Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:OMG (Score 1) 364

It's an entitlement excuse.

When I was in high school, I knew a lot of kids who worked at Burger King. They were stealing money from their registers, some of them managing to lift over $800/month. Everyone agreed this was a good thing because "they didn't get paid enough." High school kids. Not paid enough. Seriously.

The only excuse for using company time for non-work is not having work to do. You get an admin job and you're efficient enough to do it in 1/3 the given time? Well, I can't rightly say you've been stealing company hours if you're achieving 100% of your assigned work. Some offices even tell you to go home if you're done your work, and pay you anyway--they're legally-obligated to pay your salary if you're exempt, just like they're not obligated to pay overtime, so if you work 15 hours and get all your shit done and they send you home you still get paid. That actually makes sense.

What doesn't make sense is agreeing on and accepting a salary and then stealing time, money, or equipment from your employer under the claim that they're not paying you a fair wage. There is no fair wage. Market rates are rates people can't manage to push up from and employers can't manage to push down from. Businesses employ the lowest bidder, and employees go with the highest bidder. You took the bid? You agreed to this shit. Excuses like the distress of unemployment and the difficulty of getting a job just tell me you wanted to fasttrack the process and get bumped to the front of the line and you bought the front spot--that's what your lower-than-industry-average salary is: a privileged purchasing agreement.

Comment Re:That's actually debateable (Score 1) 296

Manual-labor jobs they can. Office jobs require some downtime to refactor, and the 8-hour work day theoretically lets you mix that in so you can optimize it.

The more-scientific approach I've seen is to schedule high-effort, complex work in the mid-morning and around 2-5pm, with low-effort work put between 1pm and 3pm. The slump cripples your ability to perform productively, and so spending that time returning calls, checking e-mail, writing changelogs, and so forth lets your brain relax and recover so you can get back to designing rocket engines and writing complex computer code later in the afternoon. You wind up productive all day, doing the simple shit when you can't handle the heavy lifting.

The moral of the story? Do your code reviews and merge windows between 1pm and 3pm. It's less work than writing new code, and it keeps your head in the code so you're ready to hit the ground running right after.

Comment Re:This is retarded conservatism to help 'coal' (Score 1) 478

The advantage for Americans is we expend our labor making other things, and we end up with more stuff being bought per person. That is to say: the import of cheap goods from China has made every single American--from the poorest class to the richest class--more-wealthy, improving our standards-of-living immensely. We would have to pay greater amounts of money for the same goods otherwise, and thus we would live at a lower standard--it'd be as if we were all substantially-poorer--to no advantage to the American worker or the American economy.

Comment Re:prediction... more good comments... not (Score 1) 478

Morality is irrelevant; minimum wage is an efficiency model. More to the point, though, minimum wage espouses a particular goal, and it cannot meet that goal if its purchasing power becomes continuously lesser.

If it were about morality, we'd have an unresolvable conflict: implementing a minimum-wage increase throws some of the poorest of poor out into the unemployment line to starve; while not implementing a minimum-wage increase lets all of those poorest of poor continuously face greater hardship until they begin to starve. QED, who gets randomly executed because fuck it?

Your labor force is made of adults. Children don't produce; they simply consume. Your laborers work for forty years--from age 18 to age 58, roughly, although it's longer now--and if one of them dies, you need eighteen years to begin replacing them. That assumes you can pop out a baby, feed it, clothe it, give it medical care, grow it to an adult, and then dump it right into a job without investing any more in preparation which you could have avoided by not killing your previous laborer. The other side of this is we expect retirees to be essentially cheaper than children, or at least we want the full ROI of their employable lifetime before they become an economic burden.

Minimum wage is a type of welfare. We have a minimum wage and public aid system, which ensures that the working-class at least get a minimum viable income, while the reserve labor force (the unemployed and underemployed--not working full-time) gets aid to keep them alive and healthy. It's spotty, and worked as best anything could before a Universal Social Security became technically and politically viable; now the United States can now end all hunger and homelessness at a $1 trillion reduction in total costs to the taxpayer--without raising taxes on anyone--and so that's technically-better.

