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Comment ...and rebuttal (Score 1) 1106

"The employment effect of the minimum wage is one of the most studied topics in all of economics. This report examines the most recent wave of this research – roughly since 2000 – to determine the best current estimates of the impact of increases in the minimum wage on the employment prospects of low-wage workers. The weight of that evidence points to little or no employment response to modest increases in the minimum wage [emph. added]."

Source: http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/min-wage-2013-02.pdf

Humans are not the same as physical resources. There are more complex dynamics involved in labor markets than can be captured in a simple supply vs. demand analysis.

Comment Re:And people wonder why the US is going broke... (Score 1) 728

This is one of the most disturbing trends in the U.S. This move toward over-education of the somewhat privileged is exacerbating the problem of social immobility. If you cannot go to college, you are relegated to low wage jobs. As you grow older and have children, your children also cannot go to college. Yes, there are sensational stories like that of Liz Murray. However, they are sensational because they are so rare.

In the long run, it will be a very bad thing for our country if this trend toward SES lock-in continues.

Comment Re:Man whose job relies on the scientific method.. (Score 1) 743

Apples and oranges, because the business of Catholic hospitals is not about health insurance.

Catholic hospitals are primarily secular in nature. If I go to St. Mary of the Holy Land of Virgin Blessed Heart hospital for an X-ray of a broken arm, I don't care if the technician is Catholic, Hindu, Zoroastrian, or Pastafarian. I just want the dang X-ray done. Furthermore, the contraception decision is simply that these primarily secular institutions cannot interfere with the individual health care decisions of their employees, who are (statistically speaking) most likely not Catholic (Catholics are only 23% of the US population). The contraception coverage issue is a business decision that mostly impacts the employee, and one's employer should have no say in it since it has no direct impact on one's ability to do one's job. That should be true even if the employer is religiously affiliated, provided that the main societal function of the employer is not religious. Note that I'm not suggesting employers can't make aggregate budget decisions regarding their benefits' packages. Catholic hospitals should (and can) work out those numbers as they see fit. (Curiously enough, covering contraception actually reduces costs for the employer, as that employee wouldn't have to take time off for, you know...having a baby.) Simply put, my employer should not be interfere with my private health care solely on the basis of a moral objection.

And the whole objection of the Catholic hospital paying money for contraception is a red herring. They're paying for it anyways. The only difference is whether they hand the money to their employees (who then forward it to the insurer) or do they pay it directly to the insurer. The end result is simply that the employee has to pay more without direct coverage. So, in essence, the Catholic hospital wants to fiscally shame their non-Catholic employees into following Catholic morality.

A more appropriate comparison would be whether or not a Catholic hospital would have to keep an employee who was handing out Christopher Hitchens books to co-workers.

Comment Re:No expert but... (Score 1) 262

See my comment above. Shor's paper talks about the discrete log problem for a cyclic group in which the group operation is multiplication over integers. That is, modular exponentiation. There are other forms of ECC that do not use modular exponentiation. It is not entirely clear (to me, at least) whether or not Shor's algorithm would apply to the discrete log problem in other settings.

Comment Re:No expert but... (Score 1) 262

Yes, but Shor's paper is talking about computing the discrete log within a cyclic group for which the operation is multiplication over integers. ECC (there are actually multiple types of ECC...but that's a different discussion) is built on a different operation. For instance, you can do ECC using bilinear mappings such as the Weil pairing. It is not clear, based on what I've read, whether or not Shor's algorithm would apply to these other operations.

Comment Re:NTRUEncrypt and NTRUSign (Score 2) 262

Posting as AC, huh? Are you an NTRU Cryptosystems employee?

Here's a paper that surveys a number of quantum resistant cryptosystems. "NTRUEncrypt has also been found to be vulnerable to chosen ciphertext attacks based on decryption failuress [18, 21, 31, 38], but a padding scheme [30], which has provable security against these attacks, has been developed." "A comparatively greater number of problems have been found in NTRU-based signature schemes." "In 2006, it was shown by Nguyen that the unperturbed NTRUSign could be broken given only 400 signed messages [42]."

I'd say that the jury is still out...

Comment Re:No expert but... (Score 2) 262

hardness of factoring discrete logarithms.

