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Comment Re:Cry me a river. (Score 1) 660

Actually, poorer women tend to have higher birth rates. Education and access to contraception are two of the most relevant factors in a lower birth rate, and these are woefully lacking for most poor American women. I found this Census Bureau paper with some data from 2006 showing that women in lower income brackets have much higher birth rates.

Comment Re:surprising really (Score 5, Insightful) 184

Strikes and unions just don't make sense for unskilled labor. And just because it's electronics doesn't make it skilled - if you're doing something that could be replaced with a robotic arm, it's not "skilled", skilled refers to mental skills, not physical.

Actually, unions make far more sense for unskilled laborers. As an engineer, I don't need a union to bargain for my wages. My bargaining power lies in the fact that my skills are in short supply. Companies must pay me competitive market wages because it would take them years to train someone to replace me. Contrast that with an unskilled laborer. They have no bargaining power by themselves because, by definition, they can easily be replaced by anybody else the company hires. Only by joining with all the other unskilled workers do they gain any sort of bargaining power. A single unskilled worker threatening to quit has no real effect on a factory, but the entire group of laborers can effectively shut down the factory in the short-term.

Unions can be pretty fucked up in practice, but in theory they represent the only way unskilled laborers can gain any sort of bargaining power.

Comment Re:I'll take getting a job Alex (Score 1) 630

Anyone halfway competent with a Comp Sci degree could easily make six figures with your 7 years of post-degree work experience, and those degree holders who also have your passion for self-training are making far more than that.

It's not that people can't do well without a comp sci degree but that they would almost invariably be doing far better with one.

Comment Re:ok, like IBM and others didn't exploit customer (Score 1) 244

Old accounts were grandfathered in, but all new accounts require you to go through Facebook. I think they changed this a year ago. I learned this the hard way recently when I tried to create a Spotify account. I've deleted my Facebook account, and I have desire to create a dummy account for bullshit like this.

Comment Re:Where? (Score 3, Insightful) 715

The "That's what she said" and other sexist jokes are definitely a problem, but I don't see anything wrong with the rest of your stereotype. If girls don't like the geek culture, fuck 'em. The same goes for all the guys who think they're too cool for it. I like that an argument in the break room is as likely to be Star Wars vs Star Trek as it is to be emacs vs vi. I want to be able to say "The cake is a lie" without explaining myself.

Comment Re:I bought a house (Score 1) 651

No, he is not. First, I doubt you can find investments with GUARANTEED returns, ZERO risk, and 100% liquidity that beat his mortgage rate. Maybe he does not want to work for a living.

His house is not 100% liquid, as the housing bust shows, but your point is still very good. He says he could have gotten a 4% mortgage rate. Here is how a guaranteed investment compares to the major stock indices over the past 15 years:

4% guaranteed: 80.1% return
NASDAQ: 114.8% return
S&P: 70.5% return
DJIA: 87.3% return

Taxes would have been paid on the investment returns, so the after-tax gain would be lower. However, mortgage interest is also deductible, so the guaranteed return would be lower too. Let's assume the two roughly would cancel each other out. That means that for a guaranteed return, paying off a 4% mortgage is in the same ballpark as putting the money into stocks. Given that some (many?) people clearly value being loan-free, it's foolish to say that it was a poor use of his money.

Comment Re:Again with the visas (Score 2) 630

Do you have anything to back up your assertion? I'm going to guess you don't live in the valley, aren't an engineer, or both. Wages are going up all over the valley. Decent engineers are getting good salaries and excellent engineers are getting even more. Beyond my anecdotal observations, check Glassdoor if you think valley companies are paying low wages to good workers.

Comment Re:Again with the visas (Score 5, Interesting) 630

If you can't find a software development job in the Bay Area, the problem isn't foreigners, it's you. As a developer who just switched jobs in the past year, I can tell you that jobs are plentiful. Tech companies are doing well as a whole, and the success of the biggest employers (Google, Facebook, Apple) has put excellent pressure on the market, from an employee perspective. Yes, even considering their no poaching agreement, they're driving up wages across the valley.