These aren't feel-good moral actions. These are efficiency. When you come up short on efficiency in an economy, people die unnecessarily. You have the capacity to care for the sick, to feed the hungry, to supply the means to live, to stabilize lives; and you squander it, you waste it, and so people die of disease, they starve, they become homeless. The more-efficient your economy is, the greater the standard of living; and the more-stable your economy is, the less-likely people are to have good savings, a good income, insurances, everything to keep them ready for any sudden life crisis and still suddenly end up poor, homeless, and dying of diseases we should have eradicated decades ago.

We trade efficiency away for moral reasons. We accept more death, more poverty, and more suffering so that we can pursue things which we enjoy, and so we can go through life without living in constant fear. The ideals for efficiency by central command simply don't work; but efficient control through constant surveillance, state-controlled information to shape political opinions, and other means of crushing out freedoms can bring strictly-better prosperity. That's bland and it takes away peoples's humanity, or something along those lines; it's the kind of world nobody wants to live in unless they're in charge--and often not even then. Those are the things of which we accept the costs, although to be fair they're usually costs paid by someone else--most of us don't end up the one starving in the streets because of a little loss of efficiency, so we'll gladly trade it away.

You can't claim "morality" if you're going to be blind to what pain and suffering you do and do not cause taking your high ground. That gets you such brilliant, morally-sound ideals as cutting off trade with China, condemning hundreds of millions of people to joblessness, homelessness, and starvation, because we think their wages are too low and want to equate Chinese labor to slave labor. Murder on a grand scale far beyond anything Hitler ever did is what a surprising number of people believe would be "morally-correct" and "The Right Thing To Do(TM)", so long as they can stand far enough back from the carnage to claim their hands are clean.

Comment Re:prediction... more good comments... not (Score 1) 478

They're facts. Minimum wage increases keep minimum wage in line with the actual purchasing power of money. The job cycle caused by minimum wage drift and correction is an unsightly side-effect. Conservatives don't want to admit the former; liberals don't want to admit the latter; both are true. The objective conclusion is minimum wage increases are necessary for a healthy minimum-wage system, and should occur at small intervals to keep the system stable and avoid wide employment and poverty cycling.

As for hiring quotas, you realize you can't actually pay wages if you don't have revenue, and you can't get revenue unless people are buying, right? Jobs aren't created by businesses selling; they're created by consumers buying. A job comes into existence because money is being thrown in the direction of a void and keeps bouncing off; we put a worker there and the money starts flowing through.

Comment Re:This is retarded conservatism to help 'coal' (Score 1) 478

Aircraft, medical devices, plastics, and organic chemicals. Food is also a big one, since the United States controls the largest fertile basin in the world. For that matter, we export a lot of fiber (cotton, mostly).

We also have a lot of domestic infrastructure work, services like shipping and retail, medical services, and even exportable services like logistics (businesses all over the world ask American businesses how to run a business, and pay for the service). Much of that stuff simply can't be displaced; the high amount of retail and shipping is actually supported by the large amount of purchaseable products we import, since the source of those products doesn't affect how many can be shipped or retailed by the same technology (trucks, cashiers). That means if consumers purchase 40% more pants at the Chinese-import price than they do at an American-made price, there's 40% more trucks carrying pants, 40% more mechanics maintaining those trucks, 40% more fuel used by those trucks, 40% more cashiers scanning those pants, and so forth. Pants are, of course, a small fraction of all retail, and the increase in these domestic service jobs is 40% of the proportion represented by pants in this model.

We also produce a lot of oil, steel, and so forth. We also make cars that get sold all over the world. Americans hand-construct heavy machinery like cranes and hydraulics rigs.

Manufacture is bigger in America than it ever was, and yet employs fewer workers than ever. The same is true of farming, with something like 3x as much farm output since the 1940s yet a sharp reduction in workers actually involved in farm production--all the way up the supply chain, not just on the farm. Other sectors have grown much more than these, however, and so the proportion of American productivity represented by manufacture is actually shrinking, while things like medical and IT have grown tremendously.

Those are things we wouldn't have if we insisted on making all our crap here at inflated costs. We'd be passing our money back and forth and talking about how we saved the Rust Belt, and we'd be poor as shit because people would be factory workers instead of doctors and computer programmers. There would be no high-speed Internet, no Spotify, no Netflix. We'd look like America 1950s medical technology, where things like fMRIs and cancer treatment just didn't exist, and many diseases were just untreatable. We'd have fewer pharmaceuticals, and we'd get those by having fewer regulations so that we could just fire off poorly-tested, poorly-understood drugs and deal with the consequences of serious side-effects, birth defects, and whatever else doesn't get picked up by rigorous testing.

