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Comment Lies, Damn Lise and Statistics (Score 1) 398

From Bloomberg "Just 157,000 people were unable to work in February because of inclement weather, compared with an average of 311,000 for the month, according to the Labor Department. In January, 395,000 employees couldn’t work because of the weather." The raw monthly counts are fairly meaningless unless you see the phrase 'Seasonably Adjusted'. ( ) i.e. "... outsized gains in construction ...", etc. And the real economic effect is Positions X Wages, and also what regions the growth is occurring in.

Submission + - Man Gets 30 Days In Jail For Drone Crash That Knocked Woman Unconscious (

An anonymous reader writes: The operator of a drone that knocked a woman unconscious was sentenced Friday to 30 days in jail, Seattle prosecutors said. The woman was attending a local parade when the drone crashed and struck her. Paul Skinner, a 38-year-old man from Washington state, was charged with reckless endangerment in connection to the 2015 incident, in which an 18-inch-by-18-inch drone collided into a building before falling into a crowd. The authorities said the 2-pound drone struck the 25-year-old in the head and gave her a concussion. Her boyfriend caught her before she fell to the ground. Another man suffered a minor bruise. The accident took place during during the city's Pride Parade. Skinner, who had turned himself in, plans to appeal the sentence. His attorney, Jeffrey Kradel, said the punishment was "too severe." His client remains free pending the appeal's outcome. A misdemeanor reckless endangerment charge—one that poses "substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another person"—carries a penalty of up to a year in jail.

Submission + - Lessons from Canada's scientific resistance (

Lasrick writes: Andrew Nikiforuk, a contributing editor of The Tyee and author of Slick Water, has a smart piece outlining what the United States science community can do to combat expected attacks from the Trump administration on federal funding for research projects that examine the environmental impacts of industries such as mining and oil drilling. Nikiforuk seeks lessons from the years when the Canadian government, led by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper, systematically reduced the capacity of publicly funded federal science to monitor the impacts of air, water, and carbon pollution from the country’s aggressive resource industries—by cutting budgets and firing staff. Great read.

Submission + - Scientists Crack Why Eating Sounds Can Make People Angry (

An anonymous reader writes: Why some people become enraged by sounds such as eating or breathing has been explained by brain scan studies. The condition, misophonia, is far more than simply disliking noises such as nails being scraped down a blackboard. UK scientists have shown some people's brains become hardwired to produce an "excessive" emotional response. Olana developed the condition when she was eight years old. Her trigger sounds include breathing, eating and rustling noises. Scientists, including Olana, at multiple centres in the UK scanned the brains of 20 misophonic people and 22 people without the condition. They were played a range of noises while they were in the MRI machine, including: neutral sounds such as rain; generally unpleasant sounds such as screaming; people's trigger sounds. The results, published in the journal Current Biology, revealed the part of the brain that joins our senses with our emotions — the anterior insular cortex — was overly active in misophonia. And it was wired up and connected to other parts of the brain differently in those with misophonia. Dr Sukhbinder Kumar, from Newcastle University, told BBC News: "They are going into overdrive when they hear these sounds, but the activity was specific to the trigger sounds not the other two sounds. The reaction is anger mostly, it's not disgust, the dominating emotion is the anger — it looks like a normal response, but then it is going into overdrive." There are no treatments, but Olana has developed coping mechanisms such as using ear plugs. It is still not clear how common the disorder is, as there is no clear way of diagnosing it and it was only recently discovered. Ultimately, the researchers hope, understanding the difference in the misophonic brain will lead to new treatments. One idea is that low levels of targeted electricity passed through the skull, which is known to adjust brain function, could help.

Submission + - Are Gates, Musk Being "Too Aggressive" With AI Concerns? (

gthuang88 writes: Bill Gates and Elon Musk are sounding the alarm “too aggressively” over artificial intelligence’s potential negative consequences for society, says MIT professor Erik Brynjolfsson. The co-author of “The Second Machine Age” argues it will take at least 30 to 50 years for robots and software to eliminate the need for human laborers. In the meantime, he says, we should be investing in education so that people are prepared for the jobs of the future, and are focused on where they still have an advantage over machines---creativity, empathy, leadership, and teamwork.

Submission + - 4 Forgotten Code Constructs: Time to Revisit the Past?

mikeatTB writes: Some things in the programming world are so easy to misuse that most people prefer to never use them at all. These are the programming equivalent of a flamethrower: You might rarely be in the position to really need one, but every once in a while it turns out that you need to take down a forest. In that case, there’s no easier way than going Rambo on your codebase. That's where a few of the old, forgotten code constructs come into play. Creative use of features such as goto, multiple inheritance, eval, and recursion may be just the right solution for experienced developers when used in the right situation. Is it time to resurrect these four forgotten code constructs?

Submission + - Compensation and Dealing with Human Resources (

GinaDEEE writes: Many of the questions about whether you should discuss previous compensation, etc. actually now vary by state. Some states prohibit employers from asking this question. Some states require this information to be shared with people THAT AREN'T PROGRAMMING EMPLOYEES. That's right. In some states, somebody else has a right to know what you make.

So, what is a programmer to do? How about asking an HR person willing to share? I am an HR professional in Cali and I am willing to answer HR-related questions for the denizens of Slashdot. I think that this will improve my Karma and help fellow geek-o-zoids (yes, I geek out myself) to progress in their careers.

Submission + - California To Decide Whether Personal Device Communication Is Public Record

An anonymous reader writes: California’s Supreme Court is due to make the call whether emails, text messages and other communications sent by government officials on private devices are public records. The decision, set for early March, will mark the latest development in an eight-year-old case which saw the former lawyer and activist Ted Smith suspect backroom dealings between a developer and the San Jose City Hall, and file a public records request for all related communications. Smith was denied access to some emails and texts sent by employees which were not covered by the state’s Public Records Act. If the Court now rules that theses are in fact public records, it would mean that government business communicated via private phones and computers are available for investigation.

Comment Exposing babies to peanuts (Score 3, Informative) 309


"In 2015, a study showed that giving peanut products to babies could help prevent peanut allergy. This was exciting news, given that 1-2% of children suffer from peanut allergy, an allergy that can not only be life-threatening but last a lifetime, unlike other food allergies that often improve as children get older. "

Comment Regulatory Requirements (Score 1) 27

There are some regulatory requirements that dictate the format and content along with explanatory notes, disclosures, notifications, etc. A lot of it is basically who said what, why, and when, so that both sides of the information transaction are totally clear on the context and responsibilities. Also, a PDF can be secured to various degrees, time stamped, certificated, etc.

Comment 'Open' version of the Big 5 available - IPIP-NEO (Score 1) 212

The problem is that the 5 'clusters' in the Big 5 aren't all that informative, they are aggregations of more specific traits, which can be wildly different than the score for the category and the others within the category. In grad school, I did a systematic survey of personality assessment instruments ( Personalysis, Myers-Briggs, etc.). The IPIP-NEO was the only one that passed the sniff test for internal and external validity, especially over time. Just carefully read the definitions and the supporting pages that explain what is going on.

You can take the 300 question one, and look at your own results: "The IPIP-NEO (International Personality Item Pool Representation of the NEO PI-R) " at .. it is eessentially similar to the Big-5
"This is the official website for the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP). The site includes over 3,000 items and over 250 scales that have been constructed from the items. New items and scales are developed on an irregular basis. The items and scales are in the public domain, which means that one can copy, edit, translate, or use them for any purpose without asking permission and without paying a fee. ... Warning about the nature of this site ... For persons wandering into this site who have not completed a university course or two in psychological assessment, BEWARE: This site includes highly technical scientific information, ..."

Over the past 15 years or so, I have taken it at intervals, also taken the results and reviewed them with friends to get their insights. What it doesn't do, is it doesn't predict. And there are no assumptions about how it plays out between individuals with different traits.

Comment Re:Who's buying? (Score 1) 659

Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Feb;113(2 Pt 2):534-6. "Pregnancy in true hermaphrodites and all male offspring to date."
'Sex' is a multi-dimensional concept, and always has been throughout human history. Some of the axes:
Chromosomes (XX, XY, XXY, X0, XYY, XXX, XXXX, XXXXX, XXYY, XX/XY mosaic, ...)
Gonads (testes, ovaries, one of each, ovotestes, ...)
Hormones ( testosterone; estrogen, ... )
Genitals ( visible 'private parts')
Secondary sexual characteristics ( early or late puberty, man-boobs )
Brain structure (psychology and behavior)
Gender identity (What you think you are)
Gender role (What other people think you are)
Preference (What you like according to valence, magnitude, and number)
If you apply a statistical distribution to all of these over the human race, the binary distinction doesn't exist, except maybe on 1960's TV. Or just get out and about on a Saturday night. :-)

Comment Re:Externalities. (Score 1) 381

First, thanks for doing some math, any math. Seriously. We'd have better outcomes if people did. In full disclosure, my numbers are SWAG, it all varies hugely according to location.

Second, thing in 'Doing the Math" is to start with some realistic numbers. Let's start with the '50,000'. The New York State Hudson Valley ( let's stay relatively close to Pennsylvania ) has long been a high tech manufacturing center for decades, but even recently there have been fab facilities constructed and expanded - take glance through those facilities, and you can compare the employment counts of LCD plants around the world also. Maybe, on the outside, a thousand workers at this facility on a permanent basis. In the global supply chain, the facilities operate according to various compromises of scale according to the products and markets, across all the major firms, whether it's Samsung, Phillips, Sony, etc. The facilities are even purposely designed so that the production lines can be readily decommissioned and relocated - even for things as large as aircraft ( ), all you need is a extremely flat floor, which is why companies favorite subsidy is the roads, lot, buildings, education training etc. that they can't move. The vast number ( Zipf's law ) of the 1000 employees are Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assemblers or equivalent ( Note that the TOTAL number of these folks in the US Semiconductor and Other Electronic Component Manufacturing industry is 41180 ( allied, maybe triple that), which gives another triangulation on the 50,000 figure for one plant. For now, I am just using Fermi estimation ( explained in XKCD's ), and consider orders of magnitude. Definitely not 5, not 50, very highly automated 500, 5000 is a bit large, but certainly not 50,000. The wage is easier, mean Pennsylvania( 13,000 ) is about $35,640 annual.

Say the state or local government ( not certain how Penn allocates those responsibilities) has to pick up the tab for road construction in proximity to the plant ( Construct a new 2-lane undivided road – about $2 million to $3 million per mile in rural areas, about $3 million to $5 million in urban areas, ARBTA ). Then sewer, increased water supply, etc. It gets interesting when the government issues bonds to fund these for the companies, essentially a hidden form of taxation. Since there will be a howl from existing companies who will now be competing with Foxconn for the available labor pool, the state usually sets up a training program for those unemployed (10 instructors with burden), which alone would equal $600,000 - approx equal to the $600,000 from 5000 employees ( your calc mentioned 50,000 generating $6 Million ). ( BTW, 2015-16 Pennsylvania DOT's motor license fund total was budgeted at $4.37 billion, less PASP. $170 million around here doesn't even buy a mile of freeway, Fermi test on Wikipedia).

On my look, we are going to see a shift back to the US for simple reason that the China Sea is going to heat up considerably in the near future, and you may actually have 50,000 Foxconn Executives and higher management working as assemblers in Pennsylvania while they draw on their Swiss bank accounts. :-)

HELP WANTED: Parking lot attendant, fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese, MS in EE ... nobody local, guess we'll need some visas ...

Comment Re:Externalities. (Score 1) 381

We've been doing the math here for years, now. For a local aerospace company: $530.8 million in tax breaks, 11000 jobs eliminated, i.e. we essentially paid the company $48000 to eliminate each of those jobs - and that's ignoring the lost tax revenue from those individual's downstream economic activity. The business calculus makes these employment forces inevitable, it's just that they will happen inevitably, and we're still buying into the illusion. The Foxconn statistics are off by two orders of magnitude - just evaluate them against force levels of comparable US fabrication facilities, etc. , or alternatively dive into the occupational data from the US Dept of Labor. You make a good point - to "Do the Math", which was why I included the Pew link, the point is that hardly anyone can actually do the math, and in the few places which have started accumulating data, none of the rosy predictions are true in the early returns, at least. It plays out different across primary, secondary, and tertiary markets, also.

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