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Comment Re:Christie is ideal (Score 2) 343

Trump's immigration "policies" get a lot of support because they basically mirror the same kind of simplistic truth people believe: Illegal immigrants have broken the law and should be deported, walling off the border between the US and Mexico will keep them out, lack of rigorous immigration enforcement enables illegal immigrant criminals to commit crime.

It seems easy to me to understand why people so easily believe in these ideas, they have a kind of uncomplicated truth to them. If you are not residing or working in the US legally, why shouldn't you be deported? Certainly a large wall on the border would greatly hinder illegal imimgrants from infilitrating the border. We certainly don't want people with violent criminal histories entering the US, bypassing immigration allows these people to enter the US and potentially commit crime and deporting illegal immigrants before they commit crimes seems to have a certain preventative logic to it.

Of course, none of these "positions" or "ideas" is more than surface deep. The basic logisticts of deporting all illegal immigrants is pretty crazy and lacks a certain humanity in many cases. It's debatable how effective some giant wall would be and who the hell would pay for it?

None of it seems to address deeper questions of the problems of the current immigration system or why both political parties seem willfully unable to address it, or the value their constituences see in the current system, from cheap, wage-suppressed labor or for political pandering to immigrant groups to expansion of presumably political friendly constituencies.

And all of them avoid the kind of hard debates on well, who should be allowed to assume residency and work in the US? Is someone going to actually step up to the plate and argue for an open borders policy in an honest an direct manner (it would appear that Trump is the advocate for the opposite policy)? If it's not open borders, then how, exactly will we regulate and enforce an immigration policy in a way that's consistent and achieves desirable goals?

What's always surprised me is the lack of African American voices in the immigration debate. They have the highest unemployment rates and illegals take the kind of low-skill, entry-level jobs one would assume that would be the easiest for the many African Americans with poor educations to take. This leads to the questions of racial discrimination, although that seems complicated by the idea that Latinos can get these jobs. Then there's arguments about jobs "we won't do" but this begs the quesiton as to why those jobs don't pay more (I guess they don't have to with a supply of illegals) or whether people have some moral right to not work for jobs they don't want, yet be able to demand subsidies for not working.

Comment Re:Just look at the stats of prison inmates? (Score 4, Interesting) 67

You might make an argument that a significant difference exists between inmates in a prison and highly tested, analyzed and trained astronauts with regard to their psychological makeup not to mention willingness and motivation to be confined.

I do think that long term encapsulation is probably psychologically burdensome at best and perhaps damaging to even the best possible astronauts.

Which makes me wonder how much NASA has thought about the psychopharmacology of space travel. There might be some benefit to some kind of sedating anti-depressant for stages of a long voyage that required just routine status checks and basic routine maintenance duties.

Comment Even if practical technology was 10-20 years out (Score 2) 356

Even if you could say with certainty that in 10-20 years the practical technology could be established, wouldn't you be looking at another 30+ years before it was actually a meaningful force in power generation, making fusion more like 50+ years out?

Say they solve the technology hurdles in 10 years. They will then need to build a test plant that operates at a scale large enough to generate meaningful power (a few megawatts). That would probably take 10 years. That plant would need to run for, what, 5 years, to demonstrate that everything works like its supposed to and you can actually make the thing work.

At that point you're out another 10-15 years to plan and build a large, utility scale plant comparable to the ones that exist now -- 1.5GW. This plant would then have to run for 5 years to demonstrate (at least to investors, regulators, politicians, etc) that it works.

So worst case, 45 years later you have a single fusion plant producing electricity at utility scale.

Assuming it all works perfectly and everyone loves it in the next 20 years you might add another 3 plants. 65 years out, you now have 4 plants producing 6 TW, a drop in the bucket.

And all of this is assuming the economics make sense relative to other trends, like residential solar, improved battery storage and so on. After all this, fusion as a source of power seems closer to a 100 years out.

Comment Re:Traditional internal facing IT shop .. (Score 1) 194

Managing 800 GB of storage back then was like managing 8 TB today. LTO tapes that only held 100 gigs, only 100 meg ethernet.

IIRC, only about 100 GB was really active, maybe another 50 was warm-ish and the rest was just cold data from old projects and forgotten crap, like today.

The problem was compounded by the client, a cellular company, who would come up with a promotion and then tweak it for the 20-odd markets the ad was supposed to run in. If it was a truly simple ad (which they seldom were), you would have the same base layout (Quark file, graphics, fonts, misc other stuff) times the number of markets.

Where it got fun is when the client wanted to see variations of the ad AND the way it had to change for various markets. If an ad had 5 variations, now you had 100 versions of the same ad and the graphics department never really made use of some of the storage efficiencies offered even back then (ie, graphic elements that never changed only existing once in the filesystem), so you literally would end up with 100 directories with graphics duplicated many times over.

I've noticed that graphics dedupes really well -- one client with 4 TB of raw graphics files gets 80% dedupe on that volume. Wish I would have had that back then. Between thin provisioning and dedupe, it would have made for a lot less equipment at least.

