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Comment: Re:This is how business should be done (Score 1) 168

by afgam28 (#47536997) Attached to: Amazon's Ambitious Bets Pile Up, and Its Losses Swell

Ever noticed how Amazon consistently breaks even every quarter? Sure there's like a hundred million loss, or sometimes profit in other quarters, but that's nothing when quarterly revenue is $20 billion. The company knows how much money is coming in, and they're using all of their profit to invest in their infrastructure, and grow out their businesses. They could decide at any moment to stop doing this, and the company would become hugely profitable overnight.

But their revenue last quarter is about 25% higher than it was this time last year, and it has consistently been seeing this kind of growth for years. The right thing for Amazon to do, from a shareholder's perspective, is to keep investing and ride out this wave of growth for as long as it lasts. To do otherwise would be to give up their long-term position just to maximize their short-term quarterly profits.

So to answer your question, "long term" happens when sales growth disappears, and the investments that Amazon makes into its infrastructure no longer provide any returns. With the sales growth that Amazon is seeing right now, this is clearly not the right time to stop building out the company.

Comment: Re:what's wrong with public transportation? (Score 3, Insightful) 190

by afgam28 (#47142107) Attached to: Is Google CEO's "Tiny Bubble Car" Yahoo CEO's "Little Bubble Car"?

All government services are based on "theft" of resources from people who don't use that government service. This includes the roads that private cars drive on, which are funded in part by gasoline taxes but mostly through non-user-pays revenue streams such as income taxes.

Comment: Re:Who gives a shit? (Score 1) 593

I think there are two problems. The first is that if you assume that women are a) not inherently less qualified to do tech jobs and b) given an equal opportunity, then it would be reasonable to expect that 50% of Googlers would be women. But obviously the data shows that the ratio is much lower, so one of those assumptions is incorrect.

If you believe that the first assumption is incorrect - that women are inherently less qualified - then sure I can see why you think this is not a problem. Maybe you think they have different brains or something. But society as a whole, and Google's hiring department in particular, don't believe that, and so the logical conclusion is that women are not given equal opportunity.

I hope that you can see why that is clearly a problem. It might not be the fault of Google's hiring process - it could be a bias in the education system, or the exclusionary "bro culture" in the tech industry, or something else in some other part of society. Whatever it is, there's some subconscious bias somewhere that is holding women back, and figuring out where that is coming from could unlock a lot of potential talent, as well as making the world a fairer place.

So that's the first problem. The second problem is: who the fuck, male or female, wants to live in a place that is a complete sausage-fest? It's gotten so bad that it doesn't just affect individual companies or university departments anymore - in the Bay Area the gender ratio of the entire city of "Man Jose" is all fucked up.

Comment: Re: Insanity (Score 2) 224

by afgam28 (#47135783) Attached to: Thousands of Europeans Petition For Their 'Right To Be Forgotten'

That's what I find so strange about this ruling. Search engines like Google have to remove links to certain articles, but newspapers and journalists are explicitly protected when publishing said articles.

This is kind of like legalizing piracy while at the same time forcing The Pirate Bay to remove links.

Comment: Re:Start a company selling support. (Score 1) 253

by afgam28 (#47083687) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Tech Customers Forced Into Supporting Each Other?

Although most of us only have experience with open source and consumer products, and the support forums that come with them, the OP is most annoyed with niche proprietary software tool vendors:

it's completely unacceptable when dealing with proprietary design tool vendors that are charging several thousand dollars for software licenses for tools that are the only option if a customer doesn't want to drop an order of magnitude more money to go with 3rd party tools (e.g., Synopsys)

For these tools, your employer usually pays tens of thousands of dollars for support contracts, which are meant to include direct support from engineers. It's unlikely that any third party will have the ability to provide support for such products, because:

1. You need access to source code and the ability to make changes and release patches.
2. The tools are so niche that you won't be able to find people who know enough about the software to provide support.
3. Even if you could, you need licenses to reproduce the issues that your customers are reporting to you. The cost of licenses for things like Verilog synthesizers from Synopsys (which are not cheap!) would need to be passed on to your customers.

Comment: Re:This may be crass but... (Score 4, Interesting) 283

Having lived in both Japan and the US, I've noticed that people in Japan tend to think "living in a small town would be inconvenient because I wouldn't be able to get to a train" whereas people in the US tend to think "living in a big city would be inconvenient because I wouldn't be able to drive my car".

So the Japanese tend to be drawn towards large cities (about 60% live in one of the 3 biggest metro areas - Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya) and Americans tend to self-organize into a fairly uniformly sparse suburban environment.

It's interesting how people can't seem to see beyond their society's local maxima, but anyway this leads to vastly different ideas of what it means to be "overpopulated".

When I lived in Japan I didn't find it to be overpopulated at all, even in the middle of Tokyo. The high population density isn't a problem that needs solving - it's a defining characteristic that makes the city great, and has attracted 35 million people to live there. There are plenty of rural backwaters north of Tokyo in Tohoku but not many people want to live there.

So what for? If a society prefers large cities, why not let them self-organize into a two or three big cities? Which is what Japan has pretty much already done.

Comment: Re:Funding (Score 1) 664

by afgam28 (#46915335) Attached to: Death Wish Meets GPS: iPhone Theft Victims Confronting Perps

To be fair, Ford no longer manufactures the Crown Victoria so this is not an option for police departments anymore.

A top-of-the-range SRT Charger costs about $47k MSRP and not all cops are driving around in SRTs (except maybe Highway Patrol?). With the model that the police are buying, together with the "police package", they're paying $42k (according to and I doubt the Crown Vics would've been much cheaper than that.

Having said that I totally agree with you that US police departments are not allocating resources effectively.

Comment: Re:The diffciulty in getting carnivores to switch (Score 1) 466

by afgam28 (#46855775) Attached to: Bill Gates & Twitter Founders Put "Meatless" Meat To the Test

This paper shows the difference between the content of mechanically-separated and hand-separated meats (see tables 2 and 3). There's less protein, and more ash and bone in the mechanically separated stuff, so it is different nutritionally.

Also it's not "half the animal"; the amount of extra meat recovered from mechanical separation is probably only a few percent at most. And anyway, there are other ways to use the rest of the animal, such as making soup stock or bone meal. We wouldn't have to waste anything if we stopped making pink slime.

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