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Fighting Climate Change With Trade 104

Posted by samzenpus
from the passing-on-the-savings dept.
mdsolar writes with this story about the possible elimination of tariffs on environmental goods between the world's largest economic powers. The United States, the European Union, China and 11 other governments began trade negotiations this week to eliminate tariffs on solar panels, wind turbines, water-treatment equipment and other environmental goods. If they are able to reach an agreement, it could reduce the cost of equipment needed to address climate change and help increase American exports. Global trade in environmental goods is estimated at $1 trillion a year and has been growing fast. (The United States exported about $106 billion worth of such goods last year.) But some countries have imposed import duties as high as 35 percent on such goods. That raises the already high cost of some of this equipment to utilities, manufacturers and, ultimately, consumers. Taken together, the countries represented in these talks (the 28 members of the E.U. negotiate jointly, while China and Hong Kong are represented by separate delegations) account for about 86 percent of trade in these products, which makes the potential benefit from an agreement substantial. Other big countries that are not taking part in these talks, like India, South Africa and Brazil, could choose to join later.

Geographic Segregation By Education 197

Posted by Soulskill
from the philosophy-majors-in-philly,-music-majors-in-singapore dept.
The wage gap between college-educated workers and those with just a high school diploma has been growing — and accelerating. But the education gap is also doing something unexpected: clustering workers with more education in cities with similar people. "This effectively means that college graduates in America aren't simply gaining access to higher wages. They're gaining access to high-cost cities like New York or San Francisco that offer so much more than good jobs: more restaurants, better schools, less crime, even cleaner air." Most people are aware of the gentrification strife occurring in San Francisco, but it's one among many cities experiencing this. "[Research] also found that as cities increased their share of college graduates between 1980 and 2000, they also increased their bars, restaurants, dry cleaners, museums and art galleries per capita. And they experienced larger decreases in pollution and property crime, suggesting that cities that attract college grads benefit from both the kind of amenities that consumers pay for and those that are more intangible." The research shows a clear trend of the desirable cities becoming even more desirable, to the point where it's almost a necessity for city planners to lure college graduates or face decline.

Comment: Re:Why the assumption.... (Score 1) 251

It seems oddly contradictory to a capitalist society that you would legislate specifically to keep prices high. And it seems odd that people would want their elected representatives to do so. After all, if most people want the corner book shop to exist, even though it keeps prices high, they are entitled to vote with their wallet. I mean, what's next, airliners are banned because the SS France will be put out of business?

It's not that odd or unusual. Many areas of the US have liquor laws that require purchase through a distributor and some even set minimum pricing, all of which protectors the entrenched interests and is why the fight tooth and nail against mail order alcohol sales.

Comment: Re:So instead of "free" why don't they say "covere (Score 1) 251

So you are saying that Amazon has somehow found a way to actually ship items for free, to both the user and itself?

No, I'm saying that the cost of shipping cannot be accounted for as an integral part of the product price, rather it must be accounted for separately. If it is nevertheless accounted for as part of the price, then Amazon would be doing a bunch of illegal things.

How you charge for it and how you account for the cost of shipping are two separate items. As long as the accounting makes clear that it is an expense related to sales volume and thus scales with sales I think you have accounted for that expense in a proper manner. You can price a product so that shipping costs are included, even if the exact cost may be more or less for that particular item; the goal is to ensure the variations even out so you maintain desired margins. It's no different than the shopkeeper or tradesman who quotes you a price and then delivers goods to your location. I fail to see what is illegal about it, unless a specific law prevents that in your location.

Comment: Re:Manager (Score 1, Interesting) 199

by mfh (#47437421) Attached to: New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture

Weasels that know corporate double speak are ruining everything though. You know we don't mourn the T-rex. We talk about the dinosaurs as being really big and dumb.

They were all psychopaths!! Lizard brains.

When the cockroaches are mulling over what our existences might have been like, they will all say that the weasels died out because of our stupidity and overconfidence. They'll say we were monsters, too. Big and dumb. Lizard brains.

Comment: Re:Perception of Necessity (Score 1) 253

by smash (#47432869) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Unattended Maintenance Windows?

Automating shit that can be automated so that you can actually do thing that benefit the business instead of simply maintaining the status-quo is not a bad thing. Doing automate-able drudge work when it could be automated is just stupid. Muppets who can click next through a Windows installer or run apt-get, etc. are a dime a dozen. IT staff who can get rid of that shit so they can actually help people get their own jobs done better are way more valuable.

The job of IT is to enable the business to continue to function and improve. Never forget that. People don't spend up big on computer stuff just because. They do it in order to save money by improving process. Improving process is where you should be focused, anything to do with general maintenance of the status quo is dead time.

Comment: Re:Slashdot is a Bad Place to Ask This (Score 1) 253

by smash (#47432803) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Unattended Maintenance Windows?

Alternatively, perhaps somewhere up the chain they have no idea what can be done (this IT shit isn't their area of expertise), and are not being told by their IT department how to actually fix the problem properly. Rather, they are just applying band-aid after band-aid for breakage that happens.

It is my experience that if you outline the risks, the costs and the possible mitigation strategies to eliminate the risk, most sensible businesses are all ears. At the very least, if they don't agree on the spot, they are at least aware of what is possible and when the inevitable happens, be more keen to fix the problem next time.

Downtime cost adds up pretty fucking quickly. For example, my company: We have 650 PC users. pay rate probably ranges from 25 bucks an hour to 100 bucks an hour or more. Lets say the average is probably somewhere around 45 per hr.

1 hour of downtime, by 650 users, by 45 bucks per hour = $29,250 in lost productivity. Plus the embarrassment of not being able to deal with clients, etc. Plus potentially other flow on effects (e.g., in our case, possibly: maintenance scheduling for our mining equipment - trucks, drills, etc. didn't run. Plant therefore didn't get serviced properly, $500k engine dies).

If you fuck something up and are down for a day? Well... you can do the math.

Comment: Re:Automate Out (Score 2) 253

by smash (#47432717) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Unattended Maintenance Windows?

This is why you move the fuck on and adapt. If your job is relying on stuff that can be done by a shell script, you need to up-skill and find another job. Because if you don't do it, someone like myself will.

And we'll be getting paid more due to being able to work at scale (same shit for 10 machines or 10,000 machines), doing less work and being much happier, doing it.

Comment: Re:This is why you need.. (Score 1) 253

by smash (#47432695) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Unattended Maintenance Windows?

Yeah, don't get me wrong (i've been posting about setting up a test lab using vSphere, vFilters and vlans) - you can't replace the need to have someone on call or watching in case it all fucks up. But you can generally reduce the outage window and risk significantly by actually testing (both the roll out and roll back) first. And if you've got it to the point where you can reliably test, you can work on your automation scripts, test the shit out of them, and having been tested with a copy of live using a copy of live data, be reasonably confident that they will work.

If they don't? Snapshot the breakage, roll back to pre-fuckup, and examine at your leisure. Then re-schedule once you know wtf happened.

I put up my thumb... and it blotted out the planet Earth. -- Neil Armstrong