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Comment: Re:Print some bucks (Score 1) 335

by RuffMasterD (#49726013) Attached to: Stock Market Valuation Exceeds Its Components' Actual Value

I think investors are fully invested. I am. What else can we do? It's just the companies aren't translating that into increasing productivity. There is less R&D, fewer new production facilities opening (even in China), barely any wage growth (stagnant consumer spending, catch 22 right there), keeping old machinery rather than replacing with more efficient machinery, little product innovation, I haven't seen anyone expanding into foreign markets (quite the opposite), etc. It's as if everyone looked around at everyone else, collectively shrugged their shoulders, and said "I dunno".

What companies ARE doing is borrowing at really low interest rates and buying back shares. There are multiple reasons for that. It's a cheap shot at raising share prices. By buying on the open market there is one more bidder nudging the share price ever so slightly higher, and reducing the number of shares that can be sold. It also reduces the number of shares, thereby artificially raising earnings per share. Remember, many CEOs are partially paid in stock options, so they benefit directly from higher share prices. They were supposed to do that by improving market share, revenue, margins, etc, but they just found the path of least resistance instead. I don't know how to fix everything else, but CEO stock options and share buy backs should be mutually exclusive at the very least. Heck, pay it back as a special dividend and let me decide if I want to buy more shares or spend that money.

Inflation might work. Japan is trying that after decades of mediocre growth. Doing so by raising interest rates risks stalling what little progress there has been though. If the fed does do that then they should have started a year ago, because the higher markets go, the further they fall.

Comment: Re:Hardly! (Score 1) 284

by RuffMasterD (#49717757) Attached to: The Auto Industry May Mimic the 1980s PC Industry
Cars don't have to cost a fortune. Tata Nano sells for the equivalent of US$3000 in India, and could do the same in many developing countries. How much did a PC cost in the 80s? About the same, or more factoring in inflation. At that price I don't mind if the whole thing is obsolete in a few years. I'd hate to be in one when it crashes like an 80s PC, but I cycle to work so for me it's always going to be the equivalent of an 80s PC crash anyway.

Comment: Isn't there something better to do? (Score 2) 203

It just baffles me that someone is willing to pay almost 100 people to sit around waiting for terrorists. Did somebody look at the accounts and think to themselves "Dude, we gotta get rid of this money somehow"? Think of all the great things you could achieve if you put 100 smart people together and gave them all the time and resources they needed. Could we figure out how to provide universal healthcare for half the cost? Create a male contraceptive pill? Or an AIDS vaccine? A battery that stores 10 times the energy in one tenth the weight? Double solar panel efficiency for half the cost? Figure out how to provide a universal minimum income for everyone without disincentivizing hard work in those who are capable? Reduce police brutality? Anything at all that could make the world even marginally better in any measurable way? Nothing?

So the most productive task we can put 100 people towards is sitting around waiting for terrorists.
Agent1: Hay man, seen any terrorists today?
Agent2: Nah. You?
Agent1: Nothing.
Agent2: I saw a cat licking itself. Check this out...
Agent1: Cool

Why is this even tolerated?

Comment: Re:How many other flaws (Score 2, Interesting) 173

It's not just the police and courts, it's the jury too. I was a juror a few years ago on a case based entirely on circumstantial evidence. Most of the jurors simply couldn't accept that a real world case doesn't always rely on 3D slow motion video of bullets piercing internal organs and perfect DNA matches. They didn't want to think about the balance of probabilities of all the pieces of circumstantial evidence and decide if someone was guilty or not. They wanted cold hard forensic evidence to do that for them. If someone presented DNA evidence then the jury would have decided guilt without deliberation.

Comment: Re:How would you promote job growth (Score 1) 238

Can you give me some sources for the 47% figure? That sounds round about the proportion of population I would expect to be underage, studying, unemployed, disabled, stay-at-home parents, caring for elderly relatives, retired, frail, incarcerated, dying, etc. Those naughty tax dodgers, how dare they!

Comment: Re: I'm gonna go out on a limb. (Score 1) 291

This "who you know" type of thinking might work in the short term, but in the long term it will bite you on the ass real bad if you don't also have "what you know".

My ex girlfriend was like that. Flunked everything she studied, got by on her personal connections, etc. Ironically, one day I introduced her to a buddy of mine I'd studied with who worked for a big government organisation. She used that connection to get a job there, then bluffed her way into a position earning double what I did at the time. Then she dumped me. So far so good. Problem is the job was *way* above her skill level. I warned her when she applied, but she ignored me and said she would learn on the job. OK, lets see how far this goes. At first she watched her colleagues and imitated them. If she got stuck she would ask one of her many friends to help or advise her, maybe under the guise of needing a "second opinion" or something. She had to rotate this task between friends often so her incompetence wouldn't become too obvious. If anyone ever made an issue of it, she would find excuses. If she fucked up, she would conceal it. This seems to work for a few years.

Eventually, one by one, her friends became fed up with covering for her. They had their own jobs to do. This is about the time when she really fucked up big time. She tried to cover it up of course. Unfortunately for her the customer got a layer, who then asked her top boss for compensation. This triggered an internal investigation which revealed she had covered up multiple big fuck-ups. She got the boot of course, plus a court case which dragged on for over a year, plus her name all over the newspapers and the internet. Now, every single time a prospective employer Googles her name, they get a screen full of bad press, and her CV is filed in the bin. Anyone stupid enough to vouch for her will be tarnished. I think she ended up giving "happy massages" to make ends meet. As far as I know she is still unemployed several years later.

If you thing you can get by with "who you know", and not "what you know", then you are a fool. Good luck to you. Just remember, eventually your reputation will catch up with you. When it does, who you know might not want to know you.

Comment: Not gonna happen (Score 1) 245

by RuffMasterD (#49444939) Attached to: 3D Printed Guns Might Lead To Law Changes In Australia
I RTFA. Don't worry, the proposal was widely shelved, in what seems like a rare moment of clarity in Australian politics these days. Any restrictions on 3D printing would be about as useful as regulating lathes because they could be used to make Owen or Sten guns. If current legislation is not sufficient to cover 3D printed guns then there are bigger problems to fix.

Comment: Re:Advanced is good enough (Score 1) 220

by RuffMasterD (#49428743) Attached to: How would you rate your programming skills?

The beauty of SQL is the way it lets you specify *what* to get, not *how* to get it. It frees you from the implementation details. To understand why that is so important you should read the article A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks by E. F. Codd. Written about 45 years ago, but still remarkably readable and relevant. The relational model has a very elegant mathematical foundation that ensures data integrity. No other data model before or since comes close to matching it. SQL tries to implement the relational model. One benefit, every SQL query produces a relation, which can itself be queried (subqueries).

Having said that, I work with SAS every day, which basically buffers one record at a time and does whatever I tell it, however I tell it.

Comment: Re:I do a lot of what I do for money (Score 1) 139

by RuffMasterD (#49378645) Attached to: IT Jobs With the Best (and Worst) ROI
Fixing the damage done by cheap fuckups keeps me employed and makes me look good in the process. But there's an optimal level, maybe one low level fuckup per company. Just enough to remind management that something needs money spent to fix, but not so much that everything collapses. If we do our jobs really well nobody will notice. It's like the sewage system. So without a few fuckups, management forgets why they pay us.

Comment: Re:definitions (Score 1) 181

by RuffMasterD (#49364131) Attached to: Commercial Flamethrower Successfully Crowdfunded
I was started to worry I was the only one who made improvised flamethrowers as a kid. I used fly spray and a lighter. A good can reached half way across the living room. Being a kid was fun. Now I work in injury research :-) The reverse vacuum cleaner idea above sound amazing. I wonder if that would make fly spray shoot further?

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