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Comment RISK vs CHANCE (Score 2) 174

We humans are incredibly bad at dealing with a low CHANCE of really really bad things happening. The problem is that, as shown in the discussions here, the idea of RISK is misunderstood. There is a CHANCE of something happening, yes. But that is not the same as the RISK of something happening. The RISK is the CHANCE multiplied by some metric of how bad the thing is. It is RISK that should guide policy, not the CHANCE. (I'm capitalizing these to indicate they are mathematical variables) . When it comes to nuclear plant meltdowns or asteroid collisions, people tend to look only at the CHANCE of it happening in their own lifetime. I that is low, the RISK is forgotten. The problem with this thinking is that eventually a species that guides policy this way will become extinct. If we are the "thinking species" it's high time we got on with some serious thinking. CHANCE X "DEGREE OF BADNESS" = RISK

Comment Re:Newtonian physics (Score 4, Interesting) 369

If you have fired a pistol, you know that the "kick" of the gun is not even close to what would be required to knock you down. And of course people are shot in the chest all the time without being knocked down. But in the case described in the article, the bullet has even less kinetic energy because it has been intentionally slowed down by the plastic cap. If it has slowed by 80% as stated, there is no chance that the bullet could knock someone down.

Comment Newtonian physics (Score 3, Insightful) 369

From the article: "but it will transfer enough kinetic energy across a wide surface to knock a suspect down"

Nope. If the bullet had enough kinetic energy to knock down the suspect, the gun would have enough kinetic energy to knock down the shooter. But of course it doesn't. Equal and opposite reaction. Conservation of momentum. Sir Isaac is rolling over in his grave. And I'm sure the coffin is counter-rotating. :)

Comment Re:Yes, they are employees (Score 2) 367

"there are PLENTY of other jobs out there that don't have UBER in the name of the employer. Work somewhere else maybe?"

If Uber and other "share services" get away with their violation of labor laws, there won't be other kinds of jobs. Uber and similar companies are very efficient at extracting money from both their clients and their employees. If they get away with this "contractor" fraud, then every other company will be forced to play the same game. We will be an economy of serfs, all taking "bids" for piecework.

Prior to labor laws, many people did try to subsist on this kind of piecework. Many of them suffered and starved in the process. So what kind of country do you want to live in?

Comment Re:Yes, they are employees (Score 3, Insightful) 367

This is a dodge. All the "bids" come from Uber itself, not directly from clients. No negotiation takes place on the individual "bids"... it's take it or leave it. This is the typical management/employee tension. Management tries to keep all the authority and pass all the responsibility to the employee. In this case, the filter for doing that is called an app, but it's the same raw deal for the employee.

Comment Re:Yes, they are employees (Score 3, Insightful) 367

Of course they have a gun held to their head. It's called hunger. It's called being able to pay the rent. Many of the drivers for Uber are in the business of converting equity in their cars into payments from Uber. That is not necessarily a profitable exchange and many drivers don't realize that until their car breaks down. Uber drivers are not paid for the time they spend sitting in their car waiting for the next gig. And if you include that time, they are paid below minimum wage in many cases. That is what the labor laws are designed to prohibit.

Comment Yes, they are employees (Score 5, Interesting) 367

There are many reasons why drivers should be classified as employees rather than as contractors. The most obvious is that drivers don't price their own services. The labor laws were specifically written to protect people who are working for much more powerful companies which will treat them as serfs if they can get away with it.

Comment Xfce has all the features..... (Score 3, Interesting) 197

of Gnome 2 or the older standard desktops.... without being particularly slick and pretty. Xfce has the most customizable desktop because you can easily create launchers for apps, files, and urls. And you can define panels and dock those launchers into the panels..... something that Gnome never really offered.

Cinnamon is prettier and Unity is more "space-age" in its appearance. But when it comes to functionality, Xfce gives me what I need.

Comment Mission accomplished (Score 1, Interesting) 399

We already have a huge controlled fusion reactor with (on a human time scale) an unlimited fuel supply. And on top of that, this reactor has a distribution system that reaches most of the earth with abundant supplies of usable energy. The reactor has been nicknamed "the sun" and why don't we call the distribution network "sunshine"? So rather than "re-inventing the wheel" why don't we, for a small fraction of the cost of building a dangerous earth-bound version of the sun, just use what we already have?

Comment Two logic errors (Score 4, Insightful) 417

I see two obvious errors in logic in this analysis.
1. Rising total employment of Americans does not mean that other Americans were not replaced by H1B holders. If there were no H1Bs, employment of Americans would have been even higher. What sloppy logic!

2. From the article: "If H-1Bs were primarily cheaper substitutes for American labor, the pace of H-1B requests...should rise when unemployment rises, as employers look to cut labor costs by laying off workers." In what universe does this logic make sense? If unemployment is higher, cheaper labor can be obtained by hiring more Americans since they are having a harder time finding a job. The actual results are completely consistent with H1Bs being a cheaper replacement for American workers.

Comment Re:Israel has outstanding healthcare. (Score 1, Troll) 54

Sure... because Israel is rich. And it's rich because it steals the land (and water) of Palestinians. And because it bombs them and then forces them to work for low wages serving Israelis. And because the US gives them massive amounts of money.

I was pro-Israeli for most of my life. Until I saw Israeli bulldozers tearing down houses in Gaza before they pulled out and built the wall. Why did they do that? For "internal security"? No, this was not on Israeli land. They did it for reasons of hate and vengeance. Why should I (or the US) support that?

Israel has become a state sponsor of terrorism. Instead of explosive vests, they use jets and missiles.

Comment Re:Hire cops with the right education (Score 1) 277

Well, criminal justice majors should not be parole or probation officers either. :) For the same reasons. My point is that we need police officers better trained in human behavior. And that is not going to happen inside a police station. Get folks who understand and care about people. Then worry about job specific training. That job specific training is better done at the local level anyway because of differences in the law in different jurisdictions. And I think a college education is a good idea for the police because it exposes them to a wider view of the world and a wider variety of citizens. College is not really about job training and never has been.

"Don't tell me I'm burning the candle at both ends -- tell me where to get more wax!!"