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Comment: Re:Good heavens (Score 1) 83

While it may give grammar nazis fits, a slightly non-standard use of commas could eliminate the ambiguity in the original headline:

Billboard, Advertising Banned Products In Russia, Hides If It Recognizes Cops

I'm not convinced that your sentence isn't perfectly grammatical, but I'm not enough of a grammar nazi to diagram it. :)

Comment: Re:other people's money (Score 1) 349

by Rich0 (#49801439) Attached to: FCC Proposes To Extend So-Called "Obamaphone" Program To Broadband

Of course, and the same is true for me. However, I'm not average, and I suspect you aren't either.

If one of my more-average peers worked just as hard as I do and tried to get my job, it is unlikely that they would be hired. They're just not as capable of doing what I do for a living.

That doesn't make them any less valuable. It just makes them less employable.

Comment: Re:other people's money (Score 1) 349

by Rich0 (#49801433) Attached to: FCC Proposes To Extend So-Called "Obamaphone" Program To Broadband

What do you mean "Did YOU offer them a well-paying job?". Whatever happened to "why don't THEY (the people in the park) go out and THEY find a well-paying job?" Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Since when is it a company's responsibility to hire everyone in town?

I don't think it is anybody's responsibility to hire them. They should simply be given enough to live on somewhat comfortably, without having to work.

Most simply aren't employable, no matter how hard they try.

Comment: Re:other people's money (Score 1) 349

by Rich0 (#49801423) Attached to: FCC Proposes To Extend So-Called "Obamaphone" Program To Broadband

The average kid yes, the ones who chose to be druggies no.

The average kid in my high school class could barely grasp algebra. There are still a few good-paying jobs for people like this, but they're rapidly being eliminated, and only the most senior can hold them down. The ones who make a decent living tend to be exceptional in some way. That might be how well they communicate, how nice they look, how athletic they are, etc. However, it seems to me that average kids these days end up working retail for a wage that isn't even survivable without public assistance.

Comment: Re:other people's money (Score 1) 349

by Rich0 (#49801405) Attached to: FCC Proposes To Extend So-Called "Obamaphone" Program To Broadband

Did you offer them a well-paying job? Chances are, neither has anybody else.

Who's responsibility is it? Is it the responsibility of the person who has a job opening to personally ask each person on the planet if they want to fill it, or is it the responsibility of the potential employee to look in standard places where such offers are made public?

I bet exactly no employer is driving down to that park and saying "I'm hiring". I bet a lot more employers are putting ads in the newspaper, and a lot more are using the publicly-funded state employment bureau's job listings.

Of course nobody is going to walk up to them and offer them a well-paying job. It is also true that anybody hiring somebody for a well-paying job is unlikely to hire most of the folks you were complaining about.

The days when you could tell whether somebody was capable of getting a job ended with the development of automation.

That's absolutely correct, because once a person learns to do a job there is absolutely no way that he could ever learn to do a different one, and anyone who would suggest that he do so is just suppressing the proletariat. Once a specific job at one plant is taken over by automation, everyone who ever did that job is now unemployable in any other job.

Most people performing tasks that are replaceable by automation will not be capable of performing any job which is not also replaceable by automation. Of course, some will be, but that minority is unlikely to be unemployed.

You would have a much stronger argument had you said that what prevents someone from knowing is the vast array of medically disabling conditions that allow disability pensions.

Actually, I am asserting that they're disabled, though not in any form that currently is granted a disability pension in most societies. The disabilities vary, but they're mostly mentally disabled, in the sense that their intelligence is not fairly well above-average, which is what is required to obtain a well-paying job. Granted, there are also many well-paying jobs that depend less on intelligence and more on other attributes, but for the most part those attributes are also fairly rare.

