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Comment: This is not novel (Score 2) 120

by wickerprints (#47387293) Attached to: In Düsseldorf, A Robot Valet Will Park Your Car

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...

The basic idea has been around for a while now, in a number of countries besides Germany. And it has less to do with laziness or luxury, and more to do with maximizing the use of valuable space in areas of high urban density. The only thing that appears to be novel here is the use of a free-moving robot rather than a conveyance that is incorporated into the parking structure itself. Granted, there are other benefits as well--being able to retrieve your car rapidly and efficiently reduces parking structure congestion and environmental pollution from excessive idling.

Comment: Re:Companies don't pay for healthcare, workers do (Score 1) 1330

This is EXACTLY CORRECT.

Health benefits are just that--benefits included as an integral part of an employee's compensation for work performed in service to that company. The employee earns it. It's not charity, and it's not the employer who is paying for the coverage in the sense that the salary for a non-compensated employee would need to be commensurately higher to offset the cost of that employee having to purchase their own insurance. While it is not regarded as taxable income, health benefits are EARNED. It is therefore the employee's constitutional right to have the coverage they have worked for. It isn't a fucking Christian charity that Hobby Lobby thinks it's running, no matter what their greedy asses think they're doing.

Their win is not the least bit surprising: the SCOTUS has long since been run by religious and corporatist ideologues like Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito. These dinosaurs need to die off because their hypocritical and self-serving opinions have nothing to do with fact or actual law. Corporations do not have a right to force its employees to use the benefits they rightfully earned with their hard work in only the ways their owners approve. I don't see Hobby Lobby screening every dollar of profit they earn to make sure it wasn't touched by someone who used contraception. They'll gladly take anyone's money.

And the dumbest thing of all is that the form of contraception they are opposed to has been repeatedly shown in scientific studies to not be an abortifacient, but much like the opposition to evidence regarding climate change, their religion-addled minds refuse to accept facts over propaganda. So they are discriminating and imposing their own mistaken beliefs not because there is any evidence that the actual substance of that belief has any merit, but simply because they personally believe these pills are killing unborn babies. More embryos miscarry every year of their own accord than are prevented from implanting by someone taking such contraception. And the Supreme Court's reasoning basically amounts to saying that a company has a right to dictate that the only medical benefits they want to offer its employees is leeches and trepanation.

Comment: Re:Wishful? Trade is a two-way street, is it not? (Score 1) 322

by wickerprints (#47189253) Attached to: Fixing China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions For Them

I find it rather strange that you are inferring that Krugman's proposal is merely liberal wishful thinking, or "promoting a liberal agenda," when there are numerous fiscal conservatives who would love nothing more than to level the playing field with respect to domestic versus foreign manufacturing. The dirty little secret, though, is that those fiscal conservatives are the blue-collar workers who've been squeezed out of jobs, not the ones who actually run the GOP political machine. The latter are what we might think of as corporate fat cats, ultra-wealthy investors, and the already-made men, for whom the consequences of globalization and foreign investment have been a windfall, rather than the ideologues living in Midwest states and the Bible Belt who buy the GOP "fiscal conservative" propaganda so easily that they are led to vote against their own immediate economic interests.

So, one must be led to wonder how such a proposal could even be branded "liberal" or "conservative" at all--unless by "conservative," one only means "creating wealth by manipulating the market," rather than "honest pay for honest labor."

Comment: Re:A Formula only an Actuary could Love (Score 1) 422

by wickerprints (#47105719) Attached to: Why You Shouldn't Use Spreadsheets For Important Work

As someone who also has an actuarial background, the funniest thing about this sort of tangled code is that, in the mind of the analyst who wrote it, the intent was probably to do something relatively simple. Actuarial spreadsheets are some of the most convoluted things I've ever seen done in Excel.

Comment: OMGPWNIES (Score 4, Informative) 201

Let's see if the Galaxy Note 3 can:

1. Record usable, relatively noise-free video at EV -2
2. Use f/1.2 lenses
3. Record at effective focal lengths wider than 24mm or longer than 85mm...how about video at 300/2.8 or 600/4?
4. Use varifocal lenses of any kind, let alone a parfocal lens

I mean, this is silly. Under a very limited subset of possible shooting conditions and configurations, you *might* be able to get comparable output, but this has no bearing on the fact that if you're using a $3000 DSLR to shoot video, you're not merely some Android fanboy taking selfies of yourself beating off in your parents' basement. You're looking at using it with cine lenses or even just EF lenses like the 24/1.4L II, 35/1.4L, 50/1.2L, 85/1.2L II, 135/2L, 200/2L IS, or 300/2.8L IS II (if you're addicted to primes). Or Zeiss if that's your poison. Good luck with mounting a 55/1.4 Otus to that Galaxy Note.

Comment: Administrative politics (Score 4, Insightful) 253

This is about office politics. The administration at his school has decided to make an example out of him, and they're using these science experiments as an excuse to make his life miserable. That's what this is really about. He doesn't toe the line, so someone with power has decided to exert their authority.

To make this about gun politics is as equally absurd as to say that we should stop kids from eating any food because there's an obesity epidemic. These science projects are no more related to actual firearms than the gas stove in your kitchen is related to a nuclear bomb. The only plausible explanation for this situation is that Schiller dared to butt heads with some administrator, and this is payback.

