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Comment Re:The article has it backwards (Score 1) 133

It would be quite interesting to know whether the decision not to install SCR was taken before the optimizations were done. Because that actually would be a plausible theory of why this happened that would jive with my experience of the automotive industry.

If it was basically one asshat manager saying that 'yeah, we're going to do this IN SOFTWARE without using SCR! And save MONEY!", then I can see exactly what happens next. Engineers go "good grief, what an ass, this is going to suck in most cases". Then they get to figure out basically any and every situation you can reduce effect and write logic to accomplish it until they reach required targets. And it just so happens that the idiots designing the benchmarks have produced benchmarks that look nothing like reality so of course they'll get completely different results than what happens when you're not driving the car under specific ideal conditions.

Of course, if that's actually it, then it's not even intentional fraud. And actually using those optimizations would be a good thing as they obviously do reduce emissions in certain conditions where power might not be needed, it's just that they should be using SCR as well. And the benchmarks should be updated to reflect real life situations.

Comment Re:hu-person-made surely? (Score 4, Interesting) 63

No, that's not it.

Sorry but you are wrong. In old english 'man' meant person without any gender specification because 'wer' meant male human where is where "werewolf" comes from: literally "male person-wolf". However because we started to use the word 'man' to mean male human this interpretation has now been retroactively applied to words which were derived when the meaning was gender neutral.

And for what it's worth, for all of the complaints given about the US, the US is perhaps one of the least male-dominated societies out there.

Seriously? So how many female government leaders have you had? Your congress has under 20% women compared to ~25% for Canada, UK and Australia and 30% for New Zealand. Even Saudia Arabia has a 1% higher proportion of women in its national parliament than the US. In many European countries the ratio is in the upper thirties to forty percent.

Comment Re:Natural effects of a maturing field? (Score 1) 335

That actually didn't happen with union organization before the government stepped in. You did get strikers who stayed on strike even when they lost their jobs or scabs were brought in.

And here I should also point out that there are enough well-off IT workers that a strike fund could fairly easily be raised. Certainly if miners are intelligent enough to figure out that they could force changes if they held out long enough, IT workers might as well.

What happened during union organization of mines and factories was that the government (or at least local government) sided with the mine owners. They then shot or dealt with organizers by throwing them in jail.

Certainly, that sort of thing would not be permissible even under a more libertarian view of unionization. The government would not be allowed to intervene on either side. They would be there to keep the peace and enforce legal contracts, freely entered into.

What the real problem is, from this perspective, is that most IT workers do not feel like they *need* to organize. For the most part, we're well paid, our job is not particularly dangerous, and even laid off workers find other jobs relatively readily.

So that does bring us to the question: Are we really as bad off as we think we are?

Comment Re:More like "lack of clue" instead? (Score 1) 202

Most likely because they didn't actually suspect real malfeasance. Their efforts were probably either taken up trying to *replicate* the VW results, or more likely, towards developing and operating their electric/hybrid car strategy.

Sure, they probably had the money lying around, but I know I don't spend my time proving that my competitor's system is shit, if there is room for improvement in mine, I always prefer to make the improvement. That way, if they end up not being shitty, I haven't fallen even farther behind while I wasted time worrying about their product instead of mine.

After all, if my competitor is a lying bastard, they'll get theirs eventually, but I need to remain competitive long enough to take advantage of it.

Oh, and there may well be fear of a tattle-tale cascade as well. Everyone is probably cheating on *something*.

Comment hu-person-made surely? (Score 4, Insightful) 63

Not in the politically correct portions of Northern Europe.

Which is ironic since the use of 'man' to mean 'person' in English comes from German where 'man' means 'one' and 'Mann' means man. So man-made actually means 'person-made' not made by a male. So instead of making the language clunky perhaps we should just educate people as to what it really means otherwise next we'll end up having to use 'huperson' instead of 'human'.

Comment Re:On par with 2002 budget (Score 1) 202

Yes, but I'd prefer that we freeze budget increases as a percentage of GDP.

