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Comment: What do test drives have to do with it (Score 2) 334

by russotto (#48010847) Attached to: State of Iowa Tells Tesla To Cancel Its Scheduled Test Drives

I can see that Iowa can prohibit in-state sales not through dealers, but why would that forbid Tesla from providing test drives and then, if the customer wants to talk turkey, refer them to e.g. a Missouri store, or an Internet site based in another state? This is how Tesla handles NJ; you want a Tesla in NJ you can test drive one and then hop over to NY to buy it.

Is there some Iowa law against manufacturers allowing people to borrow cars for free?

Comment: Re:Move away from the 120V screw-based sockets? (Score 2) 595

by russotto (#48007049) Attached to: The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

I'm surprised that more homes aren't equipped with house wide 12/24 volt DC, that would go a LONG way towards decreasing the costs/efficiency issues with LED's and many home electronics.

Um, no. Lower voltage means greater losses within the house, given the same wire thickness. Doing the step-down as close as possible to the use means higher efficiency.

Comment: Re:I dunno about LEDs, but CFLs don't last (Score 2) 595

by russotto (#48007015) Attached to: The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

Like most complaints about the government that I see on Slashdot, this never happened. They set energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs, that's it. Some companies decided to meet those requirements with CFLs, some with LEDs, some with high efficiency incandescents.

There are a very few incandescents which meet the current interim standards. There are none which meet the final standards, which were in fact chosen knowing that. Claiming it was just a matter of setting efficiency standards rather than banning the incandescent bulb is sophistry.

Comment: Re:I dunno about LEDs, but CFLs don't last (Score 3, Informative) 595

by russotto (#48006981) Attached to: The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

Chances are your dimmers and bulbs just aren't compatible. There are at least four kinds of dimmers out there -- those labeled for incandescent only, those labeled for magnetic ballast, those labeled for electronic ballast, and universal.

These labels are typically wrong, of course (nothing's ever easy).

An incandescent-only dimmer is a leading-edge (forward) phase cut dimmer. It works by turning on the power partway into the sine wave, cutting off the rising edge. It requires only two wires (hot and load), and obtains power for its own use by using the low-resistance path through an incandescent filament when it is off. Generally works poorly if at all with an LED fixture.

An electronic ballast dimmer is a trailing-edge (reverse) phase cut dimmer, and works by turning the power OFF partway into the sine wave. It requires a neutral wire as well as hot and load. Originally intended for low-voltage halogen fixtures using an electronic ballast.

A magnetic ballast dimmer is also a leading-edge (forward) phase cut dimmer, but requires three wires. Originally intended for low-voltage halogen fixtures using a magnetic ballast.

A universal dimmer is a two-wire forward phase cut dimmer that is supposed to work well with both types of ballast, but in practice just sucks.

Your LED lights will likely dim properly with either an electronic ballast dimmer, or a magnetic ballast dimmer (even though the LED certainly uses an electronic ballast), but not both, and will work poorly or not at all with the other types. And of course if you have multiple brands of LED they could require different types.

Comment: Re:"stashes its cash" (Score 1) 363

by tlambert (#48000997) Attached to: Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

As for reproduction, I would say that issues that are not in the domain of choice, are not in the domain of ethics. The presumption (dubious as it may be) is that people in general could choose to be in the same financial conditions as multinational corporations. The reasonableness of this disparity in activities seems to directly correlate with the degree one accepts the notion they could (perhaps if they "worked harder"), as you seem to have alluded to yourself. If one simply and clearly cannot, regardless of any questions of individual choice, engage in a particular activity, I would see this as excluding their circumstances from morality or ethics entirely, and therefore others acting otherwise who are in the domain of choice in that respect, would not run contrary to the Categorical Imperative.

I would argue that the amount of effort one puts out is not directly related to the value of ones efforts to society, and that one is generally paid based on the value of their work to the larger society.

By this measure, people incapable of extraordinary feats, "cannot, regardless o any questions of individual choice" achieve extraordinary feats. Bill Gates (as an example) was capable of building a company with revenues such that it was able to take advantage of the tax laws in such a way as to leverage an increase in personal wealth. That someone else can't would therefore exclude their circumstances (and thus the consequences of their circumstances) from morality or ethics entirely (by your own argument).

Thus person A's accumulation of wealth is not immoral or unethical, merely because person B is incapable of doing the same.

I think the problem that most people get tangled up in here is exactly what financial wealth does and does not represent. It represents the ability to do work now in return for a marker that allows one to call upon societies resources and labor at some future point in time to accomplish some goal of their choosing. The assumption implicit in the mind of most people who abhor accumulation of wealth is that the government is better able to direct the resources and labor of society, even though the government has not demonstrated the ability to provide sufficient value to society to accumulate such markers, whole people such as Andrew Carnegie have done so. I have serious doubts that something like the Carnegie Free Library system would have come about without the accumulation of said markers by an individual, who then spent them in such an endeavor. Government unfortunately is incapable of long term thing beyond the next election cycle. The only time this is not true is when term limit or self limits kick in. Even then, we've seen second term presidents compromise their ethical and moral positions, despite the fact that there is no chance of their reelection due to term limits.

Comment: Next: E2E voice encryption (Score 3, Interesting) 353

by russotto (#47999631) Attached to: FBI Chief: Apple, Google Phone Encryption Perilous

Yeah, Director Cormey, I'm sure you like the current procedure where you just obtain a warrant from an "independent" magistrate, a.k.a former prosecutor R. Stamp, even after the fact if you need to. Especially if you can do it based on an "anonymous tip" courtesy of your buddies over in the NSA. I'm sure that makes you feel good when you put on your Judge Dredd costume and run around a hotel bedroom screaming "I AM THE LAW" (BTW the "escort" you hired to watch this performance isn't REALLY impressed, you know)

Too bad. Enough abuses by criminals and governments (but I repeat myself) have finally gotten the encryption idea going, even among corporate behemoths. Next will be end-to-end encryption of voice as a matter of course. What will you ever do when you can't just touch a key and listen to anything you want? You might have to do some actual... work!