Comment: Re:As long as the Republicans... (Score 1) 359

by wickerprints (#46764055) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

It's not quite so simple as supply and demand, however. The problem is that if you flood the market with more housing given the current price levels and demand, prices would take a LONG time to head back down once the demand is met (and that's assuming that the demand is ever met at all). Simply put, there's just so much existing scarcity that even massive amounts of new development would only serve to blunt the increasing trend in housing cost, rather than actually hoping to bring it down.

That's not to say development is not part of the solution--it absolutely, absolutely is--it's just that the current state of affairs is so entirely fucked up, and has been allowed to persist for so long, that what you'll see if you open the floodgates of new development is that in the short term, you get all the negative consequences (gentrification, displacement) while serving only the ultra rich who can afford those new housing units, but none of the long-term, aggregate benefits of lower housing costs that are decades down the line.

Comment: Phrased poorly (Score 1) 581

by wickerprints (#46725921) Attached to: Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

I'd like to interpret Bloomberg's statement to mean that it isn't realistic (or even desirable) to expect every blue-collar worker to be able to retrain in a highly technical field. Sure, some would be able to make that transition, but it's like asking programmers if they would have the desire to become physicians. It's not that people aren't smart or dedicated enough to do it, so much as it is the idea that a career in the tech sector is not some universal solution to everyone's job woes.

I also think that people who advocate such statements (very often, they are CEOs of tech companies) tend to have ulterior motives: they want to be able to pay their workers less money for more (and higher quality) output. While you might not blame them for having such a goal, I find it disingenuous how they wrap this desire up in some feel-good, altruistic sounding wish for more coders, more people to learn programming and computer skills, as if this is something that will create jobs. It doesn't work that way. Instead, it increases competition for existing jobs. These companies keep complaining about how there aren't enough skilled workers to fill the positions they have, but what they really mean is that there aren't enough *CHEAP* skilled workers. That's why they push this propaganda about H1B, teaching programming to kids, and fantasies about coal miners taking off their hardhats and learning Python and C#.

Comment: If she wanted them to have the data (Score 4, Insightful) 465

by wickerprints (#46416435) Attached to: Apple Refuses To Unlock Bequeathed iPad

Fundamentally, I see this as a security issue. If the deceased wanted someone to have the data on the iPad, she should have provided the means to have access to that data. You can't just bequeath it in a will and then expect everyone else to sort it out after you're gone. That's inconsiderate.

It's also hypocritical to hold a company up to high standards for maintaining security and user privacy, and then at the same time blame them for not just rolling over and handing over the means to decrypt that information. It's not Apple's responsibility to give the family that ability, but the owner of that content. If I have years of personal photos that I've encrypted and bequeathed to someone, I'm sure as hell not going to just say, "here, you get this hard drive full of encrypted memories, but good luck decrypting it--I'm taking the decryption keys to my grave." That's stupid.

Even if Apple can unlock that data and eventually does so, think about how that might look to some people, who would NOT want their heirs/family/descendants to have the means to rummage through their personal data. You see this happen all the time--families of the deceased try to weasel their way into secrets and intimate histories of those who died. If all it might take is some lawyers and potentially dubious documentation to get around a dead person's privacy, then I would think twice about leaving any personal data behind.

Comment: curve = stack ranking (Score 1) 264

by wickerprints (#46215205) Attached to: Adjusting GPAs: A Statistician's Effort To Tackle Grade Inflation

Grading on a curve is no different than stack ranking in the workplace. Why are so many of you advocating for the former when the latter is so universally reviled? Is it because with stack ranking, we're talking about livelihoods and money?

The way to fix grade inflation is to fix society's expectations of GPA and the meaning of grades themselves. That includes the way corporations view academic credentials and transcripts. If you want honest assessment of a student's performance, then start by fixing your own biases and unrealistic expectations that the only qualified candidates should have a 4.0 GPA, 2 PhDs, 3 MS degrees, have been published in at least a dozen research journals in their field, wrote their own operating system from scratch, and is a 3-time Ironman champion...just to be hired for some low-level QA assistant job. Unless of course you're an H1B from India, in which case the triathlete is now "overqualified."

I think that's the real dirty secret everyone knows but nobody is willing to acknowledge. The fact is, grades were lower in the 50s and 60s because people STILL GOT HIRED, and competition was not as fierce as it is today. Everyone knows that GPA these days doesn't reflect true ability or learning, but instead, how well you know how to game the system, which is exactly what corporate America wants anyway--just look at what they teach in all the MBA mills. Those are your future bosses, middle managers, executives. All ambition and buzzwords, but no substance; driving business decisions that treat the engineers, developers, scientists, and in general anyone who actually KNOWS anything...like slaves.

So, you want to fix the system by adjusting GPAs? Fix the way GPAs are used as a stick to beat qualified job applicants with, and then we can talk.

Comment: Re:Very weird story (Score 1) 894

Fine the relevant agencies 100 billion dollars. It would all be for naught anyway--it comes out of the taxpayer's wallet, and nothing gets changed in terms of policy. That's the problem with government agencies: when there is political support for their mandate, even if they are guilty of egregious overreach in their authority, they can waste unlimited amounts of money without being held accountable.

Now, if instead the politicians' and employees own personal bank accounts were to be emptied every time the public deems they have done something wrong, THAT would change Washington overnight in a heartbeat. But who is the "public?" How do we hold these power-hungry thieves accountable? By "elections?"

"A mind is a terrible thing to have leaking out your ears." -- The League of Sadistic Telepaths

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