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Comment Re:Enablers shift expectations (Score 1) 123

None of the people in this discussion have mentioned the real evil destroying our world.

Books. Newspapers. Written language. When Gutenberg's press came into existence, there was a Swedish psychologist warning everyone that we'd all experience information overload, social withdrawal, and all manner of ills becoming addicted to the vast mountains of text sent our way. The family is destroyed as the father now reads the paper at breakfast instead of interacting with his household, and the children read their books instead of playing with other children.

When will we destroy this great tool of Satan which has corrupted the hearts of good men?

Comment Re:SubjectsSuck (Score 1) 198

More ridiculous is the claim that including crypto will force WordPress to implement better security. WordPress can just ignore this; and getting hacked by shitty REST API authentication verification isn't fixed by pouring on more crypto sauce.

This guy is a crypto nerd who thinks crypto solves all problems. It doesn't. He probably has databases with columns (UserID, UserName, CryptedPassword, AESKey) so the password is AES-encrypted with an individual key per-user.

Comment Oh dear (Score 3, Interesting) 443

Attempting to analyze the causes and effects of war on Economies would require a rhetorical eloquence no less than those that authored the Federalist Papers, and, at the very least, the same volume of words. Fudging it all down to something as small as your typical The Atlantic commentary read is proportionally equal to asking a five year old to draft their own theories of government.

But, let's at least have a little fun with this, and perhaps attempt at sharing something of insight. Here goes:

A brief study of the history of the United States economy would generally yield a result looking no different in approximation than an increasing sine wave, generally increasing at an exponential rate. While there are upward trends and downward trends, of more-or-less of equal duration of time, the economy has been trending upwards since its inception. As for why it's continually trending upwards, no matter how complex the argument, it generally boils down to one simple word:


Our country maintains a relative balance between free market and regulation; between public and private sector; between state and federal governments; between taxable income and disposable income...and so on and so forth.

Naturally, given the general liberties our citizens possess, we from time to time will express our displeasure with the existing status quo. Displeasure among a proportion of the populace is inevitable. We all come from different walks of life and form opinions and biases preferring a bias against the balance in the direction of some extremism. As passionate citizens, we may attempt to swing the pendulum hard in a particular direction, as others naturally try to swing it in the opposite. We exercise this through electing representatives who share our views, posting our views online, speaking out at public meetings, attending rallies, drafting petitions, etc, etc. While these motions are a natural result of the state of government that presently exists, they generally do not threaten the state of government itself.

But, occasionally, it does. And it does, because factions within our society generate enough power among the citizens to disrupt the balance in favor of their zealous points of view. Thankfully, the founding fathers created a system of government that generally impedes factions. (To see a much more thorough and more eloquent analysis of this argument, please see Federalist Papers 9 & 10.)

I'm concerned that we may be living in one of those times. Our country is very unbalanced in its political view right now, and the inflammatory rhetoric from a zealous self-righteous minority faction is pouring fuel onto the fire. To make matters worse, one of those zealots is none other than our president. But, I digress.

When it comes to tax policies, balance is key. The United States economy fared very well following both wars, because both wars were funded by high income taxes. The United States economy also fared very well in the 20's, in the 90's, and before 2008, because income tax rates were very low, freeing up vast amounts of investment capital. And then the economies after all these booms crashed hard, much in part due to deregulation and poor investing. My point being this: Creating economic policies that directly reflect the present conditions with the intention of returning to a balanced economy are the keys to success. A zealous application of a tax policy for the sake of the tax policy alone will not contribute to economic success.

Comment Re:Agile! (Score 1) 74

Yes well, some people hear the word "Agile" and don't bother to look up what that means. There are published standards on this stuff, you know. They're built on top of other published standards. I don't like the SCRUM terminology largely because I work better with direct information instead of social idealism--therapy for me involves a pencil and a clipboard while the psychiatrist tries to explain wtf is wrong inside my head, not group-hug sessions, supportive friends, and pep talks--but it's still actually a highly-bureaucratic, defined process. I simply have to decode the metaphor to something concrete to access it.

Comment Re:Agile! (Score 1) 74

Sprints are SCRUM. You don't need to use SCRUM to perform agile project management.

User stories are an attempt to dress up requirements gathering and the requirements traceability matrix. In project management, a requirement has a business justification and a stakeholder. The Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM) will tell you the requirement (what?), the stakeholder (who?), the business justification (why?), and the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) elements which implement the requirement (how?). User stories attempt to make this relatable by describing it in child-friendly terms: "As the manager of finances, I want to be able to compare categorized expenses from different time periods so that I can identify where our major expenses are and how new controls impact those expenses."

As you point out, this is kind of silly for an OpenGL back-end. The user story is something like "as a user on an operating system which doesn't support DirectX, I want to be able to use the software so that I can use the software," or something equally generic. In a RTM, you would simply identify stakeholders as "Linux users" and "MacOSX users", and give the business justification that "the software platform does not support the DirectX back-end". In an actual business, you might identify the product manager as the stakeholder, and use the business justification that demographic data shows interest among MacOSX users. There's no need to invent a fancy story.

If I had a client that would request a demo every 2 weeks I'd have been fired long ago.

If something deliverable can't be produced in 2 weeks, then it can't be delivered every 2 weeks. Plain and simple. Sometimes the next iteration or incremental deliverable takes months to ship. Nobody who knows what they're doing actually implements a 2-week rule; some people use that as a soft guide-line to wring out the WBS (which is used in SCRUM and other agile methodologies), and even then they find that some work packages are necessarily hours or days long while others take longer than 2 weeks.

The standard delineation for work packages is "when the work is broken down to a level at which further decomposition no longer provides a management benefit," which effectively means you only decompose work which cannot be fully understood and measured as a whole unit. "Actigraphy Module" for a generic polysomnography application, for example, is insufficient: you have to break that down at least to include Interfaces, Base Classes, Zero Crossing Class, Time Above Threshold Class, and Digital Integration Class. You might also include, at that level, an Integrations deliverable, which breaks down to include FitBit, Pillow, EightSleep, Jawbone, and other actigraphy-based systems, because "Integrations" is made up of complex pieces and can't be estimated without thinking about the pieces from which it's made.

None of that comes out to "two-weeks". It still comes out to iterative and incremental delivery, user feedback, and compiling lessons learned repeatedly to avoid further defects.

Comment Re:Agile! (Score 2) 74

Actually, agile software development improves quality by delivering on shorter development cycles. What's the point of spending 2 years developing a multi-million-dollar, fully-featured content management system when requirements change out from under you? Every piece that doesn't work as well in the real world as it does for QA will break all at once when you ship it out--welcome to beta software--and features will do what users wanted two years ago.

With agile development, you deliver in pieces. You do iterative development, producing a framework or basis upon which to build further components. You do incremental development, producing fully-functional components which you can deliver immediately for use. Further development on iterative components reveals defects and design deficiencies, and so you refactor, re-engineer, and adjust to meet requirements. Delivery of a working component generates user feedback, which allows you to detect and correct for defects and changes to requirements.

At every stage, you generate more knowledge. Producing each piece, iterating on each framework, and responding to each piece of user feedback generates information which is folded into the further parts of the project. Rather than dumping one piece onto the pile of shit-to-deliver-later and blissfully working on the next, you get told that the shit you just made isn't what we need, and you can reflect on that and the implications for the next piece of the project. That means each piece takes into account the failures encountered so far, and the final product delivers closer to actual requirements at delivery time.

Part of planning is applying knowledge you have. Agile project management allows you to generate new knowledge at every stage and roll that forward into planning the next stage. You can't apply knowledge you don't have.

Comment Re:Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 302

Is a man-made production process for solid sheets of aluminum oxide and for tiled sheets of zero-distortion interfaced aluminum oxide in nature? Does nature give us a way to perfectly-control the physical and optical properties of aluminum oxide using caveman-level tools?

Gasoline is in nature. We separate it out from a pile of muck pumped out of the ground. The same with iron ore and the steel made from it. There's an argument for communism and socialism which explains that all property is theft because the natural state is that we can go anywhere and take anything, and then suddenly things which we were allowed to take are claimed to belong to someone else and thus have been stolen from us; this argument ignores that human labor is required to acquire, shape, and distribute objects as made from natural things. Giant sheets of alox to precisely-engineered specifications aren't natural, you toolshed.