Comment Re:And yet... (Score 4, Insightful) 188

Don't be so quick to resort to the usual (and frankly, warranted) pessimism. Yesterday may have been a pivotal moment when the power of the technical community was finally realized. Multiple senators dropped their sponsorship of PIPA. My senators' phone lines were busy all day long. While it's certainly a possibility that everything will return to business as usual, we finally saw a glimmer of the numbers of the masses overwhelming the influence of the money of the few. We have so few other avenues left, so we might as well see if this can effect real change.

Comment Re:And how is this news? (Score 1) 188

"along the lines of Gaddafi and Assad"? As in, he has brown skin? While not meeting the western standard of good, you can just as easily lump Obama in the same category for failing to veto NDAA. Let's use a tiny bit of perspective.

As in they are all part of the larger Arab Spring movement.

And yes, Obama's signing of NDAA, assassination of al-Awlaki, and litany of other civil rights violations are unequivocally reprehensible. However, until he rolls tanks into a Republican campaign event, it's absurd to put him on the same level as Arab despots.

Comment Re:The end is what matters (Score 4, Informative) 225

The American government spends so much money that even if every single income tax payer was paying 100% of their income in tax, there would still be a deficit. Most of that deficit is military spending.

2010 Federal Spending: $3.46 Trillion
2010 Federal Tax Recipts: $2.16 Trillion
2010 DoD, Social Security, and Medicare/Medicaid spending: ~$700-$800 billion apiece
(Sourced from Wikipedia, so take with the usual Wiki grain of salt.)

2010 US Per Capita Income: ~$40k
2010 US Population: ~300 Million
2010 US Income Tax receipts: $900 Billion
(Sourced from here, here, and here, respectively.

Putting on our big boy hats and doing some math, here are some interesting facts we can get from those statistics. First, defense spending is one of only three major pillars of our deficit, and it's project to expand at a far slower rate than Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid. Second, taxpayers rake in ~$12 Trillion in income but only pay $900 Billion currently, so we could easily run a surplus by raising taxes. Third, people with no knowledge of orders of magnitude should not spew FUD that will further confuse a public that has little knowledge of how much money comes into and goes out of government coffers.

Comment Re:Get another party into congress (Score 5, Interesting) 477

Despite all that is politically fucked in California, or maybe because of it, we're taking baby steps towards weakening the grip of the two party system.

Citizen Redistricting Commission - The legislature no longer gets to gerrymander districts in their favor. Instead, redistricting is done by a citizen's commission drawn from multiple parties and independents. Both the Republicans and Democrats are mad about the recently released maps, which is probably a good indicator that the commission is doing good work.

Nonpartisan Primary - All candidates from all parties compete in the same primary, and the top two candidates advance to the main election. The initial effect should be to eliminate hyperpartisan extremists, but getting more moderates into office will only bode well for passing future changes to the election system.

Instant Runoff Voting - Some cities, most notably San Francisco and Oakland, have switched to IRV. IRV is basically the next step after nonpartisan primaries, so hopefully it will move statewide if it's seen as successful in city elections. Unfortunately, Jean Quan, Oakland's mayor, only won because of IRV and is now coming under fire for mishandling Occupy. The fear is that people may equate IRV with producing bad politicians, even though the traditional voting system has created more than its fair share of horrible politicians.

If things continue progressing in California, this bodes well for the nation as a whole. We were ahead of the game on having completely dysfunctional hyperpartisan politics. Term limits and other measures didn't make things better, and perhaps even made it worse. If these new steps lead to a more civil and productive legislature, hopefully the trends will get picked up nationwide.

Comment Re:No bubble here. (Score 5, Informative) 434

Note: Facebook is valued at a P/E of ~125. 12 is about average.

That's the average for an established company. IPOs and other companies with strong growth potentials often have much higher P/E ratios. For example, Google's P/E was well over 100 when they went public, and now it is down to 21 as they are a much more mature company. That said, distinguishing between companies with strong growth potential and irrational exuberance is extremely difficult. I think Facebook falls in the latter camp, although certainly not with enough confidence to put my money where my mouth is.

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