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Comment Re:US Employment Rights (Score 1) 340

you aren't allowed to fire anybody unless they've had three written warnings, written warnings can only be issued after a hearing where the employee has the right to council...

This may sound good and make people who already have jobs difficult to fire. However, the devastating side effect is higher unemployment, especially among the youth and inexperienced. It makes it much riskier to hire if there are high hurdles for firing. Consider that an incompetent employee could do a lot of damage during 3 warnings while costing the employer a paycheck -- and a slick lawyer could keep them at the job. Hiring is critical for a developing economy which have large numbers of young and undereducated people. Policies like this (which are prevalent in third world countries), while well meaning, unfortunately contribute to a country's third world status.

Comment Plugging the Dvorak myths (Score 1) 663

This is an interesting article which looks behind some of the stories and myths behind the development of QWERTY and Dvorak. Also, nowhere in the article is there a critique of the Dvorak layout (claims that it reduces strain or seems to be a better layout are left standing.) Some interesting points:
  • Apparently typing contests were common at the end of the 1800's and there were several different competing typewriter keyboard layouts. QWERTY won out and manufactures with competing with different designs quickly moved to QWERTY.
  • The original source for the famous US Navy study (which is frequently paraded which "proves" that typists can learn Dvorak with little training and type much faster) apparently doesn't exist at "the Navy Library, the Martin Luther King Library, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the National Technical Communication Service." However, the author was able to track down a copy of the study from "an organization called Dvorak International, headquartered in the attic of a farmhouse in Vermont." From the article "The report does not list the authors. The report's foreword states that two prior experiments had been conducted but that 'the first two groups were not truly fair tests.'" According to the study "adjustments were made in the test procedure to 'remove psychological impediments to superior performance.'" Further, according to the study, the so-called typists were poor at typing (below 30 WPM, below Navy standards). Also, the study was conducted by no other than Lieut. Com. August Dvorak (the inventor of Dvorak!).
  • There were several controlled, well conducted studies around the world which showed that retraining QWERTY typists in Dvorak resulted in little change in typing speed.

Read it!

Comment IBM pays people for this stuff...? (Score 4, Insightful) 52

I get why this article is on Slashdot (it's kind of cool), but why would IBM pay employees to work on this type of thing? It's impractical for several reasons...

Security & practicality:

  1. You must install an add-in to use it. You want to your encrypted calendar with some friends. You tell them "uhh, just install this arbitrary XPI." No thanks.
  2. No mention on how to securely transfer the private key to your friends. Email?
  3. From your browser, the add-in spawns a shell to run a Perl script which passes arbitrary content to gpg. Security much?


  1. This component is dependent on Google not changing their page. How would you and your friends like to recompile each time Google changes their page?
  2. Who are you trying to protect your data from anyway? Google? They could change their page to by-pass your encryption and intercept new events as you post them. If you trust Google not to do that, what's the point? Just mark the entry as private and share it as appropriate...
  3. It goes against Google's business. Okay if just a handful of users encrypt their events, no problem. However, displaying a bunch of base64 encoded garbage messes up Google's ads. Which, you know, is virtually their entire source of revenue. In the unlikely event that this technique became popular, Google would be forced to shut it down.
  4. Google might shut it down anyway. It's a calendar. It's not for posting arbitrary base64 encoded data. If many users use Google calender for posting arbitrary binary data, calendar would quickly become a lawless file trading platform (think usenet) and create a performance, storage, and/or legal mess.
The Media

Submission + - Hurricane Expert Calls Gore Theory "Ridiculous ( 5

DrWho520 writes: ONE of the world's foremost meteorologists has called the theory that helped Al Gore share the Nobel Peace Prize "ridiculous" and the product of "people who don't understand how the atmosphere works".
Dr William Gray, a pioneer in the science of seasonal hurricane forecasts, told a packed lecture hall at the University of North Carolina that humans were not responsible for the warming of the earth.


Submission + - Possibly habitable extrasolar planet?

icebrain writes: Astronomers say they may have discovered an extrasolar planet that is habitable for humans — and may even have liquid water. .html

The new planet, called GL-851c, orbits a red dwarf star a "mere" 20.5 light-years away. Further research is needed to determine if it is actually an Earth-like planet, but it is definitely the best candidate so far.

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