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Comment Re:Don't think you can have it both ways. (Score 3, Insightful) 835

If gun ownership in a society is as ubiquitous as in the United States then the police necessarily have to be at least as well armed and trained in military tactics.

Gun ownership is protected by law. And that is all the more reason that the police should behave in a calm and civil manner; they are creating the problem they fear by behaving like violent criminals themselves. "I have to to home at night" will never be an excuse for breaking into someone else's home and creating situations where people get murdered (and the murderers get off being put behind a desk, rather than behind bars).

If they get a warrant describing the specific place or persons to be searched, knock, and calmly identify themselves and their purpose before drawing arms (as they are expected to), they have nothing to fear from normal citizens.

As to the cases where there is genuine risk from armed criminals involved (which remains the case regardless of the legality of arms), well, quite frankly they were aware of that risk when they signed up. If they are not willing exercise more due diligence first or put their lives on the line to protect and serve, then they should find another line of work.

Comment Re:yes, there are a reasonable number of positions (Score 4, Insightful) 237

The business world IS engaged in an overall betterment of humanity.

Sure, if you define 'humanity' as 'the leeches at the top of the org chart who don't do any actual work'.

the worst thing a company could do to its employees is not turn a profit

An oversimplification. You're not wrong, but the problem isn't that cut and dried. It depends on how they turn a profit. If they sacrifice long-term viability to make the quarterly statement look better, yes, they're turning a profit, but eventually the bad choices will catch up with the company - but by then the people who made the bad choices have long since pulled the ripcord on their golden parachutes and left the rank and file out of a job. I would argue that a better business model is not only to turn a profit, but give the employees a stake in the company's success beyond "you get to keep your job."

Comment Re:yes, there are a reasonable number of positions (Score 1) 237

"Following your interests" is usually incompatible with "paying your bills". If someone knows you've got an interest in the material beyond just getting paid, they will pay you less (or at least try to.) "Liking your job" is just code for "Please screw me out of money at every chance you get."

Space

Tiny Ion Engine Runs On Water 103

symbolset writes "Discovery News is covering a project by two engineers from the University of Michigan to pair cubesats with tiny ion engines for inexpensive interplanetary exploration. The tiny plasma drive called the CubeSat Ambipolar Thruster (CAT) will ionize water and use it as propellant with power provided by solar cells. In addition to scaling down the size of ion engines they hope to bring down the whole cost of development and launch to under $200,000."

Comment Re:Quite so! (Score 1) 401

It all depends on exactly what your skill set it. I got laid off a couple of weeks ago. Here is my experience.

My experience is in ASIC and FPGA design. I can do pretty much any digital design work, and can code RTL, as well as do ASIC physical design (laying out gates on silicon). I can even design the board that the ASIC or FPGA will go on. I actually am finding some job openings but none in my geographical region, so I am having to look for contract work away from home to keep food on the table.

Now, I AM seeing a ton of jobs for verification engineers. If you really learn SystemVerilog and UVM well, you will probably have it made and can find a job reasonably close to any geographic region that you want.

As far as "working for nothing," that is the general trend. I have had careers at two different employers since I left college (both jobs were around 6-1/2 years), and have seen the same thing at both. Companies want 95th-percentile employees for 50th-percentile salary. The focus is a lot more on the shareholders and very little on the employees who actually do the work. You need to give the employees at least as much consideration as the shareholders, or your company will start to drive off the good employees -- well I would like to think so. If every employer treats the employees as fungible assets, then I guess that there is little reason to choose one over the other.

Maybe engineers need a union... I have seen the evil that happens when the union is too powerful. Ideally, you want a fairly balanced system where both the employer and employee has power. Bad things happen when one side has a lot more power than the other. No union = employee has all the power, which is very bad for salaries. With unions, it is possible for the employee to have too little power, which makes the company less productive and competitive due to a bunch of mindless union regulations.

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