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Comment: Re:RUDEST PASSENGER EVER (Score 1) 880

According to Southwest's policy, people travelling together but with different boarding positions have the option to board together, provided the person higher up in line waits with the people further back. How this applies to families, I'm fuzzy on, but I would assume if you have a business select or other pass that allows boarding in the A1 through A15 group, it would make sense to have young children (say, under 10 years old) board with you. It seems like this is what the guy had done on several flights previously.

I have tried to find this regulation, recently, but I am fairly certain that that TSA regulations require the airline to honor any preferences and boarding assignments for all minors with the ticketed adult they traveling with, or else treat the minors as unaccompanied minors. A few times I have flow and received an automatic upgrade to first class, but not my minor travel companion. It's actually turned out to be a hassle, because they filled my old seat, there by stranding my child next to a random stranger. Obviously not acceptable. In both cases that it's happened, they ended up trading the stand-by person into my first class seat and putting me back into coach (which was fine). However, in both cases they told me that TSA regulation required them to board us together, and to use the adult traveler's cabin class, boarding priority, and seating preference. I travel for business quite a bit and I wouldn't wish my kids into 1st class with others who are traveling for business so I was happy to move back to coach, but both times the gate agent was quite adamant that they would bump a 1st class passenger to follow the reg if I wanted.

I sort of think this can't true. Someone from the TSA told me it had to with a terrorist screening database, that the children were not entered anyways, so it worked around a problem in the database with moving passengers between cabins. Could just be a myth.

Comment: Re:Customer service? (Score 3, Informative) 880

I fly a lot, and pretty sure he was in the right. The version of the story I read was that he was a Southwest A+ member, which is their (crappy) version of a frequent flyer. You get free pre-boarding priority with that status. It is customary for it to extend to any minors traveling with you on the same itinerary.

Comment: Re:Customer service? (Score 1) 880

On most 3-across, left-right configuration regional jets - like the 737 variants the Airbus 300, there is only enough overhead space for 2/3 of the passengers to bring on a rollerbag. This creates a problem where every 5-6 rows, or so, you lose 1/2 or 1/3 of an overhead bin to the preceding sections theoretical over seat compartment. By the time you get to the last rows, there is no longer any overhead space. People traveling without a rollerbag will typically get their bag or laptop bag or purse handed back to them and asked to put under the seat in front of them. Even then, it's not unusual for a full-flight to require a dozen or more rollerbags to be gate checked.

Basically all of the rollerbags now are FAA-size approved for a carry-on. A few have puff-out zippers that will add an extra inch or two but compress back down when forced.

This is basically the airlines overselling capacity and then having to do their best to accomodate. Personally, I don't mind gate checking a carry-on, but most of the time, traveling for business, I do not enjoy waiting for my luggage. It would be fine if after the 5-10 minute deplane and walk the luggage was waiting for me, but it never seems to work that way. It seems to take 30-60 minutes even in smaller airports with minimal traffic.

Comment: Disagree (Score 2) 962

by danheskett (#47512853) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

With one myth and conclusion:

"The Myth: Women should just laugh off online harassment and not take it personally. "

The problem is: there are never any police reports to go with this behavior. If anyone is reading this, especially women, and you are threatened online or in person, and the words have: the nature and content to cause or instill fear, have enough specificity to demonstrate actual malice and show intent, and from an anonymous source a crime has been committed. All of the reactions I hear about women doing are the wrong ones. You shouldn't post to Twitter to show you aren't afraid, you shouldn't pen an op-ed denouncing men or the industry or the culture or other women or whatever.

What you should do is preserve the digital evidence, go to your police station, file a police a report, and then take the police report, and go to or travel to the nearest FBI field office and ask them to open an investigation. Every time. If you get a lot of this type of activity, you should get to know the officers who will be taking your reports daily or weekly. You can usually setup a standing appointment.

Brianna Wu would do more to change the environment by retweeting a threatening post followed by a mug shot than writing a hundred shaming articles that only the people who already agree with her are going to read. Showing your solidarity, having catharsis, raising awareness among like minded people has it's value, but it pales in comparison to making them pay. Not metaphorically, by doxing them and giving them a dose of medicine, but you know, like, pay actual fines, do actual jail time, and pay actual damages. Please, women (and men, when the shoe fits) stop "fighting simultaneous urges to hurl my phone across the room in anger and cry" and take actual action.

There is a perception that these people are anonymous, that it's untraceable, but it's a lie. Whatever the medium was - email, blog post, Tumblr, tweet, etc, there are a big companies behind them. A prosecutor or even a cop can often make an automated request through the companies CALEA compliance tool to get identity data when the above criteria is met. It's not controversial or hard. The service providers all comply, and willingly, and fast. The investigators will get the IP information, and then go to the ISP, and get subscriber information. These people are not going through eight layers of tor proxies. They are home, on their Wifi, thinking that a throw-away reddit account is really anonymous. They are wrong.

