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Comment: Re:Where's the drug tests? (Score 1) 429

by jittles (#47554623) Attached to: Suddenly Visible: Illicit Drugs As Part of Silicon Valley Culture

Appeal to reason here, OK?

"If you're living off the government dime then ..."

Let's go with that. The military lives off the government dime. People who collect Social Security live off the government dime. Then there's congress persons, all of the bureaucrats, the FBI, CIA, NSA, all of the contractors sucking on the hind tit of government, the scientists with grants, academia in some cases, etc.

I used to do government contracting for the DoD and I definitely had to subject to drug testing. In fact, if I tested positive for anything that I didn't have a prescription for, I could be in huge trouble. In fact, I couldn't even travel to a non-NATO country without notifying the US Government. So FBI, CIA, and NSA are covered by drug screening (in theory). I can't attest to congress critter, having never been a critter myself.

Why test just welfare recipients? You do know they don't have much in the way of resources, right?

I know they don't have much in the way of resources. That's why I feel like it's especially egregious if they use their meager resources on illicit drugs. And as I said, if we didn't cause drug prices to be artificially high, I think we would be much better off. We should just legalize the drugs. As long as they are illegal, I don't see anything wrong with the drug testing.

Also, the Constitution prohibits favoring one group over another without due process. Studies show that we don't even have probable cause !

The constitution doesn't guarantee welfare money. So there is, as far as I can tell, no constitutional protection against requiring drug screening for welfare eligibility. Now, I don't believe they should be using those drug screens for law enforcement. There would be a constitutional issue there. But welfare is only granted via legislation and therefore its rules and eligibility are subject to legislation also. I don't think the constitution plays a part at all. Otherwise, how can the government discriminate against drug users in employment? What is the difference? Of course, IANAL and YMMV.

If it were up to me, welfare recipients would be required to do X hours of community service per week, based on the stipend they received. Unfortunately for me (or fortunately for those who disagree with me) I don't get to make these rules.

Comment: Re:Where's the drug tests? (Score 1) 429

by jittles (#47549873) Attached to: Suddenly Visible: Illicit Drugs As Part of Silicon Valley Culture

There are those who would test all welfare recipients for drug abuse on the grounds that poor folks are users. Never mind that the data shows most people on welfare work and stuff.

Those really looking to solve societies ills might do better to test the other end of the economic spectrum.

I would support drug testing welfare recipients because I feel like poor people have better things to be spending their money on. If you're living off the government dime then you shouldn't be using that money to support Colombian drug lords. Of course, if there weren't a war on drugs, perhaps these recreational drugs would be more reasonably priced. But I do feel like government welfare, in general, should be used for the necessities of life and not for recreational drugs. That's not to say that poor people don't deserve to participate in recreational activities, it's just a matter of priorities and sacrifice.

Comment: Re:The human side of the story (Score 1) 124

Perhaps you don't understand how governments and large corporations structure themselves in order to save money: they use contractors instead of employees for exactly that reason.

Regardless of the disaster scenario, employee/employer rules stipulate they have to pay their employees during the time when they're normally expected to work, even if they can get no productive work from them. If they have extended downtime due to fire, construction, etc., They would have to lay off the unused workers, which means paying unemployment benefits. Contracts, on the other hand, can be written so they can be paused or terminated at will. It's up to the contracting firm to manage the pay when they're "sitting on the bench", and most of those contracts provide no compensation for periods of non-work.

On the flip side, when you are hired as a contractor, you explicitly sign up for those risks. Even though it may look like a regular job, it isn't. It's a contract.

The human side of the equation was carefully measured and surgically extracted back when the government decided to use contractors instead of employees. Employees cost too much.

Comment: Re:Earthshaking (Score 2) 124

When the Chicago loop flooded in 1991, the Marshall Field's State Street store was impacted. Being the headquarters for the Marshall Field's chain, they had their data and networking centers on the tenth floor. Their network topology was a hub and spoke affair, and the State Street store was the hub. The operators continued working in the building the entire duration of the flood. They had to wade through water on the ground floor to reach the stairs to climb the 10 stories to work. The electrical bus normally feeds from the lower levels, but when power was cut the computers and routers had to be kept running, so the generator on the roof was fired up. The generator was not dedicated to the computer systems, and powered the entire building. The operators said they saw the water boiling around the electrified bus.

