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Comment Re: The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 302

If you look in the FEMA site, they say that they provide gramts to perform repairs not covered by insurance. And no, they don't do a needs test. Now, the typical rich person does not let their insurance lapse just so that they can get a FEMA grant. Because such a grant is no sure thing. They also point out that SBA loans are the main source of assistance following a disaster. You get a break on interest, but you have to pay them back.

Comment Re: The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 302

I understand your point about view land being desirable even though it's a flood risk. I live a mile or so from the Hayward fault. But I have California's risk pool earthquake insurance. The government wouldn't be paying me except from a fund that I've already paid into. I imagine that the government does pay some rich people in similar situations, but as far as I'm aware disaster funds go to the States from the federal government and should not in general become a form of rich people's welfare. Maybe you can find some direct evidence to show me that would make the situation more clear.

Comment Re:The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 302

What you are observing is economics. As a city or town population grows, the best land becomes unavailable and those who arrive later or have less funds available must settle for less desirable land. Thus many cities have been extended using landfill which liquifies as the San Francisco Marina District did in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, or floods. Risks may not be disclosed by developers, or may be discounted by authorities as the risks of global warming are today.

Efforts to protect people who might otherwise buy such land or to mitigate the risks are often labeled as government over-reach or nanny state.

Comment Re:The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 302

Oh, of course they were caused by misguided engineering efforts. Everything from the Army Corps of Engineers to Smoky Bear goes under that heading. The most basic problem is the fact that we locate cities next to resources and transportation, which means water, without realizing where the 400-year flood plane is. Etc. We have learned something since then.

Our problem, today, is fixing these things. Which is blocked by folks who don't believe in anthropogenic climate change, or even cause and effect at all. They don't, for the most part, register Democratic.

Comment The problem with your explanation (Score 5, Insightful) 302

The problem with your explanation is that it's fact-based, and stands on good science. This is the post-truth era. Thus, the counter to your argument will be:

  • Evidence for a human cause of erosion is thin and controversial, and is being pushed by loony liberals.
  • We need those oil and shipping jobs, and jobs building and maintaining levees, not more regulation that stifles them!
  • Cause and effect is not a real thing, except for one cause, God is behind everything.
  • This is part of God's plan for us. The end time is coming, and when the Rapture arrives it will not matter that Louisiana's coast has eroded. Cease your pursuit of unholy science and pray to save your soul!

Comment Not impossible (Score 1) 57

100 words per minutes might be a stretch, but it doesn't sound all that impossible given that the speed record was set with hunt&peck typing by moving a cursor across the screen. Some fancy machine learning that could guess whole words at a time or something along the line should have no problem beating that by quite a margin. It wouldn't even need to be perfect, just close enough, to give a drastic speed up (i.e. like Tab-completion).

See this earlier work that guessed video sequences from brain activity. Getting information in a more 'holistic' form out of the brain instead by just cursor movement seems plausible.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 323

so far hasn't done anything irreversible.

I think the first victims have been farmers who can't bring in their crops. Just the people who voted for him in California's central valley and wherever else we depend on guest workers. I don't see citizens lining up to pick those crops. The small family farmers, what's left of them, will feel this worse, the large corporate ones have the lawyers necessary to help them break the rules and truck people in from South of the border.

The second group of victims will be the ones who need health care that doesn't come from a big company. It's a lot more difficult to start a small business when there is no affordable way to get health care. And that is the case for my own small business - I'd be in bad shape if my wife left the University. I think that's the real goal - to keep people from leaving employment in larger companies and going off on their own.

Comment Re:So... (Score 4, Interesting) 323

Donald Trump, unfortunately, satisfies a common desire among the populance to right things by means that won't actually right them. It's a desire to rid Washington of inaction by cleaning it out of the current folks who don't seem to get anything done: and then you find that the things they were working on are harder than you understood. It's the feeling that you can get things going right by having a manager who lights a fire under the responsible people: just the way that bank managers pressured employees to increase revenue or be fired until those employees started opening accounts fraudulently for customers who hadn't asked for them.

What I am having a hard time with is how our country gets back out of this. I fear Humpty has had such a great fall that there is no peaceful recovery.

Comment Stop corporate/staff privilege, lose lawsuits. (Score 1) 575

From TFA:

A common overbooking problem on a United Airlines flight on Sunday ended with a man being bloodied and dragged from his seat and an already troubled airline earning more bad press. How did it all go so wrong?

USA Today reports that the flight was not overbooked. United Airlines staff wanted to fly and apparently United Airlines chose staff over their customers:

United spokesman Jonathan Guerin said Tuesday that all 70 seats on United Express Flight 3411 were filled, but the plane was not overbooked as the airline previously reported. Instead, United and regional affiliate Republic Airlines, which operated the flight, selected four passengers to be removed to accommodate crew members needed in Louisville the next day. The passengers were selected based on a combination of criteria spelled out in Unitedâ(TM)s contract of carriage, including frequent-flier status, fare type, check-in time and connecting flight implications, among others, according to United.

Also, contrary to the entry currently pinned to the top of United Airlines' twitter.com feed from United CEO Oscar Munoz which looks sympathetic, "The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments", he told staff a completely different story:

Munoz issued his first public apology Monday but hours later sent a letter to the airline's employees lauding the behavior of the flight crew in dealing with a "disruptive and belligerent" passenger. Munoz credited employees with following established procedures on the Louisville-bound flight.

"This situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused, and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help," the letter says. "While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right."

This would seem to answer the question the BBC pairs with their apparently hastily-drawn conclusion: "How did it all go so wrong?": It went wrong because United Airlines flight crew favored United Airlines staff over paying customers. None of the 4 customers asked to give up their seats should have been asked to give up their seat. Stop letting staff have privilege to fly at the expense of paying customers, apparently going so far as to assault customers. Stop taking the company's side of events seriously: Dr. David Dao, the customer dragged off of United flight 3411, wasn't "disruptive" or "belligerent". Even while being dragged, the video (easily found online) shows the worst he did was to say no (along with other passengers who saw him being dragged past them), which is completely understandable. Staff can coordinate their flight schedule, reserve a ticket, and board the plane just like everybody else apparently boarded flight 3411.

Contrary to Munoz's words in the letter, I sense United Airlines is now looking for new flight crew and a new CEO, assuming they're able to survive as a company (which I'm not sure they should be allowed to because I think we can all do with one less business that physically assaults their customers; we should make room for a professionally run airline that won't instill fear when company representatives ask customers to do something like an preflight offer for deplaning). This also connects very clearly to why employees need more power in the businesses they work for—apparently you can't trust some of your colleagues or high-ranking management to make the right call. This certainly gives anyone, worldwide, pause to consider what power one is giving others when one agrees to fly on their plane (this got violent even without the plane taking off!).

Comment Discrimination City (Score 5, Interesting) 155

I have to staff exhibit booths a few times a year. I absolutely hate that applicants treat it as a modeling job and send me their photos. My wife hates it too :-) .

I ask that they be capable of standing for 8 hours per day for three days straight, and that they be well dressed, well groomed, and personable. I will always hire the smart ones (you'd be surprised how many folks with a Masters or Ph.D. are looking for weekend work), and they rarely are the model folks.

I started putting "NO PHOTOS" in my ads a while back. I am thinking of asking folks to use a first initial and not indicate their gender, just to see what happens.

Comment Re:I miss software that works. (Score 2) 467

Any old 8 or 16-bit software from decades past, if we have any of that software around today, it still works.

You are kind of ignoring the gap that existed back then between computer architectures. All your C64 programs wouldn't work on an Amiga. You couldn't read the data that you saved on 5.25" floppies in your 3.5" drive either. Each new computer generation essentially meant that you had to start all your computing from scratch, neither programs nor data could be carried over. The easy data transfer via USB or the Internet just didn't exist back then.

It took decades until we had working emulation and data formats and media that you could make work between different computer architectures.

Also if you just stick to the same hardware and OS, your software will still keep running even in the modern day. Windows XP might no longer be supported, but it runs just as fine as an old Workbench on an Amiga. There is some software that wants to be online activated, but patches for that exist in most cases and it's not that big of a deal unless you try to play a MMORPG where most of the computation happens server side.

Comment Re:How about I tell Micro$oft to go fuck themselve (Score 1) 116

But you'll keep buying systems to run Microsoft Windows. I see your comment was moderated as "insightful". Your comment doesn't live up to the subject header. Your critique gives a mild bit of chastisement to a narrow problem ("can't run normal windows programs") while giving money and power to Microsoft overall ("buy a Windows machine"). This view will help keep them in charge, not challenge them in any serious way. That's not insightful, it's forgoing freedom while complaining about smaller matters better viewed as details. Certainly not "telling Microsoft to go fuck themselves". We're all better off seeking freedom from masters, not switching from one master to another.

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