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Comment Re:Global warming is a good thing (Score 1) 396

Electric arc furnaces work fine, but unless steel is recycled it has to be made anew from iron ore, and that requires carbon,

Not to mention that when you recycle steel, you either have to mix it with virgin metal to get something that behaves like new steel, or you wind up with something harder that isn't good for the same things. Aluminum doesn't have this problem.

Comment Re:This is retarded conservatism to help 'coal' (Score 1) 396

Coal is still the best material for making steel from iron.

More and more stuff is being made out of Aluminum, which costs more to produce than steel but which is far cheaper to recycle if you sort it. That's been made cost-effective by laser spectroscopy, which has recently become cost-effective itself.

Comment Re:The view fails to account getting &*#@ed (Score 1) 407

Each generation is now getting fucked harder because we continue to gain more ability to fuck up the world they're going to live in. Not only do they have to navigate a more complex landscape, with more hazards, but they have to do it with less natural capital.

Comment Re:Yes, inherently unpredictable, needs percentage (Score 1) 154

I always provide my managers with confidence interval estimated times

That is a great idea - I did the same thing years ago at a past employer - sadly the manager knew not what to make of it, so I only did it once. It was more accurate than the "real" numbers then ended up going with.

But I think giving a range of timeframes with percentages is probably the best way to go, if you have to give estimates at all...

Comment Re:Yes, inherently unpredictable, needs percentage (Score 1) 154

That's pretty interesting - I had heard about Fogbugs for years even before StackOverflow but had never used it.

Clocking in and out of a task is annoying, but if you make it easy enough it is not too bad.

Sadly one of the main systems I use at the moment is the execrable TFS, with no change the company will switch from it.

Comment Yes, inherently unpredictable, needs percentages (Score 2) 154

Even with known and well understood languages/technologies/frameworks, you can and will run into glitches that can take days to complete something that was supposed to take hours - or even longer if the developers are not skilled in debugging and isolating problems!

StackOverflow has helped the industry in this regard, because now a lot of times you can reduce some mysterious problem to a fifteen second StackOverflow search which instantly answers the issue. But not always, and there are always issues when actually programming any design that you can uncover hidden flaws and need to correct them.

What I would love to see is some kind of approach that instead of a time estimate, gave a time along with a percentage of confidence. Two different tasks may seem to take about five hours, with one you are 90% sure it can be done in five hours, with another (like brand new code) it can be more of a 50% five hours. Then you could use this percentage to determine the actual areas of coding likely to cause schedule issues and monitor them more closely. The other nice benefit of this approach is that it factors in the actual developer understanding and abilities more than just a straight hour estimate. Maybe you even put a cap on how high a confidence level a developer is allowed to give until they have met given estimates a number of times already...

Coding is a chaotic system, yes, but it's not like it's fully chaotic, and there are patterns within the chaos I think you could determine over time.

Comment Re:Opposite (Score 5, Interesting) 407

Exactly.

I'm a gen X'er and I *know* I won't have a pension. Even if I retire, the government or the pension providers will default on me - either through inflation, or just because the damn pension providers will flatly announce they just don't have anything left in their coffers. I know this because they've already done it to my dad, who was born in the silent generation. So it's nothing new, but it sure won't get no better.

So, I'm not putting any money in a system that'll shaft me and I'm not saving anything for old age - most likely I'll be working until I die anyway.

What I do instead is, I enjoy as much free time now while I'm still young: I found me one of the last "old-style" jobs still available that lets me work 36 hrs/week with unreasonably great pay, in a heavily unionized old company that does business in a market that doesn't know the word recession.

In other words, I've maximized my salary/work ratio and I do as little work as possible to enjoy life the the fullest while I'm still in a condition to enjoy it. Time enough when I'm old and decrepit to kill myself at work for a living.

Comment Sure, Uber is evil. (Score 2) 257

It's an anti-social company that's a horrible place to work. Everybody knows that by now.

What nobody can know for sure is why an individual takes his life, or what circumstances would have to be different.

Take Google, which in several recent lists is the best company in America to work for. Google has just shy of 60,000 employees. Given the US suicide rate of 46/100,000, if Google were largely reflective of that you'd expect 28 suicides/year among Google employees. Of course (a) not all Google employees are Americans and (b) Google employees are economically better off than most people in their societies, so you'd expect there to be a lower rate of suicide. But it's safe to assume a dozen Google employees a year take their lives.

And if you look at them as individuals, you'd inevitably suspect work stress was involved, and if you'd look you'd probably find it -- because it's a chicken-or-egg thing. Suicide is a catastrophic loss of coping ability; when you head that way you will find trouble everywhere you turn.

When something like this happens to an individual, everyone feels the need to know why -- even strangers. But that's the one thing you can never know for certain. Now if suicide rates were high for Uber, then statistically you could determine to what degree you should be certain that Uber is a killing its employees with a bad work environment (or perhaps selecting at-risk employees).

I think its inevitable and understandable that this man's family blames Uber. And it's very likely that this will be yet another PR debacle for the company. But the skeptic in me says we just can't know whether Uber has any responsibility for the result.

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