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Comment Conclusion of study not about rich applicants (Score 1) 298

The study basically concluded that the name of the university on your diploma matters a lot and an argument can be made that if desperately poor people can get into expensive top schools and run up mountains of debt, the odds are in their favor that they'll earn more than people who went to cheaper universities. This whole debate about the disadvantages poor applicants have is beside the point.

Comment Re:Leaf off the air too (Score 1) 127

Dumb that cars that should be targeting a 15-20 year life span are larded up with the current flavor of the month that will be obsolete in a fraction of that. Wish it had WIFI so I could maintain the remote pre-heat functionality at home at least.

I agree. I had a Nissan Leaf on a lease and I liked the car, but life changes made me need to get to one car and with distant relatives I need to visit I couldn't really make the Leaf work for me as an only vehicle. My lease ended with 2G still working, but a co-worker recently had his modem replaced. I think there was some charge for labor for doing the work. The problem is that AT&T has done this kind of thing before and businesses go with it because it's cheap with no long term thought that AT&T might dump the service down the road. In the first half of the previous decade I had a job that for a while made me use a work provided cell phone ("mobile phone" for you non-Americans) and it was on some crappy non-GSM network. My company got a really good bargain on the phone service because AT&T was trying to drive business into this crappy network, but eventually AT&T gave up and closed it down. Only then did my company start letting us use our own phones and expense them. I'm sure Nissan simply saw the 2G as a cheap network that big ol' AT&T would probably support forever and nobody considered the problems that would be caused if they stopped supporting this old technology.

Comment Re:Why not name him? (Score -1, Flamebait) 122

He's been in custody for over 6 months and is not a minor so why keep his name a secret?

This is the EU. He was arrested 6 months ago, but he may not actually be being held. I have no idea. Remember, in the EU (OK, the UK and maybe France are exceptions) the emphasis will be on figuring out why society failed him so that he turned to crime, not about making the point that what he did was a bad thing. I'll predict he'll at most get 2 years in the cushiest jail they can find and I wouldn't be surprised at all if he pays no fine and they don't even take his ill gotten gains from him. After all, he might feel bad if he was actually punished for his crime. Once he gets out of jail he can apply for the crime to be legally "forgotten" so he can work in the IT industry again and maybe do the same thing all over again. Publishing his name might make him feel bad. Can't do that.

Keep in mind that in most or all of the EU criminals have the right for nobody to ever find out that they were criminals but you can be jailed for years for saying certain things. No for doing things. Merely for saying things. Things that don't threaten anybody's safety or well being. Yep, those guys really have a good sense of justice and what's important over there.

Comment Re:Credit card chargeback. (Score 1) 88

Go to your card provider (Visa/MC/Discover/Amex) and tell them to remove the charge because the service was not rendered and/or the charge was improper.

They will.

Actually that was how things work. But I'm not so sure that this is how things are any more with credit card companies. And I speak from personal experience.

Things definitely did work that way in the past, but they changed after the "Great Recession". I never lost a dispute until the Great Recession happened. Short version - I bought 2 airline tickets on a small foreign carrier and through various circumstances could not make the trip. I called the carrier and asked for a credit against a future flight or a refund. They refused both. I protested the charge with my credit card company. I provided evidence that the tickets were never sold to me as non-refundable and non-changeable and I mean I had real evidence to back this up. I had an attorney friend check out my submission and he expected me to win. The airline never provided any evidence that the tickets they sold me, were in fact, non-refundable or non-changeable. At every step the airline simply refused to refund my money or allow any changes. After months of disputing this with the airline never, ever disproving my contentions my credit card company gave up and refused to eat the charge and refused to demand that the airline give them the money back. They just told me to work it out with the airline, which was impossible because the airline's position was that the tickets were non-refundable and non-changeable and if I and my (at the time) girlfriend couldn't make it, we were simply out of luck and out of money. So I can tell you that if AT&T fights back, your credit card company may just give in and refuse to help you, their customer. It's possible that this is a small enough amount of money that they may just do you a favor here, but the days of credit card companies having the backs of their customers are gone for sure for charges that are more than a mere pittance.

Comment I have many questions (Score 1) 401

There's definitely more to this story than the main article talks about. I have some questions I'd love to know the answers to.

