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Comment Re:Issue is more complicated (Score 1) 791

This is just too true.

The more you delve into gender issues, the more you realize just how wrong people can be.

Just the other day, I was reading the globeandmail and they had some ground breaking research that men might not like to work long hours at the office fighting to bring home the big bucks. They might actually like to spend time with their families!

Shocking! Men aren't just alpha dogs battling to be the alpha male of the patriarchy!

I say it sarcastically, but the researcher was genuinely surprised at the findings.

It's the same with women. Lots of women are aggressive, bullies...

This is not to say there are not trends.
Maybe 30% of men like the aggressive 'alpha male' environment at work.

Maybe only 20% of women.

Who knows of the actual numbers.

Comment Re:'criminal organisation' is Uber's business mode (Score 1) 469

It's really interesting actually.

Is Uber technically illegal in many jurisdictions? Probably.

Yet, there are many ways to change the law and one of the ways is for a lot of people to just ignore it. That's what people do with laws they don't actually consider valid (drugs, various traffic laws...)

Heck, even governments just ignore the 'law' when they consider the courts too timid to intervene. Oh we can have a living constitution or reread the law in a different light to allow what we want to happen.

What Uber is doing is not that crazy relative to what goes on in most countries with all sorts of laws.

You can sit there are demand that UBER change the law and then operate. Well the same can be said about ObamaCare, drug laws, national security... Why don't these damn politicians change the laws clearly or amend the constitution before going ahead with their programs? That's the whole purpose of an amendment. Yet, rather than follow the process, they just proceed with their program knowing the courts are too timid to really enforce it or that they've decided to reinterpret the law to let it happen.

I like to see how this plays out, but I don't think Uber's approach is really all that different to how many of us (people, politicians, companies) approach regulatory type laws.

We tend to just ignore them and see how the powers that be respond. Heck, lots of people do drugs knowing the police won't really prosecute them unless something else happens.

Good on Uber I say. It kind of forces the government to change regulation to deal with it or turn a blind eye.

Comment Re:Combine comp sci and maths (Score 1) 300

I chuckled because of the rather advanced example you give.

I taught high school computer science as well as mathematics.

Sometimes people who are in university or in the educated work force forget the rest of the population.

There is a huge tie in between programming and algebra. You'd have your mind blown if half the kids could actually understand what a variable is.

It is such a common thing for us in the field to understand. And perhaps Algebra came easy to us. But ask any teacher and they will tell you that it is actually a very difficult concept for a lot of students especially in non-academic streams.

I'd actually be interested in seeing if we can teach Algebra by computer science. They'll be able to see tangible results of variables.

Comment Warned about a system they designed? (Score 1) 161

Isn't this kind of a non-story.

They specifically designed a system to cheat the emissions test.
It's like saying bank robbers were warned they were robbing a bank.

Unless VW is some kind of wild west company, nothing gets done in large corporations like this without a project, funding, management buy in, probably management pressure.

Comment Re:Not just a technical management problem. (Score 2) 152

Fundamentally, the issue is greater than the hiring decision of one person.

It really depends on the structure of your organization.
I'm a developer who really needs to understand the domain of what I'm working in. But that takes a lot of time and effort. Party it is my personality. Partly, it is that I come from a history of small companies.

Today I work at a bank. While I'm valued for my need to know the domain. The truth it, I don't need to know. They have a BA for this. An architect for that. Separate teams and engagements for this and that. I could literally be a simple coder here.

Similarly, when I had worked for tech companies, I always wanted technical managers. Now at the bank, I'd rather have a non-technical manager who can work with all the corporate antics that go on. You need to engage all these teams, get funding for every project, fight back against other teams, motivate people... to a far greater degree I'd even thought productively possible.

Sure many times the very best can always do everything.
The developer who can code backend and UI very well.
The manager who can do people management and technical knowledge well...

But those people are few and far between. For the general case, you need to look at your organization and decide what matters more and hire accordingly.

Of course all this falls apart when there's just no budget for multiple people and people are looking for a superheros to solve their resourcing problems.

Comment Re:Heard this before (Score 1) 133

I wasn't born when the smoking controversy occurred.

But I really wonder about the attitude of society in general towards such products.

Does the average person know that coke is filled with calories that can make your fat? I'd adventure to say of course. This is doubly true for anyone bothering to read health studies.

I'd love to venture back in time and see if people who were smoking actually thought it wasn't harmful. I'm not saying if they knew it caused a specific cancer or something, but that they were doing something pretty harmful to their body.

Comment Re:Considering how fast Google ditched China (Score 1) 381

Just reading the article it looks like only domains respected the right to be forgotten.

Can you just type in and you will end up at the unrestricted site? That is how the article makes it appear. If this were the case, I kind of agree with the court that the different domains just represent different ways to access the same data.

Or is the DNS for routed to the (servers) on French DNS servers.

Or does Google actually track the IP. If the origin of the request is coming from inside the EU, then apply data protection laws. If this is the case and the French court still thinks Google is not complying as opposed to its own citizens circumventing the law, then I don't know :P

Comment Re:Its all in the taxes and incentives. (Score 1) 211

I'm all for Green Energy, but sometimes it makes your blood boil.

In Ontario, Canada, we have a similar problem. The government promised Wind and other producers guaranteed prices well above what is needed.

So we have an oversupply of electricity.
Then, we have to give that power away. Adding a bit of humor. We actually subsidize electricity in the US and neighboring provinces to take our excess electricity.

This is largely deranged, because at the same time as they talk of excess electricity, we're always being told to conserve. But anything we conserve is just given away below cost to others and we end up paying higher adjustment costs anyways.

Glad to know the electricity market is screwed up everywhere.

Comment Re:Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility (Score 1) 143

That's a feature, not a bug.

Good for education institutions... more business
Good for a more a educated population.
Good for banks via loans/debt
Good for corporations with plenty of workers to choose from.

Keeping you in debt and struggling for a career your whole life? That's a feature, not a bug in the system.

Comment Too much specialization (Score 1) 266

The problem with this whole discussion is the extreme specialization that goes on. Either you're an engineer who has taken a STEM degree and can only do technical tasks.

Or you've taken a liberal arts degree and thus can communicate...

Ideally, as an engineer, you take a wide array of liberal arts courses during your studies. It something I regret. My school was heavily tech focused, and we were allotted only a few electives each term. I thoroughly loved my philosophy and other classes.
Quite frankly, I could have used more liberal arts courses as part of my technical degree.

On the other hand, the vast majority of the students in the liberal arts classes had very little ability in the liberal arts, much less technical know how. It looked like a degree mill to me. But no doubt, there were some very good students and teachers as well.

In the end, unless you're going into some super niche background, it's probably best to do a technical path (engineering, computer science, medicine, nursing...) with a good liberal arts background.

Comment Re:Federal law requires your participation (Score 1) 122

It really depends.

Are we talking 'true' socialism is big fat quotes.
Or are we talking the kind of system that tend to occur when socialists implement their policies.

It's the same communism or capitalism as abstract ideals.
We can theorize that the Soviet Union was not truly communist. But there never was an ideal communist state.
We can theorize what an ideal libertarian state could be, but there never was such a state.

Yet in the end of the day, what actually matters is the policy that comes out.

The ACA is in line with modern socialist policies.
1. Forces your participation
2. Attempts to provide a service to the poor via subsidies
3. Reduces choice in the kinds of coverage you can have. The minimum is not just a basic minimum for emergencies so hospitals emergencies don't go unpaid.
4. various pricing control mechanism on providers
5. attempts to control an industry via the state ...

The ACA might not be ideal socialism, but
saying that the ACA is about as far from socialism as you can get is simply parroting a canard that only reflects poorly on you.

Comment Re:Until true AI is developed.... (Score 2) 319

People tend to overestimate the 'thought' that goes into their jobs.

