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Submission + - SPAM: It Can Power a Small Nation. But This Wind Farm in China Is Mostly Idle.

schnell writes: The New York Times reports on a massive wind farm in remote Gansu province that boasts more than 7,000 wind turbines but whose capacity goes more than 60% unused. The wind farm epitomizes China's struggles in its efforts to become a world renewable energy leader: the Chinese economy is slumping, leading to decreased energy demand; the country lacks the infrastructure to haul power from remote wind-producing regions to industrial centers; and government policies continue to favor the domestic coal industry. China has 92,000 wind turbines, more than double the US's capacity, but China generates only 3.3% of its electricity from wind compared to 4.7% in the United States.

Comment Re:This is simple (Score 3, Insightful) 427

If you're not willing to use official channels and you're not willing to confront the person directly then you need to leave. That's it.

Precisely. However, you really need to question whether the original poster's two above assertions are true, or if they are just conflict avoidant/unable to understand corporate culture. Because if those aren't the case and the two assertions above are true, then the company is a toxic shithole that should be avoided like the plague.

The implication that you can't use official channels - even "skipping levels" up - indicates that the whole place is thoroughly corrupt through to the very very top. Saying that you can't talk to the person directly implies that they are so menacing/terrible/powerful that asserting yourself against a bully could never work.

Unless this is a small family owned business and the offender in question is part of the family, do both of these situations both sound likely?

I'm certainly not trying to impugn the submission poster, but it sounds fishy to me that this company is so rotten that none of the two most obvious approaches are even possible. I've never met a corporate HR department (at least at a company big enough to actually have legal counsel retained) that wasn't ready to jump all over any accusation of misconduct because they're so eager to fend off potential lawsuits. And any company where everyone - including the HR department and the org chain all the way up to the CEO - is totally off limits to a complaint about a malevolent employee is either a nepotism factory or a 100% nest of vipers.

I can't assess better than anyone else the validity of what the submitter says, but it does sound to me like some of the options he/she thinks are off limits might actually be on the table but he/she is too young/shy/lacking in self confidence to pursue. But if those things really are out of the question, then run don't walk out the door.

Comment Re:Leave. (Score 4, Interesting) 427

I wouldn't recommend that unless your country has no laws against libel.

Check your local laws of course, but writing something bad about someone in a private setting (i.e. in a non-public letter to a corporate HR department) is almost never grounds for a libel lawsuit, as far as I have ever heard. If that were so, there would be no such thing as customer service surveys, whistleblower laws, "mystery shopper" feedback, etc.

Libel is generally reserved for covering "public" pronouncements, typically in the form of journalistic stories. And even in those rare cases where, for example, a business has sued a private citizen over a bad Yelp review or some other public lambasting, they have pretty much universally lost.

In addition, most corporations have as part of their employment conditions that you can't sue the company or other employees as a result of negative opinions expressed as part of "official" company communications, such as an employee review or exit interview. (Otherwise no one could ever give an employee a bad review!) There are limits of course - if you allege that someone has committed a crime on the job, that obligates your employer to take it to the police, and depending on how that goes you could be opening yourself up to other things if your accusations of criminal activity are found to be negligibly inaccurate. But I assume you're not going there.

Libel law has many twists and turns which shouldn't be underestimated, but don't take it as a blanket reason for why you should never say anything bad about anyone - especially if it is provably true - in a context that is not intended for public consumption.

Comment Re:Sorely needed in the US (Score 2) 234

But without a good solid education, moving to new jobs becomes hard. So if the local job dries up how do you get a new one if you don't have a decent education?

Here's the problem. The issue with jobs in the US today is not about education per se, but about fungibility of jobs.

A "fungible" job, or item, is one that can be exchanged equally at no loss or differentiation. (A US dollar bill is fungible, for example, because any dollar bill is equal to any other regardless of its source, condition or owner.) If one mechanical piece or the person who produces those pieces can be swapped out without any loss of productivity or quality then it is fungible. And as such it can be produced anywhere at a lower cost.

Education is not necessarily a defense against fungibility. If you have a theoretically white collar job of IT tech support but that job can be done equally well by someone with equivalent education/training in Hyderabad, then your job is still fungible despite your education.

Some jobs cannot be fungible because the quality of the person doing the job. Think of jobs where one person's talent is appreciably different than another's, like athletes, corporate strategists, artists, rockstar programmers, artists, musicians, financial advisors/fund managers, writers, architects or academics. Other jobs can't be fungible because of their requirements to be local, such as healthcare workers, local retail/tourism, or service providers (automotive/building/plumbing/contracting/cleaning/professional services).

