respectfully disagree, good sir. I come to
/. for the political discourse because it is far above and beyond the vile discourse you find on most news sites. Here, people know how to debate. And while we aren't above getting personal and rude, generally the analysis here in the comments is insightful on both sides. Don't knock the political discourse on here, it's one of the best kept secrets on the internet.
Whom, of course, the moment that polygamy becomes legal will immediately surrender their autonomy, careers, voting rights, and free will in general in order to cater exclusively to the nearest available rich man they can find, under the notion that a rich and powerful man can be a better arbiter of their own fate than their own selves. We will suddenly see a rush of beautiful hot women at every man worth 100K, eagerly negotiating with each other who gets to be first wife, second wife, etc, abandoning everything they've built in their lives just to get a slice of a rich man's pie, leaving all the not-so-rich and poor men to handle the ugly leftover dregs of femininity.
The respectful reply will also merit a respectful response--thank you for that, Curunir. To your last point... businesses have life cycles too. They start, grow, mature, and then die. The point that you should be, in my opinion, focusing your rage on is that most business execs don't want to admit when their company is in true decline and denying. The valid reasons are that if a CEO comes out and says that, then all the shareholders immediately dump stock, all the banks immediately withdraw their credit lines, and all the good employees immediately make plans to jump ship. What results is that a whole lot of people are suddenly out of work, customers are without product/services, etc. Because they lie, corporate raiders and private equity firms come in and find the liars, and mount hostile takeovers. Or, (and this is the best possible outcome) the CEO asks the Board quietly for recommendations of other, healthier companies to sell to and then negotiates in secret the terms of the buy-out, allowing extra time for people to remain hired. Usually in those deals, an acceptable lead time is agreed to by all parties to give employees time to prepare once official word leaks out. But, speaking to the execs with golden parachutes you talk about? Well, those guys are rotten apples. Almost all execs at the C-Level get the golden parachutes... it's the ones that choose to go down with the ship and were there through the good times and bad that are the worthwhile good guys. The rats will always leap first--and they do leave a trail of evidence if you know what to look for. America isn't in decline, Curunir, it is simply changing. We were here before with garment workers and auto workers, and it will happen again. Also, thanks for the advice on switching the format to plain text. I didn't know I could do that.
Let me start my reply by stating the clearly obvious facts: 1) nothing I say will change your mind because you've already made up yours; and 2) you're a better master of rhetoric than I will ever be. You'll chew me up and spit me out in this debate. That's fine, I accept that. I'm now going to make an educated guess and say that you've never sat in on executive-level financial reviews of an entire business because if you had, we wouldn't be having this particular debate. I reserve the right to be wrong about this, of course, because I don't know who you are or what your experience is. I do know you're a very loud, vociferous, and opinionated veteran of
/. as I've seen you rampage through here throughout the years I've been on. And you're always, always right, no matter what. I have never once seen you admit that you are wrong, Curunir_Wolf, and your posts are brazen and detailed enough that any admission would be startling.
Now, allow me to attempt to rebut you (and, I should also note that I don't have the experience with html tags that you do either, but we've already established that I've lost this in advance... you can feel free to dismiss everything I write from here on out and stop reading if you like).
Wages have not technically been flat. Even though NeoMurphy below pointed out that wages tend to freeze at the top end of their range, we still give out 1-3% raises to decent-to-top performers because we need to give them -something-. That tends to add up over time. Now, consider Lean initiatives, Six Sigma, and all those other corporate philosophies. They don't just affect production and manufacturing, they also affect how companies perform their governmance of their financials too. No executive worth his or her salt is going to sit there and say "I've got a pool of experienced senior employees who have all collectively maxed out on their pay range, refuse to go into management, refuse to cross-train or hop into a whole new program or new job skill set, and who are obstructing any possible career progresss for less experienced employees, thus necessitating high turnover amongst our low-level employees." No, any good evil bastard of an exec is going to be working hard on how to figure out how to either crank up productivity to justify those continual, never-ending salaries. But you can only push people so far, only push productivity so far per person in whatever job they do before you hit the inevitable diminishing returns. And damn good senior employees tend to hit that point pretty quick.
You brought up turnover--there are two big reasons in my anecdotal experience (did we mention I'd lose this debate? We did, so if you're still deigning to read this, Curunir_Wolf, please crow about how anecdotes are worthless and we'll get on with it) for why turnover happens. First, entry-level employees tend to leave because they realize they don't want to do what they are currently doing. Happens all the time... financial analyst is miserable at her job and realizes she's happier being a personal trainer after just a year and a half on the job and is out the door, having cost her employeer a lot in terms of fees, training, salary, benefits, etc. That goes into the COGS bucket as a hit to the budget of the department. Or, said employee leaves because senior employees are camping out in their positions and refusing to move upward or onward (because hey, who wants to be a stupid management goon, amirite?) and go to greener pastures. That hit also goes to the salary budget.
Now add to that the bank covenants providing your cashflow which are tied to EBITDA, necessitating that you either hold all your costs flat or reduce them year over year (or sometimes quarter over quarter depending on the terms of the lines of credit that the executives have had to bargain for), plus all the corporate initiatives coming out that the Board of Directors or the new CEO is mandating because surprise! your company isn't that special and is nowhere near perfect in terms of governance nor of complying with all the laws nor in terms of honing productivity that little bit more, and yet you've got senior professionals forming this constant, consistently growing lump of salary pain year over year that even at 1% growth per year compounds into a big giant number, and you're losing all this fresh talent due to high turnover, and you start setting the perfect storm for nervous executives (who aren't all that evil, or bright, or good, or who through an unimaginable conflux of inter-related events are being told to Bring Costs Down because Thats Their Job) to consider outsourcing. And then to top it of, the quality testing and production jobs that are being considered don't necessarily have to be perfect, just good enough (because that's how IT works as an industry--but of course you already knew that because you know everything Curunir_wolf because You Are Always Right), and then it comes down to whether or not you can come up with a reasonable excuse to the CEO and board of directors and bank and impatient shareholders who want those glorious profits divvied up into dividends or spent acquiring a new business that will jack stock prices up even more, why you should keep those senior professionals.
But of course, this is all wrong according to you, and you will pick apart my argument. And then in ten more years when IT work in America has gone the way of garment workers at the turn of the 20th century, you won't remember this conversation, which will be useful because you'll still be Right. And Being Right is really what's important... amirite?
These are all well and good valid points, but allow me to respond from the perspective of an Executive, as I'm privy to quarterly and yearly financial reviews at the company level. Labor is the single biggest cost driver of most any American company. And it keeps growing year over year. At one IT company I worked for, labor costs grew anywhere between 6 and 10% per year, and that was with relatively high turnover in entry-level jobs. The drivers of these costs were the experienced senior personnel who are with the company for years, who negotiate for and get the bonuses and raises they arguably deserve. They also tend to manage to negotiate to be at the top of the pay scale for their profession/age/region. All good, right? No--because of wage creep. Wage creep means that because salaries must always go up for retained employees, labor costs must always go up. And companies are forced to decide between increasing labor load per employee to unmanageable levels, raising their product/service pricing above and beyond an acceptable level of inflation that the market will allow, or finding any legality/loophole they can to reduce headcount through layoffs, outsourcing, and bringing in H1Bs. As overworking employees tends to lead to poor morale and people leaving for greener pastures, increasing headcount means increasing COGS and OCOGS beyond what current revenues and profit margins will allow for, often the only alternative is to go to the Indian contracting houses and outsource IT personnel because middle-aged experienced native IT people are a massive cost center to the company. And that's not even taking into account the "good enough" expectations of clients who don't need perfection in their expectations of the product/service being delivered, or the banks who monitor the company's EBIDTA because they provide the operational cash flow, or the Wall Street analysts that work for momentum stock-preferring investment houses and watch expenses like a hawk, and whose recommendations or condemnations can trigger hordes of angry calls by shareholders straight to the CEO--and let me tell you, the REAL power in America is concentrated in the shareholders. You, me, everyone who has a 401K or stock options or owns stock, we demand growth at all costs. There's a poster downthread who talks about how legal laws will bow to economic forces and that this cannot be stopped. That poster is right--this process CANNOT be stopped. The days of American IT workers commanding above-average salaries for their work are numbered and fading away. This change is coming, it cannot be stopped, and it doesn'lt matter that many of the big employers lied to get this. This would have come regardless. Change IS happening, but it's not necessarily the fault of big bad CEOs and faceless Mr. Smiths--it is the turbulence of the world at play.
Mindclones? Others here have already covered/linked to the science behind why Ms. Rothblatt (with a juris doctorate) is wrong. I am going to add from the metaphysical standpoint. The only way this could ever work was if we were indeed just biological computers running on DNA and extremely complex social interactions that create the illusion of sentience. Even then, the mindclone would be a separate and distinct organism. It would be a clone and its subsequent experiences from inception would shape it in ways that would not be the same if the original subject was still around. I happen to believe in the existence of souls, and therefore my personal, completely-anecdotal, unscientific opinion is that a mindclone would be like an extensively-complex interactive voice message. Without the inner divine spark, it would grow to a point, and it would only offer up iterations of the same knowledge that it always had--just like Eliza does if you yack at her long enough. As for why I believe in the existence of souls instead of accepting materialism: I had a near-death experience over ten years ago. Trying to make sense of what happened, I read up on other NDEs that shared similar features. I find it conceivable that there is indeed a universe-spanning deity/source of being beyond the scope and power of human understanding, and that we are all part of that. IF that is true, and the continuing doubt I struggle with forces me to acknowledge that this could very well be a product of delusion--that's the bummer about real faith, it's an evolving relational struggle with doubt--then nothing we develop in terms of AI will ever truly be "alive". It'll be a synthetic intelligence, not an artificial one.
