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Comment Re:Poor life decisions (Score 1) 358

San Francisco is expensive because people want to live there. Period. Democratic controlled governments have nothing to do with it other than either

Absolutely. I've lived in the south Bay Area for half my life. Most people I've talked to moved here or stay here for the weather, jobs, culture, and the like. I'm sure some people move here because they want to hang with other Progressives/Statists/Poor-At-Accounting. But that doesn't seem like a dominant reason.

Personally, I've always viewed the Democratic domination as a minus. Maybe that's just me. Having grown up in the People's Republic of Massachusetts, I didn't really notice much difference.

Comment Re:Poor life decisions (Score 2) 358

Remember - CA is a net contributor to the US economy, it takes out less from the tax pool than it puts in.

A nit but "the economy" is not the same as "the federal government."


Every state contributes to the economy. I'm pretty sure it's mathematically impossible for every state to receive more federal outlays than they contribute, even using Political Fuzzy Math.

Comment If we want schools to have internet access... (Score 1) 256

...then we should pay for it through publicly raised taxes and published budgets. Then at least it's visible and transparent.

Subsidizing schools by setting price ceilings only obscures the issue and transfers the cost on the ISP's shareholders, employees, and other customers. I don't see why any of them should pay extra to support schools.

Others have commented about shrinking school budgets. We're paying something north of 2.5x as much per student today versus 1970 (adjusted for inflation, e.g. here). I don't know where the money is going but it doesn't seem to be flowing down to the classroom. That's a good issue to get irate about but it has nothing to do with ISP pricing.

Comment Get out of the way of willing transactions (Score 2) 140

Fer crying out loud, will people please stop getting in the middle of transactions between willing customers and willing sellers?

I know why the limo lobby wants to do this. They want to make tipping customary so Uber doesn't have a price advantage. But forcing Uber to include a tipping option in their app? No, that's not justified. Uber can put that in if they want, drivers can choose to drive for Uber or not. It's none of the city council's business how the deal goes down.

Comment Re:So, what you're saying... (Score 1) 238

... is that the so-called "gender pay gap" is actually due to life decisions, not rampant sexism?

I'd say it's much more likely it's due to life decisions, priorities, and preferences instead of rampant, systematic, and explicit sexism.

Mark Perry writes about this often at the AEI blog. Let's take the 20% number at face value. That means that if you pick two identical employees (same job, same tenure, same experience, same skills, same performance ranking), and one is male and one is female. The 20% story says the man, on average, gets 20% more income than the woman. In some cases the gap will be zero, in other cases it would be much higher.

For this to be true for the entire country, it must be rampant. Cases like that must be all around us. Name one. Seriously, name one. Do you know of any actual cases with actual people at your place of work? I don't because I don't know how much people get paid, so I can't confirm or deny this. I do know one of my previous employers did have explicit pay scales and ranking system. I knew how everyone was ranked and I knew the pay scale. The company made it very transparent what your raise ought to be based on your current pay and ranking. There's no way women were getting smaller raises than men. It is certainly unbelievable there were separate rate ranges for men and women. And I saw the ranking distribution. I don't believe it was grossly unfair to the women.

Now, I didn't study the results. It's entirely possible there was subtle sexism in the process. Maybe we as a group tended to rank women lower than men. I don't know and I can't rule it out. But I'd be really surprised if something like a 20% lower ranking (and it would have had to be much more than that) wouldn't stand out.

There are lots of other examples which make it hard to believe the 20% story. Government workers have strict civil service procedures to grade and pay people. That's millions of people. The process is so bureaucratic it's very hard to believe there's a secret bias as big as 20%. Again, it would have to creep in by not giving women raises or good performance reviews, which could happen. But you're not going to solve that by just declaring women must get equal pay, you have to dig deeper.

That's evidence for a lack of bias. Evidence to explain the wage gap isn't too subtle. You can look at job categories with lots of men versus lots of women. For example, take health care. Nursing tends to attract women while surgical specialties attract men. Nurses also tends to get paid less than heart surgeons. Why people make these choices is beyond me. It could be sexism, women being told they can't be surgeons or some such. I could totally believe that exists. But again, you're not going to solve that by declaring that all heart surgeons get paid the same. And you're not going to close the wage cap by mandating all heart surgeons get paid the same.

So, I believe there is a substantial wage gap. It seems much more plausible to me that most of it can be accounted for by life choices. I am willing to believe that sexism and social pressure influences people on some of those life choices. I believe the problem is too deep to be solved by just declaring all people in a certain job category must be paid the same.

