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Comment: Re:no need (Score 1) 294

In a true free-market system, American Airlines and Boeing would have been sued into the dirt after 9-11 for allowing their planes to be used as weapons

It sounds like you would like a world where the manufacturer of any tool that could be used as a weapon is liable for all such uses by criminals?

Enjoy your $200,000 automobile (mostly liability insurance for the manufacturer) with a top speed of 10 MPH and sensors all around that prevent it from hitting anything at any angle and that refuses to go into an area in a way that may pose a hazard to other vehicles, pedestrians, or others (such as through a red light, stop sign, or across a sidewalk) legally crossing the same space. Oh, of course, if the traffic light is broken and stuck on Red, you just need to sit there, for days if needed, until the light is fixed since the car won't move and leaving an abandoned vehicle in a traffic lane certainly represents a hazard to other motorists so the system would automatically lock you in.

Would programmers, individually I assume, be responsible for any software they wrote that failed to prevent using the software in the commission of a crime that injures or kills others? For example, would a Google Maps engineer be liable for all injuries or deaths if someone used Google Maps to get directions to the airport and, upon arrival at the screening area, set off a bomb killing ten people? After all, obviously the engineer should have detected that the person mapping the route had nefarious intent at the destination (esp. if their search history or gmail account showed that they had looked at or bought pressure cookers recently).

Comment: Re:this might be scourged earth (Score 1) 892

But, why would anyone who actually had money offer hush money? What am I missing?

Once it's clear that Reddit is toast, the creditors own it and recover pennies on the dollar by selling the coffee machines. As an interim CEO, it's unlikely she has a golden parachute (although, I would respect her more if she had figured out how to negotiate a temp job w/a golden parachute -- but she asserts that women are not good at hard negotiations so I am unclear how that would happen).

I suppose one scenario is that Reddit sells for pennies on the dollar to a Yahoo! et al. However, the board will make that call and, as interim CEO, she probably gets 30 days notice and is out and done.

Comment: Re:This can actually work (Score 1) 892

Did they publicly publish the votes (without, of course, the bonus information)?

Actually, peer voting can be quite biased -- esp. when money is involved. I worked at a company where a pretty nice "perk" (not cash") was given out to a few percent of the employees based almost entirely on a company wide voting process. They had to change this to "management decision guided by employee voting feedback" because it was clear that some people were getting votes not because of their skills or contributions but because people felt sorry for their personal situation in some way.

Comment: Re:Yeah, this is going to work well (Score 1) 892

Indeed, knowing this policy, good candidates are likely to open with an absurdly high "salary requirement" since the final offer will, by policy, be the first round in what is normally a multiple round discussion.

The idea of "no negotiating" might be good, but it's not how our employment market for most "professional" jobs works so it's foolish to be a leader in it unless you are an 800lb gorilla that everyone wants to work for -- esp. for this reason.

Comment: Re:Sometimes it does hurt to ask (Score 2) 892

She shouldn't be hiring managers who would fault someone for initiating negotiations. I, for example, begin to have second doubts about anyone who doesn't do so. What are the odds that I would start with the exact highest amount I was willing to pay? I certainly want employees (engineers in particular) who use logic and probability in their reasoning and recognize that.

I also want employees that are good enough to have other options. First, it helps confirm that they may be good employees. Second, they tend not to hang around and become deadwood that I have to deal with when they are unhappy, instead they move on which benefits everyone if their desired growth path and what the company has to offer eventually don't intersect.

Once I've made an offer, I expect the candidate to figure out that there's nothing to lose by negotiating -- the worst I can say is "I'm sorry, that's the best I can do". It's extremely rare for an offer to be withdrawn because of a reasonable and ethical attempt at negotiation.

Indeed, sometimes my hands are tied by pay ranges -- but if the candidate brings a specific offer they got from another company and negotiates, I can sometimes bend these or at least get creative with a hiring bonus. Without such an offer, I can't justify it - esp. if their current pay is low for some reason.

(Although, I've never responded to counteroffers from current employers and usually tell the candidate something like "Well, it's good to hear you're happy where you are and that you were just unhappy with your salary which has now been rectified. I wish you the best of luck". I don't actually withdraw the offer, but I hope they reject it and I certainly won't negotiate any further. I like employees which are decisive and stand up for themselves and those who play games like that are likely weak on both points.)

