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Comment: Telescopes and camping or night-tours (Score 4, Interesting) 204

by TWX (#47938127) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?
Honestly, one of the most exciting things that I did was to take an overnight tour at Kitt Peak. They've dedicated one of their older optical telescopes that's not really adequate for leading-edge science anymore to use for public outreach, and seeing the Jovian moons so clearly was very exciting and made it easier to want to continue.

It's probably safe to accept that you'll be a consumer of science rather than a producer of it, but that's okay. Go camping with a large telescope and enjoy the world. Buy books or programs that let you track the objects of the night sky. Look at what NASA, the ESA, and IAU release.

If you're lucky you'll identify a new asteroid or comet.

Comment: Re:Garbage Disposal (Score 2) 142

by TWX (#47937097) Attached to: Australian Police Arrest 15, Charge 2, For Alleged Islamic State Beheading Plot
It not even hurt to brand them as crazy and to lock them up in an asylum for the criminally insane. That would allow the state to medicate them and in some ways, to make an example out of them.

Martyrdom? Nope, straight-jacketed and drugged and forced to talk about your feelings. No rewards of heaven for you.

Comment: Re:"forced labor" - bullox (Score 1) 177

by TWX (#47936045) Attached to: Use of Forced Labor "Systemic" In Malaysian IT Manufacturing
Pretty much. There's an expression that's often used to demonize management in the workplace as it's attributed to them saying it, "...but what have you done for me today?"

It works a lot better when applied to political parties. There's a sliding scale for how much worth one should put on the past actions of a political party, and actions a decade-old without either further followup or continued attempts to followup are meaningless.

Comment: Re:If you're paying for a job... (Score 1) 177

by TWX (#47932163) Attached to: Use of Forced Labor "Systemic" In Malaysian IT Manufacturing
Okay, I can see that. My work history started in the nineties, so I didn't have any experience with a different system.

I don't think that my parents ever paid a headhunter to find them a job either. Dad's computer skills were all he needed, in concert with looking at the want-ads. Funny enough, the demand for COBOL and RPG programmers now is probably at least as strong as it was in the early seventies when he started working in the field.

Comment: Re:If you're paying for a job... (Score 2) 177

by TWX (#47932117) Attached to: Use of Forced Labor "Systemic" In Malaysian IT Manufacturing
I actually work in an industry where a subset of coworkers are required to pay for their own enhanced background checks on a regular if infrequent basis, but they pay the state, not the employer. The employer simply mandates that employees provide the results of these tests, as the state requires the employer to do so. If the state didn't require it, the employer probably wouldn't require it either.

It's my experience that employer requirements for certifications are generally for third-party certifications, not internal ones. I've never seen internal ones that required the employee to pay the employer to receive. After all, either the certs are there to prove to the employer that the employee knows what they're doing, or to let the employer advertise that their employees have these industry-respected certifications for marketing purposes. Self-signed employee certifications wouldn't be worth much in most industries.

Plus there may be federal laws that were originally intended to break "company stores" for migrant and low-wage workers that would still apply to internal-purchase things like such certifications. It might actually be illegal for the employer to charge the employee for something that only the employer provides and requires of the employee.

At my work, if one is hourly and goes to internally-provided training, that time is paid at one's regular wage, and even some extra training for salaried staff is compensated for above and beyond one's base salary.

Comment: Re:"forced labor" (Score 3, Insightful) 177

by TWX (#47932045) Attached to: Use of Forced Labor "Systemic" In Malaysian IT Manufacturing
Yes, Republicans freed the slaves. And sometime between the two President Roosevelts, Bizarro-United States happened and the parties effectively switched platforms. One can even point to the election of Woodrow Wilson as the biggest turning point, when Wilson as a Democrat took on the same Populist Progressive platforms as his third-party opponent in Thodore Roosevelt, leaving Republican incumbent William Howard Taft as the most conservative of the candidates in that election. Over the next several elections Republicans became increasingly convervative and interested in promoting big business, while Democrats increasingly cited the plights of individuals and how big business was bad for them as laborers, and less and less in favor of states' rights. By the time FDR died the bulk of the transformation was complete, only leaving womens' issues and civil rights to settle through the next few decades.

