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Comment Re:Let's take them at their word, and count bodies (Score 1) 199

Therefore society should totally abandon enforcing laws against bank robbery until it has reduced gambling losses from $92 billion to something close to $29.5 million.

We have already effectively done that with smaller personal robberies. If a house or car is robbed, unless the owner is rich, or politically connected, the closest the police come to an investigation is to take a statement over the phone. There has to be an injury or fatality to get an officer to show up. Our society already made that choice, the bar is just a little lower than your example...

Comment Re:I doesn't matter (Score 1) 199

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I find it interesting that so many are willing to sacrifice MY freedom in the interests of THEIR (illusion of) safety, then the safest (real safety) place I can think of would probably be an isolation cell inside a SuperMax prison. Barring any suicidal tendencies, you'd be pretty damn safe sitting in one of those rooms.

Maybe we just need to divert some tax dollars to building "safe facilities" for the cowards who think they need to be protected from all of the dangers their imaginations cook up.

We have many such places, and every so often, all of our elected officials are scurried into them. Now we just have to figure out how to keep them there...

Comment Re:Of course it didn't. (Score 2) 199

Why hasn't he gotten in trouble legally? Probably because Congress had already been informed of the truth, and Wyden asked a highly inappropriate question in an inappropriate place as a form of grandstanding.

Wyden’s Stunt Was Congress at its Worst

The question Wyden asked is only inappropriate if the programs Clapper was being asked about should have legitimately been classified. If the programs themselves are being protected under the national security act inappropriately, then there is no issue. The simple fact is that one of two things is at play here, and the courts /congress will likely have to sort it out in the weeks and months to come.

Option 1: The national security act did in fact allow for the programs which clapper was asked to speak about, in which case, clapper was prohibited, by law from speaking about it. In that case, the national security act itself is demonstrably unconstitutional, and needs to be / hopefully will be struck down as such.

Option 2: (the more likely option) The NSA's programs extended beyond the authority granted by the national security act, and as such, no national security protections should have been afforded to Wydens questioning. Under this scenario, there is no question that Clappers responsibility was to fully disclose the programs in accordance with the will of congress, although, ironically, it may have been in Clappers best interests to plead the fifth... All in all, Clappers choice to lie to congress was about the dumbest thing he could have chosen to do, but it is in keeping with an agency that believes itself to be above congress, above the law, and most dangerously, above the constitution of the United States of America.

Comment Re:Mod Parent Down (Score 2) 141

Hell, our graduates who can barely communicate in english are getting great jobs.

That's because the first thing an employer thinks when they find someone with broken English is "Cool, temporary worker, I don't have to provide benefits!", A 70k job without benefits in Boston or Silicon Valley is basically equivalent to a minimum wage job in other parts of the USA. You can live on it, but its got no future.

I graduated in the 2001 meltdown, and was unable to get engineering work. I took whatever work I could get, but ultimately, I joined a start-up instead. Where I currently live, there is nothing in engineering jobs within 200 miles in any direction. I'm not saying there is nothing worth having, I'm saying there is nothing at all. I went looking to find out what I should offer when i needed to bring on my first employee, and discovered I could offer 30k with minimal benefits, and I still got over 300 applications. I ultimately ended up paying 45k with somewhat better benefits, because I was impressed by the guy, but I probably could have held my ground and still got him anyways. Down the road, I expect he will transition well to a leadership role as we grow further.

If you look on monster.com, or dice, for "engineering", there are remarkably few postings. For the geographic northeast USA, there were only 35 new postings per day, for all jobs matching the term "engineering". That is out of a population of 50 million people. By contrast, my school graduated 2000 engineering students the year I graduated. In the US, every year, more than 50k engineering students graduate. That's only enough jobs for the existing graduating class for this country, add to that the 600,000 Chinese graduates and 350,000 Indian graduates who are all competing for these same jobs, its no wonder everyone wants to increase the H1-B visas. If we could expand the labor pool to include both of those labor sources, we can thoroughly unbalance the supply and drive labor costs down. The labor supply in both China and India dramatically outweighs the demand, in large part because of the belief in the ability to enter the american job market. These people do not want to live in the states permanently, just stay a decade or so, and save up to retire "back home". An Indian worker can earn enough in the US in fifteen years to effectively retire when they return to India. For rural Chinese, the duration is even shorter, although the cost of living in China is increasing rapidly. These are people that american companies do not have to pay benefits, nor retirement expenses for. This effectively cuts the payroll expense in half, even if the worker earns the same wage.