Where was the BMW logo in WoT? I got that Anla was Ann Landers, and Mosk = Moscow and Merk= America. But in which book was the BMW?
The DSLR taught me the technical side of photography and how to appreciate it. I'm a fair-to-middling amateur, who bought a Nikon D40 and loved it so much that I taught myself the basics of photography. My D40 allowed me to take some beautifully-staged photos that have won small-time photo contests and generated enough demand that I sold some prints. All the manual controls at my fingertips taught me how to stage a photo. That, IMHO, is the power of DSLRs and why they should never go away. There is a great deal of art and beauty in taking the time and effort to put knowledge of photography into effect to capture the beating of a hummingbird's wings, or the exact refraction of light through the dew on a flower. But the work I love the most are my "catch the moment" photos, where the power and beauty come from all the independent factors like outside lighting, people, animals--all the stuff that cannot be controlled for. My iPhone is more than good enough to catch those moments. I have taken photos with my iPhone that, while technically inferior, manage to catch the moment of light and tone and mood and people that I perceived. It is my generation's polaroid, and I enjoy trying to compensate for the technical inferiority by taking compelling photos. It's fun, I fail A LOT which is to be expected, but my few successes are pretty amazing. The market adjustment isn't a bad thing, it is just once again separating those who value technical prowness in staging a good photo, versus those who just want to take a photo.
Here's the deal: not everyone is good. The people you are referencing, are truly evil. Doing what you described above is what they love to do--spread chaos, horror, and then gloat in the fact that they have once again broken a rule of socialization, and have remained true to their own selves in a safe and anonymous fashion. But then, they go to bed, and then they get up, get dressed, put on the facade of a caring, normal human being. They make breakfast (sometimes for their family, who may or may not have an inkling of who their loved one really is), they go to work, and they participate in civilization. These folks do feel, they have emotions, but what motivates them is far, far different than most everyone around them. They watch Hellraiser and think "Clive had it right--that is heaven for me", but they never say it aloud. They live every day hiding their true selves because if we had any idea of who these people are in reality, we would hunt them down and kill them, laws or not. 4Chan, and
/b/ are their havens, where they can slip away from the world, take off their very heavy mask, and liberate themselves from the cloying, saccharine-sweet goodie-ness they've been wallowing in all day long, every day, their entire lives. In their metaphorical caves, they can unleash and revel in horrors that would get them isolated and possibly attacked within seconds, because that is who they truly are, and what they truly enjoy. They love being trolls, they love anonymity... and they preserve it because its necessary. They would lose everything they have otherwise. The guys who make threats against Brianna Wu will never follow through, because it would be incredibly stupid of them to do so. Civilization and laws benefit them as much, if not more, than the rest of us, because that is all they have to hide behind. Brianna is in more danger from any vindictive ex-boyfriends or obsessive family members than she is from these guys. And, as much as I hate to say it, we need to let them be. The internet is their ideal home, its where we can let them vent and voice all their inner ugly. We take that away and identify these guys, and we are asking for a world of hurt, because then they'll go deep underground and fester, until really bad stuff erupts. I'm anti-GG, but I will defend the trolls' rights to anonymity and say that the women need to learn that anonymous death threats are not comparable to the death threats made by deranged men they already know, though there certainly is similarity. One is intended to scare, the other is a statement of fact. And the law, and society, need to recognize that.
There are a number of billionaires who do, but they get shouted down by the millionaires and the would-be millionaires, who are more numerous and a lot more eager to exploit their fellow man.
There's always Florida!!!!
Doesn't need to be. It's all about being righteous.
Mod this up please--this statement right here: "The problem is that there are no incentives to standardize because service companies don't want the market to become a commodity because commoditization usually eats their profits (at least in the industrialized world) just like it did with PC's. They want you to be locked in to Their Way so that you can't leave for competitors." is responsible for most of the competing standards and general "upgrade or die/walled garden" clusterfucks in Tech.
Bullshit. If you're man enough to post accusations, you're man enough to post links referencing actual facts to back yourself up. Posting accusations without evidence is just a smear job, and indicates the lack of character of the poster rather than the accused.
So "stupid" = "immoral"? And "immoral" = "stupid"?