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Comment Re:Bandaid (Score 1) 469

Thelasko opined:

This is a bandaid on the much deeper problem. Inadequate highway infrastructure. Fix the root cause, not the symptom.

Obviously, you've never been to Fremont.

Fremont, CA, is located along scenic (HAR!) Interstate Highway 880, the major commute corridor for drivers in the East Bay going to work from the (somewhat) affordable residential communites of San Leandro and points north to jobs in Silicon Valley. It's three to five lanes wide, and it's PACKED at commute time. Widening it would require using eminent domain to acquire land in one of the most expensive areas in the United States - land that is already in use for (mostly) commercial and industrial concerns. You know: mom and pop businesses like, for instance, Tesla Motors. Then there's the permitting process, where, in addition to Federally mandated enviornmental impact studies, there are onces specific to California, public busybody organizations like the Sierra Club (which routinely files lawsuits against freeway expansion in the San Francisco Bay Area), and other meddlers. At long last, once all that is accomplished - at a cost of years and many billions of dollars - the actual construction can begin. At a cost of more billions of dollars from highway funds that are already wildly overstretched.

And the minute the new lanes open, they will already be occupied to maximum capacity, because Silicon Valley. (See the Cypress Overstructure replacement project in Oakland as an example.)

"For every complex human problem there is one and only one simple, easy to understand solution. And it is always wrong." - H. L. Menchken

Comment Re:Unions (Score 2) 594

nehumanuscrede opined:

If Musk doesn't want his employees getting seduced by the Union, he should probably consider bumping the pay of his workers to near what the national average is and address any concerns they may have ( like excessive mandatory overtime per the article ). As long as he keeps his workforce happy, they'll have no reason to Unionize and Musk will have nothing to worry about.

Of course, there is the flip side.

Musk can say " screw this " and move the entire operation out of California and into another State where the cost of doing business is much lower.

"For every complex human problem, there is one and only one simple solution - and it is always wrong." - H. L. Menchken

First of all, Musk really can't increase Tesla workers' wages significantly. Tesla is still only marginally profitable, and, despite probably the most extensive use of industrial robots in the auto industry, it has a workforce of approximately 5,000 at the former NUMMI plant. A $10/hour raise for that many people (and this is assuming a 40-hour workweek with 10 holidays per year) would amount to an additional $10 million in wage costs per annum, plus additional payments to California and the U.S. for social security and other taxes. That's not peanuts. High wages for production line workers is one of the things that nearly killed the domestic auto industry by opening the door for less-expensive foreign imports from countries with lower labor costs (or more extensive automation - i.e.: Japan).

Secondly - and more cogently - Musk really can't move Tesla's manufacturing to another state. The deal he made to take over the NUMMI plant in Fremont is incredibly favorable to Tesla. He'd be really hard-pressed to find lower per-square-foot costs elsewhere, plus he'd have the expense of moving, re-installing, and troubleshooting the industrial robot army that produces and assembles most of each car. (Those 5,000 workers mostly do stuff like hook up wiring harnesses and so forth. There's essentially zero heavy lifiting involved in their jobs.) And then there'd be the six-to-twelve month halt in production while the changeover in facilities took place, just as Tesla is getting ready to roll out its first truly mass-production car, the Model 3. It's simply not a financiallyt realistic option.

In the parent article, Musk clearly states that Tesla has always been "union neutral". He's not anti-union. Nor is he pro-union. What he's against is the underhandedness of Jose Moran, who is essentially a union mole who took a job at Tesla specifically to agitate for a union vote. Apparently his mission was unsuccessful - Tesla's workforce was unreceptive to his message - so he quit his job (again, from the actual article, there is no current Tesla employee by that name) and has taken to tha Innerwebs to propagandize against Musk.

It's worth noting exactly why Tesla got such a sweetheart deal on the NUMMI plant: it's because astronomical labor costs made producinhg cars at the factory (which is ENORMOUS - Tesla occupies only a portion of the complex) unprofitable for GM and Toyota, the joint owners of NUMMI, so they SHUT IT DOWN in 2010, eliminating 4,700 jobs altogether.

That, I suspect, is why the UAW's mole found so little support among Tesla workers. Many of them are former NUMMI employees. They remember the good times and relatively high wages - but they also remember what happened to those good times and good wages when their former employer decided to shutter the plant because of those high wages ...

Comment Re:"Tech careers"? (Score 1) 97

K. S. Kyosuke opined:

So being a janitor in a car factory would count, too, I presume? I mean, that's about as far from an engineering role as a "creative director", whatever that is.

Uh ... Steve Jobs?

He had essentially zero technical chops. He DID have a superb grasp of design, but his major talent - you know, the one that killed him - was marketing. He was so successful at it that he sold himself on the notion that he could rid himself of his cancer by willpower alone.

You can have a successful career in tech without ANY engineering talent - because the tech industry is based as much on marketing and product design as it is on hardware and software development. Build a better mousetrap and you'll wind up with a garage full of unsold mousetraps without the marketing and PR staff to actually SELL them to customers ...

Comment Re:Are these "stars" controlling their own celebri (Score 4, Interesting) 97

SharpFang noted:

Lady Gaga, though, interestingly, is a curious exception. Supposedly - from accounts of quite a few people - she's intelligent, educated, with sharp wit and good critical sense, a very no-nonsense person. The 'crazy diva' is all an act, something that is expected from a top pop star, required to stay in the spotlight, in focus of the 'brand' press, keep idiot fans interested and rake mountains of money.

I'd find it extremely amusing if they hired her as a publicity stunt for show off, and then she proceeded to stay out of spotlight and be a very competent manager instead.

Mod parent up.

Stepanie "Lady Gaga" Germanotta is pretty much entirely a self-made artist. She's been single-mindedly aiming at pop stardom since she was a pre-teen, with voice lessons, dancing lessons, and the piano lessons that made her an in-demand session player in the New York recording scene well before she achieved fame on her own. I'm not much of a fan of dance music, but I watched the documentary about her Little Monsters tour, and I was very impressed by how completely she's in charge of every artistic aspect of her performances, from lighting to choreography, to sound. At the end of the movie, there's a candid scene of her practicing acapella with her backup singers, and it's VERY clear from that that Gaga has a powerful set of pipes and an excellent ear. And, unlike pretty much every other dance-pop diva, she does NOT lip-synch her live vocals. Given how energetic her dancing is throughout her performances, that's pretty damned impressive. (I've been a performing musician for decades, and I know from experience how quickly you run out of breath if you jump around the stage a lot.)

And yes, I know that her recording career was only launched when rapper Akon made her his protege - but before he took her under his wing, she was already a contract songwriter with Sony, and a well-known presence on the NYC avant-garde art scene, as well as working as a professional pianist.

And, hey, her halftime show at the Stupid Bowl kicked ass ...

Comment Re:perfect coffee... (Score 1) 162

Oswald McWeany sneered:

Let me guess, you voted for Trump.

No, genius. I did not.

I'm not insane, I base my beliefs on scientific facts - and, absent specific technical expertise of my own, I place considerably greater confidence in the opinions and analysis of actual experts in a given field than I do on those of Internet trolls with no such credentials.

Comment Re:perfect coffee... (Score 1) 162

Oswald McWeany insisted:

None of that says I am wrong. "Burnt" is subjective. Just like with toast, some would say that toast is burnt the moment it gets dark brown crust on the outside of it (carbonization), others say it is when it turns black and it's best when it is dark brown and crunchy. Just because some Hawaiian barista likes medium roast doesn't make dark roast "wrong" or "bad". In much of the world a medium-dark to dark roast is the preferred amount of roasting.

If you want truly "burnt" that would be a Spanish roast when the beans are literally blackened.

Either you're being purposely obtuse, or you're functionally illiterate.

The expert with whom I talked was the Kona Coffee Growers Co-op roastmaster. His job is to supervise the roasting of TONS of Kona coffee per day, prior to it being bagged and shipped to customers of the growers' co-op. There was a barista in the shop - but he wasn't it. He was a technical supervisor of a factory operation. And, when HE said that dark roast coffee burns the skin off the bean (and French roast burns the bean itself) he meant exactly that: not "turns it dark brown", but actually BURNS IT.

Comment Re:perfect coffee... (Score 2) 162

Oswald McWeany opined:

Matter of taste. "burnt" is just a darker roast that is preferred in most of the world.

Sorry, but you're wrong.

Back in the 1990's, on vacation in the Big Island of Hawaii, my wife and I got caught in a genuinely torrential downpour while driving on a narrow, two-lane road on the Kona coast. Rain so intense that I literally couldn't see more than five feet beyond the hood of our rental car. Scary, actual, given the winding road. So I pulled off into the first space we saw (at about 5 MPH) - which turned out to be the Kona Coffee Growers Co-op's storefront/roasting facility. After ten minutes of sitting in the downpour, with the windshield fogging over, I said, "The Hell with this,", and we made a dash from the car to the front door of the Co-op.

Inside the store, it turned out they had a little museum exhibit, with displays on growing and processing, along with plenty of merchandise. And coffee, of course. We browsed the museum and checked out the merch, and, pretty soon, we'd exhausted the entertainment potential of the place, while, outside, the rain continued to hammer down relentlessly. So, out of boredom as much as curiosity, I asked at the counter if the Co-op's roastmaster was available to chat. As it turned out, he was.

