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Comment No fallacy. H1B designed for geniuses, Kaku is one (Score 1, Informative) 237

There's no fallacy of appeal to authority here, for two reasons. The fallacy of appeal to authority would be citing Michael Jordan's opinions on DNA editing, or Kaku's style preferences. It has the form:
Proposition A must be true because person B says it is, and person B is authoritative in some field (but not the field in question).

GP says "for more details", listen to Kaku's explanation in the video. There's no claim that Kaku must be right because Kaku is Kaku. Rather, Kaku explains and supports his position. The reader is encouraged to listen to Kaku's arguments, not assume that Kaku is always right.

Secondly, the H1B program was *designed* to allow world-class people, top scientists and the like, to work in the US. Michio Kaku is a top scientist working in the US. Therefore he can be expected to have legitimate insight into the potential effects of losing his Nobel-winning colleagues to other countries. On the topic of eliminating the H1B program rather than fixing it, and therefore losing top scientists, Kaku does in fact have knowledge and experience that most of us don't have.

Comment Deeply offensive, beyond spoiled brat (Score 3, Insightful) 438

> You give 40+ hours of your week away to corporate bosses, just so you can feed yourself. That's called slavery.

So you think that sitting in your air-conditioned office posting on Slashdot and getting paid $100K for doing so is just exactly like slavery

Sometimes I wish you whiny little spoiled liberals could spend six seconds on the whipping post in order to start getting a clue how incredibly fortunate you are. I EXPECT you to be a whiny, spoiled brat, but when you start saying that your experience of sitting here posting on Slashdot is *slavery*, just like people who are chained up and whipped, you cross the line and I'm going to call you on it. Your ridiculous "I'm a victim because I didn't get a free iPhone 6" crap trivializes the real suffering of actual victims, and it's deeply offensive.

Comment drawcurve(). See "vector graphics" (Score 4, Informative) 67

Try this out for yourself. Get a piece of paper and a pen. Draw a large curve across the paper. You've just executed the programmatic function draw_curve().

Compare that to what it looks like when you enlarge a bitmap which has a few pixels roughly approximating a curve.

> Whether you call it stretching or scaling, you're still enlarging a bitmap

It's NOT enlarging a bitmap (or doesn't have to be). It's *drawing* the object at the appropriate size. The graphics libraries have functions like draw_curve().

Google "vector graphics". Drawing a line at a 20 degree angle does not result in the same pixels as scaling up a smaller bitmap which also approximates a 20 degree line. It is the same at 0, 45, and 90 degrees.

Comment Re:People with hundreds of tapes? Recording for du (Score 1) 130

> . There's nothing someone can do to stop you copying a VHS if the recorder ignores macrovision, and most of them do.

Macrovision was originally developed for VCRs that were ALREADY in use. The VCR doesn't have to support Macrovision. It pulses the off-screen lines very bright, then very low, causing the AGC to adjust the picture brightness in the opposite direction.

Comment People with hundreds of tapes? Recording for dummi (Score 2) 130

I imagine two groups of people are still buying them, aside for specialty uses.

Some people BUY movies, and some of those have hundreds of video tapes they've purchased over the years. For some old movies, they can be replaced with DVD iexpensively, but Disney is an important exception. 50 Disney movies isn't cheap.

I also know people for whom their primary entertainment is shows they've recorded. They are comfortable with their routine. Current DVRs available for purchase haven't converted all of these people, and DVRs rented from the cable company are expensive.

Then there are 200 niche uses, with ten or twenty people in each niche.

Comment You instinctively turn away from visible lasers (Score 3, Informative) 93

Yeah invisible lasers are normally considered MORE dangerous. When even a 5mw visible laser hits your eye, you instinctively turn away immediately. The extremely bright light is uncomfortable. If you can't see it, you don't instinctively turn away. See Chuang LH, Lai CC, Yang KJ, Chen TL, Ku WC (2001). "A traumatic macular hole secondary to a high-energy Nd:YAG laser".

OSHA and other bodies require EXTRA safety measures for invisible or nearly invisible lasers. (Near infrared fiber optic lasers can appear to be a dim red. They are actually very bright, just on the verge on the wavelength humans can see.)

Comment Efficiency depends. If the whole office is downloa (Score 3, Informative) 62

My office employs mostly nerds who are into comic books, StarvWars, video games, etc. When a major new game version comes out, the office mostly shuts down for the day as everyone stays home to play the new release of the game.

If a dozen of my co-workers are downloading the new Star Wars fan flick the day it comes out, Bittorrent is much more efficient than regular ftp or http downloads. Only one copy need be downloaded from the far-away server to our office. Mostly everybody copies it around the office, downloading from each other over the local LAN. That's WAY more efficient than downloading a dozen copies from a server 1,000 miles away. (In actual practice maybe twice the file size may be downloaded over the internet, which is six times more efficient than downloading a dozen copies over the internet).

