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Comment: Re:eh (Score 1) 440

by buddyglass (#48457307) Attached to: Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist
I get that competition leads to higher salaries. My point is that higher salaries, while it might be a "solution" for a given company's trouble filling positions, isn't an industry-wide solution. If I offer an above-market salary to fill my rec then I'm necessarily taking someone off the market who could be working for some other company. If all other companies increase their compensation equal to the amount I increased mine then I don't gain any advantage and I have approximately as much trouble finding talent as I do today.

What would likely ameliorate the "talent deficit" is that some tech jobs would either cease to exist or move overseas if the compensation level grew too high.

Comment: eh (Score 1) 440

by buddyglass (#48457193) Attached to: Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist
Here's why I'm not convinced that the answer is simply higher salaries. To be sure, some workers who could be doing tech decide to do something else. Maybe they go into academia, finance, IP law, etc. Raising tech salaries across the board, by everyone who employs tech workers, would steal some of these guys back. But would it be enough? You would probably also motivate some young people to go into tech that currently go into other fields. But that's for the future; it doesn't help the present. The fact is that there's a fixed supply of domestic talent at each point along the talent spectrum. You could pay 10x as much and it won't magically increase the amount of available talent. If there is, in fact, not enough talent to "go around", i.e. to fill all the tech positions employers want to fill, then we don't just have a salary problem.

Side note: what's good for the domestic tech worker may not be the same as what's good for the country. That is to say, an influx of highly-skilled foreign tech workers might depress salaries in the short term, but an abundance of cheap tech labor could juice the success of domestic tech companies which, in the long run, may actually be better for the U.S. as a whole.

There's also anecdotal evidence that the U.S. is becoming less attractive to foreign talent and not more. Which, in my opinion, is terrible news.

Comment: my takeaway (Score 4, Interesting) 222

by buddyglass (#48425845) Attached to: Lessons Learned From Google's Green Energy Bust
The big news to me isn't that they weren't able to invent the tech, but their estimate that even if their most optimistic scenario had come true w.r.t. clean energy tech that it still wouldn't be enough to avoid the "really bad" scenario w.r.t. climate change (if you trust Hansen's models).

Comment: one tactic... (Score 1) 516

by buddyglass (#48415175) Attached to: Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016
One tactic utility companies could use is to just change their pricing structure. Most already have a fee structure where the highest price/kWh is only paid for electricity purchased at the margins. The first kWh purchased may be drastically cheaper than the last, especially if you're a heavy user. So they could simply exaggerate that structure and make electricity "artificially" cheap for the majority of users and then gouge the heavy users on usage over some threshold.

Alternately they could move to a price structure where there's a fixed "fee" to simply be a customer, and then use the revenue from that fee to offset the price-per-kWh and make it artificially cheap.

Comment: Re:10x Productivity (Score 1) 215

by buddyglass (#48412991) Attached to: Do Good Programmers Need Agents?
It's one way. I should have been more specific. "Amount of moderately difficult work completed at a moderate-or-higher level of quality." Another might be, "Ability to complete extremely difficult work at a extremely high level of quality in non-infinite time." Someone who excels at the first might not excel at the second, though generally I'd expect there to be a lot of overlap.

Comment: Re:10x Productivity (Score 1) 215

by buddyglass (#48410107) Attached to: Do Good Programmers Need Agents?
I've been doing software dev. for about 15 years. I'll grant that the level of productivity between "the worst" and "the best" is at least 10x, if not more, because "the worst" are essentially producing nothing. Or, worse, have negative productivity in the sense they're creating stuff that is totally non-functional and will need to be re-written by someone else at a later date.

That said, the difference between "the best" and "the average" is probably not 10x. At least not if productivity is measured in "amount of output produced at some acceptable level of quality". Where "the best" guys excel is in being able to solve problems that average guy is probably never going to be able to solve (well) no matter how much time he's given. On the other hand, those sorts of problems come up less often than most people think.

Comment: Re:Here's the deal (Score 1) 215

by buddyglass (#48410079) Attached to: Do Good Programmers Need Agents?
If, after interviewing somewhere, I end up taking a job for which I'm a poor fit then the fault is mine and not the recruiter's. I view the recruiter's job as getting me interviews at places where I'm likely to be a good fit and where they're likely to be willing to compensate a level I'd be satisfied with.

Comment: Re:Here's the deal (Score 1) 215

by buddyglass (#48410025) Attached to: Do Good Programmers Need Agents?
Don't recruiters, or their employers, typically get paid a sum based on the salary given to the person they placed? So, in theory, they have an incentive to see that the job-seeker gets the highest salary that doesn't price him out of the market entirely.

Where I could potentially see 10x being useful is for guys who are the acknowledged "best in the world" at some particular thing. Like, "tuning huge postgresql installations". Because you're the primary committer on the project, or something. There are employers willing to pay "best in the world" level compensation for these guys to do short-term work. 10x would be useful if it put the devs in contact with these employers and they would not otherwise have come into contact with them. In that sense it's a sort of match-making service, bringing "guys who can charge exorbitant consulting fees" together with "companies willing to pay exorbitant consulting fees".

Comment: Re:Energy Independence Means (Score 1) 334

by buddyglass (#48340619) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

Yes, it's true. We are currently producing more oil than Saudi Arabia! But we are far from being independent.

Short of state ownership of the oil production industry and/or draconian restrictions on exports and imports the U.S. won't ever be "independent" in the sense that it is unaffected by the global price of petroleum. And that price is only influenced to a small degree by U.S. production.

1. Set standards on gasoline, there are way too many formulas that vary state to state 2. Determine how many refineries we need (haven't built any new refineries for 30+ years). 3. Determine the best locations for the refineries (logistics of incoming raw crude and outgoing fuels)

These sound like tasks best suited to a China-style command economy. You strike me as the sort of person who would find that abhorrent.

You're charging you car using energy from coal so you ain't doing any favors using a toy battery car.

Unless you live in Washington state, where roughly 6.5% of electricity comes from coal. Or Oregon, where that figure is roughly the same. Etc.

Comment: useful indicator of socioeconomic class: (Score 1) 334

by buddyglass (#48340577) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices
...whether you notice changes in the price of gasoline without being notified by the media. If you do then you satisfy a fairly broad definition of "middle class".

If you're too poor to own a car and, hence, don't care about gas prices, then you're not middle class. If you're someone to whom a $1/gal delta in the price of gas is more-or-less meaningless then you're not middle class. If you're someone who lives in a dense, urban environment and doesn't own a car by choice then you're probably also not "middle class".
Science

Satellites Spot Hidden Villages In Amazon 84

Posted by samzenpus
from the eye-in-the-sky dept.
sciencehabit writes The Amazon is home to perhaps dozens of isolated tribes who make their living far off the grid from the wider society, growing crops and hunting and gathering in the forest. These reclusive peoples are threatened by drug running, illegal logging, and highway construction, even if they dwell in 'protected' reserves in Peru or Brazil; one group, apparently pushed out of its lands, made contact this summer. Now, researchers have a new way of examining their fate without disruptive and frightening flyovers by aircraft. Researchers use high-resolution WorldView or GeoEye satellite images to monitor demographic changes in isolated Amazon tribes. The scientists got location and population estimates for five isolated villages along the Brazil-Peru border from Brazilian government reports and other sources. Then they examined 50-centimeter resolution satellite images taken in 2006, 2012, and 2013 and could spot the peoples' horticultural fields and characteristic pattern of either longhouses or clusters of small houses; these villages could be clearly differentiated from the transient camps of illegal loggers or drug runners.

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