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Comment Re:I started in 1979 - I think tech is getting wor (Score 3, Insightful) 167

Problem is that the minimum wage can actually work against all of us if the wage isn't properly adjusted for inflation. Otherwise a minimum wage eventually leaves a full time worker living in poverty and requiring medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance just to get by. It sets an artificial baseline that employers will try to aim for. So if semi-skilled workers get minimum wage, skilled workers get minimum wage plus a bag of peanuts. An artificially low minimum wage drags down wages for all workers except those that assign their own compensation - those executives that sit on each other's boards of directors and, like monkeys grooming each other, mutually decide to keep increasing each others pay regardless of whether the company is profitable or failing. Meanwhile shareholders have been conditioned to expect returns that fall below inflation (when they aren't negative), and workers have grown accustomed to just trying to keep whatever job they have rather than believing they deserve a reasonable share of the profits they produce. The collective fear of the workers makes sure that those few who may have the audacity to make demands can easily be replaced by a more agreeable and subservient employee.

When the minimum wage is a living wage, every worker can have confidence confronting employers about working hours, working conditions, or even ask for more pay, knowing that a worst case scenario is they have to get a job elsewhere that pays a wage that they can manage to live with. Workers higher up on the pay scale can afford to take chances with their careers knowing that in the short term they can always fall back to a lower paying job if their plans don't work out. It's ultimately better for the economy as a whole. Satisfied workers are more productive and less likely to leave, even if the short term cost to employers is to pay more. But as all employers would be paying the same they wouldn't be going out of business from paying better wages.

Comment Re: Leave no H1-B behind! (Score 4, Informative) 167

Get off your high horse. I graduated with a degree in electrical engineering just after the Enron crisis unraveled and the dotcom boom went bust. Even though I spent each day applying for every technical role imaginable, I ended up working at Sears for a few dollars over minimum wage. That lasted almost six months until I took a job several states away from my home in Dallas. Many tech workers who are unexpectedly laid off face a unique challenge of being very good at one particular specialty. Even though they can be just as effective with a very different role, employers often seek out a candidate that exactly meets the job specification. So someone with four years experience designing 10kW power supplies will be deemed under qualified or an unfit match for a job requesting five years experience designing 2kw power supplies. A second candidate with ten years experience designing power supplies ranging from 1kW to 10kW would be deemed over qualified. The company then justifies recruiting a candidate from a third world country that will work for whichever wage keeps him employed and allowed to remain in the country. The fact that no one understands his emails, and he has to repeat what he says two or three times before anyone can make out what he's trying to say doesn't seem to matter.

We definitely should bring in talent from around the world, but often times in STEM fields the H-1B visa holders have a very narrow skill set and are expected to work extreme hours for low pay. But it gets the message across and keeps the rest of the STEM workers from demanding too much. Of course when today's technology is made obsolete the H-1B workers are sent home rather than retrained. But by then there are millions trained on the latest trend and they import replacements.

Comment Spiraling into a Super Massive Black Hole (Score 1) 208

As I type our galaxy is spiraling into a super massive black hole. It is way past the year two thousand, and we are way behind schedule building intergalactic arks to escape this calamity. We don't even have moon bases, foot prints on Mars, or even personal robotic assistants. Hell, we are still burning fossil fuels and wiping with paper. How is this not the world falling apart?

Comment Re:the solution: (Score 2) 651

Gun enthusiasts have been machining their own DIY guns for decades. In fact many of the guns used by military forces around the world began with an idea in the workshop of a private citizen. David Marshall Williams designed the M-1 Carbine automatic rifle used in WWII while he was in prison. He was allowed to use the prison machine shop and guards let him service their weapons.

There are thousands of amateur machinists who could build an assortment of exotic and scary guns if they wanted to. Mr. Wilson has simply developed a potentially better machine for doing what has always been doable by any common person with access to tools for over the past hundred years.

BTW - there is no national law that makes it illegal to manufacture your own guns or ammunition. According to the ATF:

With certain exceptions a firearm may be made by a non-licensee provided it is not for sale and the maker is not prohibited from possessing firearms. However, a person is prohibited from assembling a non-sporting semi-automatic rifle or non-sporting shotgun from imported parts.

Comment Re:Going Cable! (Score 1) 135

You actually GO to games and concerts IN PERSON? Even though you can watch it all on a smart phone, TV, or laptop? Let me guess, you also GO to the cinema also, even though you could just download the torrent. I guess I'll just never get "people" people.

Comment Re:Hodor (Score 1) 127

This discussion has actually inspired me to write a poem. OK, here it goes:

"Stories don't need plots, and poems don't need to rhyme."

That got me an A+ in my postmodern creative writing class.

Now I'm reminded of all the people who carefully watched every episode of Lost like there was going to be some sort of meaningful ending that could never had been predicted, made total sense once revealed, and made all the hours invested in over-stretched side plots worth enduring.

Fact is there is no "literature". There are only profits. And keeping an audience in a perpetual state of suspense like a crack addict waiting for his next high is now the commonly accepted practice to keep reeling in ad revenue. Actually having a plan for how to close the series does not matter. Show me a TV series that had an AWESOME final episode since the ending of Newhart in 1990.

Comment Innocent as Acid Snow (Score 2) 261

Over the decades we have outsourced our most hazardous production to other nations such as China since in the US complying with our strict labor and environmental safety regulations makes it very expensive, and some industries probably can't be clean or safe enough to be legal. But now we stand at our clean and smog-free shores and pat ourselves on the back while pointing at the very nations we shipped our hazardous production to and accuse them of being unsafe and dirty.

Reminds of the scene from Game of Thrones when Joffrey says his mother has told him that a king should not strike a woman, then he orders Ser Meryn to hit Sansa. Meryn immediately obeys the command without hesitation or concern for the young lady. The US is Joffrey, Ser Meryn is China, Sansa is Mother Nature, and we are all hypocrites.

Comment Re:The pot calling the kettle black (Score 1) 261

Put the kids on pedal-powered generators and make child labor fun while cutting back on the need to burn coal. Get American kids to join in and we could solve the child obesity crisis, save the climate, gamble on televised kid-power competitions, create jobs for bicycle mechanics and generator technicians, end abusive fitness club contracts, and cut street crime from bored pre-teens running amok on our (and China's) streets.

Together we can make it happen. Vote for me in 2016.

Comment Re:Idiots (Score 1) 240

No, idgit is a food app that uses the iPhone accelerometer to detect when you have blended your smoothie to perfection. Just place iPhone in a zip-loc bag (note - must be zip-loc, not plastic wrap or aluminum foil), then place in blender with smoothie ingredients while the app is running. Then start blending and wait for the iPhone to beep when your smoothie is ready.

Comment Re:Where are the HD photos of the excavation site? (Score 1) 92

In the US governments grant public money to be used by private companies and do allow exclusive access to critical resources. One such example is the $3 million, five-year grant to Yulex Corp. to exclusively develop rubber from the guayule plant in Arizona. Yulex holds the exclusive license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for USDA's patented guayule latex production technology. Since I'm not part of this exclusive government-business partnership I can't even buy a seed or a plant for my own independent study. So much for a free market.

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