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Comment Re:They did it to themselves (Score 1) 106

Farming hardware - tractors, harvesters, etc - has traditionally been *very* reliable and long-lived. In other words, what you might call "overbuilt". They have a hard time comprehending why their computers don't last longer than 3-4 years. I have to try to explain modern economics to them.

Is there perhaps a larger moral to be learned from this? Is there something about farm equipment -- or FARMERS -- that's different?

Just a thought, but farming is one job that actually requires long-term financial planning. I've known a surprising number of people who appear to live "paycheck-to-paycheck." Even smart people with advanced degrees -- some of them with advanced math skills. But they simply can't manage money enough to not spend basically everything that's in their bank account before the next paycheck comes in.

And our modern systems of credit make this possible. Decades ago, loans were rare; a large percentage of people saved up even for big purchases (cars, etc.) rather than taking out credit. But today everything is split up into convenient monthly chunks, spread out over a pay period or two.

Farmers can't plan like that. They plant stuff one season and won't see profit until the end of the year. And droughts and pests and unusual hot/cold spells occur, and this year's crops don't live up. So, as a farmer, you MUST have to still think in terms of saving for "hard times" and in a multi-year budget span, or you'll likely go backrupt in just a few years. (Admittedly, this is something I heard a couple decades ago from old farmers; I don't know what the business is like these days where small family-owned farms have become such a rarity.)

So -- coming back to the parent's example: is it coincidence that farming equipment has maintained standards for durability as farmers have to plan for decades of expenses to justify a purchase for a large piece of equipment? While meanwhile most of American society happily accepts lower prices in exchange for junk products with shorter lifespans? -- the same people who carry balances on credit cards with ridiculous interest rates?

The unfortunate trend is that even the old "reliable" manufacturers of things like appliances seem to have bought into the "planned obsolesence" ideology, so even if you parents had an appliance that lasted for 20, 30, or even 40+ years, it may be likely that the same brand product will only last 5 years for you... even if they are still charging a premium price for their "brand reputation." I personally would happily pay a much higher cost for something if I know it's worth it in terms of durability in the long-run, but I find it harder and harder to find product lines that I trust enough to take a chance on the higher expense.

Comment Re:Rose tinted glasses (Score 1) 489

In a slave economy, the masters own their servants directly.

In a feudal economy, the lords own the land the servants live and work on, and the servants are free... to choose which lord they will serve in exchange for the land to live and work on.... or to not work, and not live, if they prefer.

In a capitalist economy, the capitalists own different kinds of capital besides land and the servants can mix and match whose capital they work on and whose capital they live on and try to pair it up so some of their masters^W lords^W capitalists pay enough for work to cancel out what the others charge to live.

What most people today call "communism" is just state capitalism, where there is only one master/lord/capitalist that owns all the various kinds capital and for whom everyone works and by whom everyone lives: the state.

It's all just degrees of abstraction away from slavery unless you own all the capital you need to live on and work with yourself; and by the time you're there, it's an easy step further to get some poor schmuck to work it for you in exchange for borrowing what he needs to live, and then you are part of the problem yourself, an effective slavemaster with your first servant.

Comment In a room full of people (Score 1) 695

still pretty good. And still better than if the person has a gun.

As for it 'not being wrong' well, that doesn't make it bullshit. You're side stepping my point, which is that guns make it _too_ easy to kill people. You can do it on a whim. Just point, pull trigger, done. Bullets travel in a span of time you can't even measure without special equipment or techniques.

You're right about the wishful thinking part though. Wishful thinking never gets you _anything_. Including a reduction in gun deaths. It takes action. Australia took action. The banned just about everything and, well, what do you know. Gun deaths plummeted and they haven't had a mass shooting since the ban.

Bans work, but America has a gun culture that means a ban is political suicide. So I'd settle for more root cause work. Social programs to eliminate poverty and address mental illness. But I can't even get those. So we're back to wishful thinking. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Comment Re:Sad loss of a co-worker (Score 1) 695

I am disappointed to read posts that somehow infer that Srinivas' employment in the Olathe office was at the expense of a US resident getting a job. That is simply not true. There is a world wide shortage of skilled workers. We have two US employees in our Auckland office and no one here complains about them taking our jobs. We employee every skilled Kiwi we can find but the shortage means over half my team are from China and Taiwan. We welcome them as we need more skilled people to get keep our business competitive. None of the locals, such as myself, see these people as stealing our jobs.

It is the same in Olathe, they will employ any US citizen with suitable skills ahead of a foreign worker as it is less hassle but they can not get enough staff with right skills, in part because Garmin set the bar quite high when it comes to skill levels. I have meet people with a wide range of backgrounds in the US Garmin offices and have never seen even a hint of racism or sexism.

The US like Australia is a country of immigrants, and I support immigrants for reasons that are separate from my economic advantage. But I do think that immigrants take away jobs from Americans, particularly in technology.

Employment is cyclical. Up to about the 1980s, especially in technology, when there was an abundance of employees, employers used to hire the most qualified (often overqualified) worker. So a food company would hire a PhD to work in their chemistry labs. When there was a shortage of workers, they would hire lower-qualified workers. So the company would hire a technician with a college degree in chemistry, or even a smart high school graduate, and train him on the job. And they usually worked out pretty well. This was particularly striking during the World War II, when the US had the best job market we've seen in living memory.

Long after WWII, American corporations had training programs where they hired less skilled workers and trained them on the job. When corporations bought the first mainframe computers, they would often hire smart college graduates with degrees in mathematics or related field, or sometimes in unrelated fields, and train them on the job. For example, when New York City bought its first computers, they hired philosophy majors from City College, and trained them in programming, according to programmers I've talked to. Sometimes they just hired liberal arts graduates who seemed to have an affinity for math and logic. American corporations believed that training was the way to be profitable in the long run. (They also gladly paid taxes for public education to train their workers.)

By the 1990s, this had fallen out of favor. They abandoned the idea of training people on the job. They demanded specialized skills and workers who could "start immediately." We've seen complaints on Slashdot of how companies were looking not for a programmer, but for a programmer with 5 years of experience in software XYZ.

In my observation, there seemed to be two reasons for this. First, a lot of people were trained in the military, particularly the U.S. Air Force and Navy. Second, there were a lot of trained immigrants coming into the country, particularly Soviet immigrants who got an excellent education, often with advanced degrees (for example, Sergei Brin's parents).

If you believe that we have a free market, then you have to believe that employees will have more opportunities when unemployment is low and they are in greater demand (and vice versa). When employees are hard to get, employers will train less skilled workers. When they're easy to get, employers will demand PhDs.

It seems, from intuition and observation, that flooding the employment market with skilled workers will discourage employers from hiring and training less skilled workers. It seems that if American employers couldn't have gotten skilled workers from the Soviet Union, China, India, and elsewhere, they would have been forced to hire Americans and train them. And while immigrant workers are usually very skilled, they're doing work that American workers could also be trained to do if the job market forced employers to do so.

The original argument for free trade was that (1) free trade will create winners and losers. But (2) free trade is so efficient that we can compensate the losers and still come out ahead. I agree. If we had a Scandinavian-style safety net, with free or income-based education, housing, and health care, where unemployment is a paid vacation, I would welcome immigrants. Take my job. I'll go back to school. But the right wing took over, and as implemented, immigrants compete with me.

I'm not an economist, so I can't talk about this authoritatively, but that's the way it seems to have worked out. America was a different country 50 years ago. There was much more opportunity for anybody who wanted to work, particularly in technology (rather than McDonald's), and more job security. Now it's gone. The skilled blue-collar union workers, and their children, were the ones who took the biggest hit. Those were the complaints that Trump appealed to, unfortunately. And his solutions are xenophobic and fascistic.

Comment As a career security professional, I'm not too wor (Score 2) 86

Part of what I do for a living, and have done for many years, is evaluate these kinds of vulnerabilities. This could have been really, really bad, a major story. Certainly it would be a big deal if all of the following were true:

If the issue existed for a long time.
If the bad guys knew about it before it was fixed.
If it affected sites that had something vaguely resembling valid html.
If it could have leaked tls/ssl keys.

In the security field, we have a mostly objective scoring system called CVSS which gives a numeric score to how bad the risk is. This scores high enough that it needed to be fixed right away - and it was fixed right away, probably before any bad guys knew about it.

Given the details of the issue, and how it was handled by first Google and then Cloudflare, I don't think it's the biggest story of the year. Cloudflare fixed it within hours and got cached copies of affected pages removed from search engine caches. All evidence indicates this was done before any bad guys were aware of the issue. I'm not too concerned. That's my professional opinion. My opinion would be different if it were left unfixed for six years after it was publicly known, then half fixed for six more years (looking at you, Microsoft).

Comment Re:"Police found Purinton 80 miles away at Applebe (Score 1) 695

Also, Europeans and Indian's language comes from common branch of human languages, "proto indo-european"

What's that got to do with anything?

It's important because the linguistic analysis that identified migrations and population groups disproves certain 19th century racial theories.

The Germans, for example, defined themselves as a "pure race," and claimed there was some benefit to maintaining that pure race against mixing with, for example, Jews or Negroes.

The study of migrations showed a history of constant mixing over thousands of years. This was confirmed by DNA analysis.

So the 3,500 year old Egdved girl who was celebrated as Denmark's national ancestor, turned out to have come from the Black Forest in Germany. And she traveled back and forth.

People often think of Grimm's fairy tales as German. But actually the same stories are translated from one European language to the next, in French, for example, or English. And there are older languages from medieval times that fill in the gaps between major European languages.

Put it all together and you get a picture of people traveling throughout Europe, and mating with each other, over thousands of years, after they left Africa. The aristocrats traveled quickly and the peasants traveled slowly (over generations). The Neanderthals mated with modern humans. This genetic mixture was probably good in terms of health, since inbreeding populations are more likely to have genetic diseases.

I haven 't studied the history of India, but my understanding is that the British colonials found a less hierarchic society and turned it into a more hierarchic society, on the model of certain British and European aristocratic ideas, which saw a great chain of being with protozoa on the bottom, animals in the middle, and British aristocrats (like themselves) near the top, right under the angels and God.

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