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Comment: Re:Here's a great idea... (Score 1) 481

by scamper_22 (#48991361) Attached to: DOT Warns of Dystopian Future For Transportation

Yeopi, this is the strange irony of our times.

People have inflated the value of healthcare and education over infrastructure.

This is not to say spending on healthcare or education is not good, just that it should come AFTER investments in infrastructure.

Roads, sewers, electricity... were the things governments were responsible before. Long before healthcare and education. Then these were added. Then people forgot about infrastructure.

You don't need large organization to get an education. All you really need is an adult and a room. Today, maybe even just a computer. For basic healthcare, all you need is a doctor to setup shop.

Heck, I grew up in an area without much healthcare aside from a doctor who practiced in his home.

But try getting by without roads, electricity, sewers...

Again, I'm not saying increasing healthcare and education is bad. Just saying it is a sad state where infrastructure if falling apart in many western nations and we spend so much on healthcare and education.

Comment: Re:Excellent idea (Score 1) 779

by scamper_22 (#48961449) Attached to: WA Bill Takes Aim at Boys' Dominance In Computer Classes

I would have much less resistance to this focus on equality of outcomes if people were not so keen to celebrate and profit from the benefits of the merit based system.

Tech is the prime example. Intense risk taking, insane work, insanely challenged environments, no security, crazy egos, ... kind of field.
Most progressives/leftists are willing to celebrate these companies and the 'new economy'. They celebrate in taxing these firms. They celebrate in the exports of these firms. They celebrate the greatness of their country via them.

Hey, you want to start talking about equal outcomes and leftist/progressive values, sure, I'm game. My family life is pretty important to me. Let me know when you give the 'boys club' mandatory 5 weeks vacation, fixed 40 hour weeks, job security, pensions, roles... every other bureaucratic tool.

But you know that won't happen. They profit from it too much.

It's like they want to leech of every success that is driven by the very culture they despise.

This is much more of a north american problem (canada included) as far as I can tell. In europe the private sector also has some of those benefits...

Comment: Re:Double Irish? TAX ALL FOREIGNERS!!! (Score 1) 825

by scamper_22 (#48959911) Attached to: Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas

The tax issue is pretty complex and the idea that companies are 'hiding' profits or something is much more complex.

1. Most countries have a sales tax which captures the economic activity in their own country. I'm in Canada. For every IPhone sold, the government is going to get something like 10-15% of the sales price. Heck for a lot of low-margin business, the government gets more in sales tax than the company is going to make in profit for that sale

2. Most countries have taxes on wages. Apple employs thousands of people on its own dime. The government is then going to tax those people at anywhere from 20-50% depending on the country. To top it off, people employed by these companies don't get government assistance.

3. Money leaving the company to actual people in the form of capital gains, dividends... is also taxed again.

There is actually very little in the way of 'hiding' going on.
At every turn, the government gets to put it's hand in the jar so to speak. I'm not saying it is a bad thing,

But why is the corporate rate attractive to tax? I'd guess it is because the corporation is this abstract entity.

But its very interesting to see how different countries approach these things. The US has a number of really high profile companies and views that as things to be taxed to enrich America.
In say China, companies are backed by the state because they generate jobs and exports.
In Canada, we lack many such high profile companies and want to attract these companies, so we actually start lowering tax rates, giving incentives for companies to locate here, but fall short of actually backing them.

It's just interesting to see how things are viewed as either things to be taxed or things to be encouraged. Even something as simply as airports. In Canada, the government views airports as just another thing, so they have hefty leases and other things that airports have to pay. This results in airports, like Toronto Pearson having high fees that many people even choose to drive to Buffalo, NY, to take flights from there.

In the US, airports are viewed more as infrastructure, not revenue generators or to be revenue neutral; heck they're often subsidized.

It really is a matter of perspective.
But like all things, increase costs too much on anything relative to other countries, and people will find a way to avoid it.
Increase sales tax too much, and people will drive to the next country over with lower sales tax.
Make life hard for corporations... don't worry... you're corporations aren't that special in the world. Apple is nice, but it's not like Samsung isn't producing many phones. ....

