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Comment Re:Headphone Jack is Pretty Crappy (Score 5, Insightful) 458

It wears out ridiculously fast.

For what value of "ridiculously"? I don't have a single 3.5 mm jack in the house with bad connection poltergeists.

But then, I'm still running an NAD 7140 from the 1980s as my stereo amplifier. Had to go in there last week with electrical contact cleaner to take the crackle out of the volume and balance pots, but I'm sure the audio jack still works perfectly. I'd have replaced some of the electrolytics, too, if my ears could hear any defects.

Obviously, though, I'm not a desirable Apple customer on several counts (ability to fix things myself, willingness to keep using unfashionable equipment that still works fine, ability to tell whether unfashionable equipment still works fine), so there is that.

Comment Re:ethical drift (Score 1) 322

I should have included the blurb in my post above.

Based on a recent co-authored paper, Wong argues that the paperwork and training burden on U.S. military officers requires dishonesty—it is simply impossible to comply with all the requirements. This creates a tension for an institution that prides itself on honesty, trust, and integrity. The conversation closes with suggestions for how the military might reform the compliance and requirement process.

What I recall from the episode is that by the end they both dodge the central question: in modern democratic society its politically impossible to give an honest answer to a special interest group (we'd love to add your special box to our form-filling and training rotation, but we simply don't have the manpower available to properly comply).

They do talk a little bit about improving internal honesty, but that remains far from the root cause.

Comment ethical drift (Score 1) 322

This is one of my favourite EconTalk episodes of all time.

The guest talks about the "ethical drift" resulting from the imposition of an impossible burden. (My favourite EconTalk episodes are usually the ones where Russ is surprised to discover that the world works as well as it does. In this one, he's shocked by the military's willingness to engage in self-criticism.)

Leonard Wong on Honesty and Ethics in the Military

This one is not unbearably polemic for a general audience, and it's tremendously apropos.

Comment Re:I'm totally shocked... (Score 1) 606

The one exception to this union employees, since their contracts are usually tied to minimum wage.

Usually in real life? Or usually in what you post?

It would be pretty funny if the government passed two minimum wages. Say one for regularly scheduled work during regular working hours, and a different one for jerk-around shift work. Go, unions, go.

Even with a PhD in economics, it's hard to sort out the wins from the losses concerning minimum wage—at least not without first applying a clarifying, buttery lens of ideology.

Every economic scheme redraws the map of winners and losers, both in the short term during the adjustment period, and in the long term in the equilibrium condition. Your analysis of the winners and losers strikes me as being about as reliable as a Magic Eight Ball. It's a Potemkin village of a model of a simplification.

With some actual lumber, you could also have pointed out that many contractual elements of society make a sharp distinction between "employed" and "not employed", neither of which is an entirely appropriate term when you're making $3/hour.

The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?

All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don't like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

Employed, or not employed? Are they counted in the jobs statistics, or not counted in the jobs statistics?

Maybe we should split the difference and settle on a minimum wage at which your economic relationship counts as having a real job. Then we could have the jobless rate as one statistic (including everyone stuck in a McJob), and the McJobless rate counting only those who don't even have a proper McJob (the truly unemployed, as well as the private prison workforce compensated in derisive glass beads).

I, for one, would dearly enjoy hearing some politician explain how the jobless rate went up by 5%, while the McJobless rate when down by 10% in the same reporting period. For the third consecutive time.

Sure, pay the underclass like shit. We don't need no stinking minimum wage. But integrate it into the political discourse until the facts of life in upwardly mobile America are discussed regularly on Fox News in all their naked glory.

Comment Re:Who? (Score 1) 153

Says more about you than Softbank.

ChemChina to buy Syngenta in $43 billion deal, from February 2016.

Haven't heard of ChemChina?

Says more about you than ChemChina.

Haven't heard of Syngenta?

Says more about you than Syngenta.

Bet you have heard of Monsanto, which tried to buy Syngenta twice in 2015.

Says more about your paranoid, eco-aunt than it says about you.

Comment wide tall tall (Score 1) 325

Three displays: a 22" in landscape (fits my desk better), and a pair of 24" displays in portrait.

I'm running PC-BSD on my desktop, so my hardware choices are conservative.

Lately the 8 GB limit of my aging desktop box (though extremely quiet and reliable) is proving problematic, so I'm in the process of flipping my ZFS server box (Sandy Bridge Xeon with 32 GB ECC) to become my new desktop. The server itself will downgrade slightly to a second-hand box I picked up recently, a quad core Xeon with 24 GB of ECC.

I expect to use DTrace fairly heavily under Bhyve once 11 comes out, and I've heard rumours that this is only 99.99% stable, so I don't intend to use my server for this purpose, and only one of my two Xeons has the nested page table extensions required by Bhyve, so the fancier machine becomes my new desktop per force, not that my greedy side is complaining much.

Now that I've suffered through the PC-BSD / TrueOS transition all around (not painful, but not exactly free either) you'll pry boot environments out of my cold, dead hands.

But the simplest summary is this: wide + tall + tall + ZFS + boot environments.

My desktop is running a ZFS mirror with two 500 GB drives (both with five years power-on time) and just a couple of weeks ago ZFS started to autocorrect a block or two from one of the drives on each scrub. Nothing shows up in Smartmon, except the age.

No sudden rush to finish this transition project. I've got backups, and early warning, and verified live data.

Comment Re:Stupid python comment (Score 4, Insightful) 158

Agreed. But sadly a lot of coders think comments are for sissies, so given that I'd sooner have to read their uncomment mess in python than perl.

Every language debate on Slashdot eventually winds up here.

Some programmers hate their peers. These programmers choose languages that are good for hating your peers (Java, Python).

Some programmers admire their peers. These people write "in my shop we've been using C++ for a decade now, and while it's far from a perfect language, we've never really had a problem with it".

Thesis: Many of the people who hate their peers suck as teachers.

True? False? Hard to say.

Personally, I know that I like my peers a lot more when I unselfishly contribute to their growth as programmers. But, hey, suit yourself. Sit in the corner all alone reading 50 lines of pablum, where 10 lines of well judged code would have done the job instead, without even lapsing into arcane idiom.

My personal hell is paved with pablum.

Comment Re:Well, I _wanted_ to like her. (Score 2) 175

STV is not the only want to fix the system. Just about any type of ranked/preferential voting would be 1,000 times better than what we use now.

Yes, first-past-the-post is the worst form of voting, including all the others (modulo coercion).

But really, you can't fix the electoral process without also fixing how legislation is tabled (death to the omnibus bill), otherwise a truly representative congress becomes gridlocked on process.

Comment the large sleeve (Score 1) 407

Second, the greenhouse gases alluded to are real but are mostly the result of volcanoes, hurricanes and underwater geologic displacements.

That's not how we normally talk about drilling for oil, but I take his point. Most of the recently emancipated geocarbon comes from ancient sea beds, as all solvent petroleum engineers know.

The 135 billion tonnes of liberated petroleum since the beginning of the industrial revolution (to name just one figure out there), where did it go? To properly conceal a giant object roughly 5 km cubed, I figure you'd need a magician's white hanky 15 km to a side.

That's either a small city, or a very large sleeve.

Conservation of substance: I think we're supposed to begin grasping this concept around the age of three, in the normally developed.

Comment falsifiability is a social construct (Score 1) 387

The whole problem with modern physics is that we think these are physical problems.

Physics had a run (for about thirty years) where it was so spectacularly successful in the merger of theory with experiment (in the realm of elucidating the sub-atomic zoo) that we forget all about the surrounding social contract.

Just like shrinking the silicon transistor, it was always apparent that the good times would ultimately hit an economic limit, if not an actual physical limit. The value of a new CERN times ten is vanishingly small compared to a new LIGO times anything. I say this even in off chance that CERN discovers new physics.

The social contract that enabled us to fund CERN was the old falsifiability construct. You really knew whether the emperor was wearing clothes.

Not so with the multiverse. It may be that physics needs an infusion of new philosophy, having so spectacularly squeezed out the QED/QCD motherlode (at viable economic scale).

But society can no longer tell whether the multiverse emperor is wearing any clothes, so greater society needs to get out of the funding game.

By all means, continue supplying Sheldon with a blackboard and chalk, if he insists on delving into the multiverse perspective. But no billion dollar toys.

Falsifiability = publicly funded billion dollar toys

No falsifiability = living in your mother's basement eating ramen noodles, with the exiting possibility of cracking the code and earning eternal glory

Falsifiability is as much about the social contract as it ever was about physics.

Comment Re:old wisdom (Score 0) 387

OK, if not, then explain to me why there are three generations of leptons, not two or four or some other number.

Even if you got a (somewhat) good answer to this, your notion that this is a killer question (from a killer lineage without end) is idiocy on steroids. I can't think of a nicer way to put that.

Dude, you're on a collision course with "42".

By the time you stop yapping over the existence of constant values in the physical theory of the universe, you'll be in proud possession of an explanation so dense it explains nothing.

Let me see if I can't put your idiocy on a proper philosophical footing.

Why is the universe empirical?

I think I nailed it. Good luck with that one, you're going to need it.

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