Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:Cleaning the swamp? (Score 1) 820

Look, if you don't have data, just admit that you are repeating hearsay and move on. You don't need to spin an elaborate tale about how your friend has data and he's really smart so I should listen to you.

(a) I never said listen to me, I said listen to the experts yourself.
(b) I gave you the data, you lazy child - its the very first line of my previous message. Since you clearly have no inclination to gain knowledge (or you would have at least looked at the data, and responded with data), I'll leave it at that.

I was doing pretty good keeping a straight face until you got to the part about the experts with prediction records, and then I busted out laughing. How many of your experts were on TV in 2007 telling us that there was no bubble?

On the subject of experts: an expert on international trade doesn't have anything to do with housing bubbles. And even if experts are sometimes incorrect, at least they have a framework and approach that can be verified, improved (this is crucial and is why I don't listen to ideologists), and are held accountable to. Your argument is "Expert X got something wrong, so I have no reason to listen to them about anything, but will instead follow a man (Trump) who started a Mortgage company just before the crash. Because I'm blue-collar and know that street smarts is better than all them expert talk."

The only valid point you made is that I should move on. To any who later come upon this thread, there is enough information (including data) for them to form an educated view (if they are so inclined).

Comment Re:Cleaning the swamp? (Score 1) 820

If this isn't about feels, then certainly you have data to back it up. Note that I said data, not arguments, not models - data. Show me some data.

Here you go: Economy of the US; also, models (if they have a good track record) are certainly valuable. Any time anyone makes a prediction, they have a model. Those with the most disdain for models are often arguing from ideology instead.

While you are busy researching that, try really, really hard not to notice how America prospered prior to the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, and how we have withered since.

Define prosperity - certainly there are problems, but overall the years after 1962 have been great. While the gap between productivity and wages has increased, there are reasons that have nothing to do with trade. I repeat, US exports and manufacturing are at an all time high (Google it); manufacturing employment, however, is not doing so well.

Also, try not to notice that Britain fell into the trap of "free trade" around 1850 and over the next 50 years or so we went from half of their production, to double it. In the period from 1865 through 1900, commodity prices fell 58%, real wages grew by 53% despite a doubling of the population, GDP grew by 4% annually, and production grew by 5% annually.

How have we fared in the "free trade" era? 20 trillion in debt, and each year we sell another trillion dollars worth of our land and productive assets in exchange for consumer goods. How long do you think we can keep that up?

Debt financed growth has been a valid strategy to get out of slumps and recession. No one is saying that debt isn't a problem. But most policy experts (of which neither of us are) disagree that massive tax cuts and austerity aren't the way to fix it. Trade wars aren't the way to fix it. These policy experts (all over the political spectrum) have much better historical records (of their predictions and work) than the current crop of Trump advisors - and they have unequivocally rejected his trade/economic/budget plans. Now, you can certainly claim that Trump's advisors are actually smarter than the other policy experts, but this is not backed up by their track record - Stephen Moore being a prime example.

Comment Re:Cleaning the swamp? (Score 1) 820

Neuter the EPA, cut taxes, cut regulation, build the wall, bring jobs back - all of it. We even want to hold the enemedia accountable when they intentionally publish lies, and we'd like to have some free trade agreements, which are different from the Free Trade, Inc.(TM) agreements we've been pushing lately.

Let's focus on jobs: the issue that "blue collar" cares about. Are they the steel plants, coal plants, and car manufacturing jobs of years gone by? Most of those jobs are gone because of automation, not because of immigrant labor. In fact, US manufacturing output is higher than ever (Google it), but the jobs in manufacturing is at an all time low.

Or perhaps it is the Foxconn type sweatshop labor that he'll bring back. Will Americans work for the same price (or risk this being automated as well)? Or maybe Trump will impose a tariff on all good manufactured outside the US? Other countries will then place a huge tariff on US goods. Or companies manufacture US consumables in US (welcome to your $2000 iPhone), while other countries get them from operations in China. And this tariff other countries place on US goods? It causes a contraction because domestic (within US) demand cannot rise enough to make up for the fact that US exports are no longer competitive in international markets. Unemployment in the US goes up, which causes people to consume less, which causes further contraction

Perhaps they are new jobs in fracking and oil (or other infrastructure projects)? Good. Infrastructure projects, while temporary, do boost the economy. Except Obama has been trying to get infrastructure projects for a long time, and Congress refuses to play ball (and fracking might not be the best industry anyway). Trump and Congress will likely pay for those by cutting other projects of course, and depending on where that is, we might have bigger problems. Trump's whole budget proposal was flawed (based on the non-partisan CBO, but who really cares what they think).

Oh, and if you want to call it isolationist and trade-war leaning to have policies that aren't designed to distribute American wealth around the world at the expense of the American people, I can't compete with your wounded feels, but that still don't make it so.

This isn't about feels - the people who are against trade wars includes prominent conservative Economists. They know that barriers to free trade are bad; the Donald, of course, has a good brain and doesn't need experts contradicting him. Which is why he goes for crony advisors.

Comment Cleaning the swamp? (Score 5, Interesting) 820

I've been hearing a lot of talk about "Give Trump a chance", and "let's judge him when he gets to office" by people who voted against him, but are practical enough to want a good leader.

However, this seems to be a pattern with Trump - using donors or people who already agree with him in key positions and advisors. His economic team consists of big donors, and discredited hacks like Stephen Moore and Larry Kudlow (this is non-partisan; even economic advisors of previous republicans presidents don't agree with Moore). He takes an climate-change skeptic (Myron Ebell) to lead the EPA transition.

Yet, I haven't heard a peep from most people who supported Trump about this. The "blue collar" crowd who supported him was about people sick of "Establishment politics", and instead wanted someone "looking out for the working class". Trump's isolationist and trade-war leaning policies, and embrace of supply-side economics have a proven record of hurting workers. Together with clear cronyism (to be fair, this was obvious before the election), I'm surprised that the "blue collar" crowd isn't even slightly upset.

Trump's supporters seem to still be in the post-game high - "Our team won!"; are they going to hold him to his (crazy) campaign promises? Are they going to expect him to loosen libel laws, build a wall, bring back sweatshop factory jobs? A co-worker remarked "Trump's victory speech was a step towards healing", instead of realizing that the stirred up crazy is still out there; he doesn't get credit for not being as crazy enough to follow through on his campaign promises.

Comment Congratulations "blue-collar" (Score 4, Interesting) 2837

Now you have a populist who will bring back the minimum wage (while such a thing exists) manufacturing jobs from China (great going Peter Navarro - and if you voted for Trump but have no idea who this is, you are part of the problem), at least until automation kicks you to the curb. "Blue-collar" workers have (best case) staved away their downward decline for a few years, while destroying any hope of a transition to a decent health care system and safety nets that they'll need in the coming decades.

Comment Re:And to think the DNC wanted to face Trump... (Score 1) 2837

I wouldn't get too whipped up about that. People are inclined to think of the President as a single person when in fact a presidency involves an entire team of people. There are plenty of highly talented, experienced people available to work for Trump to produce a highly successful term in office.

Except that almost ALL experienced, talented people (from all parts of the political spectrum) have rejected Trump. His foreign policy and economic advisor list is less a "whos who", and more of a "Who? No really, who is that person". And given Trump's disdain for "experts" (including politicizing the Federal Reserve), I doubt he'd take any advice well (or talented people would subject themselves to his whims). After all, he has "good" instincts for this stuff, and has shown he does not take criticism/questioning well.

Comment IT in schools? (Score 2) 103

Good, bad, or ugly, is it time to admit that business really can't continue without IT? When will IT training become formal curriculum in schools?

Good, bad, or ugly, is it time to admit that business can't really continue without Patents/Accounting/Negotiations/Advertising/Sales/1000 other things?
When will patent law/banking/economics/marketing of these become formal curriculum in schools? That's about the time when IT should become a part of the formal curriculum as well.

High school shouldn't be about training for a job that only a fraction of the students will eventually do. If businesses can't survive without IT, then they hire people who are specially trained in IT - a HS course won't be train people enough to solve any hard IT problems anyway.

Comment I though Open Source was great? (Score 1) 541

Not trolling here, but I've been wondering why there is so much hate for System-D, when this is for open source projects?

Whenever someone says (on slashdot) that they don't like the features of an open source project, he gets a bunch of comments along the lines of "It's open source - just add the features you want or fork it and make your version. That's what is so great about open source".

What is different in this case? Clearly, lot of people don't like SystemD. Why are they complaining about it? If you don't like it, aren't you free to fork projects and make your own Debian derivative (for example) that is free of System-D?

I'm honestly curious why SystemD has this much power to break the "fork it, open source rules" argument.

Comment Mixing issues (Score 2) 205

This article is mixing three issues, all of which should concern any online retailer.

The first is counterfeit or fake goods - a customer buys a product, but instead gets an item that doesn't match what they ordered. This is clearly fraud, and makes it difficult to trust online purchases. This doesn't seemed to have happened here. Most customers must have known they were buying the product from someone else, not the "original".

The second is that the signal to noise ratio drops very low because a lot of vendors flood the marketplace (perhaps automatically) with products that are supposed to grab the top spot (due to low price, for example). The product might not even exist - say I print a t-shirt when someone makes an order, but I can digitally generate a million t-shirt slogans and create a million different t-shirts to show up on search. This isn't fraud - I know exactly what I'm getting, but the marketplace experience as a whole is terrible.

The third is gaming the review system. I tend to read the content of the reviews carefully (I don't trust the rating system as much) to gain information, rather than checking the ratings. In this case, it seems as if the "inferior" product had a lot of fake reviews. If true buyers were returning the product in large numbers, however, Amazon might even pull the product.

I do agree that it isn't the merchant's job to track down fraud/fakers (which this particular example is not); Amazon should be careful that they don't become the next ebay or craigslist.

Comment Re:How can I get in on this? (Score 4, Insightful) 302

I don't know; competition very often produces much better results for a better price.

The ground reality is that there will be very little competition for such contracts - the TSA replacement initiative will be created/overseen by politicians (the airlines/airports can't arbitrarily decide to switch to private providers, as far as I know), and they are going to write language/requirements so that only one (or at most a few) companies are capable of handling the project. There will be very little true competition - it basically will look like the US internet situation today. If more than one company can meet the requirements, they'll divvy up the market between themselves (mostly geographically) to avoid directly competing.

Comment Instead of contemplation, just tell me. (Score 3, Interesting) 302

Here's an idea for the people who seem to love to spend money on technology - have a system where I can take a look at the current (and expected) wait times before I leave for airport.

While I'd still hate long waits, right now I have no idea if I'm going to be done in 10 minutes, or an hour. Maybe you could tell us? I'm sure you will come up with a "security" reason why us plebs shouldn't know how long the lines are going to be, and instead have to guesstimate the wait time.

It might in fact work out better if you use an appointment type system - recently I was in line with a person who had come to the airport two hours before his flight, and someone whose flight was going to depart in the next 15 minutes. When you make wait times unpredictable, you are creating these type of situations.

Comment The trifecta (Score 5, Insightful) 170

An article about more women in Tech, Amazon, and Dating geeks.

The clickbait is strong with this one ;)

That being said, two questions jump to mind. One, I heard that Amazon employees sign contracts that every idea they might have, even if unrelated to their primary job, is the property of Amazon (it is Seattle, so I think the contract is enforceable). Does that hold true here? And secondly, just hire more women?? I never heard of Jeff Reifman, but he sounds like a class act, NOT. His chief tip? "Offer larger signing bonuses for women". Is that even legal?

I have Karma to burn, so I'll ask a question that has been on my mind for a while - is gender balance (in any industry) a goal? Or is it a means to a goal. I often hear "We need more women in Tech", but I don't understand why that is a goal by itself. It might be more clear to say "we need smart people in Tech, and smart women are turned away from STEM, so we need to fix this". Because there might be other ways of achieving the second goal (irrespective of gender), while the only way to achieve the first is to make the hire ratio even.

Comment Basic income, not universal services. (Score 1) 440

I'm curious as to how a small study might provide insight when you apply it to a non-self contained ecosystem.

It is one thing to offer basic income, but unless you price control basic necessities (housing, food cost, clothing) I fail to see how the system works. In a small pilot (say a few hundred people in a city) it might work out that basic income is great (since prices are set by the majority).

To be clear, I'm not against the principle of a universal basic standard of living: I think society would be better off if people didn't have to waste time doing dead-end jobs just to avoid starvation. But for society to really benefit from basic services, I think it would take a few generations for the good effects to be seen (the first generation of poor people who have been getting shafted all their lives are very likely to just kick back and enjoy; but when the second generation - those who have been learning and doing stuff out of interest their whole lives - comes around, they are likely to do good work with their free time).

Slashdot Top Deals

A list is only as strong as its weakest link. -- Don Knuth