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Comment: Re:This means nothing without context (Score 1) 265

by wired_parrot (#47327943) Attached to: Tech Workforce Diversity At Facebook Similar To Google And Yahoo

Even taking into account the lowest of your figures of 3.6% black graduates in Computer Science, this would still leave the 1% rate of black employees at Facebook substantially lower than their potential hiring pool. Also consider that Facebook reported that their percentage of black employees among non-tech workers is not any better at a measly 2%. Considering that blacks represent 10% of all college graduates, this would imply that your average black college graduate is 5 times less likely to be hired at Facebook than a person of different ethnicity.

Sorry if that doesn't give your axes a nice fine edge, folks, but the likes of Google, Yahoo, and Facebook don't hire only misogynist racists for their HR departments - In fact, all three soundly beat the above graduation rates, making them arguably biased against hiring white males.

Their hiring numbers for women may be in line with graduation rates in computer science, but their minority hiring is significantly lower than graduation rates, no matter how you look at the numbers. And given their large employee sizes, this a statistically significant hiring bias. Turning a blind eye to the statistical reality won't make the problem go away.

Comment: Re:This means nothing without context (Score 2) 265

by wired_parrot (#47325909) Attached to: Tech Workforce Diversity At Facebook Similar To Google And Yahoo

What is the percentage of black, women, etc people with the skills and training that google, facebook, etc is looking for?

Are there out of work fully qualified programmers that can't work at facebook because they are black? Maybe the ratio is the way it is simply because there are not enough minorities looking for high end development work (Unlike baseball). That doesn't make it Facebook's fault if it is truly hiring the most qualified workers.

8% of MIT's class is black Among the general college population the numbers are closer to 14%. But even assuming Facebook, Google and Yahoo were exclusively recruiting from the top Ivy-league universities, their numbers should be significantly higher than the mere 1% of black employees that they are showing. If my company were showing such significantly different demographics from the graduate population they are recruiting from, especially among such a large employee base, we'd be under investigation for racial discrimination.

Comment: Re:Ok, next question. (Score 1) 275

by wired_parrot (#47271773) Attached to: Elon Musk: I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026
The type of person you want on a dangerous and risky mission to mars is one with strong survival instincts, one who will do everything in his means to ensure the survival of the mission. That is the exact opposite of the type of person who'd volunteer for a one-way mission. You do not want a person willing to die in charge of a multi billion dollar endeavour. And if you did volunteer on that mission, you wouldn't want your team members to be suicidally prone.

Comment: Re:Most qualified and motivated candidates? (Score 1) 435

by wired_parrot (#47264143) Attached to: Yahoo's Diversity Record Is Almost As Bad As Google's

I thought that competitive business was supposed to hire the most qualified and motivated candidates? Seriously, get out there, carve out your own space, and get hired! "Diversity" is just a politically correct buzzword and is not guaranteed to lead to an agile workforce..

Except that African-Americans represent 10% of graduating students and about the same percentage of computer science grads. Even among an Ivy-League technical college like MIT, blacks represent 8% of the college body. I can't expect Yahoo and Google to fix social problems in the US, but I would expect that their employee ethnic makeup roughly reflect the ethnic makeup of the colleges from which they are recruiting from. The fact that their percentage of black students is 8-10 times lower than their available recruiting pool implies to me either a systematic bias or discrimination in their hiring practices.

Comment: Re:May Day???? (Score 1) 247

by wired_parrot (#47204077) Attached to: Mayday Anti-PAC On Its Second Round of Funding

At least now, bad as it is, I get to contribute to groups that represent my views, even if imperfectly. Seriously, with all the abuses of other moneyed interests,(mine, of course never abuse the system) no one has ever even tried to explain something better to me.

Here in Québec we have a campaign contribution limit of $100 per person, and a total campaign spending limit for each party of roughly $1 per elector in the province. This ensured that no one had a disproportionate financial impact in the election, while still allowing me to contribute to the group that I wished. Despite what may seem to be low limits, we had a healthy campaign, with a diverse number of parties. And considering that 4 different parties managed to elect representatives to the assembly, with a high rate of voter turnout, I'd say our democracy is faring better than in the U.S.

