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Comment: Re:This doesn't sound... sound (Score 1) 318

Destruction of goods can lead to prosperity. In 1939, the US was in a depression. War spending kicked in, and pushed the economy hard. War spending is effectively destruction of goods, lots of them literally and other goods being spent making things that have no civilian use. The US produced tens of thousands of Sherman tanks. Many were literally destroyed, and the remainder were largely surplus that nobody wanted come September 1945.

This caused the US economy to boom. It also built a lot of demand, since most people were working (millions unproductively from an economic point of view), they were getting paid, and there wasn't that much to buy. Despite widespread fear, the economy remained dynamic after the war ended.

It takes special circumstances, but it can work. Economies are complicated, and sane and honest people know that.

Comment: Re: Not their fault (Score 1) 390

by david_thornley (#48928037) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

Wrong. Ball pressure is measured relative to the outside atmosphere, which is about 14.5psi. To use the gas law, we need to consider the difference between 25 psi (the balls as measured) and 27 psi (regulation pressure). Using your figure of 11C, or about 284K, we see that we have about 0.088 psi per kelvin, or an inflation temperature of about 307K, which puts the temperature in the 90s F if they were earlier filled to the minimum allowed pressure. Possible, but unlikely.

Comment: Re:How is this not bribery? (Score 1) 76

by david_thornley (#48927985) Attached to: Comcast Pays Overdue Fees, Offers Freebies For TWC Merger Approval

Offering money to individual people in exchange for favorable actions is bribery. TFS claimed nothing of the sort. Giving money to the city of Minneapolis in exchange for Minneapolis doing certain things is standard negotiations, and there's nothing improper about it.

What's wrong with bribery is that it causes an official to do something that's good for him or her but bad for the city or whatever. It's the old difference between agent incentives and principal incentives, pumped up with gifts. A payment to Mayor Hodges (not that she has much power under the city charter) in exchange for her performing an individual service is proper if there's no other entanglements. A payment to the city in exchange for the city doing certain things is proper, assuming the city decision was made properly. A payment to Hodges in exchange for the city doing certain things is bribery.

Comment: Re:In other words. (Score 1) 76

by david_thornley (#48927875) Attached to: Comcast Pays Overdue Fees, Offers Freebies For TWC Merger Approval

However, there are different people who may be paying for it. If Minneapolis would pay Comcast for seven years for certain services, and Comcast, as part of an agreement, provides the services and absorbs the cost, then it's free to Minneapolis and the Minneapolis taxpayers.

Exactly who pays for it is a matter between Comcast and its victims^Wcustomers. I doubt it will increase cable rates, so Comcast/Greatland is likely to just mark the cost (which is less than what Minneapolis would pay) up as a cost of doing business. Comcast/Greatland stockholders might suffer a bit, but that's not going to bother me.

Comment: Re:Now using TOR after WH threats to invade homes (Score 1) 275

by david_thornley (#48926327) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

Who apologizes to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing or the recent murders in France? In both cases, the authorities either knew the perpetrators were dangerous or had enough information to know. The Russians had warned us about the Boston Marathon bombers (the warning apparently wasn't as effective as it should have been because of different ways of transliterating the Cyrillic alphabet to ours). The French knew to watch out for their terrorists

Whenever I read of an arrest for a terrorist plot that didn't come off, it's uniformly a matter of idiots who were no danger in the first place, and often with an agent provocateur who encouraged them. The arrests are often for conspiracy, without a single illegal action being performed.

Comment: Re:Perhaps one day you will evolve to love males. (Score 1) 275

by david_thornley (#48926227) Attached to: EFF Unveils Plan For Ending Mass Surveillance

Perhaps one day you will evolve to love males.

This is stupid. There's lots of kinds of love, and there's plenty of reasons why BarbaraHudson would likely not be sexually interested in me. Since I never intended to have sex with her, I don't see why I should care about her sexual orientation.

Religious people are delusional.

People who say that are delusional, in that they think they know that religion is bunk, but in fact there's no evidence either way. Absence of evidence is not decisive evidence of absence. (It's easy to prove that a majority of people have false religious beliefs by consulting a reference work. Christians, Muslims, and none of the above are all minorities, and they all disagree with one another.)

Torture works. Historically proven.

True, but not for everything. Torture is very useful when it comes to coercion. You can get somebody to confess to anything they did, or anything they didn't for that matter. It's not good at finding the truth. It is, however, very useful if you want to band people together for immoral purposes: have each of them torture somebody.

