Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:Sounds like a problem... (Score 5, Insightful) 507

But what if the proper cost of that pill actually is $100? (Or, for that matter, $1,000,000) Are you and I, by sole virtue of being citizens entitled to that life saving pill, regardless of the cost?

This is a struggle for me. It seems reasonable to me that there should be access to basic medical care for all citizens with as little standing in the way of this care as possible. No one should die from Dysentery in the United States. On the other hand, if Pyro_Peter's Nuclear Anti-cancer Medicines, Inc. spends $10,000 to make each Fermium Armed Genetically Tailored Smart Bomb Anti-Cancer Pill then I completely understand that if we want more FAGTSBAC Pills (*whew* that was close to being a really baaaad acronym) then Pyro_Peter's Nuke Pills, Inc. must charge more than $10,000 for that pill.

I think the tough part here is that the line for "reasonable access to basic care" is in different places for different societies. I'd also be concerned that the act of drawing that line would be sufficient force to prevent it from naturally rising with time. What if that line was drawn in the 1920's US? Where would medicine be today? Would we have some metric like the Consumer Price Index but for medical care to keep moving that line up?

Finally, and I know this is diverging from the actual topic of this thread, it is clear to me that your right to health care is a different sort of right than your right to free speech or your right to be free from unreasonable searches. No one else has to do anything for you to speak or for you to not be searched. Health care is different. Someone else has to do something for you to have a right to health care. What if they don't want to? Can you (or a government agent working on your behalf) compel someone else to provide you care?

It is a complex issue and the more closely I look at it the more complex it seems to get.


Comment Re:Torts lawyers would greatly benefit (Score 4, Informative) 235

There's plenty of powered furniture available, and has been for decades. Those crazy "As Seen On TV" powered folding beds have been around for ages. My new couch has push button electric recliners. Most cars today have powered seats; many of those electrically heated.
The problem I'd have with furniture based power supplies is similar to the problem I have with built in electronics and adapters in vehicles. The lifetime of my furniture and vehicles greatly exceeds the probable lifetime of any consumer electronics power adapter installed in it. I used to work at a high end auto dealership. I installed dozens of iPod adapters (at around $400 a shot. Insanity!) and all of those adapters are worthless to the new generation of i devices that these customers are likely to have. Some of my customers had older vehicles with build in analog cell phones which are now junk that just rides around with them.
Furniture is even worse. Decent furniture should last a lifetime. By putting a consumer electronics power port into a piece of furniture you're basically admitting that it's going to be trash in less than 10 years.

Comment Re:FOIA, anyone? (Score 1) 306

So, what am I supposed to do? Not answer questions like that even when asked?

Correct. These people are not honorable, do not treat them as such. They lied to you in order to send more people to prison, regardless of their actual guilt. They are thugs and criminals.

That's largely how I feel. Maybe next time I'll just nod and smile and see what happens.

Comment Re:know your audience (Score 4, Informative) 227

In that US region almost everyone would deny all of this, no matter of the education level. The light coming from the accretion disk of that black hole is coming here from before 6000 years ago, when the universe, earth, man, and everything else was created by the almighty god.

I'm an atheist with a college degree who works daily with salt of the earth types in the Bible Belt. In general, physics understanding is spotty around here but actual Young Earthers are extraordinarily rare (to the point where I've never actually met one). You're unlikely to find someone who can tell you the difference between weight and mass and if you want them to use a torque wrench make your specs in foot pounds instead of Newton meters. However, pictures of Jesus riding a T-Rex are taken as ridiculous jokes since, obviously, they weren't contemporaries.

Hell, the guys in the oil and gas industries make their fucking paychecks based on a fundamental understanding of geology, evolution, and the time scales involved.

You may want to question your assumptions more in the future if you would like your worldview to more accurately reflect reality.


Comment Re:FOIA, anyone? (Score 5, Interesting) 306

Just a couple of weeks ago during my round as a potential juror the judge plainly stated that he would tell the jury what the relevant law is and how it should be applied. The jury was only to determine the facts of the case and if those facts ran afoul of the relevant law as described by the judge. He asked if any of us had any questions about that.

I asked if a not guilty verdict could be reached on the basis that the relevant law was immoral, unconstitutional, or would otherwise result in an unjust verdict.

Short answer: No.

(and this is where this becomes a rant...) So, this is the point where I get punted. The Fucking Crack Whore sitting next to me in the jury box made it deeper into the jury selection process than I. I was one of the few people in the room who appeared even remotely interested in the proceedings. Now I understand why so many fucking cases get plea bargained. I wouldn't want to put my fate in the hands a few semi-literate rednecks and a half dozen WWII vets. The first round of juror culling eliminated just about everyone that I would have wanted on a jury for me.

So, what am I supposed to do? Not answer questions like that even when asked?


Comment Re:More than half are faster... ?? (Score 1) 240

I work in a shop full of mechanics. I'm the only one who uses more than two fingers to type and I'm also the only touch typist. I can safely say that I'm much faster when typing.

However, I'm working on changing that. "Accidental" carburetor cleaner spills have erased the characters on 16 keys in the first 8 weeks of this year. I predict that by the end of the year I will have created about four more touch typists.


Comment Re:Profit (Score 1) 227

Is it worth $8/hr for a gym to hire a kid to wipe sweat off the equipment in the afternoons?

If it's not worth paying someone a decent wage, it's not worth doing at all. If sweaty equpment is losing customers and money for you, damned right it's worth it.

And that's what happens. If an employer decides that mopping sweat is worth $6/hr then that employer will happily hire someone at $5/hr but hire no one at $8/hr and leave the job undone. The person who is hurt here is the invisible person who would have been happily working for this employer if it was legal to do so.

why not make the minimum wage $10,000/hr!

Are you stupid, or do you think the rest of us are? Your arguments for making people go hungry because they weren't born into the right family are shockingly obscene.

No, I'm not stupid; jury's still out on you though. I didn't think it was a very complex thought experiment. See, there's this range of possible minimum wages from $0/hr which is no minimum wage to stupidly high numbers like $10,000/hr. I could have made the Stupidly High Number anywhere from $100/hr to $10^29 / hr. I settled on $10,000/hr because it has a pretty number of zeroes in it. At any rate, at the Stupidly High Number end of the range there are Obvious Problems. These Obvious Problems are that no one can legally work because they are prohibited by law from entering into an employment agreement at rates acceptable to both the worker and the employer. Everyone goes hungry.
Now, here's the part that you failed to grasp. As you move down from the Stupidly High Number you are forcing fewer and fewer people into the "Would Work, But Legally Can't" category. Easily most of the population is in the WWBLC category until you get below, say, $30/hr. Now not everyone is going hungry, but many still are.
The WWBLC category gets smaller and smaller the closer the minimum wage gets to $0/hr.
I assert that the people in that WWBLC category are harmed by minimum wage laws. They're unjustly made into criminals by taking work. It is difficult to see or quantify them at "normal" minimum wages. The sweat mopper job that didn't ever exist because it wasn't worth doing doesn't get added onto some list and counted like a job that moved to China is counted. You never say that Timmy lost his sweat mopper job because the job never existed. Timmy is just sitting on his ass wishing he could find someone to give him a job for his $5/hr skill. Or, more likely, rather than going hungry Timmy is working in the grey market and getting paid his $5 in cash under the table. Now Timmy's a criminal, but at least he's working.

I'm not suggesting that people go hungry.
I'm suggesting that people be allowed to work at a wage that is mutually beneficial to both the worker and the employer. Why do you think you should have a veto power over their employment decision?


Comment Re:Profit (Score 1) 227

The flaw in your logic is that most of the jobs created at the sub-minimum wage level (in the absence of such a wage) wouldn't go to a 13-year-old making money to buy candy. They would go to people working five jobs trying to scrape by a living. Instead, with a minimum wage, those people scrape by a living while working only three jobs, thereby providing them a small amount of time at rest.

Also, minimum wage establishes a base line for education. As you point out, certain jobs are no longer worth hiring someone to do them. Those jobs by their wage point had little to no education requirement. Okay, so there are no longer jobs for people who chose to drop out of school in ninth grade and refuse to learn a trade. You know what? That's a fair trade to me. If those people have a development disability that prevents them for learning a skill, then we have a social safety net to help them.

Finally the $10,000/hr statement is just absurd right now, because that price point would eliminate all jobs except those requiring skill as a Fortune 500 CEO. Now, if we were a country with 501 citizens and 500 CEO jobs to fill? Then sure, it would be perfectly viable.

Why wouldn't they? My first job (coincidentally around age 13) was picking potatoes for fifty cents per barrel. I made enough to buy an Intellivision cartridge with a weekend afternoon of work. It was probably about $3.00 per hour for me.
Day laborers with no skills besides a willingness to work, many not even able to speak English, are in the same boat today. They are below your base line for education. Rather than allow them to improve their position in life by legal but low paying work, which gains them access to better skills and education, you suggest that they should become criminals by working at a wage that they can earn or become a burden upon society. What kind of trade is that? What is society getting in that trade?

I see that I managed to wing you with my point in the case of the $10,000/hr minimum wage. You can see how that minimum wage eliminates legal jobs. My assertion is that to a lesser degree this job destroying characteristic is inherent in lesser minimum wages. Minimum wages don't help people with educations and skills who are above that wage point. They hurt the weakest, poorest, least capable members of our society.

As you rightly observe, it doesn't take a lot of education or skills to lift yourself above minimum wage. Most of us manage to do it while we're still teenagers. But if you made the minimum wage a higher living wage then getting that critical First Real Job just got a lot harder for a lot of young people.


Comment Re:Profit (Score 4, Interesting) 227

I think you're unfairly moderated as Troll here, so I'll reply and have you bumped up to insightful in just a few moments... :)

How much is a "decent wage?" I hear people all the time talk about a "living wage" on here, but nobody puts a dollar figure on it. Give me something concrete. What should the high-school drop-out ditch digger (or whatever) who has learned no marketable skills make? What kinds of things should someone making a "living" wage be able to buy? What things are over the line? For example, how new a car, what kinds of food, cell phones, cable TV, how big of house or apartment? Should this "living wage" increase because people live in a certain area, or should we pay them more because they have a bunch of kids? I want to know what a "living wage" really means.
Also, how much more should a person with a degree make than this base "living wage." I mean a real degree which enables someone to produce something of value. I'm talking about engineering, or science, or something medical (and there are plenty of others), not philosophy or communications or something that qualifies you to be a barista.

Here's how I've always attempted to communicate this idea that you're sharing.
When you impose a minimum wage there are, almost by definition, jobs that are no longer worth hiring someone to do.
Is it worth $8/hr for a gym to hire a kid to wipe sweat off the equipment in the afternoons? Probably not. Wipe your own sweat.
Is it worth $8/hr for the mechanic to figure out why your BMW's heated cupholder isn't working? Probably so. The shop is going to bill $150/hr for the repair, so the mechanic has plenty of room between $8/hr and $150/hr to carve out a reasonable salary, while the owner still gets paid too.

Now, to run the "decent wage" and minimum wage ideas to their absurd extreme. If a $0 minimum wage is bad, and a $10 minimum wage is little better, why not make the minimum wage $10,000/hr! We'll All Be Rich! I'll have two new cars by lunchtime! Obviously, "We'll all be rich!" is the wrong answer. We'll all be criminals and working for whatever we're worth is the correct answer. If you insist on being law abiding, you'll be unemployed. No one on /. is worth $10K/hr (I'm sorry if this is a shock to some). Obviously, $10K/hr minimum is extreme, but the effects of raising the minimum wage to a "living wage" of $20/hr would be similar. Now everyone is getting paid at least $40K/year for their full time jobs. Great! But your Papa John's pizza is going to go up by a bit more than $0.15 to make it worth selling crappy pizzas.

You've just cut the bottom four rungs off of the economic ladder. It is no longer possible to go from sweeping the floors at the auto shop, to doing oil changes, to changing brakes, to being a highly skilled mechanic working on high end cars. The only job in that chain that is worth hiring an employee for is the last one. Everyone below that point gets the shaft and becomes a criminal.

The simple fact is that minimum wage laws hurt the very ones they are supposed to be helping, either by eliminating their jobs or by forcing them into "under the table" working arrangements where they can be paid what they are worth.


Comment Re:Babylon 5 (Score 1) 409

1. Always wear a space suit in combat. Duh.

Probably a good idea, but if your ship is blown up, and you are still alive, the chances you are going to be rescued is close to 0.

You're wearing a space suit so that you can operate in a ship that you have depressurized before combat begins. A breathable atmosphere in a combat spaceship would be a hazard.

After combat, you can re-pressurize your ship and resume floating around in your jumpsuit.


Comment Re:Note to all governments (Score 1) 274

We finally have a winner. NO amount of tax revenue will EVER be enough to satisfy the appetite for money and power that surrounds Washington DC. Republicans and Democrats are on the same team even though they're wearing different jerseys. They want power and control. They want to make their friends rich and powerful. You're not their friend.


Comment Re:Just so long as.... (Score 1) 413

As a percentage of GDP, federal tax revenue has been lower than 2001 spending for every year except 2006 and 2007. Expenses have, of course, been even higher. But this suggests that even sustainable spending at 2001 levels requires raising federal tax revenues.

It suggests no such thing. If anything, it suggests the opposite. As the economy grows the percentage of GDP required to maintain 2001 levels of spending will drop.

This graph also clearly indicates that the ratio of spending to revenue has been greater than 1 for a generation (with a few anomalous years during Clinton's term, which weren't really surpluses when Social Security accounting gimmicks are accounted for) . This is a systemic problem, and not limited to one party or the other. The only surprising thing to me is how each party seems to be committed to making the problem worse than the party that was in power immediately before.

When I write my congressmen (may Sen. James Inhofe burn in Hell for 7,000 years) I like to make the following analogy.

If I managed my finances the way Congress manages the Nation's then I would be in jail. It is literally criminal.
I have been in situations where my expenses exceeded my current income. I understand the desire to raise my income to the point where I can buy everything that I want, without priorities, forever. However, my income is finite and always will be. I have to prioritize my spending and, most importantly, cut spending on the unessential things that break my budget. This is how responsible adults work.
The only people who don't make spending priorities or care about maintaining a sustainable budget are young children and criminals.

I will assert that if Congress magically managed to extract 50% of the GDP of the US in tax revenue that there would still be a budget shortfall. Congress has a huge spending problem that raising taxes will not fix. Look at that chart again. Look at a similar one that goes back to the Korean War. At no point in recent history has Congress ever thought "Times are good. We should save some for a rainy day." It is always "Put it on my Card. I'll be even fucking richer next year and then I'll pay all this shit off."


Slashdot Top Deals

Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand.