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Comment: Re:Batteries? Seriously? (Score 3, Interesting) 486

by matthewv789 (#47869383) Attached to: To Really Cut Emissions, We Need Electric Buses, Not Just Electric Cars
Seattle used to have busses with both pantographs and diesel engines. In the transit tunnel, they'd connect to the wires and go all-electric. When the left and drove on city streets, they'd lower it and start the diesel. They ended up replacing most if not all with hybrids (meaning they do burn diesel in the tunnel too), which I believe turned out not to save any fuel or electricity.

Comment: Summers are not getting shorter (Score 1) 421

by matthewv789 (#47659115) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Should Schooling Be Year-Round?

I don't think most school years are getting longer, except in cases where there is additional vacation during the school year (a 3 week winter break instead of 2, a week for ski week AND a week for spring break, etc.)

What's happening is that high schools are starting to follow the patterns colleges already did: schools on semesters start earlier (August or very early September at the latest), so that the entire semester can be finished before winter break. (High schools used to have winter break, then come back for a few weeks of instruction plus semester finals, which didn't make much sense.) Schools on quarters start later, since the first quarter is only 10 weeks instead of 15 so is easier to finish before winter holidays, but high schools are not generally on the quarter system.

Comment: Of course they want this (Score 1) 129

by matthewv789 (#47162343) Attached to: Whistleblowers Enter the Post-Snowden Era

By reporting internally:

  • The secrets stay secret. Congress, the Courts, and especially the American public will never know.
  • The problem can be "addressed" without doing anything.
  • The malcontent identifies him or herself to the higher-ups, who can decide how to handle him or her from there and most especially prevent them from doing more damage.
  • If the malcontent is not satisfied with the result and later leaks for real, he or she will be first on the list of people to look at to identify the leak.
  • If there is some shady practice that's becoming too well-known within the agency, it can be quieted down so fewer employees know about it.
  • Maybe, occasionally, there really is some wrongdoing they would like to know about and stop, limit, moderate, or otherwise actually address. (Har har, I know right? lol, rofl, lmao, etc.) More likely just legalize and legitimize.

Comment: Re:Ivy League Schools (Score 2) 106

by matthewv789 (#46795671) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities
In theory, but most of the people from those states don't really know anything about their state government's problems. And they seem to be happy to let the federal government grab every bit of power and money from the states, until suddenly they wake up wondering why their state government is so useless and on the brink of collapse, and the federal government is such an all-powerful bully.

Comment: Re:Ahh Yes the trend continues.. (Score 2) 220

by matthewv789 (#46795615) Attached to: California Utility May Replace IT Workers with H-1B Workers

Manufacturing may be, but what about manufacturing EMPLOYMENT? When you use robots and automation, there aren't so many employees.

And it may look large because US manufacturing is focused on large-ticket items, like aircraft and rockets and tanks. It's still the case that 99% of the routine goods that you buy (whether clothes or household items or toys or electronics) are made in China.

Comment: Re:Tech workers only? (Score 1) 220

by matthewv789 (#46795551) Attached to: California Utility May Replace IT Workers with H-1B Workers

I should also say that, predictably, the Indian workers for the contract companies tended to rarely stay in their jobs longer than a year, so quality tended to be poor and training was a constant battle. And with a 15%+ pay increase every year (vs 2-3% in the US, in the few years they actually gave any pay increases at all), they were going to catch up eventually. But even at the time, other managers admitted privately that management and other costs ate up the difference and they weren't actually saving any money...

...which made me wonder why they continued to do it. Some kind of corruption?I always thought that after the initial wave of super-cut-rate offshore work, that I had to be missing something, not seeing something, to explain why it continued when it decreased quality and didn't save on net costs.

Comment: Re:Tech workers only? (Score 1) 220

by matthewv789 (#46795511) Attached to: California Utility May Replace IT Workers with H-1B Workers
How do you know the managers aren't ALREADY from India? That was the case a couple of jobs ago for me, it was not exactly reassuring to hear from the high-level manager who was pushing for and managing the outsourcing, who happened to be Indian, that "these (offshore) people are not replacing any jobs in the US". It was completely false, of course, unless he meant that the six-month gap between each round of mass company-wide layoffs and adding more staffing to the offshore/outsource location were somehow disconnected. It really meant that each year they laid people off in the US when business slowed down, then added Indians a few months later when business picked up again. Since business was cyclical on an annual basis, it was a pretty predictable way to shift work offshore more and more each year.

Comment: Re:why not just go the trades / apprenticeship sys (Score 1) 106

by matthewv789 (#46795441) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities
Because then companies would have to pay for employees' training and education instead of letting people pay for it themselves. Didn't get overqualified enough for that internship or gain enough relevant skills on your own time and dime? No job for you, we'll just find somebody from India who did.

Comment: Re:Ivy League Schools (Score 1) 106

by matthewv789 (#46795431) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities

P.S.: Given what the Federal Govt. has become, are you so sure states' rights was a bad idea? You can trace the current Federal Govt. back to the centralization imposed (by both sides!) during the Civil War.

And the 17th Amendment didn't help either, now that there's no representation of state government interests in Congress.

Comment: Re:Who'll spit on my burger?! (Score 1) 870

by matthewv789 (#46581321) Attached to: Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate
A Burger King near me has had one of these ordering kiosks for several years. I always use it, I see some other people use it, but overall it's probably faster to let the human cashier handle the order, and most people don't bother with it. (It's got too many "newbie-friendly" voice prompts and delays and swooshing animations and whatnot, not to mention the frequent prompts of "would you like to add [X] to your order?".)

Comment: Re:An overview, IMHO: (Score 1) 516

You're mostly correct, except that, relative to cost of living, quite possibly a majority of the population has been getting POORER when it comes to hourly earnings.

This is usually covered up by using mean income instead of median, by using household income (not taking into account the number of hours worked by a "household") instead of income per hour worked, etc.

Comment: Re:Greenspan's right (Score 1) 516

OK, got it. And I totally agree. Exactly right that while software engineers may be the upper-middle of the income spectrum among ordinary wage earners, they're still closer to the bottom compared to the actual high end of the spectrum. But they're a convenient target for those wishing to deflect attention from the real problem.

Round Numbers are always false. -- Samuel Johnson