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Comment Re:Why would Disney do this? (Score 4, Informative) 249

So why try to save a few bucks outsourcing? I don't get it, the money saved is literally insignificant to them.

I can suggest some reasons why.
1) Disney's primary business is not IT related. We'll just say it's "other stuff". Sure, there is an IT component, but it's not the primary reason the company exists. I work for a Fortune 500 company who's entire business is IT. We're out of business or darn close to it without our IT component. My company actually treats its US based IT workers pretty well and while we do hire H1B people and do some outsourcing of work to India, neither is what I would call a primary chunk of our business. My experience as a career IT worker is that a lot of companies don't really value IT work at all and they always look at it as something anybody can do and it can be as well for cheap by using foreigners. So I think that Disney has never really valued their IT work very much and they look at it as costing too much because they have a bunch of benefit sucking Americans doing it.
2) The workers were all in Orlando if I remember correctly and I'll just simply say that Disney has always treated its Orlando employees as being superfluous. IT employees in California may at this time be under no danger at all, so there is some component of it being in Florida because they are far away from where the big shots are in California who made this decision.
3) Nobody at Disney wants to admit this, but ESPN's revenues are going down. To keep or get sports content, ESPN (which Disney owns) had to pay astronomical prices. In order to keep gouging the TV providers and charge them for carrying ESPN and its related channels, Disney had to agree to lower the number of customers who get their channels to keep the price they get per customer the same. This agreement shocked many industry watchers as they thought Disney would never agree to this. So the reality is that ESPN is going to be spending more and bringing home less. Shaving dollars off IT costs is one way to deal with that reality. Maybe it's a stupid way but again, many or most businesses don't value IT work, so to them it's an easy thing to cut. And note that ESPN recently had some fairly brutal job cuts related to this.

Comment Re:They aren't really still blaming DPRK, are they (Score 0) 50

While I think that it probably wasn't the DPRK, your reason isn't good enough as to why it's not. You might be interested in reading the book _The Impossible State_ by Victor Cha, a man who worked for the George W. Bush administration and has been to North Korea. Basically even if North Koreans knew about the Streisand Effect, and I'm not sure they would have known about it, if somebody high up enough orders you to do something, you don't question it - you do it. You risk death or being sent to a labor camp (with a high probability of death anyway) to do otherwise. And as a deterrent, if you get in trouble with the government, your family does too. The book reports people being imprisoned for "crimes" a long dead grandparent or great-grandparent did before WWII even started, so there's not really any sense of people arguing against orders. They're just hoping the state leaves them alone.

In North Korea they don't see the world the same way that you do. Fanatical devotion to the Kim family is widespread. In fact, even defectors who now live in South Korea rarely have anything at all negative to say about whichever Kim family member is currently in charge even years later and they tend to be kind of like the Russians in thinking that the guy running the show is actually a really good person and any bad things are being caused by everybody else and if only the top guy knew the real truth, he'd fix the problems. I don't buy the US government's investigation into the hack and my guess is that the investigation may be a lie (ie. They know North Korea didn't do it, but they want a reason to go after them anyway) or the people who did the investigation are just not all that good at their jobs.

Comment Re:Missing information... (Score 2) 393

If 40% of those university graduates are still overqualified by their mid-thirties, they've already been typecast by their experience in the 25-35 range.

That's certainly a problem with the data provided--it bundles together the fresh-out-of-school 25-year-olds with the decade-plus-in-the-workforce 34-year-olds. There's a lack of resolution. It could be that 40% of 25-year-olds and 40% of 34-year-olds are "overqualified". Or it could be that 60% in the 25-29 age group are overqualified, and just 20% of the 30-34 bracket.

Actually, that brings to mind another confounder to the interpretation of these data. As more young people get more years of formal education (3-year college diploma to 4- or 5-year bachelor's degree to 7-year bachelor-plus-master's degree) they enter the workforce later. A 25-year-old with a high school diploma might have been working for 7 years (and is also more likely to be working in a job for which they are not "overqualified" by their lower level of formal educational attainment). A 25-year-old with a master's degree might have graduated this summer and could still be job-hunting.

Comment Missing information... (Score 2) 393

... an increasing number of university graduates are overqualified for their jobs.... 40 per cent of university graduates aged 25-34 were overqualified for their job.... The problem is bigger than that, because those young workers spent money, time, and resources to get those qualifications.

It could be a problem, but we're missing some information. This is looking at people aged 25-34. A lot of them are taking crappy entry-level jobs. A lot of them don't have any significant work experience, and have trouble breaking into their preferred fields. A lot of them have student loans and other financial obligations, and just need to take a job - any job - to keep food on the table and a roof overhead. (That, in itself, is another kettle of problems that I'm not going to go into right now.)

