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Comment: Re:Silly (Score 1) 118

by steelfood (#49532893) Attached to: Swallowing Your Password

How about instead of an implant, just put it into something the size of a credit card. And as a bonus, make it digestible too so it can be disposed of quickly when necessary. And then, for ease of use (to prevent key loggers and such), make it so that the only way to add new passwords is to physically input it into the device.

Oh wait...

Comment: Re:We can learn from this (Score 1) 163

I think you've identified the problem quite well. I don't think the carte blanche "public financing" is a sufficient solution however. If you look at countries with public financing, it's not as if money is any less of a problem in their elections. The biggest wallet is still the strongest competitor. Even without PACs and SuperPACs buying up the airwaves, even if everybody knew everything via the most democratic form of communication, i.e. Internet, there are still numerous ways for money to enter the election (in the latter case, via astroturfing).

Running for office is currently a popularity contest. In fact, the very mechanism is called "popular vote". The best person doesn't necessarily win. Rather, the most popular person does. Popularity comes about in multiple ways, but in the end, it boils down to marketing. Marketing is not necessarily telling the best-sounding lies (though it's likely the case considering these are politicians we're talking about). Marketing also involves raising awareness and manipulating the narrative. Any campaign is dead on arrival without a good marketer with a good marketing strategy, knowing who to say what to when.

A good marketer requires money. Or promises of benefits. We're all intelligent people here. We all are talented. We all command a price (though money is but one type of payment), and understand and implicitly acknowledge that the price of our talent is higher than the price of those with inferior talent, but also lower than those with superior talent. There's no reason to believe that this does not apply to marketers.

The only way to remove money from politics is to remove popularity from the process. There are many ways to blunt the impact of money (public financing being one such, spreading money around more evenly is another), but so long as there is value in talent, money and power will remain correlated.

Now, as for the methods of reducing money's influence in a popular election, those would be public financing, reducing income disparity (the two I previously mentioned), improving education, and democratizing communication. Tying the number of representatives to a fixed population size (rather than fixing the number of representatives and floating the population represented) will also eliminate other corrupt practices like gerrymandering. Going to a ranked voting system would also help, but that's more to eliminate the two-party dominance. These last two reforms would indirectly reduce the amount spent per party though they would not reduce the total spent nor the impact per amount.

Comment: Re:Define "affordable" (Score 5, Insightful) 536

by steelfood (#49512391) Attached to: George Lucas Building Low-Income Housing Next Door To Millionaires

1) Nobody says the tenants are buying the homes.

2) Nobody says Lucas is trying to recoup the costs of construction.

3) The total cost per unit is probably much higher if you factor in the value of the land.

FYI, low income housing is usually rentals. Many low income people have trouble saving for a down payment, much less get a loan from a bank, no matter how small the amount borrowed is.

The main problem with cheap rentals is the building's maintenance costs. Government subsidies are used to help with that usually. If Lucas isn't willing to bleed in the long term, at best, he's going to have to price the rentals for middle income, working class people. Which may still constitute "low income" in that part of California.

Comment: Re:Confusing (Score 2) 208

by steelfood (#49488153) Attached to: Google Sunsetting Old Version of Google Maps

What you say is true when it comes to organizations that have a strong managerial structure.

In this case, I think it's the programmers (I cannot call them engineers because real engineers tend not to pursue new and shiny for the sake of new and shiny) themselves who are to blame. Their reasons for completely destroying old productive systems are a dangerous combination of the two factors mentioned: 1) new and shiny as I mentioned and 2) making their mark, as you've mentioned.

Developers can actually be motivated by either one and not fall into this trap. But with both of theses combined into one (often-subconscious) goal, this is the kind of atrocity that results: complete abandonment of what exists and works with a poor or no replacement.

Comment: Re:Hello? The 21st Century Calling (Score 1) 229

Or, they could just make their own processors. I believe they have the IP to do so through various acquisitions. And x86 isn't exactly the best instruction set out there efficiency-wise, so they might end up with something cheaper to run (definitely cheaper to build) and better.

Comment: Re:you cannot fight the tide (Score 1) 407

What I find funny here (and on other tech sites) is that up until the moment you talk about H1B, everybody's all for opening up the borders and easing up on illegal immigration. It's all lovey-dovey "let's make them legal so they can pay their taxes" up until the point when they're actually legal and competing for the same jobs as the prevailent occupation as the community. But suddenly, as soon as the topic switches to H1B, it's a chorus of "don't let them in, they're stealing out jobs!"

From my experience with on- and off-shore consulting, the low-skilled jobs are the ones that typically get replaced. These are things from data entry to phone support. Companies that try to send away high skilled jobs tend to get burned by either the lack of talent, or the cost of the equivalent talent (cost accounting both for money and the necessary overall decrease in productivity). Which is to say, for a highly-skilled worker, whether somebody's on a visa or not, they're probably going to cost about the same.

Yes, some companies are switching fully to an on- and off-shore consulting work force. In the past, companies that have attempted this were ultimately forced to bring the majority of their skilled labor back because the talent simply isn't worth the additional hidden costs. Yes, there is talk (and fear, always a lot of fear) that companies will off-shore all of their tech workers. I think if anyone actually tries that, they won't be around for very long. And I'm not terribly sympathetic. There's no reason good people should hold up incompetent management, and the faster the free market gets rid of these companies, the faster more forward-looking businesses can assume their place.

There are, of course, two exceptions to this, that being the government and utilities. In this case, the Senators are investigating a utility. I expect both government and government-permitted monopolies (utilities) to be staffed by U.S. citizens. Even if they're contractors, which they usually are, I think that there is a national security matter at play, and that absolutely cannot be compromised by foreign, non-patrioted workers.

What I'm more concerned about is abuse of employees on a visa. Consulting companies tend to treat their visa-based workers well, but companies that sponsor tend to treat their workers like total shit. That's because companies that sponsor are able to hold that sponsorship over the heads of their sponsored employees. And people want to come here to work, and some of them are willing to do so for almost nothing. When applied in this way, work visas are nothing more than the modern form of indentured servitude. It's a human rights violation in our very own backyards, but because we're so concerned about job-stealing and keeping our jobs here, we can't even see it.

A brain drain from the rest of the world to the U.S. can only be a good thing. Sending menial jobs off shore is also a good thing. Letting tech-adverse companies die is or learn a harsh lesson is also a good thing. The only losers are the ones who can't keep up with the overall rising skill of the tech labor force. And quite frankly, there are plenty of on-premise jobs that simply cannot be outsourced for them too, though it may not necessarily be at the forefront of technology. The only bad thing is the use of having a work visa rather than citizenship to justify abuse. And that ties into a bigger issue of the Rights of non-citizens.

But I get it. People want their cake and to eat it too. Our in-house primary education system has churned out a generation of duds (now ever more than before, and it's only getting worse). We don't have in-house highly skilled workers anymore, just a lot of mediocrity burdened with significant higher-education-caused debt. To you, I apologize. The system deceived you. You shouldn't have gone to college, and never belonged there in the first place. You should have gone to trade school, or just gone straight out into the work force. If you want to take something up with the politicians, that's what you should make them address.

Not visas.


Comment: Re:Stop Now (Score 1) 626

Thank you.

We here at slashdot, being technologically oriented, tend to forget that humans are not computers and don't act in the way that computers might act.

It's a matter of organic vs mechanical, and so many people mistake one for the other, or fail to differentiate between the two, or try to "bridge" the two together, usually with disastrous results (see C++14 and Esperanto).

Comment: Re:When was that again? (Score 2) 68

by steelfood (#49424335) Attached to: "Brontosaurus" Name Resurrected Thanks To New Dino Family Tree

Large birds of prey used to dine on humans regularly. In fact, the largest of their modern cousins are still dangerous to infants and small children today (and I'm not talking about that fake video).

Just because it looks more like a bird than a lizard doesn't make it any less scarier. In fact, because a part of our psyche is attuned towards the danger of very large birds of prey, it may make it more.

Comment: Re:The problem's never been reputation (Score 1) 247

by steelfood (#49383855) Attached to: NSA Worried About Recruitment, Post-Snowden

There's a bit of that. If they paid well, I'm sure there'd be more candidates.

But working for the government has always been about patriotism and patriotic duty. Nerd types aren't really going to go establish a beachhead, but those among them who wish to protect their country will elect to do so in ways that they can. This is especially true for bright, starry-eyed college grads.

Now, the NSA has lost even that candidate pool.

The amount of time between slipping on the peel and landing on the pavement is precisely 1 bananosecond.