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Comment Re:It's true (Score 2) 286

Pixar was unique in Silicon Valley companies in that we had deadlines that could not move. The film had to be in theaters before Christmas, etc. I'd see employees families come to Pixar to have dinner with them. I took the technical director training but decided to stay in studio tools, first because Pixar needed better software more than they needed another TD, and second because of the crazy hours.

Comment Re: The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

If you look in the FEMA site, they say that they provide gramts to perform repairs not covered by insurance. And no, they don't do a needs test. Now, the typical rich person does not let their insurance lapse just so that they can get a FEMA grant. Because such a grant is no sure thing. They also point out that SBA loans are the main source of assistance following a disaster. You get a break on interest, but you have to pay them back.

Comment Re: The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

I understand your point about view land being desirable even though it's a flood risk. I live a mile or so from the Hayward fault. But I have California's risk pool earthquake insurance. The government wouldn't be paying me except from a fund that I've already paid into. I imagine that the government does pay some rich people in similar situations, but as far as I'm aware disaster funds go to the States from the federal government and should not in general become a form of rich people's welfare. Maybe you can find some direct evidence to show me that would make the situation more clear.

Comment Re:The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

What you are observing is economics. As a city or town population grows, the best land becomes unavailable and those who arrive later or have less funds available must settle for less desirable land. Thus many cities have been extended using landfill which liquifies as the San Francisco Marina District did in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, or floods. Risks may not be disclosed by developers, or may be discounted by authorities as the risks of global warming are today.

Efforts to protect people who might otherwise buy such land or to mitigate the risks are often labeled as government over-reach or nanny state.

Comment Re:The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

Oh, of course they were caused by misguided engineering efforts. Everything from the Army Corps of Engineers to Smoky Bear goes under that heading. The most basic problem is the fact that we locate cities next to resources and transportation, which means water, without realizing where the 400-year flood plane is. Etc. We have learned something since then.

Our problem, today, is fixing these things. Which is blocked by folks who don't believe in anthropogenic climate change, or even cause and effect at all. They don't, for the most part, register Democratic.

Comment The problem with your explanation (Score 5, Insightful) 307

The problem with your explanation is that it's fact-based, and stands on good science. This is the post-truth era. Thus, the counter to your argument will be:

  • Evidence for a human cause of erosion is thin and controversial, and is being pushed by loony liberals.
  • We need those oil and shipping jobs, and jobs building and maintaining levees, not more regulation that stifles them!
  • Cause and effect is not a real thing, except for one cause, God is behind everything.
  • This is part of God's plan for us. The end time is coming, and when the Rapture arrives it will not matter that Louisiana's coast has eroded. Cease your pursuit of unholy science and pray to save your soul!

Comment Not impossible (Score 1) 58

100 words per minutes might be a stretch, but it doesn't sound all that impossible given that the speed record was set with hunt&peck typing by moving a cursor across the screen. Some fancy machine learning that could guess whole words at a time or something along the line should have no problem beating that by quite a margin. It wouldn't even need to be perfect, just close enough, to give a drastic speed up (i.e. like Tab-completion).

See this earlier work that guessed video sequences from brain activity. Getting information in a more 'holistic' form out of the brain instead by just cursor movement seems plausible.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 342

so far hasn't done anything irreversible.

I think the first victims have been farmers who can't bring in their crops. Just the people who voted for him in California's central valley and wherever else we depend on guest workers. I don't see citizens lining up to pick those crops. The small family farmers, what's left of them, will feel this worse, the large corporate ones have the lawyers necessary to help them break the rules and truck people in from South of the border.

The second group of victims will be the ones who need health care that doesn't come from a big company. It's a lot more difficult to start a small business when there is no affordable way to get health care. And that is the case for my own small business - I'd be in bad shape if my wife left the University. I think that's the real goal - to keep people from leaving employment in larger companies and going off on their own.

Comment Re:So... (Score 4, Interesting) 342

Donald Trump, unfortunately, satisfies a common desire among the populance to right things by means that won't actually right them. It's a desire to rid Washington of inaction by cleaning it out of the current folks who don't seem to get anything done: and then you find that the things they were working on are harder than you understood. It's the feeling that you can get things going right by having a manager who lights a fire under the responsible people: just the way that bank managers pressured employees to increase revenue or be fired until those employees started opening accounts fraudulently for customers who hadn't asked for them.

What I am having a hard time with is how our country gets back out of this. I fear Humpty has had such a great fall that there is no peaceful recovery.

Comment Just spell out the rules clearly. (Score 1) 315

Produce a one-page "procedures" document - clearly, but simply lay out the process in moving code from the programmer's branch to the QA branch and into the production branch. Have everyone read and sign it.

The first time someone violates it, you give them an informal warning.

The second time they violate it, have them sit down with management and HR and tell them that if they violate the rules again, they'll be terminated.

The third time, you terminate them.

Easy...no automation required...you simply have to cause a change in the 'culture'. Programmers are very good at following rules - providing they are clearly stated and obviously put in place for a reason.

If you insist on there being an automated system...

When I've worked on setups like this, we give programmers the rights to do what they like in their own working branch(es) and into the QA branch - but deny them access to the production branch. QA get read-access to the QA branch and are the only people allowed to check stuff into the production branch. Generally programmers get their build together at the end of a sprint - then at the start of the next sprint, QA check it out and either release it or punt it back to the programmers...have two week sprints instead of six so that this doesn't add too much latency into the bug fix cycle. If you're spending more time fixing small bugs than adding large features, then you can temporarily drop the sprint cycle down to one week - if major features are being rolled out - then push the cycle up to at most 3 weeks.

Comment Discrimination City (Score 5, Interesting) 155

I have to staff exhibit booths a few times a year. I absolutely hate that applicants treat it as a modeling job and send me their photos. My wife hates it too :-) .

I ask that they be capable of standing for 8 hours per day for three days straight, and that they be well dressed, well groomed, and personable. I will always hire the smart ones (you'd be surprised how many folks with a Masters or Ph.D. are looking for weekend work), and they rarely are the model folks.

I started putting "NO PHOTOS" in my ads a while back. I am thinking of asking folks to use a first initial and not indicate their gender, just to see what happens.

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