Comment: Bash needs to remove env-based procedure passing (Score 4, Interesting) 236

by m.dillon (#47999281) Attached to: First Shellshock Botnet Attacking Akamai, US DoD Networks

It's that simple. Even with the patches, bash is still running the contents of environment variables through its general command parser in order to parse the procedure. That's ridiculously dangerous... the command parser was never designed to be secure in that fashion. The parsing of env variables through the command parser to pass sh procedures OR FOR ANY OTHER REASON should be removed from bash outright. Period. End of story. Light a fire under the authors someone. It was stupid to use env variables for exec-crossing parameters in the first place. No other shell does it that I know of.

This is a major attack vector against linux. BSD systems tend to use bash only as an add-on, but even BSD systems could wind up being vulnerable due to third party internet-facing utilities / packages which hard-code the use of bash.

-Matt

Comment: Re:Show Equal Investment in College Hires (Score 1) 363

by tlambert (#47998461) Attached to: Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

I'm fine with H1B sponsorship, so long as a company can show they put an equal about of time, money and resources into college hire and training programs.

It is not an employers job to make your labor a marketable commodity. That's your job, until you are hired into another one.

If everyone came to the table with zero ability in a given field, how should an employer know the difference between an untrained person who can be trained to the task, and an untrained person who is ineducable, and will never be equal to the task? Are you seriously suggesting hire/train/fire, hire/train/fire until they find a good employee?

When I first started programming it was very common for me to see programming interns and college hires. I consult with many mid and large companies, and I haven't seen a programming intern in 7 years. I've seen two college hires in that time as well.

I think you are perhaps working in a dying segment of the industry. If you are not seeing new blood coming in, then it's likely that where/what you're working on is on its way out. That's actually typically good news for a consultant, because it means that there will be consulting opportunities, but it also means that non-consulting opportunities will be rare, unless a position opens up through retirement or mishap.

I personally worked with a large number of interns and new graduate hires at IBM, again at Apple, and again at Google. I was increasingly involved in the interviewing and hiring process along the way, and had no problem recommending hiring a capable newly graduated person. In the past 10 years, I've worked with literally 50 or 60 interns, in advisory, partially supervisory, or fully supervisory roles.

Comment: Re: FWD.US lies, just like its founder, Zuckerberg (Score 1) 363

by tlambert (#47998373) Attached to: Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

I would even go one step further: They can only hire an H1-B if they did not offer these jobs (and any training) to the 18,000 people laid off.

In other words, someone hacking on Office could be offered a job writing software for XBox with minimal re-training.

They aren't laying off Office hackers. The Office hackers are still employed, hacking Office.

They predominantly laid of former Nokia employees, who demonstrably were unable to produce products people wanted to buy.

Comment: Re:We just laid off a ton of people (Score 1) 363

by tlambert (#47998357) Attached to: Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

That drives me crazy. Laying off thousands and then complaining they cannot get foreign workers. Talk about gall!

The don't want foreign workers, they just want someone who can do the job.

Why do you think someone who worked the last 15 years at an automotive assembly plant in Detroit, where their major skill set for the job was torquing down bolts on body panels on gas guzzlers designed by people with zero aesthetic sense, but who is now unemployed because no one wants the product of their labor, is magically capable of writing O(n log n) algorithms to sift through large amounts of data?

So it just happens to be that the unemployed American with no marketable skills is not the one they're going to hire for the job.

Comment: Re:"stashes its cash" (Score 1) 363

by tlambert (#47998291) Attached to: Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

But just because you don't have the cash flow to make it worthwhile to do the same thing the companies are doing, doesn't make what the companies are doing illegal.

Correct. It makes it unethical.

I don't see how this follows, unless the laws themselves are unethical, since the laws themselves encourage the behaviour.

See Kant's Categorical Imperative on this. If you posit a behavioral norm that you can not simultaneously advocate equally applying to -everyone else-, it is not a rational stance, ethically.

Actually, the categorical imperative, of the first formulation, deals with morals, rather than ethics.

Ethics originate in the self, and are independent of morality. Morals originate in the imposition by society of behavioral mores (hence "morality") upon the individual, and while not always, generally result in punitive action by society, and are thus social tenets through threat and coercion. In a religious society, this may be the threat of hell; in a civil society, this may be the thread of fines, incarceration, corporal punishment up to and including death, etc..

In other words, we are ethical because we are wired that way, and we are moral under threat, unless a given more happens to coincide with one of our ethics.

The two concepts are often confused by amateur philosophers, since we tend, in English, to use the term "professional ethics" for what are in fact a set of morals (e.g. failure to follow codes of conduct for a lawyer can result in disbarrment, etc. - professional ethics are always backed by threat of punishment for misbehavior),

The fact "they" are incapable for practical reasons of reproducing your behavior, does not create an ethical exemption.

Leaving aside whether it would be an ethical or moral exception (if the former, it should be codified into law, so that it becomes a social more as well)...

Interpreting the term "universal law" in this fashion - which I believe is not how Kant intended it to be interpreted - leads very quickly to a reductio ad absurdum of the type Phillip K. Dick wrote in his "handicapper" story:

By this same argument, your ability to reproduce should be subservient to the ability of those who are sterile to reproduce, and therefore, it would be unethical for you to reproduce, if you could not offer that same ability to everyone else.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter

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