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Comment Re:Ouch? (Score 1) 301

It's like, if you rob a bank for real it's bank robbery, if you plan to do it it's conspiracy and you've still broken the law.

That depends. Did you actually plan to go through with the bank robbery? Or from the outset did you know you were just fantasizing about being Bonnie and Clyde, and you were just pretending to plan a bank robbery because it gave you a thrill to act like your nebbishy couch-potato self really ever would?

I'm sure there are people who believe that even playfully flirting with someone else while you are in a committed relationship is infidelity. Most people - or at least those who have been married a long time - would probably see that as harmless as long as you never had any intent to go through with it.

To your point, I would agree that joining Ashley Madison goes well beyond the harmless flirting stage, and you can't tell from the outside whether someone did it for kicks or as a serious precursor to infidelity. But it is entirely possible that at least some subset of users did it without any intention of being physically unfaithful.

Comment Re: 4/5 in favor (Score 1) 751

Surely if the job is not wanted but necessary, it is worth paying more for it.

The system already works that way, but only to a small extent in monetary terms. What a job pays is a function of two market forces: 1.) the more people who want a job, the less it will pay; and 2.) the fewer people who are qualified to do the job, the more it will pay. The problem is that in the real world, the second has far more influence than the first.

To your point, an undesirable job can command a wage premium. Military personnel assigned to service radar dishes in Alaska instead of defending Hawaii's coasts get hardship pay. Prospective CEOs of companies that are on the brink of failure tend to get paid better (or at least have bigger golden parachutes) because fewer qualified candidates want to take responsibility for a clunker. One of my first jobs in high school was at Toys 'R' Us. I could work the register for $5/hour, or I could be the janitor for $6/hour. Yes, the janitor job paid more because as you point out there were fewer people who wanted to do it, and the company realized they had to incentivize someone to take that job (I did, and I earned my pay every time I had to clean up after a three year old blew her Spaghetti-Os all over the Barbie aisle).

However, the vast majority of unattractive jobs come from the pool where there is a limited or no qualifications barrier to entry. So while the janitor may have been paid at a 20% premium to the cash register worker, you're still talking about the shallow end of the wage pool. The jobs with more scarcity of available talent make far more than any job where you have essentially an inexhaustible pool of potential applicants. And we all see that play itself out day after day.

Comment Re:Holy crap. (Score 2) 155

I'm not going to pretend T-Mobile is an angel, but I think they've truly changed the industry.

I don't know about changing the industry, but other carriers have made moves to match T-Mobile, which has resulted in more consumer-friendly options across the board. So kudos to T-Mo for that. But the whole "Un-Carrier" schtick wasn't done from altruism, it was a strategic play decided on when T-Mobile didn't have many options except to be disruptive.

Flash back four years ago and T-Mobile is recognizing the decreasing distance between its rock and its hard place. It was the fourth largest carrier in the US, in a business where scale is EVERYTHING. (Think of it this way: you need 40,000 towers or so to cover the country whether you have 10 million subscribers or 100 million subscribers, so divide up their support costs per customer and...) T-Mo is owned by Deutsche Telekom, which had enjoyed being in the growing US market (compared to Europe) but basically said at this point, "your network is mediocre but making it genuinely good would cost billions and billions of dollars, which we don't want to spend. We will be trying to sell you as soon as we can. Barring that, figure a way out of this and send us a postcard once in a while on how it's going."

Deutsche did in fact shortly agree to sell T-Mobile to AT&T, which ultimately fell through due to FCC/antitrust objections. T-Mo couldn't compete based on economies of scale, and they couldn't compete based on network; their strategy had always been to have good coverage in urban/suburban areas but skip the more rural areas that you need to have really good reach but are not very cost-efficient. T-Mobile basically had to do something creative or die. Given that choice, to their credit, the opted for the former.