Take somebody who is completely paralyzed and unable to move, and also completely mentally retarded and unable to do more than maybe digest food spooned into their mouth. They lie on one end of a continuum. On the other end would be somebody with the intelligence of Steven Hawking and the prowess of an Olympic athlete. Virtually everybody falls somewhere in-between. At all points in time there has been a boundary below which people were simply unemployable. As technology advances, that line moves - people who were perfectly employable 1000 years ago are not employable today, because the jobs they were able to do are automated. For example, somebody who was mentally disabled and unable to even remember their name might still be able to earn a living wage by digging ditches 500 years ago. Today that would be unlikely - there is so little demand for manual labor that employers looking for such work can be more picky about who they hire.

At some point in time automation will get to a point where no human is employable - we'll simply be weaker and dumber than machines.

Think of the average kid you went to high school with (assuming you went to an average public school as I did). Do you REALLY think they're capable of holding down a job in the modern world?

Yes. They may not be rocket scientists, doctors, or lawyers, but thank goodness those aren't the only jobs available. And I'm even more sure that the average kid who just left high school is capable, because I see a lot of average kids holding down jobs in the modern world today.

First, I said "well-paying jobs" and not "jobs." I'm not interested in how many average people can hold down a minimum wage job. Such persons are going to require the public assistance you seem to be decrying in any case.

From my observation, it does not seem like most average kids are getting well-paying jobs these days. With the general advance of technology it seems likely to me that the bar for getting a well-paying job will continue to rise, as it should. It doesn't make sense to hire people to do work that a machine can do more efficiently. The problem isn't with the fact that many are unable to work productively, but rather with those who insist that they should be punished for this perfectly normal condition.

Comment: Re:Good heavens (Score 2) 83

Would these work better?

Banned Products Billboard Advertising In Russia Hides If It Recognizes Cops.


Billboard Advertising of Products Banned In Russia Hides If It Recognizes Cops.

The second seems rather incorrect to me.

It might be easier to just pick a word which is strictly an adjective, such as:

Billboard Advertising Illegal Products in Russia Hides if it Recognizes Cops.

Or, even simpler:

Billboard Advertising Illegal Products Hides if it Recognizes Cops

The problem is that "banned" can be a verb or a participle. "Illegal" is strictly an adjective.

Comment: Re:How about import duties? (Score 1) 349

by Rich0 (#49797373) Attached to: FCC Proposes To Extend So-Called "Obamaphone" Program To Broadband

I was never rich and never will be, but every time I made a little more money I paid a lot more tax. Work overtime for extra money when incremental taxes are 40%+?

That is because we're taxing the wrong things. Earned income is not the lion's share of income in the US, and it tends to be the main source of income for people who have limited means.

But, the folks who pay income tax can't afford armies of lobbyists so that is where the taxes fall.

Just make the tax rate something like 0% below $50k/yr, 10% from $50-100k, 20% from $100k-500k, and then have it go up exponentially from there. Somebody making $1M/yr might have a 40% tax, somebody making $10M/yr might have an 80% tax, somebody making $100M/yr might have a 90% tax, somebody making $1B/yr might have a 99% tax, and so on.

Another option is to just tax all money transactions. Anytime money changes hands just charge 0.1% or something like that. For the poor, they'll end up paying an unintended 0.2% tax on the money they make and spend. Something like the financial sector will pay a much higher effective rate, and that is something like a third of the economy.

Comment: Re:other people's money (Score 0) 349

by Rich0 (#49797347) Attached to: FCC Proposes To Extend So-Called "Obamaphone" Program To Broadband

I walked from Potomac Avenue to the Navy Yard yesterday and came upon an entire community that relies upon government funded housing. They just hang out all day in a small park chatting with one another. They don't look like they're incapable of any sort of work.

Did you offer them a well-paying job? Chances are, neither has anybody else.

The days when you could tell whether somebody was capable of getting a job ended with the development of automation.

Think of the average kid you went to high school with (assuming you went to an average public school as I did). Do you REALLY think they're capable of holding down a job in the modern world?