An important question is, then, how many of them are still overqualified by the time they're into the 35-44 age bracket? Was the extra education actually "wasted", or did they eventually come out ahead because they didn't have to drop out of the workforce later on to go back to school to get the education they missed in their twenties? Did their extra "unnecessary" knowledge help them move up the ladder faster than they would have without it? (I'm not looking for anecdotes - of which I am sure there exist examples to suit any preferred narrative - but rather real data.)

And that leaves aside the rather more philosophical question of whether or not it's generally a Good Thing to have more university-educated individuals in it, even if they don't need those degrees specifically as job training. Are universities now only vocational schools, and only of value to society in that context? If I can't cash in my degree for a high-paying job, is it worthless?

Comment Re:amazing no ground scale or even strain gauges (Score 4, Informative) 366

...but then the stupidity of taking off at less than 100% throttle to save a little bit of fuel at the expense of increasing risk is also a pretty dumb thing to do, engineering wise.

Taking off at less than 100% throttle means reduced acceleration, which reduces stress on the airframe (and passengers). It reduces wear on the engines and - more important - reduces the risk of turbine failure. It makes the aircraft easier to control (less unbalanced thrust) if it does lose an engine immediately before or after takeoff.

So...not just to save fuel.

Comment Re:I wouldn't put it past Putin (Score 1) 289

But all this said, I'm not convinced it's ISIS either. If it was ISIS why now, why against Russia when British and American tourists could presumably have been just as easily targeted at the exact same airport all this time and ISIS hates the British and Americans as much as the Russians?

Well, I don't know exactly how many American and British tourists there really are in Egypt. If you're American and you go, if you don't know the risks, which have been around for more than a decade now (cough cough - ask Mexico about that if you need to), I really don't know what to say. The Russian plane was something like a regularly scheduled charter flight. Egypt either has no visa requirement for citizens of the countries that used to be in the USSR or they are something like "get one on arrival". Too lazy to see which. I know that lots of Russians like to go there for vacations because it's one of the rare places that's warm and not very sucky that they can get into without a lot of effort and trouble.

Personally, I'm not ruling out a shoddy repair job as others have speculated on. It's been known since the very late 1990s that Russian airlines outside of Aeroflot don't generally meet American and European standards in terms of safety and repair. My default reaction to any Russian airline disaster on a non-Aeroflot flight is to assume mechanical failure as that's almost always it. Or the pilot let his teenage kid accidentally fly the plane into the ground, killing everybody. Yeah, that really happened once on an infamous flight inside Russia. If you fly anywhere in the world on an airline based in Russia whose name is not Aeroflot, you assume a lot of risk.

Comment Imagine 40+ years ago (Score 1) 360

The story about the trip to Japan 25 years ago made me think of something. Approximately around 1970, Soviet film director Andrei Tarkovsky and Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa became friends and Soviet authorities allowed Tarkovsky to go to Japan to visit his friend under the official guise of doing a small amount of location filming for his upcoming film, "Solaris". Tarkovsky brought a very small film crew with him and they shot some footage from inside a car of just driving around the major highways and tunnels of Tokyo. There's a 10-15 minute segment of the film that uses the footage and the segment is known as "The city of tomorrow" segment. Even after all these years I have to admit it still looks somewhat futuristic.

As far as backwards banking systems go, Ukraine's was pretty bad in the previous decade. I assume it's better now, but I was last there about 9 years ago. I never used an ATM there - ever. I always brought enough cash with me to cover to my expenses during my stay. I read too many first hand accounts of travelers who used ATMs that actually were run by the mafia and they simply collected your bank and pin info and used that to try to drain your account. The authorities could not be bothered to do anything about this. And this was in major cities like Kiev and Odessa. If you went to any place other than the very largest cities, the stories were that if you ever found an ATM it probably wasn't going to be connected to any international banking network, but at least you didn't have to worry about the mafia running it to try to steal your money.

Comment Why Sony is in trouble (Score 1) 360

Well a lot of their biggest companies are in real trouble (ex Sony).

Well, my opinion on why Sony is in real trouble is that the company is actually in effect run by the Americans who dominate the entertainment (music, movies and TV) side of Sony who view all of humanity as thieves looking to steal Sony's entertainment property and who have consumed so many resources and effort to stop the "thieves" that the rest of the business that used to actually be good can no longer be good any more. Sony is no longer interested in making useful products so much as they are completely and utterly obsessed with stopping you, dirty thieving human, from getting their music, movies and TV shows without paying for them.

Comment Re:Using your advertised space != Abuse (Score 1) 330

Don't advertise as unlimited if uploading 70TB of data is too much. It's called false advertising and is against the law in European countries. Sadly, the US doesn't have good consumer protection laws.