Comment: Pao = Sexist (Score 5, Insightful) 892

Men negotiate harder than women do

Is this because woman are unable to negotiate as hard? Because they are unwilling to? Because they are too stupid to? What is her explanation? Is it hormonal? Does it have to do with having different body mass distribution? Inquiring minds want to know.

If it's to their advantage to negotiate hard and men and women are indistinguishable professionally, women obviously are just as able to negotiate hard (and, given negotiations I've been in, I have no reason to doubt they are not just as capable at this art).

Pao is really insulting women by saying this.

This really opens a Pandora's box. If she thinks women, by virtue of being female, are not as good at this important aspect of professional life, one wonders what other parts of their professional lives women are not as good at. She should give us a complete list - who knows what might be on it.

I wonder what would happen if she ran a purchasing organization or a sales organization. Usually the willingness and capability to negotiate effectively (and, therefore, hard) are basic job requirements for these positions. Would she refuse to hire women because, as she has stated, they are not as good at negotiating hard (ouch, there's a sexual discrimination lawsuit waiting to happen)? Would she refuse to negotiate salary and lose the very people who would negotiate effectively on behalf of her company? In reality, negotiation is always a part of almost any senior job -- you have to negotiate for headcount, resources, approval for projects, even convincing a customer that they don't need something is "negotiating".

Perhaps she has realized that she (the individual, not the gender) is not good at negotiating and this is a convenient way to avoid acknowledging this reality.

Perhaps she doesn't realize that no party to a successful negotiation goes away unhappy - does she lack confidence in herself and her own staff being able to negotiate successfully?

If Reddit has a candidate they really want and offers them $180K and they get an offer from another company for $200K (assuming similar fringe benefits and option valuations), how is it good for the company to walk away from the candidate instead of negotiate? Both $180K and $200K may be "fair" offers. Just because her company didn't happen to guess precisely what the FMV was for the person will she really stubbornly refuse to negotiate and start over from ground zero in trying to fill the position (which will likely cost tens of thousands of dollars in staff time and more tens of thousands of dollars in delay in filling the opening)?

I also assume that if the board offers, unwisely, to keep her on as permanent CEO and she wants a better offer than they gave her, she will understand when she when the board says "sorry, we don't negotiate and since you don't appear happy with our offer and we want a CEO who is happy with their situation, we retract the offer -- don't let the door hit your ass on the way out".

Comment: Re:Not a surprise (Score 1) 250

by uncqual (#49433189) Attached to: Verdict Reached In Boston Bombing Trial

The prosecutor likely refused to make a deal.

If the prosecutor was absolutely sure they could get convictions on enough counts to insure that the defendant would get life w/o ever being released, they would have little motivation to make such a deal.

One reason to make a deal would be to save money on the initial trial and appeals. However, this would be balanced against arguments for seeking the death penalty. These arguments might include a higher deterrent value of a death sentence, better closure for victims and their families (esp. if some of them expressed a desire for the death sentence), and political motivations for prosecutor (or, really, their bosses) to be "tough on crime and terrorism". In the grand scheme of Federal prosecutions, the cost of the trial and appeals is loose change.

Doing it this way pretty much removes it as an issue in the next Presidential election. If the death penalty had not been sought, it could only create problems for the Democrat candidate who would have to support that decision (losing some mushy middle voters) or distance themselves from it (losing some enthusiasm from the liberal wing of the party). Easier to do it this way.

Comment: Re:Not a surprise (Score 5, Informative) 250

by uncqual (#49432587) Attached to: Verdict Reached In Boston Bombing Trial

You might want to read up on Judy Clark, his attorney. She isn't some schmuck - indeed, she has represented some of the highest profile death penalty eligible cases in the country over the past twenty years.

If the evidence is overwhelming, as it was in this case, it is NOT a good defense to "throw BS" at the jury - the prosecution will simply tear up your defense and leave the jury with a very bad impression of your client.

The "bad impression" part is important when the penalty phase, decided by the same jury, comes up. Ms. Clark was preparing for the penalty phase, hoping to make the jury sympathetic to her client so they would just sentence him to life in prison rather than the death penalty. She, quite correctly, understood a conviction was impossible to avoid on most charges because the evidence shows her client is guilty beyond all rational doubt -- well beyond the "reasonable doubt" standard. Ms. Clark, effectively, used the guilt/innocence phase of the trial to start her argument in the penalty phase.

Comment: Re:Lies, bullshit, and more lies ... (Score 1) 442

"having at least a STEM education" means little as the bar is so low to get such a degree. There are no national standards/licensing of graduates. Those of mediocre skills and/or limited enthusiasm are a drag, not a help, to a development environment. I suspect almost everyone reading this who has worked in software development would be/has been completely frustrated when having to work on a development project with two other people who both are from the "bottom third" of the skill level among people who have managed to acquire a Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Software Engineering, or similar BSc from some four year school somewhere.

Over my career, I have reviewed the resumes of thousands of applicants, phone screened hundreds of applicants, and interviewed hundreds more (those that passed my phone screen and those that other groups brought in for an interview cycle). Probably over 98 percent of these applicants had at least a BSc in a directly related technical area. Of all of these, I have recommended making or have made offers to probably around 100 - the rest just were not worth it (even if they would work for free). The vast majority of these applicants were simply unqualified in spite of their degree (even from decent schools).

I wouldn't trade any of those that I didn't make an offer to for almost any of the H1Bs that I have worked with and in some cases gone to significant expense and effort to hire. I've never paid an employee on an H1B less than I paid similarly skilled/experienced developers that didn't require an H1B. However, it cost me a lot more time, and the company more money, to acquire and sponsor the H1Bs but when I need good developers (which includes not being a self-entitled prick who expects an award for "showing up"), it's the only feasible route sometimes.

Abuse of the H1B system should be squashed, but highly qualified workers should be encouraged to join the workforce in the US and hopefully become full time citizens and raise kids in an environment that values education and achievement. These families can help serve a role models for other families who may be open to the idea of education but not really strong believers in it.

One possible part of a solution to clean the system up would be to charge a substantial tax on employers for each H1B they employee to make sure it's not cheaper to hire an H1B. Another option would be to auction off the H1B slots -- highest bidding employer gets them and the proceeds go to the US Government and, if the auction price is higher than some amount, run another round with more H1Bs. Perhaps each auctioned slot would be a three year license for one full time H1B employee and these licenses could be transferred on the open market (so a company who over estimated their needs could potentially recoup some of their expenses). All the other (weak) "requirements" for H1Bs could remain in place.

Of course, it would be ideal to reshape the culture in the US by promoting and rewarding education (even to the point of charging parents with child abuse and taking their children away to safer environments if they don't encourage the education of their children just as we do if they don't feed their children or if they lock them in a closet w/o sanitary facilities for weeks on end). However, the effects of even a Herculean effort along those lines wouldn't be visible in the workplace for at least fifteen years (if a child has made it to fifth grade and still doesn't understand basic math, there's little hope they will ever catch up -- the brain's plasticity declines over time and they are already behind) and substantial effects would probably take a couple generations to be very significant -- until then, we should selfishly import as many highly qualified workers for productive jobs as we can (and let the "source" countries worry about "brain drain").

Comment: Re:Be careful making stuff cheap and easy. (Score 1) 63

by uncqual (#49426339) Attached to: Radar That Sees Through Walls Built In Garage

I think we are seeing the stage being set for a similar situation with drones.

If the FAA rules allow private drones to fly at low altitudes over private property without consent of the person controlling the property and the legislators don't pass laws restricting this (the FAA doesn't make rules about privacy - safety is their charter), the expectation of privacy will be reduced as more and more private citizens fly drones at the lower altitudes. Then, police will be free to do so as well and peer into your skylight without a warrant (just as they can look in your windows from the street without a warrant).

(Of course, they can probably do everything they need to do with a helicopter from a higher altitude and a good camera/lens anyway.)

Comment: Be careful making stuff cheap and easy. (Score 4, Informative) 63

by uncqual (#49424719) Attached to: Radar That Sees Through Walls Built In Garage

In KYLLO v. UNITED STATES , the Supreme Court held in 2001 that:

Where, as here, the Government uses a device that is not in general public use, to explore details of the home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a "search" and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant.

in determining that use of a thermal imaging device whose output was used to establish cause for a search warrant was, itself, a search that required a warrant.

By making intrusive surveillance devices available inexpensively (perhaps by showing hobbyists how to build their own), such devices could move (as planes have) into "general public use" and then be usable by police without a warrant to surveil areas normally off-limits to them without a warrant.

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