Comment: Re:Competent (Score 1) 962

by danheskett (#47512789) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

But at the same time my experience within various organizations is that female programmers weren't treated any differently that I could see. It certainly wasn't ever a living episode of Mad Men.

This is my experience also, but it's somewhat limited because their just aren't that many women programmers out there as a sample size.

What I took from the article was that people in Silcon Valley are not nice, which is generally easily supported by the facts. Just go somewhere else, and you will find nice, non-bubble inflated, non-VC backed, stable businesses that will happily hire women programmers, and treat them as well as anyone else, which is to say, well. You can have a nice life filled with a good stable job doing something you love. You won't be making games, you'll be writing line of business, boring b2b business products, or backend systems that run mid and small sized businesses.

On the other hand you can go to Silicon Valley, or a few other tech spots, and live a life in an industry full of assholes. Gaming, fashion, gossip blogging, entertainment, etc. It's all assholes, all the way down. Your customers are assholes, your co-workers are assholes, the venture capitalists are assholes, the competitors are assholes.

Comment: Re:Minivans are practical but ignored (Score 1) 205

by bmajik (#47501367) Attached to: New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

I think VW might contract the actual manufacturing to Chrysler.

Indeed. The VW Routan was a Chrysler Town and Country with some different skins on the inside and out. It was so much not a VW product that the VCDS system (the thing you can use to do vehicle diagnostics on any VW, Audi, Seat, or Skoda product since the early 90s) doesn't even talk to it.

In the German market, VW sells Vans of all different sizes. None of them are currently imported to the US; the Eurovan was the last rest-of-world van that was available in North America.

Comment: Re: Hmmm (Score 3, Informative) 205

by bmajik (#47501143) Attached to: New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

We have 3 kids in car seats, and an Odyssey.

When we lived in town, it was great. Back then, my only serious gripe with the Odyssey is that if you are running a second set of wheels (e.g. for permanently mounted snow tires), and don't fit a 2nd set of expensive TPMS sensors to those wheels, the VSA (stability control) cannot be defeated via the console switch.

This is a problem because the VSA implementation sucks and is frankly unsafe when accelerating on surface transitions - for instance, when you are waiting on a gravel road and are about to pull onto a paved highway, the VSA system senses differing levels of wheel grip between the wheel on pavement and the wheel still on gravel, and cuts power, precisely when you need maximum power to quickly get to highway speed.

Last fall we moved to a rural area, and now poorly maintained roads (deep snow in the winters until I clear it, deep ruts whenever there are rains) has really shown me the shortcomings of the vehicle. My wife has gotten it stuck 4 times in our first winter.

The Odyssey needs 2 things to be superlative. Air suspension with adjustable ride height (it is a very low vehicle, for ease of entry/exit for small kids), and a proper AWD system.

My wife is now desperately wanting an AWD vehicle. But to get a proper AWD system (e.g. locking transfer case or at least a torsen differential), and the useful seating capacity of a minivan, you need to be looking at full-size truck based SUVs, like the Excursion or Sequoia.

I'm aware that the Sienna comes in an AWD version, but its particular AWD system and ride height doesn't inspire me that they will be foolproof enough to want to make the switch.

Sadly, my wife also refuses to drive a Mercedes G-wagen :)

As an aside, the Odyssey towing capacity isn't really sufficient. It's 3500lbs, and it requires upfitting the vehicle considerably with things that don't come factory - PS cooler, ATF cooler, hitch wiring, etc. (In addition to the actual hitch receiver).

When we were considering camping options, essentially nothing that had enough floor space for a family of 5 could be towed behind an Odyssey.

Comment: Re:Require H1-B visa recipients be paid more (Score 1) 529

Well for one, the AMA is a private organization, and they have tried, and failed to do what you are saying for another similar undertaking that sounds simple but is not.

The problem is that job descriptions are not uniform, and wages are not uniform. So the very thing you are trying to accomplish is technically challenging, and it will be prone to be difficult and challenging circumstances.

Plus, there is every incentive to cheat the system and a bad incentive structure to root out cheating. It's bound to fail, whether or not it's private or public.

Comment: Re:I don't see the problem. (Score 1) 667

by danheskett (#47499931) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

I don't think you are going to find anyone saying that al Qaeda isn't a terrorist syndicate with aggressive goals and activities. It's pretty cut and dried.

The only thing you are going to find is people willing to go back further than the WTC. The primary grievance against the West was the co-operation between the Saudi's (who are a competing religious sect) and the West in stationing and occupying troops in the so-called holy land. It is clearly a reactionary movement. First reacting against the Soviets, and then reacting against the West and the US.

Comment: Re:I don't see the problem. (Score 2) 667

by danheskett (#47499909) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

The World Trade center isn't a government site by any stretch of the imagination.
I agree with that generally. The 9/11 report went into motivations a bit, I think it's mostly as a symbol of economic power.

