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Comment: Re:turn about is fair play? (Score 1) 163 163

Not flooding the markets with counterfeit goods, but with goods that have a known superior quality.

I'm all those folks collecting baseball cards, comic books and antique collectibles would have something to say about this attitude. Also, wasn't this similar to the rationale used to suppress labeling requirements for irradiated strawberries and GM foods (e.g., they were superior to their counterparts and otherwise nutritionally the same)?

Sometimes people just want what they want and feel deceived if they get something else (even if it is "superior" in some way).

Comment: turn about is fair play? (Score 1) 163 163

So after all this complaining about how counterfeit food and medicine from china is morally repugnant, we decide to turn the tables...

At least we are attempting to save the rhinos, I guess, but seems to me that it's a slippery slope to agree that flooding a market with counterfeit goods is actually a good idea...

Comment: less depressed or more insane? (Score 5, Interesting) 66 66

The tail suspension test (TST) was developed as a rodent screening test for potential (human) antidepressant drugs. It is based on the assumption that an animal will actively try to escape an aversive (stressful) stimulus. If escape is impossible, the animal will eventually stop trying ("give up"). In the TST a mouse is suspended by the tail so that its body dangles in the air, facing downward. The test lasts for six or more minutes and may be repeated multiple times. Mice initially struggle to face upward and climb to a solid surface. When the animal stops struggling and hangs immobile it is considered to have “given up”. Longer periods of immobility are characteristic of a depressive-like state. The validity of this test stems from the finding that treatment with an antidepressant drug will decrease the time the animal spends immobile.

I imagine if the drug made the mouse more insane (i.e., struggling more against the impossible). Conversely, I imagine if the drug made the mouse smart enough to know it was impossible, it would appear depressed.

Reminds me of a scene in the Bruce Lee film Enter The Dragon where he realizes he finds himself in a trap and just sits down and waits to make his move.

Comment: Re:Depends on your perspective and tastes (Score 1) 410 410

France's history of welcoming immigrants and its egalitarian nature...

I assume you mean just in the last few years.

The previous administrations headed by Chirac and Sarkozy weren't really known for being "welcoming" to immigrants... According to OECD statistics, during that time, France recorded one of the lowest rates of immigration among top European countries, and the number of naturalizations fell precipitously (~50%) due to more stringent language skills and culture testing requirements. I believe the average time for naturalization is still hovering about 15 years in France (which no doubt is biased by the fact if you are born in France, you can apply for naturalization at 18). In most other countries, time for naturalization (if allowed by visa) is generally around 5-10 years...

Of course once you become a citizen, it may indeed have an egalitarian nature, but I've heard that prior to naturalization status, it isn't quite as egalitarian as one might expect...

Comment: Re:How are you going to use them? (Score 1) 272 272

Oh yeah and sadly I *did* listen to it quite a bit. When the Darkside of the moon album dropped from Billboard's list of top albums back in 1988, the person in the dorm room next to me played a 24 hour/day, 7 day/week vigil on his stereo system until the housing department finally had him shut it down for keeping people up at night (esp time and money)...

Although I still have the album myself, I haven't listened to it since '88 because of this incident (and I freely admit to destroying several cassette tapes of Darkside during that 7 day/week vigil/torture)...

Comment: Re:How are you going to use them? (Score 1) 272 272

FTFY. Don't make the pink floyd mistake...

Maybe you weren't listening hard enough:

"There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact it's all dark."

AFAIK, that comes from a set of interviews recorded by Roger Waters to create background voice ambiance for the album (and was enshrined in the final mastering) was actually made by Jerry Driscoll.

The full quote was apparently, "There is no dark side in the moon, really. Matter of fact, it's all dark. The only thing that makes it look light is the sun." I'm guessing Jerry made that statement to illustrate the mistake that Pink Floyd made, but I could be wrong...


An Extra-Large Nanocage Molecule For Quantum Computing 22 22

JMarshall writes: Researchers have built a molecular nanocage 8 nm across that represents a step toward quantum computing. It is difficult to make uniform nanoparticles more than 4 nm across, but new work solves this problem. Researchers made eight-membered metal rings from chromium and nickel that can act like a qubits in quantum computing. More connected rings means greater quantum computing capacity, so the team worked to combine many rings into one molecule. They managed to pull 24 rings together into an 8-nm sphere, secured by palladium ions at the core. The molecule had a surprisingly good phase memory, an indication of the molecule's quantum computing potential. The researchers say building a molecule with 70-100 rings would allow them to do "some serious stuff" in quantum computing.

