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Comment: McDonalds nutrition (Score 1) 225

by sjbe (#49561991) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame

When I go to mac donalds, I get a hamburger and a diet soda (I don't really care for the fries).
Makes sense for me, a 500-600 calorie meal. I't a nice lunch, tastes good (all beef, even MCD, is awesome this side of the world), and even has lettuce and tomato.

A standard McDonalds hamburger does not come with lettuce and tomato. Catsup, mustard, pickle, minced onions. Has 240 calories.

In your example, that double big mac has 700 calories.

A Big Mac has 530 calories. Not sure what a double Big Mac is since it isn't a standard part of McDonald's menu. By itself a Big Mac is fine now and then but people rarely eat just a Big Mac. Usually they have some fries and a sugar loaded soft drink too. This easily can get the meal over 1000 calories as you mention which is about half the daily caloric intake for an adult male.

Not a diet meal, but not that excessive. It even has a lot of lettuce, which is good against blood sugar spikes, esp. a good thing for most fat people.

No burger sold by McDonalds has "a lot of lettuce". It has at most a small piece (possibly shredded) the size of the bun. That is not a lot of lettuce using any reasonable definition of the word "lot". Furthermore to get enough fiber to actually affect blood sugar levels you would have to eat several cups of the stuff, far more than is in any McDonalds burger.

Comment: I prefer the taste of the diet soft drinks (Score 1) 225

by sjbe (#49561773) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame

Dangerous smangerous. I don't drink diet because it tastes terrible.

Depends on your taste buds. Once you drink diet for a while the regular stuff tastes a bit weird. I have trouble finishing a regular can of coke.

Plus the amount of sugar in the normal stuff is ridiculous. I think they should start selling a free insulin shot with every case. Basically you are literally picking your poison.

Comment: Too speculative right now (Score 1) 292

by sjbe (#49560307) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

Driverless cars are prime real estate for ads.

That's a bit of a stretch even for Google. I'm not saying you are wrong but it doesn't really explain their investment in the technology. That's just too far off to make a connection to a revenue stream at this time.

Honestly the real revenue stream for that sort of technology will probably be in licensing. Making what amounts to a navigation system for a car could be a very real standalone business if they get far enough ahead of the curve. I could see Google spinning it off or licensing the technology somewhere down the road. Google gets the opportunity to direct the technology in ways beneficial to them (maybe) but they aren't the only ones working on this so any ties to their current business model are hugely premature given that not a single vehicle sold has any of this technology embedded in it yet.

Comment: There is no single correct team structure (Score 1) 109

by sjbe (#49560197) Attached to: When Exxon Wanted To Be a Personal Computing Revolutionary

I believe that you have a bias about "ideal teams".

Disagree. The ideal team structure for a situation can vary greatly depending on the task at hand and the personalities involved. I make no judgement about what is ideal for a given situation and I've seen a wide variety of team structures work effectively. But what is VERY clear is that having a single individual, no matter how talented, doing something wildly different than the rest of the organization is almost always a recipe for failure. There are exceptions that prove the rule but they are rather rare.

Thanks to the internet it is easier today to have teams time and location shifted particularly if the task is something like software that can be readily broken up in to manageable pieces. But that is relatively rare. My company is a manufacturer and it would be nearly impossible for us to work effectively at different times of day and in different locations.

The OP described the 2 profiles that you can find:
Side A: collaborative type
Side B: competitive type

That grossly oversimplifies the reality of the situation. Things involving real people rarely fall neatly into one of two buckets no matter how much you might wish it were so.

Comment: Economics preventing higher wages (Score 2) 194

That said, when someone says an American won't do the job what they mean is, "I'm not willing to pay a living wage for this job"

It's not a matter of not being willing to pay higher wages. The economics of the industry are such that it is impossible to pay substantially higher wages. Profit margins in farming are low in the best of times and labor cost is a very substantial percent of the cost of most agriculture products. Higher wages in crop picking does not result in meaningfully higher productivity. A person has a physical limit on how much work they can accomplish in a given amount of time. Higher wages will not result in better productivity beyond a certain point. There also is no way for a single farm (even large agribusinesses) to set prices high enough to offset paying higher wages. We as consumers demand that food prices be kept low and unless you can remove the labor component from the price equation the only way to keep prices low is to pay low wages.

I would love to pay farm workers better wages for picking crops but I really do not see a way to make it a reality. Has nothing to do with a willingness or not to pay living wages.

Comment: Being better isn't what matters (Score 1) 292

by sjbe (#49559179) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

For a product or service to unseat a market leader, it's got to be MUCH better than the status quo.

No it does not. In fact most established companies are demonstrably NOT usually unseated by technology that is much better than the status quo at the time they get unseated. Often the technology is actually worse at least at first. This is the core idea behind disruptive innovations. A better mousetrap is helpful but most of the time it isn't what actually unseats a market leader. What does is technology that changes the market itself rather than being a better version of what already exists.

What has to happen is that the new product or service has to provide a new value proposition that that the market leader cannot match until it is too late. Usually they cannot match it because initially the financial value of the new technology isn't enough to be worth the time for the market leader to develop. Often they fight it because it might cannibalize their existing revenue streams.

Fighting a market leader head on almost always results in the market leader winning. Instead they get unseated by technology that changes the game. There are lots of examples. Linux still hasn't made a dent in the desktop operating system market but it dominates mobile. It changed the game and mobile arguably is where all the growth is. Cell phone cameras still aren't better cameras than standalone point and shoots but they were good enough and are integrated with a networked device everyone already carries. Kodak couldn't be bothered to develop a digital camera business even though they pioneered the technology because they were at their core a chemicals company and couldn't make the shift.

Comment: Engineering is a team activity (Score 1, Insightful) 109

by sjbe (#49559013) Attached to: When Exxon Wanted To Be a Personal Computing Revolutionary

Side A: But if you're in the office while everybody else is in, you can work more efficiently, as everybody else is there to answer your questions.

The benefits of having everyone in the office at the same time is that you can be a more effective team. Engineering is (mostly) a team sport. You have to structure the work environment right so distractions and pointless meetings are minimized otherwise you are setting yourself up for failure. But most important is that you need an environment where the team can work effectively together. For most tasks this requires a non-trivial amount of direct interaction with coworkers. While time shifted teams can work in some cases these are rare and remember that we are talking about a time LONG before the internet was a thing so working separately was far more difficult than it is today. If someone doesn't want to work on an engineering team then either they need to be in a (rare) job where that doesn't matter or they simply aren't going to work out.

Side B: Some of the best engineers I've worked with worked nights. Some of them slept under their desks and rarely showered, but none of the 9-5 people came close to their performance.

That's only helpful if you can do your work without involving anyone else which is extremely unusual. Engineering in most cases is a team activity and it's pretty hard to be an effective team if you have one person (even an extremely talented one) who is never present. In the early days of microprocessor development maybe one guy could do the critical work by himself but that doesn't really work as things get more complex. The long run downside of accommodating prima-donna engineers almost always outweighs the upside of their potential contributions.

Basically, if people perform don't mess with their schedule or their appearance.

My guess is that this guy wouldn't have been able to perform given the team requirements. I don't really care how talented he was, eventually the volume of work will overwhelm even the most talented engineer as the business grows and then he had damn well better be able to play nice with others. Sounds like this guy couldn't.

Comment: Google's projects aren't afterthoughts (mostly) (Score 1) 292

by sjbe (#49558903) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

What we are seeing now --- the branching of Google into driverless cars, into Google+, into Youtube (actually they acquired it), and so on --- is but afterthoughts, aka what should we do with all the Billions we got?

You are quite wrong if you think a lot of the things Google is doing are "afterthoughts". They aren't. You just have to look at them from Google's perspective. Youtube isn't an afterthought, it fits very nicely in with their core advertising business - eyeballs on video has a long tradition. Google+? Integrates business lines for better advertising. Maps? Local search and advertising. Gmail? Advertising based on personal communications. Android? Defensive play to keep Apple and Microsoft from shutting them out of the mobile ad market. Almost everything Google does supports their core advertising business either by extending it or protecting it. 95% of their revenue comes from ads (look it up - it's in their financial statements) and that number hasn't budged.

Google seems to live by the "fail fast" mantra. If they don't think something is going to be a home run they close it down fairly quickly. I'm sure they get it wrong sometimes but at least I can wrap my head around what they are doing. Otherwise they would eventually end up with a bunch of small products used by a tiny group of people that cost them far more to maintain than they will ever generate in revenue. I understand the frustration with never being sure if they'll keep a product around but it's not hard to understand why they are doing it.

The driverless car thing is flashy and cool but it gets WAY more press than is justified by the amount of money and effort Google is actually pouring into it. It's genuinely not that big a deal for Google and isn't likely to move the needle on their revenue or costs for many years if ever. Driverless cars is a research project by the closest thing Google has to a basic science research group. Any benefits from it will likely take decades to fully realize.

As for fb, don't worry, it too is on its way down --- as nothing stays up forever

Google is certainly being more sane than Facebook. $2 billion for Occulus? Explain to me how that will ever tie into Facebook's business model or how that price is remotely justifiable given the likely ROI. However I don't see Facebook going away any time soon unless they do something truly moronic. Never underestimate the power of network effects in keeping a user base around. See eBay if you need a good example. Terrible to do business with but everyone goes there because that's where everyone else is.

Comment: Hipster alert (Score 1) 366

by sjbe (#49539295) Attached to: iTunes Stops Working For Windows XP Users

I've had iTunes since my Rio MP3 and I've never paid anything to an online music store, ever.

Do you think anyone really cares if you've never bought anything from an online music store? Do you think that makes you superior in some way? The term hipster is stupid and usually used poorly but I think it might apply here.

I buy my CDs and DVDs from the artist or band in person, then they get half of the money instead of 0.02 cents.

Those of us with actual jobs and real life obligations have better things to do than track down random artists in person so we can throw an extra $5 at them in person.

You old guys on slashdot have heard of podcasts, right?

And my hipster theory is confirmed. Do you have a point to make or are you just trying to be smug?

Comment: Might want to check your facts (Score 1) 366

by sjbe (#49539053) Attached to: iTunes Stops Working For Windows XP Users

Funnily enough, the iPod which did not work as a removable HD is the thing that made me switch away from apple, some 12 years ago.

Just throwing this out there but you might want to actually check your facts before saying something publicly that can be shown to be completely false by spending 10 seconds on Google's search engine.

You've been able to use iPods as removable hard drives as far back as I can remember. I've done it myself.

Comment: What is your alternative hypothesis? (Score 2) 171

by sjbe (#49538965) Attached to: USGS: Oil and Gas Operations Could Trigger Large Earthquakes

Fracking has been going on for nearly 50 years.

But only fairly recently has it been employed in large scale in the relevant area. It wasn't economically feasible in lots of cases due to the availability of much easier and cheaper sources of oil and gas.

But now...NOW, it's causing earthquakes.

Apparently so. Do you have evidence of an alternative reason for earthquakes to go from 2/year prior to 2008 up to over 2/DAY in 2013?

I see.

So you are skeptical? That's fine. Have you looked at all the evidence and found a plausible alternative hypothesis we can test?

Comment: Facts support themselves (Score 2) 171

by sjbe (#49538829) Attached to: USGS: Oil and Gas Operations Could Trigger Large Earthquakes

Unfortunately this announcement comes from the executive branch of the US government.

So what? Either the facts support the claims or they do not. Who it is from is irrelevant to its veracity. There is a reason we insist that scientific findings be repeatable so that others may confirm the findings. The fact that a government agency is involved is irrelevant to the scientific process.

Many of us have developed zero trust in anything coming from DC.

So even if what they are saying is actually true, you plan to dismiss it out of hand because you dislike government in general. This in spite of the fact that you provided no actual reason to dispute the conclusions reached in the study nor any articulated reason to think the USGS is being dishonest in any way.

Comment: Behaving as expected (Score 2) 171

by sjbe (#49538635) Attached to: USGS: Oil and Gas Operations Could Trigger Large Earthquakes

You don't think the oil and gas industry hasn't spent millions of dollars to try to say that fracking is perfectly safe and couldn't possibly cause any harm?

Of course they have. You'd have to be living under a rock with your fingers in your ears to think otherwise.

Basically they've done what the tobacco industry did .. delay, obfuscate, and claim that it's up to someone else to prove it's dangerous while they assume it's safe without evidence.

More or less, yes this is exactly what they are doing. The playbook is almost identical. Claim that there is insufficient proof, ask for more studies (funded by them frequently), hire "experts" to promote their viewpoint, hire politicians to hinder any regulations, etc. Take the tobacco PR playbook, scratch out tobacco and write in fossil fuels and that is almost exactly what they are doing.

You don't think a massive lobbying, PR, and fake science campaign isn't an actual conspiracy?

I think it is a rather clear and unsurprising expression of economic self interest which in many cases is contrary to the public interest. I don't think you need to invoke some grand conspiracy theory to understand their actions though I would not be shocked to find out that there was some fossil fuel companies acting illegally in cahoots. Anything that makes it more expensive to drill/refine/sell, increases regulation or reduces fossil fuel use is likely to be opposed by producers of fossil fuels. They all know they basically think the same way on the topic so they're all behaving more or less as expected.

Comment: Pathogens don't care about laws or government (Score 1) 607

by sjbe (#49535305) Attached to: Bill To Require Vaccination of Children Advances In California

You just love stating opinions as facts, don't you?

Sounds like you do too.

You will find a great deal of resistance to your views, because a great many people don't want the government telling them what they can and cannot do with kids.

I don't really give a shit about how people raise their kids until it starts to affect others, myself included. Don't want to vaccinate your kids? Fine. Go live in a shack in Montana and home school so you don't endanger the lives of others because you are squeamish about getting a very safe and effective vaccine against a serious and highly contagious pathogen.

You're probably one of those idiots who supports the one-child policy of China, aren't you?

I don't care much what China's government does and it's not really clear what they have to do with this discussion. That said if China want to make birth rates fall the best thing they can do is to improve their standard of living. High GDP per capita almost inevitably leads to falling birth rates. Don't take my word for it, the data is easily available to back me up.

Why don't you go live there if you love heavy handed government so much?

Tell you what. You explain to me how and why measles cares about a form of government and I'll concede the point. Last I checked, pathogens don't really pay much attention to governments.

Comment: Reproducing should not get special tax treatment (Score 1) 607

by sjbe (#49535259) Attached to: Bill To Require Vaccination of Children Advances In California

He's not asking for special tax treatment. He'll still pay the same amount of taxes. He's asking that the government spend the same amount of money on his kids' educations.

Again, no. I don't have children and I don't get special treatment so why should he just because he chose to reproduce? Not my problem. Plenty of people don't have children but still pay taxes to support their local schools because it is a public good. An educated populace benefits us all. My education is long since finished and my parents still have to pay taxes to their local school district. In fact I actually went to a private school for good parts of my education and I can assure you that my parents did not get a tax break.

The time spent on any item of the agenda [of a finance committee] will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved. -- C.N. Parkinson