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Comment: Re:Landfills again... (Score 1) 440

by bradley13 (#46619817) Attached to: Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

I'm not talking about individual companies or homes burning trash, but rather municipal incinerators with carefully controlled processes. Modern incinerators produce little beyond water vapor and CO2. You get substantial amounts of power, eliminate essentially all chemicals (that would otherwise eventually pollute the ground water) and you recover most of the metals that would otherwise be lost in a landfill. Municipal incineration is standard in much of Europe.

Comment: Dunno how to feel about this... (Score 4, Insightful) 357

by bradley13 (#46618933) Attached to: An Engineer's Eureka Moment With a GM Flaw

Here's the story as I understand it:

- There's an ignition switch. If you have a really heavy key-ring, it is possible that the weight of your keys can turn the switch "off".

- Over the course of a decade 13 People have died in car accidents that might have had something to do with this.

- GM apparently, at some point over all those years, altered the ignition switch to require more force to turn it.

So somehow the car manufacturer is evil?

This sounds a lot more like ambulance-chasing lawyers hoping to use publicity as a lever to pry out a big settlement...

Comment: Landfills again... (Score 2) 440

by bradley13 (#46618715) Attached to: Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

Other /.ers have covered the issues around the peanut butter well enough. What no one has mentioned is the continued idiocy of landfills in the US. Why doesn't the US incinerate? You get energy out of the trash, destroy poisonous chemicals, recover the metals, and at the end you have a much smaller volume of waste that needs to be disposed of.

Comment: Shortage of *good* scientists and engineers (Score 5, Insightful) 392

by bradley13 (#46541735) Attached to: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

I've taught off and on for 30 years now, and over the entire time one thing has remained pretty constant: About 10% of the students completing the programs are really good; they will be star programmers and eventually software architects. Another 40% are competent - they would be able to carry out plans created by others, but should never carry any larger responsibility. Good, solid programmers. The remaining 50% manage to graduate, but frankly should never work directly in the field. Maybe they can be testers or write documentation, but never let them write a line of code in a real project.

Unfortunately, it's not always obvious what kind of person you are hiring. Add to this mix the people who are self-taught, who are coming from some other field, and may have wildly inappropriate ideas. Just as an example, I am currently working with a company whose star programmer (and he really is very good) comes from process control - and has zero clue about testing or quality control. He writes code and assumes that it works, and his company is so glad to have him (at a grunt-level salary) that they refuse to insult him by testing his code - so they deliver his work untested straight to clients - you can imagine how well this works.

tl;dr: There is no shortage of bodies in STEM fields. However, there is a shortage of good people who also have a solid education in and understand of their field. This is true in computer science, and almost certainly in every other STEM field out there.

Comment: This is not news; it is also not PC (Score 0) 427

by bradley13 (#46396151) Attached to: All Else Being Equal: Disputing Claims of a Gender Pay Gap In Tech

When you control for working hours and years of experience (as opposed to simply age - women more often take time off work to raise children), there hasn't been a male/female pay gap for decades. However, this is not PC. Feminists don't want to hear that they're done, that they have long since achieved their goals, and that feminism has become counterproductive. Hence, the studies that show this are routinely ignored, and certainly never publicized.

Taking months or years off for child raising, or working only part time, or refusing to travel - none of these things should affect your career or your pay. It ought to be possible to drop out of the workforce at 25, raise your kids full-time for 20 years, and then rejoin the workforce as a senior manager.

It makes as much sense as the rest of the progressive agenda...

Comment: Wow, let's try this! (Score 0) 235

Situation 1: Private citizen is in front of a court; the judge says the defendent must produce certain documents. Defendent says "sorry, judge, I refuse; I signed a private contract promising that I would never reveal that information". Judge says: To jail with you for contempt of court. Do this 200 times, and spend a long time in jail.

Situation 2: Police want to do a search, the law says they need a warrant. The police say "sorry, judge, we signed this here NDA". Two hundred times they did this. Anyone believe the police are going to jail here?

Forcefully entering the apartment for a physical search, also without a warrant, is just added some whipped cream on top...

Comment: Directly contacting gov agencies? Horrible idea! (Score 1) 137

by bradley13 (#46376059) Attached to: Using Google Maps To Intercept FBI and Secret Service Calls

Is there a recommended way by FBI or Secret Service where one can go, establish the non-criminal bona-fide of oneself and have an intelligent conversation with someone

I did some minor computer consulting for the Secret Service a long time ago. I was too young at the time to realize what was going on; only in retrospect years later did I realize that there had been zero effort to preserve electronic evidence, share it with the defense, or any of the other niceties one is supposed to expect from the justice system. They knew the guy was guilty, and that was all that mattered.

Given the direction law enforcement at all levels in the US has taken in the past 20 years or so, things today are far worse: increasing militarization at all levels, an even worse mentality of "us vs. them" (where "they" are the entire civilian population). If they decide to target you for something, you are SOL. Getting involved involved with these agencies has huge risks and essentially no advantages. This guy is bloody lucky they didn't charge and prosecute him.

If you've just got to play white knight, at least get a good attorney on board from the very start, and have your attorney with you for all interactions.

+ - Mt Gox hacked. All coins gone. ->

Submitted by ch0ad
ch0ad (1127549) writes "Mt. Gox, once the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, has gone offline, apparently after losing hundreds of millions of dollars due to a years-long hacking effort that went unnoticed by the company.

The hacking attack is detailed in a leaked “crisis strategy draft” plan, apparently created by Gox and published Monday by Ryan Selkis, a bitcoin entrepreneur and blogger (see below). According to the document, the exchange is insolvent after losing 744,408 bitcoins — worth about $350 million at Monday’s trading prices."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Possible solution? (Score 3, Interesting) 712

by bradley13 (#46296639) Attached to: Are Bankers Paid Too Much? Are Technology CEOs?

The problem has always been the "old boys network" where top executives take turns sitting on each others' Boards of Directors, approving each others' salaries. These nitwits are so disconnected from the lives of their workers that they probably sincerely believe they are worth such ridiculous salaries.

Starting this year, here in Switzerland, the shareholders must vote on the executive compensation package at the annual shareholders' meeting. This vote is binding: if they vote against (outrageous) compensation, then it won't get paid. I believe this will have a long-term effect, not only because of the vote, but also because it requires spelling out executive compensation in plain terms that the shareholders can understand.

I expect a number of Swiss companies will have a sudden urge to rethink things, before the next annual meetings take place...

Comment: Airbrush much? (Score 1) 357

by bradley13 (#46269921) Attached to: US Plunges To 46th In World Press Freedom Index

So, press freedom in the US isn't really so bad, because the US has sometimes ranked higher? Even though it has never ranked above rank 20 or so? Is place 20 something to be pround of for the "land of the free"?

Read the report. It's not only about government abuse, which is bad enough, but also includes other factors. "Self-censorship" is a big one, for example, because of factors like "political correctness" (can't criticize minorities, don't dare offend the Christian right, etc.) and fear of lawsuits. However, the government abuses are already bad enough: metadata gathering, collecting specific phone records without warrants, etc.

Comment: EITC is the wrong solution (Score 1) 717

by bradley13 (#46260877) Attached to: Your 60-Hour Work Week Is Not a Badge of Honor

"Many" economists may believe that, but certainly not all - probably not even the majority.

If you are going to pay someone a benefit, do so: send them a check or a bank transfer every month. Hiding subsidies and benefits as "reverse taxes" has lots of problems, but the biggest one is that it is a deliberate attempt to hide welfare benefits so that no one can be entirely sure who is receiving how much. It also adds to the complexity of tax returns and expands the IRS bureaucracy - both of which are goals that benefit only the existing bureaucracy.

Comment: Re:And all that being said ... (Score 1) 208

by bradley13 (#46148883) Attached to: Can't Handle Appeals of Errors

"Better coverage at lower rates"

Serious question, not a troll: How many of those policies are subsidized? From what I've heard, that's the way people wind up with a cost reduction.

- If they're not subsidized, then I hypothesize that the people should have shopped around - the policies were likely available.

- If they *are* subsidize, then we enter this discussion: Why should person A be able to pay their insurance using person B's wallet?

Comment: Re:Poor planning (Score 3, Informative) 342

I used to work on the government side of things, and this was a political requirement. Congress insists on individually approving annual funding for any program over a certain value. If a program was to be funded, we had to ensure that there were significant subcontractors in every relevant political district. This made no engineering sense, it raised costs immensely, and it made us all want to declare open season on Congresscritters (no bag limit).

It's the system. It needs changed, but the very people to change it (Congress) are the primary beneficiaries. It's nothing more or less than corruption: one of the reasons that being elected to Congress is the same as being elected to the millionaire's club.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison