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Comment Not much. I do look at data which may upset you. (Score 1) 173

The refugee crisis you refer to is actually the second Syrian refugee crisis.

The first refugee was an internal displacement of 1.5 million people (out of a population of 20 million) over the period 2007-2011 during crops failed due to unprecedented drought. Over two hundred villages were completely depopulated, and 40% of Syria's agricultural workforce was lost. Domestic wheat production crashed, and prices skyrocketed as it was replaced by imports.

So you had over a million hungry, unemployed displaced people crowded into cities, when a bad harvest in Russia caused a spike in global wheat prices. Check out the graph in this link labelled "World Monthly Grains Price Index" and note the massive upswing in prices in 2010 - 2011. There was a similar price spike in 2007, but back then Syria produced essentially all the wheat it consumed. In 2010 Syria only produced 80% of what it needed, resulting in underconsumption -- aka "starvation". You can check out the figures here.

Finally note that the so-called "Day of Rage" which critically destabilized the regime took place on March 15, 2011. The timing was not coincidental.

Now you can talk to me about "political struggle" in Syria. The roots of that struggle are of course decades old. But the effects were exacerbated by the worst drought in 900 years.

Without the sarcasm, try to stay on topic lest you continue to be perceived as a shithead Troll.

I have stayed on topic. Shithead troll I guess is a matter of perspective. Syria is exactly the kind of scenario security planners are worried about. And one reason they are worried is that many in the public literally find the idea of climate-driven refugees unimaginable. People who've been paying attention find it all too easy to imagine.

Comment Apple maps searches still better (Score 1) 43

Searching for locations works the majority of the time. But it's still not uncommon to get results randomly across the country

That happens sometimes but it also happens in Google Maps.

Apple maps is still better for searching though. Try a search for "Arby's" - Apple maps zooms out to a view at city scale with the map taking up 3/4 of the screen, he two closest results in text at the bottom. Google maps zooms out to city scale too, but in a map that takes up the top 1/5 of the screen, basically unreadable - then has a list of arbors with distances and addresses, but you can't really tell which ones are nearby or which directions the ones on the list are unless you are familiar with the app...

Apple Maps traffic in Denver seems every bit as good as Google maps. Both are inferior to Waze though, which is pretty amusing since Waze is owned by Google...

I've never had an issue with Apple Maps giving me bad directions, across most the the US. (I've driven coast to coast).

Comment Re:Surprised (Score 1) 459

Given that you are offering $12/hr cash payment to evade taxes that means that:

a. The federal, state, and local governments get nothing; you are ripping off your fellow citizens, all of them.
b. The workers aren't getting credits towards Social Security so no retirement "safety net" for them.
c. The workers aren't getting credits for unemployment so no insurance when you fire them.

You on the other hand are getting $15/hr value for $12/hr.

Furthermore, you are talking about "day jobs" not full time jobs, so your $30K (tax-evaded) equivalent assumes that they can get a job every single day of the work week. You don't mention 1.5X rate for overtime, which they would normally be entitled to. They get no sick pay or vacation pay - something that a normal full time job would offer. And you're talking about six adults working full time for minimum wage sharing a 3 bedroom house (or apartment); that sounds a lot like the Samsung worker dormitories - maybe not exactly what we ought to be hoping to make the standard here in the US.

Comment Re:Surprised (Score 1) 459

A "queue of people seeking workers" for full time jobs with benefits and overtime pay? No. You describe a queue of people seeking impoverished workers for day jobs paying not enough to rent a room and buy meals and clothing let alone medical care? Cheap labor is wonderful for the buyer.

Comment Re:Surprised (Score 1) 459

The additional location information you provide suggests a reason for your friend's failure: the cost of living in the Twin Cities area is about 1.4 times that of, say, Brown County. The average hourly wage in Twin Cities is around $15 to $16. In Brown County it's $11.50. The reported yearly COL for Twin Cities is more than $32K; for Brown County it's $24K (for a single individual with 0 children).

So let me amend my statement; your friend is papering the Twin Cities with ads for jobs that pay slightly less than average. Tell her to go a little further into Minnesota where people would be happy to earn $3.50 per hour more in a full time job with benefits.

Comment Re:Surprised (Score 1) 459

Maybe instead of giving her card to people with "Please Help" signs your friend ought to place some "Help Wanted" ads around town. If she can geet them $31,200 annually "with no experience required", I am pretty sure she'd get takers.

(Note: this is my polite way of saying that your friend's claims are bogus. Does she work for Breitbart?)

Comment Re:Top down decision (Score 1) 239

Where do you get force, or even the threat thereof, from what he said?

Let's see. If you do away with cash, then you FORCE anyone who wants to purchase something to use this cashless payment system. And I think it is fair to say that in modern society, everyone at some point has to purchase things.

So, "force", in the common usage of "being required to" is quite applicable, and is the correct definition in this context. That's where I get "force" from. From Google:

2. make (someone) do something against their will. "she was forced into early retirement"

And clearly everyone *doesn't* prefer cash,

Who said they did? Where did you get THAT from?

Comment Re:Plenty of low-wage jobs to go around... (Score 1) 459

Well, if you want data, according the social security adminsitration the average wage has gone up by about $8000 since 2010; however the median wage has gone up by something more like $3000.

This pretty much tells you what you'd expect under trade liberalization: it helps higher wage workers with specialized skills more than it does commodity labor.

The key to understanding data like this, as a sociology professor once told me, is to disaggregate it. If you do you'll see that while the averages and even median that looks fairly rosy over the last thirty years, the picture for median and below has been almost flat for a generation.

That doesn't sound too bad. Sure the wealthy and the well-to-do are getting richer, but nobody (at least no economic slice -- geography tells a different story) is doing worse. But even that result has to be disaggregated. On one hand you have only a modest increase in the overall cost of consumer goods (thanks free trade!); this modest increase along with modest compensation increases produces no growth or loss of purchasing power below median income.

On the other hand if you break out just health incurance, medical care and college tuition, median purchasing power has collapsed in the last thirty years or so.

What this means is that median income people can buy a lot more TVs and home entertainment crap than they could in the 70s, but as that stuff has become cheaper paths to upward mobility have been closing and paths to downward mobility have been opening.

Submission + - 6 seconds: How hackers only need moments to guess card number and security code ( 1

schwit1 writes: Criminals can work out the card number, expiry date and security code for a Visa debit or credit card in as little as six seconds using guesswork, researchers have found.

Fraudsters use a so-called Distributed Guessing Attack to get around security features put in place to stop online fraud, and this may have been the method used in the recent Tesco Bank hack.

According to a study published in the academic journal IEEE Security & Privacy, that meant fraudsters could use computers to systematically fire different variations of security data at hundreds of websites simultaneously.

Within seconds, by a process of elimination, the criminals could verify the correct card number, expiry date and the three-digit security number on the back of the card.

Mohammed Ali, a PhD student at the university's School of Computing Science, said: "This sort of attack exploits two weaknesses that on their own are not too severe but, when used together, present a serious risk to the whole payment system.

Comment Re: Farewell and Thanks for My First Job! (Score 2) 26

It's remarkable how young so many of these pioneers were, which is why a few of them are still alive today.

I started mucking around with computers in high school in the 70s and when I got my first job in the 80s some of these guys were still working. I once sat next to a guy at a banquet who was probably only ten years older then than I am now. He regaled me with tales of his lab getting the IBM 701 in the mid 50s, which was exciting because it was, in his words, "a stored program jobbie." We could talk each other's language because the obsolete hardware I learned on wasn't much more advanced than the stuff he worked on as a young man. I look at the front panel of the 701 or the Stretch, and it makes perfect sense to me.

When these guys started dying off in the 90s, I remember a kind of stunned disbelief. Computer guys just didn't die. That was something that happened to old people.

Submission + - House Science Committee Tweets Climate-Change Denying Breitbart Article (

xtsigs writes: On Thursday, The House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology tweeted a misleading article published by Breitbart about the state of the global climate.

"Global Temperatures Plunge. Icy Silence from Climate Alarmists," the tweet read, citing an article from The Daily Mail. Apparently, the portions of our government responsible for overseeing public funding for science are getting their information from tabloids.

Senator Bernie Sanders responded to the tweet, asking, "Where'd you get your PhD? Trump University?"

Comment Nestle didn't discover anything. (Score 4, Informative) 305

This is something well-known to anyone with actual culinary experience. See sea salt vs table salt. Same principle applies to sugar - make if finer, you find that you actually end up using LESS because of more even distribution for same effect.

Nestle is literally trying to patent that which has been known for fucking centuries by any generally-knowledgeable housewife or cook or chef.

Comment Sorry but Apple Maps has already surpassed Google (Score 2, Insightful) 43

They don't have the engineering talent to catch up to Google's lead on maps

Apple maps at the outset did not have as good base data as Google. But even then it gave better directions than Google did - it directed me to my house via the route I already drove already because I knew it was the bast (that's the best way to judge map apps, but asking for directions for places you already know well and seeing if you agree).

Nowadays Apple maps data is every bit as good as Google has, and I would say they repair errors found much faster than Google. The past five incidents I've reported (bad roads or wrong information about places) I received a notification that the errors had been corrected in a day or two.

Apple also has surpassed Google in transit directions, offering directions that include how to go through the station...

Google may have started a lot earlier but you are totally forgetting the funk and lethargy that large organizations fall into over time. Apple has a very different corporate structure that is letting the Apple Maps team advance much faster than Google has been improving...

Apple may not be ahead with Siri but I don't think they are that far behind either. What makes you think Google has engineering chops no-one else does? The massive successes of Google Plus or Hangouts?? They are both pretty much at the start of a very, very long race there and it is anyone's game...

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