Comment Re:Common Sense calling - Women have babies (Score 3, Insightful) 238

Jane is assigned to a 16 month project. She announces that she is pregnant...

The other way a manager could look at it is I'm hoping to have Jane around for 5-10 years. This one project may be a hassle but it's only for 16 months. For a project that short, everyone is coming up to speed for the duration of the project. A year from now there will be another project and Jane can be just as effective as anyone else. If I want to hire and develop for the long term, I'll ignore this short term hiccup just like I'd deal if someone who has to take a few months off for a back issue or sabbatical.

In other words, taking two-four months off is largely noise and should barely have a measurable effect. Yes, in theory it's there but it will be swamped by confounding factors.

Comment Re:Common Sense calling - Women have babies (Score 1) 238

I don't find this entirely convincing. When the companies I've worked at hire people, we assume it's for years, hopefully decades. I work in software engineering where typical job stints are 3-10 years at any one company. Taking a few months off for childbirth is lost in the noise. If a person decides to take a few years or decades off to raise children, that's a different story. But I suggest you need to look at the time off as a proportion of one's entire career length of 40-50 years.

Comment Re:The Jig Is Up On The "Gig" Economy (Score 1) 90

The jig is up on the "gig" economy. I can't wait for it to completely collapse. I hope the short-term rental economy goes next.

I think people miss the point of the gig economy. The big win isn't that you're hiring contractors with unconventional hours. The win is you don't have to raise capital to start your business. The gig employees bring their own capital with them. Uber doesn't have to invest in a fleet of cars, Airbnb doesn't have to buy a lot of real estate, and so forth. It makes it much, much cheaper to run the company because your capital outlay is so much lower. You can also grow much faster than a traditionally financed company.

It kind of reminds me of the revolution which came with franchising. Prior to that, the company had to raise capital to build each outlet. Enter franchises and now each franchise owner brings their own cash. You get access to a much larger pool of cash. It's why franchised businesses are everywhere.

Comment Re:The Jig Is Up On The "Gig" Economy (Score 1) 90

It doesn't matter who was saying what, the manufacturing jobs didn't leave because people refused to work in it, it left because of regulations and taxes.

More nuanced is manufacturing left because they found people in developing countries who are willing to do the job for less than people in rich countries. People in rich countries refused to work for very low wages, people in poorer countries were willing to work for very low wages. Why they were willing is another issue entirely (the low wages beat their other alternatives, e.g. subsistence farming).

Taxes and regulations also figure in. It's a pain to work across continents and countries but if it's a ton cheaper, companies will do it.

Comment Re:A purpose built chip (Score 1) 91

I know, that's what makes this a remarkable achievement. Many times in the past people have tried to do this but it took much longer than they anticipated. In the mean time, Intel, AMD, nVidia, ATI, or whoever managed to catch up and surpass the ASIC. It turned out the performance win from ASICs had a shorter shelf life than people realized.

It seems times have changed. Google has a very specific workload which appears to be different from what the mainstream processors have optimized for. The easy (easier?) part of Moore's Law (crank cycle times and add ALUs/FPUs) seems over. As a result, Google has a great win, yay for them. If this turns out to be a large market, I'll be surprised if neural net circuits don't show up in mainstream CPUs and GPUs in the next few generations. Then it becomes a race to see who can optimize the fab process fastest.

Comment Re:Who cares? (Score 4, Insightful) 316

Bully for you. If that keeps you happy, go fer it. And I mean that seriously, not sarcastically.

When winter arrives and the birds fly south, there are awesome shows like Downton Abbey, House of Cards, The Expanse, Man In the High Castle, and on and on. I just finished Jessica Jones and Luke Cage and thought they were fabulous. David Tennant as an evil psychopath, woo-hoo!

You certainly don't have to watch any of it but recognize there is more available than news and reality shows.

Comment Re:So what happens in a race to the bottom? (Score 1) 467

One thing we know is that when faced with a virtual monopoly in any field or domain, large corporations will screw over the consumer again and again.

As a consumer, this is great! I'm going to watch with a big tub of popcorn as WalMart, Amazon, Target, and Costco all duke it out.

If I worked for General Mills or Procter and Gamble, I'd be a little apprehensive right now. This is gonna be tough. But as others have mentioned, customers vote with their wallets for price over quality. For commodity items like facial tissue, I'm totally willing to have large faceless corporations scratch and claw to offer me cheaper prices. This is the free market at work for li'l ol' me. Yay!

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