Healthcare is not and cannot be a right because the demand for it is infinite.

That's stupid. First, the demand for healthcare is finite. Since there are a finite number of people, for demand to be infinite it would be possible to spend any number of resources on one person's health care, and I don't see that happening. The potential demand is larger than we can reasonably supply, but that doesn't mean there can't be a right to a reasonable level of medical care.

There continue to be many factual opinions that cannot be freely held and expressed without being persecuted. Thus the need for privacy and anonymity, even if it is only partial.

In certain places, yes. In general, I can't think of any. There are people publicly in favor of legalizing all drugs or having sex with young children. I've publicly asked for research into child pornography to find its actual effects. There are people out there who defend terrorism and terrorists. As long as they don't do anything, they appear to be mostly ignored. As a test, specify an opinion on facts that you think would automatically be persecuted. Then look for it on blogs and Slashdot archives. When you find that, check to see whether and why persecution occurred.

There are situations where it's safer to not express certain opinions, not everywhere. There are societies where I'd just let people think I was Christian rather than correct them, for example.

Comment: Re:Eisenhower said it (Score 1) 202

by david_thornley (#48925659) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

If a rock star can crank out changes but not necessarily quickly, the "get it done yesterday" mandate is sometimes going to be impossible, and at that point it really doesn't matter what the personality is: if the project is to be done by the arbitrarily assigned time, the rock star and the ordinary person are both going to be overstressed. The alternatives are to work normally as fast as possible, and be seen as not dedicated to the company goals, or to work lots of overtime, which quickly becomes unproductive and stressful, and when this is done regularly leads to burnout. Add to this managers who think their people aren't working hard enough because they need more threats, don't respect their people, and sometimes resort to yelling, and there's no way to avoid stress.

I haven't met or heard of anybody who is a "rock star" by your criterion. The closest I met was a person of very resilient personality, capable of working hard and steady through great stress, and who had an average level of talent. Not a bad person to have as part of a team, but in no way a rock star.

It is possible to develop a more resilient personality, but I haven't noticed any correlation with that and ability. I've worked with very good people who ran the range from reasonably calm under reasonable stress to prima donna.

Comment: Re:My opinion (Score 1) 202

by david_thornley (#48925373) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

You're in a good position with regard to deadlines and release dates. Most developers don't work in such an environment. (I suspect most of them wish they could.)

I think "passionate" is ambiguous here. I have to identify with what I'm doing, feel an ownership of my part of the project, or my morale goes into the toilet and my productivity suffers. I'm also more or less dedicated to learning more about programming and becoming better, and I think that in particular is necessary to be a great developer.

Comment: Re:Levels (Score 1) 202

by david_thornley (#48924501) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

Ideally, you should be able to give each class and function a descriptive name. That doesn't mean it can't call all sorts of other functions; "DIsplayWidget()" (or "Widget::Display()") is likely to do a lot of work that's farmed out to other functions, but it does mean the function or method has a single clear purpose. If you find yourself putting "And" into the name, you probably should refactor it into two separate functions.

Comment: Re:It depends (Score 1) 202

by david_thornley (#48924399) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

You haven't been keeping up. Lots of important software is in Lisp (the preferred capitalization). It's surprisingly flexible, and I've found I can change approaches quickly and try things out without putting too much work into them. Once the program is working, there are ways to make it fast. It's sort of opposite of C: in C, your program is fast with little problem, but correctness is much harder, while in Lisp, correctness is easier to get to and speed can be tacked on at the end. (I'm assuming reasonable algorithms here; no amount of wizardry in either language is going to make a large bubble sort run fast.)

If I know what I'm trying to do, I find C++ to be very useful (other people have other favorite similar languages). If I don't know what I'm doing, I've found nothing better than Common Lisp.

Comment: Re:From my perspective... (Score 1) 202

by david_thornley (#48924329) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

Raises are about more than retaining people, they're about avoiding morale problems. Developers are not usually heavily motivated by raises (there are exceptions) but they can be easily demotivated by not getting what they think they deserve. For example, if you hire a guy at $90K/year, and then the market gets tighter and you give him a $5K raise to retain him, and he finds out you're hiring new guys to do the same job for $100K, you've got a problem on your hands that'll likely cost you much more than $5-10K/year.

OS/2 must die!