In less extreme cases, it's still more efficient to download mostly from other people in Texas than from the origin server in California.

On the other hand, there is some overhead. In worst cases, Bittorrent can use more bandwidth than ftp.

Also there are of course several ways to measure efficiency. Bittorrent is normally time-efficient. It's bandwidth efficient in that rather than requiring someone to buy a high upstream speed connection, it uses the idle upstream bandwidth that people are already paying for anyway. It can often be less bandwidth efficient in that there is overhead, using more total bandwidth.

So whether or not it's efficient very much depends on a) the specific situation and b) which type of efficiency you're interested in.

Comment "Reasonable" and "promptly". Also video of crime (Score 1) 40

You wouldn't ADMIT doing that. The word "reasonable" appears often in law. They may have be ordered to produce he data "promptly". The law generally requires one to act "in good faith". You can be slow, but admitting that you're PURPOSELY being slow responding to process is probably admitting that you're breaking the law.

They could, without saying anything, be slow. if ordered to turn over 30,000 emails, they could print out the body of each one on paper, without the meta-data, and deliver them in boxes several months later rather than just sending them as a 100 MB file. That's how our soon-to-be president responds to a subpoena, anyway.

There is an important unknown or two. When a stupid criminal records a video of themselves driving your car they stole and posts it to Youtube, then the police ask for the name of the person who uploaded it, maybe it's good for Youtube/Google to respond. We know that *some* of the requests are bad, we don't know what percentage.

I received a request for information from law enforcement in a high-profile case once. A teenage girl had gone missing. Foul play appeared likely. Someone on my message board was posting with the name of the missing girl (an unusual name). The detective asked if I had the email address used to set up the account or anything else which could help them get in touch with the person and rule out the possibility that it really was the missing girl who was posting. Or alternatively, if a convict who had done handyman work for the family of the missing girl was posting under her name, again the detective would want to talk to that person.

Comment True, if someone doesn't know.. Also, I was wrong (Score 1) 1126

I'm 100% with you on:

> financial planning should be a public school subject in every grade from K through 12 to teach these skills.
Even though I suspect you are extrapolating from anecdote and it's just not true for most poor people, I would still favour that as it can only help (I doubt it is a cure, but it may help make a cure easier to reach).

> So maybe ask yourself - why isn't it ? Why is there hardly a public school on earth that teaches the subject of financial management at all ?

I agree too it's not a a "cure" - some people, probably most, will AT LEAST try out the "easier way" to confirm for themselves that it really is stupid. Some will do dumb often no matter what they are taught. But damn we should be teaching this stuff.

I was happy to learn the other day that high schools ARE starting to teach it much more. I took a class from one particular provider that was really good. Their high school has really caught on in the last few years - about 30% of high schools now teach their curriculum.
  Particularly they teach what you described as "Why do we not teach people how interest works - and how evil credit cards are". They basically teach that any debt other than a mortgage is quite suspect, and Capital One is a trap.

> without that resource, the elites would make rather less money ? I'm not even sure that's true, cheaper labour does save a business money - but it also costs it income.

Their are of course some predatory businesses. pay day lenders come to mind. In general, "business" probably does a lot better selling to people who can afford iPads and cars than to people who can't. I think -most- businesses do better when everyone's economic situation is better.

You asked about my family history. In brief, my dad's family was extremely poor by US standards. His childhood home had no floor, just the dirt. They ate meat on Sundays, rabbits or squirrels they killed. His first saw a toothbrush when he was about six or eight years old. He became very successful financially, mostly by working extremely hard. Initially the Navy offered the opportunity to go from nothing to something, if he was willing to work for it. After the Navy he worked for companies. Once the whole family went with him for business trip, on the corporate jet. When he died, when I was seven, my mom re-entered the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom for several years. She worked extremely hard to maintain a similar standard of living.

My parents didn't teach me much about personal finance - the trap of credit cards and note lots, etc. heck, my mom was at work until late, so we kids were basically home alone. We did see the example of hard work. From a young age I took it upon myself to learn about compound interest, etc, reading Kiplinger's magazine when I was twelve.

I basically thought that because my parents were did pretty well financially, I would too. Like it was automatic that successful parents have successful kids, as if the amount of my paycheck and savings account were in my DNA. I would have known better if I had thought about how my dad grew up. His parents were among the poorest of the poor in America, he was the vice president of an oil company. Since having upper middle-class parents doesn't provide automatic success, at 20 years old I was homeless. I lived in the empty lot behind the Target store, along with the people who panhandled on the street corner.

Over the next ten years I made some good decisions and some bad. I owned multiple cars, then sometimes had to hide one from the repo man. By about ten years ago I had already made most of the mistakes someone can make, so I began to make smart financial decisions most of the time.

I'll close with these two thoughts:
> you've been raised by people who had limited choices and even more limited finances - and thus had neither the means nor the ***possibility*** of learning good financial planning.

My dad's backwoods upbringing made it -harder- for him to learn the most effective skills and habits. It didn't make it impossible. He did it. I didn't learn much of that stuff from my parents, but ten years after being on my own I started learning in earnest. It's *easier* for some and *harder* for others. The *possibility* is there for anyone who wants it enough to prioritize it. My facial birth defects made it harder for me to get a girlfriend, but I got a wife, twice. We all have different challenges.

The two biggest things I messed up, where I hope to teach my daughter better, are a) think long-term (delayed gratification) and b) pay yourself first (save/invest the FIRST 10%-15% of income). Dave Ramsey's class and podcasts have been very helpful to me in filling out the details.

Comment Ps: I've been homeless, own 3,500 sq foot house (Score 1) 1126

Ps to my other reply. I've lived under a tarp behind Target. I've lived in a delapidated mobile home that was offered for sale for $2,500 (I rented, with a roommate, for $150 each). Now I own a 3,500 sq foot home in a desirable part of town. My comments about the decisions we make and the consequences aren't a theory; I'm not guessing. I've lived it both ways.

Comment That's a problem - if you believe it (Score 1) 1126

There's -some- truth to that for the truly poor people in the world, those living on less than a dollar a day.

In the US, though an attractive argument, BELIEVING that causes poor choices, but the assertion simply isn't true. Have you ever noticed that the vast majority of lump-sum lottery winners are broke within three years? If lack of seed money were the problem, $50 million dollars would solve that, many times over. The fact is, they normally go from having $50 million to broke very quickly - by continuing to do things that result in being broke. Things like buying lottery tickets.

I've worked with a lot of guys just getting out of prison and homeless guys. There are basically two paths they can choose when it comes to buying groceries:

Plan A) get six frozen meals ($12), a four pack of toilet paper ($3), two cold sodas ($3). Total $18. Repeat every few days.

Plan B) get a pound of dry rice and a few other things to make nine meals ($13), an EIGHT pack of toilet paper ($5), and no soda. Total $18. A couple days later, you don't need toilet paper - you got an eight pack. You have a few ingredients left over. You had a $20 bill and invested $2 in the larger pack of toilet paper, skipping the soda. Next trip, if you love soda, buy a 2-liter for a dollar. More soda costs less - two liters is cheaper than 20 ounces, and the big bag of beans for $3 rather than the can for $2.

That's the facts I've seen - even when you have only $20, you can invest buy getting the economy pack of one essential such as toilet paper or staple food, by just one week skipping the soda or lottery ticket. With the savings, you can buy the economy size of next item next week.

It truly IS a problem if you believe that you can only afford two cans of beans, a four pack of toilet paper, and a cold soda. That'll keep you broke. A bag of beans, an 8 pack of toilet paper, and a 2 liter of soda wil cost less and last longer.

Comment True. Smoking down, seatbelt use up (Score 1) 1126

That's true, we'll continue to do stupid things. You and I will do stupid occassionally.

> Everyone already knows smoking is bad for you ... driving without a seat belt is bad for you

Far fewer people smoke today than before the education and other efforts. More people use seatbelts more often than 50 years ago. So these efforts are not useless, they do work to some degree. And I just smoked a cigarette; they aren't 100% effective.

Comment Politicians are people, LESS trusted (Score 1) 1126

>> And then are still in desperation because of poor choices.

> So what you're saying is "we cannot trust people to decide where best to spend money; instead, we must trust the government to spend it for them"?
> if you cannot trust people to make good choices...

People making choices about their own lives do in fact frequently fall into short-term thinking. We do things that we prefer at the moment, and we don't like the long term consequences. 90% of my "bad choices" have been of that variety. Politicians making decisions about other peoples' lives made bad choices too. Not just bad in the long term, but also bad in the short term (for the populace). So no, having decisions be made be politicians doesn't prevent bad decisions. The history of centrally-controlled economies strongly indicates that bureaucrats make WORSE decisions than individuals make for themselves.

What can we do about the fact that people make bad decisions / short term decisions? Certainly we can try to educate people, so they can at least make informed choices. They'll still make bad decisions based on short term desires. We can try to train kids. When my daughter asks for a cookie, I can say "you can have one cookie now or two cookies after dinner." That may help, but she'll still do stupid sometimes.

The bottom line is that people do stupid, self-destructive things based on their immediate desire rather than long term well-being, and they always will. Some people will make worse decisions that others. Some will mature sooner and mature more, making decisions like going to school, setting aside savings, and choosing jobs where they can learn and advance over jobs that are more pleasant. Those who think short term will enjoy high school for four years, those who think long term will enjoy retirement for thirty years. Nothing will change that fact.

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"Never ascribe to malice that which is caused by greed and ignorance." -- Cal Keegan