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United States

US Economy Added 178,000 Jobs in November; Unemployment Rate Drops To 4.6 Percent (washingtonpost.com) 488

The U.S. economy added 178,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent from 4.9 percent the previous month, according to new government data released (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; alternate source) Friday morning. From a report on the Washington Post: Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected U.S. employers to create 180,000 new jobs last month -- roughly in line with the average number added in the first 11 months of the year. The first release after a contentious election in which the candidates disputed the health and direction of the economy, the data showed a job market that is continuing to steadily strengthen from the recession. The unemployment rate fell to levels not seen since August 2007, before a bubble in the U.S. housing market began to burst. The fall was driven partly by the creation of new jobs, and partly by people retiring and otherwise leaving the labor force. The labor force participation rate ticked down to 62.7 percent. Average hourly earnings declined by 3 cents to $25.89. The decrease pared back large gains seen in October, but over the year average hourly earnings are still up 2.5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

Comment Re:CyanogenMod is the only hope for some devices.. (Score 1) 70

Unfortunately, it's not so great at that. I have an HTC Desire (Bravo in the USA) that still works and I'd like to reuse as a SIP client. Unfortunately, it only runs CM 7.2. That would be fine if it were a patched version, but the latest nightly build was 2013 and that's so old that it doesn't contain an up-to-date certificate list or an SSL client library that supports modern versions of the TLS protocol, meaning that you can't use it for anything network connected.

Sure, the device is pretty old, but it has a 1GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, and up to 32GB of flash on the SD card: that's ample for a lot of uses (it wasn't so long ago that I was using a desktop less powerful!) and throwing it away seems horribly wasteful. It was launched in 2010 and the last release (not nightly) from CM was 2012. That's less long-term support than Apple gives for iOS devices and Google gives for Nexus devices. Unfortunately, there's not much money to be made in supporting hardware that the manufacturers consider to be obsolete.

Comment Re:It's not that easy (Score 2) 173

Time zones compensate for the problem that, in different places in the world, the sun is not at its highest point at the same time. They provide a quantised approximation of a solution so that the sun is at approximately its highest point at noon. Time zones are sufficient wide that the error from being in a different place within a time zone is significantly larger than the error from the small changes in rotation that leap seconds compensate for. If we didn't have leap seconds, this would remain true for about the next thousand years. I propose that in 1,000 years one of the following will hold:
  • The position of the sun will not matter too much to the majority of the human race.
  • Humans will be extinct.
  • Civilisation will have collapsed to the point where a universal time standard is irrelevant.

It's really hard to come up with a scenario in which the problem that leap seconds solve actually exists.

Comment mixed emotions (Score 3, Informative) 92

I purchased two Pebble watches as part of the original Kickstarter. One failed within a year (we were too distracted at the time to pursue a warranty claim), the other one is still "ticking".

Custom programming my own non-24-hour sleep-wake calendar was a big step for me in finding a cure. It finally put my metabolic reality on equal footing with the world around me, so that I could properly track each on its own terms.

I will always remember my Pebble watch as a life-changing event.

That said, I had doubts about Eric Migicovsky as a venture capitalist right from the beginning. When the original watch was delayed (I've done electronics fabrication before, it's far from easy with so much at stake on a new product) Eric obviously got some advice to keep reality close to the vest, and thus his public comments fell far short of the mark, given the situation. It's actually a flaw in the Kickstarter program that your promised delivery date is locked in stone prior to discovering you've got a landslide on your hands. (How to manage around that, I've never quite figured out. Kickstarter mainly appeals to flighty dreamers—too much honesty could seriously damp the lemming effect.) For my money, Eric failed the test of knowing when and where to draw the line on taking good advice. Any damn fool can advise you to keep your PR powder dry. Actual VC talent is required to know when to blow these damn fools off and venture out into the dangerous territory of actual honesty, while your users still care.

As for the watch itself, I'm still actually using my Pebble watch, for a single reason. Cure now in hand, in bottle form, I continue to wear my watch because its vibrate alarm is harder for me to ignore or forget than any other watch/phone I've had before, so I really do take my sustained-release melatonin at exactly the right time of day, each and every day, without fail.

I turned off BT completely after Fitness App Runkeeper Secretly Tracks Users At All Times, Sends Data to Advertisers because at this level of vigilance investment, extra battery life on both sides was more important than e-mail notification (and I hate pulling out my phone just to check a quick message).

Sad.

Comment Re:Eleven Million (Score 1) 586

Finding a small faction of them stupid enough to literally file an admission to a crime on the other hand isn't difficult at all.

Finding a small faction of them stupid enough to literally fight on the wrong side of a civil war on the other hand isn't difficult at all.

FTFY.

Suggestion. Try reading history. Nearly the whole of the present world order had its origins in a then-termed illegal act—pretty much all the wayback to Silverback Eden.

Twenty-five distinct vocalisations are recognised, many of which are used primarily for group communication within dense vegetation. Most of these mean "don't".

Comment Re:Well then... (Score 1) 586

Seriously? That's even worse. He was charged with "assault" - a word which, everywhere else in the world, implies physical violence - for *saying* something.

Says the man who's never heard of a dead Danish cartoonist he really missed. No wait, he's still alive, because sensible people took all those verbal threats seriously.

I realize the connection here is somewhat abstract. If this proves too hard for you, I suggest you start by watching the movie Robocop.

Comment Re:I don't mean to belittle you (Score 1) 175

This is probably a localisation error. English and American use similar words, but for very different meanings. For example:

English: I don't mean to belittle you.
American: I mean to belittle you.

English: With all due respect.
American: With no respect.

English: You're almost right.
American: You are completely wrong in every possible way.

English: I'm sorry but...
American: I'm not sorry, this is your fault.

I hope this helps.

Comment Re:My PowerPoint Rule of Thumb. (Score 1) 38

There are a few horrible misfeatures in PowerPoint. The worst was copied by Keynote in later versions: automatically resizing text to fit. Most of the templates have a large enough font that you can only fit a few key ideas on the slides. That's fine, because you don't want your audience reading the slides, you want them as things to refer to while you're talking. The automatic size reduction feature means that you can just keep adding text until it's illegibly small, long after the point when you'd be unable to keep the attention of the audience while you're speaking.

Comment Re:That's nice.... (Score 2) 30

According to my optician, it's also one of the early signs of diabetes in a lot of people. It's something that they routinely check for (it's very easy to do if you have two photos of the retina from different times and not something that it should be difficult to train an expert system to do). The first time I had my retina photographed, my optician was telling me that the previous week they'd caught early signs of diabetes in a child that they were fitting for glasses: they were able to begin insulin treatments nice and early and significantly reduce the amount of damage that occurred before more obvious symptoms.

Comment Re:Encrypt! (Score 1) 394

Yup, they exist. They do require that you install their root cert on the client device though - I'm not aware of any vendors that have a pre-compromised one (though you can install your own, and I'm sure that intelligence services do). Certificate Transparency would protect you here, because you'd be seeing different certs to anyone else (except people behind the same proxy). Similarly, certificate pinning will work if you've connected to the site from a different location first. Self-signed certs won't help without certificate pinning, because you will just see a self-signed cert in both cases (unless the box signs even unsigned certs, in which case you might notice that you're not prompted that the encrypted connection is untrusted when it's been MITM'd).

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