It is also believed the original intended targets were nuclear power plants which demonstrates these targets were picked to incite fear into Americans.
I don't think this is supported by facts. The facts indicate the last target (the one intended to be destroyed by United 93) was in Washington DC.

but the Pentagon and US Capitol attacks were strategic (foolish, but strategic) and could be classified as freedom fighters since they were fighting against their aggressors, but as soon as they also picked the WTC (along with their motive) and Bali Bombings that crossed the line into terrorism.

Pentagon and US Capitol, I think are fairly clear, are in fact legitimate military targets. It would be nice if you the other side raised a traditional army, landed an invasion force, and rolled up the the streets of Baltimore and into combat, but being asymmetric, legitimate targets.

The disagreement then is over WTC and the use of civilian hijacked planes?

For the planes issue, the collateral damage can't be the deciding factor for freedom fighter vs. terrorism. Otherwise, any military action that has civilian causalities is terrorism. For us Americans, we feel incredible empathy for the 44 Americans who died on United 93. It's a national tragedy and rightly so. Meanwhile, though, that many Iraqi's and Afghan's died every few days from simple mistakes, collateral damage, or accidents. So it's just not that clear how you decide which actions have acceptable civilian deaths and which civilian deaths are terror related.

I don't think you've clarified your position. Is the definition of terrorism only about motivations? Does that make shock & awe in general or Iraq, qualify as terrorism under that definition?

Comment: Re:I don't see the problem. (Score 4, Insightful) 667

by danheskett (#47497395) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

A terrorist's goal is to frighten people into submission by causing fear of harm or death into civilians and attacking civilian's (like 9/11).

A freedom fighter makes statements to the people by attacking appropriate military or government sites

What is the definition of a government site?

The CIA waged war on the Taliban for a decade, and before that, in Afghanistan, throughout the 80's. They also radicalized the latent radicals in many Mid-Eastern countries, and then turned them loose with weapons, as a proxy against Russians and even democratic self-government movements.

Those same people then attacked the US, on US soil, hitting the Pentagon, apparently attempting to hit the US Capitol, and hitting the World Trade Center. The WTC, which by the way, contained offices of the CIA, and DOD, and the NYC government.

I just don't think your definitions are that accurate. The 9/11 terrorists attempted to attack the US seat of political, military, and economic power. Yes, a lot of very innocent civilians died. Is that the definition for terrorism? That's a tough one, it has a lot of very difficult implications behind it.

Comment: Re:NASA has become small indeed... (Score 5, Insightful) 108

by danheskett (#47497361) Attached to: A Look At NASA's Orion Project

From scratch is a term of art. Not a real description. We had been sending stuff into space before Kennedy's speech. We had been working on rocket and control systems for a bit. NASA didn't fall from the sky into existence, but was the culmination of a long-effort.

I am perfectly content at this point to just stop it all. If private individuals want to fund a non-profit organization to do the work of NASA go for it. I am all for a few regulatory changes to let it happen within a few broad parameters.

The challenges are different now, and I think well more than twice as a complex.

BUT you have a point about America:

"We used to make stuff in this country. Now everyone's just got their hand in the next guy's pocket." -- Frank, Season 4, The Wire.

Even the government can't get out of the government's way anymore. There is nothing happening that's not part of a graft racket.

Comment: Re:consider the source (Score 1) 529

I'd say the program empowers companies to be dumb in that particular way, i.e. hiring people who aren't qualified, but I'm not sure that dumbness is inherently baked into the program. One can imagine a company that actually vets its hires properly and only hires people who are actually qualified.

The fact that companies can do this, and still have success, goes to show you that even with language barriers, on the job training is really quite easy and practical. The "qualifications" are obviously not really qualifications, because if they were, the person without them would fail, and when a person who lies about the qualifications doesn't fail, it has exposed that qualification as falsely described.

Comment: Re:Require H1-B visa recipients be paid more (Score 1) 529

The government has tried to do this for other fields. They try to track what a standard medical procedure costs. There used to be 100,000 procedures, now there are over a million. The costs are regional, like salaries, so there is a complex formula that is highly political, that determines what the local adjustment factor is, and how it will be applied. Then there is the base rate, and it is also highly political.

It's been ongoing thing, at the Centers of Medicare Services, for almost 40 years. Between them an the AMA, there are, probably, 25k people who work the on the system, at all times. When it's updated, it takes billions of dollars to roll out through the medical system.

The problems are:

1. Diversity of jobs, and what they do. Not easy to classify the right job code.

2. Regional salary differences.

Even when you have it done, the problem is that employers want to be able to interchangeably abuse employees. This is the purpose of the H1B. The loop holes are so broad you can drive a 777 through them. In 1 minute I thought of 10 ways to abuse the system. The easiest being: classify the employee for a lower job description with lower pay. An American worker would be unlikely to happily accept a job that is 50% the pay, but has all the responsibilities of a higher tier job, but the H1B employee has all the incentive to suck it up and not say anything.

It's a good thought, but one that will still depress American wages, will add new government responbilities it will probably fail at, and will be abused into irrelevancy as it is. Think of it this way. The Department of Labor asks all employers to classify every employee as either exempt or non-exempt. It's binary. And it's still a vast enforcement nightmare.

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