As a former job seeker, I fully understand how it sucks. As an employer, I am in a position to pay an american worker, but largely because in my current line of business I have no effective competition yet. When that changes, and I have to compete, I will be taking the least expensive option.

Comment Re:I actually learn at work (Score 3, Interesting) 308

Not OP. It's one of those positions that make sure your project doesn't turn into healthcare.gov, which is what happens when you don't design the system before you start writing code.

It is a position that is made necessary because many coders cannot handle co-operation on a large project without an authority telling them how their piece of the project should work. A small group of fully competent coders could have built healthcare.gov in a couple of months. The problem is that the task was given to the lowest bidder, and the coders involved did not have the experience (among other shortcomings), and the project clearly lacked leadership of any kind. One or the other was required, and both were absent.

I have seen a 10 man group finish a project that ultimately ended up being about 200k LOC in three months. The project was completed early, and was fully functional on completion, including the B and C priorities. The group did not have a leader, and each member of the group had their own area of expertise. In theory, each of them had authority over their own piece, and the others could collectively override decisions made by one member. In practice, no one ever got overridden, because if the decision was bigger than their own little piece, they built informal consensus first. The group held no formal meetings, and management was terrified of messing with the group because of their long track record of success. No manager wanted anything to do with the group, and being assigned as their manager terrified everyone, because if the group ever failed to perform, it would automatically be assumed that it was the managers fault... In the end, some dimwit got the bright idea that breaking up the group, and "seeding" other groups would somehow create 10 groups with the capabilities of the original. Didn't work so hot, As you can imagine it didn't take long for the people to leave. Last I heard, two of them were still there, but the other eight had moved on.

At the end of the day, the best products are made by *very* small groups of highly capable people. You cannot make people like that, they are born. Experience can improve the quality and performance of all coders, but intuition cannot be manufactured, only purchased. The moral of the story is if you have a powerful working group, don't mess with it, You are overwhelmingly more likely to do harm than good. If you are trying to assemble such a group, all the coding tests in the world will not help, because their strength is not in how experienced they are, nor how well they can solve problems, but how they interact with each other to amplify their productivity. You need a group of people with varied points of view, that can cooperate. They don't have to be super-stars. They don't have to have 30 years of experience. In fact, ego is the biggest impediment to a successful team.

Comment Re:Next job? (Score 3, Insightful) 308

There are a million examples of people moving up through the ranks, most promotions happen from within organizations, not from outside. Just look at the new Ford CEO.

Which is exactly why companies eventually collapse under their own weight. Companies are first and foremost a hierarchical organization. This automatically makes them a political organization, and where politics goes, groupthink goes. After that it doesn't take much to make the leap to mediocrity. Any group of individuals that is capable of working against this trend is going to leave and start their own company, and reap the benefits for themselves. End result is that the only people left are the ones who cant think for themselves, and an organization that spends a great deal of time and money reinforcing their own prejudices. The only real way out of this is a massive upheaval, like a hostile takeover, or a bankruptcy, and even those tend to be temporary solutions.

Comment Re:NSA failed to halt subprime lending, though. (Score 1) 698

What qualifications do you have that allow you to reliably discern the TRUTH from the lies?

Are you 100% sure you aren't drinking someone else's brand of koolaid?

What makes your sources of information more reliable than other peoples'?

Often when someone is pushing a story about a vast conspiracy, the conspiracy is fictional, or at least highly exaggerated, and the people pushing the conspiracy narrative have their own political reasons for pushing it.

There need be no vast conspiracy; only individuals in certain positions acting in enlightened self interest. The consequences of unrestrained capitalism and the increasing monetization of democracy are obvious in hind-sight and enough smart people have extrapolated the pattern from past experiences that we can be reasonably certain where this ride stops...

