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Comment: Re:Proposal. (Score 2) 191

by Trepidity (#46831911) Attached to: NASA Chief Tells the Critics of Exploration Plan: "Get Over It"

The claim that "he" rather than "they" is the correct gender-neutral singular personal pronoun is mainly an innovation of 19th-century grammarians, not traditional English usage. Prior to the 19th century, both constructions were in use, depending on the preference of the author. Nowadays, they are again both in use, after a brief interlude in which "singular they" suffered a decline in usage.

Comment: Re:College is unsustainable longterm (Score 3, Interesting) 360

by Trepidity (#46827369) Attached to: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

While it's worked well historically, Germany is slowly moving in the other direction, in part because students who take the "vocational" path have much higher unemployment rates and much lower lifetime earnings that students who take the "university" path, even those who choose a liberal arts university path. There's been a bit of a worry that Germany is training too many people for jobs that don't exist anymore, while it has a shortage of people with information-economy skills, especially engineering and technology. Part of it also relates to language skills; being fluent in reading/writing English is increasingly an asset, and the vocational track typically doesn't include things like foreign-language study, which are reserved for the universities.

Comment: Re:vocational schools (Score 4, Insightful) 360

by Trepidity (#46827287) Attached to: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

You can't get the kinds of skills being talked about here through 1- or 2-year vocational programs, though. There is virtually no market for starting welders, because the low-end stuff has been automated or outsourced. What's in demand are people with at least 5+, preferably 10+ years of experience in specific high-skill niches. You can't pick those skills up by taking a year or two of classes at the local community college; you need a more involved apprenticeship program, or a career path where you start in an entry-level job and work your way up. But those entry-level jobs and apprenticeships are few and far between. A few unions provide some training paths (this is common among electricians), but those are way over-subscribed with long waiting lists, too.

In short, if you could magically take an 18-year-old high school graduate and make them a master welder through a 1-year vocational program, then yeah, they'd have their pick of jobs. But how do you do that?

Comment: Re:LOL ... (Score 2) 360

by Trepidity (#46827219) Attached to: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

It's also quite expensive to get licensed unless you come into commercial aviation from the Air Force, because of the training and flight-hours requirements. Total cost for equipment, flight time, instruction, certifications, etc. ends up being in the $30k-$50k range, and that expenditure only qualifies you for a regional-carrier job where you make the equivalent of $12-15/hr. It's not clear that's actually a better investment of tuition money than a 4-year state college degree would be.

Comment: Re:Not Uncommon for Portland (Score 2) 330

by Trepidity (#46804017) Attached to: Why Portland Should Have Kept Its Water, Urine and All

Because there is so far no scientifically validated reason to think it's a health problem: the water is regularly tested at the point where it's drawn from the reservoir, to monitor the water quality, and it's of excellent quality. Water quality isn't some weird mystical thing that depends on what you personally find the right thing to do, but is measurable.

Comment: Re:medical industry = rent seeking (Score 1) 285

by Trepidity (#46803999) Attached to: $42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

I think the particular problem with the U.S. is those con-men haven't been put out of business: there is still a whole slew of private companies getting their grubby hands into healthcare. And they are still profiteering from misleading people, providing substandard service, advertising things people don't need and/or that are quack bullshit, etc. There is regulation but the regulation has you dealing with insurance companies, for-profit health clinics, all sorts of nonsense.

I agree that an unregulated laissez-faire health market would be ridiculous, but the U.S.'s system is only slightly less ridiculous. I think we did it right in Scandinavia by just taking an axe to the whole sector of privatized medical care, replacing it with an efficient and much less complex state-run system.

Comment: Re:Sunk Costs (Score 1) 285

by Trepidity (#46803981) Attached to: $42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

The real costs of medical stuff (operations, hardware, medication, etc) has long since been lost to the bureaucrats.

I think that's how it should be, having medical services delivered in accordance with their needs rather than in accordance with market mechanisms and profits. But you need an actually compete system of health bureaucracy that is aiming to maximize outcomes for the country's citizens given the available budget. Not, as the U.S. seems to have, bureaucrats looking to profiteer for some insurance companies and biomed labs.

Here in the Nordic countries medical devices do not cost nearly as much as they do in the U.S., and that's because we have more and better bureaucracy, not because we have a free-market health system (in fact providing private healthcare is illegal).

Comment: Re:The problem with Political Correctness (Score 0) 397

by Trepidity (#46800729) Attached to: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

That's why I hate fuckin' white people, and no longer am going to be forced by politically correct, inbred hick motherfuckers, who can't tell their bible from their asshole, to refrain from saying so publicly. "Oh you can't call me white trash, that's raaacciiiisssmmmm" the losers whine. Send 'em back to England or Italy or Portugal or whatever other shithole they came from.

Comment: Re:There are many journals (Score 1) 82

Not with quite the same profile, though. For just the "academic game" part there are indeed plenty of alternatives, journals with high impact factors and other such metrics, well-respected within a field. What Nature and Science mainly have going for them is a bunch of media and science-popularizer attention as well, which is useful for people who want to build up a high profile for themselves. If you get your paper on evolutionary robotics into a robotics journal, you can get prestige, but if you get it into Nature you can be on CNN talking about our future robot overlords.

Comment: Re:This makes perfect sense (Score 1) 273

by Trepidity (#46577463) Attached to: IRS: Bitcoin Is Property, Not Currency

Either way would make it inconvenient for those wanting to follow the rules, but if they had treated it like a foreign currency at least the $200 gain exemption would have taken the burden of keeping records off of many purchases.

True, though it would've made it worse for people with large amounts. With this ruling, gains realized after >1 yr of holding bitcoin are taxed at capital-gains rates, while with the alternative ruling that bitcoin is currency, large gains would've been taxed at ordinary income rates (like forex-trading gains are).

Comment: Re:Other way around (Score 1) 466

by Trepidity (#46573911) Attached to: AT&T Exec Calls Netflix "Arrogant" For Expecting Net Neutrality

To complicate things more, it looks like it might depend on whether you're calling from a mobile or landline. If you call from a landline, I think calling mobiles is still (much) more expensive. You can see that in the Skype rates, for example, because Skype originates its calls from landlines: Calling Finnish landlines from Skype is 0.04 EUR/min, while calling Finnish mobiles from Skype is 0.19 EUR/min (!).

Comment: Re:It's not arrogant, it's correct. (Score 4, Interesting) 466

On U.S. mobiles phones, interestingly, both sides pay.

On European mobile phones, on the other hand, only the caller pays, but they pay a non-neutral rate, which varies depending on the type of device the recipient has: calling mobile phones is more expensive (in some countries, much more expensive) than calling landlines.

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis