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Comment: Re:oh wow (Score 4, Interesting) 102

by TWX (#47959443) Attached to: SpaceX Launches Supplies to ISS, Including Its First 3D Printer

Yes, melting plastic in a closed environment. Brilliant. Instead of planning for their little hobby-jump in Low Earth Orbit, let's bring a cranky, tiny toy to make coat hangers... (in free-fall LOL). I just love the armchair engineers and programmers here going on about the 3D printer will be this tool to help colonize the universe..

I never said that it would help colonize the universe.

I expect that it'll be useful when that plastic tab on that rocker switch that's used all of the time breaks off, so they an print themselves a replacement instead of waiting weeks or months for a resupply mission to bring them one, or when an astronaut realizes that a particular control stick or other device is causing skin abrasions, so they could design and print a different one that doesn't cause sores, or any of a whole set of times when a spaceman needs some small, insignificant-on-earth part that is literally worth its weight in gold because they just don't have access to it.

I could even see circumstances in an Apollo-Thirteen kind of accident where engineers at NASA could come up with a fix that's safer and more reliable than duct-taping some plastic sheeting to a bulkhead because the tech to manufacture a few parts exists with those that need those parts.

Comment: Re:oh wow (Score 4, Interesting) 102

by TWX (#47959101) Attached to: SpaceX Launches Supplies to ISS, Including Its First 3D Printer
I actually don't care for this modern 3d printer hype, but this is one of the few places where I could see a 3d printer being particularly useful.

Thing is, you're melting plastic and placing that melted plastic where you want it to be. In gravity and endless atmosphere this is easy, the gravity helps feed the raw materials through a hopper and ensure that the plastic stays where you place it, and the essentially endless atmosphere carries away noxious fumes so that you don't poison yourself. Unfortunately on a space station or in a spacecraft you have no effective gravity and a very limited atmosphere, so you cannot pollute nor can you rely on gravity to make things go where you want them.

Consider the effort and design that goes into the toilet. A simple act that humans have always done on Earth is not so simple in space, and millions of dollars have been spent to account for biology designed to function with gravity assistance when that gravity is not available.

Comment: Telescopes and camping or night-tours (Score 5, Interesting) 230

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) 165

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) 183

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) 183

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) 183

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 4, Insightful) 183

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) 183

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) 183

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.

Professional wrestling: ballet for the common man.