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Comment: Re:Brand? (Score 1) 203

by hey! (#49633499) Attached to: 17-Year-Old Radio Astronomy Mystery Traced Back To Kitchen Microwave

I'd like to know which brand of microwave lasts 17 years?

Any brand, so long as it was made more than 25 years ago or so.

My kids like to watch vintage TV shows, and in one sitcom from the early 80s there was a plot line involving a TV remote -- this was back when remotes were still an expensive novelty. I paused and pointed out the thing in question. It was huge blocky moster of metal and wood, and looked like it had been forged by Durin in the deeps of Mount Gundabad. While virtually everything they use is incomparably more sophisticated than that thing, nothing approaches the build quality; physically it's all injection-molded crap that's been designed to be discarded after two or three years and replaced.

We can thank Bill Clinton and his China trade deals for amazingly cheap consumer goods that are designed to fail after a couple of years and be impossible to repair.

Comment: Re:Why do companies keep thinking people *want* th (Score 1) 99

by MightyMartian (#49633377) Attached to: Ubuntu May Beat Windows 10 To Phone-PC Convergence After All

I've used my Nexus 7 that way, and it works reasonably well. The biggest problem, as always, is that apps that are optimized for the small displays of most mobile devices simply don't work that well on larger screens. I have used it quite frequently with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard and RDP software to work on our terminal services server, and there really isn't any noticeable difference between that and a PC remoting in. It's rather a special case, to be sure.

Comment: Re: trickle down economics (Score 1) 223

Schools should not be funded with property taxes. That system was designed to keep the money in their own neighborhood, and jack the poorer who don't get to live there.

Poorer districts take EVERYone, including the hot messes, while the uber-schools firstly are located in districts without a lot of poor people and the mess that goes with it. So it costs more to educate EVERYone, instead of the select who live in a special neighborhood. The rich are not heroes. They made this system with the purpose of keeping out the poor - and so made inevitable the tsunami of the poor we see today. Concentrate the bad in hot zones, eliminate the jobs, shut down the factories, refuse to lend money to buy homes, and gosh, fifty years later the country is exploding with the stupid and the angry. Who knew?

Comment: Re:trickle down economics (Score 1) 223

The rich possess an all-consuming rage that people are paid too much for labor, hence their fierce concentration on destroying the teachers' unions. It's nearly impossible to discuss education in the US without talk of the bad, paid-too-much teachers, which must be replaced with corporate employees half the price who quietly have to get food stamps to survive.

The teachers in the poorly-performing schools are big damned heroes. They face the fallout of our rage against the poor and dark and any employee who uses collective bargaining to be paid enough to buy a home. They go to school and face the mess that suburban white flight caused, while being condemnded as lazy idiots who can't teach. The students are n-generation washouts, and will only get worse, because that's how America's race dynamics and school funding works. We're unique among nations in our two-level school system, and that's because slavery never really ended. We made this mess, not the teachers.

Comment: Re:trickle down economics (Score 1) 223

As with many things, the solution is obvious. As you say, fund all students equally, from general revenue, ideally Federal as the Constitution requires schools, instead of local property tax revenue. Schools would be flatly equal (other than the usual overclass bunching up in their own enclaves to keep out the poor and dark), rather than the ton spent on the students in the rich areas from local levies and the federal and state underfunding the poor schools, which of course leads to the "failure" of the average test scores we see (richer areas have high scores, poor dead flat ruined, and the "average" drops).

Schools work fine. We just concentrate wealth on some schools and let everyone else go to hell, in the name of freedom. Whose freedom is the question.

This is the fallout of slavery, and lately of quietly letting the country fill up with illegal immigrants to keep wages down. In essence, we've been screwed for over 300 years because businessmen wanted to pay zero to almost zero wages and keep the profits.

Comment: Re:To think I once subscribed to this site (Score 1) 231

So actually bothering to read the government's account of what it has done makes you a "leftist" then? And then telling other people what you found is "harassment"?

It must be easy to whip up that old self-righteous anger when you're so -- let's say, "semantically flexible".

Comment: Re:Not my problem (Score 5, Interesting) 160

by hey! (#49631333) Attached to: Extreme Secrecy Eroding Support For Trans-Pacific Partnership

The issue isn't secrecy OR expansiveness, or even both. The problem comes when you add fast track to those two.

Fast track is intended to strengthen the US negotiator's hand in trade deals. Here's how it works. By granting the President "fast track", Congress agrees to vote on the treaty exactly as negotiated by the President within sixty days, only forty-five of which the bill is in the hands of the relevant committee.

Fast track developed in the Cold War era. The idea was for situations like this. Suppose we we are discreetly negotiating with the Kingdom of Wakanda for access to their vibranium reserves. But we're worried about the Soviets getting wind of this, so we keep everything on the DL and rush like hell to get the deal through Congress before they can stick their oar in and queer the deal.

And for a relatively simple quid-pro quo type deal negotiated on the side in a bi-lateral world where you're with the commies or not, this procedure makes sense. But not for a massive, complex, multi-lateral accord that will govern the economic relations between twelve nations, and which took ten years to draft. How the hell is Congress supposed to examine something like that in forty-five days?

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.