1) Why did they ask for a judge to rule rather than a jury? That may have been a tactical error on the part of Ivey's legal team.
2) Is Cheng Yin Sun a US citizen? If not, why was she still allowed in the USA after going to jail? Is this more favoritism to the rich? Typically you're deported from the US if you're not a citizen and you do something that gets you thrown in jail.
3) Why did it apparently take years for the casino to figure out what happened? And how did they find out? Did someone connected to Ivey rat them out? Was that person or those people paid for finking on him?

Comment Re:It IS hipsterism (if that's a word) (Score 2) 564

There is no reason to use tape aside from "retro hipsterism". (isn't that redundant?) Tape sucks on SO many levels. Anyone who thinks it doesn't isn't old enough to have had to live with tapes. I can see it being kind of novel to someone once or twice but the charm will wear off fast. Seriously, tape has some use cases but playing music shouldn't be one of them. We used it back in the day because there wasn't anything better available.

Yep. Back in the days before CDs, I only bought tapes if I had no choice - something went out of print on vinyl and was only available on tape. I've got a small number of old commercial cassettes sold by various music companies. These are real legitimate releases, not bootlegs. Some have long been completely unplayable. I've got a somewhat larger number of cassette tapes I made myself in that era. They all still work, although I rarely do anything with them. Commercial cassette quality was known to be awful. Maybe if you were lucky they used Dolby B noise reduction which helped the sound suck less, but on home cassette recorders you could use the superior Dolby C. And worse, manufacturers didn't always tell if they used Dolby B when they did, so all you could do was play the tape and try to figure out if it sounded better with it on or off. Vinyl had a lot of problems, mostly because the US industry used really cheap and low quality vinyl at the time, but cassettes were pretty much always crap. I have no idea why anybody would want to buy these by choice nor how a young person could even find a player. I've got a player I almost never use, but I bought it more than 20 years ago.

Comment Advice from a veteran (Score 1) 261

I just don't know if it's realistic to want "satisfying and rewarding work". This is something I see a lot of millennials say and believe me we all get this, but I just don't know if it's realistic. To me this is kind of like people saying that if you don't love your job you should quit it and find one you do love. The sad reality is that there just aren't enough "jobs you love" to go around for everybody to have one. If you go home at the end of the day and you're not stressed out from work and you're not screaming about your job and it's not taking a toll on your health, that is a realistic best case scenario for most people. I had a job I loved once. I'm not in it any more. You know why? I chased money. That job spun off a new company during the internet boom and I was given the option of remaining in the job I loved or joining the new company. The old job I loved was laying off a few people and it froze salaries for what would end up being 2 or 3 years so I went with the spin off. For the time of the job freezes at my old company the spin off looked great and I got pay increases. But we got bought out by a European company who forced out our CEO and the new CEO was pretty hostile towards US workers in general. The job got a lot worse and in the end I and others got layoff notices. I found a new job and my new company is pretty good compared to most out there, but I wish I was still with the job I loved. Those I know who rode out the pay freezes are still there. The vast majority of my co-workers who went with me to the spun off company are long gone from it, having been laid off at various times. So leaving a job you do actually love to chase more money isn't something I'd ever do again and I wish I hadn't done it. I wish I could go back to the old company I loved, but I can't. They don't have much turnover there because it's a pretty good place to work.

As a new CS grad you do need to full grasp that management in US companies usually doesn't respect your job or what you do and they'll always be looking to replace you with cheaper workers, probably from India. Those cheaper workers won't do as good a job as you will, but management doesn't care. They don't respect your work nor do they want to pay US wages for it. They'll take "sort of works" if it's cheap enough. This is just going to get worse as you age. My current employer does value its US employees but there are limits. We also hire plenty of cheap H-1B workers or simply add spots on our India team. The race to the bottom for wages is a race you'll never win. Maybe if you're lucky you'll be able to finish your career without any major disruptions, but likely you'll change jobs a lot as the number of US employers who actually value US IT staff continues to shrink. Today there's another article on Slashdot about a major California university replacing its IT staff with foreign workers. This is going to be the norm for you in your career. If you find at some point you're tired of this crap, get into US federal government work as quickly as you can. The Feds don't do too many layoffs and security concerns make it very difficult to impossible to outsource the work. There are pros and cons to this kind of work, which I did for some years after I graduated. The pay is better now than when I started and you get a lot of vacation time, which I really liked. On the downside a lot of government IT jobs, even programming ones, are very specific to the government and you'll get skills that will be of little use on the outside world in the unlikely event you are ever laid off. Pay won't match outside companies though. You'll always have friends who are getting more than you and working for the Feds may require you to live in small towns that just suck your soul and fill you with despair.

If you're really really good at what you do, you may be able to work for one of the top employers like Google, etc. who may give you great work with great benefits. But again, there are only so many of those jobs. You may be in the 95th percentile at what you can do but if they only hire at the 98th percentile, you're out of luck. A lot of jobs you'll be offered will have insane hours because they know you as a younger person will be willing to work them without complaint. And your generation is kind of infamous for not getting that it takes time to move up the job ladder so you may find yourself dissatisfied with what is actually a pretty decent job with a decent company because of unrealistic expectations. You can play the "always moving on to a new job" game for a while in IT, but once you hit 50, you'll find that even though it's illegal some employers do discriminate against old employees and they won't hire them. The smaller the town is where you work and live, the more likely this is to happen. I read all the time about people over 50 in IT who can't get hired because the only job that needed them left town and there just aren't all that many similar jobs in their podunk town any more and they don't want to leave. The gulf between small town people and big city people is just going to grow as you get older and you should consider that if you take a small town job and stay for decades, there will be real risk if you get laid off when you are older. I'd advise taking a job in a major city if you have choices. If you need to find a new job, it's always easier in a bigger town. Note that California is one of the highest cost places in the USA to live. What might be a pretty good starting salary in, say, Dallas would be more like barely scraping by in California.

Comment Re:Free Motorcycles (Score 1) 295

Like I said, one can fiddle with the numbers to swing the accounting a fair bit in one direction or the other. As you've demonstrated, if one makes optimistic assumptions about the age of the donor and maximizes the number of recipients by assuming a strict one-organ-per recipient (include just one lung at a time, and no multiple-organ transplants--bear in mind that the vast majority of pancreas transplants are actually pancreas-kidney, for example) and 100% organ recovery and transplantation, one can choose to make the math give you the result you're looking for.

It's very sticky if you want to score tissues that aren't necessarily lifesaving or for which artificial or animal alternative sources exist. (It's ethically problematic to suggest, for example, that more dead motorcyclists are a good thing because it will improve the supply of cadaveric ACL replacements, especially given that many patients could instead receive an autograft of their own tissue.)

It doesn't help that you're neglecting the last and most important part of my comment acknowledging that a very substantial fraction of potential organs won't be converted into actual transplants: helmetless motorcyclists who die too far from care or too quickly for their organs to be recovered; ones who have communicable diseases, malignancies, or other medical conditions that exclude them from donation; and so forth. (Going forward, helmet laws will only be suspended if you're over 40, free of hepatitis and HIV infection, have recently been screened for cancer, and are biking in an area with excellent ambulance service within 1 hour of a major transplant center. Hmmm...) Each dead motorcyclist is only "worth" 60 years multiplied by the fraction of viable organ recoveries--which probably comes out to well under 50%.

Finally, we're using "accounting" in a couple of different ways, here. I was using it purely to refer to life-years saved or lost. If we actually want to look at dollars and cents, it gets really ugly really fast. In the United States, the total billable costs for a heart transplant (including 30 days of pre-operative screening and prep, organ procurement, the transplant operation itself, and the subsequent 6-month period of recovery and rehab) comes out to about a million bucks. A single lung or a liver transplant are both well over half a million apiece. Kidneys are well clear of the quarter million mark.

From a purely financial perspective, it's waaaaay less costly to just let the motorcyclist survive and the potential transplant recipients die in a few months or a year, rather than let them be brutally expensive surgeries with steep and ongoing maintenance costs. Amortizing that heart transplant over the likely life of the recipient (or the transplanted organ) runs a hundred grand plus per year. Oh, and don't forget the cost of care and rehab for all those brain-damaged motorcyclists who don't manage to actually die from their head injuries....

Comment This seems to be an exception (Score 4, Informative) 168

I'm not a lawyer, but my best friend since college is. We're both Americans. I probably know more about how the US legal system really works as a result of this friendship than how almost all non-lawyers do. The truth is that judges don't like to award court costs nor do lawyers really like it when they do this because it discourages lawsuits and lawyers and judges both think that the system is fine just like it is and having fewer lawsuits is actually bad. Some judges won't ever award costs to the winner. Some will only do so to send a message to people they think really abuse the system. It seems to me that this is considered to be an unusual situation rather than something that will set a precedent. Also, judges often ignore anything they feel like, so the fact that court costs got awarded in case A doesn't at all mean that they will be in case B in front of a different judge even if the circumstances that led to the awarded are essentially identically.

Here's an example. Suppose you have neighbor who doesn't like you and the neighbor sues you for something really stupid and asks for a huge monetary award. Suppose that you win, but the case is extraordinarily difficult and time consuming and you end up ruined financially from having to pay the costs to defend yourself against this frivolous lawsuit. You can probably count on one hand the number of judges and lawyers who actually feel sorry for you. From their perspective the system worked perfectly. You got sued for something bogus and you won. The fact that it destroyed you financially to defend yourself is not their concern. Not at all.

Comment Posts here light on facts high on speculation (Score 1) 435

I've got a 3D TV. Had it for about 3 years now I think. I'm a video enthusiast, so I can speak with personal insight into this topic. I'm seeing a lot of posts that contain half-truths and outright falsehoods from people who have no experience at all with the technology.

First of all. 3D TVs were not necessarily all that expensive. I've got a 41 inch VIzio that cost me a little over $500. It uses the passive glasses system, which I think is great. You know those glasses you get at the movie theater when you see 3D films? It uses those. They are cheap. I can buy as many as I want on Amazon for a few dollars a piece. Unfortunately Vizio was disappointed in sales and has permanently dropped 3D from their current TVs, which limits us fans to only a very small number of manufacturers - Sony, LG and Samsung. If I remember correctly Samsung uses the active system of bulky glasses that need batteries. I love my TV. It's great for normal 2D stuff and I can watch 3D Blu Rays on it too.

One of the problems with 3D is that a small percentage of the public, I think I saw a number of around 10%, has some kind of quirk in their physiology that makes them have a bad reaction to 3D video. I suspect these people will also have problems with 3D VR. Another issue is that people with serious vision problems can't see 3D either very well or at all and they invariably make a lot of noise about how much 3D sucks and how they don't understand how anybody likes it because it sucks all the time. I have a friend and a relative in this category and frankly it gets old listening to them complain about 3D. People with vision or physical reaction problems to 3D don't understand that they are in the minority and most people have no problems with it. You can see from some of the comments complaints like if you don't look directly at the TV it sucks to see things outside with the glasses. With the passive ones it doesn't, but there's a lot of variability among humans and some people are just not going to react positively to the technology no matter what you do.

3D is here to stay. Most films won't be in 3D, but there will always be 3D films going forward. Animated films will always be in 3D. Now that they use computers to do animated films, there's no compelling cost reason not to make them available in 3D for those who want to see them that way. The cost of producing an additional 3D master to go with a 2D mater is negligible for animation. BIg blockbuster films will also continue to be in 3D. The vast majority of Disney's movies are in 3D. In fact, if Disney puts out a live action film that's not in 3D, that's a clear sign that they don't expect it to be a hit. This was the case with "The Lone Ranger" for example. In Asia 3D is a winning format and consumers have shown a marked preference for 3D films. Even if the US stopped making 3D films today, and they won't, films in China and Japan in particular would continue to be made in 3D. Cheaper films and films without many special effects will be in 2D, but any big budget film is getting the 3D treatment. A few directors are pretty anti-3D right now. Chris Nolan is a big example. I wouldn't expect anything he does to be in 3D. But even big names like Spielberg and Scorsese have released 3D films in recent years. Spielberg's "The BFG" was in 3D.

Comment Re:FBI has an image problem (Score 1) 161

ransomware purporting to be a FBI message a notice that suspicious files were found and the user has been fined.

That people believe such "warnings" in large enough numbers to make it worthwhile for the crooks to make them, is a sign, that FBI has an image problem.

I disagree. It's really a people problem, such as people not understanding technology very well. I know a guy who is a blue collar worker and he can barely use a PC enough to read and send email and surf the web. He has admitted to me that he's clicked on one of those "We've found a virus on your PC. Click here to pay for our scanning program to save your PC!" popups and sent money to those people. People often don't understand the technology well enough to know what's real and what isn't and they're often too embarrassed to ask for help from people who do understand. This same guy if he ever has a PC problem, it's a bad, time consuming one to fix. I've had to tell him he's got to go to Geek Squad for this kind of thing. I have a better friend who is a middle school teacher and he's not much better with PCs. He doesn't know how to save any file to a location other than the default location that comes up. There are lots of people who just don't get technology very well.

Comment Re: Applying tort to patents (Score 4, Interesting) 455

You won't need it. This is a classic nuisance suit. I watched a lawsuit much like this in court once. A driver of a bobcat wasnt wearing his seatbelt when he lifted a load too high digging out a house foundation, and it fell into the foundation and he was crushed. He got absolutely nowhere.

This is probably true. But there is some chance you'll be wrong, even if a small one. I'm not a lawyer, but my best friend is and over the years he's taught me a lot about how the US legal system really works. Literally anything can happen in court. I agree that probably this case will go nowhere, but it depends on the judge and their personal biases and how stupid the jury is that gets the case. Believe me, the people suing are going to want a jury to hear this one. For example, a judge may think this is stupid but also feel that a jury, not him, needs to make that determination. Or you could have a crackpot judge who completely buys the argument that Apple is at fault here and it also goes to a jury. If you've ever served on a jury, you'll know that juries are not made up of the best and brightest of us. I've served twice and the last time I served, one day while we were waiting in the jury room for court to start, 3 guys on the jury got into an argument where they tried to top each other by each one of them offering proof that he was far stupider in dealing with new technology than the other 2 were. These are exactly the kind of people who serve on juries. And people who try to "win" an argument that they are stupider than everybody else are the kind of people who might be swayed by the arguments of the people suing.

By the way, you mentioned (but I didn't quote it) fear of the litigants having to pay Apple's court costs. That's almost impossible. Judges and lawyers both think that the US legal system is perfect as it is and doesn't need fixing and as a result judges are extremely hesitant to award legal costs even for frivolous lawsuits. Judges and lawyers believe that awarding such costs will lessen the number of lawsuits, which they universally feel is very bad indeed for them. Fewer lawsuits means fewer lawyers, which means fewer judges. Legal costs are awarded only in very egregious cases to send a message and most likely this case won't be one of them.

Comment Re:Free Motorcycles (Score 1) 295

I've said for years that helmet laws probably costs lives.

Maybe, but not necessarily. It depends a lot on your accounting. A 20-year-old dumbass male might expect to have around 60 years ahead of him, most of which will be time spent in good health.

His kidneys will probably last about 10 years in each of their recipients, so count 20 years "saved" total.

The median survival time for heart transplant recipients is also about 10 years.

Liver transplants tend to do particularly well; the median survival is closer to 20 years.

Lungs are a lot pickier; the median is closer to 5 years, but is steadily improving.

Add that all up, and we're just shy of breaking even (55 life-years for the recipients, versus 60 life-years lost by the motorcyclist). On can fiddle with the parameters to swing things a bit either way. In some cases, the liver can be split into two lobes; the larger right lobe goes to an adult and the smaller left lobe to a child recipient. Some recipients only need a single-lung transplant, so one pair of lungs can go to two recipients. And we're getting better at keeping transplanted organs functional for longer. And, of course, some dead motorcyclists are 40-year-olds having a mid-life crisis.

On the flip side, some recipients may need multiple organs (heart-lung, heart-liver, etc.).

More important, not all organs will be viable--not every helmet-less fatality leads to a full complement of usable donor organs. For reasons of underlying disease or quirks of the donor's physiology, it may not be possible to transplant some organs. The fatal motorcycle accident may damage some other organs beyond repair. The accident may even occur in a location or under circumstances where none of the organs can be recovered for donation. That is going to tip the scales a long way against the "benefit" of more brain-dead motorcyclists.

Frankly, we have more than enough cadavers now; what we need is for more of them to donate their organs. Presumed consent (an opt-out rather than opt-in) system would be far more effective than suspending helmet laws.

Comment Re: Can't be worse than FL human drivers (Score 1) 131

Actually Uber's argument is that their technology is not really fully autonomous and it's more like Tesla calling their system auto pilot.

So if you have Teslas driving on california why can't you have Ubers'?

Aside from the point that you seem to be conflating production vehicles with test rigs, how about the fact that Tesla went and got their $150/year permit in CA?

The following companies have their CA permits. Only Uber is being an uber douchebag about it.

Yes. While there are a very small number of companies listed that I've never heard of, I can understand why the rest of them would be interested in testing autonomous vehicles. This whole fight by Uber against California makes no sense. Uber's business model relies on them pushing costs for car ownership, insurance, maintenance and yearly fees to their drivers. I've not yet seen anybody suggest a good reason why owning autonomous vehicles makes any sense for Uber. I have to ask if this whole idea really makes any sense for Uber. Is it just some crazy idea by an out of touch ans possibly incompetent management that thinks it will somehow lead to greater profits?

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