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Comment Google does something like this (Score 1) 128

Google does something like this, on a selective basis.

I think it started as something done only for special cases, but I know a few people who arranged it. One woman I know works three days per week instead of five, for 60% of her normal salary. She has also taken a large chunk of her 18-week maternity leave and uses it one day per week, so she actually works two days per week but gets paid for three, until the maternity leave runs out. Her husband has arranged a similar structure with his employer (not Google), working three days per week so one of them is always home with the kids. She's a fairly special case, though, because she's a freakishly brilliant software engineer who any smart company would bend over backwards to accommodate.

However, it's now been expanded to be made generally available to full-time employees. It requires management approval, but the descriptions I've seen make it clear that management is expected to agree unless there are specific reasons why it can't work. Salary, bonuses and stock are pro-rated based on the percentage of a normal schedule that is worked. Most commonly, people work 60% or 80% schedules (i.e. three or four days per week instead of five). Other benefits, such as health care, etc., are not pro-rated, but either provided or not, depending on the percentage of normal hours worked.

I could see myself going to a 60% work week in a few years, having a four-day weekend every week in exchange for a 40% pay cut.

Comment Re:Yep. (Score 1) 162

One part of your experience that rings false to me is the level of support required for Windows machines vs Macs. My experience is narrower than yours, because I'm a programmer not an IT support guy, but I do get used as an IT support guy by friends and family because, you know, I "do computers". With that caveat, my experience is that the single biggest thing I can do to reduce my support burden is to get them to trade in their Windows laptop for something else. The very best alternative is a Chromebook, then a Macbook. Installing Ubuntu instead of Windows is also a good support-reducer, but not as many have gone that route.

As far as mobile devices go, I do more Android support than iOS support, but I think that's mostly because all of my immediate family, and most of my extended family, uses Android. Plus the Apple users are a little less likely to come to me for help because they know I'm an Android guy (because I work on Android system development).

Comment Re:Insufficiently Realistic (Score 1) 266

Until the dolls literally spray genuine, authentic baby shit and vomit on you in the middle of the night, they are going to be inadequate to the task of dissuading girls from wanting to make babies.

If you can't actually fill them with a truly realistic substitute for unwanted infant fluids, they're worthless.

I don't think that has anything to do with it.

I've raised four kids (youngest is now 15, oldest is 23), and the bad parts of having children, and babies, really have nothing to do with the icky body fluids. I've changed more than a few "blowout" diapers, and even had a couple of kids puke into my mouth and that's really not the bad/difficult part of having and raising children. The bad/difficult part is the commitment required. Kids require very close to 24/7 effort for years, and a lower level of focus and attention for decades. They're financially expensive, emotionally and physically demanding and they require you to be able to deal with your life so you can also deal with theirs.

On the surface, caring for a robo-baby for a few months should be a reasonable approximation of that. Where it falls down is not the lack of body fluids, I think, but the knowledge that (a) it's only a grade, not a life and (b) it is only a few months. (a) means that if you screw it up, it's not so terrible, and (b) means that you know there's an end in sight. Both of those probably significantly reduce the impact.

The schools in my area do something similar, but they don't use a robot, they use a bag of flour. That's not as good in that it won't rat them out for failing to care for it, but it may have another advantage (besides the low cost): It's not cute. I wonder if the robo-babies don't backfire because they get girls thinking about how cool it would be to have a cute little baby all their own.

Comment Insufficiently Realistic (Score 4, Insightful) 266

Until the dolls literally spray genuine, authentic baby shit and vomit on you in the middle of the night, they are going to be inadequate to the task of dissuading girls from wanting to make babies.

If you can't actually fill them with a truly realistic substitute for unwanted infant fluids, they're worthless.

Comment Re:Even pros don't tinker with every possible menu (Score 1) 156

Nobody else needs a DSLR, so this is a complete non-problem.

How does this excuse having a terrible interface?

You only think it's terrible because you don't need what it does. If you did, then you would think it's a great interface, because it does what you need. This is how I can tell you don't need a DSLR. You need a simplified, Fisher-Price camera. Sometimes those are great, and I have one. When I am just taking snapshots, that's what I use, because it is simple and good and small and light. I don't use the DSLR at all unless I need something it's got that the super zoom doesn't, like RAW. It doesn't have any more lens.

Because I need to be able to change the setting quickly, and also while holding the camera with both hands.

So make the settings that need to be changed fast easy to change fast.

Yes, that's what they have done. You're just seeing settings you don't need to change and thinking about how inconvenient all those settings are for you, because you think the universe revolves around your balls.

There are a lot of features you could not possibly change faster than the time it takes to pull out a cell phone that given that they are buried in a menu somewhere.

You are completely incorrect. No camera has more than three or four levels of menus and I can navigate a menu structure like that much faster than I can get my phone out of my pocket. I may not have a spare hand at all, so the phone might not be an option at all. I can work my phone menus with one hand. I cannot work the phone and the camera at the same time with one hand.

Your solutions are dumb because they make the situation more complicated. All cameras will eventually have fancy-pants multitouch displays and then there will be absolutely no benefit whatsoever to phone interfaces. In the interim, that kind of functionality is of use only to a subset of users. If a brand did what you describe then the professionals would go elsewhere and the company would rapidly gain a reputation for making toys and then go away.

Comment Re:Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 657

Having no children is also sociopathic - because there would be no next generation of a society.

That would be true only if you couldn't count on other people having children. I'm not buying into eugenics arguments either; stupid people have smart kids and vice versa. It looks like intelligence is more environment than genetics. We need some people to breed. We should (as a species) stop being shit to women who don't breed, so that the ones who really want to (and preferably those who are good at it) can make babies. People doing a shit job of making babies and subsequently doing a shit job of raising them is why we can't have nice things.

Comment Re: Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 657

Yeah, we don't do things like dig huge holes under our homes,

With a backhoe. Ever used a backhoe? It makes digging a five foot trench trivial.

install piping that must be highly corrosion resistant,

You may have heard of this stuff called plastic.

and fight the continuous buildup of mold and other biological growths.

It's a non-issue due to constant air movement. But I guess you're smarter than the various people who are actually doing this already.

Comment Re:Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 657

Yikes! That's a wake up call right there. Always envisioned right-wing reactionary militants as the catalyzing agent for population reduction wars. Just goes to show that any authoritarian agents with power-centric ideologies they value above the sanctity of human life are dangerous as fuck.

You don't get it even slightly, do you? It's going to be the right-wingers who kill you for threatening the environment. Only complete fucking morons think that AGW is invented. The wealthy know that it's real. That's why, for example, Trump is concerned about climate change threatening his golf course. One of the final acts of the Bush administration was to formally acknowledge AGW. The left will keep trying to keep everyone alive, fed, and the like right up until the planet becomes unlivable. The wealthy, on the other hand, have no compunctions about throwing you into the log chipper as the first step on the way to becoming soylent green.

Comment Re:AI needs some improvement (Score 1) 54

I just won a game of Tic-Tac-Toe for the first time ever.

Since it's trivial to write an algorithm that plays optimally and since a player using an optimal strategy will never lose, Google clearly did not try to create an "AI" whose focus is winning. Instead, they appear to have created an algorithm that is a fairly decent novice player. Which, actually is a good deal harder than optimal play.

Well, maybe not. It wouldn't be too difficult to take an optimal play implementation and randomly cause it to choose a bad move. For example, if it's playing X you could have it select a move at random, rather than always taking a corner. And at each subsequent move you could give it a smallish chance of making a bad move. That approach might simulate a decent novice well enough.

Perhaps a better approach would be to use machine learning and have it learn from novice games, or even from well-played games, but leave it incompletely trained. That might make it more "human-like".

Comment Re: Stop it with the SJW crap!!! (Score 1) 657

My belief is that there's an overwhelming consensus amongst scientists who are experts in this field that man-made climate change is real and worth taking action to mitigate.

My belief is that whether or not the warming is man-made is almost completely irrelevant. It's clear that the planet is warming, and it's clear that this is going to make our lives more difficult, meaning it's going to consume huge amounts of labor and resources to adapt. Therefore, we should absolutely be taking action to mitigate the change, as long that action consumes less labor and resources than would be required to adapt to the change (which argues for pretty aggressive action, since adaptation is going to really costly, e.g. relocating a large portion of the human population).

The source of the warming is only relevant because it may point us towards some possible mitigation strategies. We should not, however, focus only on ameliorating the causes. Other, more direct, climate manipulation strategies should be seriously investigated.

Comment Re:Checklist marketing (Score 5, Informative) 156

What kind of menu do you want? There is a lot of information and settings that have to be presented to the use

There really isn't. Not on the camera itself anyway. 95% of the menu setting never get touched or get set once and never touched again so why do they need to be in a crappy interface at all?

Professional photographers change their settings regularly. So do advanced hobbyists. Nobody else needs a DSLR, so this is a complete non-problem. If you find DSLR settings confusing, you would almost certainly do just fine with a super zoom compact.

You are going to interface the camera with a computer at some point so why not offload the menus for the rarely/never used settings to a PC or tablet?

Because I need to be able to change the setting quickly, and also while holding the camera with both hands. I might be on a moving vehicle. I might be in a constricted space where I can't let the camera go and let it hang on its strap. I might need to change the setting faster than I can get my phone out of my pocket.

Comment Re:Features you don't need (Score 2) 156

If it is used incredibly rarely then offload it to a tablet or a PC or (heaven forbid) a phone.

No. NO NO NO. Photographers already have to deal with their gear being fiddly. They don't want to have to have their phone out so that they can get the full interface to their camera. That would be beyond idiotic.

It's very easy to fix this kind of problem, make people drill down further for the more advanced features. There's no need to take anything out.

Comment Re:CAGW in a nutshell (Score 2) 657

The 'skeptics' point to the observed reality and show that the dire predictions made in the past don't come close to observed behavior,

The problem with this idea is that they're cherry-picking predictions. There are dire predictions which do come close to observed behavior, and these are the ones we've been using most often. The way in which they don't match observed behavior is that observed behavior is actually worse. For example, polar ice is melting substantially faster than predicted by any credible model. If you don't think this change in albedo is going to have additional effects, you're not thinking.

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