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Comment: Re: We are being bred for slavery (Score 1) 364

by VeriTea (#47198123) Attached to: Netflix Trash-Talks Verizon's Network; Verizon Threatens To Sue

Your 1950's car would struggle to sell for $500 today - it is unsafe, unreliable, un-air-conditioned, inefficient, and undesirable compared to even a high-mileage poor condition used car now.

Oh, and that 'single family income' was generally only available to white males not from southern Europe or Ireland . Black? Single Mom? You worked as a cook in someone's kitchen and lived in a hut with no plumbing. It is amazing what standard of living you can claim if you only look at how things are going for the most fortunate ~35% of the population.

Oh, one more thing: You could afford to own your own house today too if we had 1950's zoning and building codes in place.

Comment: Re:What year is this? (Score 1) 559

by VeriTea (#43591891) Attached to: Robots Help Manufacturing Recover Without Adding Jobs

I don't know much about Sweden, but in Germany the labor market flexibility has been improved dramatically. Minimum wage is extremely low for companies, and is made up for by the government filling in workers wages. This corporatist policy means that Germany effectively subsidizes all sorts of manufacturing jobs. Government subsidized workers is one way of achieving labor flexibility from the perspective of a company's bottom line.

Germany also has the massive advantage of the the euro, which essentially acts as a beggar-thy-neighbor trade system for them vs. the rest of Europe. This results in a great export economy in Germany and a terrible, import-heavy one for everyone else in the euro zone. If Germany went back to the D-mark their currency would appreciate and raise the cost of exports which would destroy their manufacturing economy in a very short period of time. Effectively it is not just the German government, but all of Europe that subsidizes German manufacturing.

Comment: Re:You sure you want to go there? (Score 1) 219

by VeriTea (#43591717) Attached to: EU To Ban Neonicotinoid Insecticides

No. The parent was closer to the original definition of neocon. Now neocon has come to mean a whole bucket of things and is generally used as a catchall term for the conservative boogiemen of liberal nightmares, but it was not always so. Originally it referred to people with liberal-leaning ideology who had been persuaded to use traditionally conservative means to promote their values.

The best example of neocon thought is the theory of using military force to remove a dictator and establish a democracy. The idea of using military means (typically a conservative policy tool) to promote democracy (a traditionally liberal policy concern) was the domain of a new political creature, the neocon. This way of thinking was quite different from traditional liberal thought (no war ever) and traditional conservative thought (democracy requires a certain type of educated and moral citizenship that does not exist in many countries, so dictators are what they need and if we find one that is for us then by all means support him).

Note that Regan was not a neocon in any traditional sense of the word - he had no problem with dictators and happily supported plenty of them. G.H. Bush also lacked any real neocon policies as he made no effort to remake Iraq or displace Saddam after the first gulf war. G.W. Bush was really the only president to fully embrace the neocon ideology with his idea of turning Iraq into a democracy.

You might not like traditional conservative ideology, but at least try and use enough critical thinking skills to see how it differs from neoconservative ideology. There are plenty of conservatives in this country who have been very unhappy with neocon ideology and in the way Bush used it. In the second Iraq war the traditional conservative game plan would have been to set up another dictator and get out as fast as possible, not spend eight years in a quagmire of trying to establish a democracy among a people who are not culturally equipped to support one.

But don't let any actual history get in your way of using the label to disparage every idea you dislike, those who agree with your point of view probably share your limited historical understanding and perspective and will think you are very clever.

Comment: Re:Not all STEMs are the same (Score 1) 344

by VeriTea (#43558093) Attached to: New Study Suggests No Shortage of American STEM Graduates

No, the problem with your analysis is that you assume that you can take any "Engineer Widget (tm)" and with training make it just as creative, inventive, and brilliant as Steve Jobs. You can't. There are great engineers and there are mediocre engineers. Retraining just gives you more of the mediocre kind. What we are limited by is the number of great engineers (that are worth 10x, 100x, or even 1000x a mediocre engineer).

Comment: Re:The HR fantasy (Score 1) 344

by VeriTea (#43558033) Attached to: New Study Suggests No Shortage of American STEM Graduates

But now you have access to "the best" from around the world, not just the US. The US does not have a monopoly on the best minds.

The rest of the H1B imports are wasted. We should have a cap on the total number of H1Bs and they should be auctioned off to the highest bidders. That way companies who find a great hire can always get them if they need them, and companies who are looking for indentured servants will be priced out of the market.

Comment: Re:Stem shortage... (Score 1, Troll) 344

by VeriTea (#43557867) Attached to: New Study Suggests No Shortage of American STEM Graduates

By the time training is available all the important development work has already been done and the companies that did it have collected the profit. Companies need the type of engineers that can do the development work and create new things. These engineers are the ones that are hard to find and in short supply. Engineers that need training to work on a new technology will always be late to the party and a dime a dozen (read: not that valuable and not hard to find).

The problem is that people are talking past each other. There are different classes of engineers. Class A, are the type that invent new things that haven't been done before. For this class a great engineer is worth 10x, 100x, 1000x that of an average engineer. You cannot train someone to be this type of engineer, they are rare and hard to find. The second type (Class B) are the 'turn-the-crank' type of people that work processes that were developed by someone else, or create a product that is a copy of an existing product from a different company. There is no shortage of this type of engineer, they are easy to find, or can be acquired by training a new hire.

Pointing to a large number of Class B engineers is not a refutation of the claim that there is a shortage of Class A engineers.