I don't know if all that was actually true, but I do know that throughout the entire flood and recovery, the chain experienced no network outages. The fiber optic cables carrying the data had no problems being immersed, and all the terminations and transceivers were in the data center on the tenth floor.

Comment: Re:Stability (Score 2) 85

by plover (#47539733) Attached to: Nightfall: Can Kalgash Exist?

Couldn't an already evolved planet be orbiting a star that is traveling, and is then captured by a multi-star system?

Assuming that evolution has produced other forms of life in many systems around the universe, it makes sense that it's done so on stars that have then had their travels altered. And yes, there are all kinds of problems. During the transition, would the evolved planet remain a safe distance from the other stars in the cluster? Would any of the life on it survive as it changes to the new orbit? I don't imagine much life would survive on Earth if we had to make a pass as close to the sun as Mercury, but it's possible a few microbes would make it and evolve again in another billion years.

Comment: Re:Minimum wage (Score 1) 118

by plover (#47539667) Attached to: AP Computer Science Test Takers Up 8,000; Pass Rate Down 6.8%

It seems to me they're trying to offer a career path to a group of people who could use additional options.

If we assume that attributes that make for good programmers (design skills, intelligence, etc) are equally distributed, there are a lot of really smart people (that could become programmers) out there that have something blocking their opportunities.

Things like bias, culture, and upbringing play a huge role. Earlier this year my step-niece (age 21, working on her bachelor's degree) was told "you're far too pretty for all this school, you should just find a nice man and marry him." These exact words came out of her grandmother's mouth. That's what these kids grow up with.

I firmly believe that part of the reason my son has been so successful is that we never expected anything less from him. He knew from kindergarten onwards that college was simply the next school after high school. His decision was "where", not "if". That's far from true in a lot of families or for a lot of kids.

Part of what Gates and Zuckerberg are trying to do is get the message out to these kids. If they don't hear from someone who says "you can certainly do this", they might never try.

Comment: Re:Sad (Score 1) 164

by plover (#47533113) Attached to: Wikipedia Blocks 'Disruptive' Edits From US Congress

The vandalism in question is coming from someone who has access to a congressional staffer's computer, not necessarily a member of congress. This could be anyone from a member of congress to a teenage page to the 12-year-old nephew of a congressman's chief of staff to an intern to a night watchman. Apparently, there are about 9000 people with regular access to the machines in this address range. Given a sampling of 9000 people, how many are going to be as impolite as an internet troll? That there is at least one uncultured moron in the crowd is not particularly surprising.

Yes, it's sad that anyone would either sink to this level, or fail to grow beyond it. It's just not surprising.

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 198

Since the city is still going to have to tie into someone's top tier backbone to carry their traffic to the rest of the world, they'll still likely have to route it through Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, or some other provider's network, and the NSA's taps are on those top tier providers. I also don't know if a city would fight against a National Security Letter any more or less than any other provider, so they would still never tell you about a tap. But at least they could go in claiming to start from the moral high ground: "Support Cleveland's new city-wide Internet service - We Have Never Tapped Anyone's Data (only because we haven't been asked.)"

Comment: Re:Australia? (Score 1) 120

I guess because the air is warmer it's less dense, making this kind of record "easier"?

The record was set about 100k SW of Melbourne (Actually the Australian Automotive Research Centre near Anglesea) in Victoria, in Winter.

The temps there in the last week were around 12 Deg C (55 F)

So much for 'less dense' air

I think he was talking cognitively less dense than from a US perspective. The people there are less dense. ;)

Comment: Re:Rick Perry finally thought pf the third one? (Score 1, Troll) 289

WTF is the Dept of Energy supposed to be investigating fucking climate change?!?!

The Energy Dept, should be only working on current and NEW forms of energy.

Of course funding should be cut for things that should not be part of their mandate.

This makes about as much sense as instructing NASA to make more efforts to placate muslims er oh wait.

Consultants are mystical people who ask a company for a number and then give it back to them.