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Comment Re:Professional fraud examiners wouldn't touch (Score 1) 540

in America, the typical Medicare fraud investigation returns $10 dollars or more to the public treasury for every $1 dollar of taxpayer money spent on the investigation.

Can we make that statistic more public? I'd love to see part of the Fiscal Cliff resolved by us spending another $500K or $500M on these sorts of things. And I don't know any Congressman who has gone on the record as publicly desiring "more waste, fraud, and abuse." Some folks love to create new laws and programs; I like to see the existing ones actually implemented and fully funded before evaluating next steps. That ROI for fraud investigation is wonderful.

Comment Re:High risk, low return (Score 1) 98

If you are a LEGO fan that always wanted this set, you will be the one willing to pay the price in order to have it. Its not really investors selling to to investors. Its investors selling to fans that can financially support it or other collectors.

If you are a Lego fan who always wanted the set, you bought it when it was released.

Perhaps he didn't know about that set when it was released. Or perhaps she was a poor starving grad student at the time. Or perhaps ... there are a bunch of reasons why someone wants to buy things now and wasn't buying it then. There was one kid who wanted the Emerald Night Train and his parents told him to save his allowance to buy it; by the time he had saved enough, LEGO was no longer making it.

If I were to buy LEGO nowadays, I'd want more of the classic kits -- the City stuff, the Knights stuff -- and not the movie tie-ins they produce so much of nowadays. And LEGO still makes some of what I like, but things like road plates are not commonly made.

Comment Re:Public vs. Private? (Score 1) 386

I fully agree with you that public jobs require different skill sets than private jobs, and perhaps significantly greater skill and education.

But I also worked at one point for an organization where people took pride in the long hours they worked, and pointed to that as a reason for the company's success. The organization had a lot of bureaucracy, and I surmise that if they streamlined their process, they would lose little or nothing, and free up a lot of time.

Therefore, I have a question for the general readership of this thread: why is it that federal jobs require so much more skill and education than private sector jobs? Is it 1) because they've contracted out all the easy ones (the way businesses contract out easy work to overseas workers)? 2) they are doing such wonderful things, above and beyond anything the private sector can comprehend? 3) the advanced requirements are just a way of weeding out people -- with 100 applicants, if I increase the job requirements greatly, I eliminate most of them without having to interview them all. 4) their processes are so bloated that it takes a real genius to navigate them successfully?

I don't know the answer, but I suspect that it's a mix, and that it's more of #3 and #4 than #2. #1 is the standard cost-savings measure that investors, owners, and taxpayers applaud except when it's their job on the line. #3 is why we have an education bubble that is threatening to burst. #4 is a cry for process re-engineering, and the one area where business with its profit motive has greater incentive to streamline than government does.

Comment Re:I think that's all college students (Score 1) 823

As people gain knowledge, they tend to become "cocky" failing to realize how that knowledge can truly be used. Wisdom comes with time and experience using the knowledge gained.

So true, and well-put. Learned today of a study by Xerox about their sales teams. New sales guys had low morale and low performance. Morale and performance both peaked at about 18 months and began to decline, but performance fell off a lot sharper than morale. What they discovered was that the sales guys began thinking they knew everything, and stopped listening to their customers. "I know the answer, so why am I wasting time listening to him describe his problem?" How they corrected the situation org-wide is a separate discussion, but the mere awareness of our tendency to get cocky can have a helpful corrective effect.

Comment Re:nope (Score 1) 823

Water leaks tend to occur just about one meter (or 3 ft) outside the point where it enters the house, do you know why? No, because you don't have that kind of training.

You sound arrogant. Frost heave is one reason. And I shouldn't need to know this because I don't live in a place where the ground undergoes those sorts of temperature changes, nor have I ever worked in the trenches. I don't need to know everything, but I do value having enough understanding to evaluate multiple bids and know who's likely BS'ing me. One of my rules of thumb is, if he can't educate me on what he's doing, he's not worth paying for.

Comment Re:Averages are misleading without standard deviat (Score 1) 342

Yeah, the houses near me are 40-50 years old, so they have some wear and tear, and could benefit from some updating. It's not $50k for me, but that's because I'm less fussy than most. Upgraded to dual-pane windows last month for $7k. Best wishes finding a place, and saving up in the meantime.

Comment Re:Hooray! (Score 1) 342

What's that you say? 2% blacks in Mountain View? That's not a bug, it's a feature!

And 21.7% Hispanic and 25.7% Asian, which you conveniently left off. Only 46% white in Mountain View, a heckuva lot more diverse than California as a whole (74% white), which is better than the US as a whole at 78%. Please tell me that diversity isn't just black-and-white to you.

Comment Re:Averages are misleading without standard deviat (Score 1) 342

At the moment, there's really nothing I'd consider BOTH livable and commutable that is actually selling for less than $650K.

I'd be curious to know what your definition of livable is. 7 homes within 3 blocks of me in San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood have closed for sub-$600K in the past 9 months. 4 of those were sub-$500K, and all 7 were 3-bed 2-bath or larger. The neighborhood public school is only middle-of-the-pack, but I can live with that. Perhaps my standards are below yours.

Comment Re:That's it? (Score 1) 342

If you make more money you will go to high class establishments to spend your cash on. Instead of a $2 dollar coffee, you can always spend $20 for basically the same thing. You can get a $10 box of wine, or a $1000 glass or wine, and you probably would not be able to tell the difference. You will might drive a 100K car, and wear a 2K suit, but most of the cost is only so that you can show off, and they do not function very differently or necessarily look better.

Totally agree that the product costing 10x is not 10x as wonderful. I'd suggest that what you're willing to pay is related to who your peers are. If you hang out with sales and HR, you'll probably dress and dine fancier. If you hang out with the engineers and accountants, then you're less focused on appearance and more on results.

Comment Re:$128,000? (Score 2) 342

Let's say rent is about $3,000/mo, pretty common in areas like DC, NYC and the Bay Area. You have a student loan payment of $2,000/mo.

That's an uncommon situation. (I was about to say "You're doing it wrong," but your circumstances may be different than the average.) A study released this week showed that 2/3 of college graduates have debt upon graduation, and the average debt incurred is $26,500 (average in California is lower, $18,900). At $2000/month, that would be paid off in a year and a half even with a high interest rate. But perhaps you borrowed much more than the average. Then yes, times are tight for you personally, but the other folks making $100k are doing well.

Housing: Why are you paying $3k/month for rent? That's enough for a mortgage payment and property taxes for a $625K house (which is above average for the Bay Area, including most parts of Silicon Valley). And part of that you get to deduct off your taxes, and part of that you get back when you sell the place. So $3k to rent is just silly. If the place truly is worth $3k, it's large enough for you to get a housemate. Your wallet will thank you for the extra $1500.

Comment Re:Translation (Score 1) 866

The approach used in most high schools is college prep. [...] Kids do not have the capacity to choose their own path, they need to be given the tools so that when they are able, they have as many opportunities as possible available to them.

Mozart was composing from age 5. Look at the incredible science delivered by winners of major science fairs every year. Visit your local county fair and marvel at some of the accomplishments of our youth.

People should not spend their first 18 years being undifferentiated blobs. Kids have specific strengths and passions which, if found, understood and harnessed, can provide them great fulfilment and engagement. One of the best things my parents did for my schooling was to pull me out of filler classes where I was bored and disengaged so I could spend time exploring subjects of potential interest TO ME. As a result, I found a field of study I really enjoyed while in high school, rather than switching majors late in college like some of my peers who found themselves on a 7-year program as a result.

Comment Re:We could OPT OUT? (Score 1) 177

They are different forms of payment, but you can contract to give up either in exchange for something you want. In the two news articles, the issue was the customer expected they were renting private living space by paying with currency; no disclosure was made that their privacy might not be respected. I would think the average person would prefer to maintain their privacy, but some folks might prefer to give up privacy for currency-free housing; they already give up privacy for currency-free email, social networking, apps, etc. The real issue is whether there's clear disclosure about what the service provider is taking (currency, privacy, or both) in exchange for the service.

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