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Comment Re:GE Invented offshoring (Score 1) 110

Wasn't GE big on that management system Six Sigma? I don't know any of the details about it other than I think it involves shit-canning the bottom 10% or something of the workforce just because they're the bottom 10% of the workforce.

I also remember a business news story from the Welch era where they were doing so much business in financial services some analysts suggested the company's valuation should be judged as a bank and not as an industrial concern. That may have just been financial news clickbait but I think it was in an era where they were selling off long term industrial businesses and focusing a lot on GE Capital.

Comment Lunar junk (Score 1) 59

If these kinds of projects become more common, is there a risk that desirable landing zones on the moon will become junkyards of project flights and expired landers and rovers?

I'm guessing not, since the moon is about Asia's size in terms of surface area. But maybe due to all kinds of reasons some zone on the moon is easier to hit or more desirable to land on, actually making it something of a problem.

Comment Re:How does this compare to 3d-xpoint stuff? (Score 1) 145

It's funny, but I could have sworn I read Intel actually demoing the technology at a media event, that it was already production ready and that it was beating NAND in all the significant measures, density, speed and durability.

The chatter was that it was *so* good that it was being considered as potential augmentation for RAM, allowing for huge RAM cuts in lower end devices since swapping to it would be largely indistinguishable from actual memory access on low end systems. Marginally believable as I have two SSD Skylake laptops running Win 10 with only 8 GB RAM and I've never gotten the itch to jack up RAM amounts because even generic SATA SSD makes paging transparent enough.

Or it was the next fast tier in enterprise storage, which, IMHO, has to be dreading the rise of cheap 3D-NAND largely obsoleting their tiering sales pitches and forcing primary flash storage down in price. I'm sometimes of the opinion that the latest hyperconverged trends have nothing to do with platform vendors aiming at SAN vendors but hardware vendors looking to boost profits by overselling compute by repackaging it as hybrid compute + storage.

I think the other oft-mentioned thing was that 3D Xpoint was actually going to debut in some kind of ultrabook design in Q1 or Q2 of 2017, so it wasn't necessarily going to be a technology dribbled out at high margins to enterprise markets before reaching pro-/consumer levels -- ie, someone had decided that it was all-around good enough that they could just gut the existing NAND market at once. Maybe that's just led to wishful thinking on my part, the idea that there really was a next big thing available universally and able disrupt the entire storage market.

Comment How does it work now for foreign owners? (Score 2) 129

I'm curious how this works now for foreign owners of business assets.

Are there rules in place now that prevent foreign investors from owning equity stakes in US companies (outside of sectors with existing statutory limits)?

If a foreign investor owns an equity stake in a US company, are they prevented from coming to the US for business purposes? Do they need a special visa? Are there limits on how long they can stay to participate in this business under current rules?

This proposal seems like a gold mine of loopholes that would seem to allow for further bulk import of workers. What's to prevent Tata from creating an XYZ Consultancy and selling the minimum share of the company to workers it wants to import? It's not hard to imagine all kinds of games they could play "loaning" the equity investment funds to the worker in India so that they appear in the US as legitimate stakeholders who have made their own investments.

Comment Re:How does this compare to 3d-xpoint stuff? (Score 2) 145

Yeah, where IS 3D-Xpoint?

A push into the MLC market with a miracle storage technology "just around the corner" seems an odd initiative. If 3D-Xpoint is as good as they say, I would think they would want to focus on stealing the market with a unique and superior product rather than trying for slivers of an existing market.

Of course the cynic in me assumes that 3D-Xpoint is nowhere near ready and if it is, Intel just want to milk the existing NAND technology for maximum profit and dribble out the new stuff at maximum price points for both their own benefit and the benefit of OEM customers who want to keep milking stratospheric "enterprise" pricing on even MLC flash devices.

Comment Re:I'm getting old. (Score 1) 145

I get the M.2 format's advantages, but I don't understand why they wouldn't offer the same drives in SATA packaging. It seems to me there's a hell of a lot more devices that accept SATA devices than M.2 devices.

Has anyone heard of NAS or SAN devices that now feature rows of M.2 slots instead of SATA sleds? I like the idea, I just don't see anyone making them at this point.

Comment Re:Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 688

Strangely, those narrow and parochial activities have shaped history on 4 continents, including that of the Zulus and Aztecs who were both subjugated as part of European colonial expansion.

The Gupta empire faded partly as a result of invasion by the Huns and competition within the subcontinent. They had little contact outside the continent and mentioning them makes about as much sense as mentioning the global influence of the Aquitinians (which isn't to take away from cultural developments, which were significant).

Comment Re:Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 5, Interesting) 688

It's a strange attitude to have, because it implies that everyone else should be trying to murder them to protect themselves.

Isn't that what we've been doing for most of human history? Family against family, clan against clan, tribe against tribe, village against village and so on for most of human existence?

Most of European history from the Greeks onward can be seen as some kind of action/reaction to this dynamic. Established civilizations expanding their territories for both economic accumulation but also attempting to build buffers against other expanding or migration civilizations that threaten their borders.

Roman history can easily be interpreted as a continuous defensive expansionism designed to check the destabilizing influence of Germanic migrations from the North and Parthians in the East from time of Marius all the way to Marcus Aurelius. Much of European history from the 7th century through the 12th century can be defined as action/reaction to Viking expansion, from then on attempts to fix borders against expanding Mongols and Islamic armies from the conquest of Hungary, the Crusades and through the Siege of Vienna.

You could argue that almost purely economic colonialism on the part of Europeans didn't even really start until the general borders of Europe were largely established and fortified and external threats were minimized in the 17th century and even then such expansion was motivated by political and territorial stalemates of a fairly established European states and borders. The "new worlds" were conquered for their economic value but this can easily be explained as defensive maneuvers to outflank their local European rivals as well.

And the European conflicts from the 100 Years War, 30 Years War, Spanish Armada, the Napoleonic Wars all the way through WW I and II are attempts to establish hegemony and secure borders within Europe itself.

It would seem that the entire course of human history can be interpreted as a series of conflicts designed to secure specific regions against outsiders who threaten territorial independence and economic security.

Comment I wish Excel had custom data types (Score 1) 347

And not just data formatting.

It would be nice to be able to define a data type and some rules and limits of progression.

I could see the value in defining an arbitrary data type that was comprised of a fixed set ("Apples", "Pears", "Oranges", "Bananas") with no progression (ie, no set member has precedence or rank) or perhaps some with progression or rank (fetus, infant, toddler, child, adolescent, adult, senior). Cells formatted as belonging to a data type would only accept those values as valid entries, and sorting would apply the set's rules of simple progression if there were any.

It might help for other numeric-based data types, such as IP addresses, where it would be helpful to define rules of progression around some kind of delimiter. If they could only add one new data type, I wish it was IP addresses.

There's probably complex ways of doing this with macro/scripting, but, they end up being complex and one of the main reasons so many people use Excel because it makes it trivial to manage lists. Trivial tasks that get made complex end up being done sloppy.

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