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Comment Not fake news, but... (Score 0) 892

Let's see how quickly the Trumpanzees can blame this on Obama somehow, or call it all fake news :)

Not fake news, but it's certainly non-techie news.

Will we get an article about the Russian pranksters who pranked US Congresswoman Maxine Waters posing as the Ukrainian PM now?

That's not techie news either...

Comment It's OK to hit a racist (Score 1, Insightful) 268

This study is racist and xenophobic and slashdot is also for posting it. America is a country of immigrants and Indians have just as much right to a programming job as anyone who was born here.

Racism is usually usually defined as prejudice or antagonism based on race, and xenophobia has something to do with fear.

The problem with your argument is that there is no actual racism or xenophobia involved. No one is "afraid" of people from India, no one "fears" the Indian programmer, and from the looks of things in this country no one tries to keep "the Indian savage" down or prevents them from doing anything a regular citizen could do.

They drink at the same water fountains as anyone else, and no one cares.

This is the typical argument of the left. It's OK to hit a racist, so you start by labelling everything you don't like as racist.

Then when you're caught breaking windows or giving someone a beat-down, you sayl "yeah, but he's a racist!".

In fact, you don't even need to apply the label yourself. So long as someone else calls it racism, you're free to riot and beat people all you want.

That's really the reason the left uses all these silly labels, it's to justify virtuous acts of violence.

It's OK to hit a racist.

Comment Two spillways (Score 1) 457

The spillway failed due to a construction issue. Had it not failed, its capacity would have been adequate.

I believe you are confusing the [concrete] regular spillway with the [earthen] emergency spillway.

The concrete spillway is gone, but this doesn't seem to be a safety issue.

The earthen emergency spillway eroded almost all the way back to the berm, which would have resulted in a dam breech. That's what everyone is worried about.

I posted an update response above, with images.

Comment More info, with pictures (Score 5, Informative) 457

There's actually 2 things going on.

The existing spillway is made of concrete, and suffered some structural damage.

Here is an image of the damage, from a couple of days ago, and here is that same spillway today.

The lower half of the spillway is probably completely gone. The raging water might erode up to the level of the dam, but that's not likely.

The actual problem was the emergency spillway, which is an earthen bank to the left (looking up to the dam) of the regular spillway.

You can see the damage in this image. Note that one of the eroded canyons reaches almost up to the level of the water.

If the erosion had reached the emergency spillway it would have burst, releasing a whole lot of water downstream.

Here's a closeup, and note the middle lower portion of the image. We were that close to a breech.

That didn't happen, and the waters are now below emergency levels.

However, the situation is rather precarious and the emergency spillway could still burst. There's still a lot of water still coming in to the reservoir, which is being frantically lowered.

(And yes, I wrote "Hyperloop" when I meant "High Speed Rail" above.)

Comment Another Katrina (Score 5, Informative) 457

I just wanted to post some info before everyone spins this as a partisan failure of one sort or another.

1) The dam was built and is owned by California.
2) California was warned about the potential problem (the one we are currently seeing) in 2005.
3) In 2005, as part of the federal re-licensing procedure for the dam, several groups urged federal officials to require that the dam’s [earthwork] emergency spillway be upgraded to concrete. The federal government declined.
4) The dam was built at a time when requirements were less strict in comparison to today's standards. The dam foundations were dug down to "weathered" rock, which is less structurally sound than "bedrock".

And finally,

5) As much as people feel the need for karma or justice or revenge or whatever, we DO NOT punish people's lives and homes over partisan bullshit. The federal government should (and most probably will) assist in any way that they can to help avoid a disaster.

As has been pointed out by many people, California spent several billions of dollars on the hyperloop while letting this particular bit of infrastructure upgrade get ignored. Both California and the Federal government (viz: the licensing mentioned above) can share the blame for this.

It's another Katrina-like situation: both governments (Cali and Federal) were warned, did nothing, and now it's an emergency.

Also of note, and I'm trying to look at the big picture here and not point fingers, it's been pointed out that the infrastructure in our country has been neglected for a long time (especially roads, bridges, and the electrical grid), and we really need to start fixing up things.

Fixing our infrastructure was one of the campaign promises of the party in power, perhaps this will galvanize them to action.

Comment Here's a good reason for you (Score 5, Insightful) 722

I haven't seen anyone come up with a good reason people wouldn't use basic income to work less and be lazy. I can tell you, if I had guaranteed income for life, I would probably not ever work again.

Here you go.

You have to realize that "work" may not be going out and doing a 9-to-5 job in the traditional sense. Newton made a bunch of his discoveries while on forced leave from Cambridge due to the plague, and there are many historical examples of well-to-do scientists and explorers and artists who made great discoveries because they had the leisure and means to do so.

Stephen King was dirt poor for much of his early life, but he still wrote because he loved writing. Imaging how much more he could have contributed to popular literature if he didn't have to take back-breaking jobs as a young man to make ends meet.

Not everyone will be Newton or King, but anyone who takes up a hobby or minor occupation and becomes really good at it might extend the frontiers of that area. All of this has the potential to enrich our society and further our scientific knowledge.