So the bottom line here isn't whether you got a C in high school or not, it's whether you left high school early to take an apprenticeship in plumbing - which will probably get you lifelong local employment - or whether you got As in high school and a scholarship that led to a MFA in Medieval French Literature, which will probably get you a lifelong series of Starbucks barista jobs.

Advanced education is absolutely definitely important to a person's likelihood of future earnings. But not everyone is suited to (or wants to) have a college education. If everyone did, then college graduates would have no employment advantage, right? So the obvious conclusion is that it's not so important how much education you have - rather, it's what education you have in a field that people actually have jobs to hire for.

Comment Re:Keep it original... (Score 4, Interesting) 304

There may be no original prints of A New Hope left, but all the source material almost certainly exists.

The explanation, from what I recall, is that while the original source materials may exist, they are so degraded as to be useless for any kind of theatrical or master-quality presentation again. (Fair warning: my recollection is from watching documentaries on the Star Wars DVDs from several years ago, so anyone can feel free to correct me if they have watched them more recently.)

The original master 35mm print of Star Wars, being celluloid, was subject to scratching and wear throughout the process of making all the copies for theaters to show. On top of that, even well-preserved celluloid is subject to natural degradation over time - colors wash out, etc. Think of old photos in a photo album that over time have grown dimmer and less distinct.

I recall someone (John Knoll?) on the DVDs saying of the digital remastering efforts in 1996/1997 that the original master was already in bad enough shape that, had they not digitized it then, there could never have been a copy good enough to convert to high definition digital or theater projection quality. When they did the digital conversion though, they didn't keep (this logic sounds a bit fuzzy but bear with me) the pure original scan. Like a photographer who shoots an original photo that isn't "good enough" but needs to retouch it before publishing, they made their digital upgrades/cleanups and didn't bother to keep the unretouched versions since they (George Lucas?) in essence said, "what we scanned was crap so who needs that?"

Ergo - at least according to the then-Lucas-owned-LucasFilm party line - you end up with a badly degraded original celluloid version in a vault somewhere still, but the only high-def/digital version left is the one that had all the cleanup and alterations done to it. That doesn't necessarily mean that they didn't keep a digital version where Han shot first, but it does mean that there is no digital version left of the fully untouched "original." Which may be a fine point of distinction worth considering as to whether it's still possible to see the "original" depending on what that means to you.

Comment Re: You Absolutely Can Have It Both Ways (Score 4, Informative) 412

NSA = domestic surveillance CIA = foreign surveillance The NSA has no reason to exist other than to spy on US citizens, for all other things (actual investigations) there is the FBI, police etc.
Off course now it's all under the umbrella of DHS so it doesn't actually matter who is in charge, the spying will continue. Reply to This

Sorry, but pretty much exactly wrong.

The NSA is authorized to collect signals intelligence only on foreign citizens. Hence the uproar over domestics being caught up in the surveillance nets and not being redacted immediately as they are supposed to be. This isn't an arbitrary distinction, but because under US law, American citizens are entitled to the protection of the 4th amendment against unwarranted search or seizure, whereas foreign citizens are not. So the setup was that the NSA could warrant-less-ly wiretap the rest of the world, but needed to scrub out the information of Americans that got caught in the haul.

I don't know how closely those rules were followed for most of the NSA's history (and neither do you). But that was/is the NSA's charter. Oh, and the NSA also has a secondary mission of Information Assurance, which is how the government is supposed to protect its own classified information.

Probably the foreign/domestic split you're thinking of is the way that the FBI and CIA are structured. The CIA cannot surveil/investigate/spy on/shoot American citizens, and the FBI can only surveil/investigate/spy on/shoot people inside the US.

Also, while we're at it, neither the NSA nor the CIA is part of the "umbrella of DHS." The CIA rolls up to the Director of National Intelligence as the head of the nation's "intelligence community," whereas the NSA is part of the Department of Defense. DHS itself has a law enforcement role but no "spying" mandate at all other than activities directly involved in fulfilling that law enforcement mandate.

Comment Re:Maybe I'm more anal-retentive than most (Score 1) 170

Which brings me to my #1 pet peeve. Why don't they have longer ramps both before and after security?

I don't like the answer, but I'm giving it to you. So please don't mod me down for being factual.

