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Comment Re:Time (Score 1) 709

Railroad to nowhere? Are you kidding? Do you realize the size of the economies and amount of existing commuter rail in LA and SFO? MetroLink in LA removes about 250 Million annual highway miles from the roads -- at a cost of about $0.28 per mile, oddly enough, less than the federal mileage deduction. In 20 years it has grown to 512 miles of track, about the same as from LA-SFO, but the vast majority is in heavily populated areas. Yes, the trackbeds were almost all already there (as, indeed they are or could be selected at least for this route), but damn near 100% of it has been replaced (and much of it doubled or quadrupled in parallel tracks from the existing freight lines) explicitly for increased Amtrak and Metrolink traffic. Flying between LA-SFO is a serious pain in the ass and at the end of it is not that much faster than driving. Sure, it's only 2-3 hours curb to curb (people have a silly tendency to not count the time milling around terminals, sitting on tarmacs etc. as if "flight time" is it). But, unless you live in El Segundo and are going to Burlingame, you only save maybe an hour flying from what it takes to drive door-to-door. I recall one trip where, having driven the exact same route less than a year prior, and despite living less than three miles from the airport with a destination fifty yards from a BART station, flying saved me a grand total of fifteen minutes over driving. You can't reasonably add any more flights between LA and SFO/OAK -- or hell, add a lane to I-5 -- without a comparatively huge infrastructure investment and the possibility of expanding surface traffic on either end is about nil. Given the timeframe involved, the fact that flight is for the foreseeable future pegged to the cost of kerosene, which ain't going DOWN in price, barring depopulation, something will have to be there that is economically scalable.

Yes, the budget and timeframe given the landscape of the route are both wildly eyebrow-raising, but the idea is hardly a "railroad to nowhere."

Comment Re:the way to go (Score 2) 743

Had one of these interviews awhile ago. I'm prone to getting spooked under interrogation. But, in an interview I conducted, I was able to recognize our candidate was both brilliant as hell and nervous to the point of babbling (Aspie galore). We hired him. He _is_ fucking brilliant, but sucks at interviews.

If your main goal is to weed people out by putting them in an unnatural setting for the purpose at hand then test their skills using tools totally removed from how they are actually performed, yes, you may find that one bright shining star who can do and teach, but you'll also write-off as fools legions of people who are gifted as hell but just don't function in that environment. Chances are, though, you'll get middling candidates who have just enough rote knowledge to pass your ten minute test, but would pale in comparison when the test takes weeks, months or years with all the proper tools and resources available.

Had a whiteboard Nazi been at the helm during the interview, we'd never have hired our best engineer.

Comment Re:I think you've got your facts mixed up, chief. (Score 1) 1019

The point was that, even in its limited original scope, a mandatory federal income tax, to be collected and remitted by the employers, for the express purpose of providing health services to those so taxed, was deemed constitutional -- and, yes, that act, tax included, was established in 1798.

You can argue all you want about the quality and mission creep, but the constitutionality is pretty clear.

Comment Re:What other products (Score 1) 1019

I challenge you to explain then why the United States Public Health Service, funded by a mandatory payroll tax, was established in 1798. I'd think if this I idea was anathema to the Founding Fathers at the time, it wouldn't have made it past the first utterance of suggestion, much less pass and receive the signature of John Adams.

Comment Wrong section of the wantads. (Score 1) 520

If you want to do "Real CS" and only have a masters with precisely zilch for professional experience, the job you seek is "Research Assistant" and it will pay phenomenally less than the lowliest of "IT" jobs imaginable. If you want to do "Real CS," get your PhD. The vast majority of private companies simply do not do "Real CS" and when they do, they hire the actual scientists to do it. If a PhD is not in the cards, suck it up and welcome to "IT" as you so deride the term.

Comment Re:Tax planning and rich people (Score 1) 2115

It has less to do with size of income than source of income. Someone earning $100k as salary will pay double the taxes of someone earning 100K as capital gains.

Also, you have to get substantially north of $106K of salary/wage income before the effective difference in rate on discretionary income is notably less than anyone below them. $80-90K is the sweet-spot of being absolutely terminally screwed tax-wise as the vast majority goes to consumables (taxed) and the entirety is subject to payroll tax.

Comment I don't believe that was the question. (Score 4, Interesting) 123

If you are going to make a statement of fair trade and wages, it should be a trivial task to state that in precise terms. It is a fair question to ask, what a typical quantity of hours and remuneration your company considers "fair" in a given locale, say, Delhi, where roughly 300 INR / day (roughly 6 USD) is the legal minimum wage for labor requiring a secondary or higher education. If you cannot directly speak to that in terms that can be reconciled with the local prevailing labor standards, your vague marketing language assurances on the topic are quite worthless.

Comment Easy solution... (Score 1) 375

Do like any other business that serves food & drink -- hound the loitering ones for "would you like another [xyz]?" every ten minutes. After a couple failed passes, politely inform them that paying customers would like to use the space. On the next pass, if they are still lingering, give them the choice: buy something now, or leave immediately. Not everyone taking up space for hours is a loss. Some are actually buying just as much as the short-termers. Just filter them out so you eject the bad customers without alienating the good ones.

Comment No (Score 1) 826

"'Some people feel we have a greater ethical duty to those closest to us."

That isn't just an abstract philosophical position, it is a biological fact. You eat, your family eats, your neighbors, town and so on. Most people (that is, the non-insane) are hard-wired to prioritize that way. Unless you have some sort of messiah complex and infinite resources, that's just life. Ignoring the needs of yourself and those closest to you in favor of those half way around the world who to you are nothing but an abstract concept is, and I do not think this is too harsh a term, sociopathic.

Comment Re:Makes sense. (Score 5, Insightful) 386

Actually, the major problem was precisely the opposite. The banks and insurance companies -- even Fannie and Freddie -- were all betting that the housing markets WOULD fail. Freddie was churning billions in overnight short sells of their own paper daily, trying to make a profit riding down that failure. It was a race to see who could skim the most off the trades themselves until the paper was worthless. Anyone with the slightest bit of understanding of economics in general and the housing market could see that crash coming back in 2000. They had just created the financial instruments to profit, massively, off the inevitable crash. Even as the last sucker holding that worthless paper, there was still one last bet to call in and come out even money with credit default swaps. It wasn't a cycle people forgot to plan for. It was a market deliberately re-engineered to transfer a LOT of wealth VERY quickly on the highly anticipated downside of that cycle.

It was not an accident, much less willful ignorance. It was simply bare avarice.

Comment Re:False positives? (Score 1) 437

Most universities have "writing centers" where undergrads can go to have their work reviewed by grad students from the English department. I get your point, and largely agree, but so long as that institutional coddling exists, I scarcely see much difference. That said, if you need writing assistance apart from questions of content with the immediate professor involved, you need to go back to freshman year or, perhaps, high school.

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