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Comment Re:You were hired to work for THEM (Score 1) 349

It's not just free overtime.

That is often very much what being on a salary means in practice: you get X money per day/month/whatever, and X doesn't increase if you work more than your normal hours. However, it's also not unusual for salaried employees to have those normal working hours specified in their employment contracts, effectively putting a lower bound on the amount of working time expected in exchange for the salary.

Again, though, this all depends very much on where you are and how your local labour laws work. For example, the US system of at-will employment is actually closer to what most of the world would consider contract or freelance work than employment, typically involving very little commitment to continuing the relationship by either side and relatively low benefits for employees beyond their pay cheque. What is particularly unusual in that case is that in much of the US such an arrangement seems to be the norm even for entry-level and low-paid work. Elsewhere, employment tends to involve much more of a commitment from both sides for those kinds of jobs, while the lighter touch arrangements tend to be used more for skilled professional work. In that context, abusive hiring and firing is usually less of a problem, and all parties may benefit from the greater flexibility, including flexibility about compensation arrangements.

Comment Re: Trains (Score 1) 126

It also has an absurdly high cost of living. The public transit doesn't make up for that, and (not being a Londoner or UKer I'm speculating) many people who work there probably don't live near a public transit station. There's also the time cost: even if you're riding a train, sitting on it for hours and hours every day to go back and forth to work is a massive waste of your time and your life. This isn't much different from some places here in the US, such as NYC.

Comment Re:Trains (Score 1) 126

The US trains only work for shorter distances. Even going from DC to Boston is just too far: it's cheaper, and MUCH faster to go by plane (1.5 hours vs. 8 hours). So yeah, going from DC to Baltimore by train is OK (if you don't need a car on either end), or even DC to NYC, but that's about it, unless you have a lot of time. And Amtrak prices aren't cheap either.

Musk's scheme makes little sense because of the high cost of tunneling. It would make far more sense to embrace SkyTran PRT: it's cheap to build, it uses utility towers and suspends rails from it (instead of tunneling), the rails can be built alongside existing roads, using existing rights-of-way, and you're only moving people and lightweight little pod-cars, not thousands of pounds of metal.

Comment Re:Trains (Score 3, Informative) 126

Ok, so you get in a train that drops you off in the middle of LA. Now, how do you get to where you're going from there? LA is hundreds of square miles of urban area, all spread out so there's no way any train will take you to all parts of it. You'll need a car to drive yourself to your destination. Now you're looking at spending a bunch of time and money dealing with a rental car agency, instead of just using your own car to get you there.

Trains are just like planes, only a lot slower. Planes are great for getting a medium number of people between two points all at once, in a short amount of time (except for TSA groping). But they don't help you much in getting from the airport to your final destination. Trains are worse because they're so slow, it ends up not being sensible to use them too much because if the distance is short, you might as well drive, and if it's longer, you're better off flying. If you happen to live in an urban downtown and want to travel to another urban downtown not too far away, trains make a lot of sense. That's about it though.

What would make a lot more sense is if they'd build SkyTran, but no one believes that'll possibly work so we can't have it.

Comment Re:Company's Fault (Score 1) 224

What kind of "mistreatment"?

Personally, I feel mistreated at my current job, and at many of my previous ones too. But the "mistreatment" wasn't (and still isn't) people saying mean things to me, but rather the horrible office environment, which I consider a form of mistreatment. It's within the employer's power to provide a comfortable, quiet office environment that is conducive to knowledge work. So when an employer refuses to do that (citing whatever bullshit excuses), that is tantamount to mistreatment. It's little different from having poor safety standards for factory workers, except the consequences aren't as short-term or severe, but the mentality is the same.

Comment Re:Literally in the Summary (Score 1) 224

Booth? I've never seen a company, big or small, bother with this. They're already too cheap to provide a proper amount of regular bathroom space for everyone, or any kind of decent break room space.

I can certainly see why any woman who can afford it would want to just stay at home. I'd rather stay at home too! I absolutely *hate* going to work. It's not the work, or even the coworkers, it's the environment: the shitty, smelly, and overcrowded bathrooms (probably not so much of a problem for women since there's so few women in tech); the horrible, inhumane, noisy, distracting open-plan office setups; the shitty HVAC units that are noisy and always have the temperature wrong no matter the time of year; the lousy parking; etc.

I don't have any of these problems at home, and even with today's inflated residential real estate values it's not hard to have a decent work setup at home, with 1) a reasonably clean, private bathroom (and if it gets smelly you can either turn on a bathroom fan or open the window, since bathrooms in houses frequently have windows), 2) a private office space without people walking by and talking loudly, 3) a fully-stocked kitchen nearby in case you want to make a snack or meal, 4) an internet connection that has good speed and doesn't have random failures as often (even if you're using something shitty like Comcast, it's not nearly as bad as a corporate IT department), 5) a computer that isn't hobbled by all kinds of bullshit security software, and can be running Linux too instead of shitty Windows 8/10, 6) the company of your pets.

The only thing that sucks about working at home is the lack of socialization can get to you after a while, but that's so much better than being forced into a noisy open-office environment where you eventually grow to absolutely hate all of humanity.

Comment Re:Speaking of delays... (Score 1) 105

ULA's track record with the Atlas V: 100%

Yes, let's take one vehicle in its fifth generation (not counting subrevisions), and ignore its track record with all of its earlier versions that led up to this point and all of their failures, and all of Lockheed and Boeings' other launch vehicles over time, with all of their failures. Lets also ignore that they're going to have to switch engines soon, to an engine with zero track record.

Payloads typically launch on schedule or within a few weeks. .... Some payloads have been waiting literally years due to delays.

Let's totally ignore that Atlas V launches once per two months, while SpaceX launches once per month, and that almost all of the wait time was due to investigation backlog. When it comes to hitting launch windows, SpaceX has a higher average success rate than average than Atlas V

And lets entirely fail to mention the point that ULA charges nearly double what SpaceX does per kilogram. Or that SpaceX is doing everything while rapidly evolving its rocket, to the point that they've basically even switched propellants partway through (denisification radically changes their properties). And while at the same time running an aggressive recovery and refurbishment programme and developing a heavy lift vehicle, with a small fraction as much capital.

Comment Re:Well, sadly, probably.... (Score 1) 349

Most employment agreements are such that the company owns it even if it is outside of normal hours. So inventions you come up with on your own time are not yours.

I've seen this on some W2 and 1099 contracts...and I simple line them out saying that what I do outside hours on MY time is my business and my intellectual property.

They usually agree easily as long as you're not in direct competition with them.

Most all of those agreements are boilerplate they got from their lawyers to try to cover everything, but most I find are amendable to reasonable changes like this.....

Comment Re:What governmen brought to the table (Score 1) 105

As if liquid boosters can't fail catastrophically? Check out SpaceX's last failure. Liquids are hardly immune to catastrophic failure.

And actually more to the point, you've got it backwards. The SRB failure on Challenger was slow, more like a blowtorch. The explosion was when it compromised the external tank (which, obviously, stored liquids).

Solid propellants aren't like explosives. More to the point, you have to keep them under pressure to get the sort of burn rate that is desired for a rocket.

Comment Re:You were hired to work for THEM (Score 1) 349

Exactly.

Obviously if it's authorised 20% time or something then it's fine (but watch the IP agreements, because anything you create on that basis might well belong to your employer legally).

Otherwise, if you want to be paid for your results and not your time, become a freelancer or start your own company and work business-to-business, and have appropriate clauses in your contract about the basis of payment and what is included and not included. Don't be an employee and then try to not be an employee.

Some of the rationalisations of this that you can see on the original Quora discussion and the related discussions today on sites like Reddit are just bizarre, and there seem to be a disturbing number of people who are mighty confident about their legal position but who probably ought to have checked with a lawyer themselves before getting into this.

Comment Well, sadly, probably.... (Score 5, Interesting) 349

If you are a W2 employee and working on company time on your own projects, you might have more to worry about than being fired.

If you are creating new content, inventing a new gadget, etc....and you do it on company time, you may find that you DO NOT OWN what you have created.

Many if not most employment contracts/agreements have verbiage that states that anything you come up with on company time, belongs to the company.

They may not fire you, but they will now own it and you won't make any $$ on the side for it....

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