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Comment The upside for the U.S. (Score 1) 292

It's not an unambiguous bad thing that some new degreeholders return to their home country. We want at least some of them to go back and become successful leaders in their respective fields. In fact, we want a decent number to go build careers in their home countries.

For one, geopolitics and international economics isn't a zero-sum game. There are things that are good for everyone. A rapidly developing trade partner helps us, too. For another, when we educate a large number of their big players, we have basically imparting our values on the most influential people in that society. In addition, those guys, being educated in English and having made contacts with many in the U.S., will naturally be more inclined to do business or collaborative research with Americans in the future. Even when a Chinese company does business with an Indian company, they will be collaborating in English. That's a natural edge for our citizens, especially their fellow students in grad school. As a small example, my time spent with Indian, Eastern European, Chinese, and Korean TAs in undergrad really enhanced my ability to understand their accents.

So, I think it's pretty obvious that there is an ideal number of students educated here who immediately return to their home countries. Whether that ideal is higher or lower than the actual number today, I don't pretend to know - but I think we'll be fine as long as we have world-class universities located on our soil. If we really want more of them to stay, we need to be able to streamline the visa/greencard process for educated people. We also may want to make financial incentives (e.g. loans that are forgivable upon attaining permanent residency/citizenship) to keep them around. Either way, this "problem" is not much of a problem at all, and even so has easy fixes.

Comment Re:We are asking the same in India (Score 1) 292

(Granted, our relationship with India is far simpler and more cordial than our awkward tie-up with China, but there's still enough competition in some areas to take notice.)

You might want to rethink that one. Our relationship with India is complex, due to the added wrinkles of our close working relationship with their mortal enemy Pakistan. Arms deals, intelligence sharing, military aid, and economic aid for both countries has to be carefully managed with perceptions of bias or unfairness, all while we respect their sovereignty when combating extremism in both countries. And then the fact that India has violated the test ban treaty and was supposed to be subject to economic sanctions.

Neither relationship is simple.

Comment Re:It's called a team (Score 3, Funny) 426

Maybe it's because I'm part of a small team - but I don't really get this. I can communicate with my co-workers directly much better than if my words have to be filtered through my manager. That's just adding an unnecessary layer of possible misinterpretation/mistranslation (even if he had my particular skillset, which he doesn't).

Well look I already told you! I deal with the goddamn coworkers so the programmers don't have to. I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people, can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?

Comment Re:Less than the cost of a single cruise missile. (Score 1, Flamebait) 192

While I can't speak for other country's militaries, being a member of the American armed forces is actually quite difficult. Not merely on a physical level, but it is VERY mentally challenging.

Thus you will find that a very large portion of the American armed forced are highly intelligent and more often than not from middle class families. Despite some politician's desire to paint the military as a bunch of dumb poor people, the truth is the exact opposite.

As a servicemember, I appreciate the sentiment, but I think you're wrong. My colleagues, subordinates, and superiors clearly aren't intellectuals by any means. I had a military intelligence lieutenant ask me WHILE WE WERE IN IRAQ what the difference between Sunni and Shia was. I've met 2 soldiers who were unable to list all 12 months of the year. I have never been in a mentally challenging Army school, and I have yet to meet an officer who graduated from a good university. Culturally speaking, the Army sorta pushes out their best and their brightest while retaining a lot of the dead weight. The truth is, Soldiers are individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds. We're not stupid, but I would never label Army work "mentally challenging," much less "VERY mentally challenging."

For the typical college student at a decent school, I would imagine that the conventional (non spec ops) military is neither physically nor mentally challenging.

Comment Re:If you want privacy then don't use (Score 1) 446

Yes. Everything has a cost, whether monetary or not. When you choose to use a service, even a free service, you will mentally do a cost/benefit analysis in your head based on the information you have. People may have incomplete or inaccurate information, but they weigh the costs and benefits, discounting for probabilities, etc. When the cost changes after you've already agreed to the service, it can be classified as a bait and switch.

Comment Re:If you want privacy then don't use (Score 1) 446

I'm pretty sure email includes a "forward" function. Nobody has full control over their privacy, but we all rely on social norms and human decency to keep certain things private. In the electronic world, we haven't had enough time to develop robust social norms to account for the ease of transmitting information.

Comment Re:Massive exaggeration (Score 1) 245

That's cool - no big deal. I'll be honest - most of what I know about TV news comes from passing by a running TV in an airport or something, as I don't actually own a television. So no, I don't have much of a dog in this fight, and I acknowledge in advance that I'm not an expert. But CNN until recently had Lou Dobbs, and MSNBC has Joe Scarborough - I can't think of a single liberal hosting a commentary/discussion show on Fox.

Also, I could never see the left-wing equivalent of Hannity's Obama documentary airing on any national station, anywhere, at any time. Trying to say things like "well everything is just a shade of gray; therefore you can't say something is darker than another" doesn't actually address the criticism.

Finally, my main beef with Fox News isn't so much with their right wing bias, but is rather the anti-intellectualism on display in TV news. None of the TV news networks challenge the viewer to think about the issues, or purport to even provide more than superficial information on the issues. They'd rather cover screaming matches at town hall meetings than do an infographic about what the public option actually means. I think Fox is the worst of the 3, but that all 3 are guilty of sensationalizing balloon boy, craigslist killer, Michael Jackson, and other irrelevant stories.

Comment Tyler Cowen's Create Your Own Economy (Score 1) 419

Anyone who's interested in this kind of discussion on putting autistic's skills to positive use (for both themselves and society at large) should read Tyler Cowen's Create Your Own Economy. The title really doesn't let on that it's a book about improving your own ability to process information by fostering the skills that autistics tend to have more than their non-autistic counterparts. His introductory chapters clearly explain that autism is not a handicap and that the information economy can provide a place where such personality types and their cognitive skills can thrive.

Our society has a lot of room for people with unique skills, and these middlemen who can bring autistics gainful employment while serving the greater economy should be applauded for their work.

Comment Re:What about VISTA? (Score 1) 398

Not to mention its source is available as public domain code. Part of the problem is that the VA has different incentives than most hospitals. The VHA is an insurance company that owns the hospitals, the equipment, and pays the doctors a fixed salary. It keeps the same patients for decades, and has an incentive to get records right from the get-go, because they know they'll be paying for that patient's treatment down the line. In that sense, some of the benefits of the VA's electronic health records system aren't easily mimicked by the private sector, but it certainly is a good start.

In any case, I'm curious too as to how VistA fares compared to these other systems.

Comment Re:Okay, so I suck at math, but... (Score 1) 315

You're assuming that each of the 8 million pieces of data are for unique users. This is certainly not the case. Law enforcement, with a warrant, would probably want to know where someone was at different times of day. If the Sprint system makes it easy for law enforcement to view every known location in a certain time period, it's not unreasonable for a single warrant to produce tens of thousands of pieces of data - and the vast majority of them will be redundant. For example, knowing that a guy was asleep in his home for 8 hours while his cell phone reported his location hundreds of times in that time period isn't really all that helpful, but will contribute to the 8 million.

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