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Comment Eliminate the lottery (Score 3, Insightful) 295

Replace it with a salary auction for the limited number of H-1Bs available. A company would 'buy' H-1Bs by bidding a minimum yearly salary for each visa, which it would then be required to pay the visa holder for the duration of the visa. The company with the highest bid wins the visa. Cap the number of visas available such that the minimum winning bids average 10% more than the salary paid to an American worker for the same job. That would allow Google and Microsoft to buy as many of the offshore geniuses as they want (or can afford), while putting a fork in the IT outsourcing firms who game the current lottery system.

Comment Re: On our way... (Score 0) 295

Total bull. Europe was originally colonized by former Africans. And in the 6th century the Moors (Berbers, Arabs, and other dark-skinned folks from Africa and the Mid-East) ruled a good chunk of southern Europe for 700 years. These folks brought a lot of civilization and science to what was then a medieval Europe rather overrun with Barbaric tribes. The great civilizations of the Mid-East and Northern Africa then fell into ruin (not to mention being overrun by Mongol hordes) while Europe suddenly entered the Renaissance period, using a lot of what they had learned from the African Moors. The Europeans no more 'stole' all the natural resources of Africa then the Africans 'stole' the natural resources of Europe when they were the civilization in charge.

Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Incas, Mayans, the Han Dynasty, the Great Caliphate, the 'West'; great civilizations arise because they bring a new and successful culture to the world stage. The shitholes of the world today are shitholes because of their current culture (bribery, corruption, tribalism, misogyny, etc.), not their skin color. Tomorrow, they might be the next Rome. Not because of some skin pigmentation, but because they somehow reinvented themselves and brought a new, dynamic culture to the world that improved life for the majority of folks. You anti-Western folks are really nothing more than apologists for crappy cultures.

Comment Stron g AI vs the 2nd Law (Score 1) 126

I'll bet on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics every time. We already have a flying car optimized for the reality of flight--it's called a Cessna 172. Strong AIs aren't going to suddenly 'invent' anti-gravity and warp drive. Instead, they'll run up against the same laws of physics the rest of us have to deal with every day as we commute to work wishing we had George Jetson flying cars.

As for AI manipulating the stock market, why bother? We have enough math majors doing that already.

Comment Re:Dams, too (Score 1) 243

Nonsense. The "erosion" on the main spillway was a huge crater many yards (meters) across, with increased flows spewing additional chunks of concrete into the air and into the Feather River. As the inflows exceeded the outflows (65000 CFS out, 120000 CFS plus in) the lake went to 100% and over the emergency spillway. The erosion on the emergency spillway threatened to destroy it, and they had to up the flow on the main spillway to 100000 CFS to start lowering the lake levels. There is now a HUGE crater at the end of the main spillway, and not much left of the main spillway below that point. Basically, they would have been able to manage the water IF they could release water from the main spillway (it can handle 250000 CFS, but that would flood the levees downstream). They could not. When it became clear the emergency spillway wasn't up to the task, they opened up the main spillway to just below levee-flood stage, which effectively assured the destruction of the rest of the lower half of the main spillway.

The big problem they have now, which is little-discussed in the media, is how long can they hold out. The rain season still has a few months to go, March is typically the wettest month, and the snowpack in the 6200 sq mile Feather River basin is about 175% of normal. Every day they run that main spillway at 100000 CFS they erode what's left of that hillside, and they have no option but to run it at that level if the storms keep coming. If the hillside erosion starts breaking off more of the main spillway it could threaten the integrity of the spillway gates, and then they're really in trouble. That's part of the reason they're desperately trying to shore up the hillside below the emergency spillway, because they might have no choice but to use it again soon.

Of course, even though much of California is washing away, just last week the Sacramento bureaucrats declared we're still in a drought. Bureaucracy and regulation is a ratcheting mechanism--it only turns in one direction. I'm sure they'll announce we're still in a drought next month too, even if they have to make the announcement from a rowboat moored to the top steps of the Capital building.

Comment Just more government run amuck, that's all (Score 1) 158

Hey Silicon Valley nerds: you do realize that California mandates exactly this sort of technology in your homes and offices, don't you? The 2013 and later building codes require occupancy sensors in all offices less than or equal to 250 sq. ft., as well as conference rooms, multi-purpose rooms and a whole host of other places. If you build a new home all garages, laundry rooms and utility rooms must have occupancy-sensor lighting. Feel free to be violated in the name of the environment, courtesy of your nanny state.

Comment Re:OK, help me out... (Score 1) 834

This administration doesn't strike me as one that intends to practice "business as usual". Trump stood next to British PM May and, while expressing support for a U.S. British trade pact, still made it clear that American workers came first as far as he was concerned. Companies planning end-runs around the rules might want to be prepared for some blow-back this time around.

Comment Re:BASIC programming skills (Score 1) 214

Software development is well on the path that Networking took about a decade ago. Good luck finding a job that pays enough to support a family when every 10th grade is building apps.

You could say that about pretty much every job today, from Airline Pilot to Zoologist. That has nothing to do wtih programming, and everything to do with automation and globalization in particular and life in general. Change is constant. Deal with it.

I wrote my own 6800 assembler in C-64 Basic (and hand-tuned 6502 assembly) as a teen to run my homebuilt wire-wrapped computer, so I'm probably about your age or older. I've been around the industry a while. Programming isn't math, or logic, it's understanding the domain and the end user. If I'm writing a Linux device driver I do it in C, and the domain involves semaphores, interrupts, bottom halves, and a host of other things that have little to do with math. Coding an android app in the NDK might involve C++, but the real hard work (at least for me) is building a proper UX and creating the graphics that other people want to use. Web site coding requires HTML, CSS, and the sort of browser-quirk javascript that makes me squirm, but hardly any math beyond an occasional sum. The only time I worry much about math is when I'm coding a FIR filter or some-such.

No, success as a programmer involves understanding the domain and the end user. That 10th grader may have barely passed trig, but he can still code up angry round objects and animate them using a plug-in library. If by genius or serendipity he realizes that every other 10th grader in the world will pay to watch those angry round objects dive on things, he's still a successful programmer in my book. If some particularly sharp 7-year-old codes up the next Minecraft in Scratch, more power to her.

Comment Re:HDMI cables? (Score 1) 104

You don't understand the System. The HDMI extortion mob could care less about HDMI cabling on dark matter detectors, provided the scientists are not slapping HDMI-Compliant trademarks on them and selling them for home Dark Matter Detection use. And even then only if they're actually making money on them. If they're making enough money, they'll soon be fighting patents filed for 'Detecting Anomalous Tenebrous Particles via Interconnecting COTS Technology' and other absurdly general ideas scammed through the PTO. Make enough money on Home Dark Matter Detectors, and the scientists simply buy the entire licensing organization and a few Congressmen.

Comment Re:Useless Metrics (Score 1) 111

There should be a clear and inviolable line of demarcation between the attempt to improve hospital/doctor intercommunication and the attempt to cut government outlays on medical costs. If not, both efforts are doomed to failure, and in bad ways. However, that's rarely the way the government bureaucrats see it.

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