Comment: Re:Not the testing, the interpretation. (Score 3, Informative) 37

by Rich0 (#49790005) Attached to: Gene Testing Often Gets It Wrong

Agree. It seems like a simple solution is to unbundle the testing and interpretation.

This is really no different from any other area of testing. A lab can assay the creatinine in my blood, or the microalbumin in my urine, or the concentration of glucose in my blood. Those results are likely to be very accurate and reproducible unless the lab is just criminally negligent.

What those results mean is an entirely different matter. A doctor will certainly utilize those results as well as the results of many other tests, history, interviewing the patient, and so on to make a diagnosis, and refine it as more data comes in.

Just make the labs, well, labs. Now you can certify them far more objectively.

Comment: Re:Seems reasonable (Score 4, Insightful) 117

by Rich0 (#49781061) Attached to: Insurer Won't Pay Out For Security Breach Because of Lax Security

everyone accepts that (for a given purpose; bank vaults and nuclear installations get judged differently than houses) there is some level of 'reasonable security', which reflects appropriate caution on the policyholder's part; but is known to be breakable.

I agree with your post. I'll just add that a big problem with IT security is that companies cannot rely on the same level of protection from governments in preventing intrusion.

For example, if I have a safe in my house, the means an attacker would have to penetrate it are going to be limited. Since my township has police and neighbors that wander around, they can only spend so much time there before they're likely to be detected. They can generally only carry in stuff that will fit in the doors and is man-portable, since if they have to cut a hole in the house and lower their equipment using a giant crane somebody is likely to notice. If they want to use explosives they will have to defeat numerous regulatory and border controls designed to prevent criminals from gaining access to them, and of course they will be detected quickly. Some destructive devices like nuclear weapons are theoretically possible to use to crack a safe, but in practice as so tightly controlled that no common thief will have them. If the criminal is detected at any point, the police will respond and will escalate force as necessary - it is extremely unlikely that the intruder will actually be able to defeat the police. If the criminal attempted to bring a platoon of tanks along to support their getaway the US would mobilize its considerable military and destroy them.

On the other hand, if somebody wants to break into my computer over the internet, most likely nobody is going to be looking for their intrusion attempts but me, and if they succeed there will be no immediate response unless I beg for a response from the FBI/etc. An intruder can attack me from a foreign country without ever having to go through a customs control point. They can use the absolute latest technology to pull off their intrusion. Indeed, a foreign military might even sponsor the intrusion using the resources of a major sate and most likely the military of my own state will not do anything to resist them.

The only reason our homes and businesses have physical security is that we have built governments that provide a reasonable assurance of physical security. Sure, we need to make small efforts like locking our doors to sufficiently deter an attacker, but these measures are very inexpensive because taxpayers are spending the necessary billions to build all the other infrastructure.

When it comes to computer security, for various reasons that secure environment does not exist.

Comment: Re:Seems reasonable (Score 2) 117

by Rich0 (#49780999) Attached to: Insurer Won't Pay Out For Security Breach Because of Lax Security

If a company cuts corners on security, then in the same way that if I leave my door unlocked and get burgled, I can't make a claim. There's going to be a good living for lawyers establishing what is the required level of security. But if this incentivises senior managers to ask the right questions, then it's probably a good development.

Maybe. If you're buying an insurance policy to cover leaks of information, then almost by definition any claim is going to be the result of lax security. So, why bother buying insurance at all if the insurer can get out of it? The likely result is that those harmed won't be able to collect damages since there will be no insurance, and the company that lost the data will simply declare bankruptcy.

I think there are better precedents. For example, my company is routinely audited by its insurers or other certification bodies. If they spot a blocked electrical panel, that has consequences for the company. The purpose of the audits is to PREVENT bad things from happening, and of course passed audits will support later claims if something bad things happen anyway.