The reason is that every major airport in the US was designed before the "TSA era." Imagine a movie theater that was designed to just take your ticket, and then having to retrofit it to put a body scanner and personal items X-Ray into your ability to get into the theater. You can't rebuild the building to accommodate the new requirements, you just have to jam it in somehow. And so, in the same space, you have to accommodate all this new "Security Theater" nonsense in the same physical space that never anticipated it.

Everybody hates the new security requirements, and for good reason. But it's understandable why cramped spaces are so miserable now from an airport's perspective.

Comment Re:laptops on the conveyor belt (Score 5, Informative) 170

If it was about that, then they'd open those lines to anyone who had been vetted by the government already. They don't. The lines are open for those who pay.

Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong (I use the TSA PreCheck program, which I paid for, but am not a US government employee with a security clearance). But I believe that if you've already been vetted by the US government in terms of a security clearance or a DoD ID then you don't need to pay for PreCheck, you can just use those lanes automatically. And the average US civilian/military security clearance investigation costs upwards of $50K.

Not to sound like a PreCheck fanboy, but if you fly more than a few times a year it is absolutely in your best interest to pay for PreCheck. Basically they look (from what I understand) to see if you're a felon, are on a no-fly watchlist, and/or have firearms related offenses or "I freaked out in the airport when they frisked me" issues. They take your fingerprints, too.

If you don't have any concerns with the above, then the $85 that PreCheck costs (for a five year term) is amortized over the cost of your time waiting in lines over five years in airport lines. I can't speak for every airport, but in Seattle the time differential between PreCheck and general boarding is often 45 minutes of waiting or more, as well as not having to take off my shoes, not having to take my laptop out of my bag, and generally being treated more like a human being than a Gitmo detainee.

You can make a cogent argument that none of the above is necessary and that it's all Security Theater. But you can't say that PreCheck is something for the one percenters when it averages out to $17/year. If you fly more than a couple times a year - and you value your time - then it's a no-brainer.

Do I believe that the government should prefer a "safe by default" rather than a "safe by exception" profile for its citizens? Yes, absolutely. There's no reason that an 85-year-old grandmother from Minnesota in a wheelchair should face a pat-down and the same security precautions as a 23-year-old Syrian national. I've flown to Israel multiple times (on El Al) and their security precautions (while undoubtedly invasive to anyone) are tailored to the perceived "risk profiles" of the passengers.The US should absolutely tailor its security procedures to risk profiles.

But the TL;DR version is that US security screening, for all its faults, isn't based on who can pay. It's based on an assumption (however faulty) that everyone is a potential terrorist, and that those who fly a lot can make an effort to show that they are less of a risk - at a very low cost when averaged over how often they fly.

Comment Re:Developers say it is safe? What about engineers (Score 1) 242

In this context, I would guess "developer" is used similarly to "business development" which means sales.

What "developer" means in any real estate-related context is the company that bought the land when it had something else (or nothing) on it, figured out a business case for what to build on that land, got the permits, borrowed the money, built the building(s) and assumed the risk/reward of trying to sell the resulting building space to people or companies. It doesn't refer to any specific business function within the company, because any sizeable real estate developer will have on staff (or contracted) any number of people ranging from architects to engineers to project managers to accountants to people who make the glossy "buy an apartment here" brochure.

When a news article says that "[Company] said that..." what they mean is that someone authorized by the company to make statements on the company's behalf. That could be anyone from the CEO or a board member to a lawyer to a PR person.

Long story short, a "developer" incorporates all the functions above, even if the person saying the words is more likely from the sales or marketing side. But there's no way in Hell they are saying things unsupported by their engineers, architects, regulatory staff and lawyers because making willingly false statements about a building's safety can expose you to undreamed-of liability in the case of a failure. Also - this is San Francisco we're talking about. Do you think there's any chance that a building of this size wasn't subject to years upon years of government reviews for safety, stability, environmental impact, community impact, infrastructure impact, etc. etc. etc.?

Comment Re: Valid (Score 1) 590

You mean along the lines of those European "right to be forgotten" laws which require Google remove certain search results form their indices? Let's be fair - that's been going on for a while now. Why didn't archive.org get worked up over that?

Umm.. because those laws were in Europe, the Internet Archive was in the US (with no vital business dealings in the EU) and so they didn't apply?

The Internet Archive is basically saying that for the first time they are now actively concerned that Internet scrubbing laws*, executive orders, regulations, whatever will be enacted in the United States where they are based. Hence the move to mirror the archive in Canada.