Comment: Re:Welcome to STEM Jeopardy (Score 1) 344

by VeriTea (#43557349) Attached to: New Study Suggests No Shortage of American STEM Graduates

More like "Companies need highly talented engineers of which there are just too few to be had in the world and having 50 engineers of average talent for every position does nothing to help with the shortage."

Engineers are not widgets. A great engineer is worth 50 mediocre engineers.

Comment: Re:Why would the Telcos care? (Score 1) 107

You misunderstand the situation. Everything installed in the ROW is paid for and maintained by the companies that install it (phone & power are only two of the many companies that use this infrastructure). The only thing provided by the government is access to the ROW. ROW is essentially just permission to cross land, and the government taxes it just like anything else. The utility companies pay for the ROW access through taxes that are levied specifically on ROW use. The only government expenses associated with the ROW are the expenses they incur from regulating and taxing it.

Perhaps if there were no taxes for crossing the land and the government paid for the actual infrastructure then your point of view would make sense.

Comment: Re:Public lands? (Score 1) 107

This isn't true. Lots of companies have built out private networks in the ROW. In fact, I'm not sure what the point of the original question is. The ROW is just that, property that any telecommunications or utility company has access to use. Verizon still had to build and pay for their network and nothing stops other companies from doing the same in the ROW. In fact, federal law prohibits anyone from prohibiting other companies from doing the same. It is a lot of work, but in the end, if a company wants to build a network they can do so.

The big problem is that there just isn't any money in offering wired service to consumers (cable and phone company competition has brought the prices too low to payback to network costs). Private networks for other purposes still make sense and are built all the time.

Comment: Re:CBYD (Score 1) 107

No. DigSafe is just a group that takes calls and then distributes the request to all of the utilities (hint: there are far more then you know about). The utilities then each individually dig through their own maps (often paper) and check the specific location being requested.

There are no comprehensive electronic databases. DigSafe is not a help.

Comment: The market for engineers has multiple components (Score 2) 1201

by VeriTea (#40401027) Attached to: Why Bad Jobs (or No Jobs) Happen To Good Workers

Some parts have shortages and others have a glut. Efforts to solve the shortages often exacerbate the glut leading to resentment and accusations that employers are being dishonest about the shortage.

The whole H1B visa thing always bothered me as an engineer because it seemed pretty obvious it was depressing my wages. Later on in my career I became a manager responsible for hiring and managing engineers. It turns out there is some truth to both sides of this argument. Partially because of immigration and H1B visas there are plenty of medium-skilled engineers to be had. For every opening I have looked to fill there have been plenty of medium-skilled candidates who can be had at just about any price you want to pay (thus they are depressing wages). Highly skilled candidates are very rare, even when you go into the search planning to spend well over 100k.

The problem is that when you manage engineers you quickly realize that a highly-skilled engineer is often worth 10 medium-skilled engineers, and more importantly, can accomplish the tasks that no amount of medium-skilled engineers could ever manage. That's not to say that there isn't a place for medium-skilled engineers. It often works well to have a few highly-skilled engineers on a team with a bunch of medium-skilled engineers. The highly-skilled ones figure out strategy, solve the really hard problems, and provide a skeleton structure for the project that provides the medium-skilled engineers with bite-sized tasks they can accomplish on their own. However, without the highly-skilled engineers you are doomed to failure. It is also imperative that the highly skilled engineers have subject matter expertise in whatever you are working on. There has to be a 'trainer' before you can do any training, and having a team where no one knows anything about what they need to work on is a recipe for failure.

Startups have a particular need for highly-skilled engineers. In a new company there is no structure and only the high-level plan of what needs to be done. In this environment you need almost all highly-skilled engineers with domain-specific knowledge on the team to get the first product ready. No amount of medium-skilled engineers will let you accomplish this. Likewise hiring a bunch of super bright engineers whose background experience is in designing long distance power lines is probably not going to be a winning combination if you are trying to build a revolutionary new scalable map-reduce mega server cluster. They will take years learning the skills needed and rediscovering the mistakes that someone with domain experience would already know to avoid.

It is very important to understand that "highly-skilled" is not closely correlated to schooling by the way - I have met plenty of medium-skilled engineers with master's degrees (and evenPhD's). I have also seen great engineers with only bachelors degrees. (It is worth noting here that there is still some correlation between schooling and skill - there is a greater concentration of highly-skilled engineers with PhDs that I have worked with then among those with only their B.S.). Experience is only loosely correlated as well. You can spot the really good engineers pretty early in their careers. This doesn't mean that an inexperienced but highly talented engineer is worth as much as one with experience and talent, but it does mean that within a few years out of school they are often worth more then the experienced medium-skilled engineer.

Bottom line: the US would be far better off if we could get more highly-skilled engineers. There are so many opportunities (and potential new jobs for all the supporting staff and medium-skilled engineers) that companies (including mine right now) simply cannot pursue because there are not enough of these individuals to staff the efforts. The problem is that there is really no effective way to get these individuals without letting in a lot of additional medium-skilled engineers into the country.

Another way to think of it is this: if you could put all of the people in the world who fell into the top 5% of intelligence into a stadium how many of them would be American?

Answer: not that many (if they were equally distributed it would be only 300m / 7b = 4.2%). If very intelligent people are disproportionately located in America due to some self-selection process it might be as high as 8%. In either case there is much to be gained from letting more of the 96% of people in the top bracket of intelligence into the country.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen

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