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Comment What's life worth? (Score 1) 460

Who is worth more? A few hundred thousand jobs directly in coal and the places coal employees spend money and their towns and so forth, OR the few billion other lives that will be affected by climate change?

Ah well you see, those few billion people are mostly brown, mostly don't vote in the US, and don't live in coal towns. So proceed with the coal!

I've spent a lot of time in coal country West Virginia, and it is absolutely true, these people don't have many options. There are usually two industries: coal and farming,and farming is not exactly hiring a lot of people. As a result, the people in the towns I visited were thrilled to have jobs working at McDonalds or Subway or Family Dollar, because there was nothing else. The next nearest towns were often an hour away by car, so fuel cost for driving is very high, on some of the most dangerous roads in the US. Anyone who could get A local job was immediately better off.

And a lot of the remaining people lived as best they could, farming for food and so forth. The situation is bleak and a lot of people do turn to meth because there is both an incentive to sell it and make money, and a lot of reason to want to be drugged out of your mind and forget how bad life is.

The problem with supporting coal now is that there is no future in it. Either we let the industry die now. Or we prop it up now and it has to die later. But it is going to die. Supporting it now and allowing more people to begin careers in it is criminal since we KNOW we can't sustain this and these people will be the next ones with no options in 10 or 20 years, or less depending on how the electoral winds blow.

Comment Of course (Score 1) 164

My neighborhood is home to a major AT&T CO which occupies a multistory building the size of a large square block. It was once full of so many employees, they had a whole other second block of parking lots for workers. But it's all automated now. It's kind of a Mother of All COs, serving as a hub for a large number of regular COs.

This CO has ALL the latest services including fiber, video, DSL, whatever. Nobody here can get any of these services except DSL. We're a poorer neighborhood, you see. And they don't feel like offering it here would be viable.

BUT not far away, some land was cleared and a cluster of about 10 new homes went in. Those homes got fiber. To get TO those homes, to service them, they had to go past hundreds of older, established homes and neighborhoods.

AT&T wanted nothing to do with these old customers, many of whom had AT&T DSL for over a decade, closing in on two decades in a couple cases. I know, because I was one of the first DSL customers from that CO. They sent an Bellsouth installer and two trainees to watch him do it, that's how new it was. And shockingly, he could not get it done. They had to roll a second installer to make sense of the PPPOE bridge connection. That's how new DSL was at the time. Forget self install. Even the professionals could barely hack it.

So despite that long track record and despite there being a very high number of landlines still in use here, AT&T didn't want to even offer more options.

Comcast has had no such issues offering service.

Comment Who covers where you need it (Score 1) 206

The real question with wireless is who provides the best coverage where you need to use it.

Forget the TV ads and coverage maps. You don't care if they claim to cover 99% of the country. Real-world, in the places YOU use it, is what matters. Once you know who works where you need it, find the best deal.

In determining coverage, it is important to use a device that can take full advantage of the signals in use. For example, if you are looking at T-Mobile coverage, you should do so with a LTE band 12-capable device, not an old T-Mo phone granny had in a drawer.

For a relative of mine, we determined that Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint signals would not work for him. So I got him a T-Mobile phone and found a dirt-cheap MVNO to provide service. Works fine, costs very little. Done.

It seems like a lot of people never bother to take that approach and instead get hung up supporting a company because that's who they have been with forever, or they don't mind paying whatever they pay.

Comment Re:Email tie-in (Score 1) 72

Worked support for a major tax software company in recent weeks and my particular specialty focused on people who had login issues.

We generally authenticated by email address or phone number. If someone was locked out and still has access to the email address OR their phone, no problem. I could easily push a reset, after validating other info to ensure it was actually their account.

But if they had changed emails and no longer had access to the email address, or changed phone numbers, the process was MUCH more complicated. These people had to submit photo ID and other fun things to our team. Which is not what you want to tell them when they have ~1 hour to submit their taxes.

One person who called had a family of people who swapped around emails all the time to dodge spam AND they had all changed phone numbers for some reason or other. There was no workable way for me to authenticate them.

Long ago I bought a domain name and use that for my email. My phone authentication goes to an online account and the SMS gets forwarded to whatever my real phone number happens to be.

Comment Re:International Space Station (Score 1) 20

Given that the ISS program is nearing the end of its funding in 2020 and there is no money or particular interest in funding it to stay longer, there is little point to bring in China now. We're going to have a big problem just to stay beyond 2020 ourselves because the current administration has no interest in spending money on things like this and they have also tasked NASA with doing other very expensive things. So there is no money, although the ISS should last another 10 years if we did fund it.

So, bringing in China now will do one things that seem likely to me:

Either they are going to get stuck with a platform everybody else is going to abandon within the next decade. ISS for sale, AS IS WHERE IS NO WARRANTY.

Or they are going to take full advantage of the 150 billion spent so far and leap ahead, and nobody wants to hand them a stepladder to the stars and damn well not for free.

Comment Re:Simulation (Score 1) 178

You've got to consider the scale of the technology too in comparison to the competence. Blizzard games can be largely simulated just by a spreadsheet and a relatively simple random number generator. Atomic level simulation of a leaf flittering in the wind blows a WOW server away. Let alone an entire universe.

And you can perfectly blend science and religion by combining the Blizzard games spreadsheet with an RNGeezus and you get players who find religion thusly:

"Holy shit! The fucking random loot box gave me another goddamn torn cloth! Bloody hell!"

This works very well for Korean MMOs.

Comment Re:Don't buy this (Score 1) 440

Sure, leave it alone and asbestos is fine. But here's an example of why it is still an issue.

Local shopping center recently got sold. It has been decrepit for decades despite being in a pretty good location with a massive parking lot. It finally did sell and the new owners want to use the land for something else so they kicked out the few stores still open and began tearing it down.

Ah, but this shopping center was built with asbestos everywhere. That's why nobody wanted to redevelop it for so many years. The buyers have deep pockets and own some land next to it so they had a motivation. Nobody else would have ever touched it and this rotting, decrepit shopping area has been blighting this town for years. It really looked like something out Walking Dead and not only made the town look bad, it also made new stores think twice before wanting to open here. Look at THAT place! This town can't support retail.

We can. We finally got a SuperWalmart recently, which everybody wanted and nobody protested, and it is doing very well. But nobody wanted to open shop in the asbestos mall. The new owners finally threw money at it and the entire shopping center is wrapped up in plastic sheets as an asbestos remediation crew slowly clears the stuff out. It is a huge undertaking, going very slowly and probably costing a lot.

They are having to do this because everybody before them said "ah well, just leave it alone!" which is good and all, but someday somebody has to actually get rid of it. And thus we have a shopping area equal in size to our new SuperWalmart now wrapped up in plastic sheets.

Comment Re:Haier owns GE (Score 1) 440

Haier has long had US assembly plants, even before they bought up other brands. I've got a Haier fridge made in the US. It was inexpensive for the features it had. And I mostly like it. It has lasted around 10 years at this point.

But the exterior paint is very prone to rust and the ice maker didn't last more than a few years. Perhaps these are just generic problems.

Comment Re:American problem is American (Score 1) 440

I'd love to hang my laundry out, but it's very dusty and dirty here and yellow pollen falls from the sky four months a year, and bird crap pretty much all year.

My yard is big and could be used for a garden and grow food. But there resulting produce would be too filthy to eat. No thanks.

Likewise have no interest in hanging out clean clothes and have them come in dirtier and covered in filth and pollen.

Comment Re:American problem is American (Score 1) 440

Have you been to Europe? The concepts of "deodorant" and "anti perspirant" are new ideas. Smell is rampant. The French tried to cover it with perfumes. But the rest of Europe was like, nah, it stinks fine to us! We don't need deodorants for our armpits! HA!

So mouldy laundry after sitting in a washer for three hours probably sounds like a scent enhancement.

Comment Re:Lack of torrents is a bad sign (Score 1) 84

As of last night, there were NO torrents for the Netflix version. That seems to me to be a bad sign. Or the current seeders don't care.

Is torrenting Netflix originals really common? (I ask because I haven't looked on torrent sites for ages.) That's kind of Netflix's thing: "We're only marginally more expensive, and a whole lot more convenient than pirating."

Beats me. I don't torrent any TV shows from Netflix, or TV from anywhere else really. Just an occasional movie.

Comment Re:Lack of torrents is a bad sign (Score 1) 84

I don't think it's common. I think that RubberDogBone is use to getting as much fag pr0n as he can on BT and is pissed that there is something else he wants to watch between taking on 6 men at a time and he thought he'd look this up since it was on Slashdot. Sadly he can't find it and doesn't realize this really doesn't happen normally for any media except fag pr0n.

You are so wrong. But it made me laugh. Thanks.

Comment Just started working from home (Score 1) 73

On my prior jobs, I had the ability to work remotely when needed. But I was still expected to show up in an office every work day.

Just started a new job where the company has a large number of people working at home full time who never have to report to an office. It is a very weird experience, mainly because everything is remote, protected by multiple layers of VPNs and VMs and custom applications and so forth. And complicated by the employees who come from all backgrounds and skill. There are grandmothers and teenagers and everything between.

This matters because there are always steps with a new job, like obtaining network credentials, getting setup with HR, accessing the tools we will be using AND since we are all using our own PCs to do this, a whole extra level knowledge about how their PC and internet connection actually work. And a lot of people have no idea about simple things like ALT-Tab to change windows.

One person in the group was exiting the multiple layers of VPN and VM and relogging every time they wanted to swap to another window to look at something else. The company reps did nothing to control this, so the whole group had to wait for stragglers to figure out where to put a login ID and oh wait, here we go again with someone who can't ALT-Tab.

Anyway it turns out this company provides services for a vast array of clients and it's booming. They'll hire almost anyone. Clearly.

For me, this work is a pay cut but it beats nothing and means my commute to work is 15 feet instead of 15 miles of rush hour traffic twice a day. The savings on gas and wear and tear on my car will be tremendous. I am sold on this concept.

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