A lot of times, those little comments or notes are the call for help.
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Mod parent up. On the discussion of safety regarding dock workers, you are correct in that they have actually gone so far that they make it less safe. The unions are so terrified of any kind of automation removing jobs that they refuse tech advancements that take the workers off the dock and put them in offices operating remotely, which takes them out of harm's way. It is very common in Europe but doesn't happen in the US.
Unions generally don't mature from their inception, its kind of a self-selective process. The goal of union leadership is more bodies, more pay, and more dues. As a result, they are inherently anti-progress, anti-tech, and anti-change. If they tried to align more with the companies they work with in setting production goals instead of man-hour quotas, I think the relationships would be much more amicable. Another poster got it right that the problem is with 'monopoly unions' or unions that control the labor force of an entire industry with no competition and sometimes no competition/advancement allowed (forced via contracts). In those situations, the most high-profile being the Teamsters, UAW, and the two coastwide Longshore unions, its about the union and the union only, industry be damned. Then people wonder why GM and Chrysler had to be bailed out, hostess crashes and burns, and several shipping terminals go bankrupt.
On another note, I feel the adversarial process is the bane of the 20th/21st centuries. It has turned prosecution/defense into a farce, it creates uncooperative industry issues like the unions/companies mentioned above, and it has turned congress into a wasted existence. Too many lawyers are bringing the adversarial process into places where it doesn't belong and ruining any chance of cooperation and advancement.
I think part of the flat icon craze is directly related to touch interfaces. Our mind, like it or not, sees 'bubbly' icons or buttons like the old XP start menu as an item where pressing on the edges is no good, like accidentally pressing the edge of a real-world rounded button and it not fully depressing. In a touch interface, this gives the illusion that the contact area is much smaller than it actually is, and makes for a hesitant approach. 'Flat' icons or targets give the impression that you can register a press on any part of the item. This is important on touch interfaces where tactile feedback is limited and your big fingers block what you're actually pressing.
This becomes quite obvious when looking at some of the old touchscreen keyboard UIs on the early touchscreen-era phones. The start of 'flat' UIs didn't come from windows 8, it came from the touchscreen phone. As someone else mentioned, DPI scaling might also be a factor, but this also came from the DPI race on touchscreen phones.
SteamBoxen are contingent on them figuring out the controller, which as I recall they've poured a lot of resources into. The draw of the SteamBox is that you can play PC games designed for PCs in the living room as well as the typical console games. Ever try to play an RTS on a TV with a controller? It is flat-out torture. That's why they are trying to work the touchpad into one of the d-pads on their controller, so you could play games like Dota 2 or Civ5 or any RTS in the living room. If they don't get that aspect of the SteamBox working, then its simply another console and has no defining draw that separates it from the others.
"Attribute not to malice what can be easily explained by incompetence."
I know it seems like something that people should easily understand and know, but our society (and in this case beaurocracy) is naturally populated by specialists/savants because of the way we approach and reward work. All some of these people see and do every day involves chasing bad guys, and some of them really can't think outside of their benefits of the change to see the damaging implications. Its kinda like multinationals naming a product that sounds like offensive slang in a foreign language without knowing. Or, a more obvious and closer-to-home example for this crowd, the manager / corporate officer that cripples IT security in response to non-IT complaints that their computers are inflexible and hindering their work.
It could very well be malice, but don't rule out incompetence.
About a decade ago, a one-shot FX series called Dirt came out. It was about the celebrity tabloid journalism industry, I thought it was pretty interesting even though I'm not into that kind of stuff. One of the more interesting parts of it was that there was a schizophrenic photographer, and they did a couple segments from his perspective during periods when he was on and off his meds. I have no idea if their portrayal is how it acutally is, but I thought it matched what we've been described to as the symptoms. When the show was through his perspective, it was hard to tell what was real and what wasn't real sometimes.
Another name for these:
ton(UK) 2240lb = Long Ton
ton(US) 2000lb = Short Ton
Tonne or Metric ton 1000kg (2204.62lb) = Metric Ton
The volume isn't anything to scoff at either. I just did some numbers to get a visual perspective of the plastic mass we're talking about, in terms of container ships. 8 million metric tons at standard container size and weight (1 TEU = one twenty-foot equivalent unit, average loaded weight of 20 metric tons) and with high-capacity containerships averaging 15,000 TEU, thats 27 fully loaded ships. Thats approximately 350 meters long, 50 meters wide, and 15 meters deep of containers stacked 14-high per ship. That's a lot of material.
'Rods from God' becomes much more feasible when you imagine space mining enterprise. In the distant future with captured asteroids in earth orbit, obtaining mass already in space and re-purposing it for orbital weaponry is mostly just a math exercise.
When most people refer to LEGOs, they aren't referencing the company directly but the blocks used to build. Like Q-Tip, LEGO has become the go-to example of building blocks to the point where people call other brands LEGOs. In that sense, the additional S is fine and it explains why so many people reference to them as such.
All road costs are not created equal, and all road values are not created equal. Roads on the coast are more expensive because of required hurricane evacuation routes, and roads in the mountains are insanely expensive for little population, but serve to benefit the people passing through the mountains as much if not more than the people living there. I live in North Carolina, and we have both mountains and ocean, and spending the taxes based on population would make Charlotte and Raleigh great but make the mountains unpassable. The GP's suggestion would cripple a single-geography state like mountainous West Virginia, and in turn cripple Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky.
This is where parents end up having an opposite effect. If you take your experiences and position them as the only possible outcome for your child, you're simply parenting the way you wanted to be parented, not the way the child needs to be parented. You have to look at the entire school and the benefits every other person might have gained from being there, not just a single person's misery, because your child is not you and may take a different path than you did. What can be done, if they experience the same pitfalls, is give them the out that you weren't given as a kid. Avoiding the possibility by removing the opportunities altogether is a dangerous approach.
I think IBM's management must know the company is in its death throes, they're just slowly shedding people to minimize chaos.
I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head. Sometimes managing is about managing decline instead of managing product and people. IBM could ignore the signs and implode like a supermassive star on the cusp, or it could shed weight and slowly bleed off in a more safe way, and possibly find a niche in the process. Two companies, one who slowly died and one who resurrected themselves doing a similar downsizing approach, are AOL and Apple.