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Comment: Re:One of many potential causes (Score 1) 87

by Reziac (#49552755) Attached to: Bees Prefer Nectar Laced With Neonicotinoids

Honeybees are technically an invasive species in North America; they were imported, not native. There are numerous other species, including small native bees, that did the pollination work before honeybees came along. Far as I have heard, populations of these native bees have not been affected by CCD.

Neonicotinoids are relatively expensive (4 years ago, Imidacloprid was $25/pound, about 5x the cost of permethins), and I'd guess despite being about a quarter of the insecticide market, that in ag they are probably not used outside of the fairly limited areas that grow fruits and vegetables -- as those crops have a better profit margin. Yet CCD has been seen very widely, including in areas where there isn't any row-crop agriculture.

Anecdotally, I've used Imidacloprid to control desert stink beetles, and did not observe any issues with my wild honeybees (who frequented the same areas, cuz that's where the water was).

The scare over DDT was manufactured. Silent Spring (which I read, back when it was new) was mostly fiction and has been discredited, yet it influenced a whole generation of environmentalism -- that, not truth, was its point and intent. Some estimates put malaria deaths due to ending use of DDT in the millions. Meanwhile, the connection with condor populations was at best tenuous.

Comment: Re:Just works? (Score 1) 242

by swillden (#49552685) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are the Most Stable Smartphones These Days?

If you want a "reliable" smart phone that doesn't need reset or suffer stupid ass software failures, get one of those $50 Samsung android smart phones. They are pretty reliable because they can't do much to begin with.

Huh? This makes no sense. If they're Android, they can do an incredible variety of stuff. Being low-end, they might not do it well, but they should run pretty much every Android app out there. If they "can't do much to begin with", they're not Android.

Comment: Re:Nice idea but... (Score 1) 256

by swillden (#49551435) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes

Electrical bill is $14.95 a month because you have to pay the "fees"

To be fair, there *are* fixed costs to the power company in keeping you connected to the grid, in fact those costs are a fairly significant portion of the normal power bill. It's just that the current fee structure doesn't reflect it well.

Comment: Re:One of many potential causes (Score 2) 87

by Reziac (#49551073) Attached to: Bees Prefer Nectar Laced With Neonicotinoids

Actually there's a pretty good trail being laid down:

Not only that, but per this article (with stats), bee populations are stable to increasing despite CCD:

The amount of honey being produced is a good indicator, given you can't make honey without bees.

This won't load for me but I imagine it goes into more detail:

And actually, you can demonstrate 'insanity' in any wild colony with an aging queen -- the bees become aggressive at greater and greater distances from the hive. I watched this with a wild colony that had taken up residence in the wall of a barn. For the first three years, they were 'gentle' (not concerned about intruders) -- to the point that you could actually poke around in their entryway without incurring any retaliation. The 4th year, they got twitchy about people walking nearby. The 5th year, they regularly chased people who passed within about 20 feet of their hive entrance. The colony died off entirely that winter. Far as I saw, it never swarmed, indicating they didn't produce any new queens.

We probably don't see this in domesticated colonies because modern beekeepers are diligent about replacing queens in a timely manner. But I asked an old-timer about it (who'd been in the bee business since the 1930s) and he said that was all perfectly normal for a colony with an old queen.

Comment: Re:Google: Select jurors who understand stats. (Score 1) 333

by swillden (#49549337) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

But you can't sit there and tell me that all the amenities around campus are there for no reason.

Absolutely not. They're there for various very important reasons.

However, none of those reasons are the one you postulate. If you look at each of them individually, drop your bias, and think about what benefit there could be to the company in providing that service to employees... it's generally very obvious.

In fact, a bathroom I used during an interview had a wall of cups and toothbrushes with employee names on them. People apparently stay at work so long that they need a dedicated toothbrush.

Where do you keep your toothbrush at work? Or don't you brush after lunch? Ick.

Comment: Re:Google: Select jurors who understand stats. (Score 1) 333

by swillden (#49549295) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

That sounds pretty unhealthy to me, especially given the present evidence of attrition suggesting that it is not a sustainable way of working.

Attrition at Google is very, very low, and what there is is mostly people leaving to found their own companies. As for how it sounds to you... you really don't know what you're talking about. Go spend some time with some of said young employees and you'll see why they feel it's fantastic.

So, you are an outlier who will have been employed for a different reason than the infantry and for whom expectations are different.

Nope, just another SWE.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 293

And you can't just say "well, nobody knows who it is, so, meh, I'll go ahead and do it anyway." And then your Midsummer Night's Romeo's Dreams of Juliet gets insanely popular, makes $1 billion, and all of a sudden the original rights holders who couldn't be bothered with it before come out of the woodwork to "get their fair share."

Comment: Re:You got it all backwards ... (Score 1) 293

While that's true, that's way harder. One of the goals of Free Software is the user be free to inspect and modify the code running on their hardware. Having only binaries that you can legally decompile doesn't really jive with the spirit there. It'd be like submitting a FOIA request and getting the government data back written in alternate lines of Sanskrit, Aramaic, and Klingon. Can you translate it? Yes. But that's not really in keeping with the spirit of the law.

Comment: Re:That shouldn't surprise anyone (Score 2) 333

by swillden (#49543313) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

From my experience, the "... requirements for good [company name here] interview questions ..." are mostly ignored and a recital of sort algorithms and quirky C++ anachronisms rule.

Not at Google. Engineers talk to each other a lot about what they ask in interviews, because one of the rules is that you must "calibrate" your questions, and the very best way to do that is by trying out your questions on your colleagues.

The goal, of course, is to select hires who are at least as good as you and you colleagues.

Comment: Re:Personally, I don't think he was talking to Goo (Score 1) 333

by swillden (#49543299) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

There's an outside chance of Java, either as an Android App developer, or for some server back end crap at a company they purchased.

Actually there's an extremely good chance of Java. Google mostly runs on Java... infrastructure stuff like GFEs, borg, etc. is all C++, and search is C++, but nearly everything running on borg is Java.

Comment: Re:Google (Score 2) 333

by swillden (#49543271) Attached to: Median Age At Google Is 29, Says Age Discrimination Lawsuit

This AC nails it. I'm also a Google SWE. And I have gotten yelled at (figuratively) for not disconnecting :-)

While experiences may differ, for me Google has offered all of these things (except for the large stake in success/failure of the company, but that's just because it's a big company). There are ample opportunities to transfer to other teams if I don't like what I'm working on, and my input is generally welcomed when it comes to what I should work on. I've also pushed back to my superiors when I thought they were wrong, and when I was able to back up my statements with data (which has always been the case when I really believed I'm right and they're wrong), they backed down, with generally amiable interactions maintained throughout.

The only pressure I've experienced from Google with respect to my life outside of Google is to make sure I am able to disconnect from work. Some people have a difficult time disconnecting, but that's usually because they enjoy the work they're doing. For the most part it's a personal choice, and Google gives employees resources to help them to disconnect so that they can maintain a good work/life balance.

With respect to location, yes most of Google's employees work out of the Mountain View office, and the cost of living there is a serious problem. But there are a number of other offices around the world, many of them with more than a thousand engineers.

I don't know where you get your information from, but I don't think your experiences come close to the experiences of most employees at Google today. I generally think that Google is a wonderful place to work, with wonderful people, an inclusive culture, and great benefits. I don't know how well it compares to other companies, but I don't doubt that Google deserves its "best place to work" awards.

There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about. -- John von Neumann