In other words, you can have more money, if that money is just inflationary increases. What the government cannot have is a bigger slice of the total pie.

If I am now making four times what I made last year, I don't care as much if the government still takes 25% of the total. I do care if they think they're permitted to now take and use 27% of it.

This is not the same thing as the progressive income tax. If everyone makes more, but the government takes a bigger silce of the pie, then everyone makes less money no matter what tier they are in.

Of course, in income redistribution scenarios like we have, the income tiers remain the same, the government takes more from everyone, but gives rebates to the poor, which means that they force everyone above a certain watermark to pay even more as the government expands. It would be different if that only affected the so-called 1%'ers, but that line is actually somewhere in the midst of the middle class.

So the rich get richer a little more slowly, the poor get rebated so they're still poor, but at least they don't lose any ground, but the middle class gets eaten away because they get no rebates and have insufficient capital to invest.

It isn't just the corporations who are pushing the erosion of a middle class.

Comment Re:Endlessly Increasing Budgets (Score 1) 202

Is the federal budget just growing at an inflationary rate? It is not.

Since about 2002, Federal outlays have been growing as a percentage of GDP pretty steadily. I'm not talking about the deficit or absolute dollar amounts. Percentage of GDP takes into account inflation automatically.

Comment Re:Endlessly Increasing Budgets (Score 2) 202

True enough. Although, to be honest, it can be difficult to make that work due to government regulations on things like investment and ownership of things.

The government makes it very difficult on itself to make money on anything that doesn't come from some sort of tax or fee.

Of course, on the other hand, do you want agencies having sources of cash outside what Congress gives them? While much more efficient, it would also make the agency effectively independent of Congressional control.

Comment Re:People like you are the problem (Score 1) 1136

Insurgencies use both. Obtaining explosives is often done via raids which use small arms.

In any event explosives are certainly more dangerous, but a little harder to issue to everyone and a lot more dangerous in a society which is trying to strike a balance between the ability to oppose a government, self-defense, and public safety.

Comment Re:Natural effects of a maturing field? (Score 1) 335

So long as companies have an easy route to cheaper labor, I can't see how any union/professional association is going to make a difference. Unless laws give such groups teeth, whether that's through some sort of enforced collective bargaining process, or through certification requirements, all this IT union would do is stand outside the gates and watch replacement workers from India flowing in.

Mind you, the minute you do have a professional association, that does mean certifications, which means that a lot of self-taught workers (like myself) could be screwed pretty badly unless some sort of a grandfathering mechanism is put in place.

Comment Re:Natural effects of a maturing field? (Score 1) 335

Presumably because they represent a workforce that the company needs in order to survive.

Fire one person, that's livable.

Deal without all of them, all at once. You're going to have executives jumping out windows.

I don't agree that government has zero role to play. Their job would be to make sure that there was no force or means used which are classically illegal (like fraud or breaking contracts) to cause the workers to give in.

It is harder for this to work for groups with already high unemployment and low skills, but as long as the guild organization both was moderate in its demands, and also offered a carrot (like ensuring that members were qualified), the IT workers as a group have a huge amount of power without bringing in the bureaucracy.

However, let's get a better plan than "Occupy Silicon Valley", please.

Comment Re:Ethics (Score 1) 335

The problem is that we expect corporations to see to our well-being when that isn't their primary motivator, and they won't succeed if they suddenly care more about employees than profits.

If we're going to organize, why don't we set aside trying to get corporations and governments to do it for us and form organizations that instead negotiate group rates based on voluntary participation? There are some groups like this, AARP would be one example.

Additionally, organizations which voluntarily represent skilled workers would also have value, both to the members and even corporations. If you maintained standards bodies like professional organizations, corporations would know they are getting good value from members, and members would be able to not have to deal with the issues of closed shops and bureaucratic one-size-fits-all contract negotiations.

Also, if there is a roll of registered and tested professionals, it is harder to state that there are not qualified applicants available for a position. The organization can simply raise its hand and point to the list of registered and certified members in its area who happen to be unemployed.

If entropy is increasing, where is it coming from?