Comment A very good more basic question (Score 5, Insightful) 722

How do we measure the economics of the situation?

That's a very good basic question to ask.

Too many times people get up on the soapbox of the world and give their opinion about this or that policy, and one can never figure out whether they are experts speaking from experience or just political hacks.

People giving an opinion in public is just noise, and people bolstering their opinion with rationalization and/or analogy is noise masquerading as signal.

We shouldn't give any credence to anyone who tries to sway our opinions about, well... anything, unless they can back it up with facts that are suggestive or studies that can be examined in detail.

I'm especially suspect of the "it will only encourage some people to work less" comment, as if that is a bad thing. It might be perfectly acceptable for some part of society to have to work less, or perhaps not to have to work at all. There's a parallel and opposite rationalization that holds that people will accomplish great things when given enough leisure.

Making that statement ("some people" is an obvious attempt at being divisive, as in "you know the type of people I mean") in the way that he made it is simple emotional manipulation. Also from the article are such gems as "We think it takes social policy in the wrong direction", meaning basically "I don't like it, in an unspecified and indeterminate way".

He's not claiming that it doesn't work, he's claiming that he doesn't like it (and neither should you).

Comment Tribal conflict (Score 1, Insightful) 399

When it comes to that point, what they really want is for all the useless have-nots to just die and stop nagging them for things. "You didn't work hard enough" becomes just the excuse for why their easily-prevented deaths are justified.

I emboldened one of your words to draw attention to it.

Curiously, as a group Republicans give more to charity than Democrats. Apparently Republicans are more caring and giving than Democrats in general on that score, so long as the giving is voluntary and not mandated.

Also curiously, the party with "free speech" as one of its core values has no problem smashing the venues of a controversial speaker.

This is my way of saying that there's evil on both sides of the aisle. Saying it's one side or the other is a misnomer, we need to identify the stupid bits on both sides and excise them like a cancer.

Come out against the stupidity instead of against the side. There are good Republicans and there are bad Democrats.

We need to stop turning everything into a tribal conflict.

On that point, instead of telling us what "they" actually want, tell us where we should be going.

People would actually support a good plan, if someone should propose it.

Comment Read Manna for an overview (Score 5, Insightful) 399

Is it to allow people to not work at all, or is it to provide an income floor to allow them to bootstrap their way out of poverty into a truly productive, sustainable lifestyle?

A good overview of the concepts is in Manna, a short story by Marshall Brain. It's a quick read and gives an easy description of the economic problems we're in the midst of.

In broad terms, we can imagine an automated factory which is capable of producing all the goods needed by everyone in the country.

Such a factory could get its energy from solar cells, and in addition to making everyone's goods it could make enough solar cells to replenish the ones it has when they go bad, and it could have enough energy to recycle all the waste products from goods that people throw away.

That's a the metaphor of course, but it largely sums up where the labor pool is headed in the next 50 years or so: consumption has an upper bound, automation is making huge sections of the labor force unnecessary, and increases in productivity make the labor we have more effective.

As a data point, note that companies are road testing automated trucks *right now*, companies are testing automated last-mile delivery via drones and rolling robots *right now*, and automated farming is coming on line *right now*.

The trucking thing alone will directly eliminate somewhere between 3 and 5 million jobs, and millions more in support structure: restaurants and hotels on the highway, for instance.

We're at the point *right now* where we have too many capable workers and not enough jobs, and improvements in technology will bring us closer and closer to the "completely automated" factory metaphor used above. The actual factory will be a host of factories distributed around the country, "automated" will still require 100K workers for maintenance and upgrades, and energy will be rooftop solar

...but it's still conceptually one big factory capable of producing everything everyone wants, largely for free.

The regular rules of economics are about to break down. It's currently a sort of cycle, where money flows to the people (through salary), the people purchase things from companies, and the cycle repeats.

With no one working, no one has money to purchase anything so the cycle stops. People starve and the economy halts.

UBI is an attempt at a new economic model. People are given money to spend to keep the economy going, and as a side-benefit people don't starve or commit crimes to survive. Society benefits by having reduced crime and an active economy, and people have more leisure time to do things such as raising children or getting educated.

UBI is one of about 5 proposed solutions for the economic transition we're facing.

It's had a couple of small trials to great success, so it seems like it might be a viable option.

Comment You guys said it was OK (Score 0) 325

Hillary should be thrown in jail for the email server and Benghazi... but Trump's illegal hidden email and messaging servers? It's ok because yuge hackers and fake news.

No, it's OK because you guys insisted that it was OK when Hillary did it.

If what Hillary did wasn't bad, why is it bad when Republicans do it?

I mean... which is is?

Comment Worked with digital TV (Score 2, Interesting) 191

Yeah totally, so that way the US can be a couple of decades behind, still be pumping massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, and end up with a backwards economy.

That's how the US succeeded, by sitting on its fucking ass.

That's exactly what we did with digital TV.

While other countries were rolling out their own specs, the US held back and waited a couple of years. When we decided to switch the technology had grown more capable, new algorithms for compression and such were available, and ...we leapt ahead of everyone else in the world.

As far as the CO2 thing, that's probably a marketing issue. The people worried about that haven't done an effective job of presenting their case to the rest of the country. I'm not saying their case is *wrong*, just that it was ineffectively presented. The arguments are largely based on insults and derision, hyperbolic doom and gloom, and suppression of dissent. It's hard for people to get behind a message presented that way.

Our country went from great to backwards over the last 20 years or so under the globalism model, starting with NAFTA (1994) and continuing to other countries. It's highly likely that continuing that same model would have driven us further into 3rd world status, but we've recently changed course.

There's no guarantees, but plotting a different economic course might bring us back to 1st world status. We'll have to wait a couple of years to see if this works - if not, we can try something else. It's fairly clear that doing the same thing harder would only hasten our destruction.

Comment Things are bad right now (Score 5, Insightful) 185

why we tolerate these people? I just realized I can't afford a house because of how the mathematics of mortgages work.

Such it up you clueless millennial whiner. You understand nothing, nothing at all.
Want to pay more principal early on in your loan? Just [...]

Many people will say your problems are due to your own personal choices.

They are not.

Certainly there's a certain group of people who make bad choices and ruin their lives, or who can't seem to get ahead.

But there's another group of people, who we used to call the "middle class", who make intelligent choices but who are on the brink of poverty, or falling into poverty, or generally having a tough time getting ahead.

We see articles here about the rising cost of education, and the answer is always "some people don't need higher education". We see articles about how few jobs there are, and the answer is always "move to where the jobs are". We see articles about outsourcing, and the opinions are "you lose your job, but the population benefits overall due to lowered costs".

We are gutting the middle class in this country, have been for about 20 years, and the overall sentiment is "expect less out of life". Don't expect to own a house, don't expect to send your kids to college, don't expect to live as long, don't expect to get paid more, don't expect to be able to pay your medical bills...

...and on and on.

You're ahead of the curve by actually doing the calculations and trying to predict your finances - a lot of people up to 2009 didn't do that, and thought that they could have the same opportunities as people had in the 1980's.

There's lots of people who think everything's fine and will try to pin this back on you, but it's most likely not anything you did.

Don't listen to them.

Things are bad right now, and whether they will get better remains to be seen.

Comment Second that (Score 5, Insightful) 477

You're asking HERE?

I'll second that.

It might be because nice people tend to lose patience and go away, so that the forums have nothing but griefers left.

Lots of forums are completely toxic in this regard, and Slashdot has fallen prey to this as well. Post a non-insulting position about something that doesn't jibe with the group-think and you'll get nothing but insults. No thought put into it, almost a boiler-plate "you're really stupid" or "you're a racist".

Try to contribute to Slashdot by submitting articles, and the toxic users will mod them as spam and get your account locked.

They seem to think that any tactic in support of their end goals is OK, and they don't see the value of well-formed alternate opinions, and reasoned discourse. All they see is that opposition seems to be less over time.

They view it as "winning" when reasonable people lose patience with the griefers and leave.

What's left is the toxic residue.

Comment Democrats are not our champions (Score 1, Troll) 197

You could certainly achieve net neutrality without regulating it. It's fairly simple, and many other countries have done it, by making sure that there is competition in the internet service provider space, and breaking up the monopoly/duopoly structure.
And yet, the self-proclaimed champions of the free market haven't done jack squat to try to put that into effect, and are instead happy to proclaim that the status quo of third-world internet service and bloated profits from rent-seeking monopolists is the "free market" at work, and needs to be defended against those evil leftists. In short, denying that there's any problem at all, instead of offering up alternate/better solutions.

The Democrats are not, and never have been, the "champions of the free market" as you describe. They've been the ones in power for the last 8 years, and have done nothing to improve any of our infrastructure. Capital buildout for the last 2 years or so (since the Title II rule) has been less than the buildout before the rule.

Here's a good quote, something you can find if you bother to try:

Pai’s first big crusade as commissioner has been addressing what the “digital divide,” or the discrepancy between areas with abundant broadband and those without it. On Tuesday, he announced the formation of a new committee that will give advice on how to expand fast internet to more areas, and develop a general set of policies that communities can use to purportedly make deployment easier. Who exactly will be on that committee is yet to be determined. Pai laid out a wider plan for this initiative in September, where he mentioned creating tax incentives, reducing “unfair and unreasonable fees,” and adopting more “shot clocks” to encourage ISPs to build out sooner.

So it seems like the Democrats failed to do anything to help us build out the internet and, in fact, slowed it down a little.

The Republicans plan to address the actual issues, without resorting to socialism.

Or terrorism, which is what they're doing now.

Comment Impossible to be well informed (Score 2) 197

Who are these "economists" who felt net neutrality was unnecessary and counter-productive?

It's too bad there isn't some place once could go to look for answers to questions like these.

Some sort of repository of information, indexed by topic that someone could use to track down answers.

I feel your pain. Without such a resource, highly intelligent and technical people such as ourselves are often left clueless and in the dark when it comes to these matters.

It's impossible to be well informed in the modern age.

(Ans: Dr. Mark Jamison, economist at the University of Florida)

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