Comment: Re: So let me get this straight.... (Score 1) 346 346

There was a time I did computer repair as an Independent Contractor for a Repair Business. I filed as a 1099. That was my only income at the time. I was not an employee. I was not entitled to benefits. My job there evaporated at a pre-determined end of contract date (which happened to coincide with the start of the next school year). Try again.

The company that paid you *decided* you were not an employee and gave you a 1099 (presumably after requesting you fill out a W-9 form).
The company could have decided you were an employee, gave you a W-4 and a W-2 at the end of the year.

The company could have done it wrong. It is not up to them, nor is it up to you. The final decision is made by the employment department of the state in which you did the work and it depends on many factors (including if you were restricted in any way to work for only that company and not a competitor at the same time).

Comment: Re:Job security (Score 1) 229 229

I don't think it's any easier to apply for permanent residency just because you hold an H-1B, but the point is, you can apply.

Although it technically might be easily apply for permanent residency, depending on your situation, the only realistic chance you have is if you have some "in" like an H-1B.

Depending on your personal situation, it is generally *much* easier to obtain permanent residency if you hold an H-1B visa. The generic option for most people is to get married to a US citizen or enter the green-card lottery (aka the diversity visa program). For example, if you are married already, or if you happen to be coming from a country that sources a large number US immigrants (say india or china), or don't happen to be world class at anything in demand, an H-1B is likely to be the only realistic option to get permanent residency status in your lifetime (other than maybe to have an anchor baby and wait until your kid turns 21 and can sponsor you for permanent residency).

Comment: Re:Update the resume (Score 3, Informative) 229 229

But, that doesn't mean a group of workers, who aren't in a legal "Union", can't just walk out anyway. If they're being abused, they should walk out and make their complaints known.

Although a non-union group of worker can "just-walk-out", the company can just replace them in most states. This generally isn't true with a company with a union contract (which covers allowed strikes and work stoppages/slowdowns). Also in the united states at least, there is a distinction between an economic demands strike and an unfair labor practices strike (basically company attempts to subvert collective bargaining, e.g., selective firing, refusal to bargain with a certified union). Any job protections in the case of an economic strike are basically non-existent, unless covered by a union contract.

So if your goal is attempt to walk-out as a group to protest being replaced by cheaper labor, unless you are unionized, you have pretty much just resigned as a group. A better strategy if not unionized is to raise a stink so that the company backs off (hey, sounds familiar)...

Comment: hope springs eternal (Score 2) 55 55

When facing a nearly unprovable situation (e.g, the security or insecurity of a system), we often resort to deities and idolatry.

It's much easier to believe in magic pixie dust called security protection that you can apply to some activity which is insecure to make it secure, than to face the reality that the activity itself might be inherently insecure and we must modify our activity to make it secure.

You have a virus, there must exist anti-virus protection, you have malware, there must exist some anti-malware protection, just a little more encryption, and a little more authentication will always help too (just like sunblock and contraceptive devices, you gotta apply that stuff correctly or it doesn't work as advertized). However, as we have seen, the belief in these artifacts are mostly a mirage. It's not to say these things aren't useful to a limited extent, but we want to believe we can use technology to "solve" a problem that is intrinsic. Hope springs eternal.

Comment: Re:Time frame simply too long (Score 4, Informative) 413 413

Sadly, it isn't that simple. Basically what happened is that the Senate passed a bill (62-37) that coupled the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) extension with an amendment that extended a worker retraining program. In the House the bills were decoupled. The vote rejected the *retraining* bill (but passed the TPA bill) which effectively requires a revote by the senate to grant TPA separately (if the goal is to get it in a form for the president to sign it rather than just blame someone for its failure to pass).

The extension alluded to by the OP is that there is an extension clause in the bill that allows the president to request an extension from 2018 to 2021, but the extension must be requested before June 30, 2018. If either house can pass a bill that rejects this extension, it is considered denied. FWIW, a similar extension clause has been in most TPA that have been granted in the past and were generally put in as a safety in case negotiations schedules are not maintained.

The only foreseeable situation that this affects is if one party were in control of both houses and the presidency, the out-party could then still theoretically filibuster a vote on a negotiated treaty in the Senate if the TPA authority was not in effect. However, with the recent change in filibuster rules of the senate regarding nominations by the democrats (the so-called 'nuclear-option' that was exercised), it isn't inconceivable that filibustering a treaty could trigger a similar 'nuclear' option in the senate if it came down to it, so it may not even matter in practice and is kind of a red herring.

As to why TPA is necessary, it of course isn't, but not having it allows a few members of congress to essentially hold the enabling legislation for a treaty hostage by offering amendments or failing to issue a committee report to allow a floor vote. Since adding an amendment would force the negotiators back to the table, it is presumed that other treaty parties would never offer their best level of concessions during ordinary negotiations (saving them to counter future nit-picking terms offered by rouge legislators) resulting in a sub-optimal agreement for us.

The TPA isn't like the war powers resolution in that it is a bill that affects the rules congress applies to itself by simply limiting debate, amendments and other procedural measures (which it is of course free to do to itself and has done many times in the past). The WPR is hotly debated as being unconstitutional in that it appears allows the president to take unilateral action and report on it later without action from congress. Also, the TPA also has many provisions in it directs negotiations a certain way and if the president ignores them, the TPA is effectively revoked (debate and amendments are then allowed in these areas). Unlike the WPR, the TPA allows congress to reject a treaty *before* it takes effect (not after the fact like the WPR).

Comment: Re:Insurance companies suffer? (Score 1) 389 389

If your car is in an accident that is clearly not your fault (e.g. it was parked), then your premiums likely won't go up, because the insurance company won't see you as a higher risk (you were just unlucky). Even if they do try to raise your premiums, there should be plenty of other more rational companies willing to give you a good rate.

Hardly, it's more likely that your "accident" will contribute the increased estimated loss potential in your insurance pool, and result in increases for you in the long run. Just because it isn't your fault doesn't mean that your premium won't go up (just not relative to others).

FWIW, because of recent auto-insurance reforms in many states, insurance companies are no longer allowed to directly charge the risk premium to their customer (because some factors they used like geography/zip code and gender/marital status and age were deemed too discriminatory). As a result, they are forced to pump the allowed factors and temper the restricted factors to spread out the premium charges.

For example, in California the spread for restricted factors must be limited to be a smaller than the lowest weight given to safety record, mileage and experience the insurance premium computation. So even if the accident isn't your fault, it may be scored as "no-fault" and the other party may be in your insurance pool.

Comment: Re:No Sympathy (Score 1) 117 117

I do not understand why someone would do this? Those that write these scare encyption malware are Russians who make much less than a western programmer.

Apparently you do not understand the role that terrorists and anarchists play in the political equation. They generally don't do this for money, they do this to further their agenda. In the case of the typical teenage anarchist, their agenda is to prove they are smarter than the "man".

Not everything is done for money.

Comment: Re:Deniers on the Left? (Score 1) 254 254

I didn't know there WAS a Bible Belt in Europe, especially the Netherlands.

FWIW, there's even a "church-tax" (fees collected by the government on behalf of a church) in many European countries including the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden) and Austria, Italy and Germany. Rules vary, but participation of the population in state affiliated churches is north of 67% in some countries, although there has been a recent trend of people leaving churches in European countries if it allows them to avoid paying these "taxes".

Of course paying the tax and actual active membership in a church are two different things. Apparently in Europe, there are lots of passive members that continue to simply just pay the tax (presumably for traditional reasons) inflating the membership rolls of the churches and overstating their influence...

As for vaccines, I don't think there is much different underlying sentiment in European vs the USA-ans. is primarily an issue where there is a big push to be current on vaccines when entering school in the USA, where in most European countries the focus is in the (public) healthcare system. Perhaps both the USA and Europe, attendance to school is still more universal than attendance to healthcare (even if both are "free") and the resulting diseases bear this out.

Steve Jobs said two years ago that X is brain-damaged and it will be gone in two years. He was half right. -- Dennis Ritchie