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Comment Re:Troglodytes (Score 1) 60

All of them, and make no mistake Hillary would have been just as bad.

No, I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have been. I think it's reasonable to assume she would have continued the same kind of policies as Obama. And it was Obama's FCC that started to take Network Neutrality seriously to begin with.

There is no justification for claiming a "Both sides" position here, just as there isn't with 90% of what Trump is doing.

Comment Re:Immunity (Score 1) 175

It's my understanding that the immunity transfer mainly happens in the later stages, and much of it even post-natal (via suckling). So much of it is already being frequently bypassed with sub-optimal results. But kids usually survive.

That said, this would appear to worsen the situation, so it does appear to be another problem to be solved.

Comment Re:Yay for women's rights, too (Score 1) 175

FWIW there's already work in progress towards taking a skin cell (a *live* skin cell, not one from the surface) and converting it into a root stem cell. And lots of work on taking that stem cell and causing it to develop into any particular kind of cell desired. In this case that would be an oocyte. Then there will need to be work done on maturing and supporting that oocyte, but that's probably not major considering what's already been done. And sperm is even easier.

So there won't be a need for either males or females, merely entities. This may herald an eventual population boom that is uncontrollable, as only those who specifically want children will have them, which means that will be strongly selected for. (This was one of the themes in Niven & Pournelle's "The Mote in God's Eye", but that doesn't make it wrong.)

Comment Re:What Solutions are there? (Score 1) 107

"If this goes on..." then there aren't any solutions for anyone. That's one of the arguments for why BirckerBot & kin are social services.

For *now* the correct solution is to refuse to buy IoT devices, or if you must, refuse to register them, or don't connect them to the internet and put them in a Faraday cage (if they use WiFi). (Well, you don't need a full-blown Faraday cage...just blocking a few wave-lengths sufficiently should suffice.) And if that won't work, return them as defective.

Comment Re:Leftists are learning about pushing people too (Score 1) 197

One prominent example is minimum wage regulations. While the intent behind these may have been good, what they've ended up becoming are huge burdens to businesses that are already on the brink. It's not economically viable for a business to pay somebody far more than the value they're providing. What is the end result? Fewer jobs, and a lot more focus on automating away low-end jobs. This actually leaves people worse off than they were before the minimum wage regulations were put into place!

That's a very naïve view of reality. For every business that's on the brink, there are hundreds that are doing well, and many that are turning record profits. A business that cannot afford to pay its employees a living wage is almost certainly doomed anyway, so allowing it to pay a less than a living wage is just delaying the inevitable slightly. The business will fail. Let it fail.

Keeping a business on life support by letting it pay a subminimum wage doesn't help anyone in the long term, and doesn't help very many people even in the short term. But allowing businesses to pay a subminimum wage does hurt people who work for all those other companies that actually are profitable, because given the opportunity to pay their employees less, they will do so.

More to the point, if that is the only business providing jobs in a particular community, then that community is doomed. Keeping the business alive a little longer by depressing wages just encourages people to stay in the doomed community and make less and less money, thus making them less and less able to afford to move to a community that isn't doomed. So continuing to pay those employees a wage actually ends up hurting those employees more than it helps, at least in the aggregate, though the individual employees might not believe it at the time.

Comment Re:Opposite (Score 4, Interesting) 237

Exactly.

I'm a gen X'er and I *know* I won't have a pension. Even if I retire, the government or the pension providers will default on me - either through inflation, or just because the damn pension providers will flatly announce they just don't have anything left in their coffers. I know this because they've already done it to my dad, who was born in the silent generation. So it's nothing new, but it sure won't get no better.

So, I'm not putting any money in a system that'll shaft me and I'm not saving anything for old age - most likely I'll be working until I die anyway.

What I do instead is, I enjoy as much free time now while I'm still young: I found me one of the last "old-style" jobs still available that lets me work 36 hrs/week with unreasonably great pay, in a heavily unionized old company that does business in a market that doesn't know the word recession.

In other words, I've maximized my salary/work ratio and I do as little work as possible to enjoy life the the fullest while I'm still in a condition to enjoy it. Time enough when I'm old and decrepit to kill myself at work for a living.

