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Comment Re:OK, I'll bite (Score 1) 297

Well, in Japan, many of the people have gone to the services industry...

Well, in Japan, they have just about the highest suicide rate in the developed world. Maybe we don't want to emulate them too closely.

Well, in Japan, they have just about the highest life expectancy in the developed world. Maybe we don't want to emulate them too closely.

Comment Re:The U.S. government is planning bigger wars. (Score 0) 297

The US has a stranglehold on "Intellectual Property" ... media distribution rights and patents. All imaginary stuff, but powerful. Especially when that imaginary stuff is backed and enforced by the world's largest military.

Military spending is also profitable because they can justify going sole source with their friends right in front of the taxpayers' faces.

Nice cozy guaranteed security clearance jobs for US citizens who can keep their records clean too.

Comment Blame the audience (Score 1) 542

There are a large number of books that they can use as a base for movies.

The reason is not that they are out of ideas, the reason is that they are lazy and just re-use what did work one more time.

Eh, being risk-averse is not lazy. The profits from these big blockbuster projects are fairly predictable.

Mass audiences prefer content that they are already familiar with. They like songs that sounds like songs they already like. They like stories and movies with plots they're already familiar with. People take comfort in being able to predict what's going to happen because they've seen something familiar. We don't like to be challenged with the new and unexpected, unless we feel really comfortable and safe and confident -- which most people don't.

I'd say it's a fair amount of work to meet people's existing expectations using established formulas and pacing, rather than going all creative and taking risks of pushing the envelope too far. Not the kind of safety net everyone appreciates, but whatever, it's just business.

Comment Re:Yeah (Score 5, Interesting) 397

Well stated, AC.

I would add that it's a folly to dismiss Trump as stupid. He's "used car salesman" smart. There are a lot of interesting and effective negotiation tactics that are available when you can throw ethics and long-term credibility out of consideration. Trump has not only read but written Sun-Tzu Art-of-War style treatises on business dealings... how to portray yourself as rich when you are poor, stupid when you are shrewd, slow when you're moving fast. If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bullshit sort of stuff.

Some story I've heard quoted offhand (wish I could find the source) was about when he bought a yacht from someone. He had a minion go and thank the other guy's minions for selling it to him for a much larger price than he actually paid. The idea was to spread rumors that made it look like Trump was much richer than he actually was, and much more foolhardy with his money than he actually was, so other people would make mistakes negotiating with him later. This tactic plays well with a lot of the other numbers and statistics he makes up on the spot... he exaggerates everything he can, in order to make himself look better later. He made up that huge $4 billion figure for the Boeing Air Force One projects, so he can brag about saving a billion dollars later when it comes out closer to a more realistic figure. I think I've seen an article indicating he's already done this.

Everything else he's been doing indicates that he's clearing the tables to maximize leverage for new negotiations -- firing all US ambassadors on day 1, threatening sky-high import/export tariffs, putting gag orders and hiring freezes on all US government agencies. It's clear that to do anything, you'll have to suck up to Trump first, and bring money and favors to secure it. But this is a standard business negotiation tactic, pull every string you can towards you first and make everyone else fight and bargain to get back the slack.

So we can look forwards to some short term "wins". Hopefully we can keep him negotiating and dealing with our enemies, and our friends will be very understanding in the mean time.

Submission + - Will Montana become 3rd state to ditch daylight saving time? (

turkeydance writes: ok...twice every year Slashdot disses's 2017's first:

A bill brought by Sen. Ryan Osmundson, R-Buffalo, would eliminate that biannual ritual. He introduced Senate Bill 206 in the Senate State Administration Committee last month, a bill exempting Montana from observance of daylight saving time and keeping the state on “Montana Standard Time” throughout the year.

Similar legislation in several past sessions to exempt Montana from daylight saving time, keep the state on daylight saving time all year, or put the question to the voters failed to advance even out of committee. But SB206 passed committee unanimously and once on the floor, more than twice as many senators voted for it as against it.

Comment Re:We deserve what we get. (Score 2) 81

A Meitu spokesman actually replied to the ArsTechnica article on this:

Since they're a Chinese company, they have to collect their own user data since they don't have access to user data from the Apple / Google stores. So they likely have less info about you than most Western app devs.

I installed Meitu on an Android 7.1 device yesterday. It only asks for device permissions as it needs them. I denied giving it access to my phone functions and the app works fine without that telemetry. But if you're really paranoid, go ahead and play with it in Andyroid or something.

Comment It's already happened a few times already... (Score 1) 468

"Secretary" used to be the most common job according to some interpretations of BLS reports. The Word Processor made that role largely obsolete and now self-service:

So nowadays it's "Truck Driver"... wait a bit longer until autonomous vehicles make those delivery jobs go away. Wouldn't call those middle-class jobs, though.

Counterpoint: Sales and Services are the most common job in the US today, along with maybe some form of Educator:

It'll still be a while before those social jobs are automated away.

Comment Just another form of Gerrymandering (Score 2, Interesting) 637

The electoral college just means that your vote counts for whichever party is predominant in your state, no matter what you actually voted for. The "predominant" party in your state is pretty arbitrary, though, depending upon how successful the parties are at gerrymandering:

The US form of representative democracy is just an illusion to make you think your vote matters. US democracy is not intended to be just or fair... its only practical purpose is a safety valve to preserve itself by preventing a bloody revolution if one party becomes too unpopular.

Submission + - SPAM: Statistical analysis suggests Moon can cause quakes

schwit1 writes: A careful statistical analysis of when major earthquakes occur has suggested they are more likely to be more powerful if they occur around the full and new moons when tidal forces are at their peak.

Satoshi Ide, a seismologist at the University of Tokyo, and his colleagues investigated three separate earthquake records covering Japan, California and the entire globe. For the 15 days leading up to each quake, the scientists assigned a number representing the relative tidal stress on that day, with 15 representing the highest. They found that large quakes such as those that hit Chile and Tohoku-Oki occurred near the time of maximum tidal strain — or during new and full moons when the Sun, Moon and Earth align.

For more than 10,000 earthquakes of around magnitude 5.5, the researchers found, an earthquake that began during a time of high tidal stress was more likely to grow to magnitude 8 or above.

As these results are based entirely on statistical evidence, not on any direct link between tidal forces and actual quakes, they are quite uncertain and unproven.

Comment Re:No surprise (Score 1) 44

Yep, that jives with what I've heard from current and past Amazon employees.

Most last 1-2 years, because that's what it takes for the stock options to vest and so you can leave without having to pay back relocation assistance.

As far as corporate culture goes, they do have a problem with excessive middle management, and those are probably the ones that want to keep their employees physically close to them so they can watch them and keep their metrics up. There's a lot of internal competition and finger pointing. Brilliant friend of mine tried putting in for an internal transfer within Amazon, so then his manager put him on a probation plan to prevent losing him to another internal team. Then finally after they had a falling out over this, the manager had him dismissed as a scapegoat for some api outage. A bunch of his other Amazon friends had also gotten scapegoated as well, often for existing problems that they were trying fix, but had been hushed or postponed during planning meetings. Then when it finally dies, the manager has to choose a scapegoat or else lose their own position.

Plus, the only perk Amazon employees seem to have is location. They've built up a pretty nice urban campus in South Lake Union over the past few years, so young'uns can live and work in condos downtown with their little doggies ... and that's about it. They offer few of the competitive perks offered by other Seattle area companies... in the name of frugality employees have to pay for their own coffee and beer in the lounge, and little stuff like that. I guess you get a free Prime membership, but not really any other lucrative "employee discounts" on stuff. So yeah, many, many employees just take the relocation money, hang on for the year or two that it takes to get out, and GTFO.

Like MS, Amazon is probably doing this on purpose to flood the local tech job economy with tech workers, to overall reduce the wages they have to pay the star software devs. The Seattle tech job market is still very tight, but all it would take is Amazon announcing a 5% layoff to completely bomb the market with tech jobseekers... though I'm not sure how much of a spike that would be from their normal attrition rate.

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