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Comment Sure, if they had the willpower... (Score 5, Interesting) 548

If I had a team of several million people, I could build a sustainable city on Mars.

As long as I could be totally devoted tot he task, and the willpower to follow through the billions of setbacks you'd hit on the way, especially including my own ignorance.

Trump fixing H1b? It's possible, but similarly absurd to expect.

The Trump coalition isn't the team to fix H1b. They're a wrecking crew, not a construction team. They can foist individuals to make plans, but they're philosophically aligned against, say, the kind of planning that would make a national constitution or something along those lines.

Even if theoretically Trump actually meant the half-dozen things he said on H1b, and DIDN'T mean the several things he said that contradicted that, he'd still need to coordinate with a team that implements it, and a political base to enable a political climate that will make disobeying the rule a bad idea.

Trump could GET folks on board to get all that done... but at this point, he'd really need to construct everything needed from whole cloth. I somehow doubt that enforcing and enlarging H1b rules on the nation's CEOs is going to be a high priority compared to everything else he wants done in the world. It's POSSIBLE, just very unlikely, unless somehow Trump is thwarted on literally every other big thing, and yet not impeached.

H1b is a horrible system. It's virtues are nice - getting qualified folks in to do needed jobs - but that does not justify a system of modern day quasi-indentured-servitude. The way it's used it horrible too, basically used to quash local workers wage increases. Trump speaks against it, but he's exactly the wrong person to choose as a person to crusade against it - he's basically the living avatar of the idea of shortchanging workers using sketchy legal tactics.

Don't expect too much from Trump on this.

Ryan Fenton

Comment But...but... (Score 2) 381

But, we chose the entertaining choice! How could we not be entertained? Trump is the only person I can think of that would be more absurd as a president than William Shatner when in-character.

I think the problem might be the same with someone trying to make a sequel of the 1950's, without understanding it, and trying to fix that by just going completely over the top in terms of ambition, trying to make up for a completely broken budget process. It's entertaining in a sense - but sort of a sad entertainment.

The folks that supported trump did seem to do it out of a sense of ironic satisfaction rather than actually something they wanted.

Turns out though, it's not a sequel to the 1950's, it's actually a sequel to the Robber Barons, it just couldn't be marketed that way, because that's only ever been popular with a small audience.

Ryan Fenton

Comment Re:Welcome to the meat industry! (Score 1) 244

Sure - since the kitchen is in the middle of some work, I pulled out a nice large electric plug-in skillet, and turned it to 250 degrees.

Turned that on, threw in 4 slices of cheap butter-loaf bread to toast on one side.

Pushed those to the side, threw in 3 eggs alongside the bread.. As they cooked, I added some black pepper.

Also while those cooked, I put one frozen slice of off-brand uneven sliced bacon in the microwave, wrapped in paper towels for 90 seconds. I've found the microwave does a very good job with bacon in general. Skillet also does a fine job, but takes longer without helping the flavor as much as you'd think.

When the eggs looked done, put the eggs on the uncooked side of the bread, crumbled the bacon on top fo the eggs, added cucumbers, jalepeno and lettuce, put them on a plate, and closed both sandwiches.

Took maybe 5 minutes to cook and clean up, and was an order of magnitude better flavor than most out to eat meals, including being considerably cheaper.

Costs:
Bread, $1 a loaf
Eggs: 89 cents for a dozen
Bacon: $4.50 for roughly 16 slices, I keep it frozen (wrapped in plastic to separate slices) and microwave it.
Veggies: Say 50 cents per meal.

Cheese, mustard and hot sauces might add you a small percent extra, depending on preference - but still, something like $2 a meal, and quicker than fast food.

Worth a bit of practice and a few mistakes to learn to make that stuff!

Ryan Fenton

Comment I think one thing is easy to overlook... (Score 4, Interesting) 251

I know there's been a lot of back-and-forth about Trump.

But the way most everyone in the world views him, is that he has always been, and remains the living symbol of arrogance and greed. Trump does not serve the United States of America, the USA functionally serves Trump as it stands.

Working in any position where you were spending your life promoting that would suck. It's painful enough that an otherwise wonderful nation elected that dude.

Yes, defending Ameirca is crucially important, and our nation still stands for a lot of very important principles, but when all of that sits in service to, well, Trump, it would be very difficult to not want to go off and help it some other way.

I empathize with the folks making those choices.

Ryan Fenton

Comment Welcome to the meat industry! (Score 4, Informative) 244

I enjoy meat myself - but accept that the meat industry is historically filled with some of the worst intentions on the face of the planet. There's a reason that one of the big counters to libertarian philosophy is historical regulation of the meat industry... if they can get away with it, you'd better believe that the industry is going to break just about every rule, custom, ethical guideline and concept of decent human interaction possible.

Meat, it ain't pretty, it's rarely pure (the fish industry is nigh-hilarious with how it labels things), but it's still an important part of our filthy culture.

Cutting a 50% mix of soy into chicken isn't shocking compared to most things - and actually matches what I remember of that particular flavor whenever I decided to try chicken again at Subway. Now that I've gotten better at cooking for myself, I find a $6 footlong to be actually a fairly expensive sandwich.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go make a nice couple of egg/bacon/veggie sandwiches. I'm sure it's not completely ethical, and likely contains some genetic engineering (ooh, scary), but for the price, it's a marvel of modern industry and flavor!

Ryan Fenton

Comment Not horrible, but not worth it... (Score 2) 95

Any chance I could get, say, two of those channels for $5 a month?

There's internet-based cable packages already out there, SlingTV/PlayStation Vue are the big obvious ones, but it's not unlikely to be more crowded going forward either. They have the same granular pricing scheme, and I don't care for them either..

The big thing for me is that when I was paying for cable, I'd only really have a couple of 'veg out' channels I ever used, and would really prefer to watch entire series for the serialized content, rather then live, so got nothing out of having those channels available. Add those few remnants of what's mildly interesting in cable, and you'll secure a (lower value) longterm customer.

I won't be willing to pay $35 monthly for what I'm missing now though. I just don't get enough enjoyment out of that, dollar for dollar, than I'd get out of most anything else.

Ryan Fenton

Comment Never trust prognosticating... (Score 1) 138

...when the author has a primary financial stake in the outcome, or a strong political motivation to push that outcome.

Not that it won't be true, but it is the very definition of bullshit. Right now, most of the prognosticators are predicting either Trump's ascension to eternal godhood, or his imminent crash into grim legend - same story there too, it's not a real prediction, but an attempt to shape the range of expected outcomes.

Same story for hundreds of years of history too - look at any newspaper archive and and the wonderful history of local yellow journalism. There's dozens of archives easily browsed with a google search, and they're hilarious and enlightening on the nature of such bullshit.

So yeah, Hollywood may just be the next buggy whip factory doomed to be unable to adapt before failure, or it may be the start of the next golden era for the studios once they absorb the remains of failed online studios - but either prediction would be wrong to make ahead of time without evidence.

I'd love to predict a future where folks learned to adopt more skepticism in their daily lives and news preferences, but I fear that one is DEFINITELY not held up by previous ages of human interest and news trends over time. That would take concentrated education, in a world drawn to distraction... and here I am on Slashdot!

Ryan Fenton

Comment Re:Reproducibility is hard. (Score 5, Insightful) 331

Why are we still using printed journals?

Why is the amount of space a report takes up still an issue?

Details are important. If you want a short version, then make a summary, but don't cut out the detail available to do that.

In terms of ascii/unicode text, we're not going to run out of bytes to explain important scientific details.

Heck - make videos of the processes, mention part numbers, and even show mistakes that you encountered along the way in your notes! Video hosting is free, and shouldn't be going away anytime soon. Making a process replication video should be a normal thing.

If you're spending so much time anyway, so much of your life in these studies, what's the value in holding back important information?

Ryan Fenton

Comment Cool? (Score 5, Insightful) 125

I'm a pretty liberal dude - but this age-information-protection thing is the wrong role for any governance to be playing.

It's an objective, publicly available piece of information. Birth records aren't secret, or in any way protected from public view. Trying to punish websites for listing that among other pertinent details on public figures like actors is just crazy.

That's not to say age discrimination is an unrealistic thing to fear - but this is exactly the wrong way to combat it, akin to punishing kids spreading rumors of an upcoming fight, rather than any of the participants. It's just bad tactics too - objecting to information only spreads that information further (justly called the Streisand effect).

I'm struggling just to wrap my head around how stupid an idea this law was, or who would propose it as a valid way to use law.

Was this some kind of a protest law, or a game of legislative chicken gone wrong?

Ryan Fenton

Comment Useless? That article. (Score 5, Insightful) 723

Here's the thing - basic income CAN theoretically not work out... but some an economist with a stake or two against it working is NOT evidence that this version of it hasn't panned out. Especially when it's posted on fricken Bloomburg news!

That's what the experiment is for. Instead, it's to see if the money spend on THIS style of program is as effective as the several other programs it can replace, and whether that replacement will be practical. It's money that will be spent in any case! You need experimental comparison to judge the merit of the approach.

Again though - until RESULTS are in, hearing some talking head berate the idea of it as not to his liking isn't helpful.

It's like folks who dismiss needle exchange programs to reduce communicable disease, without actually bothering to look at the numbers, and what the studies actually account for.

Ryan Fenton

Comment Science! (Score 1) 268

This is more on the entertainment side, but also feature some of the deeper discussions on important topics than you'd find almost anywhere:

This Week in Science (TWIS) - going for over a decade, and still just as energetic, and honestly hilarious as ever. Just the right mix of solid detail and genuine humor.

Skeptics Guide to the Universe - has also been going for over a decade, and has some of the warmest, funniest folks out there. Lots and lots of science too - since at the heart of modern skepticism is the drive to understand why we can know things more than others.

Data Skeptic - relatively new, but really good, deep dives into what makes meaningful data, in a very entertaining manner.

As with most all podcasts, just make sure whatever you're listening through has a handy 30-second skip to jump past any sponsor bits, they're usually quite well-labelled in those podcasts.

Comment Yeeeees! (Score 1) 262

I'm ALL FOR mouse controls on consoles!

Why? I want the design for mouse to be something at the forefront for developers, alongside controller support.

For the past half-decade or so, UI developers for cross-platform projects really seemed to give mouse/keyboard users a raw deal over interfaces, acting as though everything was just emulating a joystick, with horrible positive/negative acceleration logic, capping allowed movement per second, etc. Really bad controls on their ports to mouse-based systems.

Both mouse and joystick controls have their virtues. But man, when you have a choice, mouse controls with a TINY bit of practice are just amazing for their rapid precision. Controllers are cool for their analog inputs, compactness and portability.

The nice thing is that when you support both of these styles, you make it much easier to future proof your product. Once you have those handled, controls like a Steam-controller trackpad, or a trackball, or a wiimote/virtual reality controller become much easier to pick up, however they appear on later control systems.

As for the guy in TFA, yeah - I can see how he doesn't want to have to ask his funders to support any additional costs in testing. I can empathise, but as a mouse user, I say, the more platforms that get them, the better!

Ryan Fenton

Comment A lot of it is 'frontin' (Score 1) 409

None of this is news. Almost all jobs these days exist more for 'coverage' rather than full-on throughput. On an instant-to-instant basis, 90+% of human 'work' time is waiting/transition/communication rather than raw action. You can often tell a long-time professional by how they spend 'in-between' time as much as traditional knowledge domain stuff, there's a sort of performance art folks pick up that's no longer 'looking busy', but instead putting folks at ease when there's nothing else to actively do.

Sure, anything repeated with predictable variance can be increasingly automated. But the job market we've grown into is based on low-balling everyone possible, then selecting the 'expensive' folks based on a random hodgepodge of subjective expectations (largely self-serving for the hiring folks). Automating lets you hire fewer grunt workers for serialized tasks - but it doesn't free you of the need for 'coverage', and it makes a larger portion of your hiring effort the 'expensive hire' style, which is a VERY mixed bag.

Don't get me wrong - almost everything we count as a 'job' WILL eventually be obviated indirectly by automation assuming we don't find a way to stagnate. There's just too much a reward at large scales to automating supply, even when wasteful, and although we'll keep getting waves of demand, it simply won't make sense to spend 40+ hours a week as a workplace like now. We'll find ways of needing less 'people coverage' and more 'system coverage' over time. Greed for time may start pushing back at greed for stuff in the mix of all that.

Ryan Fenton

Comment Mario not a launch title... (Score 2) 167

The video says "Holiday 2017" for Mario Odyssey, and if history is any indication, there will be delays. Launch lineup is very likely going to be primarily cross-platform ports and Zelda Breath of the Wild.

Still, that will be enough to sell a lot of units, and provide a lot of great entertainment, just don't expect an avalanche of first-party top content out the gate this time. It'll appear in pretty wide intervals, but when they're putting their focus on something, the quality level from Nintendo tends to beat just about anyone outside of Blizzard and a few other top-end developers.

I skipped the WiiU since none of the first-party games appealed to me - no Mario Galaxy/Metroid Prime/Zelda games - Pikmin was cool, but not enough, and I despise time limits on open world games. The switch, however, I'm seriously considering picking up, if only for a nice open world Zelda game and eventually the Xenoblade/Mario games. Here's hoping they bring back the Metroid Prime team, and make Metroid Other M retroactively (pun intented) non-canon.

Ryan Fenton

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