Comment: Re:"forced labor" (Score 5, Interesting) 177

by TWX (#47931971) Attached to: Use of Forced Labor "Systemic" In Malaysian IT Manufacturing
Slaves really weren't that expensive, that was why the South in the United States was literally the wealthiest society in the world right up before the civil war. A slave owner didn't provide food, shelter, or clothing. At most they provided raw materials for clothing and shelter and a small patch of land for the slaves to sleep on, and made the slaves grow their own food, make their own clothes, and build their own shelter. The only slaves that got the clothing/shelter/food treatment were the house slaves that directly interacted with the slaveowning family and their guests, and compared to the slaves that served as common labourers that number was incredibly small.

Plus, as human beings, slaves were just as inclined to sex as anyone else, and since anyone born to a slave was also a slave, it meant a continuous supply of new slaves for those plantations large enough to have multiple generations of slaves on one property, and probably gave them a surplus to sell. That's how the United States could continue to have slavery for decades after the last slave was imported from Africa, they just bred them or encouraged them to breed themselves like livestock.

This current phenomenon is indentured servitude, with the added indignity of paying for the privilege in advance.

Comment: Re:If you're paying for a job... (Score 1) 177

by TWX (#47931891) Attached to: Use of Forced Labor "Systemic" In Malaysian IT Manufacturing

Also note they use the payment as a filter. That is, they don't want smart people working for these crap jobs.The smart people refuse to give up their passport and call the police after you bring them to your country. So they make sure to only 'hire' less smart people by giving you an intelligence test - if you are unwise enough to bribe the broker to get a job they promise is 'good', then you are unwise enough to give them your passport and not call the police.

And the same thing applies to MLM here and even to those "businesses" that recruit naive young women to attempt to use sex appeal to sell things out of the backs of trucks to people in parking lots. I was once approached by a girl of probably 20 years of age, she was trying to get me to buy some kind of cologne, attempting to use both bully tactics ("You don't want to smell, do you?") and cute-bubbly sex appeal to get my money. Seeing the guys on the other side of the parking lot at a van I asked her how much they were paying her, and she said that she pays them and gets a portion of the profits from her sales. I told her they were using her and weren't much above pimps, leaving the implication for what that made her unstated. Based on the shocked look on her face I don't think she'd even considered how both dangerous and wrong her situation was. I got in my car and left; no idea if she was smart enough to leave or go into the convenience store and ask for help or not.

Comment: If you're paying for a job... (Score 4, Insightful) 177

by TWX (#47931701) Attached to: Use of Forced Labor "Systemic" In Malaysian IT Manufacturing
...then it's not really a job.

Doesn't matter if it's 'clean' multilevel marketing, paying a 'headhunter' to market you to local companies in your area, or paying someone to get you to a job somewhere else, if you're paying, then it's not a job.

At least around here, headhunters are paid by the companies that need workers with particular skills. That's a negotiation between the company and the headhunter. Good headhunters actually take the time to talk to prospective workers to determine their skill sets, so that they can develop a reputation of being good matchmakers between companies and workers. Bad ones just send anyone through with keywords that might sort of apply.

Comment: Re:Lots of problems with it (Score 1) 190

by TWX (#47931673) Attached to: Wave Power Fails To Live Up To Promise
I'm not talking about resale though, I'm talking about use on the platform itself. To modify your analogy, it'd be like the farmer drinking all of the milk that he needs before he throws milk down the sewer.

I am aware that space is at a premium on an oil rig, but wouldn't being able to direct natural gas through a generator for rig power make sense, since they already have to have a generator on-board for whatever refined fuel is delivered by ship? If the line pressure is too low then they may need something to act as a compressor, but it should still be able to be sized to power the whole rig, probably with gas to spare/burn off.

Comment: Re:Good luck (Score 1) 111

by TWX (#47929773) Attached to: Logitech Aims To Control the Smart Home
I agree.

I went shopping for a good Bluetooth mouse the other day, and basically none of their offerings were actually Bluetooth, they wanted one to use their proprietary "up to six devices" USB to wireless thing. Sorry, the convertible tablet that I'm using only has two USB sockets, one for the USB to switch console cable and one for the USB-to-ethernet dongle. I'm not wasting my time with "2.4GHz Wireless" technology when even my six-year-old netbook has integrated Bluetooth.

If Logitech wants to be the big one on the block, they need to both be interoperable with everyone else and to simply make the best stuff. They used to- Logitech mice were the gold-standard for good mass-market mice. Sure there were better mice for a lot more money from companies like Kensington, but Logitech made the best industry-standard stuff and that got them the sales.

I have to deal with enough vendor lock-in in other areas, I'm not going do it with "the internet of things" or any other automation.

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir