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Comment Sure, Uber is evil. (Score 1) 219

It's an anti-social company that's a horrible place to work. Everybody knows that by now.

What nobody can know for sure is why an individual takes his life, or what circumstances would have to be different.

Take Google, which in several recent lists is the best company in America to work for. Google has just shy of 60,000 employees. Given the US suicide rate of 46/100,000, if Google were largely reflective of that you'd expect 28 suicides/year among Google employees. Of course (a) not all Google employees are Americans and (b) Google employees are economically better off than most people in their societies, so you'd expect there to be a lower rate of suicide. But it's safe to assume a dozen Google employees a year take their lives.

And if you look at them as individuals, you'd inevitably suspect work stress was involved, and if you'd look you'd probably find it -- because it's a chicken-or-egg thing. Suicide is a catastrophic loss of coping ability; when you head that way you will find trouble everywhere you turn.

When something like this happens to an individual, everyone feels the need to know why -- even strangers. But that's the one thing you can never know for certain. Now if suicide rates were high for Uber, then statistically you could determine to what degree you should be certain that Uber is a killing its employees with a bad work environment (or perhaps selecting at-risk employees).

I think its inevitable and understandable that this man's family blames Uber. And it's very likely that this will be yet another PR debacle for the company. But the skeptic in me says we just can't know whether Uber has any responsibility for the result.

Comment It is true (Score 2) 220

However, like everything, if a technology comes along to supplant it, in this case, the cost of greener alternatives is lower than coal, it'll simply dwindle and fade over time, with absolutely no need for liberals trying to regulate the crap out of it.

This flawed argument ignores the incontrovertible fact that allowing coal to continue to provide energy on equal terms with other energy supplies rather than pressuring the market to switch to less environmentally damaging sources of energy would do real and substantial harm to us all. The bottom line is: the less energy produced from burning coal and supplied instead from less polluting resources, the better off the world is.

So in fact, there is a need for it to have the crap regulated out of it in a context where it can be replaced with (considerably) less polluting energy sources, which is exactly where we are today.

Comment Re:This is retarded conservatism to help 'coal' (Score 5, Informative) 220

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) 220

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: Correcting myself (Score 1) 618

The issue isn't whether he's jumped through hoops to prove his knowledge of maths and physics - his use of maths and physics in the claims are self-validating when read by someone competent.

If Oregon choose to 'ignore' his claims, there is the possibility that the claims are valid which would lead the board no valid way to counter them.

Comment Re:(sigh) You people still think you're engineers (Score 1) 618

Instead of identifying himself as an engineer, he should have said, "You are dicks." They clearly would not have been able to argue that.

Response probably would have been somewhat along the lines of "You are fined $500 for falsely representing yourself as an anatomist."

Comment Re: Correcting myself (Score 1) 618

You should be aware that you don't need to be an engineer to perform most work. The exceptions where you do need to be an engineer are things like designing industrial machinery and bridges.

Or medium- to high-voltage electrical equipment, which is what anyone claiming to be an "electrical engineer" is asserting that they're competent to do.

Really, it should be required for anything where poor design can negatively impact the public. At a minimum, that should include safety-critical things like the software running on medical equipment, but I would argue that the scope should be much broader, e.g. by holding IoT device makers accountable for their product's lack of security.

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