Comment: Re:18B on 75B (Score 1) 534

by scamper_22 (#48927805) Attached to: Apple Posts $18B Quarterly Profit, the Highest By Any Company, Ever

What's interesting is people have problem paying 10-15% sales tax on products. That means the government takes on more in sales tax than most companies make in profit on the actual product.

Of course this depends on where you live. In some parts sales tax might be 0% and 25% in others. It's just funny looking at it that way.

Comment: Re:So what was the result?? (Score 1) 497

by scamper_22 (#48877963) Attached to: Science By Democracy Doesn't Work

We're actually not that far off.

It's very interesting actually going through the questions from the most agreeable to the contentious. I like how you stated it, but I will expand.

Is climate change real and not a hoax? (few disagree)
Do humans contribute to it (probably 90/10)
Do humans contribute significantly to it (probably 50/50)
Should we take action to counter it (probably 40/60)
Should we take significant action to counter it? (???)
Should we impose a carbon tax? (???)
Should we prepare for raising water levels (???) ...

All these are separate questions. The problem is just how linked they are in politics.

For some, the link is direct.
Do you believe climate change is real? If yes.... then carbon tax!
Disagree with a carbon tax,then you must not believe in climate change.

On science, a lot of people don't actually disagree. it's actually become the linking of policies to scientific reality that infects and distorts science.

Comment: Re:Please develop for my dying platform! (Score 1) 307

by scamper_22 (#48877139) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

Just an FYI. I'm not advocating any particular position. I am simply stating the dynamics of the discussion.

Those on either side of what is a 'right,' speak in common ways.
Obviously you view negative rights as rights as the positive rights requires forced labor or ...

On the flip side, many would say negative rights mean many people are still 'forced' to work for a living and be a wage slave. So they have to work anyways and that is forced labor.

We should probably have different words for things like rights and freedoms, but in the end we don't and so that is where the interesting discussions is.

Even if you call net neutrality an entitlement, which I don't really care about, I really don't like dictionary battles, what changes about the discussion? John Chen's point is still relevant and all the issues it raises are still relevant.

This is the same with any argument over rights. Fight the word battle if you wish, but I'd much rather discuss what it actually means in practice.

Comment: Re:Please develop for my dying platform! (Score 1) 307

by scamper_22 (#48876191) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

He's not an idiot and it is pretty consistent with everyone's talk of rights as we normally do in out political discussions.

He is choosing to view net-neutrality as a positive right. You know, like how people view education and healthcare and housing. These things require other people to actively do things for you (time, resources, money).

The other net-neutrality is just a negative right, preventing the ISP from blocking, discriminating between content...Like freedom of speech, freedom of contract...

It's an interesting discussion that mirrors many political ones in its own way. Living constitution, access, rights, monopoly...

No, I don't think the CEO is actually arguing from such philosophical points. He is just trying to save his company... but it is interesting nonetheless.

Comment: Re:Yeah (Score 1) 562

by scamper_22 (#48845923) Attached to: Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications

I don't know. I understand the libertarian end of privacy. What I don't understand are people who generally love government then complaining about the government invading your privacy.

I'm as confused as anyone on what the better way is (libertarianism, socialism, capitalism...) I don't bloody well know.

It just seems strange to have this dichotomy.

It just seems a little strange.
Want the power to send me to jail for smoking weed? Sure go ahead. It is for the greater good.
Want the power to confiscate half my money and decide how to spend it? Sure go ahead. It is for the greater good.
Want the power to be in charge of my kids education and what they learn and the values they have for most of the day? Sure go ahead. It is for the greater good.
Want the power to be in charge of the healthcare system, spending huge portions of tax money and controlling/restricting labor? Sure go ahead. It is for the greater good.

Want the power to be in charge of a huge powerful military costing a huge portion of tax money and capable of killing millions upon millions and intervening in other countries? Sure go ahead. It is for the greater good.

Want the power to scan my emails in the hopes of catching terrorists? AAAAAAAAAAAAH, invasion of privacy, slippery slope, my rights are infringed....

Comment: Re:Families (Score 1) 218

This is true, but also misses a key point.
What you say would make perfect sense in some kind of libertarian paradise.

But let's consider something.
Most of the world has labor laws of some kind. But let's talk about the western world which has more labor laws. Everything for overtime pay, 40 hour work week, vacation, sick pay...

We have these to ensure a 'decent' life and the net result is we actually PREVENT people from competing in these areas. I'm not here to debate the effectiveness of these policies, but these laws exist now.

If the minimum wage is set to $10/hour, it prevents someone who wants a job from getting a job and willing to do it for $9/hour. Similarly, with free trade. We actually prevent Western workers from competing with lower wage workers in India/China.
Similarly, taking less vacation, working unpaid overtime, violating safety/environment...

In any case, within a western country, we setup a minimum standards of work and then let western workers compete without giving up those.

Now here's a thought, what if we brought it labor laws that made tech fields more appealing for those who wish to raise a family? And I'm not talking about freezing your eggs, but about the number of hours worked, stress, flex time, backups...

Then women would not need to choose between working at Google and taking care of their family?

I see nothing wrong with this as long as it is treated as the law for both men and women. Why should tech viewed as this super stressful work like a dog field? Why should it be less family friendly than being a teacher or any other 'female field'.

Now I know the reason... its business, speed to market...
But again, this is not any different from any of the other labor laws we've brought in. We bring them it to prevent people from competing on things we don't want (lower wages, more work hours...)

Sounds reasonable to me.

Comment: Re:That's a different skill-set (Score 1) 124

by scamper_22 (#48804483) Attached to: Do We Need Regular IT Security Fire Drills?

lol. Yeop.

I work at a large org that still has a history of what might have been professional IT.

Today, it results in project managers running around asking who can fill out this disaster recovery document? Anyone? Anyone?

And it gets filled in somehow but no one really knows anything.

Comment: Re:It depends on where you are in life (Score 1) 249

by scamper_22 (#48804309) Attached to: Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?

Thanks.

Honestly, I reread my post and realize it can be taken in different ways than I meant.

Oddly, the point I was trying to make was that public school should be geared for the 90% or 65%. My point is that it is NOT done that way today.

But I'm looking at it at a neighborhood or local level. If I am at a school and 65% of the kids need grit/self-control/curiosity more than advanced academics, then the local school should deal with that reality. This is NOT done today as we have standard for states/provinces/or even nations.

I guess it depends on how your view homogenous education. If you view it from the nation/state/province level, then I guess what we have today makes sense.

I suppose as a teacher, I view it from the local school level, and I say we don't have it. In a school where 70% of the kids don't have the basics, but we are forced to teach the state/province curriculum and focus on academics, this is not serving the needs of the majority.

Comment: Re:It depends on where you are in life (Score 1) 249

by scamper_22 (#48795347) Attached to: Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?

Im really not advocating much.

I'm aware of budget realities and that we cant have 1 teacher per student with a custom environment and learning style for each student.

What I'd say, is let us say a school where 65% of the kids lack grit/self-control/curiosity and are not benefitting from the academic curriculum. I would suggest that that specific school would be better off focussing on that.

I don't think it is asking too much, but it is when people think that the grade X curriculum should be the same for all kids and the same behavior and other standard should also be the same.

Comment: Re:It depends on where you are in life (Score 1) 249

by scamper_22 (#48794035) Attached to: Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?

It depends. I should have a disclaimer saying I no longer teach, although I am still qualified. I'm also in Ontario, Canada for some context.

I'd actually say most of the older teachers agreed with me, but ultimately take a... this is what the board says we have to do kind of mentality.

I tend to find more of the younger teachers a little more ideological on these issues; perhaps due to more education in these aspects.

Comment: Re:It depends on where you are in life (Score 3, Interesting) 249

by scamper_22 (#48793129) Attached to: Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?

I agree with you, but here's the issue.

I'm also a child of immigrant parents. We were poor and we made it quite well.

As you say, maybe your parents taught you grit, self-control, curiosity. Mine did as well. Good for us. We are truly fortunate in that sense. More fortunate than some rich kid whose parents didn't and is now on high-end drugs.

You can sit there and say parents should do this and that. But they're NOT. I reread my post and I hope it doesn't come across as saying all poor kids should just get basic education and all rich kids should get advanced education. I can see how it can be read that way.

It is more that public education should be geared to the needs of most of the children in the neighborhood.

If the parents aren't doing the job. Great, do whatever you can to fix that. But until you do fix it and have all these kids raised by decent parents, schools have to deal with the reality of the students as is. It just so happens that if parents aren't teaching their kids grit-self-control-curiousity... then I would say schools should be allowed to focus on that and focus less on 'academics'. Right now, this is impossible with standard curriculum.

Would this deny opportunities? That's an odd question. In either case, you're denying kids opportunities if that's the language you choose to use.

If you have a class of 20 and 15 of then would benefit more from grit/self-control/curiosity and 5 would benefit from advanced academics... no matter how you focus your school you're denying some kids the opportunity. You're be holding back 15 kids from a decent job and future in favour of the 5 kids if you just blindly go on focusing on academics. Of course if you focus on the 15 kids, you might hold back the 5 kids.

Ideally, you offer different policies for all kids. But assuming you some standards in each school, I'd rather tailor the school to the 15 to get them decent jobs and life.
Kids who already have grit/self-control/curiosity can pursue their own academic pursuits especially in this day and age of the internet.
I was programming long before I even took such a course in school. That is what you can do when you already have those basic values.
Also advanced classes can be used to separate thing or after school programs...
It is much easier to provide advanced classes to kids who already have grit/self-control/curiosity.

As I said, this is why my preference would be to focus on the 15 instead of the 5. The social costs of kids not getting advanced academics is a lot less than the social costs of the 15 kids not getting a decent job and learning basic life skills. Like I said, I went to a 'ghetto' school and no doubt, I lacked a lot of things (and this is in Canada). I lacked a good computer club, good network of academic kids, connections with industry... but whatever, in the end, I'm pretty okay. Most of the academic ones from my high school are. It's the rest you have to be concerned about.

Comment: It depends on where you are in life (Score 4, Insightful) 249

by scamper_22 (#48792299) Attached to: Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?

One of the greatest tragedies in our times is the idea that all children should get the same education. It is the oddest thing. We all admit that children actually start off at different levels.

But rather than do what is best for each child, we pretend there is some sort of universal curriculum that all children should follow. It's just not the case.

Grit, self-control, curiousity are probably very important if your main goal is to get a job and provide for your family.

I was a teacher for a while, and this was the most frustrating things. Having to teach kids in a 'non-academic neighborhood' for lack of a better term, as I taught in both inner-city type schools as well as rural 'trashy' schools. I'm up there teaching math these kids couldn't care about and is going to be of little use to any of them in their future. Yet, that is the curriculum, because it is standardized and they happen to be in grade 10.

To these kids, teaching them some grit, self-control, curiosity would probably benefit them 1000x more and improve their life and the next generation.

Yet, somehow it is considered unfair if we did that because then we'd be admitting they are not as advanced as other kids. Yes, they're not. That is why people would classify them as a trouble neighborhood or whatever.

Then of course you have other kids who might not suffer the same problem and maybe for them you need to focus more on intelligence and academics.

Ultimately, I'd rather have the school system deal with the reality of children by using different methods on different groupings of children as opposed to pretending everyone is the same when they're not.

And no, I'm not saying there aren't any brilliant kids in a ghetto school. They do exist. One might say, I was one of them. I'm saying it is pretty easy to keep us happy. Just having academic streams in high school or give us other classes. Maybe school wasn't optimized for me, but in the end, I have a decent job and make decent money. Let's face it, how many children from ghetto neighborhoods are working at Google?

But as far as social issues go, our biggest problems are not optimizing intelligence for advanced R&D here. It's the basics for most of the population and it is there that grit, self-control, curiosity are really much better.

And yes, maybe that formalizes the reality that if you're in a ghetto school, you would be more educated to just get a job. And if you are in a rich area, you are more educated to do advanced academic work.

Yes, maybe it formalizes it. But it's not like without that formalization, it isn't true today.

But I guess, that's political correctness. Better to have poor people suffer, than formalize that they're different in this time and place.

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