Seriously, how do you think we went from a stable 58% labor force participation rate to 65%, with under 5% unemployment, while getting so much shit from import trade? Jobs continue to "go out of the country" and the number of employed Americans keeps growing faster than the number of actual Americans. Why do you think we haven't outsourced the stuff we do make here, when China is begging us to let them sell us more crap? It doesn't make sense to spend $38M on an aircraft you can build locally for $36M.

Comment Re: Yes but (Score 1) 727

He didn't say, "The light timer implementation attempts to provide a yellow of 15 seconds, but is flawed and runs its cycle in 5." He said, "The light timer implementation attempts to provide a yellow of 5 seconds, and does so; 5 seconds is incorrect and it should be 15."

Unless the timer is technically intended to do something other than what it's currently doing, he was arguing civil engineering. According to his actual letter, he was arguing that the timing was too short from a civil-engineering perspective. He was arguing about the movement of traffic.

The specific flaw he was pointing out was in the time selected. That is an attribute which can be implemented by a mechanical, non-electrical system that moves candles about. It has nothing to do with electrical engineering, and is an ends to which you can use electrical or mechanical system--or a bunch of humans counting aloud--as a means.

Comment Re:prediction... more good comments... not (Score 2) 478

People are always competing for social status. They want everyone to recognize that they're better than you. Being wrong is a bad way to go about that, hence why debate is about influencing the audience and not persuading the other guy.

Honestly, think about it for a second. Suddenly the deterministic, factual, correct conclusion is "an opinion" so both mutually-exclusive assertions are equally-valid and thus that person can claim to be not-wrong. That doesn't even make sense in technical discussions. Why would somebody pull that particular argument? Why does it happen so frequently in online forums?

Comment Re:Keystone pipe is mainly for shipping oil to Chi (Score 1) 478

We're already pipelining oil from Canadian tar sands through existing US pipelines, at high pressure, causing enormous oil spills. Taxpayer money cleans those up. Even if we're just letting Canadian companies sell it to China, they now have to pay American companies (which American governments can tax), and a properly-designed pipeline will spill less oil that we then need to clean up, as I said above.

Besides, if Canadian oil is cheaper than American, then we'll buy it here in America. If American is cheaper, we'll sell ours to China.

Comment Re:Keystone pipe is mainly for shipping oil to Chi (Score 1) 478

Sounds like American companies get a piece of oil that would route around them, then. We get revenue from this shit?

What about the environmental impact of current routing of oil through leaky pipelines run way outside their design pressure? Taxpayer superfunds still pay for that.

Comment Re:Storage? (Score 1) 478

Advanced forms of compressed-air storage with thermal recouperation are the next-generation technology. There's a lot of talk about batteries from battery suppliers and uneducated pundits who don't know shit about city-scale power storage and can only conclude that large storage facilities are made of big, expensive parts while battery banks are made of small, cheap parts.

Think about it this way: A battery is cheap. We can just slap a battery onto a power pylon. We can space them around the city, close to point of use, so there's less loss from battery to house consuming the power. We can expand this with the grid, laying batteries out everywhere. That's obviously a cheap, cost-effective solution with many benefits.

Snipe the obvious technical problem first: Power generation has to flow from the source to the point of use, with a battery in the middle for intermediate storage. Having it close to the source means more loss to the destination; having it close to the destination means more loss from the source. Location of the generator matters; location of the storage facility doesn't, so long as it's "in between". Either way, it matters much less with high-voltage DC transmission, so "in between but a little of to the side by 20 miles" is functionally-equivalent to "right on the pole connected to my house".

A battery is cheap, blahblahblah, okay. What costs more to build, maintain, and operate: a 1,000MWh storage facility built out of $178-per-cell lithium batteries, or a 1,000MWh storage facility built out of giant tanks and piping for a recouperating compressed-air storage system that cost millions of dollars for the tanks, the pipes, pumps, turbines, and so forth?

That's the thing: batteries are cheap. They're versitile. You can throw one up on a pole--and you can drive all over the god damn place for hours to get to the widely-spread batteries, climb the pole, bring the battery down, repair it (replace bad cells), and so forth. You can put the batteries all in one place to avoid that.

Problem is a facility to store a ton of power generation for one hour of run time. I've seen $145-per-kWh cells, and a city of 80,000 homes requires 45MW. That's 45MWh to run for one hour. For each hour of stored energy, that's $6.525 million. If you built a regional storage facility for 1 million homes for 1 hour (562.5MWh), the battery cells alone (never mind any BMS circuitry, housings, or the facilities around them) would cost $81.5 million.

Texas built a 300MW-output, 30,000MWh (yes, 30GWh) CAES plant for $200 million. Not the equipment. The entire, operational facility. Again: just the lithium battery cells for a battery plant storing 45MWh cost $81.5 million. The fractional cost of that capacity in the Apex CAES is $0.3 million.

It's funny because people keep talking about batteries, largely because Tesla is talking about making a lot of money selling batteries. Lithium battery grid storage is a giant scam. Tesla makes excellent cars, end of story; grid-scale storage is not a Tesla battery problem.

Comment Re:If coal is dead, killing its bueaucracy won't h (Score 1) 478

Nobody migrates from job X to job Y, in a positional sense. Those jobs will continue to exist as long as required. Causing 10,000,000 people to go unemployed over 5 years instead of 5 weeks prevents an economic recession by unemployment spike, but those people--whoever is sitting in that seat when it comes time to downsize--will be lain off.

They'll then go into the churn with people who already don't have jobs, and compete. Either they get the next job, or some other guy gets the next job; somebody in this pool stays unemployed.

There are no people. The romantic ideal of migrating a worker from an excessed job to another one by some economic oversight is complete and utter bullshit, and outright evil. It means taking people who are already transitional--in and out of jobs, currently out of a job--and condemning them to forever-unemployment.

Comment Re:This is retarded conservatism to help 'coal' (Score 1) 478

The problem is the people of that region got poorer; literally every other American got richer.

That means the middle- and lower-class money purchasing coal power moved to purchasing oil and natural gas power (this is why the oil companies are so damned rich; everything goes back to energy, and their huge profits are actually... pretty small, really, just that being a pretty small portion of fucking everything).

That means a bunch of other jobs are supported by the money that used to support the coal miners.

So who is entitled to their livelihood? The people on the wrong side of progress (because they were in the right place at the right time), or literally every other person, with special emphasis on people whose current employment is based in being further along in the path of progress?

Remember when people died of low-grade diseases, running water was too expensive to implement, and an iron railroad cost more than a decade of the entire world's GDP? Remember when everyone had one set of clothing because a shirt required 479 labor-hours (thus priced at 479 hours of wage) in total to make rather than 1.91? (1.91 hours at $3.20/hr Chinese labor, including wage and social insurance taxes, all the way up to coming out of the factory--excluding the 6 cents of shipping to the US, the several dollars of shipping domestically through distribution centers to the retail center, and the 0.83 cents per item for a cashier at 980 item scans per hour.)

Technical progress--the reduction of labor-hours invested in producing a thing--means some people get displaced out of their jobs along the way. It also means everyone who has an income can now buy those things with less of their income. That's how we got clean, running water and sewage management instead of cholera and plagues. That increase in wealth is what raises the poor up generation after generation--they're still poor, and yet they're a lot better off than middle-class a hundred years ago.

I keep saying this: this is why we have welfare. It's also how we have welfare. It's too expensive to take care of displaced workers with nice things like unemployment insurance when everyone needs 95% of their income to survive, because you can't take another 6% without a bunch of people starving to death. On the other hand, "an entire industry collapsed" is a nice sob story that manages to ignore "a lot of cities are dirt-poor ghettos where people struggle to get by": you get to claim that, somehow, these poor people were wronged, and are more-important than those poor people. You also get to ignore that other people who were poor are now rich--or at least that some blown-out shithole in Washington became a technical empire with $170k salaries while Detroit became a crippled ghost town with rusted-out factories.

That's the way the world works. It's a constant net-gain, but it has voltage potential. Why do you think I've been after a Universal Social Security since it became technically-possible in 2013?

Slashdot Top Deals

Riches cover a multitude of woes. -- Menander