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Comment Re:COBOL isn't hard to learn (Score 1) 77

Indeed. If there is a market for COBOL programmers (and it's clear there is), then the obvious solution is for unis and colleges to spit out more COBOL-literate CS graduates. Honestly, if I was ten years younger, I'd probably delve into it myself. It is, after all, just a programming language, and hardly on the same level of trying to learn Sanskrit.

Comment Not just software. (Score 2) 211

Performance predictions have an optimistic bias.
It's known as the planning fallacy
It amazes me how people who should really know better fall for this.
For example, if the last time you did it, it took 3 weeks, a good prediction is that this time it's going to take 3 weeks.
Yet most people will predict less than 3 weeks - even if you point out the planning fallacy to them before hand.
I can almost here the rationalizing; "It's not going to take 3 weeks again, because we aren't going to make the same mistakes again."

But it's far, far, worse than just an inability to predict accurately.
Frequently schedules are determined by need rather than reality. As in, we need this done by Tuesday - make the schedule accordingly.

Comment Re:This is retarded conservatism to help 'coal' (Score 4, Informative) 447

The problem is that even if coal is completely deregulated, it's not miners who are going to be doing the extraction. The future of mining is automated. At best this will just give the coal barons a few more years of profit and do dick for the miners.

But it's not even going to be that good. Natural gas is killing coal, so there isn't even going to be a coal industry by the time renewables dominate. This is a classic "buggy whip" problem, in that there ain't gonna be no more horse-drawn carriages, so there ain't gonna be no more buggy whips. Whatever you think of Clinton, she was telling the miners the truth, their jobs are quickly becoming obsolete.

And the same goes for lots of other industries. Manufacturing is rapidly automating, so that even mass repatriation of US industrial capacity is not going to deliver the same level of employment that was there even thirty years ago. There's nothing the US government can do about it, short of outlawing automation and renewables, which would be sheer madness.

Christ, no less than Rick Perry himself has admitted the US needs to stay in the Paris Accord. Even the most pro-oil of pro-oil politicians know full well the jig is up. Oil isn't coming back, and as the price falls away it's impact on the economy diminishes. Coal was the first because it's the most expensive and most obviously harmful, but it applies to all the fossil fuels.

Comment Re:Incorrect (Score 1) 447

Do you have any actual evidence that wind farms have this effect? This strikes me as arguing that NASA shouldn't use gravity assist because it robs a planet of some of its momentum.

In other words, while you're technically correct, the effect is so small as to be irrelevant. But tell you what, if you have evidence that wind farms actually have this large an effect, then provide citations. And no, some blog is not a citation. I mean peer reviewed or primary literature.

Comment Re:How long before estates of dead entertainers su (Score 1) 120

Also, I think people are underestimating the creative input that a performer puts into a voice performance. They can put in a lot of subtle emphasis and emotion into speech. Even if AI can perfectly replicate someone's voice, will it know when to emphasize a word, when to change the pitch of its voice, and when to insert a dramatic pause?

Comment Re: AT&T (Score 2) 205

To offer a mild defense of Apple, there's a reason they make messages a different color if you're using a non-Apple phone:

Their iMessage app debuted at a time when carriers generally still charged for SMS messages. If a blue message came in, it meant that it was going over iMessage, which meant that it was a free message. If it was green, it was SMS, and therefore it would be charged as an SMS message according to your carrier's plan. You definitely wanted to have a way to know the difference.

It's less important now that carriers are generally offering unlimited SMS messages, so you could argue that they could drop the distinction. However, there still may be places or situations where people are charged for SMS, even if only when doing international texting, so it's not completely meaningless. Also, iMessage still provides some different features, such as providing read-receipts (if you allow that) and being encrypted, so someone might care about knowing which messages are going over which service.

Comment There is always a reason. (Score 1) 120

There's really no logical reason that famous film stars are also billed prominently for animation, and yet that's what we have.

The vocal performance and personality of the actor shapes and defines the animation of the character.

Disney understood that from the beginning, which is why three generations of stars from film, radio, television and theater have recorded for Disney. Try imaging the animated Aladdin without the manic improvisation of Robin Williams.

For bonus points, try re-casting the voice of Rocket Raccoon and see if you if you still have a CGI and motion capture character that audiences will actually give a damn about, help anchor a new franchise and deliver a billion-dollar pay-off at the box office.

Comment Re:Wait... (Score 1) 67

Well they charge you a rental fee for a router (including a Wifi), or they let you purchase it for $150. In abstract, I think that's totally reasonable.

The problem is, they won't let you just supply your own router or operate without a router. You have to rent or buy their router. If you just want the Internet (not phone or TV), you can replace their router with your own once service is installed, but they still force you to purchase their router.

Comment Re:Unintended consequences (Score 1) 510

The problem still remains that "over-abundance" will only apply to labor. It won't apply to capacity nor to raw resources. We'll have lots of humans with not enough to do, whereas Marxism remains a "classical" economic system which still thinks in terms of scarcity of labor.

I don't think the future is Communist, but neither do I think it is strictly capitalist. I think we're still going to have a fundamentally consumer society, still at its core free market, it's just that labor will no longer be an issue. It will mean adjusting precisely how it is that society as a whole profits from the means of production. And remember that Marxism was always more than merely an economic theory, but was fundamentally a socio-political theory. It was innovative in that it viewed economics as the very core, but it proposed a good deal more than simply "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs", and involved revolution, dictatorship and what really does amount to a sort of single party state (because, after all, who needs more than one political movement when Marxism is perfect).

In the end, I expect we'll probably see a shift towards capital gains taxes, higher resource rents, transactional taxes (ie. taxes on the purchase or sale of bonds and shares) and other such mechanisms, and while lots of corporate interests will kick up a mighty storm, but there's little choice in the matter. At some point, robots will do a great deal of the work.

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