So yes, there are better models of campaign financing out there if the US was serious about campaign finance reform

+ - Thai police: we'll get you for online social media criticism->

Submitted by wired_parrot
wired_parrot (768394) writes "After a leading protester of the recent military coup in Thailand made several critical posts in Facebook criticizing the military takeover, Thailand's Technology Crime Suppression Division tracked his location through his IP address and promptly arrested him.. The arrested was meant to send a message to Thailand's online community. Said the police: "I want to tell any offenders on social media that police will come get you"."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:3000km is not a lot in the U.S. . . . . (Score 1) 363

by wired_parrot (#47171795) Attached to: Group Demonstrates 3,000 Km Electric Car Battery

This is a hybrid system, with the Lithium-Ion battery being used for daily commutes and the Aluminum-Air battery only kicking for long distances. The regular range of an electric car like the Nissan Leaf is 135km, which covers most daily commutes, including yours. If you were only using the car for commuting and regularly charged the Li-Ion battery, the Al-air battery should in theory last indefinitely.

The Aluminum-Air battery will only be drained for those long-distance trips which exceed the range of the Li-Ion battery, and only then for the segments of the trip where the Li-Ion battery wasn't charged. Hence their claim that one ought to be able to extend the 3000km life-cycle of the Al-Air battery over at least 2 years.

+ - H R Giger dead: Alien artist and designer died aged 74-> 2

Submitted by M3.14
M3.14 (1616191) writes "H. R. Giger, the Swiss artist and designer of Ridley Scott's Alien, has died, aged 74. Hans Rudolf 'Ruedi' Giger sustained injuries caused by a fall, Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung has reported (German link. English summary here). The terrifying creature and sets he created for Ridley Scott’s film earned him an Oscar for special effects in 1980. In the art world, Giger is appreciated for his wide body of work in the fantastic realism and surrealistic genres. Film work was just one of his talents. Giger is also known for his sculptures, paintings and furniture. The H.R. Giger Museum, inaugurated in the summer of 1998 in the Château St. Germain, is a four-level building complex in the historic, medieval walled city of Gruyères. It is the permanent home to many of the artist’s most prominent works."
Link to Original Source

+ - Russia Retaliates: Blocks GPS, Bans US Use Of Its Rocket Engines->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Moscow is banning Washington from using Russian-made rocket engines, which the US has used to deliver its military satellites into orbit, said Russia’s Deputy PM, Dmitry Rogozin, who is in charge of space and defense industries.

According to Rogozin, Russia is also halting the operation of all American GPS stations on its territory from June 1.

Russia currently hosts 11 ground-based GPS stations, the Deputy PM said.

The move comes after the US refused to place a signal correction station for Russia’s own space-based satellite navigation system, GLONASS, on American territory, he explained.

This is a major problem for the US military because (as Bloomberg reports),

The Pentagon has no “great solution” to reduce its dependence on a Russian-made engine that powers the rocket used to launch U.S. military satellites, the Defense Department’s top weapons buyer said.

“We don’t have a great solution,” Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, said yesterday after testifying before a Senate committee. “We haven’t made any decisions yet.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the Air Force to review its reliance on the rocket engine after tensions over Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region prompted questions from lawmakers about that long-time supply connection.

United Launch Alliance LLC, a partnership of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co., uses the Russian-made RD-180 engine on Atlas V rockets."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Autoimmune disorder... (Score 2) 350

There is huge risk in sending out the swat team, this has been proven time and time again, by far the safer and quicker response is by a properly managed police force and confirmation being sought by 'actively' patrolling police officers. No public call should ever, I repeat ever, activate the swat team, only a request by a senior officer on site should bring the dogs out.

And this appears to be exactly what happened in this case, as the kid is being charged with multiple attempts at swatting only. The attempted calls to the investigative reporter were defused by calls from the local police department. The police appear to have learned their lesson from previous swatting incidents, and no tactical teams were deployed.

Comment: Re:Autoimmune disorder... (Score 1) 350

In the articles linked, it is mentioned that he is being charged with making bomb threats and attempted swatting. In the case of the investigative reporter targeted, he was targeted three times and each time the situation was defused with a simple phone call from the police department or a drive-by from a beat cop, with no swat team intervention. Thus, despite concerns here about the police overreacting, the police in all cases calmly verified the situation, avoiding the need to send in a tactical team.

In the case of bomb threats, there is no way to properly verify the situation without doing a thorough search and evacuating the building. If you know better way, police departments across North America would like to know.

