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Comment Re:1st amendment issue (Score 1) 996

On Twitter, even if you don't follow a person, they can still send you messages. To give another example I encountered (albeit not one involving "hate speech"), this woman online decided that I was the same person as another guy she had a problem with. Her proof? We both like photography. (She's not all there. She also claims to be a prophet of god and that god talks to her and tells her these things. Obviously, saying "you're mistaken" doesn't work.) She would harass me constantly on Twitter and, eventually, on my blog. I ignored it, but still it was annoying to come back and see a dozen messages from her. I'd block/report her and her account would be taken down, but she'd just start a new one up. (At one point, I and a few other people she was harassing found out that she had set up around a dozen accounts ahead of time for the inevitable account suspension.)

Now, her speech to me wasn't hate speech. (She was accusing me of murder/hacking/doing obscene stuff to kids/etc because god told her.) Still, she could easily have been sending me hate speech instead. Is my option in this situation "just shut down my Twitter account and don't use it anymore"? Is the only option for someone who is being harassed to leave the place where they are being harassed?

As far as deporting illegal immigrants goes, I don't see discussing it and the various policy proposals as being hate speech. It's HOW it's discussed that's the bigger issue. Saying "we should deport those illegal immigrants" is fine. Saying "all [derogatory term for Mexicans] should be rounded up and shot" obviously isn't the same thing. I welcome a rational immigration discussion. Unfortunately, there are many who use the discussion's opening to shout racist rants. This hurts both sides as the left reacts to the racists and the right has their reasonable plans drowned out by hate. (It's one reason why I'm hoping the GOP will fracture so that it can kick out the crazies and reformulate itself as a Reasonable Conservative party. I might be left-of-center, but I want reasonable options out there to keep the Democrats in check.)

Finally, I agree that I wouldn't want to see Twitter, Facebook, etc ban people for spurious reasons. People shouldn't be banned because the CEO of Twitter believes X and someone tried posting a reasonable argument why X is wrong. However, if someone is posting pure hatred and is harassing people, they should be kicked off. That's not fostering communication. That's trying to scare people into silence so the racists/bigots can force their view onto America.

Comment Re:Surprised (Score 1) 438

The conference produced data showing that there are approximately 100,000 jobs available in Minnesota that can't be filled because of lack of skills or lack of interest.

That sentence is missing one clause: "At the salaries/wages/benefits being offered for those positions."

A "skills gap" makes no logical sense - if there is sufficient demand for products that you could hire that many people, then there is sufficient demand that you could train people on the job and still afford it. The other possibility is that it's not a skills gap, but a certification/licensing gap, which means you need to work with your certification boards to start allowing more people through the certification process by opening more schools and/or funding more people to get those certifications. Or in some cases, reducing certification requirements. I'm not even talking about medical or emergency services or anything: beauticians for instance - have you ever seen how many hours they have to put in to be allowed to cut hair and apply makeup (granted, sharp objects and potentially nasty chemicals, but sill...)?

Either way, ultimately there is no "gap" - it's a mismatch in labor supply and demand at some price level.

Comment Re:New Normal (Score 1) 29

What's new about it? This is the same FUBAR cluelessness we should be used by now from large consumer ISPs like TalkTalk (who also run the Post Office ISP network), although I thought KCom knew better - maybe they've lost the cluefullness they had when they first set up and were at the cutting edge of high-speed broadband. The only reason this was a problem for them was because they thought it was a good idea to provide their customers with routers with the remote admin ports active and exposed to the Internet at large. Now, the first part of that (the remote admin) is fair enough; we are talking mass-market consumer ISPs here, so being able to remotely push firmware and other updates out to the CPE is generally a good idea, but just *how* long has it been best current practice to restrict access to admin ports to known and trusted IPs again? Defence in depth stuff like that was the "done thing" back when I was working at an ISP in early 2000s, FFS. It's not hard, and there are multiple implementation options; you can do so in your internal distribution network somewhere, you can do it on the edge, by pushing out some sane rules to the devices internal firewall, or (better still) a combination of more than one of the above, but there's simply no excuse for not doing it at all, especially after the last decade and change of major Internet worms.

Comment Re:Plenty of low-wage jobs to go around... (Score 1) 438

Well, if you want data, according the social security adminsitration the average wage has gone up by about $8000 since 2010; however the median wage has gone up by something more like $3000.

This pretty much tells you what you'd expect under trade liberalization: it helps higher wage workers with specialized skills more than it does commodity labor.

The key to understanding data like this, as a sociology professor once told me, is to disaggregate it. If you do you'll see that while the averages and even median that looks fairly rosy over the last thirty years, the picture for median and below has been almost flat for a generation.

That doesn't sound too bad. Sure the wealthy and the well-to-do are getting richer, but nobody (at least no economic slice -- geography tells a different story) is doing worse. But even that result has to be disaggregated. On one hand you have only a modest increase in the overall cost of consumer goods (thanks free trade!); this modest increase along with modest compensation increases produces no growth or loss of purchasing power below median income.

On the other hand if you break out just health incurance, medical care and college tuition, median purchasing power has collapsed in the last thirty years or so.

What this means is that median income people can buy a lot more TVs and home entertainment crap than they could in the 70s, but as that stuff has become cheaper paths to upward mobility have been closing and paths to downward mobility have been opening.

Comment Re: Farewell and Thanks for My First Job! (Score 1) 26

It's remarkable how young so many of these pioneers were, which is why a few of them are still alive today.

I started mucking around with computers in high school in the 70s and when I got my first job in the 80s some of these guys were still working. I once sat next to a guy at a banquet who was probably only ten years older then than I am now. He regaled me with tales of his lab getting the IBM 701 in the mid 50s, which was exciting because it was, in his words, "a stored program jobbie." We could talk each other's language because the obsolete hardware I learned on wasn't much more advanced than the stuff he worked on as a young man. I look at the front panel of the 701 or the Stretch, and it makes perfect sense to me.

When these guys started dying off in the 90s, I remember a kind of stunned disbelief. Computer guys just didn't die. That was something that happened to old people.

Submission + - House Science Committee Tweets Climate-Change Denying Breitbart Article (businessinsider.com)

xtsigs writes: On Thursday, The House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology tweeted a misleading article published by Breitbart about the state of the global climate.

"Global Temperatures Plunge. Icy Silence from Climate Alarmists," the tweet read, citing an article from The Daily Mail. Apparently, the portions of our government responsible for overseeing public funding for science are getting their information from tabloids.

Senator Bernie Sanders responded to the tweet, asking, "Where'd you get your PhD? Trump University?"

Submission + - China Is Censoring People's Chats Without Them Even Knowing About It (qz.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A new study from The Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto, reveals that censorship on WeChat occurs primarily in group chats rather than one-on-one chats between two people, and often in such a way where the sender of a text isn’t even aware a piece of text has been scrubbed. The discoveries illuminates how China’s government attempts to keep its citizens blind to the scope of its censorship regime. The researchers set out find the extent to which certain keywords got scrubbed from conversations between two or more users in WeChat. To do this, in June 2016 the team posed as a Chinese WeChat user and sent out 26,821 keywords containing terms that had been censored on other apps, including Tom-Skype (a made-for-China version of Skype) and YY (a live broadcast app). A corresponding Canadian user in the two-way chat would then report back to say whether or not the message had been received. The report states that out of the entire sample, only one term—Falun Gong — had been scrubbed. When they ran an identical test in August, even that text mysteriously passed without censorship. Yet when they tested group chats, they found multiple cases in which certain keywords triggered a removal. Specifically, while sensitive terms used in isolation were unlikely to trigger censorship (say “June 4th,” a reference to the Tiananmen Square protests, brutally put down on June 4, 1989), it took effect when they were used in a full sentence or with other keywords. The researchers also discovered that when WeChat censored a message, the sender received no notice informing him that his text had not reached the intended recipient.

Submission + - AMD Zen SR7 CPU Allegedly Will Offer Core i7 5960X Performance At Half The Price (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: AMD needs a win in the high-end processor category badly and if the latest leak turns out to be accurate, AMD could get its much needed victory when its unreleased Zen SR7 processor hits the market sometime in Q1 with eight cores in tow. The octal-core Zen part is said to perform better than Intel's muscular Core i7-5960X, a Haswell-E chip with eight cores clocked at 3GHz to 3.5GHz, 16 threads, and 20MB of cache. Not for the faint of wallet, the Core i7-5960X tops $1,000 in street pricing even when it's on sale. AMD's competing SR7 Summit Ridge part is said to cost half as much at $499. New engineering samples of the potentially game changing Zen chip have been popping up in the wild. These latest revisions feature a 3.2GHz core clockspeed and 3.5GHz turbo frequency. These are noticeable jumps in frequency compared to the previous version AMD showed, which had the core and turbo clockspeeds running at 2.8GHz and 3.2GHz, respectively.

Comment They've got it backwards. (Score 0) 234

Get rid of paper money first. Replace it with large denomination coins. This would eliminate the cost of printing paper money, which is more expensive because paper is less durable. It maintains most advantages of paper currency, except for one: making large cash purchases.

That's the reason this has been suggested as a way to curb drug trafficking. The highest denomination coin currently in US circulation is $1, and weighs about 8.1 grams. At around $20,000 per kilogram, to buy a kilo of coke a middleman would have to fork over 357 pounds of Sacajaweas. Even if you minted $20 coins that weighed about twice as much, you'd still need over thirty pounds of coins to by a kilo. However transactions in the sub-thousand dollar range would remain quite easy. It'd be a cinch to carry enough cash to cover dinner for two, with wine, at a three star restaurant in Manhattan. Or penny candy, although that cost a dime these days.

The basic strategy is the same: discourage some cash transactions. It's just that it makes more sense to discourage big cash transactions.

Comment Re:Slashdot Trolling? (Score 2) 180

Well, I don't really see that this is a Trump trolling. It's a genuine news story, and it is an interesting question what the new administration will do about it -- if anything. Especially as Trump's proposed Secretary of Defense (Jim Mathis) really, really wants to contain Iran, and Iran's cyberwarfare is one of the issues he's mentioned. Mathis is aggressive and sometimes impolitic, but he doesn't come across as a fool.

On the other hand the Secretary of State position is up in the air. Currently in the running according to transition team leaks: Mitt Romney, David Petraeus, Rudy Giuliani, and John Bolton. That's quite a range there.

Comment Re:"Hate speech" is protected by the 1st Amendment (Score 1) 996

But we also have companies, which occupy a space between an individual and society in total.

Not necessarily. I agree in the case where a company has an entrenched monopoly which is protected by serious barriers to entry. But in the case of Twitter there are alternate social media platforms available. And even if they all banned you for your KKK activities, it's not really that hard to create a social media app that can support a broadly unpopular viewpoint.

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