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Comment Re:Another breakthrough! News at 11! (Score 1) 217

I don't think I would trust a person to have a large power dense always hot corrosive filled object in their house at the moment. I think most people would treat it like their water heater and when they notice a leak just have it replaced but I'm not sure that is a good thing with a sodium-sulfur batter. They would however be good a good choice for large batteries at substations, power plants, or large power consumers where they can be properly monitored and maintained. For consumers batteries like iron-nickle ones are ideal for home power storage as they can really take abuse and neglect and still work good for decades. Remember with the general population you are dealing with people who are pretty likely to have a car battery die on them because it was the original that came with the car 10 years ago and had been showing clear signs of failure for the last 3.

Comment Re:Only 3%: places in the Rust Belt would love it (Score 1) 161

One of my wife's uncles lives out in the front range on 40 acres that has been in the family for generations. The problem with Californians is that they move out into the country and then bitch because there are country people out there who do country things, although this isn't limited to just Californians but seems to be urban people moving to rural areas. For my wife's uncle it is that he hunts from his back porch and has had the cops called on him because someone saw a person with a gun, for my neighbor's brother who raises hogs it is former city people complaining about the smell. Even last summer when a bunch of out of town relatives came to visit and we went up to my lake place all of the Californians flipped out because I carry a magnum class revolver when I am up there. The fact that carrying a gun is prudent in some areas because of large predators is lost on them. Everyone up there does for the same reason, the locals have had bears with cubs walking down their driveways, had the wolves run through their property, and a good number have seen the cougar that roams around there. Those relatives have never seen someone who isn't a police officer with a gun in real life and the only portrayal of non-police officers with guns has been from the movies or the local news. So naturally they believe that the gun will fire at any time if you so much as look at it the wrong way and that anyone who owns a handgun is either a want to be Dirty Harry or gang banger.

Comment Re:Let's Face the Facts... (Score 1) 161

I like to tell recruiters and head hunters out there and also on the east coast that they can't afford me. They like to respond that the pay is very generous and I tell them that I am not taking a decrease in my standard of living so unless I can afford a ~2000 sq ft house on a .5 acre lot that backs up to a 14 acre wooded park where my children will be going to some of the best schools in the state that will be paid off in 9 years and I have a commute that is at most 40 minutes all while owning a multi acre lake property that is within a 2.25 hour drive that has 210 feet of shore line on a lake without a public water access that is owned outright all while saving close to 30% of my post tax income I'm not interested. Their response is that such a place doesn't exist and I tell them that it does but they won't pay me enough to afford it out there.

Comment Re:I don't mean to go all 'Papierin, mein herr,' b (Score 3) 626

But we do have first amendment rights and also likely 5th amendment rights. Providing a password or pin likely is protected by both and has been ruled as such. In that situation I would have basically told them to piss off but in a much more polite fashion. It wouldn't have been the first time I have told a government agent what they don't want to hear. Then again I am a white guy with an anglicized last name who has a good job, good education, and clean background so I can get away with things like that without any real repercussions. By exercising my rights I hopefully can show others that they can do the same and also show the government agents that they don't have the power they would like to think they have.

Comment Re:The message this sends (Score 1) 651

Madrid was still faster than the US, even as a US citizen, but compared to other countries I have gone to it was slow. Maybe it was just that day but everything took forever, clearing customs, getting luggage, getting a taxi, it all took forever. The fastest customs experience that I have ever had was every time in Israel but that was because I was there for work as an official guest of the government and was able to use diplomatic line and was already cleared. By cleared I mean I had a full detailed background check performed by the Israeli government as I work on critical infrastructure for my job and they want to make sure I won't cause them problems. So Mossad has detailed information on me and people who I know and am related to. Upon exit I also got through with ease as I had special clearance and documentation so I did not get the full Q&A that everyone else does. Personally I was a bit put out as I am a security person and I would have found that a fascinating experience. I did get a glimpse of it when I was questioned about the item they had trouble scanning with the X-ray in the middle of my bag. The item in question was my old metal chassis 35mm SLR, assorted metal bodied lenses, and compact travel tri-pod.

Comment Re: Well, once the panels are installed (Score 2) 414

To make the point clearer I like this. If we covered 1% of the earth's surface with 1% efficient solar panels we could meet our current energy needs.

Can one even find solar panels that shitty as I thought most were in the 12-18% efficiency range and the really cheap printed solar shingles being like 8% efficient. So using realistic numbers like that we would be down to 0.1% of earths surface area needing to be covered by solar panels. This does ignore the storage problem but there are a number of battery and storage technologies available that would allow things to work when the sun isn't shining that don't degrade like the common solutions most propose. So at the individual household level something like a bank of nickel-iron batteries to store and level household consumption. Then going up a layer have some large sodium sulfur batteries at sub stations and generation plants for storage and load leveling. For large scale storage have some huge pumped storage locations and use old mine pits as the low reservoir as we have dug some huge holes over the years. But that is just crazy talk.

Comment Re:It's a lot easier to "lose" a fax... (Score 1) 245

You send it registered mail, return receipt requested, or you send it FedEx next-day delivery.

For any legal paperwork this is just good advice. Used registered mail with return receipt a number of times when dealing with a debt collector who screwed the pooch and when dealing with an insurance company that didn't want to pay full market value for a totaled car. Not only does it prevent them from lying about not getting things (which they will do) but it also tends to send a very strong message that you mean business and they better quit fucking around.

Comment Re:I don't see the problem. (Score 1) 660

As I have said a number of times even paying a fixed relatively large salary like that, while better than what we have now, I feel doesn't go far enough. And no I am not being sarcastic. I like to contact my congress critters from time to time on this issue and in doing so I like to use the arguments that tech CEOs use. You know that there is a shortage, these people are critical, we can't find any American with the skills, etc. as well as pointing out what the H-1B program is for. Why not use their own rhetoric against them and make it seem like they are either lying or gaming the system. Either way it makes these CEOs look like the fools they are and maybe our congress critters will stop listening to them. My suggestion is that people brought in are the highest compensated people for the company they work for are are doing work for. Below is basically what I write to my congress critters

Hello [represenititive|senator] [name],
I am writing you today about the problems with our current H-1B visa program. It appears that companies are abusing this program in an attempt to drive down wages in the US tech sector. I am willing to take these companies at their word that the US is suffering a major tech worker shortage, that the workers that are available don't' have the necessary skill set, and that these workers are absolutely critical to the continued functioning of their companies. Because of this these must truly be exceptional people. These companies are stating that in a nation with over 300 million citizens there isn't a single person who has the necessary skill set to do the job. This right there means that these individuals are extremely rare and must have exceptional skills. Furthermore these positions are so critical that these companies cannot afford to train an individual who is currently in the US to have the necessary skills. This says that these people must be absolutely critical to the continued operation of the company, more so than any of the executives or CxOs as companies can survive the period it takes to find an new one of those. As such people with these highly desirable, in demand, rare, and critical skill sets should receive the highest total compensated of individuals at the companies they work for. Given that a large number of H-1Bs are used as contractors it seems only reasonable to state that they should be compensated at the higher level the company the work for or are performing work for to ensure that these highly skilled, essential individuals are properly compensated for their work. By total compensation I am referring to base salary, bonuses, benefits, stock options, relocation expenses, company provided housing and vehicles, etc. To avoid any questionable behavior the average of the highest total compensated individual over the previous 5 years at the company will be used to determine the appropriate compensation for these individuals. Once this simple change is made these companies should be allowed to bring in an unlimited number of these highly skilled, in demand, and critical individuals as they must truly be the most exceptional workers who would greatly benefit our nation.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]

Yes I am someone who does believe that we should buy more stuff from our own country when it makes sense. I have lots of good American made stuff but it is getting harder and harder to find but I also have lots of stuff made in other countries that is superior to American equivalents and I paid more for the higher quality. I have a very nice American made wire feed welder, a Swedish made hammer and dolly set, a Nepali made Kukri, an absolutely beautiful 1,000,000 knots per square meter silk on silk prayer rug from Kashmir, American and Japanese power tools, American and German hand tools, etc. I hate buying cheap crap as I am always let down.

Comment Re:Sure, if they are H-1B.... (Score 1) 437

Actually I do ice fishing, snowmobiling, and snow showing, my kids like cross country skiing all of which are things one can do up there in the winter. At the end of the road (about 200 meters) is 680 acres of public land open to snowmobiling, ATVs, hunting, and other activities. If I really want to go fast on a snowmobile I can take the snowmobile trail over to the big lake and have about 200 square miles of area to ride on at any speed the machine is capable of reaching.

CA weather is different. It doesn't get as cold but CA does suffer from droughts, mudslides, earthquakes, and fires at a level that is worse than has ever been seen in Minnesota. Add in the very high cost of living (food, housing, and transportation), the California crazies, and the brogrammer cultures and it becomes clear that companies wouldn't pay me enough.

When I say support my current life style I expect to have similar to what I currently have. I own a ~2000 square foot house on a half acre plot that backs up to a 14 acre wooded city park. My home is also in one of the best school districts in the state and my kids will be going to one of the best high school in the state. My commute is at most 40 minutes usually closer to 30. The lake property is 2 hours 15 minutes away and is owned outright. My house has only 10 years left until it will be owned outright. I am also able to save close to half of my after tax income and still afford everything else. No employer in CA who has ever contacted me has made an offer that would even come close to that with most offers being slightly more pay than what I currently make by at most 20%. I also get offers for companies on the east coast and their offers are just laughably bad. The worse one there was for a position similar to what I do now in a higher cost area on the east coast but for 1/3rd of my current pay. I laughed at that person who then asked if that was a good offer, I responded and told them it was fucking awful as I make over 3x that now and don't have to live in the Philadelphia area.

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