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+ - Sen. Jeff Sessions Unfriends Mark Zuckerberg Over US Worker Hiring

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "In a speech on the Senate floor last week, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) challenged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to "hire American workers for a change." The speech attributed President Obama's plans for executive action on immigration to meetings between White House officials and Zuckerberg's PAC. Such presidential action, explained, would allow tech companies to recruit the "very best" people from around the world instead of settling for U.S. workers who are "just sort of okay." Facebook, reported the Washington Post in 2013, became legally "dependent" on H-1B visas and subject to stricter regulations shortly before Zuckerberg got immigration reform religion and launched The immigration bill passed last year by the Senate included the so-called "Facebook loophole", legislative slight-of-hand which could make Facebook exempt from H-1B dependent employer rules even if it becomes more dependent on H-1B employees. By the way, in its diversity disclosure, Facebook — like other tech companies led by Founders and Major Supporters — opted not to share any info on the countries the best-and-the-brightest employees hail from, as one might find in a university's Statistical Abstract. Must be considered trade secrets, huh?"

Comment: Re:I am shocked! (Score 1) 112

So every one of them would know how to calculate the left limit and right limit as x approaches zero for the function y = sin(3x)/x. But would still treat their computing devices as black boxes, learn enough to map to know what to do make it do something, but would not have a fundamental grasp of why the computer does what it does.

Comment: It is a solvent for hydrogen. (Score 1) 113

by 140Mandak262Jamuna (#47892859) Attached to: Liquid Sponges Extract Hydrogen From Water
According to the article the biggest potential is as energy storage solution. (both meanings of the word solution).

To free hydrogen from water, you need energy, not low quality energy like heat but high quality energy in the form of electricity. So there is no special advantage there. You still go through hydrolysis. But instead of releasing hydrogen as a gas, you dissolve it in this oxide solvent. The liquid can be stored at room temp and pressure without the danger of leaks, fire or explosion. When you want hydrogen, you pour it over catalysts and the gas is released. So it can serve as energy storage medium. Since the efficiency of { electricity --> hydrogen --> electricity } is much higher than { renewable energy --> molten salt --> heat --> electricity } it could be useful.

I am sure some click baiting writer jazzed up the headline with a totally irrelevant comparison 30 times faster. The catalyst releases hydrogen from the solution 30 times faster than electrolysis. But it is electrolysis that produces the solution in the first place.

You need an energy source. You need electricity. It is, at best, a good energy storage solution. Modest improvement. Nothing to sneeze at, most advances come by small increments. But still ...

Comment: Re:Cuba could have lifted it ages ago (Score 1) 522

by shutdown -p now (#47887443) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

You think the Castro dynasty would give up their communist ideals just because the US lifts the embargo?

Of course not. But you give the right answer immediately.

The truth is that the US has very little to do with Cuba's problems. All the embargo really does to Cuba is give its leaders someone to blame for everything that Cuba is not. A convenient scapegoat for the government.

Exactly. Embargo is a convenient scapegoat - it lets the government to explain away harsh life and crackdowns by an ongoing conflict, "us vs them", "everything for the victory". Remove it, and it makes that much harder for them to maintain that. Long term, it will accelerate the inevitable collapse of the dictatorship and the transition to something saner. If Castros are smart, they will do what Chinese and Vietnamese elites did, and head the transition rather than trying to resist it, so as to reap the maximum benefits. If not, there will be another revolution.

Either way, all that embargo does is delay that process. So it hurts the people of Cuba, not its government.

Comment: (Score 1) 522

by shutdown -p now (#47887383) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

The embargo started before the Cuban missile crisis (in fact, many historians believe that it was the extreme hostility of US towards Cuba after the revolution that pushed the latter towards Soviets). In any case, the notion that if the embargo is lifted, Cuba would rebuild the missile bases, just defies any common sense. It was not their bases to begin with, and if someone else would want to rebuild them today, the embargo makes it easier not harder (because it takes that much less to pay to Cuba for them).

Comment: Re:Overall death toll under communism: 100 Million (Score 1) 522

by shutdown -p now (#47887373) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

If you seriously consider the Black Book of Communism to be the "best estimates for communist regimes killing people", you're either deluded or retarded. Heck, even if you take the book at its face value, even then it counts "victims of communism" - and by this they mean anyone who has died due to e.g. starvation during a famine, regardless of whether said famine was artificially induced or not (and Soviet Russia had plenty natural ones in the aftermath of its Civil War). For the actual killing estimates, they tend to take the highest figures from the sources that are basically pure guesswork, like Solzhenitsyn's books.

