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Comment: Nothing To See Here (Score 3, Informative) 219

There's really nothing to see here. Except that long distance with per-minute charges are still a thing. And AOL is still a thing, I guess? I definitely would not have called that. And old people are easily tricked into buying both those things. I don't think addressing the ease with which old people are tricked is on the agenda. Whether it's aluminum siding or their uncle in Uganda, tricking old people is just way too easy. And phone companies will just let you run up tens of thousands of dollars in arbitrary charges in one month, and let you keep doing it for several months when you don't pay the first one, that's definitely been a thing for a while. I'm actually a bit surprised AT&T waived it. In the stories I've heard in the past, the telcos usually put up a pretty good fight about that sort of thing.

Comment: Claudico is actually beating one of the pros! (Score 5, Interesting) 86

by Dr. Spork (#49598959) Attached to: Humans Dominating Poker Super Computer
First of all, this is the link that the story should have included. It includes updates of the scoreboard, etc. On it you will see that even though the brains are collectively beating Claudico, the computer is actually over $100,000 ahead against Jason Les, a feat that almost no human could match. Yes, Claudico is down against the other three, but these are the top players in the world, and most human pros would get clobbered much worse by these guys. Are we really so hard to impress? This is the first time that something like this has been tried, and already, the computer is performing on a level that most poker pros would love to reach.

Comment: Re:Geo-engineering will be part of the solution (Score 2) 103

by Dr. Spork (#49597311) Attached to: Climatologist Speaks On the Effects of Geoengineering
"Geoengineering is a bad idea." "Why?"
"Because it hasn't been tested and could have unpredictable consequences."
"So let's do some testing and improve our models of how it works."
"No way, we can't be doing research on geoengineering!" "Why not?"
"Because geoengineering is such a bad idea!" "Why?"
"Because it hasn't been tested and could have unpredictable consequences."

Comment: Re:Rely on the counterfactual. (Score 1) 209

by aussersterne (#49589491) Attached to: Yes, You Can Blame Your Pointy-Haired Boss On the Peter Principle

Yes, in practice it's usually a mix of the two, so the principle is more an abstract model than an argument about real, concrete thresholding.

But the general idea is that by the time someone stops being promoted, if they continue in the job that they are in while not being promoted for an extended period of time, it means that they are likely not amongst the highest-merit individuals around for that particular job and responsibility list—because if they were, they'd have been promoted and/or would have moved to another job elsewhere that offered an equivalent to a promotion.

Comment: Rely on the counterfactual. (Score 5, Informative) 209

by aussersterne (#49588929) Attached to: Yes, You Can Blame Your Pointy-Haired Boss On the Peter Principle

The best way to understand the principle is to imagine the counterfactual.

When does a person *not* get promoted any longer? When they are not actually that great at the position into which they have most recently been promoted. At that point, they do not demonstrate enough merit to earn the next obvious promotion.

So, the cadence goes:

Demonstrates mastery of title A, promoted to title B.
Demonstrates mastery of title B, promoted to title C.
Demonstrates mastery of title C, promoted to title D.

Does not manage to demonstrate mastery of D = is not promoted and stays at that level indefinitely as "merely adequate" or "maybe next year" or "still has a lot to learn."

That's the principle in a nutshell—when you're actually good at your job, you get promoted out of it. When you're average at your job, you stay there for a long time.

Comment: Re:No need to attack (Score 2) 161

by Greyfox (#49585335) Attached to: The United States Just Might Be Iran's Favorite New Nuclear Supplier
Um, and that minor incident at the Bikini Island Atoll. Entire island nation loses their homes permanently and a bunch of people get cancer and die within a couple of years. But you know, you want to make an omelette, you need to break a few eggs. The USA and the USSR were doing open-air testing until nearly 1960, when the USA finally screwed the pooch hard in the south pacific. And then there was that time some jackass decided to detonate a nuclear bomb in the Van Allen Belt. That was in the mid 60's and for a year or so you couldn't launch anything without it being disabled by the trapped radiation. There was some concern that we'd ended space exploration permanently. But you know, minor little whoops there, no need to mention that in history class.

Comment: Re:Wow. Who knew? (Score 3, Insightful) 430

by Greyfox (#49585105) Attached to: Rand Paul Moves To Block New "Net Neutrality" Rules
He never was the Libertarian messiah. Anyone who thought he was just wasn't paying attention. He has a marginally more interesting back-story than most congresscritters (Joker killed his parents and then he spent his teenage years spanking it to Ayn Rand novels,) but he's really only qualified to be a Fox News android.

This is now. Later is later.