Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment Re:Bye-bye! (Score 1) 997

the standard 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (which we have Henry Ford to thank for - he carefully researched the optimum working time for assembly line workers)

Ford was indeed one of the first companies to grant factory workers an 8 hour work day, and a 5 hour work week, but this was not the result of some scientific calculation of "optimum working time". This was at a time of violent conflict between industrialists and labor, and such rates were a concession to the demands of labor, meant to win the favor of employees.

PS. I just read that, at the same time that Ford shortened the work day to 8 hours, it also doubled wages (to $5 per 8 hour day from $2.34 per 9 hour day).

Comment Re:Not the first, won't be the last (Score 2) 347

And the Nobel Prize isn't quite what it used to be, at least the Peace Prize isn't what it used to be. I mean, they gave one to Obama for what they thought he might do, not what he has actually done.

They also gave one to war criminal Henry Kissinger, and one to genocide apologist Teddy Roosevelt -- I don't think it was ever all that honorable. One must imagine that, had he won, Hitler would have gotten one.

Comment Re:open source ipad (Score 1) 199

OK, the difference between a for-profit and a non-profit is that the non-profit does not pay anybody dividends. A non-profit is legally forbidden to reward its investors (who are called "donors"). So, actually, it's completely different, since the entire purpose of a for-profit is to pay dividends to the investors.

A monolith on the moon certainly isn't going to pay anybody dividends in proportion to their investment. Either no investors get paid, or everybody gets the same "dividend" (even those who didn't invest), depending on how you look at it. Either way, it's a non-profit.

WRT OpenMoko, I don't know about their "original mission statement", but they were quite clearly attempting to make a phone with an open hardware platform. And now the company is making another hardware platform unrelated to phones. It's a company full of hardware designers who produce hardware as a product for sale. So I think it's fair to judge them on that basis.

Finally, the difference between taxation and theft is that taxation attempts to take from all in order to enable collective purchases, while theft does not exist to enable collective purchases.

It's really pretty simple.

Comment Re:Better Use? (Score 1) 199

In fact I can think of no better use for a tiny drop in the total sum of money floating around the planet, than a mass exercise in artistic expression. It's kind of the ultimate way of saying, here we are.

This is the question isn't it?

Certain activities are excess, certain are essential. You can't play the game forever: the food people eat is essential to their survival. Art is not, and as excess, it exists only in a situation of abundance of the essential.

The only reason excess can be derided, rightfully, is that the abundance of the essential, and thus art, exists amidst (and indeed is made possible by) the deprivation of the essential from a vast majority of humans. Art and excess are the privilege of the few amidst the many who live in a world of scarcity.

I do realize that one can make the argument that if we wait for justice before beauty, we will just end up with a world that is without both. It is unfortunately rare to see this position coupled with the candor to admit injustice.

Myself, I do not think we should refrain from all fun until the chimera of social justice is conjured -- and I am certain that even the poor and starving, that even those in concentration camps and prisons, find energy to devote to humor and celebration. However, given the state of the world, the message of such a piece of art as this is, to me, a message of the harshest disregard for human suffering and equality.

Comment Re:Get thee to the Supremes (Score 1) 438

No, the OP was quite correct: you lose the constitutional right to privacy when you are arrested (not convicted). RTFA for the relevant supreme court decision.

And of course, those who are arrested are indeed treated like those who are convicted. They are held in the same facilities, subjected to the same restrictions and punishments, and not socially separated in any way. The guards do not even know which is which.

It is said that the COURTS treat the accused as innocent until proven guilty, which is true in a certain way, but no one could ever say such a thing about the "executive branch."

Comment Re:Get thee to the Supremes (Score 2) 438

The reality is that everybody plea bargains. The percentage of cases in which arguments even occur (let alone arguments about constitutionality) is such a tiny minority as to be negligible. Mostly, the accusation leads immediately to a plea bargain which is 1/100th of the maximum penalty (or more, but in proportion to the arrest record of the accused and without regard to the accusation) and is immediately accepted. Neither attorney needs to become familiar with the case.

Comment Re:Define "Liberalism" (Score 1) 841

You don't need to means-test the services if you means-test the taxation rates.

Of course I realize that that isn't done either, for these programs.

There is absolutely no disagreement that the programs in question cannot be sustained without fundamental modification.

(But again that is an exception to the way the majority of federal taxation works -- as a political compromise, "social security" is supposed to be a mandatory mutual insurance scheme, instead of a socialist redistribution.)

Comment Re:Repeat after me (Score 2, Insightful) 371

True, but where there is correlation you have to look for causation.

As a general principle, no, you don't. As a rule of thumb, you are probably safer assuming that a correlation between two variables is the result of a common cause. E.g., in humans, height over 6'5 is strongly correlated with usage of urinals. At no point should you bother to rule out causation (in either direction) in this case.

A more practical example is the media's constant repetition that healthier people have more sex. Of course, they jump to the sexiest but dumbest possible conclusion, that the sex causes the health. But we don't even have to assume that the health causes the sex; in fact we can intuit that health must be only partially the cause, since many healthy behaviors will increase attractiveness completely aside from their health benefits. (Especially diet and its effect on body shape.)

The general principle is that any one cause will have myriad effects, all of which will be correlated with one another. By default, assume a common cause.

Comment Re:Define "Liberalism" (Score 1) 841

OK, you're right, but those two programs are really the exception to the general rule in the USA.

Anyway, in practice, government services generally work much better when they are not "means-tested" -- many problems are much more easily solved when everyone has access. (E.g., stigma of use; perpetual underfunding; overhead associated with the means tests; the exclusion of some who should not be excluded; contention over where to draw the line.)

Slashdot Top Deals

When someone says "I want a programming language in which I need only say what I wish done," give him a lollipop.

Working...