Comment: Re:Cuba could have lifted it ages ago (Score 1) 522

by shutdown -p now (#47887367) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

The embargo is by US on Cuba. If US truly wanted to lift it, it could just do that. The fact that it is not lifted because "Cuba does something" means that US doesn't really want to lift it, either.

Which is stupid, because Cuba is as communist as it is only because of that embargo. Hell, look at Vietnam: a country that US actually went to wage war in, with numerous civilian casualties, and now? They're rapidly catching up with China on that whole capitalism business, and you can actually talk to a Vietnamese guy on the Internet and ask him what he thinks (and tell him what you think).

Comment: Re:$1.1 Trillion over 54 years... (Score 1) 522

by shutdown -p now (#47887363) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

More like 11th century, actually.

I mean, this is Europe we're talking about here. If two states had a common border, you can be pretty sure they had at least one war per century, and often more than that. In case of Russia(/Ukraine/Belarus) and Poland, the only reason why it doesn't go back earlier is because Rus was a proto-state before then, and it wasn't until the end of 10th century that it was fully formed.

Comment: (Score 1) 522

by shutdown -p now (#47887341) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

I was born there as well, and my parents were not communist activists.

What I remember are long lines for toilet paper, shampoo and shoes.

True, but this was mostly in the 80s (and mid-to-late 70s in some regions). Basically, the beginning of the end. Which brings us to...

People imprisoned and killed on the streets

At the time where there were long lines for toilet paper, that was quite unlikely. Killing on the streets was certainly not the thing, and even political dissidents were usually found insane, so that they could be put into asylums rather than imprisoned (that's when they invented "sluggish schizophrenia") - better from the PR perspective.

Certainly, for an average Soviet citizen to be killed or imprisoned by authorities in the 70s on, would be extremely unlikely.

My Mom earning $3 per month.

That part is either bullshit or meaningless (or both). For someone like a teacher, say, the monthly salary was typically between 100 and 200 rubles during that time. Factory workers actually earned more (cuz "proletariat"). I can't think of anyone in full-time job earning less than a 100, in any case. University students got 50 rubles per month.

Now, the official exchange rate was 1 USD = 0.8-0.5 RUB, but that was bullshit in any case, because you couldn't freely exchange them. So the only way to meaningfully compare is in terms of purchasing power. Now, for example, price in rubles for some common foods:

box of 50 matches - 0.01 rub aka 1 kopeika (they used it for change when they ran out of coins)
loaf of wheat bread (400 g) - 0.26 rub
loaf of dark rye bread (700 g) - 0.16 rub
1 liter bottle of milk - 0.46 rub
1 kg of sugar - 0.78 rub
1 kg of cheese - 2.20 rub
1 kg of butter - 3.40 rub
100 g of chocolate - 0.80 rub
ice cream in a waffle cone - 0.20 rub

Some other random stuff:

bus ticket (valid for that one bus for any distance) - 0.05 rub
tram ticket - 0.03 rub
evening movie ticket - 0.25 rub
soap - 0.14 rub
camera - 15 rub
ushanka - 14 rub
vinyl record - 1-3 rub
1 liter of gas - 0.10 rub

Expensive stuff:

motorcycle - 1000-1500 rub
car - 3500-10000 rub

Free stuff:

So it's still not a straightforward comparison. If you take food - say, milk; US average is $3.74/gallon, so almost $1/liter. If you go by the prices in rubles above, it would make the average Soviet salary of 150 rub equivalent to $300. OTOH, in US, most people spend most of their income on rent or mortgage, while Soviet citizens spent most of it on food, clothing etc. Average monthly gross rent in US is ~900$; adding that, you'd end up with $1200 per person, or $2400 per household (since both would typically work and bring roughly the same wage). This is pretty close to the average median income of an African-American household in US today. So, basically, pretty damn poor, but not third world shithole poor.

OTOH, car was a real luxury.

Comment: (Score 1) 522

by shutdown -p now (#47887249) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

Actually, that's not quite right. RT will make false stories where they can get away with them (e.g. Ukraine). But when they make one about US and Europe, it almost always has some kernel of truth in it... just distorted and embellished to fit their agenda. Nevertheless, if they tell there is a problem, it's a good habit to try to find the original source - oftentimes you will in fact discover some real issue there, that you'd do well to know about (and that mainstream US media, say, won't comment on loudly until much later).

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