Actually the US generally does have good consumer protection laws, but it's not that simple here. First, someone would have sue and it would have to be someone who actually got impacted by the change. US courts don't like it at all when you sue and you're not someone who's been victimized, so you can't sue just because you don't like the changes if you weren't a user who "abused" the old lack of limits. Then literally anything at all can happen when it goes to court. If you get a jury trial all bets are off. Juries typically don't understand technical lawsuits very well so what they will use to decide the case may not really make a lot of sense. Judges aren't necessarily any better. Judges have their own set of prejudices that influence their rulings. Then if you actually beat Microsoft, they'd just appeal and you'd be facing higher costs to fight that appeal where, again, you'll go before judges and anything can happen. You can bet that Microsoft will keep appealing until they win. We don't have a "loser pays" system here and it's almost impossible for a variety of reasons to get your legal costs paid by the loser, so you can get destroyed financially by having a deep pockets loser who just keeps footing the bill for appeal after appeal. Maybe all that stuff doesn't apply in the EU, but it's the reality we face here.

Comment Re:10 years was a decent rest (Score 1) 438

Actually its creator wasn't that great. TNG seasons 1 and 2 were kinda bad, and those were the only two seasons that he had a heavy influence. After that, the writers started breaking some of the rules that Roddenberry had established for the series.

You have really spoken the truth here. It was only as Roddenberry's health went downhill and he was unable to do much to the show that it got better. Gates McFadden was fired after the first season (it's only been in recent years as far as I know that she anybody else connected to the show was willing to admit it) because she - gasp! - had the temerity to complain about the sexist scripts they were given. Roddenberry certainly did her no favors by letting the writer who demanded her exit have his way. Then he replaced her with the very unpopular Diana Muldaur, who was really in a no-win situation on the show. Finally between Michael Piller and Rick Berman somebody brought back McFadden and the stories were getting consistently strong, except for the final season where Piller's attention was elsewhere. Roddenberry made the decision to have a kid (Wil Wheaton) on the show and while now everybody loves Wheaton, I've always wondered if he left the show because he was tired of all the very negative comments his character consistently got while the show was on. Roddenberry was notorious for demanding re-writes on everything even back to The Original Series, not always for the better. I respect Roddenberry for the general vision and ideas but no more.

Comment Re:Doesn't matter (Score 1) 279

People in the west don't understand that for most Chinese, the one child policy doesn't have effect. Because there are so many exceptions.

1) If you and your partner were single kids, you can have two kids.
2) Ethnic minorities have higher limits, and foreigners, including Hong Kong and Taiwan can have unlimited
3) Rich people just pay the tax and have another child, because they are so rich from corruption money is nothing for them.
4) Some provinces had already lifted the ban, or lessened it greatly.
5) Children born outside China, including HK and Taiwan, don't count. Hence the large amount of birth tourism.

So this is pretty much a symbolic act, but at least it's the communists admitting they can't control everything. I wonder how this will be spun off in China, since there the communists are still treated as nearly perfect, the thing everyone should aspire to be.

1) If this were true, then just about everybody could have multiple kids in the past.
2) As pointed out by others, despite you apparently believing PRC propaganda, no part of Taiwan ruled territory has ever been under PRC control. So PRC rules/laws don't apply there. Hong Kong and Macau operate under their own laws under the SAR agreements.
3) Famous directory Zhang Yimou and his wife tried this and got into a lot of trouble. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but it may be as easy as you think.
4) This is actually true and the further you were from Beijing, the more likely it was to be the case.
5) I know of no birth tourism to Taiwan. I keep up with Taiwan and my understanding is that it's very difficult for individual PRC citizens to get individual visas to go to Taiwan. They keep them in tour groups. This is because the PRC wants to control its citizens' access to Taiwan and their "dangerous" ideas.
Additionally, families that had a girl for their first child were allowed to have another child. My ex-girlfriend is from Guangdong province and she has a younger sister for this reason. Her sister is married and has a daughter and before this change the sister and her husband were talking about having another child.

Comment Article summary (Score 5, Interesting) 207

1) Hollywood producers want to make new Buck Rogers movie based on his very first book appearance. Announce it at Comic Con.
2) Trust that says it owns the character threatens to sue producers.
3) Producers try to reach deal. Trust apparently refuses to reach a deal. They simply don't want the film made.
4) Producers are now going to try an argument that Buck Rogers is actually already in the public domain, so screw the trust as they don't need their permission anyway.

Comment Re:Turn key back on? (Score 1) 350

There is no diffraction...20,000 miles is nothing. A laser beam that measures several microns wide at it's origin will still be several microns wide at it's destination.

This is fundamentally incorrect. Even under ideal conditions laser beams will diverge in proportion to their wavelength and in inverse proportion to their narrowest diameter. Effectively, the laser light interferes with itself - diffracts - as it passes through the aperture from which it emerges. At visible or near-infrared wavelengths, a "collimated" 10-micron-wide beam will be more than 30 meters across at 1 km from its source. (I confess to doing the math in my head, but the order of magnitude is about right.) At 20,000 miles, the beam will be more than 100 km across. Wikipedia has the formulas if you'd like to play with them: beam divergence.

