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Comment Re:Star wars missile defense (Score 2) 326

I doubt it. That sounds like political ass covering. Communism had run out of steam of its own accord by the late 80s. Poland democratically elected a non-communist president. Hungary tore down their fence with Austria (yeah, I know...). East Germany could no longer convince its own citizens that the Berlin wall for their own protection. Romania simply executed its communist leader. Admittedly, that might have had something to do with austerity. Bulgarias communist leader stepped down voluntarily without major incident. These people didn't care about some missile defense system. They simply wanted democracy, freedom, and no more oppression. Many great scientific and technological advances were made during the cold war for sure (SAGE is particularly impressive), but the missile defense system or the supposed bankruptcy of the Soviet Union were not amongst them.

Comment Re:Easy as pie (Score 1) 400

A few years ago I spoke over the phone to someone in a former communist country and may have mentioned 'America'. Suddenly we heard what must have been old soviet era analog recording equipment engage and the line became noticeably noisier from then on. Nice subtle touch, guys. Probably worked OK back when telephone was entirely analog and noise was the norm, but lines are mostly digital now. If your country's broke, don't fix it :-)

Comment Re:Slipping (Score 2) 93

True. Unfortunately there is almost nobody to complain to, and if there is, they won't/can't do anything. From my experience HR is there to cover the companies butt from legal problems. They will tick off a list of boxes so if an issue lands before a judge the company can say they were fair and tried everything. When I refused to tolerate my managers crap the whole thing degraded into a high school popularity contest, with each of us trying to rally as many supporters as possible. Most of my colleagues would rather buckle under the pressure and become doormats than put up a fight. I don't blame them. It's simpler, quicker, and cleaner.

I hope workplaces become more cooperative in the future, rather than the rigid hierarchical structure older companies have now. The same old problems will always arise, but at least it puts everyone on the same level so people can't abuse power imbalances. Google X lets people self organize in such a way that good ideas/people gather the most support. People work on the projects they think their skills can be used best. I read a great article about a large tomato processing company that had a similar flexible approach. Each worker must negotiate a contract with each of their stakeholders. The services/resources/money they have to supply, and what they need in return. Management then becomes a service. Good managers are chosen by more people, and are therefore paid more. Bad managers need to find something else to do. Same for workers.

Comment Re: How about (Score 1) 93

If this is true then you probably haven't experienced real conflict in a very long time. I'm six foot tall. Most of the time if I disagree about something I just stand up, look at the person, and the problem solves itself pretty quickly. I can't imagine how much harder my life would be if I was short.

Comment Re:Post Its (Score 1) 227

I work at a university. I spend 10-20% of my time covering my ass. The alternative is to work unpaid overtime to get my ass out of trouble. A couple of weeks ago my manager accused me of something rather uncharacteristic of me. I searched my emails, found very clear evidence to refute the issue, problem solved. Happens every few weeks. Other senior researchers like to request something simple and vague, but when I deliver they suddenly remember that they asked for something very specific and different. Record requirements, confirm with client via email, keep for later. Colleagues 'forgot' things they say in meetings all the time, which is convenient for them, because meetings are where the most overt blackmail, backstabbing, buck-passing, and general jerking around happens. Now I write those down too, and confirm via email afterwards. People are a bit more careful about what they say in meetings now.

How are we still in business? Student loans, government grants, and high barriers to entry for competitors.

Comment Re:Prisoners... Why bother with schools? (Score 1) 241

San Quentin prison started training inmates to code recently. Plenty of good articles about it out there. We have to live with these people on their release. Makes sense to train them so they can actually integrate into society rather than live on the fringes and risk re-offending for lack of opportunity.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus