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Comment Re:Unionize (Score 1) 343

Say that to the auto industry that drove almost everything overseas. Right now, the IT industry is having it bad. Unionizing under the current paradigm would be WORSE!. It would be like "fuck it, ALL IT goes overseas, and the US as a nation is but a client purchasing all IT services overseas. There's nothing than can stop that happening now, but unionizing would definitely hasten that to occur.

I'm all about getting organized and having proper representation as a single unified voice to be heard, but unionizing as it's currently known as isn't the answer.

Explain why the highly unionised German auto industry isn't suffering?

Same with Japan that also has very strong worker protection.


Unions didn't kill the US (or Australian) auto industries, it's the companies. Germany realised that it cant make shit cars in Germany and profit on it, so they make them in Spain, the Czech republic and other places that are less expensive than Germany. Good cars that can command a premium are still made in Germany. The US didn't want to do this so in order to compensate for making cars that they cant profit on, they declared war on their own workers for daring to ask for a liveable wage.

The auto union in Australia has been nothing but helpful to the auto industry in Australia, often offering concessions to keep jobs in Australia but because we ultimately made crap cars that we couldn't export there every concession and subsidy only delayed the inevitable destruction.

So if unions are the problem, explain why highly unionised Germany has one of the strongest car industries in the world.

Comment Re:136 lbs? (Score 1) 172

I was going to ask how many pilots in the whole US Air force weigh less than 135 lbs, and then it occurred to me that this was just a way of keeping women out of their "no girls allowed" fighter jock club.

135 pounds is 61 KG. You would have to be a pretty small woman to weigh that much. I'd say that 61 KG would be small for an average height Caucasian woman. Probably a bit on the high side for many Asian sub races (particularly SE Asian). For a western woman who's gone through military training, 61 KG would be unusual (muscle is pretty dense making it heavier than fat). OTOH, how much does Tom Cruise weigh?

Comment Re:No, drinking soda != smoking (Score 1) 520

When people drink soda, they don't blow toxic and disgusting smelling fumes into people's walkways, they don't leave butts all over the ground, and they don't return from a smoke break smelling like an ashtray.

Chuck, I'm going with, "No, drinking soda isn't the new smoking."

Just apply Betteridge's law of headlines.

Comment Re:even worse fraud detection: (Score 1) 256

I rented a huge U-haul on a Citibank card. Day of the move, I was buying gas at gas stations every few hundred miles in a line across the US's major interstates. Citibank cut me off after 4 gas stations. Good thing I had a backup.

I've had a Citibank (Australia) card for a few years. I've used it in a variety of places in SE Asia without an issue but I made one withdrawal at an ATM at LAX (this was airside as well) and they immediately suspended my card. It doesn't seem to be that consistent. Especially as I think that the Philippines is a bit more dodgy than the US when it comes to card fraud.

Comment Re:This is why you call your bank before tourism (Score 2) 256

> The "fraud detection" is completely broken

I absolutely agree. They have THE WORST programmers/statisticians working on this.

How about adding a simple two-factor authentication? Instead of rejecting the payment outright and freezing the card, text message my phone IMMEDIATELY and I can read a 6 digit code to the cashier to allow the transaction. It isn't perfect, but that one simple step would make it about 90 percent better, more secure, and cut down on false positives. I swear this would increase customer satisfaction and increase the amount of money the credit cards make because they would then accept a higher number of legitimate transactions. What is wrong with that industry?

They'll never implement 2 factor auth because all the mouth breathing idiots will complain about it. Look at how many whinged when they talk about switching from signature to PIN (this has already happened in my country but the laggards still have a big cry about it). Its just too inconvenient.

I think the big players already have tried this (IIRC: Verified by Visa was the product name for Visa) but I haven't seen it in years because no-one wanted to use it.

The second issue with this is, if you make people jump through hoops to buy things, people will make fewer impulse purchases. A lot of the credit addled will go back to using cash because their bank has made it "too hard" as well.

You're right that 2 factor auth would kill 99.5% of credit card fraud, however it would kill a percentage of purchases and that cant be allowed. Right now it's cheaper to eat the costs of fraud than to lose a percentage of their fees. That is what is wrong with the industry.

Comment Re:Uber is at least as good (Score 1) 190

What I have read in the independant studies is that Uber drivers with their little GPS systems are just as good cost wise and in most cases drivewise as a full on London Cabbie who has studied "The Knowledge".

My personal experience tells me otherwise.

GPS knows nothing about shortcuts. longcuts, traffic patterns and driver habits that taxi drivers accumulate as part of their jobs.

For the most part, 95% plus of all drivers dont pick up these skills. Uber has been a demonstration of this. The last time I used Uber I used followed the GPS. It was my usual trip from work to home, I normally drive but had been drinking that day. As I knew the route I expressly told him not to take the freeway because the freeway is always jammed at 4:30 PM, I told him to take Wanneroo rd. The idiot took the Freeway because the GPS told him to. I ended up stuck in traffic for over an hour on a trip that usually takes me 45 minutes because I take Wanneroo rd. This is an example of a "long cut" because technically it's slower and longer, but in reality due to traffic patterns (meaning every idiot is on the freeway) its faster. Often I'll take a route that is 5-10 KM more if it avoids heavy traffic. Many such routes have been taught to me by Perth's taxi drivers (including a nice, low traffic exit from the international airport). A Perth taxi driver who doesn't know to avoid the freeway at peak hour doesn't stay a taxi driver for long.

Perth has a similar "knowledge" test as part of getting your taxi license. Its nowhere near as tough as The Knowledge but its enough to teach them how to avoid obvious traffic hot spots. The Perth taxi driver assessment also ensures they know how to deal with customers. A sat nav is no replacement for this and everyone who's relied on a sat nav over experience has demonstrated this perfectly.

Personally I've never used a sat nav system in my own city. In fact I've never had to use one in Australia at all. I've only used one when navigating foreign cities, even then only for long trips. After about 3 hours of sat naving around Las Vegas, I turned it off because I'd learned the lay of the streets (LV is a very straightforward city to navigate). I preferred not to navigate via sat nav as they usually forced me into situations I didn't like or preferred to avoid like an uncontrolled turn across traffic. When having to turn left across traffic I'd rather go up a street and back down again so I could take a right turn, this meant I wasn't stopping in the passing lane whist I waited for a gap in traffic.

If you need a sat nav to get around your own city, you're not a good enough driver to be a taxi (legal or otherwise).

Comment Re:Government monopolies are not fair competition (Score 3, Insightful) 190

Untill plane with 300 people crashes into ocean like Malasian one did, then everybody screams "regulation!"

This is pretty much how we ended up with taxi regulations.

With unregulated taxi services you quickly reach the problem of oversupply. There are only really two ways of dealing with oversupply, 1) regulation or; 2) violence. Having lived in both a well regulated developed, western city (in Australia) and a developing, unregulated city (in both Thailand and the Philippines) I can say that regulation with all its prices and pitfalls are better than armed taxi gangs enforcing their turf.

Western nations experienced the problems with taxi gangs many generations ago, this is why we have regulations and people who've never lived in place like Phuket have no idea how bad it gets. Thailand manages to do public transportation very well, from the highly organised system of Bangkok to the ad-hoc Baht buses prevalent in smaller cities and towns, however in Phuket there is practically no public transport because whenever the government attempts to set up any municipal buses. the taxi gangs (AKA tuk tuk mafia) stop them, pull them over and beats the shit out of the drivers (if they're lucky, it ends at a beating). This is the kind of system that exists without regulation.

Having experienced both, I'd definitely prefer an over-regulated system to a non-regulated system.

Uber however is a self correcting issue. In a place like Australia all we have to do is wait for them to have an accident. Regulations protect taxi companies from being bankrupted by insurance claims by limiting their liabilities, the government will extend no such courtesy to Uber as they have chosen to ignore regulations. So as soon as they have 1 serious accident in a place like Australia, England or Germany the insurance companies will tear Uber to shreds. Their war chest might be enough to survive one such encounter, but two will kill them.

Comment Re: Gun-free zone? (Score 1) 1139

You'd be a complete fool to try and return fire against a target that you have not identified in a crowd. You're just as likely to add to the problem as to solve it, and even might end up being mistaken for the active shooter yourself.

And this is why arming everyone will only result in more shootings and more deaths when they happen.

Bob loses his nut and shoots someone, Frank and Steve pull out guns, Steve sees an armed Frank but not bob, so Steve shoots Frank, Bob shoots another. In the confusion Ian saw Steve shoot frank, so he shoots Steve. Bob then shoots Ian.

The precession can only be described as a bloodbath and anyone who wants to create chaos and a body count only needs 1 shot to do it.

Arming teachers is an even worse idea. Teaching is a very stressful profession and it's not unusual for a teacher to go over the edge. Most teachers do it quietly and privately but there are some who will have an outburst in class. Usually this will involve shouting, every now and then one might strike a student. In fact given the media attention that a teacher hitting an unruly little shit generates, imagine what would happen if they shot them.

The irony is, the teacher is likely to shoot the biggest shit in the class. This will improve things for other students but because the biggest shit is usually the most popular jock (therefore honoured in American society) it'll be a huge sob story in the media and no-one will talk about how much of an arsehole they were. But I digress. Beyond this, what if a student finds their teachers gun and shoots themselves. You may not remember high school but I do and there was little you could keep hidden or secured from a bunch of bored 15 year old boys.

I own and carry guns responsibly, I am not "Rambo", and real life is NOT a movie.

This x 1,000,000

Some may not believe this, but I'm not against gun ownership in the slightest. However there should be rules to do it safely because they are dangerous (just like driving, so just like driving it can be done in a safe manner) and I dont believe guns are in any way, useful for defence. If you believe you can justify having a gun for defence, you're living in the wrong area.

Comment Re:Gun-free zone? (Score 4, Insightful) 1139

Israel has very low rates of gun violence too, but many people are packing. And soldiers always carry their rifles — even when going to beach for R&R — with two magazines each. It is not uncommon to see a girl in a bikini guarding a gun-pyramid, while her girlfriends are swimming, for example...

Whatever the reasons for lower gun-violence in Japan or Israel or what have you, the ban on weapons is certainly not the only reason. Whether it is even a contributing factor is not at all obvious.

Israel is in an active war zone, this tends to change things a lot.

Japan, Australia, the UK and other countries with sane gun laws have murders, but almost no mass killings. The reason for this is the lack of firearms, whether you like to admit it or not, the abundance of guns is directly correlated with a high number of shootings. This is true for a lot of countries where guns are abundant (whether they're legal or not).

Comment What couldn't possibly go wrong? (Score 1) 446

What could possibly go wrong?

When are they planning to roll this out. I dont want to have to have my lawyers on retainer for too long.

In my country, like most sane countries we have very strong deformation and libel laws, some would say a bit too strong but I'd rather err on the side of caution given the number of dodgy people around these days.

If I got in first, I could take this "Yelp" to the cleaners for defamatory and libellous activities.

Comment Re:Racism v. Bias v. Intelligence (Score 1) 444

t least with blacks, I can see how they could have a legitimate claim of generational racism. But Hispanics? Are Asians somehow "whiter" than Hispanics despite the fact that Hispanics (meaning from the Ibernian peninsula) have European blood in them? Why didn't the racist policies of this country put Asians at the bottom of the economic and academic ladder?

Mate, stop trying to apply logic to racists.

Yep, Mexicans are Caucasian, they draw most of their lineage from Europe.

This doesn't matter to racists and xenophobes as they're the wrong colour, from the wrong country or born to the wrong parents.

Comment Re:It's Chip and Signature, Not Chip and PIN? (Score 1) 315

Better than magstrip and signature.

Even though signature is the main problem there (chip or magstripe, signatures are easy to fake and PIN's are not easy to guess) new cards in Australia are not being issued with Magstripes any more. Europe/UK have probably been like this for years.

It's even harder with NFC, since the customer never lets go of their card.

Actually, NFC is what is making card skimming even easier.

NFC transmits the card number, expiry date and name to any device that asks for it. This is all you need to start making transactions online.

Chip and PIN reduced in store card fraud to nil in Europe, however the fraudsters just switched to making online transactions instead.

Comment Re:You are right for the wrong reason (Score 1) 315

Studies in europe showed that when chip and pin nearly eliminated point-of-sale (in store) fraud, that within a year or so the fraud moved to card-not-present sales (that is, the fraud occured by european cards used on the internet, phone, and also countries where the Pin network was not integrated back to europes clearinghouses like brazil, the US, and off-the-grid stores). The total amount of fraud was roughly the same as it had been (one can argue about details or if it's less than it would have been).

Basically came here to say this.

Chip and PIN has decreased fraud. However people are still stupid and put their cards into anything that looks like a slot, so they still get skimmed (this is even easier with NFC transmitting everything you need to do an online transaction to anything that asks for it).

Credit card fraud will be a growing problem until we start enforcing security rules onto end users. However banks are reluctant to do that because people will just start using cash because it's easier and safer. They'd lose more in the reduction of merchant fees (yes, the bank charges the merchant for accepting cards) than it currently costs to put up with the fraud.

In space, no one can hear you fart.