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Comment Re:WTF!!! (Score 1) 513

Since you're playing Devil's advocate here, I've a few questions. Would you like to work for BAE's HR department?

And, don't you believe in the 40 hour work week? That the position required 24/7 availability in addition to 40 hours is already too much. He should not have had to beg to be allowed to work from home for any hours beyond the 40. He had done his duty to arrange to be able to work 40 hours a week at the office. Yet you're talking like it's perfectly acceptable and normal for a company to ask more of their employees.

In the 19th century, 80 hour work weeks in the factories were not uncommon. You worked 12 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week. Employers were not convinced to reduce to a 40 hour week by arguments of humanity, work/life balance, or union pressure. What convinced them were facts and studies showing that people are more productive if worked less hard. It was a tough sell, because it is so easy and simple to equate hours worked with production, and of course some were never convinced. In particular, such thinking was a threat to the institution of slavery, so of course slave owners rejected it out of hand. It became more possible to accept it once slavery was abolished.

Comment Re:Patreon for porn (Score 2) 259

This is what I've been saying for years. There is no way to stop or regulate people swapping data among themselves. DRM does not work and no one, no matter how talented, is going to find a way to make it work.

What is sad is how producers have failed to understand the issue. They want to believe they can produce and sell data same as any other material good that is subject to scarcity. They've gone to great lengths to try to turn this dark fantasy into reality, and have of course completely failed. Their efforts were doomed, like any effort to create an actual flying horse, a pegasus, would be. With advances in genetic engineering technology, we could possibly create a horse with wings. But no way would it be able to fly.

Further, they haven't understood that even if success was possible, and achieved, it would be a setback for society. Because then, it would be possible to lock down and control information, and the power to do that could only be abused to impose tolls on the public in exchange for the same basic information, over and over. Imagine how "profitable" it would be to own the secret of "2+2=4", and no elementary school child could learn that until they paid the owner for the privilege. As it is, the secret of the birds and the bees is guarded entirely too zealously, and the more successful adults are at keeping teenagers in the dark about that, the worse the outcomes tend to be for all concerned. Nudity in Playboy was ever so slightly educational. I bought one for that purpose when I was around 14. The clerk at the bookstore frowned at me-- I was obviously underage, and he wasn't supposed to sell X rated things to minors-- but he didn't ask for my age, just took my cash in exchange for the zine.

Comment why another curly brace lang? (Score 1) 339

Why dud you make Swift a curly brace language, especially as it seems you admire Python? One thing Python shows is that C style syntax is not the ultimate. I suppose you were in a hurry to get to the interesting stuff and just grabbed onto curly brace syntax?

I'd like to see a real programming language that can be taught to elementary school students, not toy stuff like Logo or Scratch. These days, seems Python comes the closest to that ideal. Some still seriously recommend C/C++ for the kids.

Comment Need to be able to leave that job (Score 2) 433

I've experienced gaslighting. Many of us in IT have experienced hostile work environments. There are many options for dealing with it. By far the easiest, fastest way is to simply leave. You're not leaving just for your own mental well being. Another reason to leave is to take their power away, gives them less room to maneuver when abusing your former colleagues.

Unfortunately, many employees don't position themselves to be able to do that without prohibitive loss. And employers encourage that! Ever have your boss suggest you should buy a new car and house? I have, more than once. I didn't understand why that was any of their business the 1st time. Now I know that's why. They think of you as a "flight risk", and like the idea of you feeling chained to your job by debt up to your eyeballs. Lose that job and your life blows up. You lose your house, spouse, car, the respect of your friends, your credit rating, etc. They have code phrases for this, stuff like "showing team spirit" and "commitment". There are sick managers out there who enjoy bullying and abusing hapless underlings.

If you are determined to hang on for financial reasons, pride in your successes, don't want to leave under a cloud of failure, don't want to be labeled a quitter and a wimp, feel like there are still worthy people you can help, or the environment isn't completely horrible and has its redeeming qualities, and whatever other reasons, there's still much else you can do. There will always be some crap to handle at any job, and it is impractical to walk out on every employer unless you're independently wealthy and can retire at the age of 30 or some such. Still improve your financial situation. Next, keeping records is huge. Get all the gaslighters' crap down in writing. Ask them to email or text you, not just give you verbal instructions which can be denied later. Do it smoothly too, don't be verbally demanding, just be firm and put your time to use on other duties until they give you written instruction. What may very well happen is that they get cold feet. They don't want a paper trail showing what scumbags they really are. They'll foam at the mouth with rage and frustration, but they will back down if they have any brains. They may not, they may indeed give it to you in writing. They may try to weasel around with their written instructions. If they threaten to fire you, call them on that. Tell them you're waiting, hurry up and fire you already. It usually is a bluff, but it may not be, and if so, that's okay too. Being fired is not the end of the world.

A big problem is assessing management demands. It can sometimes be very hard to tell if they really are asking for too much. Asking for perpetual motion is too much. Asking for the moon might not be. Likely they have no idea either. It's their job to work that out, not come up with a schedule out of thin air but get input from their experts and work it out. But sometimes managers are lazy on that and try to compensate by bullying their underlings. Ask you for a schedule, then behind your back alter it to cut the time way down, and throw in a few simple little extras that aren't so simple or little. In any case, it's not good to declare some demand is impossible and unreasonable and walk out, if it wasn't.

So there it is. Free yourself from your own desperation. Whichever way things work out, years later you'd like to be proud of the decisions you made and the manner you handled yourself. No job is worth breaking laws you respect and treacherously throwing colleagues under the bus. There are bigger things in life than that. No job is worth your self respect. Being unemployed is hard, but it is not The End.

Comment Re:"Despite"? (Score 1) 142

McDonald's is also losing sales to Burger King, Wendy's, Whataburger, and so on, and the venerable grocery store. Maybe we should outlaw grocery stores and close all other burger restaurants for copying McDonald's ideas?

Private book, record, and movie sellers have always had to compete with the public library and the used book and record store. And now there's another competitor, the (relatively) new kid on the block, the Internet. Big Media would of course prefer that these alternatives be shuttered, and if they can persuade the public to go for that idea, accept their propaganda that competition is so unfair to poor starving artists, that would be a major setback to us all.

By far the biggest slant is the movie industry's. Cheap, easy, fast copying is in the hands of the masses now. There's no putting that genie back in the bottle.

Comment Re:Idiots lacking nuance (Score 3, Insightful) 88

You too may be falling for that trick. Lot of the discussion here runs with the implication that while downloading is not as heinous a crime as stealing, it is still sort of unfair to the artists.

Should downloading be a crime at all? Nothing was hurt except a tired, broken, obsolete and extremely inefficient business model that needs to be killed off. If you buy from the grocery store, did you just hurt the fast food industry business model? If you drive a car, did you hurt buggy whip manufacturers? Yes, yes you did! Why aren't those actions crimes, why does the music industry get such special status, get to cling to their business model of choice, when there are other perfectly viable models they could use?

Comment Copyright Alert Sys (Score 1) 88

If only! Choices of Internet providers are few. Do you want provider A or provider B, both of whom are in the Copyright Alert System?

My ISP texted me a CAS notice once. I was plenty angry about the accusation, the system, and the premises the whole thing is built on, as well as their choice of communication medium, but what could I do? Who could I switch to? I looked for alternatives and found nothing but another member of the CAS, though I am in a major metropolitan area.

Comment Re:Unfortunately no and I have a reason (Score 1) 381

CLRS is no picnic for people who aren't very good at math

That's true. The first chapters wade into big O notation, in ways that don't match the standards of clarity of the rest of the book. You shouldn't need calculus to understand big O. It's good to show how to apply calculus to these problems, and calculus is a natural fit for the necessary math, but the student shouldn't be pushed into a refresher course in calculus to comprehend the basic concepts. The authors try to fill in some of the mathematical knowledge they apply in the next sections, rather than restrict themselves to basic algebra.

Comment Re:Unfortunately no and I have a reason (Score 1) 381

How about a car analogy? Algorithms is like engine and transmission design. That the driver can easily drive the car over a cliff or into a wall, that driving takes considerable skill and constant attention to keep the car on the road, is not the concern of the motor designers, nor should it be.

About as far as engine design can go to enhance safety, apart from ensuring that the engine doesn't blow up or make an oil slick on the highway and cause an accident, is stuff like limiting the maximum output, and therefore speed, and add means for mechanical and computerized control that can be used by safety features, but need not be.

Comment Re:Unfortunately no and I have a reason (Score 4, Interesting) 381

CLR is Introduction to Algorithms by Cormen, Leiserson and Rivest. The S in CLRS is for Stein, who joined the team for the 2nd edition. When CLR came out in 1990, it was hailed as the best algorithms textbook ever, and what an algorithms textbook should be, a huge jump in readability and clarity over the not wholly satisfying existing algorithms textbooks. It uses pseudocode, instead of a real programming language. Allowed the algorithms to be presented cleanly, without any boilerplate code, overhead, or worries about limitations, no need for tedious checks for array out of bounds, numeric overflow, or out of memory, or invalid input. Don't have to declare any variables, or figure out how many elements an array needs.

The Abelson and Sussman textbook, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, uses LISP (actually Scheme). There are quite a few LISP fanatics who passionately feel it is still the best programming language made, citing such reasons as the simplicity of writing an interpreter for it. However, that textbook is pretty difficult. The authors didn't appreciate how hard recursion can be for many students to understand, and LISP and functional programming in general uses recursion so heavily it's the proverbial hammer for every nail of a programming problem.

Since then, programming languages have improved. Still not good enough for the textbook, but closer.

Comment Re:What Hollande says (Score 1) 328

Number of deaths is a poor measure of risk. By that reckoning, a bus accident earlier this year in Ghana is a worse disaster than the 1992 Hurricane Andrew, because 71 died in the bus accident and only 65 died from the hurricane. Andrew caused $26 billion in damage. A bus and a truck are worth what? Less than $1 million.

You have to look at total damages. Many sq km of Japanese land that can't be safely used for centuries is a loss of hundreds of billions. Land is very, very expensive in Japan. Expected increase in medical work to deal with all the cancers is more millions. Cleaning up the mess is another huge cost. And, Fukushima is still not over! It's still leaking radioactive material into the Pacific Ocean.

Comment Re:What Hollande says (Score 3, Insightful) 328

Seems that mistake in Scientific American will never be lived down:

In response to some concerns raised by readers, a change has been made to this story. The sentence marked with an asterisk was changed from "In fact, fly ash—a by-product from burning coal for power—and other coal waste contains up to 100 times more radiation than nuclear waste" to "In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant—a by-product from burning coal for electricity—carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy." Our source for this statistic is Dana Christensen, an associate lab director for energy and engineering at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as well as 1978 paper in Science authored by J. P. McBride and colleagues, also of ORNL.

Coal waste is NOT more radioactive than nuclear waste. The difference is that nuclear waste is not dumped into the environment, while waste from coal burning is. Nuclear waste is stored, and storage space is limited. Permanent dumps for nuclear waste are difficult to engineer. They must be designed to hold nuclear waste for millennia.

The big problem with nuclear power is that accidents are extremely dangerous and costly. That wouldn't be a problem if accidents were extremely unlikely. We know how to design and operate nuclear power plants safely, the problem is that we won't. Fukushima showed that. That accident was entirely avoidable. They needed only to build the walls higher. They had good information on how high the walls needed to be, and the recommended height was not a strain on our engineering capabilities. But management chose to ignore the recommendations and build a lower wall, to save a little money. The fools in those management positions did not understand that the risk they were taking was very high, they chose instead to ignore the warnings. Disaster could still have been averted had they not also cut another corner to save a little money, and the backup generators had been in working order and not located in the basement.

Comment Re:And to think the DNC wanted to face Trump... (Score 1) 2837

Months ago, Michael Moore predicted a Trump win based on the blue wall in the rust belt turning red. He gave simple, excellent reasons why. People are sick of being thrown under the bus by the wealthy and powerful, which establishment Republicans and Democrats both have been doing for decades now. Trump campaigned on preserving rust belt jobs, threatening to put serious hurt on Ford if they followed through on their plan to move a factory from Michigan to Mexico. That was what really won it for him in the rust belt, not all that white male supremacy garbage.

All the media noise focusing on Trump's ignorance and sexist and racist antics missed badly. They thought they could cynically use Trump to boost their numbers, thought they could skimp on covering the meat and focus mainly on personality and scandal, without affecting the outcome of the election, because Trump couldn't possibly make it all the way to election day without imploding spectacularly, he was too dumb, arrogant, undisciplined, and impulsive to run a serious campaign, or so they believed. Some even entertained the idea that his campaign was all just an elaborate publicity stunt, he didn't really want to be President, and would simply drop out at an opportune moment.

Liberals have been pretty smug about the conservative turn towards deliberate ignorance, their preference for living in an echo chamber full of like minded people. And now we see liberals did the same thing, didn't see a Trump victory coming. How could our polls have been so wrong? Hillary was supposed to not just win, but win big, win in a landslide. And now they're calling this election the biggest upset in history, as if no one could have seen it coming. Michael Moore saw it, and was right on all counts.

Comment Re: Supply and demand (Score 3, Interesting) 587

Thing is, that $2/day stuff is a myth. That does not put any value to all the labor of doing everything yourself.

Standard of living is the big factor. We in the US could live on $2/day if we cut everything, and I mean everything. Not just no Internet and cable TV, but no electricity, water, sewage, and road. You could then spend your time working in your vegetable garden and milking your goats so you'd have something to eat, and trudging to the nearby creek for fresh water, trying to avoid all the shit on the trail, hoping you don't catch cholera or some of those lovely intestinal parasites, and chopping wood so you don't freeze next winter and can have a cook fire. If you do get sick, you tough it out, or die. Transport? Walk, or saddle up, or hitch up the wagon. Clothes? Grow some flax or cotton, spin the fibers yourself with a spinning wheel, weave it into cloth, then cut and sew into shape. So what if that takes weeks, what better things do you have to do? Sanitation? Forget the daily shower, you're going to bathe once a week, maybe. You only washed when you were so heavily coated with grime and filth that it was interfering with your ability to labor. Mow the lawn? Ha ha, are you nuts? Send in the goats, dummy! Refrigerator? Without electricity? No, you're going to use a root cellar, and maybe an ice house. There's also canning. Cold? Put on a coat. Hot? Sweat it, A/C is for sissies. Wash your clothes by hand in a wash tub and hang them from a clothesline to dry. That's not too far off from how my great grandparents lived: farm with a veggie garden, no electricity or indoor plumbing, just chamberpots stowed under the bed, except they didn't do their own clothes, they bought factory stuff for that, and they had a well, none of this hauling of water 1km or more.

We've really run wild. Many modern conveniences are great to have, but enable a great deal of waste and foolishness. Many companies made a businesses out of catering to our dumber instincts. The biggest things the daily shower does are waste a whole lot of fresh water, make water infrastructure businesses and shampoo and soap manufacturers richer, and actually make us less healthy by washing away beneficial bacteria! And we do it because we've brainwashed ourselves into believing that body odor is offensive. We've all dealt with suburban sprawl. Car manufacturers have brilliantly exploited our foibles to promote the car at the expense of all other forms of transportation. Then there are expensive hobbies such as boating, owning your own swimming pool, off roading, hot rodding, skiing, or flying your own private plane. Even something less intense on required equipment such as golf isn't too cheap either. So many sports have commercial interests dangling options in front of us to turn it from not too terribly costly to insanely expensive.

A relevant incident is the 2010 suicide of Joseph Stack. He was angry that the government had bailed out big banks but he personally was being audited by the IRS. He flew his private plane into an IRS building in Austin. While I sympathize with his complaints, the fact that he had a private plane shows he wasn't hurting for money.

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