So, why not do the same with "cyber policies" or whatever they're calling them. The insurer states some standard that the policyholder is to be audited against. The policyholder agrees to be audited. If the audit passes, they're in the clear.

And that is what insurance is about - elimination of risk. If you are in charge of some big company you can get the blessing of the appropriate auditors and now it isn't you're fault if something bad happens. It is a bit like having an IT team with skin in the game.

Sure, you can hire what you think is a good IT security team, but how do you really know if you've gotten one? If you buy a cyber insurance policy you're getting that IT audit, but then if you're declared clean and you get burned anyway, that insurance company comes in and puts their money behind their words and pays for your loss. THAT is what insurance is supposed to be.

Comment: Re:For those in Power,oversimplification is the Po (Score 1) 322

by Rich0 (#49779145) Attached to: Why PowerPoint Should Be Banned

Plus, oversimplification can be used to justify all kinds of short-sighted behavior, with all the plausible deniability you describe.

I remember learning my company's brand of six sigma, and they stressed not having more than a few CTQs for any process. It made for really nice-looking powerpoint slides (which seemed to be the main output of my company's six sigma efforts). It also made for some really broken processes in some cases, because the stuff the company was making was really hard to make. There were cases where somebody would optimize out some $10 part and end up destroying a million dollars worth of product from time to time due to a failure to deliver an acceptable level of quality. But, when you only focus on 3-5 key quality attributes, it is hard to justify every little $10 part in the multi-million-dollar manufacturing process.

I'm fairly convinced that far more was lost in market share due to an inability to meet demand than was ever gained from optimizing out the odd $10 part.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."
--H. L. Mencken

Comment: Re:"Slow and calculated torture?" (Score 1) 742

by Rich0 (#49772181) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

Maybe Greeks are different but in Germany, if you borrow money, you are fully expected to pay it back. As soon as possible. Greece can make as much racket as it likes, but the Germans still want their money back. And frankly, I agree. If Greece is not willing to pay back what they take, that's theft, and they can go without aid for all I care. Especially when the borrowed money doesn't actually go to fixing its major economic issues.

That is a fairly naive viewpoint. No business approaches loans in this way. A loan is a contract, with terms that apply in the event of default, and terms governing repayment. Defaulting on a loan has consequences, but most businesses do not view it as a moral issue. If it ever becomes advantageous to default on a loan, they will do so. If it is advantageous to take measures to hinder attempts at collection, they will do this as well. As far as they're concerned, it isn't theft - it is just the terms of the agreement the lender agreed to. Most nations have bankruptcy laws, and sovereign nations have, well, sovereignty. Lenders who agree to make loans do so with full knowledge of these laws.

So, if a person declares bankruptcy I do not believe they are committing theft - the lender understood the bankruptcy laws when they freely made the loan, and they did so at an interest rate that they considered profitable even in light of this risk. Likewise, when a bank lends to a sovereign nation, they do so knowing that they have very little recourse if the nation chooses to default on the loan.

To the extent that anybody was forced to loan money against their will, they might be able to claim that whoever forced them to lend money was a thief.

Comment: Re:They're bums, why keep them around (Score 1) 742

by Rich0 (#49767787) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

Greece already has a primary surplus so they can cover their own needs.
The problem is that the external debt is simply not viable. Up to 2030 greek debt obligations are up to 140billion euros. So while Greece managed with great sucrifices to have an unhealthy surplus based on neoliberal policies that finely IMF imposes for decades now, they still need 140/15 = 9 billions in average extra surplus for the next 15 years.

Well, the solution is simple then - they should just default. As long as they are internally self-sufficient as you assert, it won't be a problem for them. They won't be able to borrow money for a long time, but they shouldn't have to.

However, I'm not convinced their cash flow is nearly as rosy as you suggest. And of course they need to be able to defend their own borders/etc if they don't want somebody ticked off about their debts to come looking to collect.

"It is better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try, but the result's the same." - Mike Dennison