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Comment Trump won for lots of reasons (Score 1) 1186

In the rust belt. Full stop. Young people, blacks and Latinos stayed home. If you doubt me 538 had a meticulously sourced article on the subject. Hilary was arrogant. She assumed no sane country would elect Trump. She was wrong, and we're all gonna pay for it. For God's sake people, vote in your mid terms.

Nate Silver is a smart guy, but he relies too much on the models and not the context or the assumptions.

The actual context is that Hillary lost the popular vote by a small margin, which means that *any* of about two dozen reasons could have flipped the election the other way.

It's like viewing a stack of books one inch higher than another stack, and saying that the reason is a specific book halfway up isn't big enough.

The reality is that Clinton could have done better in any one of : her political dealings during the election (getting debate answers, screwing Bernie supporters, superdelegates, and so on), her financing and backing (Moroccan meeting, Saudi donations, Soros), her image (not attending rallies and letting others do her campaigning for her, coming across as cold and unfeeling, "I feel your pain"), or her past actions (the server, her actions during Benghazi, Russian unfreeze, Clinton Foundation shenanigans).

It's hard to imagine Trump doing better in any of his several categories (meaning: there's nothing he could have done to mitigate).

Pretty-much any one of these would have upped her popular vote by the 1% she needed to beat Trump and win several more electoral colleges. The reliable polls pointed out that she had some 1024 ways to win, while Trump had only four.

538 isn't the oracle of prediction that everyone thinks it is. Nate's basic premise is that "past performance predicts future actions", which has been completely disproven this year.

So for example, Nate predicted that Trump's presidency would go down in flames early last year, predicted 80% chance Trump would lose the general election, and noted that Congressional endorsements are the best predictor of the primary candidate; meaning, Ted Cruse would win the primary.

538 is racking up a long list of failed predictions.

Comment And? (Score 1) 62

Both searches return the Chrome/Firefox main site as the top entry.

The Wikipedia article is 2nd below Chrome, followed by Chrome news. The Wikipedia article is below Mozilla news: because they recently changed their logo, the news apparently has higher saliency just now.

The "People also search for" shows the other browser in first place; IOW, IE is not given top billing in the "also search for" listing.

This seems cromulent, I'm not sure why this doesn't sit well with you.

What about any of this is unacceptable to you?

Comment One action does not define a man (Score -1, Troll) 540

anybody who has defended him at this point is either stupid or naive

We are not defending the man. We are defending the fundamental principle of free expression. Assange is not being persecuted because he "raped" anyone, but because he said things that powerful people didn't like. That is wrong, and isn't any less wrong just because he is a slimeball weasel.

And furthermore, one action does not define a man.

And further further, he may simply be waiting until Manning is *actually* released before giving himself up.

Assange tweeted (about 12h ago) that he would be willing to give himself up in any event if the US would guarantee his rights. And the White House said specifically that it wasn't a quid-pro-quo move, which would seem to release Assange from his promise.

The left likes to take only the one side of things and blow them out of proportion: Assange's heart is black as coal, he's completely untrustworthy, a rapist, self-centered egotist who cares for nothing except his own aggrandizement.

Since publishing dirt on Democrats, that is...

Submission + - Toy inspired medical centrifuge costing under 1 dollar

colinwb writes: Stanford researchers (link has video) have developed a human-powered medical centrifuge, costing 20 cents, based on a whirligig children's toy. As proof of concept, it can separate malaria parasites from blood cells in 15 minutes, and the parasites can be identified using a cheap microscope previously reported on Slashdot.

A Nature article and video, with useful caveats about whether this will actually be used, and a full description with diagrams and seriously impressive mathematics. They've also applied for a Guinness World Record of the fastest rotational speed from a human-powered device: 125,000 rpm.

Submission + - Mapping the brain functions of extinct animals

brindafella writes: How can scientists map the brain functions of an extinct animal? The technique is called diffusion tensor imaging, and it has recently mapped the preserved brains of two thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), extinct as of 1936 in Tasmania, the island state of Australia. Thylacine were the largest known carnivorous marsupial (pouched mammal) of modern times. Diffusion tensor imaging looks at how water diffuses inside parts of the brain. Using it with traditional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers mapped how molecules moved through the brain of the thylacine while it was alive to reveal the neural wiring of different brain regions. They tested the technique with a brain of a similar animal, a Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), preserved at about the same time, and the brain of a recently deceased Devil.

