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Comment: Re:You forgot something... (Score 1) 269

by dcollins (#48675689) Attached to: Dish Pulls Fox News, Fox Business Network As Talks Break Down

First that comes to mind is New York state (where I live), where the Taylor Law makes it illegal:
"One of the most controversial parts of the Taylor Law is Section 210, which prohibits New York state public employees from striking."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_Law

Example of legal punishments handed out a few years ago when transit workers went on strike in NYC:
http://www.labornotes.org/2012/01/public-employees-need-right-strike

Other states are not quite so codified; but here's a ruling in California that establishes "essential" workers cannot strike, including police & firefighters, possibly nurses and teachers:
http://www.slotelaw.com/articles/public-employees-right-strike-clarified-california-supreme-court

Comment: Re:Motive (Score 1) 269

by dcollins (#48673109) Attached to: Did North Korea Really Attack Sony?

More lunatic alarmist nonsense like got us into Iraq and every other endless war in the Middle East and Asia.

The million deaths is a ridiculous scare-mongery figure you pulled out of your ass; even if North Korea had the same death rate as the United States, you would expect 4 million deaths over 20 years just naturally anyway (population 24 million * 800 deaths per 100,000 people * 20 years ~ 4 million).

Washington in the Farewell Address: "As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils!... Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?" ... to say nothing of wars in fucking Asia, which he would never have even dreamed we'd be stupid enough to get involved with.

Comment: Re:Right. (Score 1) 269

by dcollins (#48673073) Attached to: Did North Korea Really Attack Sony?

"...to blackmail them not to release a movie about Kim Jong Un."

Well, there's your flawed assumption right there. The stated goal of the hackers was explicitly not that until a few weeks went by and the media became determined to whip the North Korea story.

"But in their initial public statement, whoever hacked Sony made no mention of North Korea or the film. And in an email sent to Sony by the hackers, found in documents they leaked, there is also no mention of North Korea or the film... “[M]onetary compensation we want,” the email read. “Pay the damage, or Sony Pictures will be bombarded as a whole. You know us very well. We never wait long. You’d better behave wisely.”... It was only on December 8, after a week of media stories connecting North Korea and the Sony film to the hack, that the attackers made their first reference to the film in one of their public announcements."

http://www.wired.com/2014/12/evidence-of-north-korea-hack-is-thin/

Comment: Re:They do have one advantage (Score 1) 230

by dcollins (#48670039) Attached to: Should Video Games Be In the Olympics?

First thing: I came here to say that video games have one significant disadvantage, in that the games (rules, if you like) are not stable; the publishers change them every few years in order to boost the revenue stream. The rules to video games are generally not in the public domain, unlike common sports. They are controlled by a single publisher interest. And the hardware quickly changes and becomes unavailable, too (or at least requires an emulator). So that would be my biggest dispute with video games being a sport -- they're constantly becoming defunct in terms of the rules, platforms, and access.

Second thing: But let's put that aside and focus on a snapshot of some video game at a particular moment in time. I used to work at Papyrus, publisher of NASCAR Racing for the PC in the 90's, we were developing and negotiating for a real-life NASCAR-sanctioned video racing league, and of course we had an in-house league every week that was very serious. (Most of the principals are still continuing that work at iRacing.com now.) We still needed an after-race adjudication committee to go over replays and make judgements about unsportsmanlike behavior -- who was at fault for a wreck, could one have been avoided, did someone stop-and-go a restart (I remember a huge argument one week about that one), etc. Maybe in some other game you'd establish out-of-the-box rules for behavior like not pulling out the ethernet cable, not flooding the chat box with offensive messages, not shouting verbally in the playing space to confuse other players, etc. You'll never entirely get away from the need for some kind of human judgements on fair play. Frankly that falls in the rather large category of geek fantasies that tech solves all social problems when it doesn't.

Comment: Re:You forgot something... (Score 2) 269

by dcollins (#48647091) Attached to: Dish Pulls Fox News, Fox Business Network As Talks Break Down

Pretty well put, I mostly agree, and am glad you wrote that. One point on your very last statement: do keep in mind that for many public and infrastructure unions (like police, government admins, teachers, bus drivers, etc.) it's been made illegal to go on strike by law, or as part of a contract required by the employer. I agree that that pretty much takes the possibility of fair negotiations off the table.

Comment: Re:Sure... (Score 1) 340

But the definition of "profit center" is a department, which if treated as an entirely separate business in terms of its revenues and costs, turns a profit. Clearly if security earns no outside revenue than it can't be a profit center.

A better analysis is that the thinking about profit centers is "One of the biggest mistakes I have made... The only profit center is a customer whose cheque hasn’t bounced.” (Peter Drucker, who coined the phrase "profit center").

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Profit_center

Comment: Re:Land of the free (Score 0) 579

by dcollins (#48626621) Attached to: Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

Has anyone you know actually defended themselves in any of those cases with a gun, or is it all really a panicky fever dream? I honestly can't tell if you're asserting that an evening stroll in Gary, Indiana requires a gun to be safe or not. Coming from a non-gated community in New York City (Brooklyn) where I don't think I've ever heard a gun go off, and certainly never seen one outside of police, and traveling around frequently at 2AM or later on the street and public transit, your worldview seems crazily warped.

Comment: Re:Pare down (Score 1) 312

by dcollins (#48538931) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Electronics-Induced Inattentiveness?

I might argue that a student texting is pretty low-impact on other students in the room; say, equivalent to doodling on notebook paper. Compared to the possibility of disruption by striking up social conversations, perhaps texting is actually an improvement.

Do your classes have mandatory/scored attendance? I don't, and so that opens the pipe to truly-disinclined students to simply not be there at all, and fail on the tests like they were going to anyway. I've found in the last year that I've had much higher levels of discussion, and very enjoyable interactions, even in my remedial classes with the half of the students that are actually motivated to come to class and get engaged with the subject (irrespective of having cell phones accessible).

The solution of problems is the most characteristic and peculiar sort of voluntary thinking. -- William James

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