For clarification, you are talking about two separate problems. One problem is integer factorization. In the case of RSA, encryption and decryption are done modulo some n = pq, where p and q are large prime integers. While n is public, p and q are private. If you know p, q, and a public key, you can compute the corresponding private key efficiently.

The other problem is computing discrete logarithms (sometimes over a finite field, as in ECC). RSA encrypts message m with a key e by computing c = m^e mod n. The discrete logarithm problem has to do with the hardness of discovering e given knowledge of m, n, and c. Many other cryptosystems (like ECC) do the same thing, but the multiplication operation underlying the exponentiation is different, and those systems do not require that n be the product of two primes. As such, determining the prime factors of n does not undermine the security.

Hence, the security of something like ECC cannot be broken by integer factorization, but can be broken if there is an efficient way to compute the discrete log. As of right now, I am not aware of any quantum algorithm for computing discrete logs.

Comment Re:Subsidies inflate pricing. (Score 1) 1797

More than supply and demand? Here's some data from the Department of Education on enrollment statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/2010menu_tables.asp), specifically looking at http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d10/tables/dt10_275.asp:

In 1976-77, there were 1536 private (not-for-profit) and 1455 public colleges and universities, for a total of 2991. In 2009-10, there were 1624 and 1672, yielding 3296. This produces a total increase of 10.2%.

In the same years, student enrollment at private (not-for-profit) and public institutions went from 10,967,775 (2,314,298 + 8,653,477) to 18,575,725 (3,765,083 + 14,810,642). That is a total increase in student population of 69.4%.

In other words, the growth in demand (students enrolled) has significantly outpaced the growth in supply (institutions). That's going to have a far greater impact on the cost of going to college than subsidies (which are arguably small as a percentage of the total cost of education).

(To be fair and thorough, I really should also look up the change in the number of faculty, but I just don't have the time or motivation to do so.)

Comment Re:What other products (Score 1) 1019

Speed limits are set by the states because there is nothing in the Constitution that gives the federal government the power to regulate traffic laws. According to the 10th Amendment, any power not given to the federal government by the Constitution, and that is not prohibited by the Constitution, are reserved for the states, or people. Health care is like speed limits. Since there is no Constitutionally granted power for the feds to regulate it, the power falls to the states. This is why the Massachusetts health care law is Constitutional, but "Obamacare" is not.

On the contrary, until 1995, speed limits were regulated by the federal government. Specifically, the National Maximum Speed Law, passed in 1974, prohibited states from setting any speed limit above 55 mph. These regulations stayed in place until Congress repealed them with the National Highway System Designation Act. There was never any argument regarding the Constitutionality of the NMSL.

That's quite a reading of the 10th Amendment you've got there. Too bad it is wholly inaccurate and completely ignores the 200+ years of case law that has been decided ever since...

Comment Re:Hysteria! Panic! (Score 1) 379

Agreed. Somehow, two data points (seizure from a guitar manufacturer, and prosecution for improper documentation of a large collection of imported antique pianos) translate into evidence that we live under totalitarianism (Play guitar? Well, you better have documentation about every piece of its manufacturing origins or else!!!).

Sometimes it seems that /., with its sensationalism and knee-jerk anti-government hysteria, is aspiring to be Fox News.

Comment Re:It's called "market forces", dude. (Score 1) 529

My point is that, as long as the government does the investing - in the form of picking their cronies as the winners, we WON'T get private investment.

You're under the mistaken assumption that all of government funding and investment works like defense contracting. Believe it or not, there are some segments of the federal government that are very good at funding research based on its merits, rather than political connections. Groups like DoE and NSF have excellent procedures, where proposals are peer-reviewed by experts in academia, industry, and government. And, contrary to your assertion that government involvement interferes with private research, many funding proposals for government research investment comes from private industry. Want some evidence of how government investment can lead to private investment? You can read about the origins of the research that created the foundation for this little company.

You are a living, breathing example of sqrt(2)'s point that, "The people saying we should do nothing are doing so mostly out of an ideological mistrust of government doing anything [emph. added]." You simply make blanket statements about how government programs like this ALWAYS fail and we WON'T have private investment, despite the fact that you have no idea how scientific research funding actually works.

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