Comment Re:slashdotters are happy (Score 1) 175

I don't think that's true at all. Most of the pro-life voters I've known are people who genuinely care about protecting the unborn. Most of the pro-life politicians at least appear to be using the abortion issue as a means to get elected (though I suppose it is also possible that they're genuine but clueless). The number of pro-life folks who are actually misogynists is probably fairly small, though I'm sure that they do exist.

Comment Re:It's true (Score 1) 244

When the chip returns, we have to test it and make sure it is correct before we make any last minute changes. So there is a 72 hour bring-up period, most of us work 18 hour shifts and the campus is open around the clock with three meals served a day.

When you're talking about a short-term crunch period, sometimes those really are unavoidable, because of events that could not have been predicted ahead of time. When that happens, what matters is that the period be A. short, B. bounded, and C. rewarded with extra vacation to balance out the crunch. If an employer does that, it isn't a big deal. When an employer drives people to work 18 hours a day all year around, though, that's a much bigger deal.

That said, to some degree, what you're describing is still a failure of management. The final deadline might not be movable, but the milestones on the way to that deadline are movable, and the number of employees you throw at the problem is also adjustable. There are two ways to trivially fix the problem in your case:

  • Move the deadline for the design earlier. This approach will initially mean slightly longer hours during the entire project, but over the long term, will make it worth hiring one or two extra employees to reduce the workload. By doing that, you'll have an entire week or even two weeks at the end of the process for the bring-up period instead of 72 hours.
  • Hire contractors to offload most of the testing during surge periods. I guarantee you can find people who will do short-term contracts for a week if you throw the right amount of money in their direction, and I guarantee there are plenty of other companies that need testers only part-time. Work with those other companies and build up a contractor talent pool. Spend two days preparing for the tests, then three days doing the tests. Make a larger quantity of engineering test samples so that you can parallelize the tests better, and use three times as many people during that week so that everybody works sane hours.

This isn't rocket science. Either approach above would make those crunches completely unnecessary, and the combination would do so in a way that isn't even particularly painful for the company or the employees. However, both approaches require management to A. acknowledge that there's a problem, and B. care enough to fix it.

Comment Re: Cry me a river (Score 2) 244

He wanted the growth, the stock options... and he wasn't cut-out for the demands:

Yes and no. Most startups have the opportunities for growth, stock options that could become valuable, etc., though you always have a decent chance of not getting anything from them other than more work. But there's definitely a point beyond which that extra work qualifies as worker abuse. This is why we need stronger laws on employee work hours.

Don't get me wrong; I'm okay with people hiring "exempt employees" with the understanding that their work hours will vary throughout the year, depending on what is happening. Where that scheme goes off the rails is when that turns into an expectation that you'll work 50+ hours every week—something that is fundamentally unsafe from a psychological perspective, causing serious harm to workers when done over a prolonged period. And from what I've read, Uber is one of "those companies".

Make no mistake, that culture is entirely the fault of Uber's management. Young people tend to think they're invincible, so without managers telling them to do otherwise, they will work themselves into the ground—sometimes literally. They think that by working ridiculous hours, they'll get ahead of their coworkers, and when enough people do that, others start to believe that long hours are required; thus, a work culture forms around that expectation.

What those young people don't realize is that those longer hours invariably lead to bad decision-making and lower quality output. Statistically, for every hour above about thirty hours, productivity falls off, and by about 50 hours or so, productivity actually goes negative; for every hour worked beyond that limit, you end up doing more than an hour of extra work to fix the additional screw-ups caused by the hour of extra work. For this reason, it is crucial for every tech business to have competent managers who strongly encourage employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Managers who do not do this—managers who prioritize short-term gains over worker health—invariably lead to worker burnout, long-term low productivity, and yes, suicides.

Unfortunately, between Uber and video game companies, it is pretty clear that self-regulation by industry isn't working, and that government needs to step in. Exempt shouldn't mean "we own your life". It should mean "40 hours average", i.e. the same as non-exempt workers, but allowing for seasonal variation. It should be illegal for exempt workers to spend more than an average of 40 hours per week spread across a one-year period. Huge fines are quite literally the only thing that companies like Uber will understand.

Comment Marginal cost of Internet distribution: $0.09/GB (Score 1) 65

Unless a work includes material licensed under terms that require payment of residuals per copy, all the work involved in production, editing, and mastering is a sunk cost that was covered by the work's crowdfunding campaign. The marginal cost of distributing a copy of a work is the cost of transmitting it over the Internet, for which AWS charges 0.09 USD per GB.

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