Comment Re:Fixed it for you. (Score 1) 440

I'm not "Jeff's" marriage counselor, nor exposed to all the private details of his or any of my other friend's lives. It could just be that birds of a feather flock together, and we're all generally friends because we share similar personalities and weaknesses and that just leads to a high correlation of similar relationship strengths and weaknesses.

If you can't ask your partner for intimacy, then it's not biology, it's communication.

You can ask for sex, but I don't think you can ask for intimacy -- intimacy requires an organic desire that originates within the partners. Sex can kindle intimacy, but it can't create it.

I think one of the challenges, though, of the asking is that if you ask and you get it, what are you actually getting? Are you getting a partner who is motivated out of an organic, genuine interest, or are you getting a partner who's going along to get along?

At best you might get a partner who provides a theatrically convincing orifice for you to orgasm in. At worst, you get an emotionally dead, passive participant, the stereotypical cold fish who just lies there and might as well have a visible thought bubble that says "Are you finished yet?"

When people complain about "not enough sex" I suspect that it's not exclusively frequency that's the complaint, it's at least as much a complaint about a lack of organic, internally originated enthusiasm for sex.

I think some men just don't care (the old joke: "Why do women fake their orgasms? Because they think men care."), and view sex as the same whether she just holds still long enough for him to finish or whether she puts on a garter and fishnet stockings and talks dirty. It wouldn't surprise me that lack of sexual satisfaction among married men today is a function of women who don't feel obligated to go along with "the marital duty" and men being more aware of what their wives actually want, creating a kind of negative feedback loop.

Comment Re:Fixed it for you. (Score 1) 440

It doesn't seem to pan out that way, at least in my exposure to couples in their 40s. Every man I know in his 40s complains about the lack of sex in his marriage, and conventional explanations of imbalanced parenting, housekeeping, substantial physical appearance changes, etc always seem to be contradicted, often in multiple categories, in any given example.

"Jeff" complains about sex being a 1-2 times a month activity, but Jeff does about 60% of the parenting in my experience, is 6 years younger than his wife and is outstanding physical shape and very attractive (when we go out, he's almost embarrassed at how often women hit on him in bars). His wife runs a freelance marketing business and he's a solo practice attorney, so both have jobs of about equivalent levels of responsibility and income as I understand it.

My sense is that any theory of lessened sex drive in women over 40 may be contingent on marital status (ie, married) and childbearing status (have given birth) as strong influencers. Women who never married or never have given birth may have stronger social or biological influences that increase their interest in sex.

With the recent FDA approval of flibanserin (the "female Viagra"), there has been a lot of debate over it with a not insignificant chorus of women supporting it because "they want to have sex but just don't have the desire". I'd also doubt that such a drug would get developed and put through FDA scrutiny if the company and investors lacked decent data that said a good sized market didn't exist for it.

Like anything else, I don't think you can arbitrarily say "all older women don't want sex" or "women over 40 want more sex". It's probably most likely that both things can be true at the same time but with clusters of characteristics around both groupings.

Comment Re:39% without secondary false-positives. (Score 1) 252

I think the inherent scarcity in research resources means that you will pretty much always have a kind of gatekeeper who decides what projects and who's projects gets funded and what doesn't.

It'd be great if that gatekeeper was a neutral party without a vested interest, but I'd wager it likely takes someone inherently knowledgeable in the field to be able to intelligently understand the research requests.

You could have a committee to hopefully limit individual vested interests, but ultimately there are influencers who can stack committees.

I think if you could get researchers to acknowledge these kinds of existential confirmation biases in research selection you probably would be able to build committees with the scientific chops to evaluate research proposals but with enough outsiders that career/standing/theoretical biases wouldn't crowd out proposals with the potential to contradict prevailing theories.

Comment Re:39% without secondary false-positives. (Score 1) 252

Careers and status make major contributions. If you got onto the dietary cholesterol is bad for you theory early as a scientist, your entire career and standing is built around that theory.

As you gain influence and status over research proposals and funding, you're more likely to approve proposals that advance the theories you're invested in and reject proposals that might disprove your career-invested theories.

The entire process, not just individual studies or their results, becomes a victim of both ego and a kind of large-scale confirmation bias.

Gary Taubes wrote a great article for Science about this relative to research into dietary sodium intake. The people in charge of the money were heavily invested in the salt-is-bad-for-you theory and basically politicized the research process to further their own theories.


Comment Re:Traditional internal facing IT shop .. (Score 1) 194

It seems excessive, but I've seen some weird shit.

I recently did some work for a company that had BOTH Office365 and a six server Exchange on premise system for maybe 500 users. Not a hybrid deployment, but two separate systems with some crazy SMTP smarthost configuration to make it act more like a hybrid configuration. Worse, the on-premise setup was a 2010/2013 hybrid with a mishmash of CAS- and mailbox-only servers and combined roles.

This same company had 30 VMs to support a single application. I didn't have anything to do with that "system" but I had a hard time wrapping my brain around how that was meant to work. Not surprisingly, this company had been a mostly-outsourced IT shop for years.

10 plus years ago I worked in advertising and that was just a plain crazy business. Client business was often based in a specific agency office and each office expected to be able to run as independently as possible and given the account management and business goals and incentives, most offices had the juice to see it done that way. One office in Irvine had (in 2001!) nearly 800 GB of storage over four servers for a headcount of less than 30. Such setups were the norm, not the exception in the 4 local offices I oversaw.

The business structure abetted this -- our agency was run as a standalone company, but wholly owned by an international holding company dominated by about 4-5 major players. Most smaller agencies had management and reporting through one of the majors, and this led to all kinds of crazy attempts at consolidation of vendors, back end services and often competing cloud-like initiatives -- two of the majors had their own private cloud-like initiatives AND there was a separate, holding-company wide initiative (mostly backed by the 3 smaller majors) that overlapped with the individual ones. From what the CFO told me, while these initiatives made some sense from elimination of redundancy the biggest motivation was the juicy "management fees" that hit the revenue side of the books of the entity controlling the initiatives. We paid $100k/year in "IT management fees" to our reporting major for literally nothing other than changing large Dell PC orders behind our backs to meet their standards (shipment refused at the dock).

It was compounded by the holding company's habit of occasionally stripping a remote office from one agency and relabeling it as another agency's office to make some client at the new parent's office with a geographically local office in the remote office's city happy they had a "local office". You can only imagine the IT chaos this led to and usually the net result was that individual office locations mostly ended up being their own IT islands just to get the job done versus frequent rip-and-replace restructuring to integrate. A small agency in San Diego got turned into one of our offices and I had two senior management officials call me within a half an hour with totally conflicting directions. The head of creative was demanding maximum integration, as soon as possible, and the CFO told me not to do a damn thing but be nice as financially we would be spending $0.00 on any integration tasks along with a Godfather-like reminder of "who I reported to."

Anyway, it's not hard to see how IT can turn into a runaway train if you combine strange business structures and incentives with outsourcing.

Comment Re:Fixed it for you. (Score 5, Insightful) 440

I don't know that I agree with the specific phrasing of the parent poster -- mostly for rhetorical reasons -- but I think he's right, despite the ridiculous criticism of the followup posters.

I'm 48 years old and 100% of the married men in my peer group (middle class, mostly white males married to mostly white females, all with white collar jobs) complain about their wives lack of interest in sex. ALL of them. I don't think any of the conventional explanations make sense.

As far as I know from my experience with them in domestic situations, all are good contributors to their kids parenting -- two have wives with more demanding jobs and their husbands probably do MORE parenting than their wives. None have any kind of financial problems. All but one are in excellent physical shape, and the former, while "chunky" looks like he did when he was 25, so he's no more out of shape than he was when he was married.

Two of them have both told me stories that when they were trying to have children -- even their second -- their wives were extremely interested in sex, and once the second baby came along -- BAM! -- no interest. Like a switch had flipped, and neither has related any significant life change that happened concurrently (major change in job responsibilities, etc).

My explanation for this is that this is mostly evolutionary biology in action. When women who have given birth hit their 40s, they lose their sex drive. The biology is probably buried in hormonal changes, especially considering that women hit menopause and go infertile.

In terms of evolution, it makes sense that biologically women would lose interest in sex as their bodies become less able to bear children. Women over 40 have increased risk of pregnancy problems, children with chromosomal problems, etc, all things that could be a threat to her or her other offspring if she were to die in childbirth. Childbearing and childrearing is demanding physically, and the older people get the less physical stamina they have.

I think as a well-known phenomenon its probably even gotten "worse" because women are less dependent on men and have greater legal recognition. In times past, older, married women probably didn't want sex any more than they do now, but either went along with it because they felt they had to or their husbands just took it because they could (yes, this is gross, and no I would never support the idea of a husband raping his wife).

Comment Re:It's the interface, stupid (Score 1) 410

This has to be a major reason for it. My wife recent got an Acura MDX and it has the technology package. The user interface is AWFUL.

My son and I took it to run an errand out to where we keep our boat. The highway interchange to take our usual route was closed, so we ended up off course. We pulled into a parking lot and it took me 20 minutes to get the navigation system to point to a location close enough that I could self-navigate.

I've owned an Apple ][, four Macintoshes, built more PCs than I can count with every version of Windows since 3.1, taught myself Linux (in the late 90s, using Slackware) and FreeBSD (which I still run) and work as an IT contractor installing VMware, Hyper-V, storage and networking.

If that UI baffles me, how the fuck does some non-techie get it?

Comment Re:Ehh (Score 1) 77

In naval parlance, Wikipedia defines it as:

A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships, reflecting the custom of its commander, characteristically a flag officer, flying a distinguishing flag. Used more loosely, it is the lead ship in a fleet of vessels, typically the first, largest, fastest, most heavily armed, or best known.

I've seen it used in automotive contexts where it seems to have a similar meaning -- I've heard the Mercedes S600 referred to as the "flagship sedan".

Since they won't be sending weapons or any admirals to those planets, I'm guessing that it will mean the biggest probe they can afford.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"