Nice guy. Friendly, intelligent, and, as you might expect, tremendously knowledgeable about all aspects of coffee production. We chatted about growing conditions and the rarity of what's called "peabody beans" (double-centered coffee beans that produce especially smooth and flavorful coffee, and which are around twice the price of the already quite pricey regular Kona stuff) how the coffee *quot;cherries" are fermented, lightly mashed, and the fruit is separated from the pit of the cherry (the pits being what we call coffee beans), dried, then roasted. All quite interesting. Eventually, the subject got around to varous roasts, and I mentioned to him that French roast had always tasted burnt to me.

"That's because it is,quot; he responded. "The difference between medium and dark roast is only 17 seconds in the roaster, but, in that 17 seconds, the outer skin of the bean actually begins to carbonize. The longer it stays in the roaster from there, the more the skin burns, and the darker the roast becomes." He also told me that he, personally, preferred a medium roast - and that a light roast, while it produces fairly weak-flavored coffee, retains considerably more caffeine than darker roasts. (The darker the roast, the less caffeine in the brew.) Thus, the lighter the roast, the bigger the kick.

So, no. I'm sorry, but you're wrong. Dark roasted coffee is produced by actually, physicallly burning the skin of the coffee bean. roast (Starbucks' default roast) is produced by allowing the beans to remain in the roaster until the skin burns away and the outside of the inner bean itself carbonizes.

In other words, the characteristic taste of French roast is due to the fact that the beans it's made from are half charcoal.

Comment "Consortia wants" ... ? (Score 1) 110

Dear EditorDavid:

If you're going to claim to be an actual editor, it would behoove you to learn the basics of English grammar. The rule is: one actor wants, multiple actors want.

In this case, the word "consortia" is plural in form, so they "want." It's subtle, I know ... but, if you'd prefer that people who care about language and communications (you know - writers, professional editors, and educated readers) not laugh and point when your byline appears as the editor of stories posted to slushdot, you really should learn and apply that rule.

Just as importantly, your headline claims that it's " Ethernet consortia" that are expressing this desire, whereas the body of the article makes it clear that it's actually the New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory that wants this, since it's the party that's trying to push for it. So, the headline is not only grammatically incorrect, it's factually challenged, as well.

Welcome to Slashdot ...

Comment Read Plato's "Republic" (Score 1) 609

Plato's classic work "The Republic" does what I think is a pretty good job of analyzing various forms of government in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. His analysis of the weaknesses of democracy is, I think, particularly insightful. His conclusion - based on the evidence of history up to his time (early 4th century BCE) - is that reprensentative democracies are extremely responsive to the will of their citizens in their early days, when the voters are afire with enthusiasm for the task, and mostly knowlegeable about the issues to be addressed. However, as time goes on, the citizenry tires of the demands of informed governance and begins paying less and less attention, until only an active few bother to study the issues and evidence needed to govern wisely.

At that point, demagogues arise, offering simplistic solutions to the now-largely-uninformed electorate, with the goal of empowering themselves and/or their patrons at the expense of the commonweal. The result - inevitably, in Plato's view - is either a demagogic tyranny (which eventually either becomes a monarchy or sparks a revolution against the tyrant), or an oligarchy or plutocracy, thinly disguised as a nominal democracy (but which is entirely anti-democratic in actual practice).

Unfortunately, Plato's proposed solution to the array of sub-optimal government models is an ant-like, essentially communist state, led by a council of "philosopher-kings". The society he advocates is based on a rigid caste system, with strict rules of conduct, enforced by Draconian penalties for what he defines as subversive activities (including the death penalty for poetry and music!). It employs a ubiquitous secret police force to continuously spy on the "citizens" of his misnamed "republic" - which is, in fact, the most repugnantly repressive model of a dictatorship by central committee I can imagine. Plato's entire rationale for this hideous excuse for a government is that philosophers are obviously the wisest members of society, and thus the fittest to rule.

And, yes, if it sounds familiar, that's because Lenin based his governance model for the USSR on a blend of Marxian economics and Platonic leadership ideas.

I'm a fan of Dr. DeGrasse-Tyson, but I suspect he has not read "The Republic". At least, not recently ...

Submission + - Study finds udio fingerprinting being used to track web users (

thomst writes: Natasha Lomas of TechCrunch reports on a Princeton University study on a new tracking technique that uses the AudioContext API to create a machine-unique signature. The researchers used an open-source tool called OpenWP to scan the top million websites (as determined by Alexa) for clues to trackinhg companies that use the technique.

The good news is that the audio-fingerprinting technique is not yet in wide use by data miners. The bad news is that none of the most commonly-used tracking blockers detects or can prevent its use to stalk users.

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