Comment: Pitfalls of sharing economy (Score 5, Insightful) 255

This is why I am critical of the sharing economy. It is is the pinnacle of outsourcing where the management (uber, airbnb) reaps the cream of the profits at little risk, while their "subcontractors", so to speak, take the burden of all the risks (legally and financially), while also having to shoulder maintenance and operating expenses. The responsible and ethical move for these companies would be to properly inform these subcontractors the insurance requirements, legal risks, local workplace standards required for operation, and try to assist them if possible to meet these requirements.

Instead, they prefer to claim ignorance and shoulder all responsibility on their user base. When legal problems inevitably arise, they cast their users/subcontractors adrift, letting them fend for themselves. It's utterly disgraceful.

Comment: His question was important and legitimate (Score 3, Insightful) 396

I don't understand the hatred towards Snowden for asking an important question regarding surveillance. From the linked article his question:

"So I'd like to ask you, does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals? And do you believe that simply increasing the effectiveness of intelligence or law enforcement investigations can justify placing societies, rather than subjects, under surveillance?"

It is a perfectly valid question which needs to be asked to all world leaders. While Putin's answer can certainly be seen as pure political spin, the question itself is a legitimate and forceful question to be posed. And by asking it, it forced Putin to provide an answer through which he can be measured against. He has basically said in nationwide tv that if they did have a mass surveillance system, the state would be breaking the law. This public statement can now be used to hold him accountable should evidence surface proving him as lying.

I would also argue that the question is a far more direct one regarding surveillance than any that has been posed to Obama. And unlike Putin, Obama insists such a surveillance program is legal and necessary. One cannot reform the system without admitting the problem first. Were Obama to give the same answer as Putin to that question, the repercussions would be enormous, as it places a moral and legal standard on the role of surveillance in our society from the chief executive of the nation itself.

Comment: This is great and all but... (Score 1) 98

by wired_parrot (#46766599) Attached to: Google Looked Into Space Elevator, Hoverboards, and Teleportation

They've gotten themselves into autonomous cars, fiber optic internet, robotics, and Wi-Fi balloons.

That's all great, but if I was shareholder I'd be worried about what their long-term vision for the company is. Sure, their R&D projects are a geek's wet dream, but they are unfocused. They appear to try and cover any and all emerging technologies, from wide variety of disparate sectors. Apple tries to focus on the consumer electronics sector. Google? I'm not quite sure what they are trying to be, and as an investor I'd be wary in investing in a company with such a schizophrenic view of its future.

Comment: Re:Not going to work... (Score 4, Informative) 408

A while back I was prescribed an anti-depressant. The doctor said he didn't know if it would work for me. He said it wasn't even well understood *how* it worked.

You had a bad and uninformed doctor. A good doctor should have at least a general idea of how the medication works, and he certainly shouldn't be prescribing drugs without knowing if they'd work or how!

That confused me because presumably whatever was in the pill was added for a reason, but clearly there's a lot of trial and error. And clearly there are extremely nasty side effects from many drugs.

So many pharmaceuticals' effectiveness may be overrated, as may be their safety. I'm not sure some medicinal plants are necessarily less effective or less safe.

Presumably chemicals in our drugs are often extracted from nature. why wouldn't the same chemicals in their natural form have the same potential to work? For example, willow bark has salicin (from whence aspirin came), and has been used medicinally since the time of Hippocrates.

There may be side effects from pharmaceutical drugs, but they are well understood as a result of the extensive testing they are required to go through, and a lot of effort is made to minimize those side effects. Medicinal plants have the same range of side effects. The difference is herbal medicine doesn't go through scientific testing, it's side effects are not required to be labeled and are not as well understood. Drugs that are isolated from medicinal herbs will typically try to isolate the active ingredient, reducing the chances of side effects from other plant ingredients that may have unwanted pharmacological properties and refining the dosage to the minimum necessary.

The idea of treating the whole person instead of just the symptom is a growing concern in western medicine. This has always been the defining characteristic of homeopathy's holistic approach.

So many homeopathic treatments are almost certainly bunk, but throwing out all homeopathy may be short sighted, just as throwing out all of western medicine would be.

The defining characteristic of homeopathy is the "like cures like" approach, with medicine prepared from repeated dilution. This has been repeatedly proven to be bunk and without merit. If the core fundamentals of their medical approach is false, having been consistently disproven, why shouldn't the whole field be throw out as discredited and without merit?

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI

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