Let me just preface this and say that there are people in each job that really do put some unique thought into things. But for a general practitioner of a problem and for 90% of cases, you'd be surprised how far following routine steps takes you.

I remember the first time this happened (probably about 10 years ago), I was working for a firm and they were embracing wikis and other such tools. My manager asked me to write down our trouble shooting steps in a wiki. See this line in the logs or these symptoms, and follow these steps. I kind of surprised myself how I reduced one of my great assets to something a person could follow steps on a wiki. Obviously if a new symptom showed up, not all the steps would be there. What I mean is that before there would be a problem and it would me to the rescue. Most people didn't even know where to start. Kudos to me! I realized, I just outlined the steps that most people could now follow.

You'll see similar things in other fields. Family medicine for example is one. The way most of them operate today, it is rather like an algorithm. Again, some really good doctor who spends huge time with his patients and learns all their history and quirks... might be better, but the medical care most of us receive (I'm in Canada, not sure of your countries experience) is just in and out. I have some friends who are doctors and they basically tell me the same thing. They take in the symptoms, assume it is a common ailment, order tests... if anything is weird... refer to a specialist.

I'm actually seeing more and more of the doctors 'thought' automated. I get a routine prescription based on a blood test. Today, it's all automated. Blood test results come back to the dr with ministry guidelines on what is abnormal (refer to specialist) and any dosage levels. I have little doubt most of this work about be automated. Perhaps overseen by a nurse or something just for oversight. Or approvals from a doctor if a high risk treatment is needed or something. But again, like 90% of cases can be automated.

You see the same thing in the financial industry. Are there people who can manage money really well. Probably. But they tend to stick with high net worth people or institutions. The average person gets dumped into a general mutual fund. Today, so much of it is automated by algorithms and you might as well just buy an ETF.

Even something like teaching. Do you ever wonder why teacher still write their own lesson plans? I did when I was a teacher. Are kids that unique in every class? That whole process can be automated and shared. Theoretically teachers should be assessing each student and customizing things... but that was not the reality in the classroom. Much like family doctors. There is a theoretical advantage in personalized service, but not much in practice.

So if you can get an automated system to do 90% of job, that saves a boat load of money and ensures consistency. If you're a nice institution, you can take those savings and really help the ones in need. Get rid of the higher requirements for teachers. Hire people to basically ensure classroom behavior. For example, if most of the students can be dealt with via automated lessons/tests... then more resources and attention can be given to children with issues.

It's rarely about a computer automating all of the job, but doing 90% of it. Humans can still be there for special cases, but again... that's much fewer jobs or jobs that should get much lower pay if they're just overseeing.

Comment Re:4/5 in favor (Score 2) 755

The problem is we basically have this today.
Despite what people say, even about the US, the is a minimum standard of living.
There is social housing.
There is welfare.
There is Medicaid ...
They have kept it crappy because that's why people don't want to end up there. If they kept social housing really nice and made welfare enough to buy food and not many eligibility checks... you'd basically have what is being proposed.

When people speak of a guaranteed income, they generally mean free money to provide a decent life. Maybe a single person with their own apartment and enough money for basic food, internet, tv, phone.

People always want more, but here's the part you're missing.
How much are people willing to work to get *more*?
I want a ferrari right now, but I really don't want to work that hard to get one.

I think you'd be surprised by the number of people who would be quite content with a basic apartment, food, tv, internet..

Comment Re:It's an interesting idea (Score 1) 755

It's a hell of a lot of complexity.

I would argue that since the industrial revolution, we've probably had the THEORETICAL ABILITY to give everyone a decent life (food, water, shelter, electricity...) if we could organize society properly.

I don't think it is a surprise that communism came about around the same time as the industrial revolution where it became possible for academics and others to 'see' a better world.

The trouble has always been how to organize society properly.
And never underestimate this problem.

