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Comment Re:Encryption (Score 4, Interesting) 318

I do not, nor have I ever, used my personal cell phone for work purposes. Key work people may have the number for emergency purposes, but it's made clear that me providing that number is a serious point of trust, and that it should never be used except for the most dire circumstances. My work cell not answering doesn't count. Clients are to *never* get that number.

About a year ago, I took a job where they don't provide a phone. I chose instead to purchase a separate line that is used entirely for business. Only a few personal contacts have the number (parents and wife, basically). If I ever leave the company, the line gets disabled (phone was purchased off contract) so I don't have to field calls from clients. Even if I choose to use the phone with a new employer, it will get a different number. The cost of the phone and extra line comes off taxes each year.

When traveling internationally, the phone gets backed up, wiped, and reinitialized with a separate ID that has no links to the old except for necessary work contacts. Something similar happens to the notebook. After returning home, what little new data is present is backed up, then the pre-trip backups are restored.

All devices are fully encrypted, so reinitialization gets a fully clean start.

Comment Re: VISA program is GOOD. H1B is NOT. It is a joke (Score 1) 248

Desktop browsers don't capitalize by default. Some of us still use them. (Some of us also know where the Shift keys are and learned to type somewhere along the way, even if it was only using Mavis Beacon.)

That said, I've roundfiled plenty of resumes where the person clearly didn't bother to do any spell- or grammar-checking.

Comment Re:Free movement of labor for other jobs... (Score 2) 248

That's the textbook goal of a tariff. Countries have used tariffs to effectively shut off imports.

Tariffs also only work if the imposing country has a significant advantage. It's possible to vastly overdo them, as the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act did (trade dropped by half in both directions). In a global trade era, the effect of tariffs against a given country can be quickly countered by that country offering more advantageous trade opportunities to other nations. China could offer more generous status to the EU, for example, which would probably be quick to accept lower cost imports as a potential boost to its own lackluster economy.

Trade wars benefit few, and rarely end up with the imposing country getting its entire way. As time goes on and trade becomes even more globalized, I suspect that the imposing country will more often be forced to offer significant concessions to get out of the trade war. Eventually, free trade zones the world over will be the rule. Whether that's good in general or not, I don't know.

Comment Re:VPNs FTW? (Score 1) 460

I've canceled my Netflix and gone back to torrents. It was the total lack of screeners on Netflix that turned be off. Hell, screeners are great -- it's just like being at the theater. If I can't see the heads of those in front and hear cellphones ringing two rows back then it's not a true movie experience.

Damn you Netflix! :-)

Comment Re:Sickening (Score 4, Interesting) 159

It reminds me of the Hobbit movies, in particular of the battle on the river. I was taken out of the movie by the splashes. They looked fake, but I knew that this was more because the movie was shot at 48FPS and so captured the motion better.

So does it look fake because it is fake, or does it look fake because it's different from what we expect to see?

Comment Re:Not necessarily clueless; potentially pragmatis (Score 1) 195

Short summary: If the license says something that is enforceable in court, odds are super good that you can't get it removed with anything short of an activist campaign. [ ... ] If the license says something that is not enforceable in court, why should you care at the outset?

And just how the fsck am I supposed to know which is which? Is litigation of every $(GOD)-damned term necessary to determine validity? And why is the onus on me to prove the term is bullshit? It seems to me that a "contract" that purports to absolve the vendor of any and all responsibility for defects in their product, and then further forces the consumer to give up their right to file suit in a state or Federal court, or be a member of a class action, and instead be compelled into neutral (ha ha) arbitration, would be unenforceable. But, lo and behold, they've been deemed valid. And all this comes into existence by merely clicking an on-screen button.

In other words, a vendor can impose an onerous, heavy-handed, one-sided contract on someone via little more than merest assertion.

...And you, as a professional working in this space, haven't got the slightest problem with this?

Comment Re: I Know Where The 22,000 Went! (Score 1) 474

Employee withholding taxes are a better indication of employment, cover most of the population every 2 weeks, and unlike estimates from the BLS, aren't distorted by adding fudge factors to get the numbers you want.

The problem with using withholding taxes is that the numbers could end up being far more skewed than you believe the BLS numbers to be. A large portion of the population works more than one job. By counting the number of people getting paychecks, even if you get the amount that they're getting paid, you risk strongly over-counting the number of people employed to one degree or another. Someone working a full-time job and a part-time job could be counted as two people employed, while someone working three part-time jobs could count as three people employed.

The BLS numbers aren't perfect, but they're the best information that we have. The tax-based numbers wouldn't go back more than a few years if we tried to start using them, so a new program to keep that information (and the highly individualized data associated with it) would have to start, run probably at least a decade, and might then be able to start producing useful numbers that could be published.

It would still be missing critical data, though: why people are unemployed. It only captures who isn't working. It doesn't include anything about those who went to school, stayed at home to be a parent, stay at home or cut back hours to care for an ailing family member, retire, or go on disability. It also misses people who own their own business with no employees, paying their taxes quarterly instead of monthly or biweekly, and one has to make estimates of how many of those are still in operation in between, and even with those numbers, many of them have separate jobs.

The end result is less, and probably muddier, data than we have now.

Withholding taxes are down, even as the "official" unemployment rate drops and more people enter the workforce. What that means is that people are making less money, good full-time jobs are being replaced by crap full-time, part-time, or no jobs.

That doesn't seem to be the case. According to the Treasury's monthly report (the latest available is for May 2016), individual income tax revenue for the current fiscal year is up over the same period in 2015, with $1.038 trillion this fiscal year compared to $1.015 trillion last fiscal year, an increase of about 2.3%.

I searched for the withholding tax revenue and didn't see it, so I checked the report for January 2016, before most people have started paying whatever back taxes they owe, and the revenue was even stronger: a 3.2% increase over the same period the year prior. Maybe you have the actual withholding numbers, which I'd love to see if that were the case. The available evidence, though, contradicts your assertion.

Comment Re: The Taste must have been fired also (Score 1) 474

Most people are bad at judging the effects of things in their food. Tell someone that their coffee is strongly or weakly caffeinated, and they become more or less alert than normal.

Maybe you're an exception, but probably not. Most people follow this pattern. People do tend to react differently when they get something they don't usually have, and children are even more susceptible to this. Your recollections of your youth are probably not as accurate as you think (this is also the case with most people). It's possible that you don't remember being told that they had sugar. Adults may have acted differently around you after you got the Twinkies. You probably also knew that they were sweets in the same category (roughly speaking) as cookies and candy.

The point is that there is a lot of psychology that goes into how people react to various foods, most of it completely invisible to the people consuming the food unless they're explicitly told about it. It's a big part of why telling kids that something tastes good tends to be more effective than telling them that it's good for them. Shots are also good for them, but they don't like them. Therefore, "good for you" can carry a negative connotation.

Comment Re: I Know Where The 22,000 Went! (Score 4, Informative) 474

It's 66% of the population age 16 and above, with some minor exceptions.

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics glossary:

Labor force participation rate
The labor force as a percent of the civilian noninstitutional population.

Civilian noninstitutional population (Current Population Survey)
Included are persons 16 years of age and older residing in the 50 states and the District of Columbia who do not live in institutions (for example, correctional facilities, long-term care hospitals, and nursing homes) and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces.

It includes everyone who has retired and who lives on their own, and yes, the baby boomers have had a large effect on it. Ben Casselman at FiveThirtyEight discussed this a couple of years ago, noting that the LFPR began declining in the early 2000s. Short version: about half, maybe a little less, of the decline can be attributed to Baby Boomer retirement. Other factors, including more people in school and some people not returning to the workforce, account for the rest.

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