* Excluding laws about taking stuff off the net that violated laws or copyright statutes etc.; that has always been illegal in the US, and that has not seemed to bother the Internet Archive.

Comment Re: Dear Apple fans: (Score 1) 471

Only profits (going either to shareholders or sitting in reserve), after all the expenses are paid, get taxed.

Just FYI, the profits going to shareholders are already being taxed to the people receiving them - as income on dividends on capital gains tax on increased stock price when they sell their shares. And the reserve is either reflected in an increased stock price (taxed in capital gains on sales) or eventually used in some other way that will get taxed. If they use that reserve to buy other companies, the individuals who held shares in the acquired company will pay tax on the gains commensurate with the price paid. Companies can't "sit" on money forever without it ending up being taxed in some other way.

Comment Re:Who would benefit-- us, but not the parties (Score 1) 1321

Hi! Occam's Razor here! It is more likely that:

There was election fraud going on and it was collusion between the establishment Republicans and establishment Democrats

Both of whom LOVED Trump and wanted to see him elected, right?

establishment Democrats who are looking to get kicked out of the political party they are paid by the corporations to control

Because most large corporations LOVE the Democrats. And most people love getting kicked out of power, too!

focus in on those areas where the Greens and the Libertarians should have done much better

I believe the votes in Candy Land County and Galt's Gulch were already re-counted.

Or is it more likely that the vast majority of Americans thought that the Greens and Libertarians were nut jobs and didn't want to vote for them?

Your choice. Massive alleged voted fraud and "actual full on collusion" between bitter political opponents, or your preferred parties just didn't get that many votes. As the late great Carl Sagan said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof." Please elaborate. Links to Reddit != "extraordinary proof."

I hate to keep pointing this out, but everybody loves "democracy" until their candidate doesn't win. Then there must be some reason that said candidate didn't win like voter fraud OMG! Nobody ever says, "Well, shit. More people support that other thing than what I support. I guess I need to accept the results and move on." (Full disclosure: my candidate didn't win, either. I wrote in for Alexander Hamilton.)

Comment Reining in "Reigning" (Score 4, Informative) 170

Not saying the NSA collecting is going to halt, but it is going to be reigned in.

Hi, friendly Grammar Nazi here! No offense intended to anyone, so to my liberal friends I am a "grammarian." To my Breitbart-reading friends, I am a "grammar-conscious Nationalist Socialist German Workers' Party member."

The recent election has brought up the use of the phrase "reigning in" or "reining in" on Slashdot like seemingly never before. I figured I'd provide a bit of helpful guidance to reduce ambiguity.

To "reign" is to rule in the sense of "regnal/royal" or kingly/queenly control over a kingdom, state or prom court. It is generally used with the preposition "over," as in "to reign over the prom and orchestrate choruses of "NEEEERRRRDDDDSSSSSS!" at the people who couldn't get dates tonight but will later shame us all at the 20 year reunion."

To "rein" is to control an animal (e.g. a horse) tethered to a rider. When used in the phrase describing someone wanting to pull something back from its current pace, "rein in" (e.g. government growth, spending, post-prom unwanted pregnancies) this form is normally used.

Happy reining and/or reigning, depending on your intended expression and/or high school prom experience.

Comment Re:Oh boy. (Score 4, Interesting) 1066

all those people complaining about elites and insiders are in for a shock

That's the problem with voting for "change." You are going to get it.

I was very surprised, just based off reading comments on this site over the past few days, how many ardent Trump supporters are here. I say surprised not because I am assessing a value judgement but because US presidential voting in recent years has become much more strongly correlated with education level, and I presumed that a tech site would reflect certain patterns as a result. (Full disclosure: I did not like any of the available ballot options and wrote in my presidential vote for Alexander Hamilton. I live in a solidly colored state on the West Coast and knew that my little exercise in protest would not have any meaningful effect on my state's electoral college votes, otherwise I would have voted seriously.)

At any rate, it turned out that many many more people than pollsters and the media expected cast their votes in the cause of upsetting the status quo. There's nothing wrong with being unsatisfied with the way things are and wanting to lob a big water balloon full of "f--k you" at the powers that be in this country.

When you vote for the loser, you enter a world of "coulda woulda shoulda" and you can just theorize how things would have been better. But when you vote for the winner, you have to own that vote because you're getting what you said you wanted. That's the price of winning. And it will be fascinating to see whether the people who cast a ballot to shake up the system like what they get when the system actually gets shaken up...

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