Comment Re:Why you *should* buy a 4k Monitor this year (Score 1) 271

how's the color accuracy?

Its pretty awful. Its bad enough that even my untrained eye can detect it. It should be noted, however, that I have no real need for color accuracy. For everything else it is superb (once you get the settings on the display right: They are wrong by default, badly wrong...)

Comment Re:Also Linux friendly (Score 1) 271

The Seiki TVs are absolutely horrible as computer monitors ESPECIALLY for photo work.

As someone who has one, about the only drawback they have is the imperfect color, but if you're not doing photo work, they are excellent. I find it an immense improvement over the 4 screen setup I had before. They are awesome for any kind of programming work, but they really shine for cad work. I can finally put an entire design on the screen at once without the bezels in the way. Being able to put an entire source file in one tall window, and still having 80% of my screen left for other things isn't too shabby either. I estimate that this has given me a 10% boost in productivity because I don't have to keep hunting for the application I want on the task bar.

On a side note, although the colors are wrong, the display is crystal clear, and even very small fonts can be read without difficulty. You do have to do some adjustment, as the display ships with the least useful settings by default, but if it doesn't look right, you have it set wrong.

Comment Re:2 Words (Score 4, Insightful) 810

You forgot cold weather.

I own a Miev, and cold weather (Upstate NY) barely affects my range. The effect on the batteries is basically nil. The only real difference is the need to use the heater, which does affect range a bit. (Maybe takes 5% off the range for any given trip).

The real problem is complete lack of quality marketing. Even the local Mitsubishi dealership complains that corporate does basically no advertising, and what little they do is centered around the "save the planet" thing. This is stupid. You're not going to get people to cough up an extra 10 - 15k in one lump sum in support of the environment. Their marketing should never even address environmental issues. The most effective marketing they could do would be a total cost of ownership comparison between themselves and a corolla, or civic. You might throw in a little bit about safety ratings, but not a peep about the environment.

Comment Re: Outright bans are not smart (Score 1) 376

Is it? How do you spearate the effect of the tax from the massive anti-smoking ad campaigns and the fact the folks who would probably be the core demographic otherwise all grew up being subject to anti-tobacco propaganda in public schools almost every day?

Its not like anyone ever tries a scientific approach to these social experiments and tries just one variable. Consider gas taxes, if taxes alone we good drivers of consumer demand why were CAFE standards enacted? Should not the existence of a gas tax created and incentive toward dramatically more fuel efficient cars and trucks?

Tax policies only work to reduce demand for an item if it changes the dynamic such that an otherwise more expensive alternative is cheaper. In the case of gasoline powered vehicles, no such alternative was cost-effective until relatively recently. Now, we are seeing a slow but steady move towards alternative fuel vehicles as the cost of gasoline has become high enough (because of the taxes) that alternatives are comparable and viable.

The root of the problem with the cost of gasoline is that american vehicle buyers are either incapable or unwilling to do a true cost of ownership analysis between all of the vehicle options. If they did said analysis (which I have done), they would have concluded that in the last 5 years, the newly introduced pure electric cars from various manufacturers are the least expensive option in the long run. The TCO for a Honda civic over the life of the car (15 years) is $90,000. (sticker price of $14,000). The TCO for a Mitsubishi Miev over that same 15 years is $65,000 (base price $33,000). People go by sticker shock and don't think any further down the line. It's why our elected officials have such a hard time selling universal, or single payer health care. Nobody wants to be paying for healthcare for other people, but they never consider the fact that universal health care will save them money in the long run. All they care about is right now.

Comment Re:Control... (Score 1) 926

Really... So "human nature" has not changed, ever, in the history of our species? That's a remarkably grim (not to mention) view of humanity and it's potential. BTW, your metaphors don't work either. We are not sheep, or wolves, though I'll admit that the comparison are, at times, tempting. We have capabilities far beyond what those instinct driven animals possess. To suggest that we do not is just absurd.

Human nature can change as a function of evolution. Too bad we have pretty effectively suspended evolution as it applies to humans...

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