, you had time to stop.

From this table, I see that the total stopping distance for a car going 30MPH is 109 feet. That's ten car lengths. There are many streets in my town that have onstreet parking with a 30MPH speed limit. Even with 0 reaction time, the physical distance is still 43 feet. That's four car lengths, about. If you cannot make a full change of lanes in less than ten car lengths, you don't know how to drive.

Even at 20 MPH, the stopping distance is 63 feet. Ditto changing lanes in six car lengths. But you don't have to make a full lane change, all you need to do is avoid hitting a four year old child.

So, sometimes you may be able to stop before you hit the child. Sometimes you won't be able to, and a sane, rational, ethical human being will chose a path that will save the child rather than simply run it over because someone told them the only proper thing to do was "keep going straight ahead."

There are not rows of parked cars on the freeway.

There aren't. But there are often culverts, ditches, or grassy areas close. And those animals which decide to cross sometimes think if they go fast enough they'll make it -- faster than you can stop. I've had such animals dart into my path from less than 10 feet away, much less that 109 feet I'd need to stop for them going at just 30 MPH. The table says that even with zero reaction time involved, I could go no faster than 15 MPH and I'd still hit that animal. If you think driving on I5 or I90 or any other highway at 15MPH is the right thing to do so you will never have to avoid hitting an animal by anything less than coming to a full stop, you're dangerous.

Streets that have lane-side parking have speed limits such that if you have time to turn the wheel to swerve, you'd have time to stop too.

Nope. Maybe on your planet, but not on planet Earth. "Time to turn the wheel" is milliseconds" and is for the most part "reaction time". "Time to stop" includes "reaction time" plus the physical stopping action, which can be a lot longer.

And if children are just popping randomly out from behind parked cars, and you can't see that kids are playing by the road as you approach, how the hell are you going to know if a bicycle just pulled out into the other lane and you didn't notice yet?

I see kids playing by the road all the time. Do you really stop for each and every group of them, just in case? No, you don't. Neither do I. And I'm not counting them continuously, so if one of them goes in between the parked cars I may not notice that specific detail, until they pop out into traffic.

That empty oncoming lane, if there is a bike rider in it, will be obvious. He will most likely be on the other side of the lane to begin with, and I don't need the whole lane to swerve around a child just appearing from between the cars.

So your idea of safe driving is to take the known, sure hit of a child in the street over the good chance of missing it, because there is a small chance that yet another obstacle will suddenly appear in the empty lane you would have swerved into to miss the child? You pick 100% "kill a four year old" over 1% "cause a bike rider to swerve"?

There is a lot more going on in this scenario than just an unseen kid.

Of course there is, so why don't you acknowledge that? Your claim that it is never appropriate to swerve ignores everything else going on, like that completely empty oncoming lane where a swerve would safe the life of a child.

I didn't say it was always appropriate to swerve, only that your claim that it was never appropriate to do so was ridiculous, as is your claim that "DMV" mandates the driver stay the course and proceed straight ahead and stop before hitting anything.

There is a speeding asshole who thinks he's smarter than an engineer,

Yeah, and if he's in the oncoming lane I'll see him and change my course of action. If he's passing me by crossing that double yellow from behind me, well, he'll get a dented fended and I won't have killed a four year old child. I think that's a great trade, because I'll have a few dents in my car, too.

and a child whose parents' fault the accident would be,

Wow. When I said as sarcasm that I'd be innocent if I ran down the child, you actually believe that. You're more interested in whose fault it is rather than can there be a compromise where some cars get damaged but the child lives through it. And you think you are a good driver.

and the bicyclist who you killed who was the only innocent party in the scenario.

There was no bicycle in my scenario. The other lane was empty. I suppose if you believe in the magic of autonomous vehicles getting every life and death decision right 100% of the time, then you believe in the same kind of magic of remote action that includes "step on a crack, break your mother's back", where an unknown bicycle rider is killed whenever someone swerves into an empty lane of traffic.

Comment Re:This guy should be a lawyer (Score 1) 203

You do realise that with every post like this you're broadcasting to the world what a terrible driver you are, right?

Why yes, because deer, possum, and skunks, and four year old children, only decide to run into the roadway in front of terrible drivers, and they all know not to do so in front of such good drivers as yourself.

Don't be stupid. I drive in the real world where the unpredictable is unpredictable, and where a change of course is sometimes the best solution to a potentially lethal situation. I drive in a world where we value the life of the four year old who doesn't know not to run out into traffic from hidden locations over the arbitrary traffic rules of yellow lines painted on a road, and where only a heartless moron would maintain a straight-ahead course knowing he's going to run over someone's baby when there is an empty lane he could move into with no effort at all.

I don't know where you drive that it is "good driving" to go only 10 MPH on a major highway because you might need to stop for a sudden obstacle, but please don't do it on any highway on planet Earth. You'll be the hazard in that case, not the solution.

Comment Re:I never had a problem with their hardware (Score 2) 31

If you have an Android tablet, get the Nook app. I don't think they can hide the files then.

Bzzzzt. Wrong. Thanks for playing the DRM game brought to you by Barnes & Noble, fine booksellers.

Sorry, that's just how really pathetic B&N are at customer relations. The latest Nook app for Android does not keep the content as files anywhere the normal user can find them. It keeps them IN THE APP. Yes, truly, when I updated to the latest app, the app grew to 150MB in size and the files for each book or magazine that were in someplace I could get them were gone. Vanished.

Not only that, but IIRC I picked up FOUR services running all the time, to replace the previous one service.

I don't recall the specifics because I immediately removed that version of the app and searched my backups for a copy of the previous version. That one does have content files, but they have meaningless names so you cannot look for any book by its name. If you're trying to get your most recent content into Calibre so you can use it somewhere else, you have to look by creation date on the file.

And, of course, they changed the DRM system to try to keep people from getting to their stuff anyway, but shouts to the people writing the import filters for Calibre.

Besides the downside of meaningless names for content files, the "previous" app has the amazing ability to keep turning on the "Show Notifications" flag for itself. I go into Settings/Applications and keep turning it off, and every time B&N wants me to know about a special deal it gets turned back on so I get the icon in the notification area.

Comment Re:Sounds like bullshit to me ... (Score 1) 216

If you think you're going to have a bunch of kids coming out of highschool who are the programming workforce of the future ...

I think it is pretty clear from his comments about having to have his kids turn on the TV for him even after him having the basics, that he's not trying to create a high-school graduate programming workforce. It's obvious that he is smarter than that and knows, like we do, that it won't happen.

It seems like he's trying to create a baseline understanding of what a computer is and the things they do, by forcing everyone to know how to program something on one. That's not a bad idea, but it isn't "programming" and it isn't "computer science". It's a "life skill" issue, and many others here have already promoted that idea. Compound interest and "check into cash" knowledge, don't give out passwords, and other stuff that high school graduates ought to know but don't. One poster talked about doing it in a mandatory Algebra class, but "compound interest" is a topic that is significantly more important to most people than algebra will ever be, and math class is the wrong place to hide it.

It's a losing battle. There are too many "check into cash" companies and their advertisements, along with almost every other TV ad that shows people how much better their lives will be if they buy this product "for only six easy payments of...", or even better "buy now and we'll drop the first payment". Or the more insidious "no payments until 2016". Or car companies with "only $239/month" to lease a beautiful car, with the $2000 up-front payment and the fact that they don't get to keep the car after paying all that money for it hidden in the small print.

The people telling us this don't give a shit about your kids. They give a shit about driving down wages for their own profits.

Any businessman hiring one of these high-school wonder programmers (excluding those who really are wonder-programmers and would have learned it on their own anyway) is cutting his own throat, and they're smart than that. This isn't a conspiracy to drive down programmer wages.

What it will create is a new group of people who THINK they are wonder-programmers who will go into other parts of life thinking they know how to program. I run across these people, many of them who are scientists in other fields who decide to program their own stuff. I should say I've run across their CODE, which is awful. It wastes my time looking for bugs in trivial routines. For example, an input routine that doesn't handle a comment line properly because it is lacking the colon field delimiter and it tries to copy the input string from position -1 to 0 into the output variable. The author used a "friendly" fortran that spent a lot of time checking every parameter for every function. We are using the code for high-performance model runs on a highly parallel system, and that's when every piece of stupid code is uncovered. The one thing to learn from this is to NEVER assume that a bit of trivial code written by an esteemed professor was written correctly. THESE are the kinds of programmers Rahm will be producing.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 203

It's now up to him to somehow solve the problem for all the self driving cars- and of course, they aren't in the market for the new vehicle, and they are established as fuck, so the new better vehicle simply never is allowed on the roads.

Software updates for autonomous vehicles will be possible from day one of them being released to the general public. It will be a simple matter for manufacturers to release upgrades that recognize the new kind of vehicle and make decisions that are right 100% of the time about those new vehicles.

Unfortunately, the update process will be through a wireless system using either the cellular data network or an adaptive mesh of short-range vehicle wireless data systems, or a combination of both.

And there will be no possibility of finding any means of hacking this global data system, just like it is impossible to control any functions of certain vehicles today using wireless data connections. The system will be perfectly safe, making perfect decisions perfectly always.

Comment Re:This guy should be a lawyer (Score 1) 203

If you absolutely are going to be in an accident, and there is no way to avoid it; continue following the traffic rules. They were designed by traffic engineers with this in mind. Stay in your lane, and stop. Easy.

A child has jumped into the street without warning from between parked cars. I could move over into the empty lane beside me, but there is a double yellow no-passing stripe. I must follow the traffic rules and hit the child instead of breaking the law that says I cannot cross the double yellow.

Of course I must then stop, otherwise I will be committing the felony of hit-and-run, and I must obey all traffic rules -- even if the death of a child is the result. I can't say "an innocent child" because the child is the cause of its own demise and is not innocent as the result. I am, however, innocent, because Aighearach said so.

"I never let my schooling get in the way of my education." -- Mark Twain