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Comment Re:Bot vs. bot (Score 1) 62

Having worked in a call center (for AT&T, though I don't know if that's relevent here), I noticed that some employees were more than happy to bother understanding the products, services, policies, etc and use that information to genuinely help customers. Management would then set policies requiring that only scripted information be given to customers for "Quality Assurance" purposes (consistent experience between reps, discourage customers from calling in multiple times until they got a rep that knew what they were doing).

Comment Re:Do you see what happens? (Score 1) 499

States are given a number of electoral college seats based on the number of representatives they have in Congress (both houses). The 2 per state for the Senate gives smaller states a more significant impact per person than larger states. This is intentional, designed to help curb mob-rule from more populated cities and ensure that the voices of the middle of America (flyover states) and the North East / New England states can have a voice heard and that all elections are determined exclusively by Texas, New York, and California. This has nothing to do with gerrymandering, which is a real problem that affects local governments. I agree with the idea that it would be better if states split up their electoral votes based on percentage of their population voting, but for that to be effective, every state would need to enact such rules. Otherwise, the states that do this give up a significant fraction of their ability to influence national politics compared to those states that do not. I don't think the number of votes per state is the issue.

Comment Re:He'll Do Nothing (Score 1) 117

It seems to me like it would be more helpful to wait for specific proposals, and direct obstructionist behavior toward specifically the actions that you find objectionable. We've seen what happens when legislative bodies assume that everything someone spouts is garbage for the past 4 years, and I, for one, wasn't particularly fond of the result. How about we engage in less poisoning of the well and more constructive, rational behaviors?

Comment Re: Impressive? (Score 2, Informative) 136

Cash flow does not indicate profit. Profit is revenue minus expenses and short term liabilities. Accepting cash for services you are promising in the future will increase your cash flow, it will increase your revenue, but it will also add a new short term liability called "unearned income" (revenue for which you have a future obligation) and your profit will not be impacted by the transaction. Once you start purchasing the materials to satisfy the unearned income, you add expenses (negative cash flow) but remove an equivalent portion of the unearned income until you eventually satisfy the liability and can then report the remainder as profit.

Comment Re:Writer is fine... (Score 1) 284

Is using the features present in Excel now considered abuse? In my position, I see and create a lot of Excel documents specifically because I can create OLEDB connections to transactional systems, aggregate information, and create visualizations all in one place without having to go through the long, painful, and often flawed process of creating a data warehouse / data marts, creating SSIS connections between all the difference sources, then use another product such as Tableau or even SSRS to run the summaries. While all of that is getting set up, the organization gets no visibility into current trends, etc. It's significantly faster to get a dedicated report using scripts created in Excel, even if it's a much worse solution in the long run. From what I've seen, LibreOffice doesn't even have the capabilities to do this kind of work.

Comment Re:Facing facts (Score 1) 247

Part of the problem here is that the U.S. is running short of options when it comes to employment, so a lot of people have jumped on the medical bandwagon because money still seems to be flowing in that sector. Across the U.S., approximately 12% of the total employed population works in the healthcare field (http://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2009/health_care/). That means expenses for medical treatment (the product of such employment) needs to cover the salaries of almost a tenth of the total payroll in the country on average. For comparison, in 1978, less than 7% of the population worked in healthcare. If, as I suspect might be the case, the metoric rise of healthcare costs is more related to the lack of living-wage jobs available in other sectors, it makes sense that the end bill will come out higher but results don't necessarily have to improve.

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