You can improve performance by increasing aperture (beam diameter) and wavelength, but there are limits. Beam divergence gets a hell of a lot better with a 1-centimeter (or 1-meter) rather than a 10-micron beam, but also puts about one millionth (or one ten-billionth) as much power down per unit of area on the target.

This isn't to say that space-based anti-satellite lasers aren't possible, but your assumptions about the behavior and performance of lasers over long ranges (and the associated technical challenges) are not grounded in adequate physics knowledge. The Soviets took a stab at launching an anti-satellite laser weapon back in 1987. Polyus weighed 80 tons, required a massive booster, used a 1-megawatt carbon dioxide laser, and was still only intended for low-orbit targets. (And suffered a launch failure, but that's not important.)

Comment Re:I'm not normally one to say things like this... (Score 4, Informative) 245

But this reads purely as propaganda.

It does because you don't understand how Russia works. Are you aware that Russia requires almost all foreign citizens to have visas to travel there? Nothing so unusual in that. More developed countries do that all the time. Australia's rules for travel there are possibly even stricter than the ones the USA has. But do you know why Russia requires visas? It's because that's how it always was. Back in the days of the tsar, he had to personally approve foreigners getting legal permission to visit Russia. The USSR continued the practice of requiring visas for foreigners (well, I can't speak to what requirements were for Eastern Block citizens but people in the West needed them) to limit access because foreigners have "dangerous" ideas. Russia still requires visas today for almost everybody even though outside of some of the ex-USSR, few foreigners actually want to stay illegally in Russia today. And until a few years ago you would not believe what foreign "guests" had to do in terms of getting visas registered each time they stayed in a city more than 3 working days. They did get rid of that requirement at least. I've read accounts of it taking many hours of waiting at a local police station just to get them to register your visa. The penalty for failure to register was a possible large fine that had to be paid in cash on departure (I think it was $1000 US or so) and the possibility to have future visa applications automatically denied. This is all about control and "It's how we've always done it" more than anything else.

Have you ever talked to Russian people? I mean those who live there. You might be surprised that there's a really common belief that goes back to the days of the tsar that the guy in charge is benevolent and kind and caring and all those who work under him are responsible for the evil that gets done in his name and if only the top guy knew what they were doing, he'd stop it. This is part of why a surprising large percentage of Russians still believe that Stalin was a great guy even though Khrushchev gave a famous speech repudiating Stalin and his evil deeds and his "cult of personalty". Khrushchev's time in power was probably the high water mark of the USSR in terms of achievements and quality of life and he was forced from power and I suspect today viewed very negatively by the same people who believe that homicidal maniac Stalin was the greatest leader they ever had.

The reason Putin wants control over the internet within Russia is the same reason that China controls it. They fear that power of it to link protesters who might overthrow them. Their fears are different (ie. Russia has no problem with Facebook while China fears it) but both control it to keep the status quo in power. The big difference is that Russians unfortunately grow up believing that everything their government tells them is true, especially if the guy at the top says it. In China, few educated people believe anything their government tells them, but as long as the government mostly leaves them alone, they accept the reality of living under what in effect is an illegal dictatorship.

Comment I worked for the anti-Zappos once (Score 1) 327

I have no idea how things are at Zappos, but my previous employer was definitely the anti-Zappos, that's for sure. I worked in the US office of a European telecom I don't want to name. They don't deserve the publicity even a bad mention would bring them. Few Americans have even heard of them or their parent company. My former employer tried laying off American employees but keeping their managers, apparently under the belief that if all those pesky benefit sucking employees left, real work could get done by the managers. I've never seen or heard of anything like it. Offices would be gutted and the managers would keep their jobs, even if they had no direct reports any more. My manager had at one time perhaps 12 direct reports and he ended up with 2, both of which were told that they were only sticking around long enough to shut down and box up some servers in our small local computer room. I lost track of my manager but the last I heard he still was employed there. Exactly what these "valuable" managers were doing to stay employed is a complete mystery to me. We outsourced a lot of jobs, including the ones my group did, to various 3rd world countries where we had offices and those people all had local managers who reported one way or another to our HQ in Europe so all these American managers weren't being used to manage overseas employees. The only other thing I can tell you is that my former employer has continued to gut its American workforce since I left so that didn't seem to indicate that going to a "managers only" approach was working very well in the USA. Our sales were truly terrible in North America when I left and it seems that they got worse afterward. What a shock.

"People should have access to the data which you have about them. There should be a process for them to challenge any inaccuracies." -- Arthur Miller