Comment Re:Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 302

You cannot be serious... Do you have any idea what kinds of technology advancement NASA has been a primary driver of?

Memory foam, maybe. The general list is things that would have been invented anyway--although some of those things would have instead been DOD projects (satellite communication) more than likely. Velcro was invented by a guy who observed stupid shit like the Greater Burdock sticking itself to dogs and pants.

We've managed to invent things like transparent aluminum without NASA or the DOD; the DOD has been running with it, finding new ways to make it, polish it, and otherwise improve the stuff. In most cases, this is stuff someone already invented but that isn't viable for the consumer market yet, and so is mainly a profit source from government money; in many cases, it's stuff that's too expensive to research at a given level of technology, and becomes viable to invent a decade later; in very rare case it is only uncertain if DOD and NASA interest was the cause of an actual invention or only the cause of it being profitable or invented earlier than it would have been.

People have a hard-on for space travel and war, and they believe all kinds of delusional shit about how things just won't ever happen without a good war to make us invent new tech. No matter how technology marches on in peace time and without public-funded science experiments to fund it, people assert that certain technology must be special and would never happen from just commercial interests. They ignore the real world.

So in short: Grow up and stop believing in Santa Clause.

Comment Re:Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 302

How would the money be well spent?

If the money is spent paying Google, Netflix, Verizon, or other engineers, we end up with newer infrastructure, better services, and the like. If it's spent building rockets to circle the moon, then we still pay this (not just "we pay it in taxes", but the labor is spent and the labor is compensated--we work and we exchange our time for this), and what do we receive?

Wasteful spending reduces the amount of stuff you receive for the work you do. That's true across an entire economy for obvious reasons (if half the farmers instead make war machines, half the food doesn't get made, and you pay for war machines that only go out to get blown up). What are we gaining by spending $23 billion here?

Comment Re:Globalization vs. Protectionism (Score 3, Insightful) 202

Median income growth was -2.3% in the US (that is just a hard fact) over the 8 years since Obama took office.

You mean through a recession caused by the Clintons, which came to force right at the end of Bush's economy-destroying war?

I know personally that 10 years ago I could buy more with my dollar than today

That's called inflation. The question is: could you buy more with the median income of dollars then than you can now? Answer is no.

Fact: The labor participation rates under Obama were the lowest they have been in 40 years (since Jimmy Carter).

Labor participation rates reflect the percent of working-aged Americans who feel they need a job. That is to say: if a two-adult, poor household is struggling to get by and both adults believe they need jobs, you have two people in the labor force; if a two-adult, middle-income household is comfortable and the woman decides to stay home and not seek employment because the household finances are fine and life is comfortable, you have one person in the labor force.

Labor force participation rates don't reflect the ability or lack thereof to get a job. Higher participation rates can reflect cultural behaviors (e.g. social status based in employment) or economic crisis (e.g. people can't survive, so every man, woman, and 16-year-old high schooler works themselves to the bone to try to get by). Lower participation rates reflect economic comfort.

elected Trump to do what every other leader of every other country around the world does and is expected to do: put his own country's interests first..

Cutting off the import of just men's and boys's pants from China means minimum-wage Americans work 3.03 hours instead of 1.87 hours to afford a pair of pants; median-income Americans work 0.92 instead of 0.55 hours to afford a pair of pants; and factory workers producing those Made-in-America pants work for minimum wage. If the factory workers make, say, $21/hr, then the minimum-wage Americans work over 6.13 hours to afford them; middle-incomes work 1.87 hours; and we have ~90,000 fewer American jobs in total versus current economy (a 0.06% increase in unemployment rate).

Is working long hours for lower pay in the interest of our own country?

Is expanding poverty to more households in America in the interest of our own country?

Is destroying good American jobs, either for hazardous low-pay jobs or simply to create a hole in our job market and an increase in unemployment, in the interest of our own country?

If you want to see the direction Trump is steering America, look to North Korea.

Comment Re:Globalization vs. Protectionism (Score 1) 202

On the other hand these prices have fallen slightly

Two things when discussing economics like this.

First, prices are meaningless if we don't discuss them as prices in labor. If you pay $100 now for a microwave you paid $75 for in 1990, that's pretty meaningless. If the median wage earns that microwave in 3.7 hours today but 4.9 hours in 1990, the price of that microwave has decreased. If the median wage earns that microwave in 3.7 hours today but 3.3 hours in 1990, the price of that microwave has increased.

Second, equivalent-technology comparisons are almost never available. Today I purchase Internet for $86/month; but that's 200Mbit/s internet. In 1998, a 128k ISDN line leased for $35/month; this $83 line is equivalent to 1562.5 ISDN lines, which would lease for $54,687.50 in 1998. I believe Comcast had 1.28Mbit into the house for $40/month in 1998, meaning $350/month of ISDN downstream was suddenly replaced with $40/month of cable downstream; and by those numbers, I'm buying $6,250/month worth of cable for $83/month. You will not find 1.28Mbit internet for 53 cents today.

That second point applies to cars (more-complex antilock brakes, suspension, safety systems, radios, etc. at price levels equivalent to the same proportion of a target income), phones ($350 Motorola V3 Razor? I got my OnePlus One 64GB for $350; the OnePlus 3t is $440), computers, heat pumps, and information services (Netflix, Spotify, etc.). $10/month gets you access to enormous feeds of movies and music; $20 used to get you a CD with 11 songs.

In particular reference to your list, it's well-known that Americans spend more money on more and better healthcare now than in decades past. Housing is odd: the per-square-foot share of housing has fallen (i.e. 1,000 square feet of housing represents a smaller proportion of the median income), while houses and apartments have gotten bigger; and housing is also a speculatively-traded commodity, so its price fluctuates a lot along the way. Housing is also often misrepresented by sale price rather than by total price paid or mortgage payment; I believe the CES accounts housing based on actual expense (mortgage/rent, maintenance, insurance) rather than sale prices, which tends to incorporate additional expenses over the base cost of housing rather than exclude large chunks of the base cost of housing.

Food has also gotten vastly cheaper over time, and is somewhere around 12.5% of household income for the median-income household, although this has been relatively flat compared to the movement in the 40s-80s (16% in 1990). I find vehicle maintenance on a downward trend myself, but I suspect an actual economic analysis as done with food, housing, and medical care would reveal a flat trend; I've bought better vehicles with lower maintenance costs, and the economic reality is probably different than my personal experience.

College prices have been out-of-control for policy reasons which require long and complicated discussions. That's a sore spot in public policy which has distorted the economics considerably, leading to rising tuition prices and out-of-control student debt.

At least the total number of jobs has been increasing since March, 2010 [].

My point was more that the data doesn't say we're seeing jobs "come back to America" since January, 2017; we don't have enough data to see the movement of unemployment in general--just the seasonal dip after December. As for March to now, yes, we've long-term seen the total jobs increase faster than the total population and the total work force, hence why unemployment fell from 10% to 4.6%.

But yes, the labor force participation rate is higher than when women worked in the kitchen barefoot & pregnant...

The kitchen now has dishwashers and floor-mopping robots. Roombas handle the rest of the house. Automatic washing machines and dryers mean laundry day is a disrupted 10 minutes of your time here and there and consumes half an hour of labor spread across several hours.

I don't subscribe to the ideal that a 2-adult household needs to be a 2-working-adult household. The labor force participation rates are different in various countries. We had to legally establish a 40-hour working week in the past century, coming out of a 90-hour working week with 6 working days; I think we can allow some people to decide the husband/wife works and the wife/husband manages house.

Even with all of the advances in home economics, being a single bachelor is a brutal job. Do you know how much housework doesn't get done unless you have no leisure time? It's practically a full-time job. I briefly considered getting a girlfriend largely so I could make her keep the house in shape, but the irritation that comes with dating vastly outweighs the convenience; and wtf would I do if I ended up with a wife who got a job? Use her money to hire a maid? Either way, kids can fuck right off.

You discount the sheer amount of labor women put in around the house.

See US Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate [] which is currently 62.9%, down from a peak of just over 67% 1998-2000, now back to a level reached in mid-1977. It has been flatlined for about 2 years.

Yeah, "Above the maximum" doesn't make sense; I meant minimum, hence the "not at peak" thing.

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