Submission + - Female Shark Learns To Reproduce Without Males After Years Alone (newscientist.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A female shark separated from her long-term mate has developed the ability to have babies on her own. Leonie the zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) met her male partner at an aquarium in Townsville, Australia, in 1999. They had more than two dozen offspring together before he was moved to another tank in 2012. From then on, Leonie did not have any male contact. But in early 2016, she had three baby sharks. Intrigued, Christine Dudgeon at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and her colleagues began fishing for answers. One possibility was that Leonie had been storing sperm from her ex and using it to fertilize her eggs. But genetic testing showed that the babies only carried DNA from their mum, indicating they had been conceived via asexual reproduction. Some vertebrate species have the ability to reproduce asexually even though they normally reproduce sexually. These include certain sharks, turkeys, Komodo dragons, snakes and rays. However, most reports have been in females who have never had male partners. In sharks, asexual reproduction can occur when a female’s egg is fertilized by an adjacent cell known as a polar body, Dudgeon says. This also contains the female’s genetic material, leading to “extreme inbreeding”, she says. “It’s not a strategy for surviving many generations because it reduces genetic diversity and adaptability.” Nevertheless, it may be necessary at times when males are scarce. “It might be a holding-on mechanism,” Dudgeon says. “Mum’s genes get passed down from female to female until there are males available to mate with.” It’s possible that the switch from sexual to asexual reproduction is not that unusual; we just haven’t known to look for it, Dudgeon says.

Comment Racist or not (Score 1) 119

This is what racists actually believe.

We have to get back into the mode where we can make verifiable statements without the other side calling "racist" all the time.

At this point, I think it's a knee-jerk reaction that the left "just always does". Always call "racist"! If it shuts down the conversation, great! If not, you've lost nothing and can try something else.

It's historically clear that local Democratic rule of minority areas has failed. Areas like Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, Ferguson, Watts, Memphis, Flint, and so on.

Saying this is not being racist.

Detroit, as an example, is well known for graft and corruption. Democratic policies at the national level encouraged manufacturing jobs to leave the area, resulting in massive unemployment and a long drift into squalor.

Saying this is also not being racist.

The situation can realistically be described as an experiment that failed, and perhaps the reverse experiment should be tried: hold local governments responsible for their actions with stiff penalties and jail time, and reversing the national trend to bring back local jobs.

Saying this is also not being racist.

This is what racists actually believe.

Racists actually believe that blacks are inferior to whites.

Actually believing that we have political problems, failed policies with suggested improvements, and pathos for the state of our inner cities, is most definitely not something that racists believe.

Comment Because of Trump? You've got that backwards... (Score 5, Insightful) 82

Of all the things that are going to come out of the next 4 years the nonstop anti-consumer mergers (and the inevitable round after round of layoffs) is going to suck the hardest. This is pretty much why progressives fought to keep the $2 trillion in cash sitting offshore outside of American. Companies have pretty much admitted that almost none of that is going into R&D and instead they plan to spend it on M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions).

You mentioned "next 4 years" as if that were a Trump thing, but you've got it backwards.

Trump appears to be completely pro-consumer in his dealings with corporations; or in other words, a "populist" leader.

Recently he came out against the anti-consumer policies of big pharma, and intends to put pressure on them to reduce consumer costs overall.

He's met with several companies and suggested that there will be a tariff on off-shored work, with the result that several companies are pledging to keep work in America.

He's also convinced Boeing to reduce costs, which isn't a consumer benefit per-se, but it saves the government from being fleeced by Boeing a little.

It really appears that he's serious about making things better for the people. He's done a small amount before being elected, and appears to be trying to keep that campaign promise.

When the article about minimum H1B salaries of $100K, people were saying "well, he got one thing right".

Give him a chance.

He might actually make things better.

Submission + - California's bullet train is hurtling toward a multibillion-dollar overrun (latimes.com)

schwit1 writes: California’s bullet train could cost taxpayers 50% more than estimated — as much as $3.6 billion more. And that’s just for the first 118 miles through the Central Valley, which was supposed to be the easiest part of the route between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

A confidential Federal Railroad Administration risk analysis, obtained by the Times, projects that building bridges, viaducts, trenches and track from Merced to Shafter, just north of Bakersfield, could cost $9.5 billion to $10 billion, compared with the original budget of $6.4 billion.

The federal document outlines far-reaching management problems: significant delays in environmental planning, lags in processing invoices for federal grants and continuing failures to acquire needed property.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority originally anticipated completing the Central Valley track by this year, but the federal risk analysis estimates that that won’t happen until 2024, placing the project seven years behind schedule.

Submission + - Creepy genealogy site knows a lot about you. (washingtonpost.com)

schwit1 writes: There are many “people search” sites and data brokers out there, like Spokeo, or Intelius, that also know a lot about you. This is not news, at least for the Internet-literate. And the information on FamilyTreeNow comes largely from the public records and other legally accessible sources that those other data brokers use. What makes FamilyTreeNow stand out on the creepy scale, though, is how easy the site makes it for anyone to access that information all at once, and free.

Profiles on FamilyTreeNow include the age, birth month, family members, addresses and phone numbers for individuals in their system, if they have them. It also guesses at their “possible associates,” all on a publicly accessible, permalink-able page. It’s possible to opt out, but it’s not clear whether doing so actually removes you from their records or (more likely) simply hides your record so it’s no longer accessible to the public.

Comment I agree (Score 2) 538

Hmm... 65,000 visas auctioned off for $1000 each would net about $65 million, possibly more.

I think it would net WAY more than that. My company paid a lawyer $10k to do the H1-B paperwork for an important employee from a site we were closing in Europe. It turned out that we didn't even get the visa. If we could have just bid instead, I think we would have been willing to pay at least $50k, and likely a lot more, to guarantee a quota.

I agree completely, I was just hesitant to speculate that much on the value.

We're now talking about a billion dollars in revenue, which for comparison purposes is a sizeable percentage of the $18b NASA budget or the $6b NOAA budget.

With that amount of money, over 20 years you could rebuild a lot of infrastructure.

Comment Another great post (Score 1) 538

Here's another even better solution: Set a fixed limit, and then auction off the visas to the highest bidder, with the proceeds going to the US Treasury. Currently, they are free (other than a processing fee) and issued to whomever is first in the queue. An auction would ensure they go to the companies that value them the most, and have a real need to import critical skills, rather than just looking for cheap labor.

Hmm... 65,000 visas auctioned off for $1000 each would net about $65 million, possibly more.

That's actually enough to pay for some of the smaller services, and it's a great idea.

What's been going on with Slashdot? There's been, like, 4 insightful posts in the last 24 hours.

Comment Good post (Score 4, Interesting) 538

I'm not a big fan of Trump, but if he actually delivers on this campaign promise (even if it's just scrawling his signature on the bill and then taking all the credit in speeches) that will be a good thing for me and most employed people on slashdot.

Is there any way this is a bad thing? H1B was supposed to be for bringing in essential foreign talent. If a company isn't willing to pay $100k per year plus the various expenses, whoever they are bringing it must not have been all that talented.

Good post.

We have to get back in the mode where we can say "the other side did this" without assigning blame and descending into name calling.

It's been argued for the last 2 decades (-ish) here on this site that the main problem with American governance is corruption by big business. Regardless of the left or right position we need to start doing things that are good for the people, even if such actions are narrowly bad for business.

This is a good start, it was indeed one of his campaign promises, and that part doesn't matter one bit.

(I'm very curious to see who votes for/against the bill, or if it gets killed in committee.)

Comment Good post, I'd mod you up if I had points (Score 4, Interesting) 495

One could argue that increased corporate tax rates and regulations have made it more difficult to start new businesses, and increases in health insurance costs (benefit packages are labor costs) thanks to Obamacare have made it more expensive to hire inexperienced workers. The government itself, i.e. The Democrat platform itself, is to blame.

Who knew that when you make it harder to run businesses, fewer people get employed (forcing them into part time work) and the average wage goes down?

You got modded to oblivion, but I think that's an insightful post. It suggests an alternate explanation without rancour.

We need to be able to say "the other side did this" without assigning blame and getting into name calling. I don't care what polarity (left or the right) the position is, so long as it's to our benefit.

Looking at your post, I note that the Democrats did, indeed give us Obamacare, it was widely advertised as being a good thing, and it's widely viewed as being a problem at this point in time.

Some ACA aspects were good - getting everyone insured and eliminating "pre-existing conditions" clauses among them - but the end result was a fiscal runaway that's causing a lot of grief among the people.

I note that Republicans (house *and* senate) have already voted to repeal the ACA without having a replacement on hand, and that will probably mean that we go back to pre-existing conditions, dropping coverage after an accident, and insurance companies charging whatever the hell they want.

Which is not at all a good thing, right or left.

Trump said he wanted to get rid of Obamacare and replace it, but he specifically said he wanted the replacement in place *first*. So now we're left to trust that he will do the right thing when the bill comes to his desk. That'll be a good test of his character. If he dumps Obamacare without a replacement and a lot of people lose insurance because of it, it would be a betrayal of our trust.

We really need to fix healthcare in this country. We're paying 6x as much as other countries, and only getting 3rd world care for it.

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