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Comment Re:Knowledge about the age of the rainforest is kn (Score 5, Interesting) 147

The assumption that he puts forth is that between the first explorers, and the large wave that followed later, there was a massive death rate due to the introductions of Western diseases. This large die-off was not seen or recorded, by Westerners, because the bulk of it occurred between the exploration stages.

He discusses many of the records of the second wave of explorers, they wrote of well tended, but empty, forests and fruit plantations. Many of their observations reflected that there was a recent, and large population; yet they were not seeing that large population. here is the wikipedia summary https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

The, essential, anarchy seen by later explorers, and settlers as not a fair look at how the Americas had been. What those of the later stages were seeing was the result of a societal collapse to below the levels need for continuation.

To put this in geek terms, imagine that you arrived on earth after the zombie apocalypse, your assumptions would be different than they would be if you arrived today.

Comment Knowledge about the age of the rainforest is known (Score 2) 147

The book 1492: The Year the World Began, by Felipe Fernández-Armesto, is not a new book. However, it goes into detail about the not so ancient American civilizations. It does promote the crowded Americas theory; which is gaining prominence. Essentially, the records of the first explorers and settlers is very different from the Americas seen by the large waves of explorers and settlers, only a few years later.

Comment Re:Most forms of metric are like this (Score 1) 196

Of course one will. In the case you set forward, the money is a signaling mechanism. Even if I happen to feel that Y is more productive for the company, It has been signaled to me that the company places greater value on X. As such, I should engage in X.

This assumes that the X in question isn't some perverse gaming of the system.

To use as an example, I worked at a company that was obsessed with EBITDA. All meetings, and management contact, were required to include emphasis on EBITDA objectives (yes, this resulted in a manager hiding in his office a lot). I realize that was just plain stupid. However, it was clearly expressed that the EBITDA objectives were what the company was concerned with.

I could have forged off in my own direction. I do think the company would have been better for it. However, to do so would have been an act of insubordination, yes, I would have also missed my bonus. However, the bonus was not the issue; the issue was that the company had, clearly, signaled its primary area of concern. It was my job to focus on that concern.

[EBITDA -- Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization is a measure of a company's operating performance. Essentially, it's a way to evaluate a company's performance without having to factor in financing decisions, accounting decisions or tax environments.] BTW, it is a worthless measure https://hbr.org/2009/11/how-eb...

Comment Re:Thanks Obama! (Score 4, Insightful) 375

The problem is that the focus is on the wrong word. You even used the word. The word you used was "healthcare." The problem is that the word being used when the law is being worked on is not, "care," it is ,"insurance.

The emphasis remains to provide insurance, with the assumption that care will follow. The focus needs to be on healthcare.

If it cuts out a huge slice of profit for a small number of people employed in health insurance, that must be viewed as the cost of increasing national efficiency in providing health care.

Comment Re:As if this is new (Score 2) 370

Stagflation is not the coexistence of deflation and inflation. Stagflation, as coined and seen the late 70's; it is the coexistence of high inflation and high unemployment. This is something that traditional economic theory considered to be impossible. It was the condition that saw the success of the supply side theories that were the core of Thatcherism and Reaganism. The trouble with supply side isn't that it doesn't work in specific circumstances; it is that its adherents try to apply it to all circumstances.

Comment Re:Free Motorcycles (Score 4, Insightful) 295

However, even if people were permitted to sell organs, as part of their estate, then the money would be part of the estate. It would then be attached by the hospital that created the availability in the first place, as compensation for the medical expenses.

The result would be a morbid incentive to the hospitals while providing, essentially, no remuneration to the family of the deceased.

. . . it is a good idea, but the presence of people in the system will screw it up.

Comment Re:Feedback is welcome! (Score 1) 68

I actually wanted to play Free-Civ last summer. However, the program is randomly scattered over a half dozen sites. Can you put it in one place where a person can just download and install it?

I finally just gave up on it.

I am using OSx if that matters.

Comment My district dumpstered the surplus computers (Score 1) 255

I am a computer teacher at a middle school and I requested some of the surplus computers for my students to learn something other than Microsoft and Google office tools on. Quite literally, the school dumpstered the old computers instead. I am explicitly forbidden from teaching about the computer (yes, the topics I am not to discuss are in the state curriculum, I am just not to teach those sections).

I am not to teach scripts or programming outside of the robotics class, in that class I am to only use the Lego EV3 programming environment. I am not to introduce things like the Arduino, or any other single board, microcontroller.

As far as things like a Linux club, the students have asked for that. However, the restrictions the district created are too much. The district will not support it in any way (no surplus computers; remember, they go to the dumpster). Further, the linux computers may not be connected to the network, or used to form an independent network, in the school. They must not, through any means access any other network or the internet (that clause was to address the idea of a high gain antenna to my home wifi, as I only live a block from the school and have a clear, rooftop, line of sight). That means standalone computers only.

Frankly, until the schools support computer education, beyond office apps, middle school is not a place that will turn kids onto computers.

Comment I know my Grandfather did something similar (Score 1) 80

The family story went like this; a company (company A) my Grandfather worked as an engineer wanted a better understanding of what the competitor (company B) as doing.

Company A had my grandfather apply at company B as a watchman (yes, what an ironic title). As a result he wandered around and sketched and took notes of everything. People at company B just thought he was doing a great job; however, for reasons no one at Company B ever understood, their competitor suddenly began to duplicate their processes.

The family story goes on that he later met the owner of Company B at a trade event. The owner recognised my grandfather as his former watchman and the reality of what had happened finally hit him. My grandfathers words to him were, "you really have to pay attention to who you let through your doors."

Comment Yet they still have, essentially, no help desk (Score 1) 31

Even though my Chinese friends rely on QQ I have given up on it. If I connect to QQ with a proxy server on, the account is frozen. It has happened several times. I can remember to turn the proxy server off; however, forget once, and that account is locked forever and I have to make a new account and inform everyone of the account change.

It is not really usable to me, a help desk could fix it in minutes; but there isn't one.

Comment The quick way to clean up the internet is simple (Score 1) 161

The reality is that it is in use in China and works pretty well. Further, most of the people using it support it. The solution is a real ID system where the ID of posters is simple to check and that the users are aware that it is easy to check their ID.

Yes, there would be concerns to be addressed, such as protecting people from having their usage history published; however, it is not insurmountable. With th e sense of anonymity gone, most people would feel less free to act stupid.

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