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Comment: Re:But (Score 1) 51

The quickest numbers I could find say that at the scales of large power-plants, the generator is very efficient, but the turbine not so much, around 50%. This would put the system as a whole at around 40% efficency sunlight -> electricity. That's competitive with the best solar voltaic systems tested in the lab, and 50-100% better than practical systems on the market. Assuming their system really does scale up to power plant sizes, of course.

Comment: Re:Local testing works? (Score 1) 751

by Reziac (#47505537) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

So, you're saying that when 70% of the cost of a legal employee is state-mandated non-wage expense, that's the business' fault?

The problem isn't the businesses, nor the employees, nor the wages. It's the number of fingers the government has in your pocket if you try to do things right and lawful.

I once looked into what it would take to have one legal part-time minimum-wage employee for one year in Los Angeles County. It came to $28,000 before I paid a cent of wages. Since that exceeds my best net and is several times the value of the employee, obviously it wasn't happening. Someone didn't get a job, and I didn't expand my business.

Comment: Re:Local testing works? (Score 1) 751

by Reziac (#47504671) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

No, they value the fact that you just can't stay in business when your out of pocket cost is $28/hour for a $10/hour job that earns the business maybe $15/hour in billable labor (and remember, there's also overhead to pay before you can even think about profit).

The business owners I've talked to would rather NOT hire illegals, because there's also an unreliability factor (90% can't be counted on to show up every day) and a quality control factor (most are less qualified than you'd really want), but when it's hire the illegal or go out of business thanks to the mandated costs of legal labor... well, I don't like it either, but I understand why it happens.

Comment: . . . turbines to speed, ready to roll . . . Roger (Score 1) 474

by Latent Heat (#47504093) Attached to: Favorite "Go!" Phrase?
I voted for atomic batteries to power, but I guess that shows my age.

How about the "real life" launch sequence that the "shooters" on the carrier deck crews use?

(5 fingers out stretched) Release brakes.

(circle one finger in the air) Miltary power (i.e. full non-afterburner setting).

(wag two fingers in the air) Combat power (advance throttle to afterburner).

(put a knee to ground Tebow style, duck, and point with an outstretched arm, pilot acknowledges with a Navy salute) Go!

Comment: Re:Local testing works? (Score 1) 751

by Reziac (#47503805) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

"But if they bettered themselves, they would not be picking produce for sub-subsistence wages, now would they? So those poor farmers would still have to ship in exploitable people..."

Uh, no. Used to be every generation of our own as-yet-unskilled kids did this work. We'll never run out of a next generation of kids.

And I suspect those "exploited" people would tell you it's a better living than they made in the old country -- otherwise, why come here in the first place?

Comment: Re:Local testing works? (Score 1) 751

by Reziac (#47503735) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

That's an interesting insight (I hadn't thought of that, thanks!), and I think you're right about welfare making it just as easy, and about as profitable, to not work at all... but the work still has to be done, so...

I've sometimes thought that if we had "national service", it should involve working these types of seasonal jobs, as a means of getting the work back into American hands.

Comment: Re:Local testing works? (Score 1) 751

by Reziac (#47503695) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

I think you'll find the correlation is not with a higher minimum wage, but with the total cost per employee as imposed by the state. Frex, in California, wages are only about 30% of the mandated cost of each employee. The other 70% is payroll taxes, workman's comp, insurance, and the like.

That 70% is what an illegal labor force saves you, a cost far more significant than any minimum wage increase.

In fact, in some areas illegal laborers make more than minimum wage, because having ducked out of that 70%, the employer can afford to pay more than they would otherwise, and do so to attract a better grade of illegal worker. The illegal worker thereby earns significantly more take-home pay than he could earn as a "legal" worker. (This is common in the construction trade, for instance.) Not only that, but the illegal worker takes home his entire paycheck, minus no deductions or taxes.

Comment: Secure pairing is hard (Score 4, Interesting) 120

by Animats (#47503637) Attached to: The "Rickmote Controller" Can Hijack Any Google Chromecast

This is a general problem with devices that are "paired". How do you securely establish the initial connection, when neither side knows anything about the other?

The secure solutions involve some shared secret between the two devices. This requires a secure transmission path between the devices, such as typing in a generated key (like a WPA2 key) or physically carrying a crypto key carrier to each device (this is how serious cryptosystems work).

Semi-secure systems involve things like creating a short period of temporary vulnerability (as with Bluetooth pairing). There's a scheme for sharing between cellphones where you bump the phones together, and they both sense the deceleration at close to the same time.

Comment: Re:10.10 per hour (Score 1) 751

by Reziac (#47503525) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

Per the last stats I saw, hardly anyone earning minimum wage is "supporting a family". 80-90% of minimum wage jobs are held by supplemental earners (second job or teenager in the same household as a primary wage-earner who gets more than minimum wage). So the notion that we're starving families via the current minimum wage is bogus. Nor have min.wage increases in the past made any difference, for the same reason.

And before you accuse me of being one of those fat cats who just don't give a shit -- as a small business owner, my income rarely exceeds the minimum wage. Hey, let's legislate =me= a better income while you're at it!

Comment: Re:Economists (Score 1) 751

by Reziac (#47503451) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

"The presumption in the post is that the causality is that increasing the minimum wage causes employment increases. What if the causality goes the other way?"

I had the exact same question. I'd guess those states where the causality is as per TFA may be driven by regional costs, like basic living in the SF Bay and Puget Sound areas -- where if you're going to have entry-level or service workers at all, they have to make an increased minimum wage or they simply can't afford to live there, not even 3 families to a hut. And those regions are such a majority of the state's population as to completely skew the results. Maybe things get better in S.F. and meanwhile the whole Central Valley starves... observationally, this seems to be the case; small businesses are folding all through the minor population areas of California.

But otherwise, I'd expect prosperity and profit opportunity comes first, followed by competitive and rising wages (for a sterling example, see the North Dakota oil patch).

Comment: Re:Economists (Score 1) 751

by Reziac (#47503329) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

They may have more money, but do they have more spending power? Probably not, since in my observation, prices as driven by business costs, being cumulative of all costs, tend to increase faster than wages. And either a business raises prices to cover expenses, or they go out of business (which of course puts some people out of work).

Comment: Re:Crazy (Score 1) 751

by Reziac (#47503287) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

More interesting would be minimum wage vs cost of living. Every time I've priced anything from Australia, I've been shocked at how much more expensive everything is (typically 2-3x the same item in the U.S.)

Labor isn't worth an arbitrary value. It is worth some fraction less than the value it brings the employer (no one is going to hire workers at a loss; the whole reason you hire workers is to produce sufficient value to generate profit). It's amazing how the same people who don't grok this are all over the Big Media industry for pricing their goods above their demonstrable value, leading to the "Pirate Bay Economy".

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