With that being said - and even though they have passed Sprint to become the #3 carrier in the US by customers - the fact that they are offering consumer-friendly deals and adding subscribers doesn't mean they are actually in a position to be profitable in the long run. Hint: there's a reason that T-Mobile was engaged in talks to be acquired by Sprint last year, and then again with DISH Network this year... companies with sound long-term economic prospects don't go around seeking to be bought by larger companies.

Comment Re:It is what it is (Score 2) 332

The military was still holding out, but even they knew that there was little chance of reaching a stalemate by that point.

Demonstrably untrue. While you are correct that the civilian members of the Japanese government had realized that the game was up, the military (which was dominated by nationalist hard-liners and junior officers besotted with banzai spirit) continued to actually welcome the idea of a US invasion. They believed the exact same thing they had believed before which made the battles for Iwo Jima and Okinawa so bloody: their best option was to make any US gains so expensive in blood and treasure that a negotiated settlement would be made that would allow them to retain their conquered possessions in Manchukuo and elsewhere. The military was not giving up anytime soon, and in fact some elements led a coup when they heard the Emperor had sanctioned surrender to prevent his imperial rescript from being broadcast. Read up on Ronald Spector's The Eagle Against the Sun or Max Hastings's Retribution to learn more.

A demonstration of the bomb, with Japanese military officials invited to see it, was considered by the US. It's hard to justify why that was not even tried first, before moving directly to the bombing of civilians.

I see this a lot, but it is not hard to answer this question. The bomb target selection committee - which included Dr. Oppenheimer - considered this idea but specifically rejected it because:

  1. There was no way of guaranteeing that the Japanese government and military would believe that it was what it claimed to be. So there's a huge flash and a mushroom cloud over Tokyo Bay or Mt. Fuji. But a nondestructive test might very well lead the Japanese to believe that the bomb was less powerful than it really was, or to not understand its impact.
  2. If the bomb failed or fizzled - which was certainly not impossible - it would in fact embolden the Japanese
  3. Time was a factor. Roosevelt had secured a promise several months earlier from the Russians to get them to enter the war, back when it looked like we really needed their help. Now, though, they were getting ready to enter the war on their own terms and in the way that best suited them (i.e. striking first at territories they wanted to conquer and control), and if Japan didn't surrender quickly it might not be until the Soviets had occupied all of China in the process. Had the Soviet invasion been avoided by a quick, bomb-induced surrender then North Korea would not exist and there is a chance that Mao would never have succeeded against Chiang Kai-Shek...

There's a great deal of factual reporting about the thoughts and motivations of the bomb targeting group in the above two books as well as Richard Rhodes's Pulitzer-winning The Making of the Atomic Bomb.

Submission + - The college majors most likely to marry each other

schnell writes: The blog Priceonomics has published an analysis showing students in which college majors end up marrying another student with that same major. Religious studies (with 21% of students marrying another studying the same field) tops the list among all students, followed by general science. Perhaps unsurprising is that some majors with gender disparities show a high in-major marriage rate among the less represented group — for example, 39% of women engineering majors marry a fellow student in their field, while among men 43% studying nursing and 38% studying elementary education do likewise. The blog concludes that your choice of major may unwittingly decide your choice of spouse, and depending on how well that field is paid, your economic future.

Comment Re:Wow ... (Score 1) 249

No one knows how sticking with Maemo would have worked out. Would it have saved Nokia? Who knows?

You're right, nobody knows. But the probable answer is "not bloody likely." No matter how technically superior the OS may have been, it was going to be playing in a crowded space against entrenched competitors... the appropriate military metaphor would be a frontal assault against a numerically superior enemy entrenched in defensive positions. With one notable exception (Apple), every vertically integrated OEM (OS + hardware) in the mobile space has gotten mediocre results - BlackBerry, HP and Palm/WebOS, Samsung with Tizen, and now Microsoft. There's no reason to believe that Nokia's experience with Maemo would have been any different.

On top of that, Google and Apple both had fully fleshed out ecosystems for buying and using apps and music/video content - vital to success in the consumer smart device market - and Nokia would have been starting largely from scratch. Think how badly even Microsoft and Sony have struggled to make their content ecosystems work.

Given the needs for developer mindshare and the snowballing benefits of mass market adoption, I find it highly unlikely that there can ever be more than two truly successful (non-niche) mobile OSes in the market, at least for the foreseeable future. And if Apple ever stumbles badly with its iOS hardware refreshes one of these years, that number might be down to one.

Comment Re:Wait a minute... (Score 1) 249

A big company in an unaligned industry buys a formerly popular hardware maker, now falling on hard times, and eventually sells or pretty much writes all the assets of the acquisition off. I'm having a strange sense of deja vu... almost like this has happened before several times.

Oh wait, it has happened before with Oracle and Sun. And again with HP and Palm. And again with Google and Motorola.

You would think people would notice a pattern here...

Comment Re:Hipster tactics (Score 1) 300

Aside from maybe some tshirts I really cannot think of any "ironic embrace of vintage" that resulted in a meaningful resurgence of a product

How about Pabst Blue Ribbon beer? Or the otherwise inexplicable growth of vinyl record sales?

True to the nature of hipster-ism, these things will decline again at some point. But the presence of cool tastemakers interested in retro stuff is a real thing that impacts sales beyond just their own ranks. God help us all if these people rediscover fax machines.

Comment Re:Routing around (Score 5, Informative) 198

So the Internet was designed with resilience unless someone has a strong pair of garden shears?

The Internet will do just fine. Your personal ability to access it, watch a movie or dial 911 will not.

The big networks all have many data centers and diverse physical routing paths between them. But most people seemingly fail to realize that your house, your neighborhood - heck, maybe even your county if you're rural - probably does not. There is more than one physical path to get data from a colo facility in San Francisco to one in Seattle (even if it adds a lot of latency). There is probably only one physical way to get data to your house. Yes, even your cable provider and the telco almost certainly share a conduit somewhere near you. Mostly that's because there are simply a limited number of good rights of way to run fiber (frequently railroad tracks, gas pipelines, etc.) in any given area.

And that's also because it makes doesn't make financial sense to spend the money to ensure that your house has two redundant cables coming out of it that take two separate paths out of your neighborhood to different COs, etc. That's true not just for houses but in many cases for cell towers, Central Offices and other telecom points of presence that make last-mile connections rather than backbone connections. So that's why a fiber cut is so bad - everyone served locally by that fiber will be out of luck, even if the Internet as a whole is not.

Comment Re:Drone It (Score 2) 843

I have a car, but the new Mazda has a 10hp more powerful engine. Should I sell my Mazda 3 for $5000 and buy a new Mazda 3 for $21,000?

It's a fair question in the context of Mazdas. It is a much less clear answer in the context of should I buy a F-16 for $100 million that gets me a 20% chance of being shot down in an engagement vs. a F-35 that gives me a 5% chance of being shot down for $350 million.

Comment Re:Drone It (Score 5, Informative) 843

It sounds to me like our current crop of F16 fighters are superior. Why do we have a $1 trillion plane?

There are plenty of reasons, good and bad. I'll assume you are asking a serious question, and give you the short version of the most often cited answers:

Good reasons include:

  • It's stealthy(ish), and has an Active Electronically Scanned Array radar . Part of the idea is that you can see the other guy but they can't see you, so you have blown them out of the sky at BVR (Beyond Visual Range) and never had to get to the point of a dogfight.
  • It's supposed to replace a bunch of different fighters and attack aircraft among the services' current fleets with a single airframe. Better QC, cheaper spare parts, buying in bulk, yadda yadda. The different models for the Air Force (F-35A), Navy (F-35C) and Marines (F-35B) turned out to be more different than expected, but that at least was the idea.
  • America's allies wanted access to a fifth-generation fighter for their own militaries - which they weren't going to build on their own - and if the US didn't build a relatively affordable one (we weren't going to sell anyone the F-22 since it's our trump card for air superiority) they were going to have to buy them from Russia or China.

Debatable reasons include:

  • It - like the military itself - is kind of a Federal jobs program. If you keep your existing jets and don't build new ones, then you lose the employees with the skills and experience needed to do the job. (Kind of like we may not be able to build new nuclear weapons if we wanted them because we haven't made them for so long and everyone with any experience has retired.)

Bad reasons include:

  • The military and its defense contractors need new weapons programs to work on in order to justify their careers and existence (military procurement officers) and make money (contractors). Both groups have strong influence in congress, not least because of all the jobs they support (see above).
  • The F-35 was intended to revolutionize weapons system procurements by using a strategy of "concurrency" - think of it like agile vs. waterfall development. The idea was better stuff, quicker and cheaper. It turned out - like some of the lessons Boeing learned with the 787 - that agile development may work great at Facebook but it's a train wreck when applied to aerospace, military systems and gigantic procurements. Oops.

There were also plenty of f***ups in assumptions the program made that were only really recognizable in hindsight, like the fact that trying to mesh the Marines' requirement for a V/STOL aircraft with the traditional designs for the Air Force and Navy hobbled the plane's performance for all three constituencies.

I know a lot of people are very critical of the F-35, and rightfully should be. But it's not as bad as it may sound - I think it will eventually turn into a decent (but never great) aircraft with a long service life. It's out there flying around today, but will take probably 10 more years to get to where everyone hoped it would be in terms of capabilities. Nonetheless, you will almost certainly still see F-35s flying around under US colors in 2050, so in the long run it will work out OK.

Comment Re:what this means? (Score 1) 292

But then the "news" companies won't be able to predict the polls properly!!! And how will the world go on if this happens?

Accurate political polling in presidential elections has a very vital role in modern society. Otherwise, how else would you know how loudly to complain about how you are threatening to move to Canada if the other party's candidate wins?

Comment Re:$100,000,000 (Score 1) 205

Then perhaps they should have consulted lawyers and/or technical experts, given that apparently many millions of dollars were at stake?

Did you ever read the first Scott Adams Dilbert book? He says (I think I'm quoting but it may be a paraphrase) that "the goal of every engineer is to retire without being blamed for a major disaster." As much as that might be true of engineers, it is 10x true of corporate lawyers.

A company the size of AT&T has literally thousands of lawyers out of its 250,000 employees. I don't know if you have ever worked with corporate lawyers (at least at very very large companies). But most of the time, they cover their asses to the greatest extent humanly possible and just say that "everything we could possibly do is subject to a lawsuit in Kerplakistan or illegal in Jesus County Alabama, and therefore we shouldn't buy, sell or do anything ever." Paraphrasing a bit, but not far off.

Then product managers, engineers, sales and marketers ignore their advice, which is how the company actually does business. As a result sometimes they get it right, sometimes they get it wrong, but more often than not the company actually did some business and made some money instead of following the lawyers' recommended business plan of not doing anything except paying lawyers. Oh, and then paying other lawyers to make sure the first group of lawyers don't sue about not being paid.

Comment Re:Mixture (Score 5, Insightful) 312

Want to end terrorist Isalm, target the two originators Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Exactly, because ... Islamic terrorists ... like ... Israel ... and they are ... buddies and ... WHAT?

Perhaps you are arguing that Israel creates Islamic terror groups by its actions. While that is certainly an arguable issue, it is clearly not the sole root since Al Qaida explicitly cited the basing of US troops in Saudi Arabia as a motivation for the 9/11 attacks. Which had nothing to do with Israel, and was actually Islamic terror based on anger at Saudi Arabia ... which you say is the originator ... of ... WAIT, WHAT AGAIN?

So far the only government to tackle Saudi Arabia has been the Russian government with direct threats should any Saudi Arabian government led terrorists attack occur during the Russian Olympics. Shame Uncle Tom Obama the choom gang coward is such a god damned weasel

This seems like a reasonable argument that ... wait ... DAFUQ? How did this get to +3?

Congratulations Slashdot on hitting on a topic that somehow makes even init/SystemD discussions seam rational and well researched.

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