It sounds nice to change to a guaranteed income and you could save money spent on countless government programs. But here we go. Have you seen what happens to countries as they deal with public sector unions? It's hard enough to get wage freezes or pension reform. You're talking about gutting entire agencies. Good luck with that one.

Then we still have to deal with the reality that we're not in robot utopia yet and some jobs still need to be done. And who will want to do them if the guaranteed income provides a *good enough* life? Oh sure, it is easy for academics and others with pretty interesting jobs to think they'd just keep working. I'm sure I'd still write software. I'm sure some people would still teach, be doctors... I mean I certainly wouldn't work as hard as I do now, but I'd still do it out of interest.

But I mean, who'd want to stock shelves, go into the mines to mine lithium, clean the sewers...

I'm not saying it is impossible, I'm just saying it is pretty screwed up. You can say those jobs would increase wages and maybe that works. On the other hand, what could that extra money buy you versus someone who just get the free money?

So maybe we assign people work. Not guaranteed income, but guaranteed jobs. Now you're into how much is each job worth. How do you keep people working at a productive pace? Who gets what job? What should the state focus on? All the problems communism ended up with.

Somehow, the 'good' jobs get assigned to those with connections. All the crappy jobs get assigned to those without. And those with the good jobs and connections start trumping themselves up on how they deserve more.

You see this today. Oh, I studied for 5 years! I deserve more money than someone with a high school education! Even if the person with a high school education is performing a more useful task to society or is doing a job that is harder/more competitive/produces more for others?

And how will society respond to being told they would be assigned jobs? Or maybe you can just bring in enough immigrants or outsource enough work to third world countries? Who knows.

Right now, in Canada we have a shortage of farm workers because Canadians won't do the work and with increased scrutiny of temporary foreign labor, it results in problems.

Or what should society focus on?
This is a huge one. I tell you right now, I'd rather work less and focus on infrastructure. But others want more healthcare. Others want more education. Others want more military. Others might want to explore space...

And then you have the state making others work harder to make those goals happen. And judging by history, those in power do not want to just give the rest of us a good life. Imagine if the soviet union focused on giving the people a good life? Instead they focused on the military and expansion.

Can you design a system of government to ensure the people are the focus?

It's a hugely complex problem.
It's not a technical problem, but an organization one.
But those are normally the hardest problems to solve.

Comment Re:How it's supposed to work... (Score 2) 396

Well one of the big issues is that we currently get the worst of all worlds. Sometimes the 'middle road' is not the best way.

Whatever your political views, each side does offer a 'good life' in its vision.

The left/progressive way is rather standard and easy to see as good based on the way most of us live and been educated. Stable lifetime employment and a good safety net with rules to ensure improving standards. Again, that's the theory :)

In the case of the 'free market', the idea is that you'd give your all, work for a few years and then move on to something else with a big pile of cash.
Assuming a stable currency, that money can last you a long time.

Heck, I work at a bank which gets lots of foreign labor and this is the mindset of these people. It's not just Indians and Asians. For some reason, we attract a lot of French people (From France). They have the same mindset. Come to America/Canada after university, work, make a boat load of cash, return to France and do something relaxing.

The idea is that you work hard enough so you don't have to keep working. The US is really a good example of seeing the difference.

You can for example live a very low cost of living in the American South. If you want, you can work your ass off and live in a mansion, or just work a basic job and have a home, car...

Today, we don't live in any kind of a free-market, yet some companies still operate like that, but the benefits for those workers to work really hard for a few years and retire are decreasing. Currency questions are all over the place. I'm not saying inflation is crazy, but let's not pretend, anyone has any idea how their money is going to last 50 years. Higher taxes take away the pay for this hard work in a short period of time. Low interest rates are making housing going up, which increases your future costs...

But the powers that be don't mind. They get the benefits of the free market in Amazon and other firms, while they get to control society and have higher taxes in progressiveness. Luckily, they have a lot of foreign labor that can endure it and does benefit (at least for now).

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe