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Comment: Re:The Canadian middle class is dying out. (Score 3, Informative) 176

by epine (#49364223) Attached to: Best Buy Kills Off Future Shop

This is a huge change from what the country was once like, when it had a robust middle class.

First of all, this is the norm among industrialized economies. Perhaps Norway is different. I haven't checked since the fracking boom.

Second, the thriving middle class was a fairly short lived affair, centered around three decades from 1950–1980. Most affluent societies have now returned to pre-1930s levels of economic inequality. Historically, an affluent middle class is the exception and not the norm.

I had a college roommate whose brawny younger brother dropped out of high school with few skills and somehow got a job with the CAW at a starting wage north of $70,000 per year, back in the early 1980s. He soon had a wife and children, a driveway filled with expensive motor toys, and cash-flow problems.

He was almost certainly employed at a factory making automotive products that discerning consumers—those of us lacking misty-eyed Big Three loyalty—did not wish to purchase.

Meanwhile, high school drop-outs trying to scrape by on non-union wages weren't necessarily doing much better than those same people today, a major difference being that the majority of those fantasy union jobs have now gone away.

Someone needs to get in a time travel booth to go back to the early 1970s to inform the CAW management group that no matter what course of action they chose, their business model (high union wages for semi-skilled labour) could not survive selling shit product. Marketing the hell out shit product was a short-term solution at best (Future Shop—ultimately—not excepted).

As much as the Reagan and Thatcher plutocrats initiated a self-serving destruction of the middle class, the middle class itself was hardly blameless.

Now it's time for the plutocrats to determine whether they can recognize how they are painting themselves into a non-viable corner before they encounter a messy corrective force of their own seeding.

Beware, fellow plutocrats, the pitchforks are coming

Comment: The Shearing Economy (Score 1) 120

by epine (#49334721) Attached to: Uber To Turn Into a Big Data Company By Selling Location Data

Ugh. All your base R belong to us.

Avec optional appositional phrase:

means that Uber can, and is, on its way to becoming a Big Data company

Sans optional appositional phrase:

means that Uber can on its way to becoming a Big Data company

With proper parallelism:

means that Uber can become, and is on its way to becoming, a Big Data company

With more visual help to pair the distal commas:

means that Uber can become—and is on its way to becoming—a Big Data company

As it happens, I listened to an EconTalk episode last night dating back to July 2014, which is mainly about Uber.

Michael Munger on the Sharing Economy

This happens to be the audience-favourite EconTalk episode from 2014.

I've never been as much of a Mike Munger fan as many listeners of the show, but I actually thought this episode was well done. It's about 59m30s longer than what fits in an SMS message, so that makes it fairly clear that this episode is not preaching to the Uber choir. It's for those of us north of 30, whose lives are so dismal we sit around and listen to other people converse about how old and dismal we've all become.

Comment: the Lumia mosaic (Score 1) 213

by epine (#49318483) Attached to: Finland's Education System Supersedes "Subjects" With "Topics"

Recently I was reading The Seven Day Weekend by Ricardo Semler on my day off. There's a chapter or so devoted to the Lumiar School he founded, which runs on a Mosaic curriculum—a curriculum which discards the traditional subject orientation for learning experiences. Here's an article written about it shortly after the school opened: Learn what you want.

What we need to change to go along with this (if we keep them) are the standardized tests (by subject). I think there need to be many questions offered, from which the student can choose, and the final score needs to be more like tower diving, where your score on what you attempt is presented alongside with the average difficulty rating. Brownose U. could prefer to admit students with a 100% score at the high-school senior difficulty level, while Speed College could prefer to admit students with an 80% score at the level of a third-year undergraduate (in their chosen major)—tailoring their environment appropriately. Survival of the fittest lacks vitality unless there's real diversity in the methods employed.

Once upon a time, the problem with taking this approach is that having some of your brightest students going deep into difficult sub-topics (such as a bright high school math student who takes a shine to number theory), was that too many students would get too far ahead of the teachers, because few high school math teachers (for example) would be able to ace the entire panoply of twenty offered questions.

With the technology of social networking, it's a solvable problem to hook bright students up with teachers with expertise in the subject area, no matter how deep and narrow. If there are ten high-school math prodigies in all of Brazil who take a shine to number theory, you just need one math teacher (available online) who is good at number theory to help shepherd their studies in a productive direction.

No matter what the child wants to learn, find the teacher who can teach it. In a system as large as Brazil (to continue with my Lumiar example) it can't be that hard to have a least one teacher who can keep up with a bright child no matter how unusual the learning passion (excepting all things Narnia, like astrology and phrenology and intelligent design).

We have far less excuse to funnel every child down the same subject-matter cattle chute than ever before.

Comment: Re:Absolutley (Score 3, Interesting) 573

by epine (#49311411) Attached to: Greenpeace Co-Founder Declares Himself a Climate Change Skeptic

If that strike is destroying monuments thousands of years old and causing irreparable damage to a very fragile desert ecosystem - yes, absolutely I would be strongly against ANY entity that did that, but more importantly didn't even consider it to be a problem.

I take it then that you'll be pretty negative toward the American administration who oversaw the destruction or loss of a substantial slice of cultural artifacts held in trust on behalf of the entire Iraqi civilization.

"The images you are seeing on television you are seeing over and over and over. And it's the same picture of some person walking out of some building with a vase. And you see it 20 times. And you think, my goodness, were there that many vases?" Rumsfeld told reporters. "Is it possible that there were that many vases in the whole country?"

This from the man who likely repeated the phrase "weapons of mass destruction" times beyond measure. My goodness, is it possible that there were any WMD in the whole country?

the true figure was around 15,000 items, including 5,000 extremely valuable cylinder seals

Perhaps Rumsfeld hates all museums with the same uniform, searing passion, but I suspect he might have summarized the matter differently if 15,000 items walked out of the Smithsonian, including personal artifacts brought over to American on the Mayflower that were already so venerable they predated Constantine.

Now to deal with the article at hand:

If this trend continued, the carbon dioxide level would have become too low to support life on Earth.

If he thinks this trend could have continued deep into the extirpation of the chlorophyllosphere, he's badly in need of that new ultrasound treatment used to cure Alzheimer's disease in the mice model.

Epic fail. Crank dismissed.

Comment: Re:They'd be shooting themselves in the foot (Score 4, Informative) 193

OEM, sure. But it's not my understanding that if you buy a PC and buy the full, expensive version of windows and the PC dies and you buy a new pc then you need to buy another copy of windows. Otherwise....why would anyone pay for the full version; you'd get the oem, right?

Comment: Re:I think computer scientists already knew this.. (Score 1) 274

by epine (#49286509) Attached to: Speaking a Second Language May Change How You See the World

I formally divorced TRS-80 Level II BASIC by writing something along the lines of the following code snippet:

for i = 1 to 5
    gosub basic_sucks
    if (i==4) return;


I'm not going to wrack my brains to make this into a working example of obfuscated code, but it definitely was possible to mis-nest the loop and call stacks in this way, without the code generating any run-time notifications.

BASIC did me no damage at all, because I consciously filed formal divorced papers, rather than letting my further education accomplish the same by slow attrition.

One can do the same with English without actually learning German or Chinese. One's native state of mind has a lot to do with it.

Comment: Re:The name is not the problem (Score 1) 317

by Threni (#49281603) Attached to: Microsoft Is Killing Off the Internet Explorer Brand

Microsoft's javascript support is just like the other's; slower before but not so much now.

Self fulfilling prophecies? Well, maybe, or maybe it's just an obvious requirement for modern sites. Your list of uses is hardly exhaustive; stack exchange sites use it to great effect; you can't be serious when you prefer hitting f5 to provoke an update rather than...doing nothing and having the site update by itself? Look at google maps today (on the desktop). The limits to the practicality of javascript is...well, there are no limits. It's a programming language; you can do whatever you want with it. Emulate operating systems, games....

There's nothing sloppy about the use of javascript. I think you're a bit of an edge case; perhaps you're better off not using the internet; it really is as fundamental as that.

Comment: Re:The name is not the problem (Score 2) 317

by Threni (#49278699) Attached to: Microsoft Is Killing Off the Internet Explorer Brand

The problem was never javascript. Sure, IE was the posterboy in slow, buggy javascript. But it's hard to imagine anything other that static pages (and there's nothing wrong with that) being handled with anything better than javascript. Perhaps you're not very technical, but forget ads and gifs for a moment and explain how you'd provide the same functionality javascript (and ajax and all that goes along with it) would be handled without javascript? Uploading files to a site with a progress bar? Dragging and dropping files onto the browser. Sensible, rich clientside validation of user input (in addition to the back end validation, obviously)? The only alternative I can imagine you giving is some other client side language. The only reason you're not blocking those too is because they're not as popular as javascript; they can certainly produce and handle popups.

Comment: Re:projecting UV images from below liquid resin? (Score 1) 95

(same user, backup account)

Ok, so the solid part is created at the bottom of the vat is what you are implying, not at the top, which is what I originally assumed. I guess that makes more sense, as UV passes through a very thin layer of the resin it gets cured at the very bottom of that liquid resin container, so the model is created at the bottom part of all that liquid, not at the top.

Comment: Whitelisting real mobile carrier towers (Score 2, Interesting) 140

by udachny (#49271741) Attached to: How Police Fight To Keep Use of Stingrays Secret

I am thinking that some sort of a white list for real towers, their signal and locations will need to be developed and actively maintained to stop this fucking abuse of power on the technology level.

On the individual rights level the fucking police state is completely destroying those with all of these unauthorised searches (which is what they are), the Constitution is used to wipe the fucking government officials asses.

(oh, and /. it's been 16 seconds since I pushed the 'reply' button, has it? I am a quick fucking typist, you morons).


Hertz Puts Cameras In Its Rental Cars, Says It Has No Plans To Use Them 188

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-see-you-with dept.
schwit1 writes Hertz has added a camera to many of its newer cars that uses the "NeverLost" navigational device. So why is Hertz creeping out customers with cameras it's not using? "Hertz added the camera as a feature of the NeverLost 6 in the event it was decided, in the future, to activate live agent connectivity to customers by video. In that plan the customer would have needed to turn on the camera by pushing a button (while stationary)," Hertz spokesperson Evelin Imperatrice explained. "The camera feature has not been launched, cannot be operated and we have no current plans to do so."

Thrashing is just virtual crashing.